Tuesday, December 30, 2003
Is This Finally The Year For The Eagles?
The life and times of a Philadelphia sports fan are rarely easy, and frequently tumultuous.
I can recall at least 4 times in the past year when I've been broken, crushed, or reduced to a slobbering mass of crap thanks to one or more of my favorite teams. I'm guessing my wife, Kerri, can probably remember a few more that I've cleverly edited from my consciousness...
So now, for the 3rd straight season, I've got my hopes pinned to the Eagles to end the 20-year (you read that correctly) championship drought in the City of Brotherly Love.
If that seems like a long time for a town with teams in all 4 of the major sports to go without winning a championship, well, it is...
In that 20 years, New York has had the Yankees, LA has had the Lakers, Chicago has had the Bulls. Hell, even Boston has had the Celtics in the 80's and the 2001 Patriots! And Boston often seems like it's populated by nothing but black cats and broken mirrors! Philly has had the 1996 AHL Champion Philadelphia Phantoms...Ouch...
This year's Eagles team is interesting in that expectations were as high as they've ever been, despite the team losing several big name players (Hugh Douglas, Brian Mitchell, etc...) in the offseason. What did they do? What they always do, of course: Play stinging defense and flash just enough offense to pull through.
I'll admit, things did look grim when they jumped out to an unimpressive 2-3 start. That, coupled with the insane ramblings of part-time conservative blowhard and full-time pill-popping hypocrite, Rush Limbaugh claiming that quarterback Donovan McNabb was being propped up by the evil liberal media because of his skin color, portended a disastrous 2003 campaign.
The season could have very easily been just that: a disaster. McNabb could have folded up like an accordion under the pressure that was even coming from within Philly, where unforgiving sportswriters and deluded fans were calling for him to be benched. Instead, what he helped the team do in the last 11 weeks was truly remarkable: Win 10 of their last 11 games and secure homefield advantage throughout the NFC playoffs for the second year in a row.
That impressive streak included a miraculous Brian Westbrook-powered win in New York against the Giants, an improbable come-from-behind Monday night win at Lambeau Field, and a Biblical ass-kicking of the Dallas Satans, errrrr, Cowboys. (Sorry, my fingers slipped, six times.)
What lies ahead is anyone's guess, but my gut feeling is this: A team with so much talent on both sides of the ball that could've been written off at least three times this season has got enough grit to take out any of the teams competing in the NFC. As far as the monsters in the AFC go, my mouth is staying shut...
Is this the year the Eagles finally head back to the big game? I say it is. Do they win once they get there? Ask me later....
Monday, December 22, 2003
Jobless Benefits Allowed to Expire by GOP-Controlled Congress
Ho! Ho! Ho!
Just in time for Christmas, the kind-hearted Republicans inhabiting the US Congress have allowed federal unemployment benefits to expire as of Saturday, December 20th.
Their reason for cutting off benefits to many of the nearly 2.5 million people who have lost their jobs since President Hoover, errrr, Bush took office?
The economy is getting better and joblessness is decreasing, of course!
While it's true that our national GDP has gone up, a paltry 57,000 jobs were created last month. Unemployment is still 5.9%, and signs of hiring are far less than promising.
So what does this mean? Well, let's ask someone who is actually effected by this somewhat predictable turn of events:
"A lot of us don't know where our next meal is coming from," said John Mahoney, 55, of Battle Creek, Mich. He was laid off in December 2002 from an automotive plant, where he had worked for 11 years. He earned $15.07 an hour.
Mahoney's unemployment benefits run out later this month. "I'd like to see you walk a day in my shoes and tell me the same thing in the morning," Mahoney said he would tell Congress and the president.
Friday, December 19, 2003
Why I Support General Wesley Clark in 2004
Let me preface my comments by saying I think all of the Democratic candidates (even Joe Lieberman, yuck...) would be a marked improvement over our current Commander-in-Thief.
When Wesley Clark entered the race, I almost thought he was too good to be true. A real American hero, battle-tested in a combat sense and a diplomatic sense. A Rhodes Scholar that graduated first in his class at West Point. A savvy businessman and teacher of economics. A 4-Star General and former Supreme Allied Commander of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
But a resume only goes so far. What drew me to the man further was his keen ability to convey his message regarding the future of this nation. I was initially impressed with his "100-Year Vision for America". How many politicians are forward-thinking enough to look ahead and consider what our children's children will inherit from us when we're long since gone?
Everything I've seen from the General since has been just as impressive. He understands the need to improve education for our kids (Something W only talks about). He sees the need to provide healthcare to those who don't have it. And, as you would expect from a 4-star general, he has a keen sense of how to conduct our affairs in the world and make friends rather than abuse them...These are all issues in which George Bush hasn't got a leg to stand on...
I originally was a gung-ho John Kerry supporter. I still believe to this day that if Al Gore had chosen Senator Kerry as his running mate in 2000, none of the Florida recount bullshit would have ever happened and we would be living in a much safer and SANER nation right now. Just a hunch...
Unforunately, Kerry has disappointed me with his behavior and his inability to run an effective campaign. He was a shoo-in for the nomination about a year ago. Since then, he has acted like he could win the nomination without even trying. In the face of the Howard Dean phenomenon, Kerry has acted like a spoiled baby rather than a leader. I still believe in him, but when the General entered the picture, I couldn't stay where I was.
The time is getting close to when our battered and beaten party will choose it's new leader. I believe we owe it to ourselves to nominate the candidate that has not only the experience, but the ability to beat Bush on his own turf and make him look like a novice in the process. I believe that man is General Wesley Clark.
Please get involved and check him out for yourself at Clark04.com.
"We've got a president who will go halfway around the world for a photo opportunity but won't go halfway across town for a funeral for an American serviceman." Wesley Clark
One of My Favorites Hits It On the Head
Those of you that I've spoken to at any length know that I hold the New York Times' Paul Krugman in very high regard. His op-ed pieces almost always hit the mark, and he has an amazing insight into the morality of the current administration.
The following quote is from today's column. I feel these four sentences encapsulate the impact of the Iraq War and the capture of Saddam Hussein better than anything I've read this week:
Now maybe, just maybe, Saddam's capture will start a virtuous circle in Iraq. Maybe the insurgency will evaporate; maybe the cost to America, in blood, dollars and national security, will start to decline.
But even if all that happens, we should be deeply disturbed by the history of this war. For its message seems to be that as long as you wave the flag convincingly enough, it doesn't matter whether you tell the truth.
This is a scary thought to anyone that loves this country, but doesn't believe in going to war under questionable and sometimes downright false assumptions.
"Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel". Never forget this...
Thursday, December 18, 2003
The United States Once Supported Saddam, Does it Matter?
A conservative friend raised the point: "Who cares if we supported Saddam?"
Well, I do.
It's an important point to bring up because if we don't know history, we're doomed to repeat it.
Propping up scumbags like Hussein is a HUGE problem and we continue to do it to this very day (Saudi Arabia???). We need to learn that we only add to the influence and power that these monsters possess when we take their side in ANY capacity.
It's also germane to the topic when you consider that the incident in 1988 when Saddam "gassed his own people" happened while we were on his side and then-President Ronald Reagan (the patron saint of all things conservative) did NOTHING about it.
Think about that...Bush and the fleet of conservative flaks (Hannity, Coulter, Limbaugh, etc...) used this instance freely during the march to war. It almost seemed like an involuntary reflex: "How can you support a man who gassed his own people? You hate America!"
Raising this issue suited Bush politically, but he never mentioned that Saint Ronnie and his own father, George H.W. Bush turned their heads when it happened. Not only that, Bush Sr. continued to provide support to Saddam during the early part of his Presidential term.
Why did Reagan veto The Prevention of Genocide Act of 1988 (co-sponsored by Al Gore and Jesse Helms...who woulda thunk it???) that passed the Senate unanimously and would have imposed sanctions on Iraq for using chemical weapons?
Reagan refused to apply consequence to Hussein at the time, in spite of the reports of thousands of Iraqi Kurds being killed instantaneously....Why?
We need to remember these things, because they can far too easily happen again...We also need to remember that others involved in shaping US policy in the 80's are still shaping our policy today.
Colin Powell was national security adviser to Reagan at the time of the alleged gas attack. Donald Rumsfeld was prominently involved in providing Saddam with the aid he needed. Dick Cheney was a prominent Congressman that could have supported sanctions against Iraq. None of them acted. Why?
These are questions conservatives dare not raise and cannot rationally answer....
My First Post
I'd like my first post in this space (other than my brilliant "TEST" post) to be a new revelation in the investigation into the most horrible day of my (and many other's) lifetime.
The head of the independent 9-11 Commission (which our President fought tooth-and-nail to keep from forming) former NJ Governor Thomas Kean (a Republican!) is pointing fingers in and around the Bush Administration for failing to prevent the 9-11 attacks.
(CBS) For the first time, the chairman of the independent commission investigating the Sept. 11 attacks is saying publicly that 9/11 could have and should have been prevented, reports CBS News Correspondent Randall Pinkston.
"This is a very, very important part of history and we've got to tell it right," said Thomas Kean.
"As you read the report, you're going to have a pretty clear idea what wasn't done and what should have been done," he said. "This was not something that had to happen."
Appointed by the Bush administration, Kean, a former Republican governor of New Jersey, is now pointing fingers inside the administration and laying blame.
"There are people that, if I was doing the job, would certainly not be in the position they were in at that time because they failed. They simply failed," Kean said.
Remember this the next time someone tells you that the GOP is the only party that can keep our nation safe...