Sunday, October 31, 2004

The monster tournament conclusion

The quarter finals were literally a blood bath. All four matches were titanic struggles and shook the foundations of horror. Here’s the gory details.

Dracula methodically picked off the WT brothers in sadistic fashion but not before his immortality was nearly ended with a well aimed arrow that barely missed the vampire’s heart. Dracula pulled out the arrow and systematically slaughtered all three of the white trash trio.

IT had a massive tussle on his hands when he tangled with Werewolf. The two fought for hours with Werewolf delivering a nearly fatal blow to IT whilst the alien was in clown form. But IT changed appearance which seemed to confuse Werewolf. IT brandished a .357 revolver and loaded a silver bullet and shot Werewolf in the heart.

Freddy vs. Pin Head was the rubber match between these two division rivals. Suffice to say these two were not fond of each other. This match was unequaled as far as sheer savagery goes. Pin Head called forth his little helpers which proved too much for Kreuger. The floating chains came out as Freddy frantically tried to solve the infamous puzzle box. The chains jostled the cube from Freddy’s hand and Pin Head and his servants tore Kreuger to pieces, bit by bloody bit.

Predator made short work of Relic. Pred shredded Relic with diabolical ease.

So the semis shape up like this…

Dracula vs. IT
Pin Head vs. Predator

These were classic duels.

Dracula and IT, the two most intelligent monsters in the tournament, battled for literally days. Each kept trying to size each other up hoping to find an exploitable weakness. Finally Dracula got the opening he needed as IT got sloppy trying to snatch a child from a nearby town. Dracula followed as his patience finally paid off. IT exposed his back and the vampire pounced. IT immediately changed into spider form but it was too late. Dracula scratched out the alien’s eyes and then bled IT dry.

Pin Head called upon his minions once again. One by one Predator wasted them then the two came face to face. The chains temporarily ensnared Predator and Pin Head closed. Pred broke free but it was too late. Predator’s invisibility was of little use as Pin Head used his favorite weapon and gutted the extra terrestrial.

So the championship featured Dracula against Pin Head. As a matter of pride and courtesy Pin Head refused to seek the aid of his trusted cohorts and this would prove to be his undoing. Dracula easily dodged the chains and found the cube. Once again, Dracula’s intelligence, patience, and cunning proved too much for his opponent. He easily solved the cube’s puzzle and Pin Head was eliminated.

There you have it. A scientific breakdown of what would happen if the most notorious horror monsters in cinematic history squared off in a no holds barred tournament. Dracula reigns supreme.

Saturday, October 30, 2004

Monster tournament opening rounds

In order to ensure a level playing field the tourney will be fought in the appropriately named Death Valley. All matches will be at night as most horror movies rely on darkness to terrify.

The first round pretty much went according to form. The big exception was Christine defeating the Tall Man. The ’57 Plymouth Fury mowed down Tall Man’s minions and eventually the man himself. Dracula, Jason, IT, and Freddy Kreuger breezed through their opening round matches but Pin Head and Species narrowly won. Pumpkin Head’s unorthodox style nearly befuddled Werewolf but the lycan eventually outlasted the most bizarre horror monster ever. The best first round match featured Carrie and The Thing. These two slugged it out and Carrie nearly defeated her opponent by using her telekinesis to drop a big ass boulder on The Thing but TT simply dug its way out. Free, The Thing surfaced below Carrie wherein he savagely ripped of her appendages and gnawed on her skull. There are some very exciting round two battles.

Dracula vs. Species
Wrong Turn brothers vs. Headless Horseman
Alien vs. Werewolf
The Thing vs. IT
Freddy Kreuger vs. Christine
Candy Man vs. Pin Head
Michael Myers vs. Predator
Relic vs. Jason

Round two was unbelievable. Two of the true icons of horror were beaten and the Alien/Werewolf contest was a classic. Now recaps of second round action.

Dracula easily dispensed with Species. The dreaded vampire totally outclassed the spunky extra terrestrial. He changed into a bat, took the form of mist, and thoroughly confused Species. Dracula eventually ripped Species throat out.

The WT brothers pulled off a mild upset. Using a simple yet effective strategy they just shot and killed the Horseman’s mount. Now grounded the Headless one was east pickings for the WT trio.

The match everyone had waited for in round two was Alien against Werewolf. This was an epic struggle pitting two creatures with tremendous athleticism and cunning street smarts. Alien got the upper hand early when it dealt gaping wounds to Werewolf’s back. This slowed the furry one but didn’t kill him. In the dust and commotion Alien lost track of Werewolf. This was the opening needed. Werewolf grabbed a rock, charged, and smashed Alien’s head in. Game over.

IT handled the Thing with ease.

Freddy Kreuger suckered Christine into driving off a cliff.

Pin Head destroyed Candy Man.

Predator turned Michael Myers into a stain with his arsenal of weapons.

Jason and Relic squared off in a divisional rematch. Jason initially had the upper hand and even managed to cut off Relic’s tail. But in a stunning turn of fortune Relic climbed up a rock face and pounced on Jason. The crunch was audible as Relic ripped Jason’s head off. In a move of bravado Relic cleaned its teeth with Jason’s machete and punctuated the upset by consuming the remains.

So the quarterfinal matches are…

Dracula vs. Wrong Turn brothers
Werewolf vs. IT
Freddy vs. Pin Head
Predator vs. Relic

The quarterfinals promise to be compelling and devilishly gory. Tomorrow, Halloween, the conclusion of the tournament.

Friday, October 29, 2004

Monster bracket

Here is the monster tournament bracket. The division winners are 1-8 and the rest are placed according to record.

#1 Dracula
#32 Jack Nicholson from The Shining

#16 Species
#17 Leprechaun

#8 Wrong Turn brothers
#25 Rednecks from Deliverance

#9 Headless Horseman
#24 Frankenstein

#5 Alien
#28 Linda Blair in The Exorcist

#12 Werewolf
#21 Pumpkin Head

#13 Carrie
#20 The Thing

#4 IT
#29 Killers from Last house on the Left

#3 Freddy Kreuger
#30 Chucky

#14 The Tall Man
#19 Christine

#6 Candy Man
#27 Blair Witch

#11 Pin Head
#22 Girl from The Ring

#7 Michael Myers
#26 Damien

#10 Predator
#23 Leatherface

#15 Relic
#18 The Mummy

#2 Jason
#31 Scream killer

The best first round match ups are Carrie vs. The Thing and Leprechaun vs. Species. These two games could go either way. Relic vs. Mummy could be intriguing and either one could give Jason a run for his money in round two. Freddy Kreuger and the Tall Man may meet in a second round grudge match. If Alien and Werewolf win their respective opening round matches they’ll clash in round two in what should be a classic. A couple dark horses to win it all may be Pin Head, Predator, and Carrie. Round two matches will be posted tomorrow along with round three results. The quarter finals up through the championship will be posted on Halloween.

Week 8 picks

Jacksonville over Houston
Detroit over Dallas
Arizona over Buffalo (who cares)
Philly over Baltimore
Green Bay over Washington
Tennessee over Cincy
Minnesota over the Giants
Indy over KC
Seattle over Carolina
San Diego over Oakland
Chicago over San Fran
Jets over Miami
The games of the week…New England barely over the Steelers and my Broncos over Atlanta

There are only two truly decent games in the college ranks this week…
#2 Oklahoma over #20 Oklahoma State
#10 Georgia over Florida
#12 Michigan over Michigan State
#7 Cal over #20 Arizona State
#8 Texas BIG over my hapless Buffs

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Hobbits live?

Reuters is reporting that a new line of three foot tall humans has been found in Australia. This new race of Homo floresiensis lived nearly 18,000 years ago in and around Indonesia. These diminutive, hobbit-like hominins are descendents of Homo erectus and have relatively large brains. It is thought that they were wiped out by a massive volcanic eruption 12,000 years ago.

Are we descendants of Frodo?

Somewhere Babe Ruth is smiling

The Boston Red Sox have won the World Series for the first time in 86 years. The chants of “1918” are no more. The most infamous hex in sports, the curse of Babe Ruth, has now been lifted.

My world doesn’t make sense anymore. There were three things in life I could count on; the sun would rise in the east, the French would continue to be…well…French, and the Red Sox would break the hearts of million of faithful fans. I’m now convinced the world will spin off its axis at any moment.

The death toll in New England will be catastrophic. Do you realize how many elderly Sox fans were hanging on until they witnessed the lifting of the curse of the Bambino? I hope Boston area hospitals will be able to cope with the massive numbers of coronary patients who will have been driven to palpitations by the sight of the World Series trophy in the hands of the Red Sox.


Horror monster season review

As Halloween draws near and all the good horror movies are recycled and shown in marathonesque fashion the 32 best horror monsters have completed their season and are ready for the tourney. Here are the best 32, their records, and overall rank. Plus I’ll highlight some key games during the season.

1. Jason-13-3
2. Dracula-13-3
3. Freddy Kreuger-12-4
4. IT-12-4
5. Alien-12-4
6. Headless Horseman-12-4
7. Pin Head-12-4
8. Predator-11-5
9. Werewolf-11-5
10. Carrie-11-5
11. Candy Man-11-5
12. Tall Man-10-6
13. Relic-10-6
14. Species-10-6
15. Michael Myers-10-6
16. Leprechaun-9-7
17. The Mummy-8-8
18. Christine-8-8
19. The Thing-8-8
20. Pumpkin Head-8-8
21. Wrong Turn Brothers-7-9
22. Girl from The Ring-7-9
23. Leatherface-6-10
24. Frankenstein-6-10
25. Rednecks from Deliverance-4-12
26. Damien-3-13
27. Blair Witch-3-13
28. Linda Blair from The Exorcist-3-13
29. Killers from Last House on the Left-3-13
30. Chucky-2-14
31. Scream killer-1-15
32. Jack Nicholson in The Shining-0-16

Now a look at some key games…

Week 1-Predator vs. Werewolf-this was the best match of the opening stanza in the Monster Season. Werewolf gave the Pred a run for his money but the cunning creature from space found a silver bullet and ended the showdown. Before it was over the Werewolf had gnawed off Predators left leg and nearly killed him.

Week 6-Freddy vs. Jason-Part 1-Freddy narrowly avoided the most infamous machete in the world and gouged out Jason’s eyes. Even though the masked one was blinded he inflicted mortal damage as he collected Freddy’s head and wore it as a necklace.

Week 8-Jason vs. Chucky-This should have been a no-brainer. Jason and Chucky show up at the arena where, seeing the diminutive talking doll sporting a butcher knife, Jason, for the first time in history, breaks out in uncontrollable laughter. Completely incensed at the lack of respect Chucky charges and hacks off Jason’s leg in a brilliant tactical move. The masked one falls, loses his grip on his trusted machete, and flails around attempting to grab his weapon. Chucky runs up, impales Jason’s hand to the ground, grabs the machete, and chops off Jason’s head. So ends the biggest upset of the year.

Week 9-Dracula vs. Pin Head-This contest went back and forth. Pin Head conjured up his henchmen whom Dracula dispatched with surprising ease. Pin Head narrowly missed the caped one’s heart with a wooden stake. This gave Dracula the opening he needed. Dracula grabs the cube, solves the puzzle, and Pin Head gets sucked back into the abyss.

These were the best matches all year. Other classic rivalries played out as well. Dracula and Werewolf split their season series as did Alien & Predator, Jason & the Headless Horseman, and Carrie & IT. The division winners were Dracula, Jason, Freddy, Alien, IT, Candy Man, Michael Myers, and the Wrong Turn brothers. The division winners will be bracketed 1-8 accordingly with the rest being placed by record. I’ll set up the bracket tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Week 7 results

Another week of inconceivable upsets has totally screwed my pick percentage. Arizona, Cincinnati, Miami, and Detroit pulled off big upsets. Arizona and Miami may have the biggest upsets of the year to date. BTW, Mike Martz is the worst coach in football. Would somebody fire this nitwit already? And a side note, it must be good to be a Boston sports fan with the Sox pulling of the miracle and the Pats looking unbeatable. Meanwhile, here in Denver, the Broncos fail to show up on national TV, the Rockies stink, the Nuggets look OK, and the Avs aren’t going to play again until 2006 at this rate. Plus our college teams suck (thank you Gary Barnett & Sonny Lubick). Oh well, Go Rapids!

L-Colts over the Jags
Barely a W-Philly over Cleveland
W-San Diego over Carolina
W-Ravens over Buffalo
W-Chicago over the Bucs
L-Giants over Detroit
W-Minnesota BIG over Tennessee
Oops-St. Louis HUGE over Miami
L-Atlanta over KC (I knew this would be an ambush)
W-New England over the Jets
L-Oakland over the Saints
W-Green Bay over Dallas
What the *bleep* L-Seattle over Arizona
Grrrrrrrrrrrrr L-Broncos over the Bungles

My record for the week was 8-6. Pathetic. My season record is now a respectable 64-38. I lost one game to that lucky s**t BR. I will prevail though.

What a boring college weekend. With the exception of the Boston College-Notre Dame thriller and my Buffs nearly pulling off the unthinkable against Texas A&M in College Station this last weekend was a veritable desert of decent games. *Yawn*

W-#13 Michigan over #12 Purdue
W-#11 Tennessee over Alabama
Darn the luck L- #17 Texas A&M over my Buffs

The Nipples win! The Nipples win! The Nipples win! My fantasy football team, Nancy Reagan’s Lonely Nipple, stopped its four game skid as Chad Johnson, Chris Chambers, and Jimmy Smith finally woke up. I’m now a feeble 2-5 but climbing fast…hopefully.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Haiti: Bastard child of the Caribbean

For years the U.S. has largely ignored the simmering cesspool that is Haiti.

Jean-Bertrand Aristide was supported by the U.S. for years until his incompetence and festering unrest forced his departure in February, 2004. Aristide’s leadership nearly sparked all-out civil war in the island poorest country in the western hemisphere. In 1990, Aristide won Haiti’s first democratic election but was overthrown by a coup in 1991. In 1994 Aristide was reinstalled as president after the U.S. flexed its muscle. In 2000 he won re-election in what many consider a fraudulent vote. Haiti is now led by Yvon Neptune.

Things are so bad in Haiti that Neptune declared a state of emergency and the U.N. sent in a peace keeping force that remains there to this day. The situation is so tenuous that the U.N was forced to delay tons of relief supplies and food in mid-October after tropical storm Jeanne killed 3,000 and left over 200,000 homeless. The widespread violence and unrest is the reason for the U.N.’s decision.

In the week of October 10, Father Gerard Jean-Juste, pastor of St. Claire’s in Port au Prince, was arrested for disturbing the peace. He is being held in a Haitian penitentiary for a crime punishable by a 40 cent fine. What makes his arrest unique and disturbing is the fact that Jean-Juste’s apprehension was a violent affair wherein three children were shot. One girl was shot in the leg, another child was wounded in the shoulder, and yet another child suffered a head wound. They were gathered at St. Claire’s along with 600 other children as Jean-Juste was attempting to feed them. Haitian police stormed St. Claire’s, beat Fr. Jean-Juste, drug him out a broken window, and carted him off to jail. In fact, the Father’s lawyer has been threatened with jail time by Haitian authorities.

Haiti officials, the police, and our own U.S. State Department have completely denied these allegations. Amnesty International is investigating the incident.

Haiti has been a cauldron of unrest for over thirty years. Ever since the days of “Papa Doc” Duvalier and his son “Baby Doc” and their murderous security force, the dreaded Tontons Macoutes, Haiti has been ruled by one savage dictator after another. Haiti has been the poorest country in the western hemisphere for decades and a veritable killing ground where voices of dissent are squelched by murder.

The U.S. has stood idly by as this nation has descended into anarchy. Every president from the Current Bush administration back down through Kennedy has ignored the plight of a nation that is barely a stone’s throw from our own country. The U.S. has interceded in national crisis situations in a number of other countries yet we continue to snub Haiti. Why?

Friday, October 22, 2004

Monster Mayhem divisional preview

As we get closer to the Horror Monster World Cup here are the division previews. As I said before each monster will play its division rivals twice plus ten more contests with non divisional opponents, including a match with a team from each division. I will try to be faithful to natural rivalries such as Freddy vs. Jason, Michael Myers vs. Jason, Alien vs. Predator (division rivals by the way), and Dracula vs. the Werewolf. There will be no bye weeks for candy ass monsters nursing war wounds. Suck it up you minions of horror. LET’S GET READY TO RUMBLE!!!!!

Disclaimer: Hannibal Lecter was left out because Silence of the Lambs was more of a suspense/mystery type movie and not pure horror although Anthony Hopkins was deliciously evil.

The Stephen King Division is Its to lose. While Carrie does have wicked supernatural powers It can change form and attack from anywhere at any time. Christine is intriguing as no one wants to face a 1957 Plymouth Fury with the power of regeneration. Jack Nicholson is toast and may not win a single match.

The Classics Division is a two monster race. Dracula and the Werewolf should battle for the division title all year. The Mummy is a dark horse because he is gifted with immortality but so are the favorites. Frankenstein is too slow and prodding to be a serious threat to the top division rivals.

Maybe the closest divisional race is in the Alternate Dimensions Division. All could conceivably vie for the division crown but Freddy and the Tall Man are the prohibitive favorites. The Leprechaun could challenge if his gold gets stolen and that creepy girl from The Ring could pull off the upset. Her disadvantage is that probably no one in this tourney will be that scared of her. Just don’t play the tape.

The Outer Space Division is a complete toss up. This is the deepest division in the showdown. Any body could win this one. Alien is quick as hell and has acid for blood, Predator has a multitude of weapons and a cunning nature, The Thing is strong and quick and vicious, and Species can move from one body to the next and if it mates everyone is screwed.

The funniest group to watch will be the Redneck Division. The brothers from Wrong Turn are just plain nasty and have shotguns. The Deliverance rednecks are great hunters and love tying up their victims to tree stumps. “Squeal piggy!” Leatherface is maybe the most famous face in the tournament and is a great decorator. The Last House on the Left quartet is savage but ill equipped. They may have a hard time.

The Decapitation division features three of the most notorious monsters in the game. Jason, Pin Head, and the Headless Horseman all have lengthy resumes and some of the biggest body counts in the contest. Jason is probably the odds on favorite but don’t forget about the Relic, Pin Head, and the Headless Horseman. All four of these guys could win the whole thing. The Decapitation and Outer Space Divisions are the toughest calls.

The weakest division in the contest is the Occult. No one in this division will more than likely get very far in the tourney. The wildcards are Linda Blair and Damien. Having the devil on your side is a decided advantage. But Candy Man is immortal and should be favored. His biggest weakness is the mirror thing. Just as with the girl from The Ring there is an easy way to negate his power. The Blair Witch is going to get chewed up and spit out.

The most ridiculous monsters lie in the aptly named Stupid Division. Chucky’s a little beeyatch, Pumpkin Head, is just plain weird, Michael Myers never runs but always shows up right in front of you, and the Scream killer is just a teenaged guy in a robe. Myers should win this division.

Week 7 picks

This week features only three truly compelling games. The Indianapolis-Jacksonville game is intriguing. Can the Colts stop Fred Taylor & Byron Leftwhich? Can anyone stop the Colts offense? Detroit-Giants could be interesting depending on which Detroit team shows up. Will the Lions that got waxed by a pedestrian Green Bay team show or will we see the squad that handled Atlanta and Houston? The game of the week is obviously the Pats-Jets tussle. Which team will walk away 6-0?

Colts over the Jags
Philly over Cleveland
San Diego over Carolina
Ravens over Buffalo
Chicago over the Bucs (this game may be the most terribly played game all year)
Giants over Detroit
Minnesota BIG over Tennessee
St. Louis HUGE over Miami
Atlanta over KC (this one just smells like an upset)
New England over the Jets
Oakland over the Saints (this one will be like watching Flav-a-Flave hook up with Brigitte Nielson…just plain ugly)
Green Bay over Dallas
Seattle over Arizona
And my Broncos over the Bungles

This week’s slate of college games stinks. There’s only one game, Michigan-Purdue, that features two top 25 teams. The only other really interesting game is the Alabama-Tennessee grudge match.

#13 Michigan over #12 Purdue
#11 Tennessee over Alabama
and #17 Texas A&M over my Buffs

Thursday, October 21, 2004

The plot thickens

The CIA recently finished an exhaustive seventeen month study into intelligence failures that led to the 9/11 attacks. The Congressional intelligence committees ordered the study nearly two years ago. The study was conducted by an eleven member group of CIA employees, was completed in June, and reportedly specifically identifies Bush administration officials whom allegedly turned a blind eye to the threat of terrorism. The report by the CIA inspector general’s office could potentially be embarrassing to the Bush administration.

Democrat Congresswoman Jane Harman and the chair of the Congressional Intelligence Committee, Republican Peter Hoekstra sent a letter two weeks ago requesting the release of the report. CIA officials have refused to release the report until sometime after the election. According to the New York Times, several families of 9/11 met personally with CIA director Porter Goss to demand release of the report. Goss still refuses to make the results public despite public pressure, demands from victims' families, and requests made by congressional committees.

By law, the only justification that Goss would have for squelching release of this study would be that it contained sensitive info that would endanger national security if it were made public. From what anonymous sources within the CIA have said the report pulls no punches and directly fingers senior Bush administration officials for ignoring terrorism.

Why is the report being held in limbo? Why are congressional committees getting the stiff arm? If the Bush administration truly has nothing to hide regarding its conduct prior to 9/11 then why not release this report?


Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Horror monster tournament

In my attempt to bring enlightenment to the world and make an indelible impression on the world of intellectual pursuits I bring you the Battle to end all battles; The Horror Movie Mayhem Tournament. In order to qualify one must have been in a credible horror movie and have a sizeable body count. Large groups of monsters as in Dawn of the Dead, Night of the Living Dead, Army of Darkness, 28 Days Later, Evil Dead, The Birds, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Return of the Living Dead, Ghosts of Mars, etc., don’t qualify because it just wouldn’t be sporting to pit Jason against armies of undead, although he’d probably win. In the near future I’ll put together a horror movie Battle of the Armies. It would also be unfair to include nebulous spirits and entities that were in Amityville Horror, Poltergeist, Fallen, The Fog, Pet Cemetery, Frighteners, and Children of the Corn. Also, just for the sake of argument, since there have been dozens of portrayals of Dracula and vampires, mummies, werewolf’s, and Frankenstein I narrowed them down to one appearance a piece. As for Dracula I went with Gary Oldman’s version from Braum Stoker’s Dracula because it most closely resembles the original legend of Vlad Dracul. I am using the original Mummy because other versions were hokey and made him almost too powerful. Peter Boyle’s Frankenstein from Mel Brooks’ Young Frankenstein will ad a comedic flair to the tournament. The Werewolf is taken from the recent Van Helsing because they were just bad ass.

I divided them into divisions and based on their projected records they will be seeded accordingly in a one and done tournament bracket. Each monster will face each monster from its division twice, one home and one away, and there will be 16 weeks with no bye weeks. Next week I’ll breakdown their records and bracket them for the battle royal. Let the games begin!

Stephen King Division
Jack Nicholson in The Shining

The Classics Division
The Mummy
The Werewolf

Live in Alternate Dimensions Division
Freddy Kreuger
The Leprechaun
The Tall Man
Girl from The Ring

From Outer Space Division
The Thing

Redneck Division
Brothers from Wrong Turn
Killers from Last House on the Left
Rednecks from Deliverance

All Time Decapitation Division
Headless Horseman
The Relic
Pin Head

Occult Division
Blair Witch
Candy Man
Linda Blair from The Exorcist

Just Plain Stupid Division
Michael Myers
Pumpkin Head
Scream killer

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Week 6 results

Here are the Week 6 results…damn if Houston is the Surprise team of the year! Oh, the Jets are undefeated. My Broncos crushed the hapless Raiders and the Pats may not lose again until next September…

W-Jets over San Fran
W-Eagles over Carolina
W-Atlanta over San Diego
W-Jacksonville over KC
W-Buffalo over Miami
W-Washington over Chicago
W-Cleveland over Cincy
W-Patriots over Seattle
L-Detroit over the Packers
Surprising Loss-Houston over the Titans
W-Pittsburg over Dallas
W-Vikings over Saints
W-Rams over Tampa Bay
And a glorious Broncos victory over Oakland

Holy cripes! I finished the week at 12-2! Damn I’m good! BR and I are now in a flat footed tie for pick supremacy as he went 10-4 this week. My season record is now 56-32.

Now the college results…
W-#1 USC over #19 ASU
W-#11 Texas over #25 Mizzou
W-#7 Florida St. over #8 Virginia
L-#5 Purdue over #12 Wisconsin
W-Buffs over Iowa St.

On the fantasy front I’ve taken to curling up in the corner and whimpering.

Ding dong the witch is gone...maybe

Even if Bush wins a second term as President it is highly unlikely that Attorney General John Ashcroft will not be retained. One of the most divisive political figures of recent history is said to be a hindrance to efforts to reauthorization of provisions of the Patriot Act. Administration officials feel Ashcroft is too polarizing and will not be the mediator Bush needs to keep the Patriot Act intact. Ashcroft has also cited personal health concerns as a reason he may want to resign his post. Apparently the Attorney General suffers from a rather painful bout of pancreatitis.

So my voodoo doll did work. Just kidding. Mostly.

Ever since Ashcroft stepped in the door he has been one of the most frightening political figures of recent memory. The top attorney in the government actually advocated suspending attorney/client privilege in the case of suspected terrorists. At the bequest of Ashcroft’s Justice Department 1,200 people have been detained, some indefinitely, in the continuing battle against terrorism. Of those detained only a handful has been prosecuted with a net of only two convictions thus far. Most of the detainees’ identities have been kept secret as have the various legal proceedings regarding such. Ashcroft has orchestrated a program of warrentless wire taps, secret detentions, and has stonewalled dozens of Freedom of Information Act requests. Ashcroft’s denizens have operated under a cloak of secrecy since 9-11.

Speaking of cloaks…who could forget about Ashcroft personally requesting that nude statues in the Justice Department building be covered.

Ashcroft has supported ten different Constitutional Amendments, including one that would make the Amendment process easier. Even U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist has been openly critical of Ashcroft’s practices. Ashcroft has also employed disturbing tactics in the fight to pass the now infamous Patriot Act. In a speech before Congress Ashcroft said flatly that those who oppose the Act give aid to terrorists and pause to our allies. Such inflammatory rhetoric stops just short of accusing opponents of treason.

In 1984, Ashcroft actively fought against desegregating Missouri public schools. He called the St. Louis plan that was at the center of the case an “outrage against human decency.” The courts eventually found the state of Missouri guilty of intentional wrong doing.

Robin Williams said it best. In his latest HBO special Williams railed against Ashcroft and his loss to a corpse in the 2000 Missouri Senate race. Ashcroft went down in infamy for losing to the deceased Mel Carnahan to which Williams quipped, “Sorry John, the dead guy scares us less than you do.”

If our current Attorney General does call it quits or is forced out I for one will not miss him one iota. Ashcroft has been called a modern-day Torquemada. I’m glad the new Grand Inquisitor will be no more.

Monday, October 18, 2004

Ah the CIA

In a story illustrative of the state of our intelligence gathering establishment Michael Kostiw withdrew his name from consideration for the CIA Executive Director spot. It seems Kostiw was arrested and convicted for shoplifting back in 1981.

What did he steal pray tell? A $2.13 package of bacon. At the time Kostiw had been a CIA case officer for ten years.

A ten year veteran of the nation’s most elite and notorious covert intelligence gathering agency couldn’t make it out the door with a pack of bacon!

Now, in a move of what can only be described as poetic irony, Kostiw has been named CIA Director Porter Goss’ senior advisor. Thankfully Kostiw will have no decision making authority but will advise Goss as to the inner workings of the agency.

With nitwits like these running our intelligence community it’s entirely possible Osama bin Laden could have a fifth floor flat in downtown D.C. and receiving his dialysis from Bethesda Hospital.

Be afraid, be very afraid!

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Bob Novak: For shame, for shame

Karl Rove, President Bush’s senior political advisor, recently went before a grand jury to testify about whether or not this administration illegally leaked the identity of covert CIA operative Valerie Plame.

As part of the investigation into the incident Bush, Vice President Cheney, Secretary of State Colin Powell, and National Security Advisor Condi Rice have all been interviewed in order to identify the source of the leak.

At the center of the controversy are CNN’s Bob Novak and former ambassador Joseph Wilson. Back in 2003 Wilson wrote an op-ed piece critical of the Bush administration’s contention that Iraq was getting enriched uranium from Niger. Wilson himself was sent to investigate the claim, supposedly at the recommendation of his wife, and found no such evidence. After Wilson wrote his editorial syndicated columnist and political pundit Novak wrote his own article wherein he revealed the identity of Wilson’s wife, Valerie Plame.

This was clearly a bit of payback on the part of Bob Novak and he should be ashamed. Novak steadfastly refuses to divulge the source of the info regarding Plame but the fact remains that it wasn’t necessary to reveal the name of a covert CIA employee to affect retribution for Wilson’s critique of the Bush administration.

At the root of the problem is the Bush administration illegally leaking classified information in a fit of political vengeance. Supposedly administration officials leaked Plame’s identity to at least six different reporters, including Novak. This in and of itself is reprehensible. It is frightening to think that Bush’s cronies would hang a CIA operative out to dry out of spite. But what is even more disturbing is how Novak capitalized on covert info to forward his vendetta against Wilson.

If the administration official who leaked confidential information can be identified he/she should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

And what of Bob Novak? He should hide his head in shame. He endangered the life of a CIA operative by revealing her name. He put the national security of our nation in jeopardy because of vengeful purpose. Novak is nothing better than a Bush boot licker and spiteful demagogue.

Wal-Mart: The evil empire

The world’s largest retailer, Wal-Mart, is opening separate outlets in Hawaii and Mexico. While the construction of yet more Wal-Mart stores is hardly news these days what makes these two unique is the location. On Wednesday, October 13 another Wal-Mart opened in Honolulu amidst protests from dozens of locals. The retail giant has apparently built its newest and largest Hawaiian outlet on a burial plot containing forty unfortunate deceased souls. As a gesture of good will and incredible perversity Wal-Mart exhumed the bodies and is storing them in refrigerated trailers waiting for permission from the Hawaiian State Government to re-inter the remains on site. Can anyone say ewwwwwww? In an equally creepy and violative move Wal-Mart intends to open another super-store just feet from one of ancient Mexico’s largest and most sacred ruins in Teotihuacán, a major archeological site outside Mexico City. Predictably the opening of the newest Mexico based Wal-Mart has drawn the ire of local activists bent on putting a halt to construction of the store. In fact a small pre-Hispanic altar was found buried at the construction site. Plans call for preserving the small structure under Plexiglas in what will be the store's parking lot

Ah yes, I can just envision a Wal-Mart in the middle of Arlington National Cemetery or Fort Logan National Cemetery where my grandfather lies in rest. Imagine my grandmother’s glee as Sam Walton hands her the urn containing her dead husband’s ashes and says, “It’s in the name of progress ma’am.” Picture if you will running into Casper-the-not-so-friendly-and-quite-frankly-pissed-off-ghost as you rummage through the house wares department. Casper says, “Boy if only they had Tupper-ware when I died I wouldn’t be in this mess.” Ah the rapture that would ensue as you fight denizens of the undead for a copy of Shrek 2. Have they not seen Poltergeist? Craig T. Nelson’s house was built on top of a graveyard and got sucked into oblivion only after imprisoning little Carol Ann in a freakin’ television.

Where is their common decency? Is Wal-Mart so strapped for real estate that they’ve resorted to unearthing graves en mass? When will the madness stop?

Since Wal-Mart has seen fit to desecrate the sacred ruins in Mexico I fully expect to see another super-store at the foot of Khufu’s Pyramid in Egypt or perhaps atop the Acropolis so we can buy gardening tools as we visit the Parthenon. I’m sure the Pharos will appreciate the convenience of being able to purchase pharmaceuticals and frozen waffles in the same place. Wait Khufu; don’t forget that motor oil you so desperately need as you spend eternity fighting for a decent parking spot. Teotihuacán was so named by the Aztecs as “The Place Where Men Become Gods”. Now they’re going to have to name it “The Place Where Men Become Shopping Cart Attendants”.

This sordid little venture is almost too macabre for words. Wal-Mart truly is the evil empire.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

DC Baseball

The Montreal Expos have been unceremoniously uprooted and shipped to Washington D.C., the first time the nation’s capital has seen Major League Baseball since 1971. As some people will do a contest was convened to see who could come up with the best name. Here are some examples of D.C. residents, baseball fans, and angry Canadiens*…

D.C. Shock & Awe
The Warlords
The Bombers
The WMD’s
The Pre-Emptive Strikes
The Chicken Hawks
The Imperials
The Freedom Fries
The Ashcroftettes
The Bushistas
The War Mongers
Anacostia Crack Heads
DC Oxy-Contins
The Washington Green Backs
The Whistling Dixies
Arrogant Fascist Bastards
The Lesser Evils
The Partisan Pin Heads
Washington Consensus
Capital City Conspirators
Washington Shit Heads
Bipartisan Coalition
The Dunderheads
Political Impotence

More names will be posted.

*Note: The derivatives of Dick Cheney’s name were too obscene to republish.

Friday, October 15, 2004

Kerry vs. Sinclair Broadcasting

Sinclair Broadcasting Group, a Maryland based television broadcaster, is airing on its sixty two affiliates a scathing documentary of Senator John Kerry and his Vietnam service and post war activism. “Stolen Honor: Wounds That Never Heal” features footage of Kerry’s testimony in 1971 to the Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee along with interviews from POW’s and various other Vietnam veterans. In the 42-minute program former POW’s contend that Kerry’s televised testimony wherein he accused his fellow soldiers of war-time atrocities was shown to them as propaganda. Some POW’s have stated in the documentary that their captors were going to charge them with war crimes based on Kerry’s testimony. The controversial documentary claims that Kerry’s words demoralized the POW’s, emboldened their Vietnamese captors, and may have ultimately lengthened their imprisonment.

The Kerry campaign is up in arms against this show. In a brief written by campaign lawyers it is claimed that the “broadcast does not qualify for the exemption afforded to news stories under federal campaign finance law and thus would constitute an illegal corporate expenditure.” Sinclair stands by the fact that the documentary is indeed a news program of significant importance. The Kerry campaign has requested equal time on Sinclair but refuses to make the Senator available for response after the program is aired. Sinclair has invited Kerry to appear immediately following the film but campaign officials have declined.

On the face of it this smacks of a blatant case of political exploitation. After all, the veterans in the documentary have had thirty years to air their grievances as Kerry has led a VERY public life. And the timing of this film leads one to believe that this is a political hatchet job. How else could you explain the timing of the film barely two weeks before the election? Hmmmmmmmmmmmm.

Not so fast my friends (thanks Lee Corso). The Fairness Doctrine that the Kerry Campaign sites has been repealed and unless this is a bona fide Republican rim job the documentary is exempt from campaign finance laws. The Kerry team claims “The documentary is clearly intended to advance the campaign of President Bush by attacking Senator Kerry's record”. Without evidence of a smoking gun this assertion is sheer conjecture. So much political smoke & mirrors.

The fact remains that Kerry has made his war record an issue and must take the fire. Besides, Sinclair as a licensed broadcaster has a right to air this documentary. Political life’s a beeyatch, wear a cup. Don’t attempt to sensor political speech because it may portray you in unflattering ways. Relax, chill, and let Junior hang himself.

Sun Tzu said it best in The Art of War…“To secure ourselves against defeat lies in our own hands, but the opportunity of defeating the enemy is provided by the enemy himself… the clever combatant imposes his will on the enemy, but does not allow the enemy's will to be imposed on him...the art of war teaches us to rely not on the likelihood of the enemy's not coming, but on our own readiness to receive him; not on the chance of his not attacking, but rather on the fact that we have made our position unassailable”.

Apprentice watch...week 6

The girls win, the girls win, the girls win! Team Apex finally pulled a win out trouncing the Mosaic men. In a task that was quite literally tailor maid for the women both teams were to hire designers, market a women’s clothing line, and achieve the biggest dollar amount in gross sales. The men teamed up with an eccentric female designer with a penchant for bright color while the girls used a fairly conservative male designer who was a bit more main stream. John was Mosaic’s captain and the hottie Maria led Apex. Both were largely responsible for choosing designers, a move which undoubtedly sealed Mosaic’s doom. As part of the task Maria and John naturally delegated tasks to subordinates, yet another decision that would come back to bite John boy in the butt. I’m not going into the fashions as that stuff bores me to no end but suffice to say the men way over priced their line. This would prove disastrous as the women more than tripled the men’s gross sales. Raj, the hormonally driven lump of wasted space, once again got in the way and annoyed everyone from the designer to the models. But somehow Raj avoided the march to the gallows…again. The best and most surprising moment of the season to date came when, as she observed Mosaic, Caroline broke down in hysterical laughter as the men flailed about trying to choose fabric for their project. Trump’s close advisor and reported ice queen wiped tears from her eyes through fits of giggling. It was a sight to behold. John brought young pup Andy and Kevin to join in the weekly board room execution. John sat incredulous as Trump ripped him for piss poor leadership and was summarily canned. Bye bye John Boy.

Week 6 picks

Here are the Week 6 picks...I'm officialy off the Saints and Bengals' band wagon. I jumped off so fast I think I broke my leg. Until they show me they can get out of their own way I won't pick them again.

Jets over San Fran
Eagles over Carolina
Atlanta over San Diego
Jacksonville over KC
Buffalo over Miami
Washington over Chicago
Cleveland over Cincy
Patriots over Seattle
Detroit over the Packers
Houston over the Titans
Pittsburg over Dallas
Vikings over Saints
Rams over Tampa Bay
And the Broncos over Oakland

This week in college ball has a few compelling top 25 games so here are some picks…
#1 USC over #19 ASU
#11 Texas over #25 Mizzou
#7 Florida St. over #8 Virginia
#5 Purdue over #12 Wisconsin
and my Buffs over Iowa St.

My fantasy team is sinking fast with no life boat in sight.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Oh my *bleeping* God!

Are you *bleeping* kidding me?!

Just when I thought it was safe to believe in the Democratic ticket again John Edwards has to go and shoot his mouth off. In a particularly disgusting bit of political opportunism Edwards invoked the memory of the barely deceased Christopher Reeves in a campaign stop in Denver on Tuesday, October 12. Edwards claimed that if John Kerry was elected president people like Reeves would “get up and walk again”. As we all know Reeves passed away on Monday from complications arising from a pressure ulcer.

The toe tag wasn’t even tied yet before Edwards used the memory of Reeves for political fodder. What a sordid display. Where is your common decency Edwards? Where is your respect for the friends and family of the former star of the Superman movies? For God’s sake let the body cool before you bandy about the name of someone who died way too early. Show some respect.

Regardless of your views on issues such as stem cell research and health care to use the name of a person who had been dead barely 24 hours in a cynical attempt to stump for votes is inexcusable. Yes, Reeves could have benefited from stem cell research as could millions of disabled Americans but you should exercise a little restraint. Decorum dictates that Reeves’ family should be afforded the opportunity to put the man in the ground and grieve before his memory is dragged through the political morass.

I’m going now. I think I’ll go invite some Jehovah’s witnesses in because that’s just how bad these idiots have made me feel about our political process.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Week 5 results

Week 5 featured several upsets and some great games. Who would’ve thought that the Chargers could win two in a row and sit a game out of first after the fifth week. I will never pick the Saints again and the Patriots now own the longest winning streak in league history with no end in sight. This week’s game against Seattle could be trouble but the Pats have a legit shot at going 16-0. That would extend the streak to a mind boggling 31 games. Now the results…

W-New England over Miami
W-Colts big over Oakland
W-Minnesota over Houston
W-Giants over Dallas
Stinky L-Saints over Bucs
A prophetic W-Detroit barely over the Falcons
W-Pittsburg over Cleveland
L-Jacksonville over San Diego
W-Jets over Buffalo
L-Seattle over the Rams
L-The Toilet Bowl-Arizona over San Fran
L-Washington over Baltimore
W-Tennessee over Green Bay
W-And my Broncos over Carolina

I finished the week 9-5 with an over all record of 44-30, two games behind BR.

Damn my college picks are good! I only lost two picks this week and finished 5-2. Damn Bulldogs! Don’t look now but Auburn is pretty good and the November game against Georgia could be huge. All of the sudden the Wisconsin-Purdue game is essentially for the Big Ten title. Here’s how I did…

W-#1 USC over #7 Cal
W-#2 Oklahoma over #5 Texas
W-#14 Michigan over #13 Minnesota
L-#3 Georgia over #17 Tennessee
W-#15 Wisconsin over #18 Ohio State
L-#12 Florida over #24 LSU
W-Buffs lose another to #22 Oklahoma State

I hate fantasy football.

Jake Plummer vs. the NFL

As we all know Pat Tillman, the former Arizona Cardinals and Arizona State safety, walked away from millions to serve with the Army Rangers in Afghanistan. And as we also know Tillman was killed in action last spring.

Denver Bronco quarterback Jake Plummer was a team mate of Tillman at Arizona State and with the Cardinals. The two played football together for years and became close friends.

Several times during the preseason the NFL honored the memory of Tillman and in week two every player wore a #40 sticker on his helmet.

Since then Plummer has worn a #40 sticker on his helmet in two games. The NFL has promised to fine Plummer for violating its uniform policy. The NFL prohibits players from displaying personal messages on their uniforms punishable by a fine of $5,000. The NFL has publicly stated that should Plummer continue wearing the sticker the fines will escalate. Plummer has no intention of removing the decal. After the Carolina game Jake said, “I'm expecting to be fined. . . . I want to keep honoring Pat forever. . . . I wore the sticker; I felt it was the right thing to do.”

Plummer claims the NFL has threatened to fine him $30,000. If this is true the NFL should be ashamed of itself. Even if the money would go to charity what type of message does this send. Plummer should wear the sticker for the rest of his career if he so wishes. Shame on you NFL, shame on you.

Star Wars vs. Lord of the Rings

With all due respect to Francis Ford Coppola and his epic Godfather series the best movie trilogies of all time are George Lucas’ Star Wars and Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings. Since the release of LOTR a debate has raged over water coolers, parlor tables, and at bars and parties over which movie franchise will ultimately go down as the best and most influential trilogy in motion picture history. Star Wars and Lord of the Rings stand toe to toe in court of public opinion vying for the coveted title of best movie trilogy ever.

Which movies were more popular? Both Star Wars and LOTR were box office juggernauts. When Star Wars came out in 1977 it immediately became a cultural phenomenon and the highest grossing movie of all time, a title it held for TWENTY years until James Cameron’s Titanic knocked it off its perch. Star Wars now sits at number two all-time. The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and Return of the Jedi (1983) are at #22 and #18 respectively. The Fellowship of the Ring (2001) is at #16 while The Two Towers (2002) is #11 and The Return of the King (2003) is #7 on the list of the highest grossing movies ever. If you combine the gross box office receipts of the two trilogies Star Wars made $1.061 billion while Lord of the Rings earned $1.032 billion, a difference of only $30 million or 2.73 percent. These numbers illustrate that the two trilogies are in a virtual flat-footed tie for box office supremacy. It remains to be seen which will reign supreme in the world of DVD and video sales.

Which movies had better special effects? When comparing LOTR and Star Wars you have to put the movies into the context of the times as far as the available technology. In ’77 the effects in the original Star Wars were breathtaking and groundbreaking. Nothing like the epic light saber duel between Ben Kenobi and Darth Vader, and the two Luke Skywalker/Darth Vader battles in Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi had ever been seen in a movie theater. The sight of the Star Destroyers and the dreaded Death Star were revolutionary. The fearsome battle between the Rebels and Imperial forces on the ice moon of Hoth featured the nearly impregnable AT-AT Walkers and stunning visuals done largely by miniatures. Likewise, LOTR employed every known trick in the book. The final battle before the gates of Minis Tirith in Return of the King featured a stirring catapult exchange and circling ring wraiths, all the product of computer animation. Perhaps the best use of technology in LOTR was the depiction of the slimy Gollum. Quite simply, the animated Gollum was perfect. Plus, I’ll never forget the stand off between Gandalf and the Balrog on the bridge of Khazad-dum. Star Wars was pure science fiction that relied heavily on special effects as LOTR was pure fantasy also with a heavy reliance on special effects. But the question remains…which made better use of special effects? Hard to say. Given the times and available technology the answer is both are equally mesmerizing in the special effects department.

Which trilogy told the better story? This may be where we find a slight separation between Star Wars and LOTR. Both movie trilogies depicted biblical type struggles between good and evil and featured some of the most memorable characters in movie history. Who can forget mythical figures like Yoda, Darth Vader, Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Obi-Wan Kenobi, the Emperor, Princess Leia, Chewbacca, Gandalf, Frodo, Aragorn, Gimli, Legolas, Eowyn, Faramir and brother Boromir, King Theoden, Elrond, Galadriel, Merry, Pippin, Samwise Gamgee, and the unforgettable Gollum?

The forces of evil in these movie masterpieces were sinister and diabolical. It doesn’t get any darker than the brooding Darth Vader or the ever present and wicked ring wraiths led by the Witch King. What separates LOTR from Star Wars was the malevolent and potent presence of Sauron, the ultimate puppet master of darkness. While Emperor Palpatine was diabolical and sinister there’s something inherently more menacing about a figure who’s essence survives actual physical death only to regain strength and malice while lying idle atop a black tower. Palpatine’s viciousness is unrivaled but Sauron’s evil spirit was sustained by a tiny band of gold fashioned by his own hand. Palpatine was omniscient and foreboding but Sauron’s blood hatred for all that was good fueled the War of the Ring. While Palpatine was primarily concerned with concentrating and maintaining power Sauron was bent on pure and unadulterated destruction. The problem in Star Wars is that throughout the trilogy one often gets the impression that Vader is in charge or that he acts somewhat independently. In contrast, Sauron, through his spirit, is in complete control of his minions and the impression one gets is that he is more feared and powerful than Palpatine or Vader. The very mention of Sauron’s name inspired mortal fear. Vader and Palpatine were despised but not as feared as Sauron was. The portrayal of evil in LOTR was a bit more ominous than in Star Wars. This representation enhanced the narrative of LOTR more so than in Star Wars.

The character development in LOTR was simply better than in Star Wars. From the very beginning of The Fellowship of the Ring it was nearly impossible not to become deeply attached to the characters. In contrast, it was somewhat easier to detach one’s emotions from the characters in Star Wars. Throughout LOTR the deaths of primary figures were not so much witnessed as they were felt. The tragic loss of Boromir and Theoden were gut wrenching and difficult to deal with. As Boromir met his demise at the hand of the leader of the Uruk-hai one was struck by his bravery and impulse to protect the hobbits at the expense of his own life. The regal Theoden was killed by the Lord of the Nazgul but his demise was punctuated by the fact his daughter Eowyn witnessed her father’s death. Eowyn tried to defend Theoden and nearly paid with her own life but was able to exact revenge after Merry stabbed the Witch King. Almost from the very beginning one got the impression that none of the main characters in Star Wars would die, no matter how dire the circumstances. The most profound loss in Star Wars was when the beloved Yoda died. That was extremely sad but not difficult to reconcile. In addition, the friendships that developed in LOTR seemed far more profound than in Star Wars. Sam and Frodo were deeply devoted to each other as were Merry and Pippin. Perhaps the most compelling duo was Gimli and Legolas. These two unlikeliest of friends became a rich and dynamic duo, exchanging orc body counts while at the same time offering comfort to each other. In Star Wars the friendships seemed to be more the products of marriages of convenience than devoted relationships. Han Solo was self-serving and would have left the Alliance at a moments notice. The closest bond in Star Wars existed between C3PO and R2D2. These two droids were inseperable. Luke and Leia loved each other but the whole Han/Princess thing was a distraction and detracted from the plot. However, it was enjoyable watching the chemistry and latent sexual tension build between the two. Because of the subtle intricacies of the character development in LOTR the emotional investment in the primary players was greater than in Star Wars.

It probably isn’t fair to compare the two trilogies. Both were beautifully told stories with unpredictable plot twists and transcendent moments. Peter Jackson had J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic as a basis for the movie narrative whereas Lucas crafted Star Wars entirely on his own. Both were lavish and gorgeous tales shot brilliantly with absolutely perfect casts. Both were exquisite in their execution and worthy of iconic status. In the future it will be nearly impossible to eclipse Lucas and Jackson’s achievements. In fifty years and after the dust settles I’m confident that Star Wars and LOTR will still be the pinnacle of movie making. But for my money Lord of the Rings stands as the best trilogy ever set to film.

Monday, October 11, 2004

The real threat

If ever there was any doubt as to which countries pose the most eminent threat to U.S. sovereignty those questions were answered today. An agreement has almost been reached between Iran and Russia wherein nuclear technology and resources would be sent to Tehran for the construction of a nuclear reactor. As part of this agreement the Iranian government has promised to send all spent nuclear fuel back to Russia. Iran wants the proposed reactor up and running by 2006 as a matter of national pride. The U.S. has been staunchly opposed to Iran gaining such technology. The construction of this plant is seen by many world wide as a stepping stone to Iran launching a full fledged nuclear weapons manufacturing program. The reactor could potentially produce the enriched uranium needed to make nuclear weapons.

North Korea already has a small nuclear arsenal and a leader that could only be described as a crack pot and a tyrannical despot. Kim Yung Il has already tested ICBM’s and has the capability of hitting Japan, Australia, The Philippines, and nearly the entire Pacific Rim with a volley of nuclear missiles. It is speculated that N. Korea may have the technology to reach Hawaii with a nuclear salvo. Where did Kim get his missiles? The very country we’ve allied ourselves with in the hunt for Osama bin Laden…Pakistan. Along with China, Pakistan has provided N. Korea with weapons technology for years. And now Kim is in a desperate search to procure the types of missiles that could strike mainland America. Pakistan has a store of ICBM’s and has already stated publicly that they wouldn’t hesitate in the slightest to use them against it’s bitter enemy to the south…India. The continuing tensions in the Cashmere region make the threat of a nuclear exchange between Pakistan and India a conceivable scenario.

We invaded Iraq on the premise that Saddam Hussein possessed WMD and was not afraid to use them. Iraq was seen by the Bush administration as the most eminent threat to the U.S. and so the invasion was ordered. In our search for the vast stockpiles of WMD we have found a couple hundred gas-filled shells, rolling labs, and we’ve supposedly discovered small amounts of uranium and plutonium on the bottom of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers. In ten years, head U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix found nothing and now the Duelfer report issued Thursday, October 7 stated that Iraq had no stockpiles and that, “the former regime had no formal written strategy or plan for the revival of WMD after the sanctions”. The Duelfer Report cited the fact that 1700 investigators inspected 1200 sites and came up empty handed. The 9/11 Commission Report also found that there was no connection between Iraq and al Qaeda before the World Trade Center went down.

The Bush administration is true in that Saddam was covetous of WMD and that he was undermining the sanctions that were in place through billions siphoned off the U.N. oil-for-food program. But the sanctions were working in isolating and mitigating Iraq’s ability to actively shop for WMD. And yes, Saddam did gas thousands of Kurds and invade Kuwait but his military capability was all but destroyed in the Gulf War and his economy was crippled by twelve years of U.N. sanctions.

No one is saying that Saddam was not a dangerous thug or that he wasn’t a threat. The problem is that Iraq in no way constituted the most serious or eminent threat to the U.S. Iran has nukes and is attempting to get a nuclear program off the ground. N. Korea has WMD and an unpredictable dictator. Kim has ICBM’s armed with nuclear war heads and may soon have the capability to hit California, Washington state, and Oregon. Using their logic the Bush war machine should have taken out Iran & N. Korea first. Now we have two regimes armed to the teeth and 120,000 troops occupying a piece of real estate that the Bush administration acknowledges did not have WMD. So now what?

Sunday, October 10, 2004

The specter of Jesse Helms

Jesse Helms served in the U.S. Senate for thirty years and has long been the leading voice of conservatives throughout the country. During his tenure Helms was the most visible Senator in Washington and was a leading voice of states’ rights. Recently, Helms received an honor from Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University. One of the top Christian universities in the country, Liberty is now home to the Helms School of Government. Since Helms has now put his face, name, and faith to molding the minds of thousands of college students an examination of his record is now in order.

First, a few quotes straight from Helms’ mouth…

“I've been portrayed as a caveman by some. That's not true. I'm a conservative progressive, and that means I think all men are equal, be they slants, beaners or niggers.” February 6, 1985.

“The Negro cannot count forever on the kind of restraint that's thus far left him free to clog the streets, disrupt traffic, and interfere with other men's rights.” 1963.

“There is not one single case of AIDS in this country that cannot be traced in origin to sodomy.” May 17, 1988

“Democracy used to be good thing, but it has gotten into the wrong hands.”

On Bill Clinton visiting North Carolina: “Mr. Clinton better watch out if he comes down here. He'd better have a bodyguard.”

On AIDS: “We've got to have some common sense about a disease transmitted by people deliberately engaging in unnatural acts.”

As you can see Helms has been a colorful (pun intended) figure. Some have praised him for his unflinching support of states’ rights while others have contended he is the most racist Senator of the past thirty years. And that says a lot when you consider that guys like Strom Thurmond and former KKK member Robert Byrd served with Helms in the Senate.

Helms, the North Carolina Republican, began his career in 1960 as a pro-segregation radio host and once referred to the University of North Carolina as the “University of Negroes and Communists”. Helms was a stern opponent of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the 1965 Voting Rights Act and remains so to this day. He also fought against the creation of a national holiday honoring the birthday of Martin Luther King.

As a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Helms supported the white governed regime in Zimbabwe Rhodesia and the tyrannical South African government. Helms repeatedly turned a blind eye to S. Africa’s racist policy of Apartheid and even turned his back on Nelson Mandela and walked out of a reception honoring the former political prisoner who spent 27 years in prison. Helms also helped to kill or delay international treaties such as: United Nations Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, the Chemical Weapons Convention which was negotiated under Reagan, signed by Bush, and debated under Clinton and would ban the creation of Chemical weapons in war (only Iraq and N. Korea opposed this treaty), and the nuclear test ban treaty.

Helms also has his fair share of scandals as skeletons in his closet. In 1985, Helms attempted an unlikely takeover of CBS wherein he sent fliers out to over one million conservatives asking them to purchase stock and cede control to himself so he could change the editorial direction of the network. This incident sparked an SEC probe for alleged securities violations. In 1990, in Helms’ senatorial campaign 125,000 fliers were sent mostly to black voters saying that they would not be able to vote. The U.S. Justice Department investigated this episode and charged the Helms’ Campaign, the N. Carolina Republican Party, and four campaign-consulting firms with violating the 1965 Voting Rights Act. The Helms’ Campaign eventually signed an agreement of guilt, was admonished, and told to never engage in such tactics again.

Helms has also engaged in a thirty year jihad against ANYTHING that would forward the cause of homosexuals. Helms opposed the renewal of the Ryan White Care Act , which provides care and treatment for AIDS patients, on the grounds that homosexuals would benefit from the bill. Helms has stated on several occasions and remains unapologetic for suggesting that homosexuals who die of AIDS deserve their fate. In a particularly vile instant Helms wrote back to mother who’s gay son died of AIDS that he was only sorry that her son played “Russian roulette with his sexuality”.

In 2000, Jesse Helms retired from the Senate. I, for one, say, “Good riddance!”. The fact that this man now has his name on a school of government scares me to no end. The political version of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, Helms, Strom Thurmond, Dick Armey, and Trent Lott are fading into the distance and hopefully their warped agenda will follow.

Friday, October 08, 2004

The only truthful political ad ever

Here is the political ad they’re afraid to air...

The sun rises over a scenic mountain vista. Dramatic music rises in the back ground as a regal figure cuts a silhouette on the screen. This tall and tanned (real tan not that fake accelerator crap that turns you orange) vision of virility comes into sharp focus as he walks down the street of an unassuming mid-western town glad handing with the adults and kissing babies. The music fades and the dialogue track begins…

“I was born the son of poor sharecroppers. I grew up in a town the size of a postage stamp. I went to school in a one room school house with a drain for a toilet and no running water yet I earned admission into Yale, or Harvard, or some damn Ivy League school…hell I can’t remember. I studied at Oxford yet fought in every military conflict since Korea. I’ve won enough medals to make a spittoon. I’ve fought for the little people and kissed the butt of corporate America. While in Congress, or was it the Senate, or as Governor…hell, I don’t remember…I strengthened the economy, cut taxes, overthrew a tyrannical despot, discovered the cure for AIDS and cancer, won the Cold War, won the Hiesman Trophy, and won the hearts and minds of Americans as well as people the world over. My opponent is a baby killer, a war monger, bad dresser, stupid, inept, indecisive, and is responsible for everything bad from crap television to the tornado that just wiped out yet another trailer park. I, on the other hand, am beyond reproach. When I take a dump I poop Tiffany cuff links. My burps are sonnets and my farts sound like the angel’s chorus. My very essence exudes manliness and beatific wisdom. If I’m elected the world will worship at my feet and clamor to drink my bath water. If you elect my opponent the bowels of Hell will open and man kind will meet its doom.

I’m *insert name here* and I approve this message.”

There you have it…THE definitive and universal political ad that you’ll never see.

Apprentice watch...week 5

Ah the board room blood bath punctuated yet another unpredictable week on The Apprentice. Apex, the all girl squad, and Mosaic, the testosterone team, went on QVC to market their wares. Apex was led by Pamela who was pulled from Mosaic in order to even out the teams. Chris headed up Mosaic but Kelly’s influence was undeniable. The girls sold some ultra-mega cleaning sponge while the guys picked an Italian countertop grill. Pamela had all the leadership ability of a rabid dog and ruled with an iron fist. She chose the price for Apex’s product and went with it while Mosaic fought and took a bit to agree but came to an agreement. Apex had the stunningly beautiful Maria and uber hottie Jenn M. as their on air personalities. There product push started of weakly but picked up as did the guys’ grill sales pattern. After the dust settled the winner was Mosaic buy a margin of only ten bucks. For their efforts the guys won the envious prize of hanging with John McEnroe and the goddess Anna Kournikova. Raj shamelessly fawned over Anna with a drooling smirk...but hey, can you blame him? Meanwhile, Apex team leader Pamela brought Maria and Stacy into the “Board Room” (insert evil laugh here). Much to her surprise Pam had her dreams of apprenticeship dashed as Donald Trump chewed her up and spit her out. In the words that The Don now wants to copyright…”You’re fired!”

Week 5 picks

Last week was brutal. Upsets ensued all across the board. So now I’m a wee bit skiddish but here goes…my week 5 picks…

New England over Miami
Colts big over Oakland
Minnesota over Houston
Giants over Dallas
Saints over Bucs
Detroit barely over the Falcons
Pittsburg over Cleveland
Jacksonville over San Diego
Jets over Buffalo
Seattle over the Rams
The Toilet Bowl-Arizona over San Fran
Washington over Baltimore
Tennessee over Green Bay
And my Broncos over Carolina

Several of these games could go either way. The Detroit-Atlanta game may be the most intriguing as it features perhaps the two biggest surprises in the NFL. The Steelers-Browns, Jaguars-Chargers, Cardinals-49ers, Skins-Ravens, and Titans-Packers games are all almost too close to call.

This is going to be a HUGE weekend for college football. There are a bunch of marquee games that will affect the national title picture.

#1 USC over #7 Cal
#2 Oklahoma over #5 Texas
#14 Michigan over #13 Minnesota
#3 Georgia over #17 Tennessee
#15 Wisconsin over #18 Ohio State
#12 Florida over #24 LSU
and the Buffs lose another squeaker to #22 Oklahoma State

My fantasy team is 1-3 and sinking fast. I need to work a trade and quick.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Questions that should be asked Bush on Friday

Here are some questions that should be asked of our President George Bush but no one dares to go there…except me.

Quick, can you spell America?

What are the ingredients of a Long Island Iced Tea?

Can I have one of your daughters’ phone numbers?

How the hell did you get into Yale?

What in God’s name possessed you to trade Sammy Sosa?

Come on, Jeb fixed the election for you, huh?

Without peeking what are the colors of our flag?

How many artificial components does Dick Cheney have?

Is it true that Cheney’s stare could freeze hydrogen?

Was Laura hot in college?

Since you’ve kissed it so much what does Karl Rove’s butt taste like?

Is it true that Antonin Scalia’s heart is made of coal?

Is it just me or is Condoleeza Rice kind of hot?

Is it true that you keep a Bill Clinton voodoo doll and that you stick pins in its nether region every night?

Is it true that your favorite book is Green Eggs & Ham?

When I think of more questions I’ll post them.

The Vice Presidential Debate

Edwards and Cheney got together Tuesday night for yet another Democrat-Republican love fest. Eh, who cares.

In Defense of Rush Limbaugh

As a proud liberal Democrat Rush Limbaugh has been the bane of my political existence for years. I find his ideology abhorrent on a number of different levels. He has made it his life’s goal to denigrate, belittle, and dismiss all that is even slightly liberal or progressive ideologically speaking. For those on the left Limbaugh has been the human personification of the anti-Christ. So it pains me to no end to defend him in any way. But defend him I must.

As we all know Rush Limbaugh has had a recent and very public battle with substance abuse. By his own admittance Limbaugh was heavily addicted to some of the most potent pharmaceutical pain killers known to medical science. At times Limbaugh was swallowing over sixty pills a day. The most popular political talk show host in America had to take a three month sabbatical from his radio gig in order to admit himself into a drug rehabilitation program.

Now Limbaugh is under investigation for illegally procuring massive quantities of prescription pain killers. As part of the investigation the Florida state attorney’s office seized Limbaugh’s medical records in order to prove that the conservative pundit went doctor shopping to get his hands on 1800 pain killers over a seven month period. This so-called doctor shopping is a felony under Florida law. Limbaugh and his famous attorney Roy Black appealed the seizure to Florida’s Fourth District Court of Appeals but lost. The Court issued an opinion on Wednesday, October 6 that stated that the State Attorney’s office acted properly.

The United States Constitution protects a person’s right to privacy via the Fourteenth Amendment and protects against unlawful search & seizure in the Fourth Amendment. In addition, the Florida state Constitution has even more stringent privacy protections and the Florida legislature has made the protection of medical records nearly sacrosanct.

The doctor/patient relationship has long been held sacred. In order to have a free exchange of information it has long been held that protecting the confidentiality of doctor and patient communications and records is vital. This free exchange is essential if doctors are to give quality care and patients should have an expectation that their records will be held in strictest confidence. If patients feel that their records are open for perusal they simply will not divulge essential and private information necessary for quality and comprehensive medical care. If there is no expectation of absolute privacy there will be a chilling effect on information exchanged between doctor & patient. This is a basic tenet of constitutional law.

According to the Constitution in order to have the ability to examine confidential medical information one must obtain a subpoena thus giving both the doctor and patient notice that the records in question will be released. Since such records often contain highly sensitive information there must be a compelling reason to view such. The Florida State Attorneys did not obtain a subpoena thus violating Florida law. In what can only be described as a marriage of strange bedfellows the ACLU is now supporting Limbaugh in his effort to have his medical records sealed. This unholy alliance is sure to fight this issue all the way to the United States Supreme Court.

Just because I vehemently disagree with 95% of what comes out of Rush Limbaugh’s mouth doesn’t mean I don’t feel he’s entitled to having his private life protected. Limbaugh’s records should be held in confidence. Doing less would violate his fundamental right to privacy as recognized by the 14th Amendment and his freedom from unlawful search & seizure as delineated in the 4th Amendment. If Limbaugh and his privacy are not respected the government will come after you and I…GUARANTEED.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Week 4 results

Week 4 results…carnage ensued as there was upset after upset after upset. When did the Chargers decide to show up, and against the Titans! I NEVER saw that one coming. What’s going on with the Saints? Even if Deuce was MIA they still should not have lost to arguably the worst team in football. Since when did the Chiefs learn how to play defense?

L-Cincy over Pittsburg
W-Indy over Jacksonville
L-Oakland over Houston
W-New England over Buffalo
W-Philly BIG over Chicago
L-Washington over Cleveland
L-Green Bay over Giants
W-Atlanta over Carolina
L-Saints over Arizona
W-Jets over Miami
Big ass L-Tennessee BIG over San Diego
W-St. Louis over San Fran
Big fat L-Baltimore BIG over KC
W-Broncos barely over the Bucs

I finished the week a glorious 7-7. My overall record is 35-25, just one game behind my arch rival, the self-proclaimed “greatest sports mind in Denver”, a.k.a. BR. I think you here me knocking, I think I’m coming in, and I’m bringing a big ol’ can of whoop ass with me.

College…damn, Auburn looked unbelievable. They went into one of the most hostile environs in football and pounded the Vols. Georgia took LSU out behind the wood shed and spanked ‘em.

W-Virginia Tech over #7 W. Virginia
W-#16 Florida over Arkansas
Hahahaha, ummm, L-Notre Dame over #15 Purdue
Big W-#3 Georgia over #13 LSU
Bigger W-#9 Auburn over #8 Tennessee
Sad W-Missouri over my Buffs

I’m not talking about fantasy football. It’s too sad.

The solution to your prayers

I have an idea for an invention that will make BILLIONS. How many times has the average person been on their respective cell phones and for no apparent reason service is interrupted and conversations, some benign and some important, are terminated prematurely. We’ve all experienced the mind numbing frustration at losing reception IN THE MIDDLE OF THE DAMN CITY! Something like 75-80% of all Americans own cell phones and EVERY single one of them has had to stifle the primal urge to hurl these sinister little bits of technology at the nearest wall or out the car window. The stress created by having to control one’s self in light of such infuriating circumstances has caused countless ulcers, myocardial infarctions, and the screaming of profanity laced tirades the world over. DAMN CELL PHONES!

So my solution is…

Cellular phones made out of Nerf. Think about it. Imagine getting dropped or interrupted by crap reception and service. Also picture how cathartic it could be to send these devices at Mach I at the nearest brick wall only to find that it still works. Eureka! I do realize that watching the obstinate cell phone explode in a spray of electronic entrails and debris can be very soothing. But, no longer will Americans be forced to fork out a hundred bucks to replace a shattered cell phone. No longer will us millions who rely on these cellular POS’s have to suppress the impulse to launch our phones into oblivion. No longer will we be held hostage by a bleating piece of silicon & plastic. No longer will we have to return sheepishly to our respective cellular providers with the demolished remnants of communications technology and explain why a once functioning phone now looks like plastic confetti.

People of America unite! I bring you the answer to countless prayers and profane rants and outbursts. I bring you your savior…the Nerf cell phone.

Monday, October 04, 2004

Musings on a Monday morning

Is it just me or does Michael Jackson look like he should be in the "Thriller" video, and not dancing in front?

I'm becoming increasingly more convinced that Taco Bell food contains an addictive chemical. Why else would such crap food taste so good?

Krispy Kreme doughnuts are like crack for fat people.

You know how they draw a chalk line around a murder victim's body...if a person in a wheel chair is murdered do the cops just slap down a handicap parking symbol? (I'm in a wheel chair so I can make those jokes)

John Kerry looks like Lurch on the Adams Family.

The thought of Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown raising a child is frightening.

Jennifer Garner is the hottest woman in Hollywood...outside Halley Barry of course.

By the end of the year there will be a Starbucks franchise on every block in America...oops, already happened. Sorry.

Andy Rooney should really trim his eyebrows.

President Bush needs to get Hooked on Phonics or write a book..."The Presidency for Dummies" will be written in crayon.

Does Monica Lewinski really want the blue dress back? Ewww!

I want a Viking funeral. Build a Viking ship, put my dead fat butt on the deck, light it on fire, and push it down a river. But I'm broke so I guess I'll have to settle for being face down in a canoe with a candle in my ass.

You know how when you go skiing and there are those signs that say "Don't jump off the ski lift"? Is this really a problem?

Why is there a speed limit in Kansas?

Anyone who belongs to a NASCAR fantasy league should seek immediate counseling.

Hockey labor pains

My two favorite sports are football and hockey. So much to my dismay I am forced to watch yet another blood feud play out in a sport I’ve loved since childhood…hockey. The same sort of war cost me another of my favorite sports. After the powers that be in baseball stopped the season in 1994, the only such work stoppage in MLB history that was not the result of a world war, I vowed never to follow baseball with any passion ever again. Little did I know that another sporting version of the Hatfield’s and McCoy’s would be relived in the NHL. At this point the NHLPA and the owners are miles apart on any collective bargaining agreement and there is the very real danger that there will be no hockey for 2004-05. The league ceased operations on September 14 and when interviewed recently the Colorado Avalanche’s Joe Sakic said the best case scenario would be that the NHL would resume play in January, 2005. Both sides are adopting a siege mentality and digging in for what promises to be a long and ugly fight.

The NHL commissioned a study to determine the extent of the financial plight that was facing its teams. Former Securities Exchange Commission chairman Arthur Levitt was brought in to examine the books of the NHL’s 30 franchises. What he found was alarming. Of the 30 teams, 19 lost a total of $272 million; an average of $18 million per team, last year and that of the 11 teams that turned a profit, the average net gain was $6.4 million. According to the report 75% of the operating cost of NHL franchises is player salaries, by far the highest ratio in professional sports. The study claims that the NHL sustained losses of $273 million on nearly $2 BILLION in gross revenue. Levitt’s study lasted ten months and was submitted to the NHL February 7, 2004.

There are roughly 700 players employed by the NHL worldwide. In 2003-04 the average NHL salary was $1.8 million. Most careers are over by the time players turn 30 and many make under $1 million a year and between the 02-03 and 03-04 seasons player salaries rose by only 2.5 percent.

The NHL owners have said repeatedly that they will accept no proposal that does not include a salary cap and the NHLPA is steadfast in its refusal of any such plan. So far the owners have proposed a $40 million cap and the players have roundly dismissed any such talk. The NHLPA has proposed a five percent salary cut coupled with a luxury tax system similar to MLB’s salary structure. In addition the players’ union has floated a revenue sharing program as part of its plan. The NHLPA has stated that it will never accept a hard salary cap. The owners want to reel in escalating salaries.

What is clear is that the two sides hate each other and at present there is no end in sight. The players have contended for years that the owners have artificially held salaries down below market value throughout the history of the NHL. The owners have been accused of underpaying players and reaping exorbitant profits at the expense of the faces of the game. Players have been portrayed as greedy and disloyal to their respective teams and to hockey. Elite players such as Jaromir Jagir and Peter Forseberg make in upwards of $10 million per year while many rank & file players make $500 thousand or less, one of the largest disparities in sports. Owners have steadfastly asserted that player greed has driven up salaries at an unprecedented rate. Conversely, NHLer’s have said that the owners created the current marketplace and they themselves are not responsible for escalating salaries. The New York Rangers regularly have payrolls at or near the tops in hockey. Since the 98-99 season the Rangers have been either first or second in team salary every year but haven’t made the playoffs since 97. At this point the Rangers are one of the most poorly run franchises in professional sports. The players say they are not responsible for the pitfalls of misguided and incompetent owners.

So which side needs to give? Simple…both sides need to bite the bullet and get a CBA done. Has the NHL learned nothing from the disastrous implosion of Major League Baseball in 1994? It has taken ten years, a twice shattered single-season homerun record, Cal Ripken’s consecutive games streak, and several magical post seasons for baseball to return to the level of popularity it had pre-94. The NHL needs to look to other sports for guidance as well. Back in the 1980’s the NFL went through labor pains and nearly shut down. Fortunately management and the players were able to set aside their differences and come to a meeting of the minds. Throughout the mid-late 80’s and early 90’s the NFL implemented a hard salary cap, revenue sharing, a strict drug policy, the best pension plan in sports, and expanded in size. Today the NFL is arguably the strongest professional sports league in the world. The NBA went through its own struggles fairly recently but was able to rise above and flourish. If the NHL does not learn from experience or example we will not see professional hockey in this country for quite some time. If the season is lost hockey will NEVER rise in popularity above cult status in this country. Come on gentlemen, put your differences aside and do what’s best for the sport. Do what’s best for the fans.

Watching the two sides in the hockey impasse is like watching two playground bullies fight over the same ball. So what should the fans do? Simple, you do what any one would do with an obstinate child, you punish them. If the season is lost and we fans embrace hockey again we should all be hit upside the head with a frozen turnip. If the one of the most exciting leagues in sports shuts down for a year the fans should boycott en masse and teach these people a lesson. The Bible says, “Spare the rod and spoil the child”. We the fans should discipline the dysfunctional child known as the NHL. Don’t spare the rod. Do what parents should do. Let’s send them to bed without any supper.

Friday, October 01, 2004

Week 4 picks

Now, without further adieu, I bring you this week’s picks.

Cincy over Pittsburg
Indy over Jacksonville
Oakland over Houston
New England over Buffalo
Philly BIG over Chicago
Washington over Cleveland
Green Bay over Giants
Atlanta over Carolina
Saints over Arizona
Jets over Miami
Tennessee BIG over San Diego
St. Louis over San Fran
Baltimore BIG over KC
And my Broncos barely over the Bucs

Some college picks…
Virginia Tech over #7 W. Virginia
#16 Florida over Arkansas
Notre Dame over #15 Purdue
#3 Georgia over #13 LSU
#9 Auburn over #8 Tennessee
and Missouri over my Buffs

Now if only my fantasy football team were as good as my picks…grrrrrrrrr

Ding ding...Round 1

Thursday night President George Bush Jr. went mano a mano with Massachusetts Senator John Kerry in the first of three televised debates. Moderated by PBS’ Jim Lehrer both candidates came out swinging as they debated foreign policy issues. As the two mounted the stage I sat in nervous anticipation of what I envisioned to be Kerry’s Waterloo. I had visions of the Democrat’s campaign coming to an ignominious end as he got stomped into the ground like mulch.

Needless to say I was pleasantly surprised. Kerry acquitted himself better than I had hoped for while the President looked at times distracted and sluggish. After an initial case of the nerves Kerry focused and hammered home point after point. President Bush was passionate and unflinching getting in his own flurry of body blows.

For the first time since he won the nomination Senator Kerry actually stood resolute and picked a side. His finest moment of clarity came when he outlined a plan to rid the world of the threat of unsecured nuclear munitions floating around as a result of the dissolution of the former Soviet Union. He pledged to account for and capture over 600 tons of nuclear weapons in four years. He stated he’d activate two new divisions to help in the global war against nuclear proliferation and he promised to double the number of America’s Special Forces. Kerry repeated the fact that the 9-11 commission said there was no connection between Al Qaeda and Iraq before the September 11 attacks and that Bush’s war of preemption was unnecessary. Kerry also cited the fact that the U.S. Armed Forces have gotten little help from our European allies. Kerry was very critical of the lack of logistical support for our troops illustrating the point that many soldiers still are not properly equipped with flak jackets and that a percentage of the vehicles deployed in Iraq are not properly armored.

President Bush was focused and repeatedly derisive of Kerry’s seeming lack of ability to clarify his plan for the war in Iraq. Bush attacked Kerry’s vacillations on the war repeating over and over how Kerry has been consistently inconsistent. The biggest weakness of the Kerry campaign is the constant flip-flopping about Iraq and Bush drove this point home time after time. The President smartly recalled several times when Kerry was blatantly contradictory. Bush was also effective in his critique of Kerry’s strategy for dealing with North Korea. The President was resolute in his contention that direct bilateral talks with Kim Jung IL would alienate China, perhaps the only country with direct influence over N. Korea.

Both Kerry and Bush were complimentary about the other’s character and both stood united in there feeling that nuclear proliferation is the single biggest threat to the country and the world. They also were saddened by the genocidal situation in the Sudan but differed in their approach to solving the problem.

Because Bush looked fatigued and pensive and he was not as effective as he was back in 2000 when he whooped Al Gore’s fanny. In those debates Bush was almost regal and was far more presidential than he was on Thursday. Bush’s demeanor suggested an air of irritation and aloofness. At times when Kerry was speaking Junior looked almost disinterested and annoyed. For these reasons Bush gets a C+.

For the first time Kerry actually carried himself like a leader who knew what he wanted. Even when he was not answering questions Kerry stood bolt upright and seemed attentive the entire time. He stared with interest while the President spoke and what was striking about Kerry was his body language. He displayed confidence and had a bit of a swagger. Kerry’s grade is B+.

The Democratic presidential campaign was in danger of dieing on the vine. A campaign that was once on life support now shows signs of a pulse. What was once a lost cause now seems like a winnable fight. If Democrats take anything from this debate they should be heartened by the fact that Kerry now looks like presidential material.