The Jade Monkey

I didn't have a superiority complex until inferior people gave me one.

Location: San Antonio, Texas, United States


Fears May Be Liars

I'm still working on my essay in reaction to the Inaugural Address, and may not finish it tonight, try as I may. But in the meantime, in reaction to those who say Iraq is George Bush's Vietnam, based not on the truth, but on the perception created by the media, as well as to those who say Bush's speech was over-reaching, that his idealism doesn't square with reality, I give you one of my favorite poems, "Say Not the Struggle Naught Availeth" by Arthur Hugh Clough:

SAY not the struggle naught availeth,
The labour and the wounds are vain,
The enemy faints not, nor faileth,
And as things have been they remain.

If hopes were dupes, fears may be liars; 5
It may be, in yon smoke conceal'd,
Your comrades chase e'en now the fliers,
And, but for you, possess the field.

For while the tired waves, vainly breaking,
Seem here no painful inch to gain, 10
Far back, through creeks and inlets making,
Comes silent, flooding in, the main.

And not by eastern windows only,
When daylight comes, comes in the light;
In front the sun climbs slow, how slowly! 15
But westward, look, the land is bright!

And Powerline reminds us of the brilliant words of TR, every bit as poetic:

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

President Bush is in the arena. His critics cower in fear and petty hatred. There can be no doubt this President dares greatly, and succeed or fail, it will be in the noblest of causes: that of freedom. Though the task is hard, as the President said, it would be dishonorable to avoid or abandon it. The advance of freedom may seem painfully slow, but it is by bold action that that which was once thought impossible becomes not only possible, but actual.

Update: Athena at Terrorism Unveiled adds the words of Fredrick Douglass:

The whole history of the progress of human liberty shows that all concessions yet made to her august claims have been born of earnest struggle. If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet deprecate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground, they want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters.

Her entire post is also well worth reading.

Two, four, six, eight; who do moonbats really hate?

I didn't comment yesterday on the inauguration, as I was still taking it in and thinking about everything I heard and saw. Now I'm ready to share my thoughts, but first the light side.

Watching those protesters rattle the cage bars like the monkeys they are (and not the good type of monkey either, like this blog) was amusing. I'm listening to Michael Medved's show right now, and he's having his callers come up with better chants than the ignorant, drug-addled protesters were able to manage yesterday. The post title is part of my first one (possibly a shortened, but complete version in itself), and the full version might go something like:

Two, four, six, eight;
Who do moonbats really hate?
Bush! They say he's second-rate,
God I hope that they don't mate!

Or something like that. Not completely satisfied with the 3rd line though.

One of my favorites by the callers (and one of the winners of Medved's contest) is:

Bush the leader of the free,
Fill the world with liberty!

That is awesome. I'll probably add more later. Add some of your own if you like!


"Down With Kim Jong-Il"

For a month or so now, there have been rumblings out of North Korea that Kim Jong-Il may be losing his grip on power. Now we have some photographic evidence (hat tip: Instapundit).

A small first step, but the fact that this is getting out of the secretive regime coupled with Sharansky's axiom about the inverse relationship between dissent and its associated risk, seems a very good sign. The dissent has long been much more advanced in Iran, so there may be hope yet for Axis of Evil members #2 and #3. Momentous times we're living in.

Candidly Speaking

Holy Cow. Maybe I've just not been paying attention lately, but Sen. Joe Biden was one of the few Democrats I actually had some modicum of respect for, despite vastly different politics (shockingly another, from even further left, is Diane Feinstein, who for the most part comes across as a serious politician, vastly unlike her fellow Californian Senator, or the two lightweights that shared her party's ticket this election cycle). While I initially thought his remark during Dr. Rice's confirmation hearings that "[Qaddafi]'s the most candid guy I ever spoke with" odd, I didn't think much of it until Hugh Hewitt's chilling observation that this is the guy who might have been Sec. of Defense (or was it State?) under John Kerry (link to Hugh's blog post on Slow Joe, but the observation itself was from his radio show tonight).

That is frighteningly similar, if my memory's not playing tricks on me, to a quote recorded in Natan Sharansky's The Case For Democracy regarding another dictator (perhaps Clinton and North Korea). If I manage to find it, I'll add the quote here, but even if not, Sharansky's general premise still holds true; how close we were to retracing the disasterous foreign policy footsteps of the past. If Kerry and Biden had been in charge instead of Bush and co., the very candid dictator of Libya would still have his weapons.


Top 10 Reasons Howard Dean Should be DNC Chairman

Hugh's challenged us to put forth the best case for Dean, so...from the home offices in San Antonio, Texas, heeeere we go!

Top 10 Reasons Howard Dean Should Be DNC Chairman

10. Desperate need for party to look patriotic by replenishing stocks of burned flags by expanding base to inlude guys with Confederate flags on their pickup trucks.

9. If McAuliffe declared 2004 a success based on fundraising levels, noone with better bonafides than Dean and his moonbat supporters.

8. It's about time someone re-re-made "Psycho," and look how well propaganda films worked for the Dems this year!

7. Proving he's a versatile actor, also reprises Macauley Caulkin's role in "Home Alone."

6. After moving scenes in the shower and at the sink, watching him preside over the Democrats' going down the toilet a natural progression.

5. Poster child for need for President's prescription drug plan.

4. Easily rebuffs skepticism of party platform with "Trust me, I'm a doctor."

3. As former wrestler, make further inroads amongst the youth and the South by staging cage match with Vince McMahon for title of "Craziest Son'bitch Alive" (also, added benefit of new party slogan: "Our vote totals slightly less fake than pro wrestling!").

2. Just the man to rein in loony moderates like Joe Lieberman.

and the number 1 reason Howard Dean should be DNC Chairman:

1. Many more years of Republican rule!

Bonus "movie" reason: Stars in "Hulk" sequel with slogans of "He's mean, he's green, he's Dean!" and "Hulk going to smash New Hampshire and Florida! Hulk going to smash Ohio and Pennsylvania and Texas! And then Hulk going to Washington D.C. to smash White House! Raaarrrghh!!"

alt. for #2: Just the man to rein in crazy right wingers like Tedward Kennedy and/or the New York Times (can't decide which I like better, because although I haven't heard the same about Tedward, he's just too fun not to make fun of, and the moonbats really do think think the entire media, including the Times, is right-wing).

Tomato Cans

Who says female pugilists can't be every bit as good as their male counterparts (besides Harvard President Larry Summers, that is)? Was that Mike Tyson vs. Peter McNeely or Condi Rice vs. Barbara Boxer?

What an embarrassment. I said previously that her election was an imperishable shame on the people of California. I think my assessment was too kind by half, and that not counting today's circus, but just Boxer's Rebellion against what little common sense every other Democrat senator had in not making fools of themselves by protesting the counting of electoral votes. Let's just say Dr. Rice opened (or could have; her restraint was admirable and more than I could have managed in the face of such overwhelming idiocy) a can on the buffoon, and it wasn't of tomatoes. (OK, I concede, Hugh. She IS an idiot. But she's still an evil idiot).

I do wish Rice had the opportunity to face some "armed" opponents though, lest she get rusty.


Idle Speculation

Do you think there would have been an uproar if Prince Harry had just explained he was going as Bushitler?

Or if he had decided to go as Stalin?

"The Stakes Could Not Possibly Be Higher"

I completely agree with Powerline.

In my opinion, judicial activism, including the willingness to subjugate our Constitution to the dictates of foreign law, is the single greatest threat to our country - greater even then terrorism, because while terrorism can only kill people and knock down buildings, the meddling of judges constitutes a crisis of no less import than the ripping apart of the very fabric on which our nation was sewn - and any judge that cites foreign law in making decisions ought be immediately impeached.

Though this is certainly nothing new, and I've commented in passing on it before, Breyer's asinine statements make me too angry and ill to comment further at the moment.

ETA: I'm not sure how much good contacting the Judiciary Committee will do with Arlen "Scottish Law" Specter at the helm (yes, I know, I supported him, or at least saw the opposition as doing more harm than good, and I still stand by that assessment. This edit was more of a joke, as while what Specter did was a farce, it was ultimately inconsequential, and I don't think his "position" if such it is has much bearing on the nomination or confirmation of judges, especially with his pledge of loyalty exacted...I hope), but it certainly can't hurt.

Factoid of the day

Final Jeopardy today (category: U.S. Presidents) -

A (paraphrased): The 2 Presidents who were members of the Union party.

Q: Who are Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson? (highlight to read)

I was kinda close - I guessed Grant (although I was pretty sure he had an "R" next to his name), and couldn't think of a second. Turns out the Republicans changed their party name in 1864 and back again 4 years later. But President Elect lists Lincoln/Johnson as Republicans. Excepting the guy that won (and got it right), the others chose early Presidents (like Washington, Adams, Jefferson), which I thought was odd, both because everyone was Democratic-Republican back then, and I instantly associated (as I would assume everyone would) "Union" with the Civil War. The only thing I can imagine they could have been thinking was "We the people of the United States, in order to form a more pefect union..." ??? Oh well.


Rollin' rollin' rollin'

Well, after over a month of (not really) trying (all that hard), I think I've finally managed to figure out how to make a Blogroll of sorts. I don't know if it's the most elegant solution, but it seems to work at the moment.

The "blogroll" header looks a little choppy, and I'm not sure what to do about that (I didn't even know if it would work, as I just substituted the word 'blogroll' into the source code into a copy of the lines that had the 'recent posts' and 'archives' lines - and I couldn't find code for a blogroll in the scribe template that had merely been commented out...I made the same substitution in all the other fields in the codes for recent/archives)

The actual code I created/copy-pasted looks like this (except with angle brackets instead of the square):

[h2 class="sidebar-title"]
[img src="" alt="Blogroll" width="110" height="28" /]

[ul id="blogroll"]
[li][a href=""]Hugh Hewitt[/a][/li]
and then the same for the other 2 sites I've added so far, but with their names and links


If a more knowledgeable blogger can see anything I've done wrong/unnecessarily or that can be improved, please let me know. More additions to the blogroll to come, maybe tonight, but certainly tomorrow (and anyone that gives me a better way to do it gets top billing for a month, or maybe forever, who knows) . Those are the 3 that I check just about every day though, so I thought them a good place to start before I went and did anything crazy.

Power and Weakness

I remember reading, while the debate over the Iraq War was being waged (that is, while the debate over the Iraq War was still being waged, but the war itself was not yet being waged), this excellent article by Robert Kagan (thank you Policy Review), which analyzes very objectively the polarity in American and European worldview and the use of force.

I thought it deserved to be re-read (or read for the first time, if you've not seen it before), as Podhoretz' article brought it back to mind, and I believe it predates the explosion of the blogosphere.

A couple of my favorite paragraphs:

The psychology of weakness is easy enough to understand. A man armed only with a knife may decide that a bear prowling the forest is a tolerable danger, inasmuch as the alternative — hunting the bear armed only with a knife — is actually riskier than lying low and hoping the bear never attacks. The same man armed with a rifle, however, will likely make a different calculation of what constitutes a tolerable risk. Why should he risk being mauled to death if he doesn’t need to?

This perfectly normal human psychology is helping to drive a wedge between the United States and Europe today. Europeans have concluded, reasonably enough, that the threat posed by Saddam Hussein is more tolerable for them than the risk of removing him. But Americans, being stronger, have reasonably enough developed a lower threshold of tolerance for Saddam and his weapons of mass destruction, especially after September 11. Europeans like to say that Americans are obsessed with fixing problems, but it is generally true that those with a greater capacity to fix problems are more likely to try to fix them than those who have no such capability. Americans can imagine successfully invading Iraq and toppling Saddam, and therefore more than 70 percent of Americans apparently favor such action. Europeans, not surprisingly, find the prospect both unimaginable and frightening.


What this means is that although the United States has played the critical role in bringing Europe into this Kantian paradise, and still plays a key role in making that paradise possible, it cannot enter this paradise itself. It mans the walls but cannot walk through the gate. The United States, with all its vast power, remains stuck in history, left to deal with the Saddams and the ayatollahs, the Kim Jong Ils and the Jiang Zemins, leaving the happy benefits to others.

Read it all.


The War Against World War IV

Hugh says link to Norman Podhoretz, so that's what I'm doing. Without comment for now, other than to say it's a great article. Read it.

We didn't really lose, we just came up a few (million) votes short

Tedward Kennedy in denial is funny stuff.

From Hugh:

Teddy K. at the National Press Club today: "We as Democrats may be in the minority in Congress, but we speak for the majority of Americans."

Elections are irrelevant when you are anointed. Perhaps this explains Teddy's contempt for the Iraqi election process.

Heh. And from CQ:

"We cannot move our party or our nation forward under pale colors and timid voices," said Kennedy, who has served 42 years in the Senate. "We cannot become Republican clones. If we do, we will lose again, and deserve to lose."

With his protegé John Kerry taking the opposite tack on abortion, Kennedy insisted that the path to winning elections lies not in regrouping towards the center but in taking traditional Democratic policy positions to their logical extremes.

No comment on John Kerry's tacking on abortion (although"By the Beautiful Blue Danube" is playing in my mind). But they didn't deserve to lose this time, I guess is the implicit conclusion. And, the return of the Dean Meme: "We can't be Bush-lite," despite the fact that being Bush-lite is the one conceivable way they might have won. But like the media bias thing, I have no intention of letting them know they're about to drive off the cliff. I'd rather watch.

And the best part of the yahoo article Ed links to is this gem:

Kennedy also mangled the name of the Democrats' new star, Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, calling him "Osama bin ... Osama ... Obama."

At least we know he and Patty Murray will get along.

I guess I'm a menshevik

Rodger at This isn't writing, it's typing, coments on the Bolshevik-Menshevik divide among the blogosphere over the CBS report.

As I listened to Hugh Hewitt's radio show last evening, it struck me that what we now have is a sort of Bolshevik-Menshevik divide with folks like Hewitt, Jonathan Last and Jeff Jarvis demanding "dissolution now" (the Bolshevik bloggers) and Power Line, Soxblog, the Captain and others willing to be more patient as the mainstream media collapses of its own weight.

I'm not so concerned about any potential for a damaging and permanent divide among bloggers here though. As I said in my initial reaction, I see this much like the Arlen Specter debate - the heat from the one side is useful in further crippling the MSM, just as the anti-Specterites helped to cow him and bring about the best of both worlds, and will hasten the collapse for which the "anti-anti-Thornburgh-Boccardi" (to steal the nomenclature of the previous debate) side waits in confidence.

As John Podhoretz notes:

That's what happens when you're blinded by bias. Thornburgh and Boccardi didn't want to say so. The world doesn't need them to say so. The world knows the truth.

The curious thing - at once disappointing and satisfying - about the report is that the only part of it which states that they cannot find conclusive evidence one way or the other regarding the documents' authenticity or political bias at work is the conclusion that there is not conclusive evidence one way or the other regarding the documents' authenticity or political bias at work.

Anyone who actually reads the report can't but reach the conclusion both that the documents were bogus and that Mapes and Rather were motivated by bias - that is what everything in the report but the conclusions supposedly based on the evidence screams. We don't need them to say so. We know. And anyone who won't read the report, or willing to trumpet the "headline" of the report as vindication while blindly ignoring the entire body isn't worth worrying about. They're too far gone to be helped.

Meanwhile, soxblog defends his "half a loaf" description of The Panel's report.

I think he is essentially correct. Although I haven't caught the nightly news' coverage of the report, the way the media has characterized the report, much like the report itself, is much better than I hoped. "Myopic Zeal" seems to be the most popular phrase from Thornburgh-Boccardi, and that seems like a good thing.



Lord help me, I think I'm addicted. I watched all but the first 20 minutes or so of the 2-day, 4-hour premier of the new season, and although I've only previously watched the very first 2 or 3 episodes of the first season, and maybe 2 or 3 others in all the time since, I think I'll have to start watching.

I've always thought the concept of the show was absolutely brilliant, and so was the marketing strategy with the premier (I have no idea if they've done this in previous seasons, but it's a great hook for the viewer to get 4 episodes and a good bit of story right up front - accidentaly losing an hour (well, several) is the major reason I discontinued by viewing in season 1). Gonna have to go see if I can rent the prior seasons on DVD...

Rathergate Report: Initial thoughts

Hugh is most displeased. Captain Ed is somewhat satisfied.

I think, after only the most cursory skimming, that I fall closer to CQ's position on the matter. Yes, Thornburgh-Boccardi essentially punted on the question of political bias. And yes, I agree with Hugh insofar as that is a critical issue and without a direct conclusion on that charge, the media can to some extent simply brush it off.

But it is by far the best we could have hoped for (which admittedly is a rather sad statement on how much we ever could have expected from the panel in the first place, rather than a praise), in my opinion. The report uses some very damning language, although largely giving Rather himself a pass. In many places it seems they come as close to the line of charging political bias as they can without actually saying it. They devastatingly point out the abandonment of journalistic standards, but fail to ask the question why that is: again, in Ed's analysis, they punted. With the media's rampant practice of distorting/hiding/ignoring some principle facts/statements (due to both the bias of the reporting and the soundbyte attention span of its consumers), this could indeed fall by the wayside. So, I definitely see value in Hugh's (and it seems, most others') cries of "whitewash!" much as I saw the value in the opposition to Arlen Specter, but my initial reaction is that this is more than I expected (if not all that CBS deserved). The pressure most definitely needs to be kept on, but I think they know now that the pressure that the blogosphere brings to bear is very real, and this report should at least be a small step in the right direction (again, it could have been a much bigger one, but that was always something of wishful thinking). And while Rather and Heyward kept their heads, the heads that did roll do not seem to be entirely insignificant tokens either, as might have been expected.

I'll give the Panel a B-/C+ for now, but that's subject to further review, upon which I'll come back and add more thoughts.

hallo and sayonara

From the Interesting News File, via yahoo: Rats May Be Multilingual. Neato.

Spanish researchers found that rats were able to use rhythm and intonation speech cues to distinguish between spoken Dutch and Japanese. This makes rats only the third type of mammal -- along with humans and Tamarin monkeys -- who have been shown to possess the ability to recognize different speech patterns.

"It was striking to find that rats can track certain information that seems to be so important in language development in humans," study author Juan Toro said in a prepared statement.

Being interested in linguistics this fascinates me, although I can see potential problems with leading/prompting, as seems to me to characterize most linguistic studies with animals (I think in the vast majority of cases this is quite unintenional though - just a case of people wanting too much for something to be true that they may miss a simpler explanation).

Speaking of rats and wanting too much for something to be true, the CBS report came out today... ;-)


I'm less and less convinced this is much of an improvement

But Mahmoud Abbas has been victorious in this weekend's Palestinian election for president.

I'm troubled that the media, and with it governments around the world, may already be revisiting the same failed strategy of strengthening Arafat, a strategy which Natan Sharansky lucidly eviscerates in his book, The Case for Democracy.

RAMALLAH, West Bank - Mahmoud Abbas declared victory in Palestinian presidential elections on Sunday after exit polls showed him winning by a wide margin, giving him a decisive mandate to renew peace talks with Israel, rein in militants and try to end more than four years of Mideast bloodshed.

says the AP report (via yahoo, link above), completely ignoring that Abbas very publicly ran on a platform quite antithetical to these goals (nor do the quotes the AP provides, assumedly the most supportive they could find, give any indication that he shares these goals) , praising suicide bombers and denouncing Israel at every turn. While some of this can't but be expected if he hoped to be elected in a culture so steeped in hate, even if he truly hopes to be a peace partner, it leaves little to inspire much confidence. What's more, the AP reports on Abbas' dedication of his victory to the soul of the late, not-so-great Yasser Arafat (we'll leave aside the question of whether the terrorist even had a soul to which to dedicate victory), as if this is the most natural thing in the world and should raise no red flags.

I'll continue to hope that it can't possibly be worse than Arafat, that this must at least be a baby step, but I'm skeptical. Two things that do give me hope are the reports I heard that Hamas and Islamic Jihad (or maybe Hezbollah?) were boycotting the elections, and Bush and Sharon seem to be giving their votes of confidence to Abbas. And on the third hand, I'm less than inspired by the return of Shimon Peres (who spearheaded the Oslo debacle) and Jimmy Carter's stamp of approval. We'll see; the vote is in, but the jury's still out, as far as I'm concerned.

Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!

So says one of the Democrats' (many) Paragons of Dumbassery (and yes, I know I'm just stooping to their level, but oh well. Sometimes it just has to be said), Charlie Rangel (ht: Hugh Hewitt):

"But the facts prove that there is no imminent crisis with Social Security. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office says Social Security can pay full benefits for nearly 50 years. So, there is no crisis.. But there is a challenge, because people are living longer.

"Unfortunately, the President's proposal for privatized accounts makes Social Security weaker, not stronger. It drains $2 trillion from the trust fund, leading to drastic cuts in benefits of more than 40 percent."

I remarked in a post last year on John Kerry and the Democrats' total inability, or what may be worse, deliberate unwillingness, to confront problems; how they'd rather close their eyes, stick their fingers in their ears and say "Lalala, I can't hear you Mr. Problem! I'd rather pretend to the American people that all is fine and dandy and they should elect me because I'll give them free money and lollipops!" The same attitude is pervasive in their approach to terrorism, Iran, and North Korea, as it is in domestic issues such as Social Security. We'll enter this into evidence as exhibit Z.

The fear-mongering Hugh notes is of course also par for the Dems' course on just about every issue, but he's already summed that angle up perfectly, so rather than regurgitate, I'll just point you to the link to his post above.


Time to put my swami hat on

The NFL's second season is about to begin (let me take a moment to lament the lack of even a first season for the NHL...okay, I've composed myself). So I'm going to boldly make my predictions to be lauded or mocked in one month's time (for entertainment purposes only):

ETA a quick summary of winners for those who don't wish to wade through my ramblings:
R1 - Seahawks, Packers, Colts, Chargers (R1 record: 1-3, ouch!)
R2 - Eagles, Packers, Colts, Steelers
R3 - Eagles, Colts
SB - Colts

NFC Wildcard:

Who really cares? Whoever manages to come out of the JV conference will be pulverized into unrecognizable dust by the Steelers, Pats, or Colts. Oh, alright.

Rams at Seahawks - The Hawks managed to squeak out what should have been a sure-fire conference title (and that even before the monumental flop of a season put out by my San Francisco 49ers). Marc Bulger is one of the most overrated QBs in the game today, and I still think it was stupid for them to let go of Kurt Warner (as stupid as the Giants were for giving the reins to Eli 'not gonna challenge my brother for best QB in the NFL in this lifetime' Manning, a move that might well have cost them a shot of the playoffs instead of the Rams (unless Warner was injured or something, I must admit I haven't been paying as much attention to the NFL this season as usual, much less to the Giants)), but in a weakened NFC, the Rams could make a run at it (but then, so could a heretofore disappointing Seahawks team). I'll flip a coin...and take the Seahawks.

Vikings at Packers - I think the Packers will take it, despite the mythos of how difficult it is to beat a team 3 times in a season. Although the Vikings' have gone on their annual second-half swoon, I don't think the Packers are very good, either, and do give the Vikes a better chance than most seem to.

AFC Wildcard:

Broncos at Colts - prediction: Peyton Manning throws 5 touchdowns, Colts trounce Broncos, who have to face the first team this time around.

Jets at Chargers - my preseason predictions were way off, as I didn't see the Bolts OR the Steelers even making the playoffs. The Chargers have made a believer of me though, and I think they'll pull it out against a game, but inferior, Jets team.

NFC Divisional:

Packers at Falcons - Michael Vick is the most overrated player in the NFL, period. For the second time he'll meet the man he dethroned for that title, Brett Favre (who at least has the distinction of being a good quarterback, if not quite deserving of the liplock the media had on his buttocks - still have, though not quite so much now that Vick's backside has most of their attention). And although I don't think the Packers are that good, I don't think the Falcons' D will win the game, allowing orgasmic praise of an undeserving Vick, for the second time. Prediction: Packers, in the worst game of the playoffs, both for the quality of play on the field and announcing in the booth (I'll probably have the game on mute though, as I have no desire to test this latter prediction).

Seahawks at Eagles - yawn. Even without T.O., the Eagles will take out whoever faces them on this side of the bracket, although whoever comes out of the StL/Sea matchup will pose their stiffest competition for a Super Bowl berth.

AFC Divisional:

Chargers at Steelers - As noted above, the surprise matchup of the playoffs for me. The Steelers should win this one.

Colts at Patriots - rematch from last year, and I think Manning gets past the hurdle this time. I'll pick the Colts, although I think the winner of this game wins it all.

NFC Championship:

Packers at Eagles - Eagles win again. Wake me up when it's over.

AFC Championship:

Colts at Steelers - And the Lombardi trophy goes to...oh wait, there's another game after this. I'll say the Colts win it, although this could become a good rivalry down the line, with Big Ben aiming to become Manning's closest competition, as the league is currently completely devoid of anyone even worthy to be mentioned in the same paragraph in a discussion of the best QB. But it comes down to experience at winning big games - the Colts got it last year, and the Steelers don't have it yet.


Colts vs Eagles - If the Eagles get T.O. back for the big game, it may actually be entertaining, but I still think whoever comes out of the AFC wins fairly convincingly. If not, it'll be a blowout. So let's call it the first of many rings for Peyton Manning.

Bonus prediction: My Niners take Matt Leinert* with the 1st overall pick in the NFL draft. I don't know that this is the right move, but it's as good as any in my mind, as there sadly isn't really a true #1 pick, and I don't think they'll get good value by trading down (if anyone's even willing to trade up for #1). I think Rattay and/or Dorsey will prove to be capable starters in the NFL, and in any case the needs at OL, DL, and CB are certainly bigger, but if the club decides Leinert can be a true franchise QB, then I don't see how they can not make that move. Not that I have any faith that John York and Terry Donahue will make that move if it IS the best one. I'm afraid the Niners will be mired in mediocrity (at best) until these two men are gone. In fact, I'm so sure of that that should the Niners make the USC QB their choice, I'll be convinced it was a horrible move (as will any that they may make). I wouldn't mind them taking Benson out of Texas though - I've never been sold on Barlow, and his horrible season this year (while blaming the O-line and not even sitting in the same are of the locker room because he's feuding with fullback Fred Beasley - who is, unlike Barlow, one of the best at his positions in the league).

*subject to review if Leinert doesn't declare for the draft, of course.

ETA: I just realized my Colts-Eagles matchup was the same as my SB pick at the beginning of last year's playoffs. Guess we'll see (was only 1 game off last year for both...much like my World Series pick of Astros-Yankees this past fall). My preseason SB pick this year was a rematch of Pats-Cats, before the Panthers' rash of injuries ruined that...although had they managed to beat the Saints and make the playoffs, I might very well have picked them to represent the NFC even from the #6 seed...but since I can't keep the one half of the prediction, I might as well change the other as well. So Colts-Eagles it is).

More Tsunami Aid Opportunities

I recieved the following e-mail from my beloved alma mater, and thought I'd pass it along and promote another worthy charity doing great work, Samaritan's Purse:

Dear Baylor Alum,

A terrible earthquake and tsunami ravaged Southeast Asia on December 26th and left a wake of destruction that disrupted lives, families, and communities. The World Health Organization estimated that around 3 to 5 million people in the affected region are without basic survival needs.People across the world have responded through the generous giving of their financial and material resources; and as such, Baylor is also organizing to help those in need.

The "Bear the Burden" campaign is an effort by the entire Baylor family to raise $50,000 by February 7. All donated funds will be given to Samaritan's Purse International Relief, which will then use the support raised for relief efforts in the worst hit areas in Asia. Please consider taking a part in the Bear the Burden campaign, and visit [] to donate.

You can also make checks payable to “Bear the Burden- Baylor University” and mail them to Baylor Student Government, c/o Bear the Burden, PO BOX 85555, Waco, Texas 76798.

We hope that you will join others in the Baylor family in this worthy cause and help bring desperately needed aid to the people in Southeast Asia through this campaign.Baylor Bears have always risen to the occasion to help those in need and we hope you will join us now. Through prayer and action, we can reach out to make a positive difference.


Jeff Leach, Student Body President

Kristin Kan, External Vice President

Brandon Anderson, Internal Vice President

David Malone, President, Baylor Alumni Association

Jeff Kilgore, Executive Vice President, Baylor Alumni Association

I disagree with Hugh

Barbara Boxer's not stupid; she's evil and will do absolutely anything to further her heinous agenda. Well, alright, she might be stupid too. Signing onto such a monumentally stupid, obviously partisan, and utterly inconsequential challenge is certainly pretty stupid.

From Captain's Quarters:

Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., signed a challenge mounted by House Democrats to Ohio's 20 electoral votes, which put Bush over the top. By law, a challenge signed by members of the House and Senate requires both chambers to meet separately for up to two hours to consider it. Lawmakers are allowed to speak for no more than five minutes each.

While Bush's victory is not in jeopardy, the Democratic challenge will force Congress to interrupt tallying the Electoral College vote, which is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. EST Thursday. It would be only the second time since 1877 that the House and Senate were forced into separate meetings to consider electoral votes.

"I have concluded that objecting to the electoral votes from Ohio is the only immediate way to bring these issues to light by allowing you to have a two-hour debate to let the American people know the facts surrounding Ohio's election," Boxer wrote in a letter to Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones, D-Ohio, a leader of the Democratic effort.

Of course, she's safely ensconced in the Senate, being from Kalifornia, and even then, she's free from review for another 6 years, having just, to the state's eternal shame, won re-election. Perhaps she's placing her bets on it all having blown over by 2010, in return for even the slightest chance of delegitimizing the President, and so she is perhaps not so stupid after all. She may also be trying to damage Ken Blackwell's gubenatorial chances in Ohio, with the same racist motives the Democrats are now trying to smear Alberto Gonzales in his confirmation hearings (also in the same manner in which the media went into a tizzy over the Rumsfeld non-story, trying to bring down Bush's deputies since they failed miserably in their attempts to bring down the man himself).

ETA: Powerline's discussion on the matter.


Yeah, but I bet they didn't have to contend with a Bengal tiger

All glibness aside, some of these tsunami survivor stories are simply incredible, and every bit as good (if not as fantastic) as Yann Martel's Life of Pi, a book I highly recommend if you have not read it. But in the meantime, enjoy the stories of Malawati and Rizal. I can only imagine the ways survivors of such catastrophes must find their lives, minds, and missions changed by the experience.

And let us not forget those who have survived in a less spectacular fashion and lost much. Open your heart and pray. Open your wallet and give. Captain Ed has named January 12 as World Relief Day, and is encouraging us all to donate our take-home pay for that day (or whatever we can) through World Vision to help with the relief efforts. I put in $25 last week, but am going to chip in another $25 for CQ's cause, for two reasons: 1. because it is good to do so, and 2. because I fervently believe in one of the principles (besides "it is good," which is certainly enough reason in itself) that has motivated Ed to do this:

It's up to us to show that when people control their own resources, we can put it to the best use through our own decisions -- and in fact, we can put it to better, more direct, and more effective use.


In just 2 days, the response has bested Ed's goal, and so he has raised the bar to $25,000! When the Captain calls, we must answer!

It took me a while to figure out when I was trying to log in that I needed to create an account for the site this is being run through, and that it wasn't my World Vision account I was supposed to be using. Duh.



Good on ya, Tom DeLay.

House Republicans, led by DeLay himself, decided not to change rules to protect their leader from seemingly spurious charges, a change I had previously noted my reservations about. It's the right thing to do, even if the Democrats will doubtless take advantage of it to do the wrong thing.