21 December 2008

Well, that didn't go well

Long story short, BYU's offense was held in check by Arizona's fairly good defense last night. The failure of the Cougar defense was to be expected, but for the third time this season, the Cougar offense, which returned many starters, was unable to move the ball when it mattered most.

What is common among these three instances? TCU, Utah and Arizona represent the three good-to-great defenses. And all three times, BYU ended up recording a convincing loss. 

This was not a good team. 

It seems odd to be so utterly disappointed in a 10-3 team, but it's the reality. Look at the schedule:

Northern Iowa: 43-17 win. FCS team. This win really shows nothing either way.

Washington: 28-27 win. Washington finished the season winless (that's impressive all on its own), but they lost Jake Locker after four games, so I'm not sure the team that showed up versus BYU is the same team that lost to California 48-7. That said, the Huskies were not a good team at any point in 2008. A road win over a BCS team is usually impressive, but in this instance, BYU fans found little to be excited about.

UCLA: 59-0 win. The Bruins finished 4-8. The 59 they gave up to the Cougars was the most they allowed all season, but this game seems raher fluky. A couple early turnovers and quick scores on the UCLA defense demoralized the Bruins and that was that. 

Wyoming: 44-0 win. Same story as UCLA, in my opinion. Early turnovers combined with BYU jumping out to an early lead led to the Cowboys giving up. Finished 5-7.

Utah State: 31-14 win over a 3-9 team. 

New Mexico: 21-3 win, at home. Lobos ended with a 4-8 record. I attended this game, and while the final score is somewhat impressive, at no time did I feel like BYU was the overwhelmingly better team. 

TCU: 32-7 loss. TCU is 11-1, and definitely a great team. BYU walked into a buzzsaw on this one. 

UNLV: 42-35 win. The Rebels went 5-7 this season, and the Cougars had to rely on a late touchdown to beat them. At home. 

Colorado State: 45-42 win. The Rams are a middle-of-the-road team, and this was a win on the road for BYU. Colorado State beat Fresno State in the New Mexico Bowl yesterday to put their record at 7-6. Their losses came to Colorado, California, BYU, Utah, TCU and Air Force.

San Diego State: 41-12 home win. Against a 2-10 team. Not much to be enthusiastic about here. 

Air Force 38-24 win. This is an 8-4 team, and the Cougars beat them in Colorado Springs. This was a good win. 

Utah: 48-24 loss. We all know how this game went. Utah is undefeated and set to play in a BCS bowl. 

Bottom line: BYU's nine FBS wins came against teams with a combined record of 38-71. Their three losses came against  teams with a combined record of 31-6. 

Nothing special here, folks. BYU was a good team, not a great one in 2008. 

And the sad thing is that at this point, there's not a lot to be excited about for next season.

Such is the danger of high expectations. 

20 December 2008

What brings me back to blogging after two weeks?

Getting hosed by refereeing. 

Today's BYU vs. Arizona State basketball game was jam-packed with stuff to write about, but the one thing I want to focus on is the final play. 

A lot happened after the ball was inbounded from the baseline, but the question that decided the game was whether or not the ball had left Abouo's hand before time had expired or not. 

Replay after replay was inconclusive. For the referees to initially call it good, then overturn it after 30 seconds of staring at tiny courtside monitor is criminal.

And to be clear, here is the official rule from the NCAA rulebook:

Rule 5, Article 2.b
In games with a 10th-of-a-second game clock display and where an official courtside monitor is used, the reading of zeros on the game clock is to be used to determine whether a try for goal occurred before or after the expiration of time in any period. When the game clock is not visible, the officials shall verify the original call with the use of the red/LED light(s). When the red/LED light(s) are not visible, the sounding of the game-clock horn shall be utilized. When definitive information is unattainable with the use of the monitor, the original call stands.

There it is... the original call was a made basket, yet it was overturned thanks to very very cloudy evidence. Unless the refs used a closer and higher resolution shot of the play than the one FSN had, there's no way on earth they could have found incontrovertible evidence that the shot did not get off in time.

It's unfathomable.

I'm not even going to mention how Arizona State's James Harden went to the line more times than the entire BYU team combined. 

What a terrible loss. Here's hoping the football team can win convincingly enough that the refs can't have any hand in the game one way or another.

06 December 2008

Things I was completely wrong about this NBA season

1. Derrick Rose is the real deal. After watching him in college, I saw him as a shooting guard with great finishing skills and not much range. However, as a rookie on a fairly bad team, he's averaging 19 points, six assists, and four rebounds a game. And he's getting better; he has had a few 10-assist games lately, and has displayed a pretty nice jumper. I was way off base about him. 15 and 8 tonight with two steals. 

2. I was also wrong about Michael Beasley. While he's not exactly dominating, I figured he was a bit too small to play the 4 well. Instead, he's averaging 14.5 points and five rebounds a game in 28 minutes a game. I can only imagine he'll improve as he gets more experience.

3. I was wrong about Paul Millsap. In debating whether he could take over for Boozer as the starting power forward, I said he'd probably average 17 and 8 or so... but since Boozer went out with his hamstring, Paul is racking up around 20 and 10 in eight games started. Tonight he had 16 points, 11 boards, three steals, and two blocks before picking up his fourth foul early in the third against Phoenix. Got slapped with his fifth soon after entering the game in the fourth, and finished with 20 points and 12 boards. 

There are more examples, but in general, I'm being proved terrible at judging talent. And honestly, that doesn't bother me too much. It means the quality of the league will be better over the next decade or so. 

Obama = FDR?

From the Chicago Tribune:

President-elect Barack Obama on Saturday pledged to launch the biggest public works program since the construction of the interstate highway system in the 1950s as part of his plan to create millions of new jobs and stem an economic tailspin that is growing worse by the day.

"We need action, and action now," Obama said in a weekly address broadcast on radio and posted as a YouTube video.

It is now official. Obama is the second coming of FDR.

Whether this is a good or a bad thing depends on your personal interpretation.

05 December 2008

This Jazz team seems somewhat injury-prone

An interesting statistic from the Deseret Morning News' Tim Buckley, via Yahoo!'s Ball Don't Lie blog:
Barely more than a month into the 2008-09 NBA season, the Jazz already have lost 66 man-games to injury and personal leave.

That's more than double what future Hall of Famers John Stockton and Karl Malone missed in their 37 combined seasons playing for the Jazz.

I had to read that a couple times. 37 COMBINED SEASONS? More than double? Crikeys. Stockton and Malone may have never won a title, but they are most certainly the most durable duo ever in the NBA. 

In other news, the Jazz are fairly stinky as of late. I probably won't bother commenting on the team until they've got a healthy starting lineup back (though with Boozer's hammy history, who knows when that will be?). 

Later today: Things I have been incredibly wrong about this NBA season.

04 December 2008

Global Warming (Climate Change)

As part of a Geology 110 class I am currently enrolled in I was assigned to watch Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth and the film The Great Global Warming Swindle as part of a unit on Climate Change. 

I don't want to get into all the nuts and bolts here, but here are a few points I would like to make:

1. Al Gore and other proponents of the human-induced climate change theory are vehement in their belief that the debate is over. There is no scientific basis to oppose this theory, and there exists a "consensus" in the scientific community in support of it. In Gore's movie the former vice president specifically states that a search of over 900 articles in peer-reviewed scientific journals yielded no results in opposition to his theory. 

This strikes me as ridiculous. Science is all about debate. There are very, very few absolute laws in the scientific world. And even with something so widely-accepted as correct like the law of gravity, if new evidence disproving this law came into evidence, the reality of gravity would be reconsidered. 

Yet here we have a theory dealing with one of the most volatile and misunderstood aspects of the world, weather, and we're 100% sure we know what's going on. Scientists can't even predict whether it will rain or not this weekend, and somehow they're dead certain about worldwide weather conditions over the next century. 

And there is, in fact, plenty of scientific opposition to the theory of man-made climate change. 

This attitude of "we're shutting our ears to opposing viewpoints la la la I can't hear you" is honestly frightening. 

2. The basis of the human-induced climate change theory is data taken from ice core samples retrieved from Antarctica. The short version is this: when snow falls, it traps atmosphere in little bubbles inside. Drilling down into the ice, scientists can analyze atmosphere from hundreds of thousands of years ago and determine its composition and even the temperature from that time. 

Both sides of the discussion use this data, and both reach very different conclusions.

Gore notices an obvious correlation between CO2 levels in the atmosphere and global temperature. He then deduces that CO2 levels cause temperature, like so:

His opponents, however, use the age-old argument that correlation does not necessarily prove causation. Just because the trains run on time in Budapest whenever I eat oatmeal for breakfast does not mean it logically follows that my eating habits control the Hungarian rail system. 

In fact, graphs like the one below show that CO2 levels do in fact rise and fall with temperature, but lag behind global temperatures changes by hundreds of years. Temperatures rise or fall and then CO2 levels rise or fall to follow it.

Bottom line, there is controversy surrounding the very base level of human-induced climate change theory. In my research, I have yet to see a response to the above chart. 

Then we have the claim that global temperatures have actually been falling since 1996, despite rising CO2 levels thanks to the U.S. and developing nations like India and China. 

3. Carbon dioxide is not an inherently damaging substance. It's a naturally-occurring carbon atom combined with two oxygen atoms. Every living thing emits CO2. Trees, cows, people, snails, algae, everything. Volcanoes emit CO2. I'm all for limiting truly damaging emissions, such as those from coal-fired power plants and cars, but CO2 on its own will not kill us all. 

4. And finally, climate changes. As the charts show (no matter who is using them), temperature fluctuates all over the place. The continents drift. Mountains erode. Animal species die out. All of this has been going on long before humans existed on the planet. The belief that humans control the weather is borderline narcissistic, in my opinion. 

Back in the 1970's, the fear among scientists was one of human-induced global cooling. Here's a link to a Newsweek article from 1975 lamenting an increase in tornadoes and other calamities. The author says climatologists " are pessimistic that political leaders will take any positive action to compensate for the climatic change, or even to allay its effects."

Sound familiar? A mere thirty years ago we were scared out our minds that human industry and technology were freezing the world. Then, somehow, the temperatures stopped falling, and did we see a mass retraction from these scientists? Nope. Instead, as the world temperatures started to rise again, these same individuals are whipping us into a terrified frenzy because human industry and technology are frying the world. Forgive me for being skeptical. 

So here we are. In all of this, my main point is that there is in fact plenty of legitimate debate on this topic. Whether or not you are swayed by the opposing arguments is almost irrelevant. If all I communicate is that the claim of a "scientific consensus" is bunk, I'll be happy. 

I find it interesting that many of those who believe in human-caused climate change are those who have rejected God and traditional faith. I think many of these individuals fill their need to believe in something with faith in global warming. Just an observation. 

So take the time to research and investigate the data on your own. For an issue that can have such far-reaching effects on our lives, do we really want to trust a politician on this one?

02 December 2008

A Bond retread timeline

I watched Casino Royale again yesterday, and came away realizing I don't fully understand that movie. To help, I wrote this timeline:

-The super-secret worldwide organization with unknown aims (heretofore referred to as "Quantum") is organized.

-Vesper Lynd meets Algerian boyfriend/spy, he is “kidnapped” and held for ransom. Is this before the Casino Royale poker game is organized? Did Quantum know Vesper would be the one to represent the Treasury, or was it just dumb luck?

-The Quantum recruits Le Chiffre to invest their money sometime around here.

-MI6 somehow tracks down the bomb maker in Madagascar. Bond kills him, gets his cell phone.

-Bond uses the cell to track down the middleman in the Bahamas, kills him in Miami.

-Bond thwarts Le Chiffre's plan to short sell the airplane manufacturer stock, Le Chiffre loses millions of dollars that aren't his, including the Quantum's. The Quantum and other clients are angered.

-Bond discovers Le Chiffre's “tell” during the first hand of the game. Bond is burned by this, either because a.) he was arrogant and fell for LeChiffre's use of a false “tell,” b.) Vesper tipped Le Chiffre off about Bond having discovered it or c.) Mathis betrayed Bond by tipping Le Chiffre off. I favor the first theory.

-Bond beats Le Chiffre at poker, wins $150 million, Le Chiffre has failed and is desperate.

-Le Chiffre “kidnaps” Vesper (is she in on it?) and tortures Bond to get the password for the poker winnings. (Does Le Chiffre's plan involve ambushing the Swiss dude and getting the briefcase/computer thing?) (Also, he doesn't need the account number from Vesper. He can have the winnings transferred to any account he wants, right?)

-Mr. White arrives and kills Le Chiffre and others (spares Vesper and Bond, part of the plan from the beginning?) presumably because Le Chiffre blew the Quantum's money and failed to regain it.

-Bond falls in love with Vesper, while Vesper at the very least pretends to fall in love with Bond.

-The Swiss arrives, Vesper keys in an account (not the Treasury's) and Bond has her key in the password. The poker winnings are transferred.

-Days later, Bond and Vesper and about leave to travel the world. Bond, at least, is sold on the idea. Is Vesper? Is she sold on it until she sees the man with the eyepatch glasses? If so, has she planned to abandon her Algerian boyfriend? It seems more likely she was just waiting for the Quantum to make contact with her.

-Vesper goes to the bank and withdraws the poker winnings from the account she deposited them into back in Italy.

-Bond receives a call from M, asking why he hadn't deposited the winnings yet. At that moment, he realizes he's been had.

-Bond chases Vesper down as she makes an exchange with eyepatch glasses guy and goons. EG guy attempts to take Vesper hostage in order to get Bond to back off, not realizing Bond has figured out at least a part of the plot, and isn't interested in Vesper living (later proved to be a bluff?).

-Bond kills EG guy and goons (all Quantum?).

-Vesper locks the elevator she's in and lets herself drown as Bond looks on. Does she do it for Bond? Mr. White later says they would have used Vesper to control Bond if she hadn't died. Does she realize that? Does she believe her Algerian boyfriend will be killed because the Quantum will believe she brought Bond with her to the exchange? Is she in love with both men?

-Mr Green looks on (silent observer the whole time?) and leaves with the $150 million after Vesper is dead.

-The Quantum fakes the death of the Algerian boyfriend, and he moves on to seducing a Canadian government official (why Canada?).

-Blah blah blah stealing Bolivia's water and selling it back at double the rate blah blah blah Bond stops it blah blah.


1. Was Casino Royale merely about money? Is every intrigue and plot related to either Le Chiffre winning back the money he lost or Quantum ensuring their money is taken care of? I don't see any evidence to the contrary.

2. Is the same true for Quantum of Solace? The entire plot is predicated on the Quantum gaining money, and perhaps power (in Bolivia? Meh).

3. What is Vesper's motivation in killing herself?

4. What are the Quantum's goals? For such a powerful organization, are they interested in world domination? What?

Comments appreciated.

23 November 2008

What a weird game

I figure anyone who cares about the Holy War 2008 watched the game, so I won't be rehashing every aspect of the game. Here are three points I'd like to make:

1. I've never seen a more egregious instance of one player losing a game entirely on their own in a team sport. Max Hall was beyond atrocious... I think I could have played better and I have the arm of a 10-year old. Five of the six interceptions were just terrible decisions or bad throws (or both), and he just dropped the ball on his lost fumble. My wife has the theory that Hall somehow developed colorblindness and can no longer distinguish red from green. It wouldn't surprise me, because how many times did Max rear up and throw while a Ute defender was right in his grill? He had at least five or six balls tipped at the line. How else do you explain his interception right before halftime, where he threw the ball directly to a Ute linebacker who was all by his lonesome in the middle of the field? 

2. Robert Anae deserves some of the blame here. With BYU trailing 27-24 in the third, and Hall having already coughed up the ball three times, he should have called more running plays. Fui averaged 9 ypc and Unga over 7 for the game; the Cougar running game completely outmatched the Ute defensive front, and to not take advantage of that when your quarterback is obviously rattled is just dumb. 

3. I'm giving props to Brian Johnson for a nearly perfect line, but to put this in perspective, BYU's secondary and linebackers are horrific this season. Slow, unathletic, and not football-smart. We can welcome BJ to the Hall of Quarterbacks Who Torched the BYU Secondary in 2008. He'll have plenty of company. 

Matty Gibb won the prediction contest with a guessed score of Utah 38, BYU 24. He also predicted Collie would rack up 94 receiving yards, very close to Collie's actual number of 104. His Amazon.com gift certificate is on its way. 

Way too many participants believed BYU's defense could hold Utah to under 30 points, and that hurt them. The funny thing is, without Max giving the Utes short fields for the entire second half, it's possible Utah is held to under 30. Unfortunately, the turnovers practically gave points to the Pirates/Utes/Birds, and with how bad the defense is, the offense can't afford to sabotage them like that. 

21 November 2008

Knicks dealing, can the Jazz take advantage?

The Knicks apparently traded Jamal Crawford to Golden State for the discontent Al Harrington earlier today, and now it's rumored they're moving Zach Randolph to the Clippers for Cutino Mobley and Tim Thomas.

Does this mean the Clips are now willing to let go of Kaman? They don't need Camby, Randolph and the Caveman, right? I'm still in favor of a Kaman for Boozer move, or even a Kaman for Okur trade.

Make it happen, Jazz.

19 November 2008

Beck to Harline, 2006

Former BYU corner Quinn Gooch runs a blog named Deep Shades of Blue. Obviously he has some connections to the program, both past and present, and is able to provide fans good insight into BYU football they would otherwise not get.

Today he asked John Beck to post his thoughts about the final, game-winning drive in the 2006 edition of the Holy War. Here's a link to John's take. It's well worth the read. Definitely got me in the mood for the rivalry game on Saturday. 

17 November 2008

It's time

In exactly five days, BYU will play at Utah for the 84th meeting between the two schools. BYU is 10-1, and with their win over Air Force on Saturday, earned their 10th win for the third straight season in a row. The Cougars can earn a share of the MWC title with a win. Utah is 11-0, and looking to secure their second BCS bowl berth in four years. By beating BYU, they will earn their third outright conference championship in fifty years. 

The Holy War: there's no other rivalry in the country like it, and this year it seems there is more riding on it for both teams than most. 

If BYU wins: they spoil Utah's shot at getting into a BCS bowl, and most likely open the way for the Boise State Broncos to get in, instead. They also get a part of the conference championship for the third straight year. 

If Utah wins: they go undefeated in the regular season, obtaining the goal BYU players set for themselves last summer. BCS money and prestige is theirs. 

Who will win?

No idea. The Cougars could win, the Utes could win. The only surprising thing would be for one team to get blown out. 

With the uncertainty, I'm running a Prediction Contest! To enter:

1. Post your prediction of the final score in the comments section of this post. 

2. As a tiebreaker, also post how many total yards Austin Collie will rack up on Saturday.

Example: BYU 27-Utah 24, Collie yards: 132. 

You have to have posted your prediction by Thursday at midnight. Any late predictions will not be counted. 

The winner will receive a $10 Amazon gift card and bragging rights for all their friends and family. 

12 November 2008

Basement-dwellers match up

For tonight's prediction, I chose Kings (3-5) at Clippers (1-6). Californian basketball fans go head-to-head (though I'll bet they all just bandwagon for the Lakers lately) in a game between two underachieving teams. 

Sure, the Clippers are always bad, but this roster is better than 1-6. Baron Davis, Ricky Davis, Cutino Mobley, Chris Kaman, Marcus Camby? That's a decent squad. And they were missing Davis and Camby for a couple games early, so that explains at least two of the losses. And their schedule has been tough so far. Utah twice, the Lakers, and the Rockets... all playoff teams in the West. And the Clips did beat Dallas on Sunday, 103-92. 

Then we have Sacramento. The NBA experts were predicting that Kevin Martin was due for a breakout season, but so far, he's disappointed. Believe me, I know... I drafted him on my fantasy team. K-Mart II is averaging 22 ppg on 45% shooting, while hitting only 1.3 3-pointers a game at a 25% clip. Not exactly Kobe or even a healthy T-Mac numbers. 

Brad Miller continues to age ungracefully; last night he had five (FIVE?) shots blocked and scored seven points on 16 shot attempts. Yikes. 

And when you realize that John Salmons and Mikki Moore are starters for this team, you wonder how they've managed to win three games. I take it back, this team is clearly overachieving at this point in the season. Though claiming victory over Minnesota, Memphis and Golden State isn't exactly an indication that the Kings are ready for the playoffs, three wins is three wins. 

I'm taking the Other L.A. Team tonight. Clippers 93, Kings 83.

2-0 on the week, 5-13 on the season

11 November 2008

Deron's back

Deron Williams is unexpectedly back in action tonight against Philadelphia. I hope he's not rushing things with the temporary departure of Okur, but I guess we'll see. 

It's Deron's debut to the 2008-2009 season, and while I don't expect him to put up ridiculous numbers, I'd like to see a 10 and 6 kind of game from him. 

My prediction for the game, and the night, is Utah 93, Philly 85. 

1-0 on the week, 4-12 on the season

10 November 2008

Thanks, Wizards

My evil plan worked; I managed to pick up a correct prediction last week (my first and only of the period) by picking against the Wizards. Washington fell to the Magic 106-81 Saturday in a game that wasn't close at any time. Hint: when Nick Young is your leading scorer (20 points), things are not going well for your team.

To start off this week, I'm looking at Raptors at Celtics. Toronto is one of this year's darlings, and ranked in the top ten in most Power Rankings I've read. The defending champs are 6-1, but manage to turn the ball over once every five possessions this season, which is a little disturbing.

Bosh is averaging 26 points per game; he's essentially carrying the team since Jermaine O'Neal has been MIA more often than not in 2008. Gee, who saw that coming? KG's numbers are down, and Ray Allen has been stone cold (for him), but the Celtics keep winning thanks to their increasingly well-known defense.

I see Boston winning this game. Kevin Garnett may wear down over the course of the season, but until he does, the Celtics are still a force to be reckoned with, especially at home.

Boston 94, Toronto 89

0-0 on the week, 3-11 on the season

In other news, not only is Deron out for another couple weeks, but Mehmet Okur is in Turkey with his ailing father for an undetermined amount of time. After dropping one to the Knicks Sunday, the Jazz really can't afford the loss of another starter at this point. Their next four games, all on the road, are as follows: Philly, Washington, Charlotte and Cleveland.

Now even without Deron, I'd feel pretty good about the first three games. None of those teams are showing any fire this season, but without Okur, I'm not sure how well Utah will perform. At this point I see them splitting, winning at Washington and Charlotte and losing to Philly and the Cavs.

Come back soon, D-Will.

And for those of you snickering at how poorly I'm doing with my Pick of the Night gimmick, feel free to leave your own predictions in the comments.

08 November 2008

Game of the night

Well, Dallas managed to lose after I picked them, again. While Billups looked pretty bad, Carmelo played well (28 points) and Nene chipped in 19 points. 

Winless on the week, I'm going to lower the difficulty level for myself. 

The winless Wizards are at Orlando tonight, and while the Magic (3-2)  haven't been as good as I thought they'd be this season, they should handle the no-Arenas Wiz. 

Orlando 114, Washington 92

0-5 on the week, 2-10 on the season

07 November 2008

Utes 10-0, now what?

So I haven't bothered to post much about BYU's season these past few weeks. Getting absolutely manhandled by TCU will do that to a guy. Just like that, BYU's hopes for another MWC title and BCS berth all but vanished. 

But Utah's ugly, ugly 13-10 win over the Frogs last night means the Cougars have a chance to get piece of the MWC championship, shared three ways. 

Just beat Utah. 

Can that happen? 

In this rivalry, anything can happen. As I'm fond of pointing out, since 1995, every Holy War has been decided by seven points or less except for 1996 and 2004. That's one heck of a rivalry. Utah isn't head-and-shoulders above BYU, so a win is possible, but it has to be in a shootout.

Utah uses a lot of misdirection and motion in their offense. Our linebackers are not nearly fast or smart enough to deal with that, and the safeties are useless in run support and worse on pass defense. The Utes will get their points. BYU's only hope is to score more, much like the UNLV and CSU games of the past two weeks. 

Can Utah shut down Austin Collie and Dennis Pitta? If they can (like TCU did), it's over. Hall loves those two more than life itself, and if he can't find them, he gets flustered. 

I'd like to believe Anae can form a gameplan to deal with that, and that Hall can follow it if he needs to, but the odds are low. 

Either way, the drama for the Holy War just got ramped up, big time.

Late April comes in early November this year

Last night's Portland/Houston matchup was classic late-season fare... both teams fighting to the bitter end, multiple clutch shots and defensive plays... good ball, even if it did end after 1 a.m., Eastern.

And even though the 101-99 final score means I was wrong on my Prediction of the Night once again, I didn't mind too much.

Thoughts on the game:

1. At the end of regulation, with the score tied, the Blazers had the ball with about twelve seconds left. They call a time out and then inbound the ball to Brandon Roy, who commences dribbling around, 30 feet from the hoop, as seconds tick away. Finally he makes a move towards the hoop, gets inside the 3-point line, and tries shooting over Ron Artest with two seconds left.

Artest knocks the ball from Roy's hands as he goes up, and we go into overtime. My question is this:


This is way too common in the NBA. The Rockets did it themselves with Artest late in the game, and it seems the Cavs ran this late-game "play" three hundred times with LeBron last season.

Please, NBA coaches, try running an actual play in these situations. Draw something up that gets Roy or LeBron moving to the basket, either with the ball or without. Run a pick-and-roll. Drive and kick. Something.

Thank you.

2. Despite Yao's heroics in nailing the tough baseline fadeaway and ensuing free throw, he was terrible, again. The 7'6" Chinese player shot 4-13 and grabbed only six rebounds in almost 42 minutes. Yikes. Oh, and he was stuffed by Joel Przybilla in the first quarter.

3. And despite Roy's heroics, he was terrible, as well. Before hitting those two clutch shots, he was 4-16 from the field. Not exactly scintillating.

4. On the aforementioned Artest attempt to get off a long, contested shot to win the game, he jumped into Roy, who was playing great defense, in an attempt to get the whistle. I was very, very happy to see he didn't get it. Manu and all the other European and South American floppers have ruined the game with crap like that. If you lean into the defender, you created the contact, and if anything, you get whistled for a foul, not the guy playing straight up.

5. Aldridge was great. 27 and 9 on 12-of-20 shooting and three blocks is a fantastic line for any forward in the league, let alone someone who's in his third season.

Before I post tonight's pick, here's some bad news out of Salt Lake:

Williams out four-to-six weeks instead of two as originally thought.

This will put Deron's return at the week of Thanksgiving at the latest, and he's likely to miss the five-game road trip the Jazz have coming up.


But like I said earlier this week, I'd rather have Deron return at 100% and have a great season than return too early and miss even more time.

Tonight I'm looking at Dallas at Denver. The Nuggets expect to play Chauncey Billups for the first time, and it will be interesting to see how he clicks with his new teammates. Will Carmelo benefit from playing next to a point guard who distributes the ball better than AI?

I think it'll take a bit before the Nuggets get comfortable with each other.

Mavs 115, Nuggets 105

0-4 on the week, 2-9 on the season

06 November 2008

The heart of a lion, and the wings of a bat!

Rockets 101, Blazers 92. 

Houston let me down last time I picked them, but not tonight. Yao has been terrible this season, missing at least three point-blank, at-the-rim dunks because he didn't (can't?) jump, so I figure he's due for a breakout game. 

0-3 on the week, 2-8 on the season

05 November 2008

Andrei taking well to his new role

It's only four games into the season, but it seems the Jazz's experiment of using AK as the sixth man is going very well. 

His line tonight against the Blazers: 17 points, four assists, four rebounds, a block and two steals on 5-8 shooting from the field and 7-8 from the line. Not max-money numbers, but let's be honest, Andrei was never worth max money. 

The second team is looking like it'll be good this year. Knight, Korver, Millsap, Andrei and whoever is a solid lineup. How Utah convinced the Clippers to trade them Knight for Hart I'll never understand. 

I didn't get to watch the game, but a win over the Trailblazers without Deron is a great sign. Even if it means I am wrong on yet another prediction. 

Quicky prediction

Last game: Rockets lose, despite me picking them to win. Yao and Artest, while healthy and not crazy, were terrible. 

Tonight's game: Jazz vs. Trainblazers.

Prediction: With Deron, Jazz 103, Blazers 99. Without Deron, Jazz 95, Blazers 110.

At this point, I don't know if D-Will will play or not. I'd rather he wait and come back when he's 100% healthy, whenever that is. If it's not tonight, that's fine. 

Go Jazz! 

0-2 on the week, 2-7 on the season

04 November 2008

Congratulations, President Obama

It's official, Senator Obama has defeated Senator McCain in the 2008 United States presidential election.

I've expressed my disagreement with Obama's policies on this blog and in other places. But right now I promise to support him as he leads the country as best he sees fit.

I believe Obama is a good man. I don't believe he has any sinister motives behind his politics. He honestly believes his ideas are best for the United States, and I can't begrudge him that.

I hope the next four years are great for America. I hope we recover from our current economic woes and a peace is achieved in Iraq and Afghanistan. I hope we are safe from terrorist attack. I hope we can all get along a little better. 

So congratulations, President Obama. We'll be praying for you.

Stupid Mavs

Good gravy, the Mavs are terrible this year. After confidently predicting that Dallas would handle the Cavs last night, Dirk and Co. went out and lost 100-81. And that's without LeBron even playing particularly well. Sure, he had 29 points, but he was 8-20 from the field and only dished out three assists. Not the best he can play.

The Big German was terrible, going 3-11 from the field for eight points. Kidd had only six assists. Ball Don't Lie has a short analysis of what else gave the Cavs the win.

In other news, the Jazz beat the Clippers for the second time in three days to improve to 3-0 on the season. The game was uglier than sin the first half (score after two: 36-35), and well into the fourth quarter the game remained tight. Even though L.A. was playing at home and enjoyed the return of Baron Davis and Marcus Camby to their lineup, they couldn't pull away from the Deron-less Jazz.

Then Millsap showed up. With 8:47 to go and the score 69-64 for the Jazz, Paul reeled off 15 straight points in four minutes. After the dust settled, the score was 84-67, Jazz, and the game was over. He showed some nice moves in the post, hitting a turnound, fadeaway jumper from the baseline, and a spin move. He also drove in for dunks, and was the recipient of some nice passes that he was able to capitalize on.

Final line: 24 points on 8-12 shooting, nine rebounds, two steals and a block in 32 minutes. The more I see this guy play, the more convinced I am that the Jazz would be fine without Boozer.

For tonight's prediction I'm picking Celtics/Rockets. Two of the best defensive teams in the league go at it. Each team has a few stars. The Celtics are the defending champs, but the Rockets have home court. Houston is undefeated and has beaten Oklahoma City and Dallas, while the 2-1 Celtics got blown out by the Pacers last week.

I see this one going to the Rockets. Ron Artest hasn't shown his crazy yet, while Yao and T-Mac are not yet on the DL. For that matter, Artest has looked really good and is definitely a bonus for Houston so far. Paul Pierce has played out of his head at times this season, but I believe Artest can keep in front of him and slow him down. Garnett will have his way with Scola/Yao/Landry. Brent Barry makes the Rockets even harder to defend, and Rajon Rondo has struggled early.

Rockets 89, Celtics 85

0-1 on the week, 2-6 on the season

Why I did not vote for the McCain/Palin ticket

As is obvious, I am not a fan of Senator McCain. I voted for Bob Barr. McCain is liberal-lite, not that likable, and has run a terrible campaign.

That said, I don't spend nearly as much time outlining why I don't like him when compared to the time I spend dealing with Obama. This is because the things I dislike about McCain are fewer in number and less egregious. Also, many problems I have with McCain are exhibit in Obama, as well.

To illustrate an example, here is a political cartoon:Nail on the head. McCain is trying to claim that Obama's programs are socialist, yet the man is far from a conservative himself. Pot, meet kettle. Private profits, public losses is a policy that I hate and I voted against a Congressman here who voted for the bailout.

And as for Palin, I wanted to like her, I really did. I liked the idea of someone who isn't a Washington lifer coming along to represent the flyover states. I liked her address at the Republican National Convention. But then the Katie Couric interview came along and I started having my doubts.

When I first heard she'd tanked the interview, I wrote it off as being due to Couric's questions being unfair or overly complicated. Then I watched it myself. Good heavens, the woman was a train wreck. The ability to speak your mind clearly and coherently is extremely important if you're running for Vice President, in my opinion. Obama's had his rocky moments when off the teleprompter, but nothing I've seen from him compared to that.

And as the campaign progressed it seemed there was less talk about policy from her, less pushing of conservative ideals and more talking about the other guy. You have to be able to stand on your own platform, not convince people to vote for you because the other guy is worse.

As I've said over and over again, on this blog and elsewhere, this election is terrible for conservatives. Where are the candidates who believe that government ISN'T the answer for everything?

Overall, I'm glad the election is over today. In just a few hours we can move on and start preparing for the 2012 election.

03 November 2008

NBA game prediction for Monday

Cleveland (1-2) at Dallas (1-1), tonight at 6:30 Mountain. Neither team appears to be great this season, but it's the most intriguing matchup of an otherwise boring day. 

I read about eight NBA blogs a day, and the consensus about the Cavs is that LeBron's jumpshot is worse than last year (if that's possible), and Mo Williams is apparently resurrecting the role of Larry Hughes. 

And in Dallas, Dirk's numbers are as impressive as ever, Jason Kidd is still handing out assists like candy and stinking it up on the defensive side of the floor, and Josh Howard is scoring 21 ppg on 50% shooting, both career highs. 

I'm going to give this one to Dallas. Unless LeBron manages to find some range and Mo gets back on track, Cleveland is in big trouble playing away from home. 

The Painted Area has an interesting take on why LeBron should be playing the high post instead of dribbling the ball 25 feet away from the basket and how he should be utilized specifically. Makes a lot of sense.

Cleveland 89, Dallas 110

0-0 this week, 2-5 on the season

02 November 2008

One last Obama post

One last shot at Obama and I'm done. If he gets elected, I'll support him as the President, and if he doesn't get elected, he'll fade into irrelevancy. 

From Michael Ramirez, conservative political cartoonist:

As usual, Ramirez hits the nail on the head. Palin gets blasted for wearing $150,000 worth of clothes given to her by the RNC, while Obama's association with Jeremiah Wright, his words about redistribution of wealth, and his voting record go largely unchallenged by the media. 

In a way, I hope Obama wins, so that we can move past the historic nature of having a non-white President and focus on more important qualifications. I believe there are many, many voters who are choosing Senator Obama because they believe America needs a black president. They may not agree with everything he says and does, but their agenda requires them to support a minority running for the highest office in the country, so they'll cast their ballot for the Senator from Illinois.

This is racism, pure and simple. It's exactly the same as people who are voting against Obama because he's not white. 

However, to label all those who do not support Obama as racist is wrong. For me, and for many others, it's ideology, not skin color, that makes Obama an unattractive candidate. I'd vote for Condaleeza Rice if she ran for President. I'd vote for Colin Powell (who endorsed Obama last month). Shoot, I like a lot of what Bill Cosby stands for, and if he ran for a political office, I'd support him, too. 

So let's move past making politics all about race. Let's move past America's history of racism and slavery. The United States is far from unique in this regard; slavery has been more the norm than an oddity in world history. Other countries and peoples have overcome the effects, we can, too. 

If we'll let ourselves. Can we do it?

01 November 2008

What a sports day!

AP Photo

Highlights from this Saturday in sports:

1. BYU beat CSU 45-42. The defense is terrible, the offense is really good, and Hall and Co. made a nice game-winning drive with 1:36 to go. Unga ran for over 100 yards, Hall passed for over 400, and Pitta and Collie had over 150 yards receiving each. Like the mtn announcers said, it's the old WAC days all over again. It's weird to go from "hoping for a BCS berth" to "being glad when the Cougars squeak a win over CSU, but here we are.

2. The Jazz beat the Clippers 101-79. Again, the depth of this team impresses me. Ronnie Price and Brevin Knight combined for 14 points and 13 assists and only one turnover in Deron's absence. Eleven Jazz players scored, with Boozer leading the way (25 points on 12-18 shooting). The offense looked good, lots of movement, lots of easy shots. Andrei racked up 11 points, nine rebounds, four assists, two steals and three blocks. I'm telling you, when he feels needed, he plays very, very well. 

And finally, the Jazz turned the ball over only five times, a team record. Added bonus: three of those came in garbage time, late in the fourth quarter when the scrubs were in. To have two turnovers for the vast majority of a game is unheard of. 

I know, I know, it's the Clippers, but this was an encouraging game. 

3. And finally, Texas at Texas Tech tonight was the best football game I've seen in a long time. Lead changes, game-winning drives, dropped interceptions...  Michael Crabtree's catch and subsequent game-winning touchdown was absolutely incredible. To adjust to the ball, make the catch, break a tackle and stay inbounds required impressive skill. 

I love college football.

Oh, and it looks like my prediction of the night was correct. Two-night winning streak! The Suns beat Portland 107-96, dead close to my 108-98 prediction. Amare was quiet early (a disturbing early trend), but scored 16 in the third quarter to help Phoenix get the win. Nash went for 20 points and seven assists with a single turnover. 

Quick (and abbreviated) Power Rankings:

1. Lakers
2. Celtics
3. Hornets
4. Spurs
5. Suns
6. Jazz
7. Rockets 
8. Pistons

Saturday is a special day...

I love Saturdays in the fall. College football all day and into the night, and NBA games to boot. BYU at Colorado State in progress as I type and the Jazz play at the Clippers later. 

Turns out I got my first correct NBA prediction last night, but it took overtime. The Raptors squeaked out a home win against the hapless Warriors, and almost lost it in regulation. Phew.

Tonight I'm picking Portland at Phoenix. Both teams have looked good at times and not so good at times in this young season. Portland beat San Antonio at home last night by one, and Phoenix beat the Spurs by five in San Antonio on Wednesday. 

I watched most of the Blazers/Spurs game, and Brandon Roy looked nigh unstoppable at times. Of course, he was playing point on offense and had Tony Parker on him, but he was draining long jumper after long jumper at important moments. Aldridge showed more range than I thought he had, draining a 3 in the fourth quarter and then hitting the game-winning shot from 22 feet out straightaway. 

I'm interested to see how Aldridge and Przybilla will handle Amare and Shaq (and vice versa). Will Nash rebound from his seven-turnover performance against New Orleans? 

If Portland was at home, I'd take them. But on the road... and Phoenix wanting to forget their loss to the Hornets... I'm taking the Suns for this one. 

Portland 98, Phoenix 108

1-5 on the week, 1-5 on the season

31 October 2008

The streak continues

I was once again wrong on my NBA Prediction of the Night. But in my defense, a starter was pulled from the lineup moments before tip-off, an event I could not have seen coming. 

Okay, so it was the Hornets' Tyson Chandler, and if I'd know he wasn't going to play last night I would have had Phoenix winning by even more. I mean, shoot, New Orleans played Hilton Armstrong and Melvin Ely at the 5, how did Shaq and Amare not go to town?

Well, turnovers, for one. The Suns lost the ball 24 times, compared to 10 turnovers for New Orleans. Steve Nash had seven all by his lonesome, and Phoenix seemed out of sync all night. Amare only took three shot attempts in the first half, and the Suns kept pounding the ball into Boris Diaw in the post. Diaw did finish shooting 4-of-5, but come on... you've got one of the best power forwards in the game on the floor and you're not using him?

Paul was brilliant, tallying 20 points, 10 assists and three steals, but he did have five turnovers himself. 

And really, that was the story. Phoenix shot 54% from the field and 39% from the 3-point line. Those numbers are usually good enough for a win, but turnovers kill you. 

For tonight, I'm picking Golden State at Toronto. The Raptors are still working on how to use Bosh and Jermaine O'Neal at the same time, and the Warriors are adjusting to life without Baron Davis. I'm picking Toronto in this one... Bosh is too big and quick for Don Nelson's small-ball to contain him. Jermaine may be a walking injury-waiting-to-happen, but he's not down yet. 

Toronto 106, Golden State 94

0-4 on the week, 0-4 on the season

30 October 2008

Much like my intramural basketball team, I am perfect in my predictions

To my (happy) chagrin, the Deron-less Jazz pulled out a win in their first game of the season last night. I was right about the game being close, but I was off on how much scoring there'd be. A few observations:

1. AI looked slow and a bit off. That said, 6-13 shooting and 18 total points isn't exactly terrible. However, I expect at least 25 from him with Melo out, but it appears either Price's defense was excellent or Iverson is aging. 

2. The Jazz showed some good depth. Five players scored in double figures, and everyone who got playing time scored at least four points. 

3. Ronnie Brewer scored 15 points in 24 minutes of play and sat the entire second and fourth quarters. He nailed three long jumpers and looked pretty good... in my opinion, he deserves a few more minutes. That said, there's a bit of a logjam at the shooting guard and small forward positions, and I understand Korver, Miles, Millsap or even Almond getting some of his time.

4. Miles showed promising flashes in the first few minutes of the game, driving in for a ferocious left-handed dunk and hitting a nice cross-over J over Iverson before getting slapped with two quick fouls and not doing much else the rest of the night. 

5. Boozer was great on the boards, great on the offensive end, and terrible on defense. Surprise. To be fair, he did have a nice play where he blocked Martin from behind on a pretty crucial possession in the fourth quarter. I think we know what we have in Carlos. The Jazz will not win it all with Okur and Boozer as their frontcourt. Something has to be done with Booz. I still feel good about the Boozer for Kaman proposal, originally suggested by Matt of lapaube.blogspot.com

6. Collins got a big, fat DNP for the game. That is beautiful. 

The Jazz play the Clippers Saturday and again on Monday. It will be a chance to see how Kaman looks this year and whether Jason Hart is getting any playing time in L.A. 

Prediction for the night: New Orleans at Phoenix

The Suns looked pretty good last night in their win over San Antonio, and the Hornets squeaked a win over the Warriors, 108-103. The Suns didn't go to Amare as much as they should against the Spurs, and I think they'll fix that tonight. David West and Tyson Chandler are decent defenders, but Amare will have his way. Paul will have a great stat line due to Nash's slower feet on defense, but in the end, the Suns will win by 7. 

Suns 106, Hornets 99

0-3 this week, 0-3 on the season

29 October 2008

Jazz begin season

The Jazz start their season tonight vs. Denver at 7:30. They'll be without Deron Williams, who sprained his ankle in a preseason game and will be out for at least these first two games, maybe longer.

Can the Jazz beat the no-defense Nuggets? I like their chances, but depending on how well Brevin Knight and Ronnie Price can run the offense, Utah could drop this one. 

A post of mine over the summer discussed the factors in how good the Jazz will be in 2008-2009... tonight is our first chance to see if Boozer's defense is improved at all, whether Korver's shot has returned, and how effective Andrei will be. 

More than one of my readers has pointed out how ridiculously off I was in my predictions for last night's games... this is why I will never gamble, my friends. I bought the Trailblazer hype and ignored the evidence that Oden is made of glass, while overestimating the effect of Mo Williams and how distracted the Celtics would be. 

So in the interest of showing off my poor predicting ability, I will post my thoughts on one game a night for the entire NBA season. And to add to the fun, I'll track of how well I'm doing over the course of the year. 

For tonight, I predict Utah will lose a close one to the Melo-less Nuggets. The absence of Deron will be too much to overcome, and as he makes this Jazz team go, there will be no joy in Jazz-ville. Allen Iverson, while washing up, is not quite there yet, and if Brewer can't slow him down, he'll go off. An improved J.R. Smith and not-yet tired of the season Kenyon Martin will be enough for the Denver win.

Jazz 98, Denver 105

0-2 this week, 0-2 on the season.

28 October 2008

It's NBA time!

Tonight is the start of the 2008-2009 NBA season, and it's Christmas as far as I'm concerned. Cavs/Celtics tip off at six on TNT, then we get Blazers/Lakers immediately following. 

Beautiful. LeBron, KG, Pierce, Oden, Kobe, Bynum... lots of interesting players and matchups to watch. 

In other NBA news, ESPN's Eric Neel wrote a feature story about Carlos Boozer's family and their son's struggle with sickle-cell anemia. It's a good read. Makes me want to be a bit more forgiving of Boozer's appalling lack of defense. 

Predictions for tonight's matchups:

Cavs beat the Celtics by 8. LeBron wants this one, bad, after last season's exit vs. Boston. And with Mo Williams, he might have enough help to pull it off. The Celtics will be a bit complacent after receiving their rings (with the exception of KG, who will play at his highest capability until he dies on the court one day) and the young kids will get one.

The Blazers beat Kobe by 10. Oden and Bynum will neutralize each other, Odom and Gasol will be their usual soft selves, and Aldridge, Fernandez and Sergio will be too much for The Machine, Walton and Fisher. Kobe will get mad at his ineffective teammates, try to take over, alienate everyone, and start scowling late in the third quarter.

I love this game. 

27 October 2008

BYU beat UNLV... therefore, what?

The Cougars beat UNLV 42-35 Saturday. As it's been almost three days since the game and I haven't blogged about it, obviously it didn't make much of an impression on me.

And why not? I think because after the TCU debacle, BYU's shot at the BCS was gone and I was staring down the barrel of another Vegas Bowl against a bad PAC-10 team in December, at best. 

Today I read a post on cougarboard.com that knocked some sense into me. 
BYU fans have forgotten how to watch a good football game. When BYU scores 40+ points, punts only twice (both times downed inside the 10), doesn't turn the ball over even one time, and wins a close game by picking off a pass in the endzone, that is quality entertainment, and if you didn't enjoy it, you're not a football fan.

This guy's right. I've been getting so caught up in "busting the BCS" and gaining national respect that I've lost sight of what's so great about college football. BYU's offense was clicking, it was a tight, exciting game, and the Cougars won. What more do I want? 

Well, better defense, for one.

But shoot, a win's a win. And if TCU and Utah each lose a conference game, BYU can at least share a piece of the MWC title. 

Then on to 2009. 

24 October 2008

Orson Scott Card takes on the media

I love Orson Scott Card. I first read Ender's Game in 10th grade and confronted my English teacher about why she made us read crap like The Grapes of Wrath when there was much better literature available out there.

I also really like Lost Boys, which contains what I consider to be the most true-to-life fictional portrayal of a Mormon family ever written. 

As an LDS Democrat, he's taken stances I disagree with politically more than once, but I've always respected him. 

My brother-in-law forwarded me a column Card recently wrote for The Rhinoceros Times of Greensboro, North Carolina, about the current financial crisis and the media's coverage of it. I like it so much I'm printing it here, in its entirety. 


An open letter to the local daily paper — almost every local daily paper in America:

I remember reading All the President's Men and thinking: That's journalism.  You do what it takes to get the truth and you lay it before the public, because the public has a right to know.

This housing crisis didn't come out of nowhere.  It was not a vague emanation of the evil Bush administration.

It was a direct result of the political decision, back in the late 1990s, to loosen the rules of lending so that home loans would be more accessible to poor people.  Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were authorized to approve risky loans.

What is a risky loan?  It's a loan that the recipient is likely not to be able to repay.

The goal of this rule change was to help the poor — which especially would help members of minority groups.  But how does it help these people to give them a loan that they can't repay?  They get into a house, yes, but when they can't make the payments, they lose the house — along with their credit rating.

They end up worse off than before.

This was completely foreseeable and in fact many people did foresee it.  One political party, in Congress and in the executive branch, tried repeatedly to tighten up the rules.  The other party blocked every such attempt and tried to loosen them.

Furthermore, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae were making political contributions to the very members of Congress who were allowing them to make irresponsible loans.  (Though why quasi-federal agencies were allowed to do so baffles me.  It's as if the Pentagon were allowed to contribute to the political campaigns of Congressmen who support increasing their budget.)

Isn't there a story here?  Doesn't journalism require that you who produce our daily paper tell the truth about who brought us to a position where the only way to keep confidence in our economy was a $700 billion bailout?  Aren't you supposed to follow the money and see which politicians were benefiting personally from the deregulation of mortgage lending?

I have no doubt that if these facts had pointed to the Republican Party or to John McCain as the guilty parties, you would be treating it as a vast scandal.  "Housing-gate," no doubt.  Or "Fannie-gate."

Instead, it was Senator Christopher Dodd and Congressman Barney Frank, both Democrats, who denied that there were any problems, who refused Bush administration requests to set up a regulatory agency to watch over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and who were still pushing for these agencies to go even further in promoting sub-prime mortgage loans almost up to the minute they failed.

As Thomas Sowell points out in a TownHall.com essay entitled "Do Facts Matter?" ( http://snipurl.com/457townhall_com] ): "Alan Greenspan warned them four years ago.  So did the Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers to the President.  So did Bush's Secretary of the Treasury."

These are facts.  This financial crisis was completely preventable.  The party that blocked any attempt to prevent it was ... the Democratic Party.  The party that tried to prevent it was ... the Republican Party.

Yet when Nancy Pelosi accused the Bush administration and Republican deregulation of causing the crisis, you in the press did not hold her to account for her lie.  Instead, you criticized Republicans who took offense at this lie and refused to vote for the bailout!

What?  It's not the liar, but the victims of the lie who are to blame?

Now let's follow the money ... right to the presidential candidate who is the number-two recipient of campaign contributions from Fannie Mae.

And after Freddie Raines, the CEO of Fannie Mae who made $90 million while running it into the ground, was fired for his incompetence, one presidential candidate's campaign actually consulted him for advice on housing.

If that presidential candidate had been John McCain, you would have called it a major scandal and we would be getting stories in your paper every day about how incompetent and corrupt he was.

But instead, that candidate was Barack Obama, and so you have buried this story, and when the McCain campaign dared to call Raines an "adviser" to the Obama campaign — because that campaign had sought his advice — you actually let Obama's people get away with accusing McCain of lying, merely because Raines wasn't listed as an official adviser to the Obama campaign.

You would never tolerate such weasely nit-picking from a Republican.

If you who produce our local daily paper actually had any principles, you would be pounding this story, because the prosperity of all Americans was put at risk by the foolish, short-sighted, politically selfish, and possibly corrupt actions of leading Democrats, including Obama.

If you who produce our local daily paper had any personal honor, you would find it unbearable to let the American people believe that somehow Republicans were to blame for this crisis.

There are precedents.  Even though President Bush and his administration never said that Iraq sponsored or was linked to 9/11, you could not stand the fact that Americans had that misapprehension — so you pounded us with the fact that there was no such link.  (Along the way, you created the false impression that Bush had lied to them and said that there was a connection.)

If you had any principles, then surely right now, when the American people are set to blame President Bush and John McCain for a crisis they tried to prevent, and are actually shifting to approve of Barack Obama because of a crisis he helped cause, you would be laboring at least as hard to correct that false impression.

Your job, as journalists, is to tell the truth.  That's what you claim you do, when you accept people's money to buy or subscribe to your paper.

But right now, you are consenting to or actively promoting a big fat lie — that the housing crisis should somehow be blamed on Bush, McCain, and the Republicans.  You have trained the American people to blame everything bad — even bad weather — on Bush, and they are responding as you have taught them to.

If you had any personal honor, each reporter and editor would be insisting on telling the truth — even if it hurts the election chances of your favorite candidate.

Because that's what honorable people do.  Honest people tell the truth even when they don't like the probable consequences.  That's what honesty means .  That's how trust is earned.

Barack Obama is just another politician, and not a very wise one.  He has revealed his ignorance and naivete time after time — and you have swept it under the rug, treated it as nothing.

Meanwhile, you have participated in the borking of Sarah Palin, reporting savage attacks on her for the pregnancy of her unmarried daughter — while you ignored the story of John Edwards's own adultery for many months.

So I ask you now: Do you have any standards at all?  Do you even know what honesty means?

Is getting people to vote for Barack Obama so important that you will throw away everything that journalism is supposed to stand for?

You might want to remember the way the National Organization of Women threw away their integrity by supporting Bill Clinton despite his well-known pattern of sexual exploitation of powerless women.  Who listens to NOW anymore?  We know they stand for nothing; they have no principles.

That's where you are right now.

It's not too late.  You know that if the situation were reversed, and the truth would damage McCain and help Obama, you would be moving heaven and earth to get the true story out there.

If you want to redeem your honor, you will swallow hard and make a list of all the stories you would print if it were McCain who had been getting money from Fannie Mae, McCain whose campaign had consulted with its discredited former CEO, McCain who had voted against tightening its lending practices.

Then you will print them, even though every one of those true stories will point the finger of blame at the reckless Democratic Party, which put our nation's prosperity at risk so they could feel good about helping the poor, and lay a fair share of the blame at Obama's door.

You will also tell the truth about John McCain: that he tried, as a Senator, to do what it took to prevent this crisis.  You will tell the truth about President Bush: that his administration tried more than once to get Congress to regulate lending in a responsible way.

This was a Congress-caused crisis, beginning during the Clinton administration, with Democrats leading the way into the crisis and blocking every effort to get out of it in a timely fashion.

If you at our local daily newspaper continue to let Americans believe — and vote as if — President Bush and the Republicans caused the crisis, then you are joining in that lie.

If you do not tell the truth about the Democrats — including Barack Obama — and do so with the same energy you would use if the miscreants were Republicans — then you are not journalists by any standard.

You're just the public relations machine of the Democratic Party, and it's time you were all fired and real journalists brought in, so that we can actually have a news paper in our city.


I think Card makes his points well enough that he doesn't need much additional commentary, but here two of my thoughts:

1. The prevalent media bias is obvious to everyone except those who share the same bias. 

2. I believe being completely unbiased is impossible, but newspapers and other news organizations around the country can do a much, much better job moving towards the center. Simply reporting the facts and digging until the truth is discovered, no matter who it helped or hurt, would be a good start.

23 October 2008

Rats playing basketball

Apparently some Finnish scientists have nothing better to do than teach lab rats how to play basketball. The process begins at birth and is fairly interesting.

By way of ESPN's Truehoop blog:
First, the rat kitten is taught to grab the ball and to find it on the court. The next phase involves coaxing the rat to travel with the ball in its mouth. At first, the distances are only a few steps in length, but slowly they increase. The rat is guided by hand to travel to a particular end of the court, because each rat must learn to recognise their own hoop. The basketball rat teams are established by teaching half of the rats to put the ball in the basket on the right side and half on the left side of the court. How does the rat learn to score? Scoring a basket is not taught to the rat kittens until the very end of their training period. To start, a platform is used to enable the rat to simply drop the ball down through the hoop. Gradually the platform is lowered and the rat learns to lift the ball up and into the basket. Finally, the rat kitten begins to be ready for an actual game with another rat.
Here's a short clip of the rodents in action.

I think I might be willing to pay to watch this.

22 October 2008

Glenn to Fox?

So apparently Glenn Beck is moving his TV show from CNN Headline News to the Fox News Channel.

Bad choice, Glenn. I've been searching for Glenn's thoughts on the move, but haven't found anything yet.

Bottom line, Glenn's credibility as a conservative talk-show host goes up dramatically because he's on CNN. People who normally hate conservative talk (Limbaugh, Hannity) are more likely to give him a chance if he's on a network not known for pushing a conservative agenda.

If it turns out Glenn is going to Fox for more money, boooo. He'll soon be lumped together with Hannity, Limbaugh and O'Reilly as just another right-wing kook who hates minorities and is in bed with Bush. Is that worth some extra cash?

I'm not saying these perceptions are true, but that's the perception for a lot of people.

21 October 2008

I voted

Despite this blog being politics-heavy, I am apparently an idiot when it comes to the nuts and bolts of government.

Exhibit A: I confused members of Congress and Senators while texting with a friend yesterday. (Note: Senators represent the entire state, members of Congress a district within it.)

Exhibit B: I'd been meaning to register to vote for a few months now, but hadn't gotten around to it. Somewhere in the recesses of my mind I was under the impression that the general election was held on November 27 or so. Thanksgiving? Anyway, yesterday Mandi and I went to the county administration building (which is conveniently located about four blocks away) to register.

On arrival, we were informed that the deadline to pre-register had been over two weeks ago, and that in reality, the general election will be on November 4.

"Oh, that's right," I thought.

But the nice lady at the courthouse went on to explain that we could register and vote on election day, or even register and vote that very second if we wanted. There were booths set up in the administration building and everything.

Mandi decided she'd take a voter registration card and vote at a later time, while I decided, "What the heck, I'll get it done right now."

Despite my appalling lack of knowledge about the specifics the democratic process, I had been researching the candidates for several months. The most helpful information regarding local political races came from my daily reading of the Idaho Falls Post Register, and I'd been spending at least an hour a day online reading articles and message board postings about the presidential race.

Without boring you with the intricacies of local Idaho politics (trust me, they are boring), I will tell you I voted for Bob Barr, or the Libertarian party, for president.


1. Economics. Obama's economic plans is thinly (if at all) disguised socialism and wealth redistribution. McCain isn't too far behind, in my opinion. Barr's stance is:

"Every area of federal spending can and should be cut. Entitlements must be reformed and welfare should be cut, including subsidies for business sometimes called corporate welfare. Military outlays should be reduced and pork barrel spending eliminated. Needless, duplicative, and wasteful programs, most of which
have no constitutional basis, should be terminated."

That's the libertarian way. Government should fund roads, courts, police and the army. That's about it. As I blogged about Sunday, I believe private enterprise is far more efficient than the government when it comes to taking care of people in all but a few instances.

2. Energy. Barr is for domestic drilling and nuclear energy.

3. Barr is for major tax reform. I agree that the tax code is far too complicated (almost comically so), and we should seriously consider a flat income tax.

4. The border.

There is no perfect immigration reform. The government must balance security and sovereignty concerns, which necessitate controlling the border, with the economic benefits of immigration. The best policy would be to stop illegal immigrant flows while accepting more of the world’s economically productive who want to come to America.

Very well stated, in my opinion. Meanwhile, neither McCain nor Obama are interested in doing anything with the border, perhaps because they fear losing the Hispanic vote.

5. And then we have the mustache. Way to rock it, Bob.

Now, I disagree with Barr about Iraq and privacy/government surveillance issues, though I can see where he's coming from and don't really begrudge him his positions on these points.\

As I live in Idaho, I realize the state will go to McCain no matter what. Idaho and Utah would vote Republican if Satan were running with an R next to his name. But maybe if McCain gets less of the supermajority he believes he is entitled to from these reddest-of-the-red states, it will send a message to Washington that they should consider nominating an actual conservative next time around.