Archive for January, 2006

A good speech?

Tuesday, January 31st, 2006

I thought it was awfully combative, but I’m too tipsy from all the references to “freedom” to have an really well-informed opinion. My sober wife Becky — who’s more of a “swing voter” than I am anyway — writes: “It was inspiring. I went into this speech thinking that Bush was bumbling dumbass and now, I feel he’s doing a good job. His thing on reducing dependence on foreign oil, on Iran and nukular weapons, and on Katrina and rising from the ashes to be something better was right on. The guest worker thing. If the election was tomorrow, I’d vote for Bush.”

More of Becky’s thoughts here.

P.S. What is wrong with Tim Kaine’s left eyebrow???

P.P.S. Fox News (including Newt Gingrich) and CNN both said Kaine’s speech was very good, though. I was more interested in the bag of Doritos than in Kaine’s speech, but I suppose it was good.

P.P.P.S. Lots of less-positive reviews of Bush’s speech in comments.

InstaPundit: “Better than I expected, though that’s a function of my low expectations.”

Daily Kos: “Nowhere near as good or powerful as last year’s (which I thought was his best speech ever). This was, frankly, more of the same ol’.” And: “among the most predictably tedious, warmed over State of the Union performances ever televised.”

Hugh Hewitt: “A great speech, focused early on the crucial issues facing the world … There was great urgency in the president’s speech tonight, and a recognition impossible to avoid that one party is serious about the national security and pressing domestic issues and the other is not.”

Andrew Sullivan: “Bush: C+. Kaine B+. That’s my immediate gut response. I reserve the right to change my mind tomorrow.” (More here.)

Wonkette: “OMG HUMAN-ANIMAL HYBRIDS! BUSH SAYS NO TO WEREWOLVES. HEAR THAT CONGRESS? The man is taking a stand. To repeat: Hybrid cars: Good. Hybrid human-animals: Bad. Do not clone Jack Abramoff.”

A Picture Share!

Tuesday, January 31st, 2006

Too much “freedom”!

UPDATE: This entry originally published itself several hours late and with no picture. I have since adjusted the timestamp; I’ve had no luck thus far with the picture. Stupid Sprint PCS.

Cindy Sheehan to attend State of the Union

Tuesday, January 31st, 2006

Cripes.

P.S. I’ll be too busy liveboozing to liveblog, but Becky will be liveblogging the speech.

SOTU drinking game update

Tuesday, January 31st, 2006

For those who want to play along at home, here are the official rules for the BrendanLoy.com State of the Union Drinking Game. :)

For those in South Bend, remember… Fischer Grad building 27, apartment #2C, starting at 7:30 PM… speech begins at 9:00 PM.

IT Law quote of the day

Tuesday, January 31st, 2006

“Notre Dame, in its own way, is just a bigger form of high school.” –Prof. Flanagan

Alito confirmed

Tuesday, January 31st, 2006

Samuel Alito has been confirmed, 58-42, as the 110th U.S. Supreme Court justice. He will be sworn in later today, before the State of the Union address.

Here’s the roll call. Chafee (R-RI) voted no; Byrd (D-WV), Conrad (D-ND), Johnson (D-SD) and Nelson (D-NE) voted yes. Everyone else voted along party lines.

Meanwhile, there are rumors on the Internets that a closeted gay Republican senator in a “fake” heterosexual marriage will be “outed” soon in retaliation for voting for Alito. (Hat tip: Kos, via Confirm Them.)

UPDATE: Now he’s Justice Alito. Here’s a photo:

At left are Harriet Miers and Professor Kelley. (Hat tip: Alex Talcott.)

Gay cowboys nab 8 nods

Tuesday, January 31st, 2006

The Oscar nominations have been announced. (Text-only list here.)

State of the Union party tonight!

Tuesday, January 31st, 2006

All right, we have a location for tonight’s State of the Union viewing/liveboozing party: Dmytro’s apartment, Fischer Grad Residences building 27, apartment #2C. The speech is at 9pm, but people are invited to begin gathering, hanging out, and pre-drinking, if they so desire, at 7:30 PM. :)

Once the speech begins, we’ll be using the Official BrendanLoy.com State of the Union Drinking Game Rules, which will be a modified version of this drinking game. I’ll be working on the modifications during the day today. Any suggestions are welcome in comments.

Anyway, if you’re planning on attending, or even think you might come over, please comment here or e-mail me at bloy[at]nd.edu. I need to get a rough idea of how many people are coming, so I’ll know how much booze to buy! (I’ll be making a beer run around 5:30 PM.) There’s no need to give me a final, definitive answer — “I might come” is a perfectly acceptable response — I just want to get as much information as possible. Thanks!

Global warming: nearing a tipping point?

Tuesday, January 31st, 2006

The Washington Post reports that the debate over global warming in the scientific community has shifted from whether it’s happening (yes) to whether we’re approaching a “tipping point” at which its effects will become damn near irreversible, at least in the short term. Excerpt:

There are three specific events that these scientists describe as especially worrisome and potentially imminent, although the time frames are a matter of dispute: widespread coral bleaching that could damage the world’s fisheries within three decades; dramatic sea level rise by the end of the century that would take tens of thousands of years to reverse; and, within 200 years, a shutdown of the ocean current that moderates temperatures in northern Europe. …

Scientists who read the history of Earth’s climate in ancient sediments, ice cores and fossils find clear signs that it has shifted abruptly in the past on a scale that could prove disastrous for modern society. Peter B. deMenocal, an associate professor at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University, said that about 8,200 years ago, a very sudden cooling shut down the Atlantic conveyor belt. As a result, the land temperature in Greenland dropped more than 9 degrees Fahrenheit within a decade or two.

“It’s not this abstract notion that happens over millions of years,” deMenocal said. “The magnitude of what we’re talking about greatly, greatly exceeds anything we’ve withstood in human history.”

I must say, the quote from James E. Hansen, director of NASA’s Goddard Institute of Space Studies, saying that a 4-degree increase in the planet’s average temperature would “imply changes that constitute practically a different planet,” is asinine. The planet has gone through much more drastic climate changes than this, and it’s still the same Earth. That said, just because the Earth will survive, and remain the same planet, doesn’t mean our civilization will survive intact. So this is a genuinely worrying business. (Hat tip: A Nun Mouse.) Cue flame war…

P.S. Speaking of asinine:

Some scientists, including President Bush’s chief science adviser, John H. Marburger III, emphasize there is still much uncertainty about when abrupt global warming might occur.

“There’s no agreement on what it is that constitutes a dangerous climate change,” said Marburger, adding that the U.S. government spends $2 billion a year on researching this and other climate change questions. “We know things like this are possible, but we don’t have enough information to quantify the level of risk.”

So basically, we don’t know yet exactly when these things will happen, so that’s a good reason to continue endlessly “researching” but not actually taking any concrete action. If we ignore the problem, maybe it will go away!

The Brits, by contrast, evince the vastly more sensible approach:

David Warrilow, who heads science policy on climate change for Britain’s Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, said that while the science remains unsettled, his government has decided to take a precautionary approach. He compared consuming massive amounts of fossil fuels to the strategy of the Titanic’s crew, who were unable to avoid an iceberg because they were speeding across the Atlantic in hopes of breaking a record.

“We know there are icebergs out there, but at the moment we’re accelerating toward the tipping point,” Warrilow said in an interview. “This is silly. We should be doing the opposite, slowing down whilst we build up our knowledge base.”

Brits 1, Americans 0.

BracketBusters games announced

Monday, January 30th, 2006

ESPN has announced the matchups for the 13 televised “BracketBusters” games that will take place on Friday and Saturday, Feb. 17 and 18. Of particular interest, to me anyway, are Bucknell at Northern Iowa (two teams I’ve picked to win as #14 seeds in recent pools — one successfully) and Buffalo at Iona (Go Bulls!).

The schedule for those games will be announced next Tuesday, according to this article, which gives a good overview of the whole BracketBusters selection process. Also, 37 non-televised BracketBusters matchups will be announced tomorrow.

Illinois Republicans to “dunk” Hillary Clinton at gay bar

Monday, January 30th, 2006

Dude, if I lived anywhere near Bloomington, Illinois, I would so be liveblogging this.

P.S. As you may notice if you follow the above link, Wonkette has a new look and new, uh, wonks (one of whom is David Lat, a.k.a. “Article III Groupie” of the resurrected Underneath Their Robes). But fear not — the lovely Ana Marie Cox, now the ex-Wonkette, will be back tomorrow night, liveblogging the State of the Union.

Myself, I hope to be liveboozing the State of the Union. Political drinking games are the best! (Hopefully Bush won’t say “North Korea” too many times…) But more on that later, if/when I find a good SOTU drinking game and a suitable location for a SOTU viewing/drinking party.

Heh.

Monday, January 30th, 2006

Rich Gallagher, my Weather Channel contact guy, sends along this very funny parody of TWC’s commercials for “It Could Happen Tomorrow.”

P.S. Speaking of very funny parodies… while looking through old computer files over the weekend in Connecticut, I came across my video clip of Billy Crystal’s awesome Oscar intro from 2004. The highlight, of course, is the part that involves Michael Moore and an oliphaunt from Return of the King:


source file

That never stops being freakin’ hilarious, no matter how many times I watch it.

While her loyal sons are marching…

Monday, January 30th, 2006

In a blatant attempt to convince me to root for Pittsburgh in Sunday’s Super Bowl despite how much I like saying the name “Lofa Tatupu,” a bunch of Steelers players arrived today in Detroit wearing green throwback Notre Dame jerseys in honor of Jerome Bettis, the team’s superstar running back (and former Fighting Irish player) who will probably retire after this season.


The Bus and Big Ben.

I wonder if Troy Polamalu wore one? Heh.

Bettis is the runaway media star of the pregame hype, not only because the first-ever Super Bowl of his Hall of Fame-worthy career is most likely his last-ever NFL game — and it’s in his hometown, to boot — but also because he almost fumbled away Pittsburgh’s season against the Colts, a literally heart-stopping mistake that might have delayed his retirement if quarterback Ben Roethlisberger hadn’t made a season-saving tackle. Anyway, getting Bettis to Detroit for the Super Bowl has been something of an inspiration for the Steelers; hence the tribute. But, um, guys? Invoking the magic of the green jerseys might not be the best idea. I mean, it hasn’t worked too well for Notre Dame lately… ;)

In other Super Bowl-related news, Texas A&M is upset over the Seahawks’ use of the term “12th Man,” which A&M apparently has the exclusive legal right to use, notwithstanding that, uh, everybody uses that term.

Personally, I’m just annoyed that the Seahawks beat the Panthers and thus deprived me of the opportunity to make endless jokes about lesbian cheerleaders at the Super Bowl halftime show. :)

Alito filibuster fails

Monday, January 30th, 2006

The Kerry/Kennedy filibuster of Judge Alito has been defeated, 72-25. Here is the roll call. (Hat tip: Confirm Them.)

Votes of note: Bayh (D-IN), Obama (D-IL), Durbin (D-IL), Clinton (D-NY), Schumer (D-NY) and Dodd (D-CT) voted for the filibuster (or rather, voted “Nay” on cloture, which ends debate). Dodd’s little senatorial brother, Connecticut junior senator and my personal political hero Joe Lieberman (D-CT), voted against the filibuster (or “Yea” on cloture) despite his stated intent to vote against Alito on the merits (a perfectly sensible position, I hasten to add). Both of California’s Democratic senators, Boxer and Feinstein, voted for the filibuster, but the Washington senators, also both Democrats, split: Cantwell voted for cloture, Murray voted against it. Surprisingly, Senate Majority Leader Reid (D-NV) joined the filibusterers and voted against cloture; I thought he opposed a filibuster. All in all, 19 Democrats supported cloture; 25 supported the filibuster. One, Harkin of Iowa, didn’t vote. The Republicans were unanimous for cloture, of course, except the two who didn’t vote.

Back in the Bend

Monday, January 30th, 2006

My not-so-excellent adventure is over; I’m back in South Bend, finally. :)

A brief summary of yesterday’s basketball news… North Carolina beat Duke in a women’s hoops showdown between the last two undefeated teams in Division I basketball, men’s or women’s. It was effectively, but not officially, a 1-vs-2 game; the #2 Blue Devils, who clobbered #1 Tennessee last Monday night, never had a chance to rise to #1 because the polls come out on Monday. North Carolina was technically #3 coming into the game, but was really #2 and will now presumably rise to #1 later today, followed by #2 Duke and perhaps #3 LSU and #4 UConn, considering those teams now have better records than Tennessee, which followed up its loss to Duke with a loss to Kentucky, dropping two in a row for the first time in nine years.

Also, our resident Trojan Husky, David, has ample reason to hate Stanford today, and I’m not just referring to the obnoxious band and the ugly tree. The Cardinal beat USC in women’s basketball yesterday and beat Washington in men’s basketball. The latter contest went to overtime after a Stanford player was fouled shooting a three-pointer with 0.2 left in regulation, and hit all three free throws to tie the game.

With a 16-4 overall record and quality wins over Gonzaga and at UCLA set against a 5-4 conference record, two of those losses being at home and all four coming against unranked teams (Arizona, Wazzu, Cal and Stanford; average RPI rating: #78), not to mention a decidedly weak non-conference schedule outside of the Zags, Washington is something of an enigma. The Huskies were #10 in the last AP poll and #9 in the coaches poll, but that was before getting swept in the Bay Area. They’ll drop substantially in the polls later today, and the Zags-Huskies argument is officially over, notwithstanding the small matter of that game in Seattle last month. :) Moreover, while the Huskies probably consider themselves an NCAA lock, they need to avoid further bad losses; they’re just #56 in the RPI. And we all know computer rankings are better than those biased human polls, right David? :) (Sorry, couldn’t resist.)

Okay, I have to go to work now. Adios!