Archive for July, 2006

If you love America, you should read this report

Monday, July 31st, 2006

I refuse to provide any commentary because there is simply no reason to be partisan or ideological here; it is far more productive to analyze the Pew Research Center’s latest report on the political habits and nature of the American people from as many angles as one can derive.

HTML version

UPDATE: Actually, when I originally Googled for this post, I meant to link to this report on media consumption but got distracted by some older studies (the above one was from last year).

CNN Breaking News

Monday, July 31st, 2006

Israel plans to call up thousands more reservists after Cabinet approved expanding ground war in Lebanon, Reuters reports quoting Israel Radio. Visit CNN for the latest.

CNN Breaking News

Monday, July 31st, 2006

Actor Mel Gibson enters rehab following his arrest on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol, his spokesman confirms. Visit CNN for the latest.

NOTE: Due to a technical glitch, this breaking-news alert did not actually appear on the blog until 10:29 PM on July 31. I have adjusted the timestamp to more accurately reflect when the alert was originally published.

Notre Dame ticket bartering

Monday, July 31st, 2006

Okay, I’m posting this on a lark, to see if there are any interested parties reading my blog who would be willing to trade Notre Dame football tickets with me. Please note, I’m not scalping anything. I’m just trying to find a mutually beneficial ticket trade, such that I end up going to the games I want, and you end up going to the games you want. This gets a little complicated, so bear with me.

WHAT I WANT:
* 2 guest student-section tickets to either Penn State or Michigan. This means you would need to be a Notre Dame student, and would need to be willing to wait in line some September weekday morning to exchange and “upgrade” your student ticket to a non-student guest ticket which would allow my non-student friends legal admission to the student section. Don’t worry, they’ll be rooting for the Irish. :)
* 4 non-student-section tickets, together, to either Purdue, Army or North Carolina. That one’s pretty self-explanatory, I think. I want to attend a game with my parents, but not in the student section. I don’t really care where in the stadium, so long as it’s not, like, the visiting team’s section.

WHAT I HAVE TO TRADE:
* 2 guest student-section tickets to Stanford. Becky and I will be out of town that week, and I am perfectly willing to wait in line and exchange our tickets so that you can use them, give them to friends, etc.
* 2 guest student-section tickets to whichever game I get 4 non-student-section tickets to (Purdue, Army or North Carolina). Since Becky and I will be sitting with my parents in non-student seating, we won’t need our student tickets to this game, so again, I’m perfectly willing to wait in line and exchange them so that you can use them.
* Some combination of the following, totalling 4 tickets: up to 4 Georgia Tech tickets together; or up to 2 Army tickets together; or up to 2 North Carolina tickets together. I realize that sounds complicated, but see, I’m in the process of working out another ticket trade, so depending on what you need, I can adjust that trade accordingly. Incidentally, the Georgia Tech game is in Atlanta; all the other games I mentioned are in South Bend.

I realize that nobody, except married students like me, actually has two student-section tickets to trade. That’s fine — I’ll trade for just one, provided I can find someone else who’s also willing to trade away their one ticket to the same game.

I also realize, of course, that people don’t physically have their tickets in hand yet. I certainly don’t have mine. But I’ll be buying season tickets next month, and so will you. We’re talking about trading for the right to ultimately claim the tickets in question.

Anyway… any takers? People potentially interested? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Please e-mail me at bloy [at] nd.edu if so.

Feel free to e-mail me with conditional offers, e.g., “If the game you attend with your parents is Purdue, rather than Army or North Carolina, then I’d be interested in trading my Michigan student ticket for your Purdue student ticket… but I don’t have any interest in an Army or North Carolina student ticket.” Or whatever the case may be. Tell me where you’re at and what you’re willing to trade, and I’ll try to make it all work out somehow.

Accusations, rumors flying regarding ND player

Monday, July 31st, 2006

This post previously contained information regarding an accusation of alleged misconduct that has been made against a particular Notre Dame basketball player.

I continue to feel completely confident in the well-sourced and verified information that was presented here. However, I have recently discovered that a Google search for the first and last name of the player in question brings people to this page. That makes me uncomfortable, because although I was extremely clear that all I know is that an accusation has been made and an investigation is underway, and I have no idea whether the accusation is actually true (just that it has been made), I’m afraid that people who were otherwise totally unaware of this situation are now going to find my post and jump to conclusions about the character of the player in question. That was never my intention. I do not want to contribute to the character assassination of a man who is innocent until proven guilty. I simply wanted to clarify, for my own readers and for people who were already aware of this story from the message boards and elsewhere, what is sourced fact vs. what is mere unsourced rumor. I acknowledged all along that there was a delicate balance between setting the record straight and contributing to a firestorm of spreading unproven accusations, and now I have concluded that the scales are tipping in the latter direction.

To be clear: I am not retracting my original story. All the information contained therein remains accurate to the best of my knowledge, and I continue to believe that I was fully justified, both legally and journalistically, in pubilshing it when I did. I am simply removing the post now because of new concerns about propriety — not accuracy or ethics, but simple propriety — that have arisen in my mind.

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We shall have peace… or not

Monday, July 31st, 2006

A comment by David on the Middle East crisis reminded me, as so many things do, of a quote from The Lord of the Rings. So, after leaving a reply comment, I got out my copy of the Extended Edition of The Return of the King and watched the scene in question — and I found it surprisingly applicable to the current situation. Just imagine either an Israeli or a Lebanese official in King Theoden’s place, and replace his list of Saruman’s atrocities with either Hezbollah’s terrorist atrocities or Israel’s perceived atrocities, and I think this video clip represents pretty well how both sides, rightly or wrongly, feel at this point:


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The same goes doubly for the Israelis and Palestinians. And alas, that’s why I fear we probably won’t have true peace in the Middle East anytime soon… unless, heaven forbid, it’s brought about by the Derbyshire method.

P.S. Bernard Hill rocks.

P.P.S. But, that scene was even better in the book. :)

Israel v. Hezbollah: a different perspective

Monday, July 31st, 2006

Is the Israeli-Hezbollah conflict “a futile little war“? Gregory Djerejian at The Belgravia Dispatch thinks so, and hey, maybe he’s right. Just because I feel strongly that Israel’s reaction is a legitimate and justifiable act of self-defense — and that tragic civilian casualties proximately caused by terrorist human-shield tactics is the terrorists’ fault, not Israel’s — doesn’t mean I’m unwilling to consider the possibility that what the Israelis are doing might, although justified, ultimately prove to be ineffective or even counterproductive. In fact, as I wrote here, I think the whole situation is probably just doomed to get worse and worse, and at best, Israel’s assault on Hezbollah, while unlikely to succeed, is slightly less unlikely to succeed than the even worse alternative of doing nothing. Anyway… the article is interesting and worth reading. Thanks to Aaron for pointing me (again) in Djerejian’s direction.

When katanas are outlawed, only outlaws will have katanas.

Sunday, July 30th, 2006

Alternate title: Sword control means using both hands.

Britain wants to ban swords, especially “samurai swords.” My only question… if I move to Britain, do I get to keep my bokken, a traditional wooden practice katana?

InstaPundit: a J.D. is the new B.A.

Sunday, July 30th, 2006

Glenn Reynolds: “Now that a standard B.A. is worth about what a high school diploma used to be — an entry ticket, and no more — a law degree is probably the closest graduate analog to what a liberal arts B.A. used to be. It’s good for a lot of things besides law. But, like a liberal arts degree, it’s not for everyone. An M.B.A. does something similar, though perhaps a bit narrower, but does it in two years.”

Israeli “genocide” and why it’s Hezbollah’s fault

Sunday, July 30th, 2006

What happened in Qana today is a genuine tragedy, and all humane people mourn the deaths of the innocent civilians killed, along with all of the tragic civilian deaths in this war.

That said, with useless idiots on TV (and, ahem, Casey’s blog) saying that Israel is “targeting civilians” and committing a “genocide” and a “Holocaust,” it’s worth looking at these pictures of Hezbollah waging war from within civilian areas. (Hat tip: InstaPundit.)

When a terrorist group, committed to the destruction of Israel, consistently and shamelessly uses civilians as human shields — and is never condemned for it by the same people who condemn legitimately Israeli military strikes (and occasional, inevitable mistakes) as acts of genocide — what the hell is Israel supposed to do? It seems to me, the Israelis have two options: they can simply sit back and do nothing while terrorists target them, or they can hit the terrorists where they are… which is in civilian areas (by the terrorists’ choice, not Israel’s)… meaning there will inevitably be tragic civilian deaths along with the richly deserved deaths of the terrorist bastards who brought this horror upon their country.

Seriously, what is Israel supposed to do? People who oppose Israel’s actions deny that they believe Israel doesn’t have a right of self-defense; they claim they just want the self-defense to be “proportionate” and kill fewer civilians. But when Israel’s enemies are using civilians as human shields, I ask again: WHAT SHOULD ISRAEL DO? How can they destroy a terrorist enemy that’s camped out in civilian areas without also killing civilians? How are those deaths Israel’s fault, rather than Hezbollah’s, when Israel is just trying to defend itself from terrorists, whereas Hezbollah is consciously and deliberately putting civilians in harm’s way? Please, someone, give me an answer.

CNN Breaking News

Sunday, July 30th, 2006

Israel agrees to suspend air operations over southern Lebanon for 48 hours to investigate strike on Qana, a U.S. State Dept. spokesman said. Visit CNN for the latest.

McCain’s youngest enlists in Marines

Sunday, July 30th, 2006

According to a Time article: “This September, Senator John McCain’s youngest son, Jimmy, 18, will report to a U.S. Marine Corps depot near Camp Pendleton in San Diego.”

This is admirable, in that at least most of those in Congress are of a background that is statistically less likely to have enlisted family, let alone enlisted children. Given the danger in Iraq, it is even less likely — a fact which has (fairly or not) given birth to the label ‘chickenhawk’ to describe those who strongly advocate war but have not served and are not willing to let their children serve. Indeed, Time.com notes that:

While others have signed up for duty — the sons of both Senator Kit Bond of Missouri and Tim Johnson of South Dakota have served combat missions in Iraq — it is nonetheless unusual for children of that background to enlist. By comparison, a recent study by Public Citizen’s Congress Watch found at least 32 examples of congressional family members who were lobbyists.

(Like perhaps Republican congressman Tom Davis’ wife.) So, while I believe that the Iraq war was a misguided adventure by the Bush administration, I at least have to hand it to McCain and his family for supporting what they believe in with more than just rhetoric.

Another Hollywood shocker

Saturday, July 29th, 2006

First we learn that Lance Bass is gay, and now you tell me that Mel Gibson is an anti-Semite? My whole belief system is crumbling around me!

News flash: I am a “mindless crypto-neocon zionist petro-military-industrial complex apologist” and a “redneck reactionary”

Saturday, July 29th, 2006

Casey’s friend Marshall, who periodically pollutes Casey’s otherwise levelheaded and entertaining blog with insane conspiratorial rants about how the American government is responsible for 9/11 and other such nonsense, this morning unleashed the most unintentionally hilarious rant against me that I’ve ever read:

Brendan:
What do YOU think happened?
And what do YOU think is happening?

I’m guessing it’s pretty much exactly whatever Bush tells you happened, and whatever Bush tells you is happening.
You are a f***ing mindless crypto-neocon zionist petro-military-industrial complex apologist and you and all the self-satisfied, smug sheep-in-lions’-egos like you are the reason evil people get away with every lie they tell and innocent poor people are slaughtered mercilessly without even lip-service toward compassion from the so-called “free world.� It’s f***ing redneck reactionaries like you who have the luxury of scoffing at all the “chicken littles� while using those of us on the front lines in New York City as an urban shield while you cornhole eachother and compose crop-swastikas.

I hope you have kids, Brendan–lots of kids. Because somebody’s going to have to go die for Cheney’s kids’ oil, and for Britain’s great Zion in Palestine. Somebody’s going to have to drive a tank made of depleted uranium into Tehran, and Moscow, to pile up naked people and sodomize them with Old Glory’s flagpole. Somebody’s going to have to continue deluding themselves into thinking America is on the side of Freedom and Liberty and Righteousness and defend it against the seething superconspiracy of Islamofascism that will always be there, trying to take it all away. And you’re the best-qualified chump I know of to raise just such worthy cannon fodder.

Commentary would be superfluous, satire virtually impossible… but my brother-in-law Sören, who rarely agrees with me about political matters — except when Marshall is on the other side of the debate — does his best:

That’s right, Brendan, you’re one of those swastika-toting Zionists, one of those redneck elitists who couldn’t care less about small-town America – you CommiNaziAnarchoTotalitarian!

Well, thanks to Marshall, we now finally know exactly where you stand ideologically, politically, socially, economically, spiritually, physically, metaphorically, anagogically, and of course also anthropomorphologically. It was time somebody unmasked you and pulled that lion’s mask from your sheep’s ego!

Frankly I am grateful that such a Truth-seer like Marshall walks amongst us to point out what is wrong with the world, ’cause I sure can’t tell what is what, seeing as I lack the insights that life on the front lines in NYC brings as a privilege . . . or should I say, a horrible burden? We all know that the prophets of Truth have always been scoffed at, sometimes stoned to death, but there is a groundswell that will rise, flood the land with the Truth, until we either decide to float on the tide of Reality or drown in it. You, Brendan, have already thrown away your life jacket, but it is still in reach, and maybe, just maybe, Marshall will be gracious enough to nudge it within reach again, if you just abstain from the sins of your crypto-neocon-zionist-petro-military-industrial-complex-apologist-redneck-reactionary Überlords who have brainwashed you so hard that their ideological soap is coming out of your mouth and blowing bubbles of lies.

Thank you, Lord Marshall, for enlightening us once again.

In other news, paranoia is still incurable.

Heh.

Hurricane season 2006: Hype vs. reality

Saturday, July 29th, 2006

As you may have noticed, there hasn’t been much to talk about so far this hurricane season, which is now nearly two months old. Yeah, there have been two named storms — T.S. Alberto and T.S. Milton Berle Beryl — but neither of them were terribly exciting threatening. Yawn. By this time last year, we’d had a ridiculous seven tropical storms, an absurd three hurricanes, and an impossible two Category 4s — one of which was later retroactively upgraded to a Category 5!

Mind you, having “only” two tropical storms in June and July is actually quite normal… but all the forecasts called for another significantly above-normal season, so normalcy has come as something of a surprise. (It should be noted that normalcy in June and July doesn’t necessarily mean normalcy from August through November. In fact, last season notwithstanding, there is historically little or no correlation between how active/inactive the first two months are, and how active/inactive the remainder of the season is.)

Anyway, with NOAA’s updated seasonal predictions due out on Tuesday, Margie Kieper has a brilliant post about this “Much-Ballyhooed 2006 Atlantic Hurricane Season”:

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