Saturday, April 29, 2006

Czeched Out

I'm happy to have been wrong. Despite the Rangers administrative changes, there was nothing even resembling the team that accumulated 100 points and was 18 games over .500 on the year to keep the Devils from winning their 15th in a row.

Our long-standing Czech, who missed half the season, was fresh, while their seven ranged from oops
Brian Gionta scored 4:30 into the third period with the Devils' third short-handed goal of the series after a terrible turnover by Petr Sykora, and Elias ripped in his fifth of the series, with 6:39 left to make it 4-1.

to not lasting a minute
[T]hings got much worse [for the Rangers] just 53 seconds in when team scoring leader Jaromir Jagr aggravated his injured left shoulder and was forced out of the game.

Giving up only four goals in four games to a team that averaged over three goals a game during the regular season leaves me cautiously optimistic about playing the winner of Philadelphia/Buffalo, and arguably beyond.

Friday, April 28, 2006

History Lesson

Courtesy of Atrios, this E&P story comes this news (to me) from Peter Beinart's forthcoming NYTimes article (which is in turn excerpted from Beinart's forthcoming book):
Their [Presumably Democrats, though the sentence implies "liberals"] most recent presidents: Jimmy Carter, considered a "failure" in the international field, and Bill Clinton, who allegedly didn't have to do much because foreign policy was "peripheral" when he was in charge.

That's Jimmy Carter, whose foreign policy "failure" was noticed by the Nobel Peace Prize committee. That's Jimmy Carter, who hosted these two men at Camp David. That failure.

And then there's the failure of Bill Clinton, leader of the longest peacetime economic expansion in U.S. history. Guess he didn't do anything on the foreign policy front, such as, say, work on the 1994 cease-fire and the subsequent Good Friday agreement or put any effort in the Middle East, which led to the Gaza-Jericho Peace Agreement, the 1994 Nobel Prize, and follow-on negotiations that led to his own multiple nominations for the prize.

Beinart calls those failures. I guess they compare poorly to the Bush administration having arranged the IAEA's 2005 prize through proving its report:
Where did Iraq's nuclear-weapons programme stand when inspections stopped in 1998?

The IAEA had removed all known weapon-grade nuclear material, i.e. highly enriched uranium and plutonium. Additionally, it had taken custody of all known remaining uranium compounds; destroyed all known dedicated facilities and associated equipment; and monitored all known "dual-use" equipment that could be associated with nuclear-weapons development.

or as the American Enterprise Institute noted:
It's now increasingly clear that the multilateral inspection and verification organizations--the IAEA Iraq Action Team, UNSCOM and UNMOVIC--hampered Saddam's WMD pursuits. And, they provided the clearest insights into the nature of those programs. David Kay likened the Intelligence Community's reliance on inspectors to being addicted to crack cocaine--the point being the IC had grown dependent on the quality "ground truth" information the inspectors provided.

In reading the UNMOVIC report, I was shocked to learn that even now, they have no access to the Iraq Study Group's work or what the ISG is finding. Nor has the ISG requested any information from UNMOVIC, which has a decade's worth of databases--30 million pages--on Iraq's WMD programs.

Meanwhile, as has been reported in the press, we continue to work with Ahmed Chalabi's network, whose information on WMD before the war appears to have been wrong.

Subtle that. As E&P notes parenthetically:
Beinart does not mention that Clinton at least ignored pleas to invade and occupy Iraq.

Apparently, in the world of Beinart, attempting to reach peace (as Carter and Clinton did) is a failure, while ignoring peace efforts is a "script," which he treats as A Good Thing.

There are days I am glad to be aligned with the Democrats by lack of alternatives, instead of by birth, training, or temperament. This is truly one of those days.

And Justice for All?

There are so many things wrong with this story that someone should buy the movie rights:
According to [Connersville Police Department Detective Jason] Richardson, [Michael J.} Templeton, [Christopher D.] Hottman and [Billie J.] Erlewein were told by [Lloyd W.] Ailes that he was delivering a large quantity of crack cocaine from Dayton, Ohio.

So far so good (though we all know the best city for crack is Cincinnati, not Dayton).
Erlewein opened the door and Templeton entered and robbed Ailes at gunpoint, taking one gram of crack cocaine, Richardson said.

Now, if you were told a "large quantity," would you steal only one gram and consider it done? Neither would they:
Templeton asked Ailes where the rest of the drugs were as both men were outside the residence at that time, apparently believing more drugs were in a vehicle.

While I don't know the street value of one gram of crack in the Midwest, the next move is literally priceless
Ailes contacted City Police about 5 a.m. and said he had been robbed, Richardson said. [emphasis mine]

Because the police are always an aspiring drug dealer's best friend. It's about to become a very expensive gram:
Templeton was charged with possession of cocaine and robbery and was lodged in Fayette Jail under $12,000 bond.

Hottman was charged with robbery and jailed under $10,000 bond.

Erlewein was charged with robbery and neglect of a dependent and was lodged in jail under $12,000 bond.

Two children were taken from her residence by the Division of Family and Children Services.

Ailes was charged with dealing in cocaine and lodged in FCJ under $10,000 bond.

Standard economic theory, which tells us that people make rational decisions, may not have applied.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

One to Go

I missed my train last night by a couple of minutes. Standing on the platform to go to Penn Station, there were several people desperately clinging to envelopes with tickets in them.

By the time I got home, it was 8:00, and the game was effectively over. Patrik Elias to Jamie Langenbrunner, and then later Langenbrunner to Elias. Less than ten minutes into the game, 2-0 Devils.

It was certainly the longest New York Minute in history, but never let it be said the NYTimes would not emphasize the coincident:
The Devils scored their first goal 68 seconds into the game and every balloon burst. Jagr, a proud wearer of jersey No. 68, watched his digits take on a whole new connotation.

And the bitterness continues, reducing a matchup of two teams that finished the regular season one point apart to some grotesque David-and-Goliath parody:
As Jagr pondered the Rangers' run of futility, he said his team was lucky simply to have qualified for the playoffs.

He promised to play in Game 4, regardless of the risk, but he said the Rangers should drastically change their expectations. No longer should they think about winning the series.

They should just hope to score a goal.

This is the team with the Olympics-winning goalie, the prohibitive favorite for league MVP, a solid group of Czechs, and a decent farm system.

But the villain, once again, goes without saying:
Sandis Ozolinsh mishandled a pass. Patrik Elias took the puck. He skated down the ice, two-on-one, an arena holding its breath. Elias found Jamie Langenbrunner, and with one shot, the game and the series were basically over.

It wasn't as beautiful as Elias to Arnott in 2000, but it worked. And the chance of Ozolinsh being with the Rangers next year is virtually nil. For all of Jagr's whining, the team will need a scapegoat.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Halfway to Heaven

The Devils will not win 15 in a Row

The Rangers came back and played hockey tonight but speed still kills.

UPDATE: The subtitle is, I think, accurate. The Ranger team that played the second and third periods last night was impressive enough that they should win one in the Garden. In fact, two series come to mind as Must to Avoid:

In 2001, facing Carolina in the first round, the Devils won the first two and then let the Hurricanes back into the series. They won in six, but the injuries from that series--and that it went more games than it had to--contributed greatly to losing the Cup to an Avalanche team they should have defeated.

In 2003, they dominated the first two games of the Stanley Cup finals. Then they lost two multiple-OT games in Anaheim, and the series ended up going seven games.

If the Rangers are still playing in May, this still will be a good series win, but it won't bode well for playing either Buffalo or Tampa Bay in the next round.

UPDATE 2: Berube summarizes the final nail in the coffin as I saw it; E. J. Hradek at ESPN makes an interesting comparison.

Late in the second period, with the Rangers turning some momentum in their favor, they received a huge break. With Grant Marshall in the box serving a double minor, Madden was whistled for hooking. The call gave the Rangers a 5-on-3 advantage for a full two minutes.

Again, the Rangers couldn't capitalize. Without Jagr, they moved the puck around the perimeter without purpose. They failed to get what you would call a "good scoring chance."

Down 2-0 with 2:13 to play in the second period, the Rangers have a full two-minute five-on-three power play and a chance to get back into the gameÂ?and the series. They pass sloppily in the DevilsÂ? zone and turn it over a few times, but manage a couple of legitimate scoring chances, on one of which Petr Sykora hits the post after Brodeur barely gets a piece of his one-timer from twenty feet out. They were just that close to a 2-1 game.

No one will confuse me with a Ranger fan, but Hradek does no one anfavorsrs understating the threat the Rangers presented at the time.

Palace to play friendly in the States

The Eagles Will Land

Ken: "Palace is playing a friendly in Virginia Beach"
Shira: "What's a friendly? And what's Palace?"

Clearly, not all things are revealed before marriage.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

One Down

I freely admit having been somewhat offended by the Sharks loss to Nashville Friday night, but that was without seeing the game. I thought there were a lot of penalties, and the idea that the penalties ecided the outcome--only the Sharks scored at even strength--did not bode well.

I saw much of the Devils-Rangers game, in which all of the goals for both teams were scored on the power play. (Technical exception: one goal was scored 0:01 after a Ranger penalty expired.)

Before the series, the people who saw many more games than I--that is, those whose children go to bed before the middle of the third period--all said that the Rangers couldn't match the Devils for speed. (Only Burnside seems to think otherwise, not bothering to mentiomn any difference in his column.)

The game pretty much demonstrated that speed was the difference. And the Rangers helped the Devils set a team record for power plays (and then kept going).

Most interesting stat from the announcers (ex-ranger goalie John Davidson?): the Rangers did not score a shorthanded goal on the road all season.

Let's go back to Burnside:
[T]he Rangers' power-play and penalty-killing units are more efficient. [emphasis mine]

He does hedge ("That must continue if the Rangers hope to upset their neighbors."), but does this "efficiency" match with reality? Not judging by Game One.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

DSCC Redux

As with some, I was encouraged when georgia10 indicated Harry Reid's response to a lie: calling it such.
Our Minority Leader isn't afraid of using the word "lie." The DNC isn't shrinking from the word "lying." Democrats are fighting back, and they're painting Republicans as the lying liars they are.

It's about time.

So I would expect that the DSCC, which considers Nevada (Reid's home state), Utah, and Arizona "races" would mention something about this. Or that the "issue ad" about John Kyl's voting record might touch on the subject.


Good thing Harry Reid has nothing to do with the DSCC.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

ESPN voters disagree with Burnside

3) (3) N.J. Devils vs. (6) N.Y. Rangers: Who wins?

31.3% Devils in six
20.5% Devils in five
16.2% Devils in seven
13.6% Rangers in seven
11.1% Rangers in six
5.3% Devils in four
1.7% Rangers in five
0.4% Rangers in four

Just under three of four so far pick the Devils. Over 1/2 of those expect them to win the series in MSG (Game Four or Game Six).

On the other hand, all the good tickets are now gone for Game Five and Game Seven, possibly taken by Ranger fans.

I have a nightmare...

I have a nightmare, and his name is Scott Burnside

But as long as Lundqvist doesn't get it in his head that he has to beat Brodeur all by himself, he can make the difference in what promises to be an interesting, emotional series. Given his play this season and at the Olympics, where he won a gold medal, it appears Lundqvist gets it. If that's the case, the door is open for the Rangers to make good on the promise this season suggests.

Maybe I should be buying Game Seven tickets, instead of Game Five?


Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Bring On the Blueshirts!

The Devils will face a team they have never defeated in a Playoff Series

And I doubt I should leave any comments at the blog of a certain Penn State Enemy of the State Professor of Dangeral Studies English Literature (hat tip: Sadly, No!) for the next two weeks.

Two Underdiscussed "Duke Lacrosse" Issues

It's difficult to imagine anything about the incident of the Duke Lacrosse players being underdiscussed, but here are two suggestions:
Defense attorneys have urged Nifong to drop the case, saying DNA tests failed to connect any of the 46 team members tested to the alleged victim.

Nifong has said 75 percent to 80 percent of rape prosecutions lack DNA evidence. According to court records, a medical examination of the woman found injuries consistent with rape.

The idea that lack of DNA evidence alone would be exculpatory is a new one.
[S]chool officials said the lacrosse coach was warned last year that his players had too many violations of the campus judicial code and he needed to "get them in line."

Duke athletic director Joe Alleva said the university's executive vice president reviewed the lacrosse team's disciplinary record last year, then discussed his findings with Alleva.

"He said there were too many incidents, but there's not enough incidents to make a drastic change in the program at this point in time," Alleva told The Herald-Sun of Durham.

Alleva then met with Pressler, telling the coach that "his team was under the microscope, and he had to do everything he could to get them in line and to not have any more behavior problems," he said....

Sue Wasiolek, Duke's dean of students and assistant vice president for student affairs, said the review showed the lacrosse team had a "disproportionate" number of violations of the campus judicial code. None was particularly serious, but administrators were concerned about the cumulative record and the fact that some players had several violations, she said.

I believe this is referred to in SportSpeak as "lack of institutional control."

Monday, April 17, 2006

Enlightenment escapes us

Shouldn't this make Chuck Schumer the Wanker of the Day?

Via an ex-roommate (who may have seen the link at Eschaton), we discover why Joe Lieberman refused to support the winner of the Democratic primary in which he is battling Ned Lamont:
Lieberman (rough transcript, without the verbal tics): I'm very confident about the primary but ultimately I want to give all the voters in the state a chance to say whether they want me to continue to serve Connecticut. [emphasis mine]

Why are the gits who run the DSCC giving this man money? And why would they ever expect that any of us would be foolish enough to think them credible enough to give money to their "Take Back the Senate" effort?

If only the Bankruptcy Bill applied to the Administration...

What happened to the Pottery Barn Powell Doctrine?

Out of Maryscott O'Connor via The Rude Pundit comes the final bell:
The Supreme Court rejected an appeal Monday from two Chinese Muslims who were mistakenly captured as enemy combatants more than four years ago and are still being held at the U.S. prison in Cuba....

Previously, a federal judge said the detention of the ethnic Uighurs in Guantanamo Bay is unlawful, but that there was nothing federal courts could do.

Lawyers for the two contend they should be released, something the Bush administration opposes, unless they can go to a country other than the United States.[emphasis mine]

So we captured innocent people--people we admit are innocent, beyond doubt reasonable or otherwise--but won't take responsibility for them, despite having imprisoned them for four years.

And the Supreme Court is fine with this.

Expect Canadian citizenship applications to skyrocket, espeically for those of us who, with 20 years of work experience in Financial Services and/or IT are preferred.

Pictures from the Long Tail

My eldest daughter discovered the Doodlepad at and has become an artist. The above is called "Zee Water Picture." (Zee for those unfamiliar with him[?], can be found inside the blue area.)

Sunday, April 16, 2006

If Democracy is such a good idea, why not support the elected?

Iran to Give $50 Million to Hamas-Led Government

"We warn that if the aid is cut and if this continues in the near future, this land will witness a humanitarian disaster and the occupiers and their supporters will be responsible," the ISNA student news agency quoted Mr. Mottaki as saying, alluding to Israel.

Oh, really? Can't even keep that illusion into the next paragraph.
The European Union suspended its $600 million aid package and the United States a $400 million donation after Hamas's unexpected electoral victory in January.

Unexpected? Unlike Islamic Jihad, they promised non-violence during and after the campaign, they ran candidates known among the people, and they treated the voters as people who would eventually have self-rule. Only the Armchair AIPACers at the NYT could possibly have not expected the results.

Oh, and about those "16-day" bombs:
Iran announced last week that it had enriched uranium to 3.5 percent, a level of purity that, if enough could be produced, might fuel a nuclear reactor. If enriched to higher levels [something they have not come close to accomplishing], the uranium could be used for making nuclear bombs.

Melissa Fleming, a spokeswoman for the [IAEA] who was in Tehran last week, said a team of technical inspectors was expected to visit Iran's nuclear plants this week.

Everything is proceeding apace. Expect the rhetoric to escalate in late August (Andy Card is gone), with a push into the November elections.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

The Bush Administration does a Good Thing

Johnny 99 was the lucky one

It's a great track, with a poignant opening stanza:

Well they closed down the auto plant in Mahwah late that month
Ralph went out lookin' for a job but he couldn't find none
He came home too drunk from mixin'Tanqueray and wine
He got a gun shot a night clerk now they call'm Johnny 99

But, as with "They'll meet 'neath that giant Exxon sign that brings this fair city light," the reality turns out to be even more pessimistic for Those Left Behind:

[L]ocal residents who claimed that the area had never been properly cleaned and that dangerous material left over from the assembly of millions of automobiles in a plant in nearby Mahwah was endangering their health.

Contractors hired by Ford dumped tons of paint sludge laced with toxic chemicals and other polluted debris in a remote area of Ringwood around two Revolutionary War-era iron mines....

Ford closed the Mahwah plant in 1980. Two years later the federal government proposed adding Ringwood to the National Priorities List, as the list of Superfund sites is known.

The dumping solution led to what an economist would call "unintended" consequences--and the rest of the world thinks of as "not thinking things through":

Some local residents, most of them members of the Ramapough Mountain Indian Tribe, have serious illnesses, including certain cancers and skin diseases that have been linked to the toxins. They also have leukemia rates that are twice the statewide average, according to a lawsuit they filed against Ford in January.

This story has a happy ending (so far):

The company has cleaned the area several times, and in 1994 the E.P.A. declared the area clean enough to be removed from the Superfund list. Once sites are removed from the list, they rarely are returned to it....

For the last two years, residents have demanded that Ford be ordered to remove tons of additional material. New Jersey officials also pressured the federal government to ensure that the area was properly decontaminated.

Ford has already agreed to undertake a comprehensive cleanup of the remaining material. The company, in an agreement with the E.P.A., also initiated widespread testing of the area to determine the full extent of the toxic material that might be dumped there.

It is a rare time when one can say that the Bush Administration has done a Good Thing for the Environment. Let us celebrate this achievement.

Friday, April 07, 2006

First Bryant Park, now San Francisco

Sittin' on the Docking Station of the Bay

If the cost of this project, for a city as complicated to blanket as San Francisco, is even three times this, it's a bargain.
[San Francisco will] begin negotiations with Google and EarthLink, which decided to team together earlier this year (in a bid to "bid to blanket San Francisco with a free wireless Internet") after initially bidding against each other. The companies will pay to build the entire network, which is expected to cost at least $15 million.

More and more, I'm coming to believe that we will eventually treat bandwidth as a Giffen Good.

Business Travel becomes more pleasurable?

Catman Do?

The question of Geographically Undesirable is again redefined:
"Rapture Online," a game Black Love Interactive LLC is set to launch next year, will also have three-dimensional characters, with a lot of attention paid to anatomical correctness. It will feature a networking component similar to that of a dating site, but it won't be necessary to use that feature.

"I'm hoping couples who are in a distance relationship will be able to use this privately between them," developer Kelly Rued said.

Busted for Bussing

...And we're on our way--to jail

Pull quote:
"Don't dramatize this, we are not oppressors," city official Ahmad Lutfi was quoted as saying when asked whether people enforcing the law would be equipped with stopwatches to time public clinches.

Officials in the city were not immediately available for comment.

Of course, the clarification that makes this less of an issue is the last 'graf:
In Indonesia -- as in many other Asian countries -- couples, married or not, rarely kiss on the lips in public. Women often kiss their husband on the hand when saying goodbye in front of others.

So it's unlikely to be a problem for anyone who follows the local customs.