Thursday, December 28, 2006

Top 11 Right Wing comments of 2006 (with bonuses!)

Again, reprinted from AlterNet. I know it's long, but some of these are just too good not to share. My favorite might be Limbaugh's position (taken from personal knowledge, evidently) on how liberalism creates obesity.


The top 11 (in chronological order):
William A. Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights: "Well, look, there are people in Hollywood, not all of them, but there are some people who are nothing more than harlots. They will do anything for the buck. They wouldn't care. If you asked them to sodomize their own mother in a movie, they would do so, and they would do it with a smile on their face." [2/9/06]
Fox News host John Gibson: "Do your duty. Make more babies. That's a lesson drawn out of two interesting stories over the last couple of days. First, a story yesterday that half of the kids in this country under five years old are minorities. By far, the greatest number are Hispanic. You know what that means? Twenty-five years and the majority of the population is Hispanic. Why is that? Well, Hispanics are having more kids than others. Notably, the ones Hispanics call 'gabachos' -- white people -- are having fewer." [5/11/06]
Right-wing pundit Ann Coulter on the New York Times' decision to report on the Bush administration's warrantless domestic wiretapping program and a Treasury Department financial transaction tracking program: The Times had done "something that could have gotten them executed, certainly did get the Rosenbergs (Julius and Ethel) executed." [7/12/06]
Coulter responding to Hardball host Chris Matthews' question, "How do you know that [former President] Bill Clinton's gay?": "I don't know if he's gay. But [former Vice President] Al Gore -- total fag." [7/27/06]
Nationally syndicated radio host Michael Savage: "That's why the department store dummy named Wolf Blitzer, a Jew who was born in Israel, will do the astonishing act of being the type that would stick Jewish children into a gas chamber to stay alive another day. He's probably the most despicable man in the media next to Larry King, who takes a close runner-up by the hair of a nose. The two of them together look like the type that would have pushed Jewish children into the oven to stay alive one more day to entertain the Nazis." [8/7/06]
Coulter on Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., an African-American: "Congresswoman Maxine Waters had parachuted into Connecticut earlier in the week to campaign against [Sen. Joseph I.] Lieberman because he once expressed reservations about affirmative action, without which she would not have a job that didn't involve wearing a paper hat. Waters also considers Joe 'soft' on the issue of the CIA inventing crack cocaine and AIDS to kill all the black people in America." [8/9/06]
Nationally syndicated radio host Rush Limbaugh, blaming America's "obesity crisis" on "the left," "liberal government," and "food stamps": "Because we are sympathetic, we are compassionate people, we have responded by letting our government literally feed these people to the point of obesity. At least here in America, didn't teach them how to fish, we gave them the fish. Didn't teach them how to butcher a -- slaughter a cow to get the butter, we gave them the butter. The real bloat here, as we know, is in -- is in government." [8/29/06]
Coulter on Sen. Lincoln Chafee, R-R.I.: "They Shot the Wrong Lincoln." [8/30/06]
Conservative pundit and former Republican presidential candidate Pat Buchanan: "Look, [Rep. Jim] Kolbe [R-Ariz.] is gay. He is an out-of-the-closet gay. [Rep. Mark] Foley [R-Fla.] was gay. The House clerk who was in charge of the pages [Jeff Trandahl] was gay. Foley's administrative assistant, Mr. [Kirk] Fordham, the New York Times tells us, was gay. You hear about a lot of others. What's going on here, Joe [Scarborough, MSNBC host], is basically these, this little mafia in there looked upon the pages, I guess, as their -- sort of their personal preserve. And it stinks to high heaven what was done. And it stinks to high heaven that it was not exposed and these types of people, thrown out by the Republican Party." [10/9/06]
CNN Headline News host Glenn Beck to Rep.-elect Keith Ellison, D-Minn.: "OK. No offense, and I know Muslims. I like Muslims. … With that being said, you are a Democrat. You are saying, 'Let's cut and run.' And I have to tell you, I have been nervous about this interview with you, because what I feel like saying is, 'Sir, prove to me that you are not working with our enemies.' " [11/14/06]
Right-wing pundit Debbie Schlussel on Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill.: So, even if he identifies strongly as a Christian … is a man who Muslims think is a Muslim, who feels some sort of psychological need to prove himself to his absent Muslim father, and who is now moving in the direction of his father's heritage, a man we want as president when we are fighting the war of our lives against Islam? Where will his loyalties be?" [12/18/06]
Honorable mentions (also in chronological order):
Beck: "Cindy Sheehan. That's a pretty big prostitute there, you know what I mean?" [1/10/06]
Republican strategist Mary Matalin: "I mean, you know, I think these civil rights leaders are nothing more than racists. And they're keeping constituency, they're keeping their neighborhoods and their African-American brothers enslaved, if you will, by continuing to let them think that they're -- or forced to think that they're victims, that the whole system is against them." [2/8/06]
Pat Robertson, host of the Christian Broadcasting Network's The 700 Club: "But it does seem that with the current makeup of the court, they still don't have as many judges as would be needed to overturn Roe [v. Wade]. They need one more, and I dare say before the end of this year there will be another vacancy on the court." [3/7/06]
Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and host of the daily Christian radio show The Albert Mohler Program: "Well, I would have to say as a Christian that I believe any belief system, any world view, whether it's Zen Buddhism or Hinduism or dialectical materialism for that matter, Marxism, that keeps persons captive and keeps them from coming to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, yes, is a demonstration of satanic power." [3/17/06]
Nationally syndicated radio host Neal Boortz on Rep. Cynthia McKinney's (D-Ga.) hairstyle: "She looks like a ghetto slut. … It looks like an explosion in a Brillo pad factory. … She looks like Tina Turner peeing on an electric fence. … She looks like a shih tzu!" [3/31/06]
Boortz on McKinney's hairstyle (again): "I saw Cynthia McKinney's hairdo yesterday -- saw it on TV. I don't blame that cop for stopping her. It looked like a welfare drag queen was trying to sneak into the Longworth House Office Building. That hairdo is ghetto trash. I don't blame them for stopping her." [3/31/06]
Limbaugh discussing a videotape released by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the then-leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq: "[I]t sounds just like the DNC (Democratic National Committee) is writing his scripts now." [4/26/06]
Beck: "Blowing up Iran. I say we nuke the bastards. In fact, it doesn't have to be Iran, it can be everywhere, anyplace that disagrees with me." [5/11/06]
Jonathan Hoenig, managing member of Capitalistpig Asset Management LLC, on Fox News' Your World with Neil Cavuto: "I think when it comes to Iran, the problem is we haven't been forceful enough. I mean if you -- frankly, if you want to see the Dow go up, let's get the bombers in the air and neutralize this Iranian threat." [6/5/06]
Fox host Geraldo Rivera: "I've known [Sen.] John Kerry [D-Mass.] for over 35 years. Unlike me, he is a combat veteran, so he gets some props. But in the last 35 years, I've seen a hell of a lot more combat than John Kerry. And for a smart man like that in a political ploy to set a date certain only aids and abets the enemy, and the Democrats are at their own self-destructive behavior once again." [6/22/06]
Savage: "I don't know why we don't use a bunker-buster bomb when he comes to the U.N. and just take [Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad] out with everyone in there." [7/21/06]
Boortz: "I want you to think for a moment of how incompetent and stupid and worthless, how -- that's right, I used those words -- how incompetent, how ignorant, how worthless is an adult that can't earn more than the minimum wage? You have to really, really, really be a pretty pathetic human being to not be able to earn more than the human wage. Uh -- human, the minimum wage." [8/3/06]
Syndicated columnist and Fox News host Cal Thomas on businessman Ned Lamont's victory in Connecticut's Democratic primary for the U.S. Senate: "It completes the capture of the Democratic Party by its Taliban wing. … [T]hey have now morphed into Taliban Democrats because they are willing to 'kill' one of their own, if he does not conform to the narrow and rigid agenda of the party's kook fringe." [8/10/06]
Fox News host Sean Hannity, two months before the November midterm elections: "This is the moment to say that there are things in life worth fighting and dying for and one of 'em is making sure [Rep.] Nancy Pelosi [D-Calif.] doesn't become the [House] speaker." [8/29/06]
Beck: "The Middle East is being overrun by 10th-century barbarians. That's what I thought at 5 o'clock this morning, and I thought, 'Oh, geez, what -- what is this?' If they take over -- the barbarians storm the gate and take over the Middle East (this is what I'm thinking at 5 o'clock in the morning) -- we're going to have to nuke the whole place." [9/12/06]
Savage: "My fear is that if the Democrats win [in the November midterm elections], and I'm afraid that they might, you're going to see America melt down faster that you could ever imagine. It will happen overnight, and it could lead to the breakup of the United States of America, the way the Soviet Union broke up." [10/13/06]
Republican pollster Frank Luntz on Nancy Pelosi's appearance: "I always use the line for Nancy Pelosi, 'You get one shot at a facelift. If it doesn't work the first time, let it go.' " [10/31/06]
Limbaugh on the Middle East: "Fine, just blow the place up." [11/27/06]
Fox News host Bill O'Reilly (on his radio show): "Do I care if the Sunnis and Shiites kill each other in Iraq? No. I don't care. Let's get our people out of there. Let them kill each other. Maybe they'll all kill each other, and then we can have a decent country in Iraq." [12/5/06]
New York Post columnist Ralph Peters on Iraq Study Group co-chairman James Baker: "The difference is that [Pontius] Pilate just wanted to wash his hands of an annoyance, while Baker would wash his hands in the blood of our troops." [12/7/06]
Conservative syndicated radio host Michael Medved on the animated movie "Happy Feet": The film contains "a whole subtext, as there so often is, about homosexuality." [12/11/06]
Fox captions
Additionally, although these are not examples of specific conservative commentators making outrageous comments, we would be remiss if we did not mention that Fox News made a regular practice of attacking Democrats or repeating Republican talking points in on-screen text during its coverage of political issues. Some examples:
"All-Out Civil War in Iraq: Could It Be a Good Thing?" [2/23/06]
"Attacking Capitalism: Have Dems Declared War on America?" [2/18/06]
"Dems Helping the Enemy?" [5/22/06]
"A Lamont Win, Bad News for Democracy in Mideast?"
"Have the Democrats Forgotten the Lessons of 9/11?"
"Is the Democratic Party Soft on Terror?" [8/8/06]
"The #1 President on Mideast Matters: George W Bush?" [8/14/06]
"Is the Liberal Media Helping to Fuel Terror?" [8/16/06]

Military families and the war in Iraq

Sorry for my recent absence, I am intending 2007 to be a return to the blogosphere for me. And there's no better way to return than to pass along this wonderful, thought-provoking essay about honoring the soldiers who have died in Iraq, brought to you via AlterNet (reprinted from the Washington Post) from Emily Miller of Military Families Speak Out. Her brother is currently serving in Iraq, and the questions she poses at the end are the ones that should be put to the President directly.

Wishing us all peace for the new year.


My brother told me that he takes his oath to defend the Constitution seriously and that he will fight and die if necessary to honor his commitment. When I asked him if he would be offended if I participated in activities opposing the war, he replied that it was not only my right but my obligation, and the obligation of all civilians opposing this war, to try to change bad policy. "Give us good wars to fight," he said. […]
For the record, he believes that the war on terrorism is necessary to deal with real threats facing the United States. He is not convinced of what Iraq has to do with the matter, which puts him fairly well in the mainstream of American opinion.
So it is terribly upsetting to me to hear that some people despair that there is "no point" to their soldier's death or wounding in the Iraq war. America does not have to be right in order for our soldiers' service to have meaning.

What I find offensive is the idea that we have to "follow through" in order to give their deaths meaning post hoc. It is dreadfully apparent from the Iraq Study Group report that Iraq isn't going to have a democracy in any meaningful time frame. Even if this administration does everything perfectly, the best-case scenario is that we might maintain the barest outlines of order.
Victory being out of the question at this point, the only democracy my brother is fighting for in Iraq is our democracy. The only constitution he is in Iraq fighting to defend is our Constitution. If my brother dies, it will not be for a mistake but rather because of his deeply held belief that the time it takes us as a people to figure out through democratic processes that we are wrong is more important than his own life.
This places upon us an obligation. My brother and other service members living and dead have given us the sacred responsibility to use the democratic means we have at hand to bring judgment to bear on whether any given war is worth our soldiers' lives.
Despite the clear results in last month's elections and the grim conclusions of the Iraq Study Group, we are still hearing intransigent rhetoric and seeing unrealistic posturing from some of our leaders. This is unacceptable.
It's not too late for us to honor the almost 3,000 U.S. service members who have died defending the principles of our democracy. It is morally imperative for us to honor our living service members and to do what is demanded of us by our democracy and by common decency. We have taken a small step by changing some of our leadership in Washington, but now it is upon us to follow through at home and demand accountability from our leaders.
What are you, fellow citizens, willing to do to defend our Constitution? Will you dignify the sacrifices of our soldiers? Will you honor my brother's faith in our system? Will you let my brother or others die to eke out a slightly smaller disaster in Iraq? These are the questions we face in the wake of the Baker-Hamilton report.
My brother is betting his life that you are not going to ask this of him. He has placed his trust in the idea that we will not ask him to die for anything less than the necessary defense of our democracy. Reasonable people may at one time have disagreed about the necessity of the Iraq war, but now that it has become abundantly clear from every quarter that we cannot win, will you be responsible for asking my brother to stay?
My family begs of you: Do not ask this of him. Do not ask this of us. My brother is doing his constitutional duty. Now it is time for us to do ours.

Friday, December 01, 2006

NU Re-View: Nebraska 37, Colorado 14

- FINISH WHAT YOU START: The M.O. for this year's Nebraska team was to struggle in the end part of the game to put a team away. In the final act of the regular season, though, Nebraska was able to find a killer instinct and throw the knockout punch once they had Colorado on the ropes.
- TRICKERATION: It's a strange sight when a halfback pass becomes a commonplace thing. But if nothing else, it makes watching the game fun. And the play where Zac Taylor walked away from the line of scrimmage in disgust, then the ball was snapped to Tierre Green, might be my favorite play of all time. I remember reading a Pro Football Weekly article in junior high talking about that play, and to finally see it happen - and work - was a lot of fun.
- MOMENTUM: The Colorado game had no bearing on what Bill Callahan said was his goal the entire season, namely the Big XII North championship. However, he sure didn't coach the game like it didn't matter. Callahan pulled out all the stops in going for the win, which was refreshing to see.

- SLEEPY START: For all the talk of focus, and Colorado coach Dan Hawkins' "rather be a Buff" comment, Nebraska came out pretty flat. It looked like, on both sides of the ball, NU lacked focus and intensity. During Colorado's first scoring drive, it looked like the Blackshirts simply checked out and let Colorado go straight down the field. To their credit, they stiffened after that, but those lapses are disturbing.
- FIELD GOAL RANGE: It was amazing when Jordan Congdon lined up for a 55-yard field goal attempt, that everyone in the stadium knew there was no way Congdon could kick it that far and something must be up. Everyone, that is, except for Hawkins, who allowed Congdon to pooch-punt the ball, setting up the safety that fundamentally ended the game. But how nice would it be to have a kicker that could actually convert that long field goal and not have to rely on that trickeration?
- STARTING FALSELY: One of the hallmarks of Callahan's version of the West Coast offense has Nebraska shifting formations on almost every play. There's clearly value in that, by confusing the defense and making them shift on the fly. However, it seems that Nebraska has yet to master it to the point where they can get set in the new formation and get the ball snapped without a penalty. Sometimes the benefits can be outweighed by a momentum-killing penalty.

Nebraska-Oklahoma, for all the marbles. There's something that just sounds right about that. Sure, it's not the day after Thanksgiving, and sure, it's in an NFL stadium, but it's still the 'Huskers and the Sooners. It's not the best matchup for Nebraska - an injured and reeling Texas team would give NU a better chance at victory - but the renewal of the old rivalry in such an important setting is simply too good to complain about.

The national consensus seems to be that Nebraska is on the way back, but not quite there yet. Almost every review of this game has Oklahoma winning a close game, which for Nebraska is a good thing. A victory for NU means even more positive attention, more talk of Nebraska returning to glory. A loss means the progress gained this season remains at its' current level. Either way, Nebraska has successfully laid the next layer of foundation in rebuilding the program. The work is not yet completed, but it's a lot closer than it was at this time last year.

Nebraska vs. Oklahoma (-4). These are two very evenly matched teams. Oklahoma has the edge on defense, but is a one-dimensional, run-first offense. It will be critical for Nebraska's offense to be able to establish Brandon Jackson on the ground, and to give Taylor enough time to throw. On defense, NU must avoid the poor tackling that has led to big plays being hit against them. In a game as close as this, always take the points. In this case, that's Nebraska, but take the under in this game too.

GBR, baby.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

New Seymour Hersh article

From The New Yorker, 11/27/06

Is a damaged Administration less likely to attack Iran, or more?

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

NU Re-View: Nebraska 28, Texas A&M 27

- THE DRIVE TO KANSAS CITY: I know, it's ripping off from the World-Herald, but it's as good a name for Nebraska's last drive as any I could think of. NU's execution of their two-minute offense (with the help of a timely roughing the passer penalty) will go down in Nebraska lore with the Immaculate Deflection in Columbia and Billy Sims' fumble.
- ALSO PARTICIPATING: Lost in the glory of Maurice Purify's game-winner was the performance of Todd Peterson, who hauled in seven catches for 82 yards and a touchdown. Peterson was the workhorse of the receiving corps, particularly after Nate Swift went down. A special note of congratulations should also go to Dan Erickson, who made a clutch catch to advance the final drive. Generally, when he's been in the game you could expect a run, so it was very nice to see him get into the stat column for something other than a pancake.
- YOU ARE WHAT YOUR RECORD SAYS YOU ARE: Regardless of the underlying problems, sports is a business of results. The entire world would be different for Bill Callahan if Terrence Nunn doesn't fumble the ball against Texas. The same can be said for the results of this game. Even though the flaws that have plagued Nebraska all year (see below) have not really been resolved, a win is a win is a win, and Callahan has delivered the hardware he said he would this year. There's no "yeah, but ..." inscribed on the Big XII North trophy.

- DON'T LET THE DEODORANT FOOL YOU: The Taylor-to-Purify last-second heroics covered up a disturbing sense of deja vu, as the A&M game bore striking similarities to Nebraska's collapse in Stillwater a few weeks ago. As was the case against Oklahoma State, in the first half it looked like NU was in control of the game and should have landed a knockout punch in the third quarter. Instead, mystifyingly conservative play calling and poor defensive execution (which can be traced in part to a lack of focus on the players and fatigue from being on the field the whole second half) just about snatched defeat from the jaws of victory again. It's great that Nebraska won, but there's nothing in this win that makes a fan think the problems are any closer to being solved.
- TAYLOR AT EASE: No one can say that Zac Taylor isn't clutch. My concern is his level of performance when he doesn't HAVE to be clutch. How is it that a guy can complete over sixty percent of his passes when the game is on the line, and yet be under fifty percent at the time when Nebraska is in control, and ready to throw the knockout punch?
- STRONG LEGS GO FOR IT ON FOURTH DOWN, SO WEAK LEGS DON'T HAVE TO KICK A LONG FIELD GOAL: Yeah, I know, it's a stretch. But this has been a point of concern all year in terms of field position on kickoffs. But when Callahan elected to go for a fourth down rather than take a chance on a 44-yard field goal, then we learned all we needed to know about his faith (or lack thereof) in the strength of Jordan Congdon's leg. Having a kicker who cannot be relied upon to kick a 44-yard field goal is a significant weakness in a football team that wants to compete for championships.

The day after Thanksgiving comes again, and for the first time in three years, almost nothing is on the line. Colorado will certainly be looking for a strong end to the season by beating Nebraska on Senior Day and trying to salvage some momentum from a disastrous first year for Dan Hawkins. But even a CU win wouldn't keep Nebraska from the Big XII championship game. This time, instead of bringing hammers (as they did in '04 to "nail the coffin shut" on NU's bowl streak), the best they can do is staplers.

Mission accomplished. Amazing how that phrase, made so famous by President Bush after the "end of hostilities" in Iraq, fits Nebraska's situation. Yes, Callahan and Co. did deliver the hardware they said they would, thanks to a last-second drive that will live forever in Nebraska history. But that final drive shouldn't make Nebraska fans feel any more comfortable about this team's consistent inability to finish games. Enjoy the win, enjoy the trip to Kansas City, enjoy the glory of Nebraska winning again, but do not be fooled into thinking that the order has been restored yet. As we've learned before, "mission accomplished" doesn't mean there's not a lot of hard work left to do.

Colorado @ Nebraska. As the game is the day after Thanksgiving, there's no line, so I can't tell you where to put your Christmas money yet. Colorado does have the 24th-rated rush defense in the country. Unfortunately for the Buffs, that's coupled with the 92nd-rated pass defense. Colorado is currently sitting at 2-9, but they have been playing better as of late. Nebraska is in danger of "mission accomplished" syndrome and not having the focus to be successful in this game. However, it IS Colorado, and after the hammer stunt two years ago it's hard to imagine Callahan not having the squad ready. Nebraska is a superior team athletically, and there's no reason that NU should not win this game comfortably. Nebraska 45, Colorado 17. (You can figure out which way to bet when the lines come out after that. Thank me for earning enough to buy your PlayStation 3 later.)

GBR, baby.

Friday, November 10, 2006

NU Re-View: Nebraska 34, Missouri 20

- BLACKSHIRT REBOUND: Much like after the Kansas defensive disaster, the Blackshirts buckled down and contained a strong Missouri offense. More impressively, defensive coordinator Kevin Cosgrove responded to his linebacker injuries by going to a 3-3-5 scheme and giving the new blood like Ricky Thenarse, Bryan Wilson, and Major Culbert a lot of time on the field.
- MO' MO': As in, more of Maurice Purify. The kid threw for a touchdown and caught a touchdown with a ridiculously exciting leaping catch. When you look at Purify, you are looking at the future of Nebraska football. These big, strong, fast receivers make Callahan's offense go, and there's more coming. Next year, I suspect we will see a lot of Menelik Holt, the same type of receiver, lining up next to Purify.
- CALLAHAN THE GAMBLER: Callahan's offensive game plan was as good as Cosgrove's defensive scheme. The running game was established well, and Purify's touchdown pass was brilliantly set up by the play before, as well as by Marlon Lucky's TD pass against Texas. And the fourth down play-action pass to Phillips in the third quarter was sheer genius. Had the ball been caught, the game would have been over in a romp.

- SHORT LEGS: Nebraska still has a glaring weakness in their ability to kick the ball into the endzone on kickoffs. You know it's a problem when Jake Wesch got one into the end zone in the first half and the crowd cheered like a touchdown was scored. The 'Huskers again gave up significant field position to their opponents as a result.
- SECOND HALF BENDING: At least they didn't break this time. NU missed a chance for a knockout punch in the third quarter, and Missouri's offense got on track enough to make the last minutes of the game somewhat tense. Although it would have been a lot to ask out of players who hadn't seen a lot of playing time (the aforementioned Thenarse, Wilson, and Culbert) it would be nice to see Nebraska put a team away.
- MOVING TARGETS: At the start of the season, the generally accepted premise was that Nebraska would demonstrate progress by winning the North. It was assumed that NU would lose to Texas and USC, and probably drop a road game along the way. As we sit now, Nebraska is right where we thought they would be ... and people are disappointed. I understand the Texas game raised people's hopes and the Oklahoma State game was difficult to watch. But restoring the order is a process, and one Nebraska has not yet completed. Nebraska is on track, but they aren't there yet. To expect them to be a national contender is unreasonable and, quite honestly, foolish.

Up next, Kyle Field, the 12th Man, and one of the most difficult places to play in all of college football. Texas A&M is a team that has been waiting as long, if not longer, for their promised resurgence. Their one point loss to Oklahoma last week will only make them hungrier and ready for redemption. Plus, Nebraska doesn't "need" this game to accomplish their goal of the North championship. The setup to this game looks remarkably similar to the setup for the Oklahoma State game ... and we all know how well that went.

If, at the start of the season, you would have asked a 'Husker fan if they would take being 7-3 and needing just one more win to capture the North title, almost all of them would have jumped at the chance. Nebraska has shown this season that they are moving forward. They are at this point pretty clearly the best team in the Big XII north (although that is akin to being the tallest midget in a room). But it's time to stop the hand-wringing and doom-saying that 'Husker Nation fell into after the Oklahoma State game. The 'Huskers have done just about all we could have reasonably asked them for this season, up to now. Next season, though, expect the bar to be raised again.

Nebraska (-1) at Texas A&M. Road game in the South. Mobile quarterback. Opposing team smarting from a tough loss. Nebraska with "goals intact" even after losing. Sounds like a recipe for disaster, doesn't it? But let's not forget, NU had Oklahoma State beaten in the first half before falling apart. Given the firestorm that created, I don't think we'll see that again. Take Nebraska, lay the point.

GBR, baby.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Molly Ivens on Campaign '06

Good stuff, nice retrospective on the six years that were:


Right to the end, this insane conversation between reality and Not Reailty. The president of the United States STILL says we are reducing terrorism by fighting in Iraq; STILL says we are creating democracy; STILL says we're preventing the spread of nuclear weapons and making Israel more secure; and, shoddiest of all, STILL not allowing that our fallen have died in vain.
The vice president, meanwhile, has announced that, all things considered in Iraq, "if you look at the general, overall situation, (the Iraqi government is) doing remarkably well." And now he's gone off to hunt in South Dakota, thus demonstrating a perfectly balanced sense of reality. South Dakota is so sparsely populated, it's really hard to hit another hunter.
Meanwhile, in case you hadn't noticed, Iraq is in a state of full collapse. And Afghanistan is not far from it. Baghdad is worse off for water, sewer, electricity and infrastructure than it was before the war. The R's have taken care of the whole problem with the brilliance we have come to expect from them -- they have decided to abolish the Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (which has previously exposed bribery, contracts to cronies, shoddy work, lost billions of dollars, the failure to track hundreds of thousands of weapons shipped there and more). You must admit this is big, bold and brainy. This is Karl Rove problem-solving at its best.
This campaign has been like getting stuck in Alice's Wonderland for three months. "There is no use trying, " Alice said, "one can't believe impossible things."
"I daresay you haven't had much practice," replied the White Queen. "When I was your age, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast."
Every time you turn around, you run into the Jabberwocky or the Frumious Bandersnatch -- Richard Perle in penitence -- or some other equally fantastic sight. The great Skywriter in the Sky has positively run amok with irony and has been splashing it all over the campaign like Jackson Pollock. Fortunately, it is not my duty to lend dignity to the proceedings. I do make it a rule to skip talk of sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll -- but when Mark Foley turns out to the chairman of House Committee on Missing and Exploited Children, you know you just have to sit down like a tired dog and scratch for a while.
While this perfectly insane dialogue has been taking place, Congress stands before us so hopelessly corrupt that the stench has washed all over the country. Perhaps my least favorite excuse for cheating is, "Everybody does it." NO, everybody DOESN'T do it. Nor does the system make you do it, or alcohol or drugs or Jack Abramoff. I do not want to hear one more excuse -- apologize and go.
On the other hand, I am really going to miss the stories this Congress provided. Remember Terri Schiavo? I mean, you wake up one morning and there it is, kind of like finding Fidel Castro in the refrigerator. And you listen to these people who do hold high elective office having this debate -- as though they know, as though they have any idea, as though they have any right. And then there are some of the troops, like Randy "Duke" Cunningham, semi-owner of the houseboat "The Duke-Stir." Some days you couldn't wait to get up to find out who'd been indicted. I miss watching Katherine Harris from Florida wear less and less blue eye-shadow as she went through her Senate race.
Well, it's been rank -- racist, sleazy, lying and full of insinuating scare tactics. Thank God it's over.

Friday, November 03, 2006

NU Re-View: Oklahoma State 41, Nebraska 29


- B-JAX: OK, I will admit it, I’m using that nickname only because it sounds a lot like a Mortal Kombat character. But Brandon Jackson has really surprised a number of ‘Husker observers with his performance and his tenacity. I think it’s safe to say that the Quad Squad of running backs is a thing of the past, and B-Jax is the main man.

- FIRST HALF ROAD GAME PLAN: Once again, Nebraska got out to a quick start by running the ball on the road. The plan started well, and then … well, it could have gone better.

- NOTHING: As Monty Python’s cardinals from the Spanish Inquisition would say, “we have three weapons, surprise, fear, and nothing. There is no third thing.” Given the way the game in Stillwater went, I can’t think of a third good thing, either. (That one’s for you, Frank)


- THE SECOND HALF: Yeesh. Once again, Nebraska’s defense got torched. Disturbing similarities to the Kansas game this year, except without the offense able to rebound.

- ZAC TAYLOR: Please don’t get me wrong, Zac has performed admirably in the role he’s been thrust into. But he did not have a good game against the Cowboys, and he’s been struggling a lot, making poor decisions and making poor throws. At this point, you have to wonder if the progress we saw was the peak of his talent.

- HYPERVENTILATING NEBRASKA FAN: It’s truly amazing the difference one week makes. After the Texas game, ‘Husker fan was booking tickets to Kansas City for the Big XII championship and dreaming BCS dreams. After the Oklahoma State game, the same ‘Husker fan was crucifying Callahan and Co. and discussing replacement coaches. Talk about your short memories.


Yes, boys and girls, this one really is the big one. Missouri is coming to town with the Big XII North championship basically on the line. Missouri has struggled all year to stop the run, but also runs a spread offense that puts pressure on Nebraska’s weak secondary. The game sets up a fascinating match of strength-versus-weakness on both sides of the ball, which could make for an entertaining game.


In Year One of the Callahan regime, NU went 5-6. In Year Two, NU improved to 8-5 with a bowl win. In Year Three, the bar was set at winning the Big XII North and playing in the championship game. That goal is sixty minutes and a reeling Mizzou team away. Regardless of the sturm und drang on talk radio this week, Nebraska’s resurgence is right on track … if they win on Saturday.


Missouri at Nebraska (-5 ½). I should have known that banking on Nebraska being perfect against the number would be a jinx. I’ll take responsibility for that one. But this week Nebraska has 85,000 reasons why they should win by at least a touchdown. Thanks to the Sea of Red, Nebraska covers. Take Nebraska, give the points.

GBR, baby.

The Secret Letter from Iraq

At the end, this letter from a Marine in Iraq will make you angry, sad, and proud. Phenomenal stuff, and wonderful perspective on what's going on.,8599,1543658-1,00.html

Friday, October 27, 2006

Horror movies for political junkies

OK, it's fair to say that some of the political ads recently are horrifying enough. But this is an interesting piece about horror movies that will appeal to the left-wingers and the right-wingers of the world.

"What Monster Could Have Done This?"
Horror films for left-wingers / Horror films for right-wingers

NU Re-View: Texas 22, Nebraska 20


- RETURN OF THE HEAVYWEIGHTS: It’s been a while. Not since Nebraska-Oklahoma in 2001 (and maybe not even that game) has a ‘Husker game in Memorial Stadium felt like two heavyweights trading punches. The grey sky, the snow, the muffled thumping of mittens clapping, all felt like the great ‘Husker game of yore. I’m not entirely sure that’s a measure of progress, but it sure felt good.

- JUST WIN, BABY: Judas Priest, no one can accuse Bill Callahan of having a conservative game plan this time. For the most part, Callahan out-coached the Longhorn’s Mack Brown (admittedly, not the greatest of feats) and put an under-talented Nebraska team in a position to beat Texas.

- BRANDON JACKSON: Ladies and gentlemen, we have a starter. B-Jax doesn’t do one thing great, but he does everything well. He brings toughness, speed, elusiveness, power, and decent pass protection. His run off the shovel pass (maybe a defense against the shovel pass was a good idea) was simply amazing.


- ICING THE SHOOTER: Look, coach, I know you called a time out last year and after that the K-State kicker missed his field goal. That was a big one. But it was also 51 yards, on the road. Please, please, please stop with the time outs to ice the other team’s kicker. Texas had a glorified extra point to make to take the lead. Even losing the 40 seconds you lost to “ice the shooter,” Zac Taylor got Nebraska to the Texas 40. Think with those extra 40 seconds he could have gotten NU into Jordon Congdon’s admittedly-small range?

- NEBRASKA PLACEKICKERS: Great teams aren’t necessarily measured by the marquee things. Great teams are made by doing the little things great. Texas has kickers that can regularly put the ball through the end zone on kickoffs. Nebraska’s kickers can’t get the ball past the 10 yard line. As much as anything else, those difference show the gap in talent between teams like Texas and teams like Nebraska.

- DADGUMIT: Given the way this game felt like an old Nebraska-Oklahoma game, it seemed appropriate to bring up a little Barry Switzer-ism to describe Nebraska’s luck in this game. Texas had five fumbles, and got them all back, including one on the drive late in the fourth quarter to take the lead. Nebraska lost the critical fumble late in the game, and then had a hail-mary pass to win with time expiring bounce off Terrence Nunn’s shoulder pads. It’s a funny shaped ball, and sometimes it doesn’t bounce your way. Dadgumit.


Don’t look now, but this Saturday Nebraska has to play Oklahoma State in Stillwater. The Cowboys are in the second year of a conversion to a spread-style offense, which will put more pressure on Nebraska’s suspect secondary. This has trap game written all over it, and Nebraska has to be very careful to come out focused on the road and take care of business to keep a trip to Kansas City in December in play.


Don’t buy that whole “there’s no moral victories” thing. Nebraska’s wide-left loss to seventeen-point-favorite Florida State in the 1994 Orange Bowl catapulted the program to three national championships in four years. Given the status of the Nebraska program over the last few years, many were questioning if NU would ever be able to play toe-to-toe with a powerhouse again. Nebraska did just that last Saturday. The question is one of analogies. Is this like the ’94 Orange Bowl? Or is this like the ’02 heartbreaking loss to Texas in Lincoln that was the high-water mark of the Solich era? Given Nebraska’s success on the road earlier this season, the signs point more to the former than the latter. But a loss in Stillwater on Saturday could turn momentum the other direction.


Nebraska (-5 ½) @ Oklahoma State. I’ve said it before, and it’s still true. Nebraska is still perfect against the number this year. I went against that last week, and led you astray. Not this week. Okie State gave up 24 points to a pretty wretched Kansas State offense, so it appears Nebraska should be able to pound the rock effectively. Look for the same blueprint the ‘Huskers used in Ames and Manhattan, to start quick, get a lead, and grind the game away. Take NU, give the points.

GBR, baby.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Why torture is bad

Never mind the morality of not torturing, of not allowing yourself to become evil to fight evil. Never mind the fact that by torturing, you expose your own soldiers and citizens to that same treatment. Never mind the fact that by torturing, you destroy your perception in the eyes of the world as anything but another thief and murderer using a country's power to amass wealth and prestige. Never mind the fact that by torturing, you destroy your ability to lead.

Torture is bad because it doesn't work. You sell your soul, and you don't even get the safety that you sold your soul for. Here's yet another example.

Can the ‘20th hijacker’ of Sept. 11 stand trial?

Aggressive interrogation at Guantanamo may prevent his prosecution

Thursday, October 19, 2006

NU Re-View: Nebraska 21, Kansas State 3


- POUND THE ROCK: West Coast guru Bill Callahan has clearly made a decision that Nebraska will be a run-first team, specifically on the road. In flashbacks to days of yore, NU ran the ball between the tackles, effectively setting up Zac Taylor and the play action later in the game. The recent running success comes from using the power backs in the stable (Brandon Jackson and Cody Glenn) and getting offensive line play.
- DEJA VU ALL OVER AGAIN: Nebraska win over Kansas State was remarkably similar to last week's win over Iowa State. In both games, Nebraska scored early (although needing a fake field goal against KSU) and ran the ball to hold onto the lead. In both games, the Nebraska defense softened at the end of the game, but not enough to put the lead in doubt.
- THE TURNING OF THE CORNER?: Well, maybe not THE corner, but at least A corner. Nebraska has now won as many conference road games this season as they had in Callahan's entire tenure at NU.


- SECOND HALF SLEEPINESS: For two straight weeks, Nebraska's defense has bent in the second half and given up yardage to their opponents. Once K-State started putting freshman phenom QB Josh Freeman on a bootleg or rollout he became far more effective, remniscient of Jake Plummer. It's hard to argue with wins, but Nebraska's talent level certainly is not sufficient to be able to flip switches on and off.
- MAURICE PURIFY: No, he's not bad. In fact, Maurice's size and speed make him the prototype Nebraska receiver for the future. But why is he not on the field every play?


Earlier this year, Nebraska's game against USC was touted as an opportunity for Nebraska to regain the national stage. The 'Huskers failed to take advantage of that opportunity, although the game plan NU used against the Trojans has been copied by almost every team that has played them since. Now the defending national champion Texas Longhorns (ugh, that's painful to type) come to Lincoln and the national spotlight returns. Is this Nebraska's time to shine?


Boy, don't ever say Callahan isn't a man of his word. Nebraska has pounded the rock all season, even in LA when the effectiveness was at best questionable. This Saturday, NU faces a Texas squad with a dominant, near-NFL caliber defensive line and a secondary now riddled with injuries. Do we see the stubborn Callahan who will pound Glenn and B-Jax into the Texas D-line? Or do we see a game plan that Billy C has been sitting on for just this opportunity?


Texas (-7) at Nebraska. An early kickoff, with a redshirt freshman quarterback coming into his first really hostile environment. A weather forecast calling for mid-30s and rain. A confident Nebraska team looking at a Texas squad who struggled at home with Baylor in the first half. All the makings of an upset, right? Maybe, but not this time. Texas has too much talent on both sides of the ball to make picking the upset a smart play. Cheer with your heart, but bet with your head. Take the Longhorns, give the points.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Can you tell the difference between a Shiite and a Sunni?

Can you? More importantly, can the people who are running the War on Terror? The answer may frighten you, but it shouldn't surprise you. Here's a taste:

Take Representative Terry Everett, a seven-term Alabama Republican who is vice chairman of the House intelligence subcommittee on technical and tactical intelligence. (emphasis added)
“Do you know the difference between a Sunni and a Shiite?” I asked him a few weeks ago.
Mr. Everett responded with a low chuckle. He thought for a moment: “One’s in one location, another’s in another location. No, to be honest with you, I don’t know. I thought it was differences in their religion, different families or something.”

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

NU Re-View: Nebraska 28, Iowa State 14


- RETURN OF THE BLACKSHIRTS: After a week of analyzing the most uncomfortable win in the history of the Nebraska football program, the Blackshirts came up with a big performance against a very potent offense. They held NFL-caliber receiver Todd Blythe in check the entire first game, silencing him in the first half with effective bracketing coverage. They had creative player personnel movements, such as moving Adam Carriker to DT from DE to add pressure on the quarterback. And they actually played a dime package, less than a week after secondary coach Phil Elmassian ridiculed the concept of a nickel package.

- ROAD WARRIORS: Lost in the shuffle was the fact that Nebraska won only its’ third road conference game in the Bill Callahan era. One of the signposts of progress in Nebraska’s conversion is their ability to be successful on the road. Faced with questions and doubts from a scary performance against Kansas, Nebraska went a place they hadn’t won since 2000 and dominated a legitimately talented Cyclone squad.

- THE QUAD SQUAD: Looks like Callahan wasn't kidding when he said that all the I-backs would get equal time. Up until this game, Brandon Jackson was an afterthough and Cody Glenn was suffering from a mysterious post-game hamstring injury announcement. So who would have expected to see those two used almost exclusively against the Cyclones? Obviously, it was a good call, as the two physical backs wore down Iowa State's defense. Once again, Callahan creates a game plan to attack a team's strength instead of their weakness (only one deep pass against a very suspect ISU secondary), but it worked. Now we can have a mathematics test about the number of possible permeutations of Nebraska I-backs in the game ...


- OFFENSIVE CONSISTENCY: Nebraska played extraordinarily well on offense in the first half, including a gutsy call to throw deep as time was expiring in the second quarter. But Nebraska got conservative in the second half, accepting a lot of three-and-outs and not putting Iowa State away when they had a chance. There was not a time where the ‘Clones felt close to taking the game back in the second half, but Nebraska let them hang around enough to leave that door open.

- OFFICIATING: From what I’m told (see below), the officials gave Nebraska a real gift in ruling Austin Flynn out of bounds on a potential touchdown in the third quarter. However, throughout the game the officials made rulings and called penalties without any kind of announcement to the stadium as to what was called. Very confusing and very frustrating.

- HILLSIDE “SEATING”: For the fourth consecutive time, I made the road trip to Ames. Evidently ‘Husker Nation is feeling better about things, because it was a LOT harder to get tickets this time. I ended up having to stand on a hill and watch the three-fourths of the field that I could see. On the plus side, though, my ankles got a pretty good workout standing at a 50-degree angle for three hours.


- INTO THE CAT’S LAIR: Nebraska travels to the Little Apple to take on Ron Prince and the Kansas State Wildcats. Manhattan has been another house of horrors for the Big Red, with Nebraska being winless there since 1996. However, this year’s Wildcat squad is in the first year of transitioning to a new offense, and will have freshman quarterback Josh Freeman at the helm. You all remember Josh “Drama Queen” Freeman, the Nebraska recruit who announced his de-commit to K-State to the coaching staff via text message. Kansas State is 4-2, and a bit of a mystery. They have a one-point squeaker win over 1-AA Illinois State and a fourteen point loss to Baylor on their resume, but also an impressive come-from-behind win over Oklahoma State and a game effort against #8 Louisville.


Nebraska’s performance in Ames makes their defensive show against Kansas look more like an aberration, but it’s hard to put those demons to rest. A strong showing against K-State this weekend will definitely demonstrate Nebraska’s ability to go on the road and play well in conference play. This is always a difficult situation for any team, to go on the road and win a game you should win against a team that is particularly jacked up for you. K-State fans have a special loathing for Nebraska, and the game will be at night allowing some extra lubrication for the purple faithful. As with the Iowa State game, a strong start will be crucial for Nebraska’s ability to control the game.


Nebraska (-11 ½) @ Kansas State. Nebraska has better athletes overall than Kansas State, and K-State is in year one of a radical offensive transformation. The Wildcats are also starting a freshman quarterback in only his second college start. Freeman engineered a great comeback against Oklahoma State last week, but that comeback was necessary because of his poor performance early. Nebraska should be able to move the ball consistently on the Wildcats’ defense and get turnovers from the freshman. Take Nebraska, give the points. And don’t call me a homer, either, Nebraska is 6-0 against the spread this year.

GBR, baby.

James Dobson, not very "evangelical" anymore?

An open letter from Jeff Carr of the Ordained Church of the Nazarene to Dr. James Dobson of "Focus on the Family" on Dr. Dobson's response to former Rep. Mark Foley's resignation, entitled "Dr. Dobson Responds to Liberal Attacks over Foley Situation"

(Situation ... is THAT what we call it now?)


Jeff Carr: An Open Letter to James Dobson
Dear Dr. Dobson,

I've wanted to write you a letter for a long, long time, but until now, it just hasn't seemed like the right time. I waited all last week to hear what you would have to say about the scandal surrounding Rep. Mark Foley (R-Florida); the revelation that he was having sexually explicit conversations with underage pages, and that the Republican leadership in the House of Representatives knew about this for many months (maybe even years) and did nothing.

You see, I'm an evangelical Christian and an ordained minister in the Church of the Nazarene. As you know, we share a common Nazarene heritage that introduced both of us to a relationship with Jesus Christ, nurtured us in the development of our faith, and educated us through their colleges.When I was growing up, you were one of the respected leaders in our church, even though you held no "official position." You wrote books about how to raise healthy children and sought, through your books, to help couples who were struggling with not only raising their children, but also maintaining their marriages in a culture and economy that creates more pressures on families every day. Your message was one of positive suggestions and tips for parents, and encouragement that with some focused effort, and God's help, families could swim upstream and provide the kind of safety and nurturing necessary for health and stability - for all members of the family. At least that's the way I remember the message as a kid.

But somewhere along the way, I fear you have lost your way. Your message of hope has turned into a message of partisan politics. Instead of words of encouragement, your words seem to continually blame someone else for the problems of the world.

I just read your words that were posted on your Web site on Friday about the Foley scandal, and I must say I was very disappointed, but not surprised. While, thankfully, you did condemn the acts of Rep. Foley, you spent the majority of your time attacking "the liberal media," the Democratic party, and gay people - who, according to your thinking, are the real problem in America.Unfortunately, I don't think your statement rings true for millions of evangelical Christians, who believe in the bodily resurrection of Jesus and the plenary inspiration of the Holy Scriptures ... inerrantly revealing the will of God concerning us in all things necessary to our salvation (Church of the Nazarene Manual). Your statement comes across as the same kind of partisan rhetoric that you claim to be fighting. More hubris than humility. More politics than principle.

The problem in American politics is that our leaders have succumbed to a lust for power and domination that is characteristic of the world. Rather than just condemn the acts of a sick congressman, I had hoped you would criticize an entire political system that is held by the vice grip of this lust for power.

This country is hungry for religious leaders who live by the principles lived out by our savior Jesus Christ. Hundreds of thousands of Nazarenes and millions of evangelical Christians are yearning to be identified by our love and acts of compassion. We want to be led by leaders who stand for principles, no matter what the cost may be politically.

The country and the world desperately need to hear "good news," which was the true message of Jesus and is the root meaning of the word "evangelical." Unfortunately, Dr. Dobson, I don't hear much "good news" coming from your lips these days.

I'm not just disappointed in the way you responded to the Foley scandal this past week. For if the definition of evangelical is "good news," I'm afraid you may not be very evangelical anymore for the vast majority of people in this country.

Rev. Jeff Carr
Ordained Minister, Church of the Nazarene

Monday, October 09, 2006

Finding God in the most unlikely places

An amazing part of the Amish school shooting story that hasn't gotten nearly enough attention.

Forgiving the unforgivable

October 7, 2006
Forgiveness is an irrational act.

Biblical texts and self-help books attempt to make it seem less so. They tell you that you can forgive the act without condoning the action. They tell you that you should forgive because doing so leavens a burdened heart, which sounds reasonable, until the time comes to put it to the test. Can there be any greater test than struggling to forgive the brutal murder of a child?

In the days since the killings in a schoolhouse in Nickel Mines, Pa., the tone from the grieving Amish community has been not of despair or revenge, but of forgiveness.A relative of 13-year-old Marian Fisher, one of the children shot by Charles Carl Roberts, 32, extended an invitation to Roberts' widow to attend the girl's funeral.

The Amish woman told a reporter, "It's our Christian love to show to her we have not any grudges against her."Another Amish woman told NBC News, "Tell the world that we are grateful for its prayers, but also remember to pray for the gunman's family."An Amish man told The New York Times that he had shaken hands with Roberts' father-in-law after Monday's killings. "I think it's helping him to meet people, too, and see that there's no grudge," the Amish man said. "How could you hold a grudge against the wife, the family?"

The Amish, who don't believe in asking for donations, have set up a college fund for Roberts' three children.But is that so surprising? After all, the Amish aim to lead a simple and godly life, governed by the biblical principles of loving their enemies and not responding to violence with violence.

Still, anyone who has ever set out on the winding road to forgiveness knows it is easier to talk the talk than to walk the walk. This week the Amish have offered all of us a superb lesson on how to make the talk and the walk intersect.
Copyright © 2006, Chicago Tribune

Thursday, October 05, 2006

NU Re-View: Nebraska 39, Kansas 32 (OT)

Apologies for skipping a week, although evidently the Blackshirts were thinking along the same line last Saturday.


- THE BETTER TEAM LOST: I know it doesn’t sound right, but it makes sense. A wise man once told me that the creation of the Big XII would make the conference look more like the NFL and less like college football. Teams will beat each other up, and you will have one, or two, or three-loss teams competing for the conference crown. Winning the conference doesn’t require looking pretty to pollsters, it just requires wins. That’s what Nebraska got on Saturday.

- HEART, HEART, HEART: This one isn’t limited to just Nebraska. Both teams showed incredible resiliency in coming back from deficits. In the third and fourth quarter, Kansas crept closer and closer, and with a sense of inevitability took the lead. That was a point where a lesser team could have folded the tents and given up. Instead, Nebraska struck back with a 75-yard strike to Franz Hardy. The tent-folding opportunity then went to the Jayhawks, who responded with an 11-play, 81-yard drive to tie the game again. The end of the game was a prizefight, punch and counterpunch, with Nebraska fortunate to come on top.

- AN EXTRA 5,000: I know the Blackshirts said the crowd noise was a problem for them. But it looked like it was a problem for KU as well, especially in overtime. The new seats in the North Stadium really make that end deafening. I sit in the South Stadium, and even from that distance the noise – and the effect on an opposing team – was clear.


- THE BETTER TEAM LOST: Kansas outplayed Nebraska. NU scored early, and got two turnovers from Kansas inside the Nebraska 5 yard line. Kansas had three long, march-down-the-field drives. Kansas stifled Nebraska’s offense from the second quarter through the end of the fourth quarter. Make no mistake, Kansas as a football program has improved. But to see the Jayhawks outperform the ‘Huskers in Lincoln – and with a backup quarterback, no less – is cause for concern.

- DEFENSIVE COACHING MINDSET: Bill Callahan and his staff have been called many names, but one of the more disturbing trends over the last 2 years and change has been a marked arrogance in game plans. Defensive Coordinator Kevin Cosgrove’s responses to the Blackshirts’ performance against KU added to that perception. Cosgrove said they played soft around the line of scrimmage to prevent KU’s success with the shovel pass. Seriously, a game plan built around stopping the shovel pass? Is that why there was no pass rush? No significant blitzing until late in the game?

- THE FIGHTING MANGINOS: Remember when Kansas was the afterthought in Nebraska’s football conference season? This is now three years in a row where Mark Mangino’s Jayhawk club has given Nebraska fits. We all remember (no matter how hard we try to forget) the 40-15 debacle in Lawrence last year, but let’s not forget that two years ago Kansas had a pass in the air on the final play to win the game.


- QUESTIONS, QUESTIONS, EVERYWHERE QUESTIONS: So who is this Nebraska team we're watching? Is it one that got shredded by backup KU quarterback Adam Barmann? Is it the one that played valiantly against a much superior USC squad? Is it the one that dominated lesser foes like Louisiana Tech and Troy? We are now five games into this season, and I know less about this group of 'Huskers than I did at the start of the season.


There has been much weeping and gnashing of teeth in ‘Husker Nation about the Kansas game. Could it be possible that the dominant Nebraska team against Louisiana Tech and Troy was just an illusion, and Nebraska is only good enough to squeak by Kansas? Or was last Saturday an aberration, another example of Cosgrove trying to get cute with his game plan (remember rushing only three against Texas Tech? That worked well.) and getting burned by it. Quite honestly, at this point there’s not enough evidence to tell. The jury is still out on the status of The Order.


NEBRASKA (-6 ½) AT IOWA STATE. Ah, Jack Trice Stadium, one of Nebraska’s new house of horrors. The ‘Huskers have not beaten the Cyclones in Ames since 2000. But Iowa State comes into this game with just as many questions as Nebraska. Last week, Cyclone fans had to hold their breath watching a Northern Iowa field goal attempt sail wide to preserve a victory. Iowa State’s defense, particularly their pass defense, has been suspect all year. Barring a game-plan decision by Nebraska to run the ball 60 times this Saturday (don’t laugh, it’s not out of the realm of possibility) Nebraska should be able to move the ball enough to outlast the ‘Clones. Take the ‘Huskers, give the points.

GBR, baby.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

What waterboarding looks like

In case you were wondering. This is what the President wants to do to people in your name.

Friday, September 22, 2006

NU Re-View: USC 28, Nebraska 10

Sorry for the delay, recovery took longer than expected.


- THE POINT SPREAD: Hey, at least Nebraska made sure USC didn’t cover. Still a little sad to think that the ‘Husker program is still at a place where that is a “good.”

- NEBRASKA’S RESILIENCY: On a serious note, you can tell a lot about a football team by the way they play late in the game when they are losing. I didn’t see any quit at all from the boys in Scarlet and Cream. What that tells me is that the team really has bought into the coach. And that is progress.

- THE NATIONAL RESPONSE: This game really was a measuring stick for the national perspective of the Nebraska program under Bill Callahan. National perspective in college football matters, both for recruiting and for poll rankings. A Texas Tech-style blowout would have set the program back two years. But when ESPN’s noted ‘Husker-basher Mark May says NU is “on the right track” after analyzing the game, then no damage was done.

- TORNADO’S TIMING: In the third quarter, a tornado was sighted within about 10 miles of my house, and I ended up under the staircase in the basement for about a half hour. After Marlon Lucky’s fumble on Nebraska’s first possession of the second half, I wanted to go there anyway, so it was nice to have an excuse.


- NEBRASKA’S SECONDARY: I know, Captain Obvious strikes again. But the real turning point in the game was Nebraska’s inability to handle USC’s receivers. Nebraska did pretty well in handling USC’s running game. But whenever they needed yardage, it was right there for the taking. I was a little surprised I didn’t see more safety help, particularly against Jarrett, but it’s hard to tell on TV if it was there or not.

- THE GAME PLAN: While I suspect there was a method behind the madness, it was very frustrating to see a game where the score was close and Nebraska not take the reins off a passing attack that looked very crisp and efficient earlier in the season. I understand the competition, and I think I understand the reason why, but it’s still frustrating.

- LAY OFF POOR ANDRE, GUYS: Yes, Andre Jones made a guarantee of sorts that Nebraska would beat USC. Yes, he got torched on Jarrett’s first touchdown. But really, ABC/ESPN, was it necessary to mention that guarantee EVERY time number 25 in red showed up on the screen? We get it already, move on.


- TROJANS PART TWO: This Saturday, the OTHER men of Troy come to Lincoln with a new spread offense, and an increase in talent level and confidence. Troy led Florida State in the fourth quarter, and was right there with Georgia Tech until fourth quarter turnovers allowed the Yellowjackets to pull away. Plus, Troy’s spread offense with emphasis on quick passing takes away the Blackshirts’ strength (pass rush from the front seven) and into their weakness (coverage in the secondary). This is a dangerous, dangerous game for Nebraska if they are at all not in the proper mindset.


This game was billed as a measuring stick for Nebraska, and it was. We now know that Nebraska is not in the same league, talent-wise, as USC. That’s a bitter pill to swallow, but it’s clearly the truth. I think Callahan knew that as well, and knew that the only thing that would be harmful from this game was a blowout. That’s why he “pounded the rock” so much, even though it clearly wasn’t working. I think Callahan’s thought process was to “take the air out of the ball,” run the ball and keep the clock moving, and by doing so keep the game close into the fourth quarter and hope for the best. If he puts the ball in the air a bunch in the first half, and gets turned over or quick three-and-outs, then USC could get an early 14 or 21 point lead and cruise to a blowout. As I said, while it was frustrating to watch, I understand why he did that, and I really don’t have a problem with it. But I suspect Zac Taylor will throw the ball more than 16 times against Troy.


Troy (+18) @ Nebraska. Yeesh, that’s a lot of points. The Trojans lost by seven at Florida State and by 15 at Georgia Tech. They have an offense that plays into Nebraska’s weakness. There’s a lot of reasons to take the points in this game. But Nebraska’s going to have something to prove after coming home from the Coliseum. More on instinct than on smart playing, I’ll take Nebraska and give the points.

GBR, baby.

More from Olbermann

After MSNBC fired Jonathan Alter, I'm wondering if Keith is putting these out in greater number just to get as many in before he gets the axe, too.
Bush owes us an apology

The President of the United States owes this country an apology.

It will not be offered, of course.

He does not realize its necessity.

There are now none around him who would tell him or could.

The last of them, it appears, was the very man whose letter provoked the President into the conduct, for which the apology is essential.

An apology is this President's only hope of regaining the slightest measure of confidence, of what has been, for nearly two years, a clear majority of his people.

Not "confidence" in his policies nor in his designs nor even in something as narrowly focused as which vision of torture shall prevail -- his, or that of the man who has sent him into apoplexy, Colin Powell.

In a larger sense, the President needs to regain our confidence, that he has some basic understanding of what this country represents -- of what it must maintain if we are to defeat not only terrorists, but if we are also to defeat what is ever more increasingly apparent, as an attempt to re-define the way we live here, and what we mean, when we say the word "freedom."

Because it is evident now that, if not its architect, this President intends to be the contractor, for this narrowing of the definition of freedom.

The President revealed this last Friday, as he fairly spat through his teeth, words of unrestrained fury directed at the man who was once the very symbol of his administration, who was once an ambassador from this administration to its critics, as he had once been an ambassador from the military to its critics.

The former Secretary of State, Mr. Powell, had written, simply and candidly and without anger, that "the world is beginning to doubt the moral basis of our fight against terrorism."

This President's response included not merely what is apparently the Presidential equivalent of threatening to hold one's breath, but within it contained one particularly chilling phrase.

"Mr. President, former Secretary of State Colin Powell says the world is beginning to doubt the moral basis of our fight against terrorism," he was asked by a reporter. "If a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and former secretary of state feels this way, don't you think that Americans and the rest of the world are beginning to wonder whether you're following a flawed strategy?"

“If there's any comparison between the compassion and decency of the American people and the terrorist tactics of extremists, it's flawed logic,” Bush said. “It's just -- I simply can't accept that. It's unacceptable to think that there's any kind of comparison between the behavior of the United States of America and the action of Islamic extremists who kill innocent women and children to achieve an objective.

Of course it's acceptable to think that there's "any kind of comparison."

And in this particular debate, it is not only acceptable, it is obviously necessary, even if Mr. Powell never made the comparison in his letter.

Some will think that our actions at Abu Ghraib, or in Guantanamo, or in secret prisons in Eastern Europe, are all too comparable to the actions of the extremists.

Some will think that there is no similarity, or, if there is one, it is to the slightest and most unavoidable of degrees.

What all of us will agree on, is that we have the right -- we have the duty -- to think about the comparison.

And, most importantly, that the other guy, whose opinion about this we cannot fathom, has exactly the same right as we do: to think -- and say -- what his mind and his heart and his conscience tell him, is right.

All of us agree about that.

Except, it seems, this President.

With increasing rage, he and his administration have begun to tell us, we are not permitted to disagree with them, that we cannot be right, that Colin Powell cannot be right.

And then there was that one, most awful phrase.

In four simple words last Friday, the President brought into sharp focus what has been only vaguely clear these past five-and-a-half years - the way the terrain at night is perceptible only during an angry flash of lightning, and then, a second later, all again is dark.

“It's unacceptable to think," he said.

It is never unacceptable to think.

And when a President says thinking is unacceptable, even on one topic, even in the heat of the moment, even in the turning of a phrase extracted from its context, he takes us toward a new and fearful path -- one heretofore the realm of science fiction authors and apocalyptic visionaries.

That flash of lightning freezes at the distant horizon, and we can just make out a world in which authority can actually suggest it has become unacceptable to think.

Thus the lightning flash reveals not merely a President we have already seen, the one who believes he has a monopoly on current truth.

It now shows us a President who has decided that of all our commanders-in-chief, ever, he alone has had the knowledge necessary to alter and re-shape our inalienable rights.

This is a frightening, and a dangerous, delusion, Mr. President.

If Mr. Powell's letter -- cautionary, concerned, predominantly supportive -- can induce from you such wrath and such intolerance, what would you say were this statement to be shouted to you by a reporter, or written to you by a colleague?

"Governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government.”

Those incendiary thoughts came, of course, from a prior holder of your job, Mr. Bush.

They were the words of Thomas Jefferson.

He put them in the Declaration of Independence.

Mr. Bush, what would you say to something that anti-thetical to the status quo just now?

Would you call it "unacceptable" for Jefferson to think such things, or to write them?

Between your confidence in your infallibility, sir, and your demonizing of dissent, and now these rages better suited to a thwarted three-year old, you have left the unnerving sense of a White House coming unglued - a chilling suspicion that perhaps we have not seen the peak of the anger; that we can no longer forecast what next will be said to, or about, anyone who disagrees.

Or what will next be done to them.

On this newscast last Friday night, Constitiutional law Professor Jonathan Turley of George Washington University, suggested that at some point in the near future some of the "detainees" transferred from secret CIA cells to Guantanamo, will finally get to tell the Red Cross that they have indeed been tortured.

Thus the debate over the Geneva Conventions, might not be about further interrogations of detainees, but about those already conducted, and the possible liability of the administration, for them.

That, certainly, could explain Mr. Bush's fury.

That, at this point, is speculative.

But at least it provides an alternative possibility as to why the President's words were at such variance from the entire history of this country.

For, there needs to be some other explanation, Mr. Bush, than that you truly believe we should live in a United States of America in which a thought is unacceptable.

There needs to be a delegation of responsible leaders -- Republicans or otherwise -- who can sit you down as Barry Goldwater and Hugh Scott once sat Richard Nixon down - and explain the reality of the situation you have created.

There needs to be an apology from the President of the United States.

And more than one.

But, Mr. Bush, the others -- for warnings unheeded five years ago, for war unjustified four years ago, for battle unprepared three years ago -- they are not weighted with the urgency and necessity of this one.

We must know that, to you, thought with which you disagree -- and even voice with which you disagree and even action with which you disagree -- are still sacrosanct to you.

The philosopher Voltaire once insisted to another author, "I detest what you write, but I would give my life to make it possible for you to continue to write." Since the nation's birth, Mr. Bush, we have misquoted and even embellished that statement, but we have served ourselves well, by subscribing to its essence.

Oddly, there are other words of Voltaire's that are more pertinent still, just now.

"Think for yourselves," he wrote, "and let others enjoy the privilege to do so, too."

Apologize, sir, for even hinting at an America where a few have that privilege to think and the rest of us get yelled at by the President.

Anything else, Mr. Bush, is truly unacceptable.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Olbermann strikes again

Keith's message to the President about 09/11. It speaks for itself and does so very well.
Half a lifetime ago, I worked in this now-empty space. And for 40 days after the attacks, I worked here again, trying to make sense of what happened, and was yet to happen, as a reporter.
All the time, I knew that the very air I breathed contained the remains of thousands of people, including four of my friends, two in the planes and -- as I discovered from those "missing posters" seared still into my soul -- two more in the Towers.
And I knew too, that this was the pyre for hundreds of New York policemen and firemen, of whom my family can claim half a dozen or more, as our ancestors.
I belabor this to emphasize that, for me this was, and is, and always shall be, personal.
And anyone who claims that I and others like me are "soft,"or have "forgotten" the lessons of what happened here is at best a grasping, opportunistic, dilettante and at worst, an idiot whether he is a commentator, or a Vice President, or a President.
However, of all the things those of us who were here five years ago could have forecast -- of all the nightmares that unfolded before our eyes, and the others that unfolded only in our minds -- none of us could have predicted this.
Five years later this space is still empty.
Five years later there is no memorial to the dead.
Five years later there is no building rising to show with proud defiance that we would not have our America wrung from us, by cowards and criminals.
Five years later this country's wound is still open.
Five years later this country's mass grave is still unmarked.
Five years later this is still just a background for a photo-op.
It is beyond shameful.
At the dedication of the Gettysburg Memorial -- barely four months after the last soldier staggered from another Pennsylvania field -- Mr. Lincoln said, "we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."
Lincoln used those words to immortalize their sacrifice.
Today our leaders could use those same words to rationalize their reprehensible inaction. "We cannot dedicate, we can not consecrate, we can not hallow this ground." So we won't.
Instead they bicker and buck pass. They thwart private efforts, and jostle to claim credit for initiatives that go nowhere. They spend the money on irrelevant wars, and elaborate self-congratulations, and buying off columnists to write how good a job they're doing instead of doing any job at all.
Five years later, Mr. Bush, we are still fighting the terrorists on these streets. And look carefully, sir, on these 16 empty acres. The terrorists are clearly, still winning.
And, in a crime against every victim here and every patriotic sentiment you mouthed but did not enact, you have done nothing about it.
And there is something worse still than this vast gaping hole in this city, and in the fabric of our nation. There is its symbolism of the promise unfulfilled, the urgent oath, reduced to lazy execution.
The only positive on 9/11 and the days and weeks that so slowly and painfully followed it was the unanimous humanity, here, and throughout the country. The government, the President in particular, was given every possible measure of support.
Those who did not belong to his party -- tabled that.
Those who doubted the mechanics of his election -- ignored that.
Those who wondered of his qualifications -- forgot that.
History teaches us that nearly unanimous support of a government cannot be taken away from that government by its critics. It can only be squandered by those who use it not to heal a nation's wounds, but to take political advantage.
Terrorists did not come and steal our newly-regained sense of being American first, and political, fiftieth. Nor did the Democrats. Nor did the media. Nor did the people.
The President -- and those around him -- did that.
They promised bi-partisanship, and then showed that to them, "bi-partisanship" meant that their party would rule and the rest would have to follow, or be branded, with ever-escalating hysteria, as morally or intellectually confused, as appeasers, as those who, in the Vice President's words yesterday, "validate the strategy of the terrorists."
They promised protection, and then showed that to them "protection" meant going to war against a despot whose hand they had once shaken, a despot who we now learn from our own Senate Intelligence Committee, hated al-Qaida as much as we did.
The polite phrase for how so many of us were duped into supporting a war, on the false premise that it had 'something to do' with 9/11 is "lying by implication."
The impolite phrase is "impeachable offense."
Not once in now five years has this President ever offered to assume responsibility for the failures that led to this empty space, and to this, the current, curdled, version of our beloved country.
Still, there is a last snapping flame from a final candle of respect and fairness: even his most virulent critics have never suggested he alone bears the full brunt of the blame for 9/11.
Half the time, in fact, this President has been so gently treated, that he has seemed not even to be the man most responsible for anything in his own administration.
Yet what is happening this very night?
A mini-series, created, influenced -- possibly financed by -- the most radical and cold of domestic political Machiavellis, continues to be televised into our homes.
The documented truths of the last fifteen years are replaced by bald-faced lies; the talking points of the current regime parroted; the whole sorry story blurred, by spin, to make the party out of office seem vacillating and impotent, and the party in office, seem like the only option.
How dare you, Mr. President, after taking cynical advantage of the unanimity and love, and transmuting it into fraudulent war and needless death, after monstrously transforming it into fear and suspicion and turning that fear into the campaign slogan of three elections? How dare you -- or those around you -- ever "spin" 9/11?
Just as the terrorists have succeeded -- are still succeeding -- as long as there is no memorial and no construction here at Ground Zero.
So, too, have they succeeded, and are still succeeding as long as this government uses 9/11 as a wedge to pit Americans against Americans.
This is an odd point to cite a television program, especially one from March of 1960. But as Disney's continuing sell-out of the truth (and this country) suggests, even television programs can be powerful things.
And long ago, a series called "The Twilight Zone" broadcast a riveting episode entitled "The Monsters Are Due On Maple Street."
In brief: a meteor sparks rumors of an invasion by extra-terrestrials disguised as humans. The electricity goes out. A neighbor pleads for calm. Suddenly his car -- and only his car -- starts. Someone suggests he must be the alien. Then another man's lights go on. As charges and suspicion and panic overtake the street, guns are inevitably produced. An "alien" is shot -- but he turns out to be just another neighbor, returning from going for help. The camera pulls back to a near-by hill, where two extra-terrestrials are seen manipulating a small device that can jam electricity. The veteran tells his novice that there's no need to actually attack, that you just turn off a few of the human machines and then, "they pick the most dangerous enemy they can find, and it's themselves."
And then, in perhaps his finest piece of writing, Rod Serling sums it up with words of remarkable prescience, given where we find ourselves tonight: "The tools of conquest do not necessarily come with bombs and explosions and fallout. There are weapons that are simply thoughts, attitudes, prejudices, to be found only in the minds of men.
"For the record, prejudices can kill and suspicion can destroy, and a thoughtless, frightened search for a scapegoat has a fallout all its own -- for the children, and the children yet unborn."
When those who dissent are told time and time again -- as we will be, if not tonight by the President, then tomorrow by his portable public chorus -- that he is preserving our freedom, but that if we use any of it, we are somehow un-American...When we are scolded, that if we merely question, we have "forgotten the lessons of 9/11"... look into this empty space behind me and the bi-partisanship upon which this administration also did not build, and tell me:
Who has left this hole in the ground?
We have not forgotten, Mr. President.
You have.
May this country forgive you.

What if ...

An Alternate September 11 History
by Jonathan Alter

Saturday, September 09, 2006

NU Re-View: Nebraska 56, Nicholls State 7


- WHAT’S OLD IS NEW AGAIN: Nebraska plays a Division I-AA opponent, jumps on them early, and never looks back, just like ‘Huskers of days gone by. A year ago, Nebraska played a Division I-AA opponent and only had nine points at halftime. One measure of the progress of a program is when you do what you’re supposed to do to a lesser opponent.

- ZAC TAYLOR: Evidently he was serious about his 60-70 percent completion rating goal. Taylor was 19-23 for 202 yards, four touchdowns, and no interceptions. He looked sharp, crisp, and completely in charge of the offense.

- HUSKER! POWER!: It's back. After a noticeable absence last week, the "HUSKER! POWER!" chant right before the Tunnel Walk made a triumpant return. When the crowd gets that going, and the echoes thunder around Memorial Stadium, the excitement level really ratchets up a notch. And that just HAS to be a little intimidating to the visiting team waiting to take the field.


- THE STADIUM SPEAKERS: OK, when you watch a team win 56-7, it’s kinda hard to find a bad. But why must the Ginormo-tron start showing me racing Pepsi bottles in the middle of “There Is No Place Like Nebraska” after a touchdown?

- KICKOFF RETURN DEFENSE: If anything is somewhat troubling, it’s a continued softness covering a kickoff. Jordan Congdon doesn’t seem to be able to get the ball past the five yard line, and the first wave of tacklers rarely make the stop they need to make.

- TAYLOR'S THIRD QUARTER: No, no, he played just fine. But why was Zac in the game near the end of the third quarter? The game was clearly in hand, yet there he was dropping back and throwing the ball. God love Joey (sorry, it's "Joe" now) Ganz, but I don't really fancy seeing Taylor get his ankle rolled over at the end of the third quarter against Nicholls State and seeing Ganz start against USC next week. It didn't happen, but what was the point of risking it?


- NEBRASKA HEADS TO THE COLISEUM: Yipes. This game has been circled in red since Callahan arrived in Lincoln, and now it’s a week away. Nebraska has done everything possible at the start of this season to show the progress they’ve made since 5-6 in 2004. ‘Husker fans have been basking in a pleasant “we’re back” glow since pummeling Colorado last year. But USC will be the first real moment of truth for Nebraska. Come September 17, the Big Red bubble could really burst.


Seeing Nebraska act like Nebraska again was refreshing, but there's not a lot to take out of this game looking ahead to USC. The Colonels threw the ball a total of three times on Saturday, so there's no way to tell if there was any improvement in NU's secondary. But we do know they didn't get any taller over the week. It was definitely encouraging to see a Nebraska team that was clearly focused on the task at hand against Nicholls State. However, we still won't find out what this NU team is made of until we see what they do with the Trojans.


Nebraska @ USC (-17 1/2). USC is at home. They have talented, tall, athletic wide receivers to go up against NU's suspect and injury-depleted secondary. Looks like USC's strength plays into Nebraska's weakness. But USC also had to work pretty hard to put away a questionable Arkansas team. They have a quarterback making his second start, facing a defense that who does get to the quarterback well. If the Blackshirts pressure John David Booty, then NU has a chance to keep this game close into the fourth quarter. Might be more a heart bet than a head bet, but take the 'Huskers and, more importantly, all seventeen-and-a-half points.

GBR, baby.