Week 8 picks

Last week: 9-5. Overall: 59-41. Fantasy: 4-3.

W-Philadelphia Eagles over Baltimore Ravens

L-Minnesota Vikings over New York Giants

W-San Diego Chargers over Oakland Raiders

W-New York Jets over Miami Dolphins

W-Seattle Seahawks over Carolina Panthers

L-New England Patriots over Pittsburgh Steelers

L-Denver Broncos over Atlanta Falcons

L-Indianapolis Colts over Kansas City Chiefs

W-Green Bay Packers over Washington Redskins

W-Dallas Cowboys over Detroit Lions

L-Arizona Cardinals over Buffalo Bills

W-Tennessee Titans over Cincinnati Bengals

L-Jacksonville Jaguars over Houston Texans

W-Chicago Bears over San Francisco 49ers

UPDATE – Another Daunte meltdown against the Giants. I KNEW not to pick them, doggone it! Tice even said this week that we don’t match up well with them. That’s the last time I let Chokechain loose like that. Fortunately, I bumped the Seahawks up six spots, but it’s probably too soon to count them in considering their fourth-quarter anti-heroics this season.


Paging Dr. Paglia

Camille Paglia criticizes the empty-headed Democrats


…for [Michael] Moore to turn a sitting president of the United States into a joke, and to use his position abroad to foment anti-Americanism, has had a huge backlash: the massive, indulgent publicity about the Moore film was when the Republican passion for Bush really began — the passion to defend him, fed by a longstanding scorn for the liberal major media and for Hollywood. That’s when everything seemed to gel for Bush, who had alienated conservatives with his big spending and slack immigration policy.

On talk-show call-ins, I started to hear real love for Bush, a protective desire to defend him against the smug liberal hyenas. It was a pivotal moment in the campaign. And the righteous fury of the Bush crusaders started to sway the undecideds. For months on Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity or other conservative radio shows, I really didn’t hear such great enthusiasm for Bush. But then all of a sudden, there was a turning point. I remember sitting in my car in April listening to Hannity — who has become a major force in American politics and whose talents as a broadcaster just keep getting better and better (though I’m always wishing he had more respect for other cultures and a broader understanding of our place in the world). He was talking slowly and thoughtfully after hanging up with a like-minded caller, and I got really alarmed. I said to myself, wow, here it is. It was a whole, comprehensive geopolitical picture: the only way we can win the war against terror is to take the fight to the terrorists abroad, America must be a beacon to the world. America has a divine mission to bring liberty to the world. It was a view of destiny that had a staggering clarity and simplicity.

Now if the Democratic consultants had any brains, they would have viewed all this as an important system of ideas that needed to be logically addressed, instead of just sneering at it. This is a war of ideas! But too many Democrats rely on a juvenile Al Franken level of discourse — sneer, sneer, sneer at the benighted ones. We are all so superior in our little elite enclaves. So even if Kerry wins the election, the Democrats have lost this war of ideas.

The truth is that the Democrats abandoned that war before Clinton even took office. They’ve been running away from their own ideology since Mondale had his head handed to him by Reagan. I’m no Republican and I am virulently opposed to the globalist and neoconservative elements that have effectively leashed and muzzled the conservative and religious elements of the party, but at least the Republican Party still has ideas, even if those ideas are bad ones that are directly contrary to its own platform.

This dearth of ideas on the other side has not been good for Republicans either, however. It’s been interesting to see how the Republican debate has devolved as the need to actually meet the supposed foe on an intellectual field has disappeared. The quality of discussion is often quite high on the blog level, one can’t really say the same for what passes for discussion on television. Perhaps the medium is primarily to blame, but I don’t think that’s the only factor involved as any athlete can tell you that it’s often very hard not to play down to the level of an inferior opponent.

UPDATE: This inability to make an intellectual case might help explain this sort of thing:


DURANGO, Colo. – A part-time college instructor has apologized for kicking a student because he was wearing a Republican shirt. Fort Lewis College student Mark O’Donnell said he was showing people his College Republicans sweat shirt, which said “Work for us now … or work for us later,” when Maria Spero kicked him in the leg at an off-campus restaurant.

Spero then said “she should have kicked me harder and higher,” said O’Donnell. “To physically take that out on someone because you disagree with them, that is completely wrong.”

Spero, a visiting instructor of modern languages, apologized to O’Donnell in a letter dated Oct. 29. “I acted entirely inappropriately by kicking you, giving vent to a thoughtless knee-jerk political reaction that should never have happened,” she wrote. “Before the incident, I did not know you and that you are a Fort Lewis student.” The college also formally apologized, said David Eppich, assistant to the school’s president.


Somewhere, Nate is smiling


Lincoln’s seduction of Dickerson was more than successful. Tripp discovered a forgotten volume of Union Army history, an account of The Pennsylvania Volunteers, Second Regiment, Bucktail Brigade, published in 1895 by Derickson’s commander, Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Chamberlin, who was historian of the Bucktail Survivors Association, and in which he recounted:

“Captain Derickson, in particular, advanced so far in the President’s confidence and esteem that in Mrs. Lincoln’s absence he frequently spent the night at his cottage [at the summer White House], sleeping in the same bed with him, and — it is said — making use of his Excellency’s night-shirt! Thus began an intimacy that continued unbroken until the following spring, when Captain Derickson was appointed provost marshal of the Nineteenth Pennsylvania District, with headquarters in Meadville.”

The Dickerson-Lincoln affair was common gossip in Washington’s high society, as Tripp notes with a citation from the diary of the wife of Assistant Navy Secretary Gustavus Fox: “Tish says, Oh, there is a Bucktail soldier here devoted to the president, drives with him, and when Mrs. L is not home, sleeps with him. What stuff!”

Lincoln was very fond of witty, and quite often ribald, stories, a great many of them having anal references. When a friend once suggested that he should collect his stories and publish them in book form, Lincoln replied that he could not, for “such a book would Stink like a thousand privies.”

So, the first great destroyer of American liberty may have been an active practioner of an alternative lifestyle. That’s rather appropos in light of the fascist instincts of the gay rights movement. I hope to one day see the Republican Party’s repudiation of Lincoln, but based on its current path, I’m not very optimistic.


An open question

And let’s pretend there isn’t an election coming up next week, as I don’t care about that. I want to talk about the long-term martial strategy that has been pursued by the administration. It is the position of many that the bring-it-on strategy of taking the war to the jihadist’s turf – and never mind that the idea of Iraq being Jihad Central is at least questionable – is the best way to provide for the nation’s defense. Keep them busy over there so they can’t come over here sums it up fairly, I think.

But over on Bane’s blog, the original kill-them-all advocate is now openly worrying that Mr. bin Laden’s unexpected appearance means a serious attack is imminent. If an attack of 9/11 proportions takes place, would this be enough to convince anyone that the bring-it-on strategy is not the correct one for defense and ultimate victory? Or am I correct in assuming that as the neocon war impulse is at heart a utopian one, most people would clamor for more of what isn’t working, just as they do with the War on Poverty and the War on


Atheist inaccuracies

A brief perusal of a few atheist web sites reveals a new asininity that appears to be popping up a lot recently. Militant atheists tend to be rather young, or at least immature, and so it the phrase “I only believe in one less god than you” is considered to be a brilliant and witty rebuttal to two thousand years of Christian theology.

This reveals a great deal of ignorance as to what Christians actually believe. There is nothing existentially monotheistic about the commandment: “Thou shalt have no other gods than me”, and it also flies in the face of Jesus and Paul’s statements with regards to the god of this world.

The truth is that Christians, like the pagans of yore, believe in the existence of many gods. The difference is that we worship only one, the Creator God, who sent His Son to die for us.


In case you’re interested

I just got word that the first volume of Archangels: The Fall is now available and can be ordered directly from the publisher. It’s $4.50, and please note that the signed copies are signed only by Patrick, the series creator. The initial word from parents who have purchased it for their kids is apparently quite good.

I’ll be posting another notice about this on Monday to let some of the less-regular readers know about it, but you needn’t fear that I’ll be constantly pushing it on you. I will, however, probably put up some sort of blog ad on the side.


Islamo-fascists

It occurred to me this morning what a stupid, stupid name this is for those against whom the administration is waging its so-called War on Terror. For one thing, does this sound like part of the “islamo-fascist” platform to you?

a) Universal suffrage polled on a regional basis, with proportional representation and voting and electoral office eligibility for women.

Hmmmm, not exactly. But that was the very first item in the Manifesto of the Fascist Struggle. Fascism was a populist demagogic industrial-age force which was very concerned with economic distribution and relied on targeting the easily manipulated, rather like today’s Democratic party. The global jihad, on the other hand, is pre-industrial, has no concern with or concept of economics and relies on snuff videos for its appeal.

b) The seizure of all the possessions of the religious congregations and the abolition of all the bishoprics, which constitute an enormous liability on the Nation and on the privileges of the poor.

Here, too, is a massive difference. Fascism was secular and anti-clerical, not a religious movement run by clerics. In fact, when one examines the comparison, one realizes that there is almost nothing fascist about the jihadists, except that both are staunchly opposed to freedom and human liberty. But then, one might as easily call them islamo-communists, islamo-democrats or islamo-republicans, and with as much accuracy. Which is to say, none. Or almost none, to be precise. Iran is an Islamic Republic, after all.

The truth is that they are precisely what they claim to be, islamic jihadists. Jihadist is what they call themselves and that is what they should be called by others. “Islamo-fascist” is not only an unwieldy and inaccurate label it is a craven attempt to place the focus somewhere else than on the religious aspect of those who have declared war on the West.


The Freaky Factor’s final word

A trial lawyer with experience in settling sexual harassment cases draws his conclusions from the O’Reilly settlement:


We [that is, counsel for Mr. O’Reilly and Fox et al.] now withdraw any assertion that any extortion by Ms. Mackris, Mr. Morelli, or Morelli & Associates occurred.

That, my friends, is eating crow bigtime. That, my friends, is a settlement-mandated mitigation of damages that otherwise might continue to accrue for a defamation claim on Ms. Mackris’ behalf. Accusing someone of commiting a crime like extortion, if untrue, may be defamatory “per se” — meaning that an accusation that someone’s a criminal is conclusively presumed to be injurious to his or her reputation; it may not necessarily be defamatory if, for example, it’s true, but there’s no dispute that it would cause members of the public to think less of the accusee. While there’s a privilege for making such accusations in court filings, that privilege may not extend to accusations that are republished by the accusers outside the courtroom. There’s no way that O’Reilly’s and Fox et al.’s lawyers would have made the admission that the extortion claim was unfounded unless they were simultaneously receiving a release from Ms. Mackris that would cover her potential defamation claims as part of the overall package; and it’s something they’d only give up grudgingly. My hunch is that Ms. Mackris’ counsel painted his demand for such an admission as a “deal-killer point” in the negotiations; their side might have gotten more money if they’d dropped that demand, but they were unwilling to do so.

What’s also missing from the press release that one would normally expect to see is a statement to the effect that by agreeing to settle all claims of all parties, no party was admitting any liability and no party was admitting that any other party’s factual allegations or claims had any validity. That’s probably exactly what the settlement documents themselves say, and it’s usually something that a defendant insists on being able to say publicly. But in the press release, there’s only a weaker statement that “there was no wrongdoing whatsoever by Mr. O’Reilly, Ms. Mackris, or Ms. Mackris’ counsel.” Again, my strong hunch is that Ms. Mackris and her counsel objected to any broader statement than this one, knowing that it would have been spun by Mr. O’Reilly’s and Fox et al.’s lawyers as part of a “these claims were bogus but would’ve been expensive to litigate, blah blah” meme.

Is Kurtz’ source right in speculating that Mr. O’Reilly will write the entire check, however much it is for? I suspect he is.

Speaking as someone who has received a reasonably large settlement from a large corporation as a result of blatant and provable contractual wrongdoings on their part that would have gotten them killed in court, what this means is that O’Reilly did it and Miss Mackris had the proof.

Sexual harassment is a bogus “crime”. It’s totally SUBJECTIVE and completely dependent on feelings. But that’s not what this case was about, as one commenter on Beldar’s site wrote, it was a simple transaction for the tapes in order to protect O’Reilly’s continuing media viability. We can only assume that he’s a freaky phone perv now based on the logic of his actions; we do not have the absolute and undeniable proof.

As I’ve said before, Brave Sir William is both a coward and a fraud. If he truly didn’t do precisely that of which he was accused, he would have fought this to the bitter end as a matter of honor and reputation. Instead, he acted swiftly to sweep the matter under the carpet, buy his accuser’s silence and bury the evidence. No one ever said he was stupid.


If I ran the NFL

Here’s what I’d do:

1. Eliminate the preseason and increase the regular season to 18 games spread out over 20 weeks.

2. Institute an injury study on artificial turf vs. natural grass. If

3. Permit open investment (up to 49 percent) into NFL franchises.

4. Ban domed stadiums. The idea is supposed to be that more people will attend games if they aren’t subject to the elements, but the attendance factors don’t appear to support that. Old domes will be grandfathered in, but no new ones.

5. Order NFL Films to offer full-season DVD summaries for each team that has enough fan support to break even on the sales of such DVD summaries.

6. Ban goal line vulturing. If your running back needs a break, that’s one thing. Substitute away. But dance with the girl that brought you to the Red Zone. Fantasy Football managers across America are demanding this.

7. Offer The Ticket on worldwide satellite. If I’m on vacation in London, I want to be able to see all the games, not just the two that Sky News gets to show.

8. Tell Yahoo Sports to provide a round-up feature to get rid of half-points in final scores.

9. Ban the public financing of stadiums. The Patriots financed their own stadium. The Patriots have won two of the last three Super Bowls. Tell me that preying on the taxpayers is necessary for success and I’ll fine you so hard that people will mistake you for the love child of Jim McMahon and Terell Owens.

10. Forbid any team that sells out more than half of its games from even talking about moving the franchise.

11. Work with the players union to reduce rookie salaries and increase veteran’s salaries. Funding big busts while cutting fourth-year journeymen does no one on either side any good. The goal would be to increase the ability of teams to keep veteran players and retain a more stable long term team identity.

12. Tell teams to quit changing their colors all the time. The Broncos change was kind of cool, but the Rams, the Bills and the Falcons are all too much.

13. Move the Arizona franchise to Los Angeles. That’s the only move that makes much sense to me. Retirees don’t want to go to the game, they want to watch it in their air-conditioned media room.

14. Forbid the “star and storyline” approach to coverage of the games. Tell the networks to hire real sportscasters who will talk to the fans, not to the half-interested folks who are never going to get sucked in to full fandom just by hearing Olympics-style blather about the players’ personal lives. Unless you’re going to show fifty pictures of Jessica Simpson walking her dog and completely turn into US magazine, you’re not going to get their allegiance.

15. Create a Dick Bavetta of the NFL, who would be in charge of refereeing all Vikings playoff games in order to make sure they get the breaks when needed. The Lakers and Knicks have Bavetta, Manchester United has Mike Riley, doesn’t Minnesota deserve a referee to call its own? (Totally kidding, I’m as desperate for a Vikings Super Bowl victory as any Boston fan was for a Red Sox championship was until this week, but I want a real one. I want to beat the Giants and the Redskins in the playoffs, then stomp all over the Steelers for the ultimate victory.)