Monday, January 30, 2006

more on the SOTU

Very interesting observation...this year, both Groundhog Day and the State of the Union address occur on the SAME day.

As one radio station pointed out:

"It is an ironic juxtaposition of events: One involves a meaningless ritual in which we look to a creature of little intelligence for prognostication while the other involves a groundhog."

(Actually, the State of the Union is not on Groundhog day this year. but oh well.)


In other news from UFPJ... They say there is going to be a big march in NYC on Saturday, April 29th. It's a march for "Peace, Justice and Democracy" (hey, stop laughing). Well, mark your calendars.

Let the permit wars begin. wooo.

Someone should get the WSA to buy us some real drums.

SOTU drinking games

Wow, UFPJ is so groovy, they totally sent out an email that included links to various drinking games for the State of the Union.

Code Pink
(if you hear 'Ariel Sharon', you drink 1 shot of Manischewitz!)

Will Durst

Monday, January 23, 2006

It's getting hot out there.

On Friday, the high temperature at Central Park was 61. People were in t-shirts. Some restaurants in the city had tables outdoors.

Back when I was a kid, it didn't used to be like this. Winter wasn't necessarily extremely snowy, but at least it meant it'd be a bit cold. Now winter is like, so passe.

This is amusing and all.. but I hereby throw my glove at the foot of the snow gods. I haven't needed it, anyway.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Football, part deux

Because the betters did, uh, so well in predicting last weekend's games, I thought I might as well post the latest bets on the upcoming conference final games.

Broncos defeat Steelers: 60.8 / 100
Seahawks defeat Panthers: 62.5 / 100

I make no predictions. But I'm rooting for Polamalu and crew to take care of those fools.

Friday, January 13, 2006


A quick check of the online betting at this point on Tradesports for this weekend's playoff games:

Broncos defeat Patriots: 59.0 / 100
Colts defeat Steelers: 80.0 / 100
Seahawks defeat Redskins: 80.0 / 100
Bears defeat Panthers: 57.0 / 100

(this means to bet on the Broncos winning, you pay $59. If they win, you get your $59 back plus $41 extra to bring you up to $100. If they lose, you've lost your $59. This effectively means that the betters think there is a 59% chance of the Broncos winning.)

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Oh Charley

As you may have seen around the news of late, Charles Kennedy, the leader of the Liberal Democrats (the third largest party in England -- and a frequent star on Prime Ministers' Questions) has resigned from his post, citing his alcohol problem.

As the Times notes today, he is just one in a long line of British politicians who've been into the bottle. So what's the point?

"Mr. Kennedy's problem was not drunkenness per se, but an impolitic failure to function effectively while drunk."

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Sharon coverage, so far

The American media reporting on Ariel Sharon in the last few days has been, predictably, awful. He is portrayed as a man of peace, someone who has done little wrong and had been on track to lead the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to a happy settlement. ("settlement"? hmm, no pun intended).

I think the media's problem can be seperated into two main parts.

The first is a basic failure to acknowledge Sharon's full history. The blockbuster events reporters might want to consider include Sharon's role in the 1982 massacre at Sabra and Shatila; an Israeli inquiry later said that Sharon was indirectly responsible for allowing the massacre to happen. They also include his deadly military incurssions in the West Bank and Gaza in recent years (most notably in the spring of 2002), and his architecture of Israel's settlements in the West Bank -- viewed in almost all of the world except for Israel and the U.S. as both illegal and as one of the primary barriers to peace.

To the extent that these issues have even been acknowledged in the American press in the last three days, they've almost been placed as just the Arab side of the story. In the Times, for example, of the above three issues only the massacre has received more than a brief note, and this was in an inside article that was specifically about what Arabs think. In other words, these parts of Sharon's history aren't treated as, well, history, but rather as one side's view of the story.

The second part of the media problem is the one that I find even more unfortunate -- it is the media's portrayal of Sharon's unilateral actions in the past couple years or so, most notably demonstrated in the Gaza 'withdrawal'. This is simply written up as Sharon giving Palestinians a state and making peace (even the U.S. doesn't formally support Israel acting unilaterally, even if in practice we do). What's absent in the news is any notion that what Sharon is doing is simply formally annexing 8-10% of the West Bank, leaving a quasi-sovereign Palestinian state that will be no state at all. It would include Gaza, a part of Eastern Jerusalem, and a West Bank section that would be nearly seperated into two pieces -- probably connected by a sliver of land that Israel might effectively control. And then there's water, air, and border rights..

This part of the media problem is exemplified in the Times op-ed page on Friday giving space to Benny Morris to write, among other things, that Israel's barrier is "more or less along the 1967 Green Line." In other words, what Sharon was doing was basically fine and good.

If and when Sharon dies, it looks to the media to be simply a question of how Kadima can fulfill his wonderful legacy of peace.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

fyi, the transit workers won

So basically, if you hadn't heard yet, the workers won.

From the front page of the Times last week, Steven Greenhouse's analysis, "New York Transit Deal Shows Union's Success on Many Fronts".