Thursday, February 19, 2009

PSU 38 - Illonois 33

Providence lost to 7th seed Louisville last night in college hoops. The loss comes in spite of scoring 76 points (Louisville scored 94). As a consolation for Providence, they could have beaten both Penn State AND Illonois whose game finished 38-33. The ridiculously low scoring game featured Penn State scoring the exact same number of points the football team scored in their game against Illonois (winning 38-24 in the late september matchup). It's not suprising that 38 wins you a football game, a little rarer in basketball.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Market Square

I'm a huge fan of the plan for Market Square (WTAE has the best story).

I'm a big fan of walking over to PNC Park from the southside and stopping off on the way back at Primanti's in market square. I've frequently joked with my friends in other cities about getting a 23 oz beer for 2.25 in the middle of downtown after watching a baseball game in scalped primo seats for $10. However, Market Square is a little dark and shady when the games go in to the night (particularly ones with 8pm starts). That's why I'm a huge fan of a brighter, more pedestrian friendly Market Square. What do you like about the plans? Objections?

Also, for the record, Mayor Ravenstahl made the announcement but none of the money is coming from the city. I don't know just how much credit he deserves for having pulled this one together. This has PDP written all over it.

McLouth Signs Long-Term Deal

Nate McLouth signed a long-term deal (through all three arbitration years) with a club option for his first year of free agency. Also, Charlie at Bucs Dugout points out that maybe, just maybe even if the Pirates haven't greatly improved, everyone around them has gone down a notch.

I'm a hopeless optimist so I'm going to take the bait and bask in the thought that all seems right with the world. That is until position players hit the field in bradenton for their first practice. Then we get reminded how woefully outmatched we will be in nearly every game this year.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Religious Extremists Attempt to Capture Part of USA

A group of Religious extremists who believe many American politicians and servicemen will face the ultimate punishment for their evil doing wants part of this country turned over to religious law. In this society they will not have to follow any laws that disagree with what they believe are the teachings of their god.

Fire up the CIA drones, and send some missles at this guy.

I was reminded of this by the fact that the right is so concerned that a little portion of Pakistan will be allowed to not follow any law that doesn't match with islamic law. (Conservative Perspective and NYT Article)

Campbell Brown

Yes she's better looking then Rush Limbaugh, but she's equally intolerable. Allow me to break down EXACTLY why. She speaks here from a template normally reserved for talk radio:

So let's take this blow by blow (Cambell's words in red, mine in black):
  1. Imagine if we gave up any part of this country, any part at all, to terrorists. I think I'll pass Campbell, I appreciate the imagative excercise, but you're here to tell me the news not set the mood. I have barry white for that.
  2. That appears to be happening in Pakistan, where the government has cut a deal with the Taliban allowing Islamic law, or Sharia law, to be enforced in the northern part of the country near the Afghan border. Really? It "appears" that that's what's happening? Why don't you get on your plane and go find out. Actually, don't bother, real news people are already there. They (in this case the NYT) interviewed the information minister of the region in Pakistan. He was able to clarify what will happen under the peace treaty, "“After successful negotiations, all un-Islamic laws related to the judicial system, those against the Koran and the Sunnah, would be subject to cancellation and considered null and void." Doesn't sound so bad to me, maybe not too democratic, but not too bad. It also doesn't say, "Terrorists are now welcome." Killing is a crime, even in islamic law.
  3. This after Taliban militants led a grizzly campaign of attacks, including beheadings, kidnappings and the destruction of dozens of girls' schools. This is the hard part, that statement is by enlarge true, generously stated, but still true. What she leaves out is Pakistan's situation. According to one expert, being interviewed by Bloomberg, "is not really equipped to fight a domestic insurgency." Pakistan's PM was on 60 minutes last weekend explaining just how big of a threat the Taliban is to his government and the stability of the whole country. I'm not an expert in the matter, but at some point a compromise must be drawn, even with terrorists. For reference one might look to some of the isreali/palastinean accords. Additionally, even after non-islamic rules are implemented people will be able to leave the area and go to other places within pakistan. Also, the pakistani officials insisted on appeals process, which will be part of the new rules.
  4. They're the same people who helped provide a safe haven for al Qaeda leading up to 9/11 and have now scored a victory against Pakistan, and given new reason for the United States to worry, after we gave Pakistan $10 billion, in large part to try and reduce the threat from terror. While it is true that the Taliban was the ruling party in Afganistan while the Taliban trained there. It is not true that this agreement allows terrorists to train in Pakistan. In fact she fails to mention that just yesterday the US used a drone to kill insurgents in the SAME area that negotiators agreed to strike all non-islamic laws. Funny how Campbell forgot to mention it when the Washington Post and NYT both found the space for it.
  5. How much harder will the fight become for our troops now that the Taliban control yet another piece of territory? That's pretty simple. We were using drones to kill terrorists in that part of Pakistan before and now we're using drones to kill terrorists in that part of Pakistan.
  6. The logic of Pakistani leaders is simple -- merely wanting to seek peace. We wonder if the entire region, and the United States, will pay dearly for that concession. It's ok to wonder, but next time you might want to read the left half of the paper, not just the right.

Just How Good is Obama at the Basketball?

Interesting video from CNN, great idea Anderson.  Magic Johnson tries to draw about 4 too many analogies between basketball and the presedency but everyone else provides some interesting thoughts on Obama's game.  I haven't played basketball since 4th grade, but it seems to me he really is not bad.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Here's a Thought

Dowd picked the right horse in the Presidential Race.  He was an early and faithful backer of Barack Obama.  Right now, that's hurting him.  If Obama had lost to McCain, maybe he would have dropped by and did a fund raiser for Dowd the way Clinton (Bill) did for Ravenstahl.  At this point one wonders if Ravenstahl didn't just pick Clinton for the politics of it.

So, if I'm Dowd here's what I do (and it might be he has already tried this), I call up every single person I ever knew and worked with in the Obama campaign.  Let's be honest it's not that many, Dowd isn't exactly a superdelegate, but there's got to be a few.  I ask them, beg them or bribe them to get a personal letter of thanks, an audio clip, a picture, ANYTHING that links me to Obama.  I also ask them to send a couple people to speak at fund raisers (probably some campaign staffers who can tell grand stories of the underdog story in action).  Towards the end of the campaign, I'd love to get one of the leaders of the Obama campaign to speak at a big rally, but I'm not sure if that's too much to ask.  

I remind Obama (or well, at least a staffer), how much a Ravenstahl/Onorato/Rendell endorsement meant in the Burgh and promise him more responsible endorsements going forward.

I'm not saying this would work, Obama is  working on bigger things* and may not make anyone available, but Dowd's not going to win on conventional politics.  He needs to do enough conventional politics to remain relevant and spend the rest of his time focusing on how to pull a rabit out of his hat.  He says he has a great campaign manager?  She should be in magic classes right now.

*for some perspective ONE of the things Obama is working on is the stimulus bill, a bill that would cover the pension fund obligations for almost 10,000 years (787 Billion divided by 6.7 million / month).

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

You Know It, I Know It, How'd We Forget it?

Mayor Luke Ravenstahl is going to be Mayor Luke Ravenstahl in 2010. We may not like his little snafus*, but the bottom line is this: he hasn't screwed up enough to lose the primary. Ravenstahl has lost some of his political capital, sure but he still has more then enough to win this election. It doesn't matter who he runs against, the quality of his opponent only effects his margin of victory. We've known this for 6 months, which is why I don't understand why Doug Shields dropping out is such a big deal. Maybe with a tough campaign this time and another 4 years of silly mistakes Ravenstahl will be vulnerable in 2013. But I know he's not, you know he's not and Doug Shields knows he's not.

*I like using antiquated words, it means screw-ups. It's more commonly spoken then written.