Republicans have only themselves to blame
From the Washington Post, professional talking head and beltway insider guy Richard Cohen makes a very good point:
The Republican establishment acts as if this season’s goon squad of presidential candidates has come out of nowhere, an act of God — a tsunami that hit the party and receded, leaving nothing but nitwits standing. In column after column, conservative commentators lament the present condition, but not their past acquiescence as their party turned hostile to thought, reason and the two most important words in the English language: It depends.
This rampant anti-intellectualism is worrisome. The world is a complex place, but to deal with it, the GOP presented a parade of hopefuls who proposed nostrums or, in the case of Michele Bachmann, peddled false rumors about vaccinations. When this started I cannot say — the late Richard Hofstadter won the Pulitzer Prize for his “Anti-intellectualism in American Life” in 1964 — but the embrace of Sarah Palin by the GOP establishment has got to be noted. The lady has the gift of demagoguery and the required anti-elitism, but she knows next to nothing about almost anything — and revels in her ignorance.
I know when it happened, not long after Hofstadter's book, the 1970s.
Here's the brief version. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act into law in 1965, announcing to the Democrats that they had just lost the South for a generation or more. Meanwhile, the Democrats were also losing the labor unions. Either that or the labor unions were losing the Democrats. Actually, it was both. The so-called New Left, that is, political forces sympathetic to the hippies and identity politics movements, took over the party; the labor establishment, however, was socially conservative, pro-war, and hated the hippies. It also didn't help that the Democratic establishment was pissed off with labor for not supporting the party bosses, and basically quit trying to help out what had previously been their most important constituency. This put the Democrats and labor hopelessly at odds with one another, and the party's infighting handed the presidency to Nixon in both 1968 and 1972.
And Tricky Dick had a plan: exploit the Democrats' offending of its Southern racist wing while diving straight into the labor/Donkey rift by playing up patriotism and race fears. Watergate shut the operation down for about four years or so, but midway through Carter's administration Reagan and other Republicans picked up where Nixon left off, using the same tactics to attract a weird coalition of fundamentalist Christians, Southern racists, and disaffected union members, all of whom were former New Dealers desperately needed by the Democrats to win national elections. The GOP strategy cut off the legs of its opposition and ultimately led the way to continuing majorities in both houses of Congress by the 90s, and got three Republicans into the Oval Office, two of them serving two terms.
So the Democrats had nothing to offer the working class, but the GOP, at least, offered them patriotism and someone to blame for continual layoffs and the end of the middle class, black people and liberated women. Democrats never had anything at all to offer fundamentalist Christians, especially after they had given up on supporting the labor unions, but the GOP offered them lots of rhetorical red meat that ultimately didn't amount to much in terms of policy, but sure gave all the Jesus freaks a bunch of big huge hard-ons. And for Southern racists, there was red meat rhetoric, too, code words and phrases that let the drooling inbred people of Mississippi and Alabama know that the GOP is a party that hates black people.
Meanwhile, as far as actual legislation goes, the Republicans continued doing what they've always done, stealing from the poor and giving to the rich. But that didn't matter. Nixon's grand strategy was enough. He put together a brand new coalition of voters plucked from the ashes of the old Democratic New Deal coalition. And this new coalition was based on resentment, hatred, a sense of persecution, and intense anger. That is, the Republicans created and then rode herd over a rowdy mob of work-a-day schmucks who were and are far more about being pissed off than about thinking and deeply contemplating the nation's fate. And they've been fanning the flames of such anger and resentment to the party's benefit for some thirty years.
Now, it turns out, they've created a Frankenstein's monster of stupidity and cruelty. The rowdy mob they assembled and exploited is now apparently attempting to take over the party completely. No longer satisfied with rhetoric, they want actual policy victories, and the GOP establishment that ran the show for years is frightened.
Well, that's what they get. You play with fire you get burned. Or, as the case may very well be, you burn the whole fucking house down. I'd laugh if I wasn't so disgusted.
Tuesday, January 31, 2012
Republicans have only themselves to blame
Posted by Ron at 12:59 AM
Monday, January 30, 2012
LEARNING LINES TONIGHT...
...because my acting teacher dropped a scene on me for class at the last minute. So no blogging today. However, here's the film the scene comes from (courtesy of Wikipedia):
Three Days of the Condor
Three Days of the Condor is a 1975 American action thriller film produced by Stanley Schneider and directed by Sydney Pollack. The screenplay, by Lorenzo Semple Jr. and David Rayfiel, was adapted from the novel Six Days of the Condor by James Grady.
The film is a suspense drama set in contemporary New York City, and is considered an exposition of the moral ambiguity of the actions of the United States government following the Vietnam War and Watergate. It stars Robert Redford as an employee of the Central Intelligence Agency who inadvertently becomes involved in a deadly power struggle within the agency.
The film was nominated for the 1976 Academy Award for Film Editing. Semple and Rayfiel received an Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America for Best Motion Picture Screenplay.
Great movie. Really great movie. We're doing the scene from the end when Redford and von Sydow calmly and casually discuss all the bloodshed and carnage they've just been dealing with. So I'm annoyed by the last minute nature of this, but really excited about the scene.
More regularly scheduled blogging tomorrow night.
And here's the trailer for Condor:
Posted by Ron at 12:11 AM
Sunday, January 29, 2012
FINDING A NEW LANGUAGE TO DISCUSS ECONOMICS
So I posted a link to an article on facebook that I posted here on Thursday. You never can tell who's going to come out to play on facebook, and the link got a nice mix of liberals and conservatives who all apparently disagreed with me completely. Indeed, they didn't even appear to understand what I was talking about with my opening remark right before the link.
Here, check it all out:
RonaldNote how none of my comments got any "likes," but the comments asserting the conventional wisdom on the value of labor relative to capital did get a few, with the most "liked" comment getting seven clicks, one of which was my older brother. It is very important to observe that this well "liked" comment is really just a standard right-wing talking point conflating the interests of big business with small business ownership. Well, okay. Compounding matters, my old school chum, James, who is definitely a liberal, didn't seem to get the point of the linked essay.
I've been saying for a few years now in regards to incessant right-wing whining about the evils of "redistribution" that the real redistribution takes place when an employee is first hired. That is, employers essentially dictate what your wage will be, no negotiation, take it or leave it, without any regard to the actual amount of wealth you create on the job. And it's a rigged game: go to a similar company across the street and it's the same thing, fixed wages that wildly undervalue the work you do.
Who says capitalists should get to call all the shots just because they put up the financing? I mean, without labor, all their capital is just paper and a bunch of useless crap.
Like · · Unfollow Post · Share · Yesterday at 1:19am.
Stephen So, what you're saying is that you are unfamiliar with the demand curve.
Yesterday at 2:08am · Like.
Ronald I think the "labor market" is to a great extent nothing more than a construct designed to bolster the position that labor is worthless relative to capital.
Yesterday at 2:11am · Like.
Stephen If it were worthless, slavery would be back in fashion. It has value, therefore it is remunerated.
Yesterday at 2:12am · Like.
Ronald Stephen, there are more people in slavery today than at any other point in human history:
Yesterday at 2:43am · Like · .
Stephen Sure, but not in the capitalist West. Only out there in nasty-brutish-and-short-land. It is still widespread wherever the bane of mohammedanism holds sufficient sway to retard the progress of Mankind, along with beating women who drive and hanging homosexuals from construction cranes.
Yesterday at 2:59am · Like · 1.
Eric Get a degree and call the shots yourself or go across the street and work for the other guy
Yesterday at 4:52am · Like · 1.
Robin So I took the job at the wage they dictated. I did a great job and I got more wages. I saved as much as I could for as long as I could and kept doing a great job. I kept getting more wages... 20 years later I took the money I saved for so long and I opened my own business. Now I'm the "dictator". I employ 130 people, I fight with federal and state government every day and am constantly at risk of losing my business (my 20 years of saving) due to pretty much anything (happy to elaborate if you want but it would be long). If I lose my business, 130 people lose their jobs. I have no degree. I went to work for someone that took care of me. I am an employer that takes care of their employees. If you are unhappy with your situation, change it (or negotiate based on what you have to offer, not what you think you are worth). Go across the street. Don't expect the government to change it for you; if that's what you want then you are living in the wrong country. Sorry for the rant but I'm just an everyday person who gets peeved when somebody else says I should be doing something different when I'm doing all I can to just stay in business and provide a good, stable job.
Yesterday at 8:27am · Like · 7.
Bradley Ron, I don't think your comment matches the article, and I'm pretty sure the comments on this thread are a reaction to your post. From the fact that I'm pro-choice and a supporter of single-payer health insurance, I accept the label of liberal as a result, but I find myself agreeing with Eric, Robin, and Stephen's first post in this case. I had limited support from my mother in college, but I mostly paid for it by working 30-35 hours per week. My grades suffered (partly) as a result of that, but I got our with fairly low debt. I took a job in a bead store (yes, a bead store) at $6 per hour and worked my way to manager in two years by making valuable contributions and doing what others couldn't or wouldn't do. I managed to save $3,000 working for $8 per hour after three years and started my own business. I didn't have Robin's success, but I was my own boss and ended my business on my own terms, free of debt, with plenty of savings. Be the ball. On the other hand, Stephen's assertion about slavery is wrong. If labor had no value, buying and feeding slaves wouldn't make sense.
Yesterday at 9:51am · Like · 1.
James agrees with Bradley above. Comments like that from Robin seem to be more in reaction to Ron's statement, not to the article which makes a completely different point (a very good one) about the hypocrisy of corporate welfare.
Interesting that the free market keeps the wages of some jobs considerably higher than the minimum required by law, yet labor law (what's left of it anyway) keeps the wages and conditions of other jobs considerably higher than what a "free" market would allow. All of us are fortunate to at least live in an era when the Fair Labor Standards Act still exists. Stories like that of Robin and Bradley wouldn't be nearly as common without it.
Yesterday at 12:34pm · Like.
Ronald Go back and re-read the section on unions and how the government rigs the system in favor of capital. That's what I was commenting on, and I think my conclusions are in keeping with that.
Yesterday at 3:36pm · Like.
Ronald Further, the labor market is global. Consequently, the 27 million people in slavery today DEFINITELY push wages down everywhere. Indeed, a lot of that human trafficking is here in the US.
Yesterday at 3:38pm · Like.
Ronald Also, nobody has commented on the fact that capital without labor is nothing, and therefore labor is wildly undervalued. Going to college, working hard, none of this changes that fact.
Yesterday at 3:39pm · Like.
Ronald Finally, the whole point here isn't to change the overall system of compensation; rather, it is to say that the entire way of thinking about wages, benefits, and quality of work is utterly flawed, which means the government HAS to intervene with higher taxes on the capital class, health care, and other social welfare programs.
Yesterday at 3:54pm · Like.
Ronald A couple more thoughts. @James: Needless to say I got something completely different out of the article. It's title, "Beyond Loser Liberalism," is about rejecting the notion that liberalism concerns helping out the losers in our economic system. Rather, the article asserts, liberalism concerns redressing "the actions (government) takes to determine the initial distribution" of wealth in our society. That is, government, owned and operated by the rich, artificially creates a playing field that is unfair, unequal, and unreasonable from the get-go, a playing field that massively favors the rich. Indeed, I don't even know where you got the notion that corporate welfare - direct governmental payments and tax breaks for corporations - has anything to do with this essay--I mean, sure, it's a part of the puzzle here, but not the main topic.
4 hours ago · Like.
Ronald @Robin and Brad: I'm very sympathetic to your plight as small business owners, so I have to point out that you guys don't have lobbyists, don't own politicians through massive donations to PACs and whatnot, and don't generally have much say in how the overall economic playing field functions. This means I'm not really talking about you. Okay, I am talking about you in the abstract, in terms of labor/capital relationships, but the point is that you're not causing all the inequality; you're just trying to swim in shark infested waters playing by the rules as they exist. But wouldn't it be nice if government paid for your employee's health care instead of you? Wouldn't it be nice if your employees had free day care for their children while they're at work? If they could go to college for free? If they had mortgage or housing assistance? All kinds of stuff that you, as employer just wouldn't have to worry about, or spend money on. Wouldn't it be nice if YOU had access to all that stuff, too?
Like I said upthread, the point is not to start over from scratch, to create a new calculus about the value of labor relative to capital, but rather to allow the government to repair the savage inequalities of capitalism with all that "redistribution" Fox News hates.
BTW, a recent study indicates that we can go as high as a 75% tax rate on the super rich before it starts to interfere with how well the economy functions. So we really can do this. We've always been able to do this:
3 hours ago · Like
I've learned something here: the existing intellectual structures, the language of how we discuss economics, if you will, essentially assume the perspective of the capitalist so intensely that it is virtually impossible to discuss or criticize the underlying assumptions of capitalism without being utterly misunderstood.
I mean, the statement "capital without labor is nothing" is, at face value, completely non-controversial--you gotta have workers or the work won't be done and no money will be made. My intention in making such a statement was to justify taxing the rich and using it for social welfare programs, asserting that such programs aren't so much "redistribution" as a way to address the fact that labor is wildly undervalued. And, of course, to make a better, more livable society that serves to uplift its entire population instead of the privileged few. But nobody understood this. Indeed, if I understand correctly, these people think I'm a crazy Marxist or something.
So this discussion was a non-starter.
I'm thinking that there has to be a way to jump into such discussions without invoking knee-jerk pro-capitalist responses. But I wonder if that's even possible right now, that capitalist indoctrination is so strong and pervasive that people might not be able to even consider criticizing it as an economic system. On the other hand, Occupy Wall Street, in only a couple of months, managed to introduce the term "wealth inequality" to a public discourse that eight weeks earlier would have treated such a concept as absolute absurdity.
Maybe it's just a matter of getting people used to different ideas. That is, even if what I and other critics of capitalism have to say is immediately dismissed, there might be some long term value in simply exposing people to different ways of thinking. I should be patient.
Posted by Ron at 12:58 AM
Friday, January 27, 2012
Beyond Loser Liberalism
Anyone trying to understand the role of the government in the economy should know that whatever it does or does not do by way of redistribution is trivial compared with the actions it takes to determine the initial distribution. Rich people don’t get rich exclusively by virtue of their talents and hard work; they get rich because the government made rules to allow them to get rich.
In a similar vein our policy on labor unions is incredibly one-sided in management’s favor. If a company illegally fires a worker for trying to organize a union, the complaint would go to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). It is likely to take months and possibly years before the complaint is settled. Even if the worker can prove their case (employers rarely admit that they fired someone because they were organizing a union) the fine to the company is trivial. As a result, breaking the law and getting rid of agitators can be very profitable for the company.
On the other hand, if workers stage a strike that violates the law, for example a wildcat strike at a time when a contract is in force or a secondary strike in support of other workers, a company can typically get an injunction immediately. If the workers continue their strike, their assets will be seized and their leaders thrown in jail.
Needless to say, this incredible asymmetry tilts the field in management’s favor. It is difficult for workers to organize unions and it is often difficult for organized workers to push for better wages and working conditions. That is not just a market outcome; this is the result of deliberate government policy.
I've been saying for a few years now in regards to incessant right-wing whining about the evils of "redistribution" that the real redistribution takes place when an employee is first hired. That is, employers essentially dictate what your wage will be, no negotiation, take it or leave it, without any regard to the actual amount of wealth you create on the job. And it's a rigged game: go to a similar company across the street and it's the same thing, fixed wages that wildly undervalue the work you do.
The law, cultural custom going back centuries, the establishment public discourse, and "conventional wisdom" all favor the capital-owning class. The widespread belief is that if you put up the financing, you get to call all the shots--you get to control the people you've enlisted to help you do things with your capital, and you get to decide how much value from the venture these helpers get. But that's only because that's how everybody thinks it ought to be. It's not some law of nature that because it's your toy you get to control utterly everything that happens to it. And that's not even a good metaphor because workers aren't really part of the "toy," which is to say, the capital or financing; rather, workers are human beings who just want to make a living. Why don't workers get more of a say in how they are compensated for the wealth the capitalists could not create without their help?
Because that's the real point here. Without labor, capital is just paper, and nothing more. Who the fuck put the paper-pushers in charge of everything?
Posted by Ron at 12:45 AM
Thursday, January 26, 2012
Castro lambasts US Republican primary as idiotic
From the AP via the San Francisco Chronicle, courtesy of the Daily Kos:
Fidel Castro lambasted the Republican presidential race as the greatest competition of "idiocy and ignorance" the world has ever seen in a column published Wednesday, and also took shots at the news media and foreign governments for seizing on the death of a Cuban prisoner to demand greater respect for human rights.
Castro's comments came in a long opinion piece carried by official media two days after Republican presidential hopefuls at a debate in Florida presented mostly hard-line stances on what to do about the Communist-run island, and even speculated as to what would happen to the 85-year-old revolutionary leader's soul when he dies.
"The selection of a Republican candidate for the presidency of this globalized and expansive empire is — and I mean this seriously — the greatest competition of idiocy and ignorance that has ever been," said the retired Cuban leader, who has dueled with 11 U.S. administrations since his 1959 revolution.
There is a lot of legitimate criticism one can direct at Fidel Castro. He's never been really good with freedom of speech, for instance. Indeed, Cuba's prisons have long held a number of political dissidents, and the island nation is routinely on Amnesty International's list of countries that hold political prisoners. On the other hand, of course, so is the United States, and even though we have some relatively profound Constitutional protections for free speech, generally, dissenting views are kept out of the public discourse by non-governmental means.
So for my money, it's difficult to say whether Castro's Cuba is better or worse in terms of freedom than the US. I mean, sure, Cuba's no democracy, but then neither are we--I don't remember the last time I voted for a candidate who stood a chance to win but hadn't been bought out by corporate interests. I do know this, however. Nobody is hungry in Cuba. Nobody goes without decent medical care. And their prisons are not full of black people.
At any rate, Castro is necessarily a student of US politics. After all, as the article observes, he's lived through eleven American Presidents who were all out to get him--indeed, some even attempted multiple times to assassinate him. So when he calls the current GOP primary "the greatest competition of idiocy and ignorance that has ever been," it's not propaganda; it's truth coming from experience. I mean, you know, you can say what you want about Ike, or Tricky Dick, or George HW Bush, but they weren't ignorant idiots--they were worthy adversaries to the Cuban dictator.
Why the fuck won't serious public observers here in the US say the same thing, that the Republican primary field is full of morons? It's the fucking truth. What keeps our establishment from admitting what everybody outside the American echo chamber fully understands? I know, I know. Media, yadda yadda, "Washington Consensus," yadda yadda, "American Exceptionalism," yadda yadda. It all adds up to a ruling class that is just about as stupid as the GOP presidential contenders are. I mean, more suave and sophisticated, to be sure, but just as fucking stupid.
Posted by Ron at 12:25 AM
Wednesday, January 25, 2012
Andrew Sullivan is Right: Obama Has Governed as a Conservative
Last week, Newsweek magazine and The Daily Beast published an article by Andrew Sullivan, “How Obama’s Long Game Will Outsmart His Critics,” which excoriated left-wing critics for failing to appreciate how much Obama has accomplished, while at the same time trying to convince conservatives that Obama is not a liberal, let alone a socialist, and that, in fact, he has governed as a conservative. The fact that these two critiques are internally inconsistent has somehow managed to escape Mr. Sullivan.
So the rest of the piece is pretty much a take down of Sullivan's assertion that liberal Obama critics should give the President more credit for all he has "accomplished." And, of course, that's a fairly easy task, given that, as Sullivan correctly observes, Obama is a conservative; liberals don't have much reason to celebrate conservative accomplishments, unless, of course, such conservative successes actually accomplish some real good, which actually happens from time to time. But, short of keeping Great Depression II at bay, and maybe taking out Bin Laden, in spite of the fact that it was an extrajudicial killing of an unarmed and unresisting man, all of Obama's accomplishments are decidedly conservative.
Okay, I'll also credit Obama with signing the legislation that ended Don't Ask Don't Tell, but that's the thing: Obama, as a Democrat, must necessarily salute the so-called social issues, a.k.a. "identity politics," whatever you want to call it. But on issues like national security and economics, you know, everything else, he's conservative. Indeed, most of the Democratic Party is conservative in this way, too, embracing the so-called "Washington Consensus" that neoliberalism's "free markets" are always the best way to go, that continually enacting legislation that makes the rich richer is the best way to "economic prosperity," a term I don't think I, personally, understand any more.
So I'm happy that at least one conservative appears to get it.
On the other hand, Andrew Sullivan is English and gay, which means he can't possibly share most American conservatives' xenophobia and homophobia. Sullivan's probably not a racist, either, so that further distances him from the GOP rank and file. Indeed, as a man whose accent makes plain that he wasn't raised within the context of the US's longstanding culture wars, he very likely doesn't even have the typical American conservative knee-jerk and tribal revulsion toward liberals, who they perceive as dirty, foul, and immoral. That is, he may very well self-identify as conservative, and, indeed, he is, but he's not part of the tribe, and therefore not possessing the thought-filter that makes conservative Obama look like Stalin or Chairman Mao when seen through the eyes of the truly tribal.
I'm not really expecting many right-wingers to respond favorably to his argument.
Posted by Ron at 1:09 AM
Monday, January 23, 2012
Lobbyist Helps a Project He Financed in Congress
From the New York Times courtesy of the Daily Kos:
Soon after he retired last year as one of the leading liberals in Congress, former Representative William D. Delahunt of Massachusetts started his own lobbying firm with an office on the 16th floor of a Boston skyscraper. One of his first clients was a small coastal town that has agreed to pay him $15,000 a month for help in developing a wind energy project.
Amid the revolving door of congressmen-turned-lobbyists, there is nothing particularly remarkable about Mr. Delahunt’s transition, except for one thing. While in Congress, he personally earmarked $1.7 million for the same energy project.
So today, his firm, the Delahunt Group, stands to collect $90,000 or more for six months of work from the town of Hull, on Massachusetts Bay, with 80 percent of it coming from the pot of money he created through a pair of Energy Department grants in his final term in office, records and interviews show.
One way that lobbyists influence legislation is through direct campaign donations to candidates. All candidates, or, at least, the candidates who have a snowball's chance of winning. You know, just to hedge their bets. Ideology is irrelevant. The money's the thing. Give a candidate lots of money and he's yours.
Another way is, of course, rewarding the officials they've already bought by giving them lucrative lobbying/consulting positions once they've left office. John Breaux, for instance, the former Louisiana Senator, and a good friend to the pharmaceutical industry, became a lobbyist for, you guessed it, the pharmaceutical industry when he retired from the Senate. This system is valuable to politicians because it makes them rich once they leave public service; it's valuable to business interests because it gives them access, and lots of it.
In these ways, and a few others I haven't mentioned, business does an end-run around democracy, and rules the nation with influence rather than votes. It is corrupt and against everything for which America supposedly stands, but that's how it works.
This guy in the excerpt above, Delahunt, appears to have cut out the middle men, that is, already existing lobbying organizations, and formed his own firm. But it's the same thing: he's getting rich using his access to and understanding of the legislative system, smoothing the wheels of government for anybody willing to pay. On the one hand, I like that he's not working directly for big business interests; on the other hand, it's exactly the same kind of anti-democratic corruption that would be happening if he was working directly for big business interests.
And he's a "liberal," too. I guess that "liberal" now means milking the system for as much as you can get. He also may very well have broken the law in that he's lobbying on a project that he put together when he was serving in Congress--the overly obvious conflict of interest stands a chance of pissing off his Congressional brothers who are waiting for their turn on the gravy train; that is, he's going too far and doing it too flagrantly, which might bring public scrutiny down on the whole edifice of corruption.
In the end, though, that's the key word, "corruption." Right now, the revolving door between Congress and the lobbying business is, by and large, legal. That Delahunt may have crossed the line between legal and illegal lobbying is kind of irrelevant. The legal stuff is bad enough.
Posted by Ron at 6:54 PM
BLAST FROM THE PAST
LA detective in Simpson-Goldman murders dies at 70
From the AP via the Houston Chronicle:
Philip Vannatter, the Los Angeles police detective who served as a lead investigator in the 1994 murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman, has died in Southern California, according to his brother. He was 70.
Vannatter died Friday at a Santa Clarita hospital of complications from cancer, his brother Joe Vannatter told The Associated Press on Sunday.
He was among the first detectives on the scene at former football star O.J. Simpson's mansion in June 1994, following the stabbing deaths of Simpson's wife Nicole and her friend, Ron Goldman. Vannatter testified at the murder trial, at which Simpson was acquitted.
So, of course, I'm sure Detective Vanatter was a dedicated, hardworking man who solved lots of crimes throughout his career and we all ought to respect his memory for that. It is interesting to me, however, that this AP obituary makes no mention of the fact that Vanatter single handedly made the policing blunder that almost certainly let OJ off the hook.
If memory serves, Vanatter was the guy who showed up at the crime scene with a vial of blood freshly drawn from the celebrated Heisman winner and murder suspect at police headquarters. We can only speculate as to why such an experienced detective would do something so stupid - okay, I'll admit, I'm in the camp that believes the LAPD tried unsuccessfully to frame a guilty man - but the long and the short of it is that the presence of OJ's blood, taken by the police, at the crime scene while it was being investigated, was enough to introduce reasonable doubt in the jury's minds about all that foolproof DNA evidence that was supposed to provide a slam dunk conviction. I mean, you can trash prosecuting attorneys Marsha Clark and Chris Darden all you want, but when you have cops running around the crime scene carrying vials of the suspect's blood, you've definitely got your work cut out for you.
So Vanatter, more than anybody else, blew the OJ case, most likely in his zeal to deprive the suspect of his civil rights, which ended up denying the victims' families their rights. That's how I'm going to remember him. I wonder if police departments since then have learned a lesson from this. Probably not.
Posted by Ron at 1:34 AM
Sunday, January 22, 2012
Gingrich wins SC GOP primary, beating Romney
Newt Gingrich has won the South Carolina Republican primary, capping off a remarkable comeback for his presidential bid that reshapes the trajectory of the battle for the GOP nomination as the race now heads to Florida and beyond.
The results mark the end of a tumultuous week in politics that saw Gingrich erase and then overcome the lead former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney had in the Palmetto State following his victory in the Jan. 10 New Hampshire primary. Gingrich came on strong in the closing days of the campaign, looking to rally under his banner the many conservatives unwilling to get behind Romney, who had sought to posture himself as the eventual nominee.
And from Slate:
A glossary of Newt Gingrich’s historical references and out-of-nowhere terminology
The moment comes, inevitably, at a key point in any Newt Gingrich speech. Members of the audience lean in and whisper: “Huh?” As speaker of the House, Gingrich was notorious (ask the Romney campaign!) for pulling ideas out of the ether. During his post-congressional wilderness years, he’s written an average of a book every nine months. We can quote the man himself: He is a “cultural teacher, with a political campaign to change a government.” A mere voter or reporter hears him mention a random concept, and gets flummoxed.
Be flummoxed no more! Below is a work-in-progress guide to the names and phrases Gingrich whips out to score extra points with conservatives. Previous Slate word watches—Bushisms, Palinisms—tracked candidates’ malapropisms. This is different. This will track and demystify the terms Gingrich tosses out to demonstrate his brain size.
Click here for the glossary of Newtisms.
I wrote this only last Thursday about Rick Perry, but it just as easily applies to Newt Gingrich:
This is, of course, a prime example of what's ailing the GOP right now in its race to get the party's presidential nomination. The Republicans have gone so far out in right field, and are so used to denying reality in order to bolster their crackpot political ideas, that only the very stupid are really able to capture the imaginations of the party's rank and file. I mean, sure, Perry's not stupid: the guy managed to make it to the governor's mansion and stay there for longer than anybody else in Texas history. But he is stupid on the issues. Really stupid. Just drooling, hare lipped, gibbering stupid. Like Gingrich, Santorum, Paul, and all the rest.Indeed. Gingrich, too, is not stupid in that he has been smart enough to have a political career, smart enough to get an advanced degree, smart enough to make a lot of money working the corrupt lecture and lobby circuit that he helped to build when he was a House leader, smart enough to see that what was essentially a book tour pretending to be a presidential campaign had some potential as an actual campaign. Gotta give him all that. But just like his former rival Perry, Gingrich is one of the biggest morons in the world when it comes to issues.
Sometimes I'm amazed that among establishment media fixtures, the Newt's considered to be an intellectual, but then I remember that establishment media fixtures are pretty fucking stupid, too. That is, for our college educated press corps, spewing pseudo-intellectual jargon and obscure names and phrases is the same thing as being an intellectual. So Newt has a reputation as a smart guy, which just makes his victory tonight all the more funny.
I mean, seriously. Can you imagine Gingrich debating Obama? It would be like the Globetrotters versus the Generals. Really, Newt's worst enemy is his own mouth. Sure, it plays well when he's racebaiting down in South Carolina, but all most Americans hear is the gibberish and bullshit that make up his absurd rhetoric.
Then there are all the scandals, the marital infidelity, the Congressional investigation, just albatross after albatross wrapped around his big fat neck. Running him in the general election all but ensures an Obama victory, and potential disarray in the GOP for years to come. So, while I'm no supporter of Democrats, I'm well aware that Republican rule is tantamount to national suicide: congratulations to Newt Gingrich! I hope and pray for your success, which, in the end, means a few more nails in the Republican Party's coffin.
Posted by Ron at 12:38 AM
Friday, January 20, 2012
Thursday, January 19, 2012
Rick Perry's stupidity causes diplomatic incident
From the Daily Kos:
"The State Department 'absolutely and fundamentally' disagrees with Gov. Rick Perry’s statement in last night’s debate that Turkey is ruled 'by what many would perceive to be Islamic terrorists.' [...]
'When you have a country that is being ruled by what many would perceive to be Islamic terrorists,' Perry said, 'when you start seeing that type of activity against their own citizens, then yes, not only is it time for us to have a conversation about whether or not they belong to be in NATO, but it's time for the United States, when we look at their foreign aid, to go to zero with it.' [...]
In a scathing statement, Turkey’s ambassador to the United States expressed his disappointment and concern over Perry’s comments, calling them 'misplaced' and 'ill-advised.' The ambassador also said Turkey receives no significant foreign aid from the U.S."
I'm not surprised at all that my home state's governor caused a minor diplomatic incident by spewing bullshit.
This is, of course, a prime example of what's ailing the GOP right now in its race to get the party's presidential nomination. The Republicans have gone so far out in right field, and are so used to denying reality in order to bolster their crackpot political ideas, that only the very stupid are really able to capture the imaginations of the party's rank and file. I mean, sure, Perry's not stupid: the guy managed to make it to the governor's mansion and stay there for longer than anybody else in Texas history. But he is stupid on the issues. Really stupid. Just drooling, hare lipped, gibbering stupid. Like Gingrich, Santorum, Paul, and all the rest.
Except for Romney. He's not stupid, just conservative, and it looks like with a few dodges and weaves here and there, as well as the solid support of the last vestiges of intelligent voters in the GOP, he's going to get the nomination. But something like three quarters of the party hate him, you know, because he's not stupid, so this November's going to be fun.
At any rate, it's a shame Perry's leaving the race. He's made me laugh more than any serious presidential candidate I can remember. We won't have Rick to kick around anymore.
Posted by Ron at 11:41 PM
Higher abortion rates where it's illegal
From the AP via the Houston Chronicle:
Abortion rates are higher in countries where the procedure is illegal and nearly half of all abortions worldwide are unsafe, with the vast majority in developing countries, a new study concludes.
Experts couldn't say whether more liberal laws led to fewer procedures, but said good access to birth control in those countries resulted in fewer unwanted pregnancies.
About 47,000 women died from unsafe abortions in 2008, and another 8.5 million women had serious medical complications. Almost all unsafe abortions were in developing countries, where family planning and contraceptive programs have mostly levelled off.
I think I've been pro-choice from the moment I first understood what the abortion debate was all about. For me personally, it's always been about principle: the government and society end where my skin begins, unless, of course, I give government or society permission to pass that boundary. Thus, it is up to the individual entirely as to deciding whether to have an abortion.
Of course, the public discourse on abortion includes much, much more than pondering the concept of civil liberties. Indeed, pro-choice activists have for decades made the argument that the social, economic, familial, and personal pressures involved with unwanted pregnancies guarantee that legislating against abortion rights will not end abortion. Instead, these advocates have always argued, surgical pregnancy termination goes underground, hence the term "back alley abortion." That is, unlicensed hack doctors will take a desperate woman's money and cut her up, which may or may not actually end the pregnancy, and which may or may not end the woman's life or seriously injure her.
That's why pro-choicers proclaim "Keep abortion safe and legal!"
The study cited in the above linked article now lends a great deal of real life proof in support of this argument. When women don't have safe and legal alternatives, they get back alley abortions. And they do it in large numbers. And it kills and severely injures them.
Of course, the study's authors speculate that the higher abortion rates in countries where abortion is illegal may very well be a result of social attitudes against birth control, but it is fair to observe that attitudes about abortion usually walk hand in hand with attitudes about birth control. That is, if you're against abortion, there is a very good chance that you're also against wide and ready access to birth control. GOP presidential candidate and fundamentalist favorite Rick Santorum stands as an example of such thinking.
At any rate, the debate is now over. If you support making abortion illegal, then you support more abortions. And these kinds of abortions kill fetus and pregnant woman alike. If you want the abortion rate to go down, you must necessarily support abortion rights. Whether you think it's moral or not. Case closed.
Posted by Ron at 12:27 AM
Wednesday, January 18, 2012
Websites going black to protest anti-piracy bills in Congress
From the Los Angeles Times, culled from OWS or Anonymous on facebook, one of those subversive groups I'm friends with:
Strike organizers say the online grass-roots campaign is intended to inform the public about the Stop Online Piracy Act and the Protect Intellectual Property Act, which aim to crack down on foreign websites that traffic in pirated movies, music and counterfeit goods.
Internet companies have broadened the debate, recasting it from one about piracy and digital copyright protection to one about Internet freedom. Calling the bills well intentioned but seriously flawed, they say SOPA in the House and PIPA in the Senate are threats to free speech that could stifle the Internet economy, drive up legal costs and lead to censorship or the shutdown of some websites.
The proposed legislation "creates a punishing Internet censorship regime and exports it to the rest of the world," said a statement on Boing Boing, a group blogging site.
"Boing Boing could never coexist with a SOPA world: we could not ever link to another website unless we were sure that no links to anything that infringes copyright appeared on that site," the company said.
Erik Martin, general manager at Reddit, a social news community that was scheduled to shut down for 12 hours Wednesday, said the bills were "an existential threat to our company and the industry we work in."
I'm not sure which one of these, Bill Moyers interviewing the authors of Winner Take All Politics, or the book I'm currently reading, Stayin' Alive: the 1970s and the Last Days of the Working Class, probably both, made this point, but it is definitely pertinent to the SOPA/PIPA debate: money and lobbying are so extraordinarily pervasive within the US political process that gigantic corporations routinely and literally draft the bills on which legislatures vote. And most of these bills are just rubber stamped through to become the law of the land.
If that's the case, and I'm sure it is, the SOPA/PIPA bills are a prime example.
That is, they appear to be geared toward helping massive media companies recoup their "losses" to online pirates--I put that word in quotes because the assumption is that people who are happy to watch or listen to free media content would just as happily pay for it if there was no free option, which makes such "losses" highly theoretical. That's all good and fine, of course, but the way the laws are structured would place a massive burden on medium and small internet businesses, and even unimportant individuals such as myself, in short, anybody who links to any site that might somewhere have pirated material. It's not even linking to pirated material: it's linking to a site that has pirated material. That opens you up to massive lawsuits from corporate juggernauts.
I mean, what would I do if I linked to the wrong site and was suddenly hit with a million dollar lawsuit from Sony or GE? I don't know, but the risk here would make blogging quite literally dangerous. It would also render numerous successful websites unable to do business at all, thereby ending the internet as we understand it today.
It appears that the sound and fury already unleashed by SOPA/PIPA opponents online has made the dogs back off a bit, but I do support this blackout protest. One thing I've learned over the last decade or so is that corporate forces are never defeated: they just lay low until the shit storm dies down. Then they come back, stronger than before. It's looking like internet freedom needs to be a full court press. Forever.
Posted by Ron at 12:22 AM
Tuesday, January 17, 2012
Conservatives feud over Santorum endorsement
From the right-wing Washington Times courtesy of the Daily Kos:
A leading evangelical and former aide to President George H.W. Bush said he agreed with suspicions voiced by others at the meeting of evangelical and conservative Catholic activists that organizers “manipulated” the gathering and may even have stuffed the ballot to produce an endorsement of Mr. Santorum over former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.
“The organizer was for Santorum, the person who created the invitation list was for Santorum, the emcee was for Santorum, and after making sure all of the Gingrich people had vented early, the last three speakers before the vote were for Santorum,” he said.
Added a Gingrich supporter, a prominent social conservative who asked not to be named, “My view is that the vote was manipulated.”
Yet another evangelical political organizer who attended the meeting said he witnessed a possible incident of ballot-box stuffing. In at least one instance, the witness said, a participant was seen writing Mr. Santorum´s name on four separate ballots and putting all four in the box.
Oh, this is funny and sweet! Live by the sword, and all that. The irony here is delicious. Of course, conservatives don't understand irony, so I'm sure it's utterly lost on the participants in this fundamentalist caucus, but ironic it is.
Just to spell this out a little if you're only a casual observer: modern day Republicans don't give a shit about democracy. From dirty tricks, like anonymous phone calls to voters in black districts telling them to go to the wrong polling places or that the election is already over or that it will be taking place on the wrong date, to ramming gerrymandered districts through state legislatures, to voter ID laws aimed at suppressing minority votes, to electronic ballot machine tampering, to straight up judicial interference, like with the inexplicable Gore v. Bush decision of 2000, Republicans have over the last decade or so shown utter contempt for the notion of one man/one vote.
They hate democracy, hate elections. I mean, that makes sense when you're absolutely certain that you are one hundred percent correct with your political analysis: Republicans are going to do the right thing, and voters be damned. It even makes more sense when you believe you're working for God. And, lemme tell ya, every single one of these fundamentalist idiots, Protestant and Catholic alike, believe they have God on their side. So any action is permissible. Especially vote tampering and event rigging. I mean, what's a bunch of voters compared to the Almighty?
Really, I'm sure that what pisses these anti-Santorums off so much is that they didn't think of it first.
Well, too fucking bad. You guys made your bed years ago, and I think it's only fitting that you now have to lie in it. Heh. Same thing with all that super PAC money coming in, money that was supposed to target Democrats, not Republicans. Cannibalize yourselves. I'm loving it.
Posted by Ron at 12:33 AM
Monday, January 16, 2012
Saturday, January 14, 2012
US Marine Corps Soul Searching After 'Urinating' Video
From ABC News:
The U.S. Marine Corps is launching an internal investigation into the culture of the Corps in response to a video that purportedly shows troops urinating on the corpses of suspected Taliban fighters, a Marine official told ABC News today.
The probe will attempt to answer the question "What happened in the Marine Corps that this happened?" according to the official.
"It'll be a holistic look at everything surrounding this issue," he said.
USMC Commandant Gen. Jim Amos first announced an internal "preliminary" probe Thursday, saying the video showed behavior "wholly inconsistent with the high standards of conduct and warrior ethos that we have demonstrated throughout our history."
The video, which surfaced online Wednesday, appears to show four men in uniform looking around before urinating on three dead bodies. At least one of the men chuckles as they do so.
"Have a great day, buddy," one of the men is heard saying, apparently to a dead body.
A couple of observations.
First, it's looking like the Marine Corps, the DOD, and the government in general are doing the right thing here, condemning this desecration across the board, tracking down the Marines responsible, and trying to figure out how the culture of our military could collapse so profoundly. But I'll tell you, there's really no mystery for that last bit: this is obviously part of the overall erosion in the moral values of our armed forces, begun at the top, and then filtering down through the ranks, during the Bush years. It is not a coincidence that the urinating video looks so much like the sexual humiliation photos coming out of Abu Ghraib back in 2004. That is, such "isolated incidents" have been policy for nearly a decade, and it appears that Obama's people haven't done nearly enough, if anything at all, to reverse this slide into barbarity.
Second, crazy conservative pundits have already come out of the shadows to defend what is morally indefensible: it is apparently desirable to desecrate the corpses of our enemies because...well...because that's what they get for opposing America or something to that effect. As if killing them wasn't enough. Frankly, I don't think these truly evil statements really need much of a rebuttal. If you think it's necessary to piss on the bodies of the people you've just killed in war, then you are morally a lost cause. That is, there is no debate to be had with such heinous people. They're reprehensible scum, and, no surprise here, the same kind of people who have been screaming in support of torturing POWs for years now. Fuck them all.
Posted by Ron at 8:54 PM
Friday, January 13, 2012
Thursday, January 12, 2012
New York Times asks readers: Should reporters report facts?
From the Daily Kos:
But the question posed by the Times' Public Editor is considerably less colorful.
"I’m looking for reader input on whether and when New York Times news reporters should challenge “facts” that are asserted by newsmakers they write about."
He goes on to explain that an opinion columnist, like Paul Krugman, clearly has the "freedom" to call out untruths in a way that mere, factually-based reporters somehow do not. His example is Mitt Romney constantly claiming that Barack Obama has been "apologizing for America" when in actual fact that has never, ever happened, as the Public Editor himself points out.
Now if you reflect for a moment, you may come to the conclusion that this is a Hell of a Thing, as the kids say today (where "kids" means your grandpa, and "today" means several decades ago). The writers of opinions are free to check facts, but the writers of facts are largely prohibited from it. This only makes sense if you consider facts to be opinions, and opinions to be facts, which in turn seems to make the whole point of reporting on either rather pointless: You might as well go to a palm reader and report whatever comes out of that as God's honest truth. It'd be the same damn thing, yes?
In any event, this leads to the grand question of the day, which is whether reporters should bother to check what spews from the primary face-orifaces of their subjects, or whether that is a separate job that should be done apart from the main article so as to not upset the cadence of the bullshit-spouting person in question.
Mind you, this is a novel fucking thing. It requires contemplation. If a candidate states a flat lie—not something dubious or ambiguous, but a clear, flat lie, on the order of my opponent eats puppies—ought a reporter, as part of reporting, report that the lie is a lie? This would seem to be all fine and good, except that it conflicts so greatly with the conventions of modern political reporting as to make it a daring-sounding thing. Convention dictates that you should just report "so-and-so says his opponent eats puppies," and ignore the obvious bullshit of the thing; if someone else in America wants to object and just happens to have their very own opinion column in one of America's top newspapers, they can feel free to take a stab at it, but otherwise convention dictates that we drop the whole thing because doing otherwise might insult the fellow who is declaring that his ideological rival eats puppies.
Virtually every lefty source I check out online was railing about this today, as they should have been. I mean, the piece I posted about a couple of days ago, the whining of the establishment journalist class over how tired they are of observing that GOP presidential candidates routinely lie about Democrats, was worth noting, but this one takes the cake. The New York Times, supposedly the "newspaper of record," meaning the first official take on history as understood by Americans, is asking if reporters ought to report that politicians are lying when politicians lie to them.
Of course, as virtually all observers have observed, such psychotic journalistic "values" come from caving, again and again, to right-wing claims of liberal bias in the news media. To some extent, I'm sympathetic. Conservatives have been relentless since the Nixon era in their attempts to pigeonhole the press as being some sort of mouth piece for liberalism, which is, of course, impossible because the establishment media are, well, establishment, and therefore necessarily reflect the concerns of the establishment, you know, government, the corporate state, Big Money, etc. But it's been a jihad for decades, and journalistic entities are, above all else, businesses, and very worried that a bad reputation would be harmful to the bottom line. So I'm not that sympathetic.
That is, the MSM are cowards, and instead of continuing to report facts that are inconvenient to conservatives, they transitioned into a sort of he-said-she-said point/counterpoint thing. As Paul Krugman once observed, the way the establishment press covers politics today is such that if a Republican asserted that the world is flat, the headline would be something like "Shape of Earth: Views Differ."
What's really damned annoying is that big time media people are arrogant condescending assholes and think that the way they currently report the news is the best possible way to do it, utterly refusing to admit to themselves that conservative attack dogs bullied them into it. That is, they've so fooled themselves into believing that they chose to do the news this way, that actually reporting the truth comes as a novelty or an idea with potential that needs contemplation or some such.
In short, their heads are so far up their asses that they can ask such a question and not for a moment suspect that everybody who knows what's going on is laughing at them like they shit their pants. All the news that's fit to print, indeed.
Posted by Ron at 11:44 PM
Wednesday, January 11, 2012
Socialist Party Derides Rick Perry 'Fairy Tale' Of Obama As Socialist
From the Huffington Post:
The Socialist Party USA is more than a little skeptical of Texas Gov. Rick Perry's claim Sunday that President Barack Obama belongs in their ranks.
"The notion that Barack Obama is a socialist ranks among the greatest fairy tales in American society -- right up there with the Easter Bunny, Santa Claus, and the idea that if you work hard enough your children will live a better life than you," Socialist Party spokeswoman Lynn Lomibao said in an email. "Socialists know what Obama is: another corporate funded politician placed in the White House to protect the wealth and status of the 1 percent."
Ahem. From Wikipedia:
Socialism /ˈsoʊʃəlɪzəm/ is an economic system characterized by social ownership of the means of production and cooperative management of the economy; or a political philosophy advocating such a system. "Social ownership" may refer to any one of, or a combination of, the following: cooperative enterprises, common ownership, direct public ownership or autonomous State enterprises. There are many variations of socialism that differ in the degree of social ownership they champion and in their mechanisms for economic coordination.Probably the furthest one could go with the "Obama socialist" meme is to call him a social democrat. And that's about it. He's not very good at it, either. The whole point to socialism is to make life better for average ordinary citizens who work for a living. That's what wealth redistribution is about; there is an assumption that capitalists take much more than their fair share simply because they run the show, and only government intervention allows workers to get fair compensation for the wealth they create with their labor.
A socialist economic system would be based on production for use: the direct allocation of economic inputs to meet economic demands and human needs (use value), with accounting based on physical quantities of resources, a common physical magnitude, or a direct measure of labour-time.
As a political movement, socialism includes a diverse array of political philosophies, ranging from reformism to revolutionary socialism. Proponents of state socialism advocate for the nationalisation of the means of production, distribution and exchange as a strategy for implementing socialism. Social democrats advocate redistributive taxation and government regulation of capital within the framework of a market economy. In contrast, anarchism and libertarian socialism advocate direct worker's control of the means of production without relying on state power to achieve such an arrangement, while also opposing parliamentary politics and state ownership over the means of production.
Obama's "redistribution" however, doesn't even come close. Consider the Affordable Care Act which is, in essence, a law that forces all citizens to hand over lots of money to massive corporations for health insurance that may or may not actually cover their health care expenses. Or consider the bank bailout, which is currently at around twenty nine trillion dollars, twice the national debt, a massive reward to financial corporations for plunging the world into the worst recession since the Great Depression.
Yeah, that's redistribution, but it takes away from workers and gives to the capitalists. Kind of the opposite of socialism. No, Obama is no socialist, and not even really a social democrat, and, for that matter, Republicans do exactly the same kind of social democracy, steal from the poor and give to the rich. This is all absurd.
It is no wonder that actual socialists are bewildered and a bit pissed off. If Obama's a socialist, then the Socialist Party is pro-corporate, pro-poverty, and anti-worker. What a fucking insult.
Posted by Ron at 11:43 PM
Tuesday, January 10, 2012
FROM THE REAL ART SPORTS DESK
From the AP via ESPN:
Alabama's D embarrasses LSU as five FGs, late TD seal national title
With a smothering display of old-school football, the No. 2 Crimson Tide blew out the top-ranked Tigers 21-0 in the Allstate BCS Championship Game Monday night.
Coach Nick Saban's Tide also moved into the top spot in the final Associated Press poll for the eighth time, tying Notre Dame for the most of any team in college football.
And again from the AP, but this time via the Huffington Post:
Oklahoma State Gets 4 No. 1 Votes In AP Poll After Alabama Beats LSU
Alabama's convincing victory in the BCS championship wasn't enough to convince all 60 Associated Press college football poll voters that the Crimson Tide is No. 1.
Four members of the media panel had Oklahoma State at No. 1, and Erik Gee, of KNML-AM in Albuquerque, N.M., picked LSU – as he said he would before the game.
"I was a lot closer than I thought I would be to changing my mind," Gee said during a telephone interview Tuesday. "I don't think I necessarily felt good about voting for LSU. But I also didn't feel good about voting for Alabama. I stared at the computer for 10 minutes. It wasn't an easy decision."
And, oh yeah, this happened, too. From the Houston Chronicle:
Texas QB Ash catches TD in Holiday Bowl win over California
In essence, No. 24 UT’s 21-10 victory over California boiled down to patience. The Longhorns had plenty of it when it came to waiting for David Ash, and absolutely none of it when it came to blitzing Zach Maynard.
Ash overcame an uninspiring start to lead three touchdown drives, and a relentless Longhorns defense made life a nightmare for Maynard, the Cal quarterback who was sacked six times and oversaw an offense that turned the ball over five times.
And even though it wasn’t always stylish, UT used that combination well enough in front of 56,313 at Snapdragon Stadium to reassert their belief it could lead to a higher-profile finish in 2012.
When it was all said and done, my two teams for the 2011 season had some similarities. Both had excellent defenses; both had mediocre offenses. I mean, this is all on a sliding scale, of course. Texas was coming back from last year's utterly dismal and disappointing season, and had almost no place to go but up. LSU, however, was pretty solid coming off of last year, with an incredible defense, and a great offense that was mediocre only because Les Miles was never able to figure out the quarterback puzzle. That is, LSU was, indeed, great this year, but its fatal flaw was the guy taking the snaps, no matter who was doing it.
But, as they say, you go to war with the army you have, not the one you want.
LSU's stifling defense was able to simply wear down other teams. By the second half, the Tigers didn't really need a brilliant offense, just one that could take advantage of the opportunities the defense set up for them, usually against an opposing defensive line that had become exhausted by the mountains-as-college students LSU kept rotating in on their side of the scrimmage line--like I said, the offense was pretty darned good, just no QB worth mentioning. It was a formula that worked well, smash mouth football essentially, which I like to watch. I mean, they beat everybody, even the national champion. On their home field.
And that's why, once again, the BCS has left the taste of shit in my mouth.
In short, Alabama's experience playing LSU the first time gave them the scouting advantage they needed to put together a game plan that ultimately spoiled the Tigers' admittedly flawed formula for success. Usually, almost never, in fact, does the challenger for the national championship get such a scouting opportunity. I call bullshit. I also think this affected LSU psychologically, and you could see it in their faces on the sidelines. It was almost as if the system said to the Tigers, "It doesn't matter that you went into Tuscaloosa and beat these guys on their home field. It doesn't matter that you played a tougher schedule and won more games. Our formulas and bloviating opinion people want a rematch, and fuck you."
So now, the team that won on a neutral site is called "national champion," even though the team they beat to win this "honor" had already beaten them. On the road. Alabama didn't win their division, and didn't win their conference, but LSU did. This is bullshit.
And, oh yeah, let's not forget Oklahoma State, a one loss team that did win its conference, and also had a harder schedule than the Crimson Tide, was squeezed out. Because the system wanted a fucking rematch. This is also bullshit.
At any rate, things are looking up for both Texas and LSU next year. Both have good defenses. The Longhorns' Ash is definitely improving, and LSU just signed that hotshot QB out of Indiana. I'm expecting good things from both schools. I'm also halfway expecting one or both to once again be fucked by the BCS.
Also, now that both Texas and LSU have lost national championship games to Alabama within just a few seasons of each other, I hate the Crimson Tide with all the darkness and evil I can find in my heart. They suck, suck, suck, and get help from a corrupt and fucked up system that exists only because universities don't want to lose bowl money.
What a way to end the season.
Texas quarterback David Ash throws a pass against California during the first
half of the Holiday Bowl NCAA college football game, Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2011,
in San Diego. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
Posted by Ron at 11:28 PM