September 28, 2002

RYDER CUP UPDATE: So much for Tiger Woods not being able to win at the Ryder Cup...a pair of victories today, and the US and the Euros are tied going into the final day, 8-8. Since tie scores are broken in favor of the champion, if the US splits the twelve matches tomorrow (and frankly I would be surprised if the US didn't pull away in the head-to-head matches, considering our superior depth), we retain the Cup for two years.
Back when he was known as Brian Williams, and played for the LA Clippers, I saw him a couple of times on the 3rd Street Promenade in Santa Monica, which, for those of you who live outside of Southern California, is a three-block long outdoor shopping, restaurant, movie theatre and sports bar paradise, and is one of the few desegregated communities in the city. At the time, I never thought much of it; the Promenade is sort of a magnet for the local basketball stars, and its not unusual to share a drink with some minor celebrity (in my case, John LeClair and William Macy). In the middle of the Promenade is a giant book store which specializes in hard-to-get political tomes, operating as a sort of fulcrum to the activities outside, and it was there that I remember seeing Williams browsing through the stalls. I suppose if I had been more astute it would have registered with me how unusual it was for a professional basketball player to be hanging in a bookstore known for its collection of hard-to-get Chomsky polemics, but then again, you usually see a lot of unusual things on the Promenade.
The U.S. and the Euros split the difference in the Saturday morning rounds of the Ryder Cup, with Europe maintaining its one match lead into the afternoon. The U.S. had a chance to tie the score, or even take the lead, but the nicest guy on the tour, Scott Hoch, missed a short putt on 16 that would have given the Americans a one-hole lead; he and Scott Verplank ended up losing to Monty (must have been some great karma to get stuck in that foursome) and his partner, Bernhard Langer. And yes, Tiger Woods finally won !!
The brother of Bison Dele, and chief suspect in his disappearance, died tonight in a California hospital. Their mother will hold a joint memorial service next week.

September 27, 2002

RYDER CUP UPDATE: US rallies to cut the Euro lead to one in afternoon play. My take is that Europe better have a big lead going into Sunday, or the superior American depth will just wear them down in match play. Tiger Woods, however, lost again; this is one competition he simply hasn't mastered yet.

(2006 Update HERE)
Blogging has been rather light this week, thanks to an increase in bankruptcies. Perhaps not the best timing, considering the recent good fortune this site has had, namely getting linked to by Eric Alterman's web site on MSNBC. Who knows how long that will last; I would be lying if I didn't admit that it's an incredible honor to have a writer I admire take notice of my work.

For those of you who may be visiting for the first time, understand that this is not primarily a political site; I have other interests, and frankly do not care a penny-farthing about who's sleeping with Andrew Sullivan, or whether Kausfiles spends too much time obsessing about the NY Times, or what the deeper significance is of Snitchens' departure from The Nation. I don't link to them anymore, so their only reason for existence in my world is to be cruelly mocked when they link to some moron like Michael Ledeen or Lucienne Goldberg. In fact, one of the great things about reading other blogs is the realization that being able to think about the world, and to write about said thoughts in a clear, accessible and provocative manner, is not the restricted province of professional journalists and academics whose names happen to be in someone's Rolodex. Anyone who visits Eschaton, or Rittenhouse, or MaxSpeak, or Matt Welch (or, for that matter, Volokh Conspiracy or Megan McArdle) knows that those writers are simply not in the same class as Kaus or Sullivan or Michael Kelly: they are far superior. Agree or disagree with them, or with writers like James Lileks or Dan Perkins, you feel like a smarter person just for reading them, more so because they treat you with respect.

Well, I'm not in their league. What I try to do here is to give you a sense of who I am, and what I believe. My weekends are pretty much devoted to the watching of sports at my favorite pub, Joxer Daly's in Culver City, so I talk about that quite a bit; it's safe to say that a lot of the opinions expressed here get fine-tuned first with my fellow publicans, over a pint of Beamish. I'm also a bankruptcy lawyer, so you're going to read a lot of posts here about my practice, and how I feel about the "reform" act currently before Congress, and the like. If the President does something to piss me off, I'll write about it too, but its not a priority; its just that lately, everything he does pisses me off. I would just as soon write about Bill James, or Phoebe Nicholls (coming soon!!), as Tom Daschle. I try not to link to other bloggers, or to quote verbatim what someone else has posted, because cut-and-pasting isn't my thing; I don't intend to be the liberal version of Instapundit. And if you have anything you'd like to say to me, the comments link is at the top right corner. Thanks for visiting.
Perhaps not the best news to wake up to...the Euros are already up 3-1 in the Ryder Cup. Among the losers this morning was one Tiger Woods, who has a simply atrocious record when playing for his country.

September 26, 2002

Now it's Gephardt's turn to be shocked, shocked to discover Bush is playing politics with national security. In any event, this is perhaps the best explanation for the dramatic turn of affairs on Capital Hill the last couple of days.
I've never downloaded a song off the internet in my life, but I can't imagine a more pathetic class of victims than the recording industry. Music consumers should boycott the songs of all groups and singers who continue to whine over this issue.
Finally. Angels 10, Rangers 5 (F)...the next attempt to exorcise the ghost of Donnie Moore shall begin in the Bronx next week. At the very least, it should be fun to visit the Matt Welch site the next couple of weeks.
Investigators now believe that Bison Dele, his girlfriend and the boat's captain were killed first, then tossed overboard, as far back as July 7. The most likely suspect remains comatose, but his family has already decided to terminate life support, perhaps as early as today.
A reminder to those of you who live within a 200-mile radius of Los Angeles: get your collective asses down to Joxer Daly's this Saturday to see the greatest bar band in all of christendom: the Samurai Homeboys. I can't promise you that the lead singer will walk into a ceiling fan and continue singing without missing a beat, like he did last time, but they will give you four solid hours of rock and soul.
For those of you who haven't cancelled your subscriptions to Salon yet, there is a pretty interesting takedown in Spinsanity on the chickenhawks' use of a certain term to describe opponents of their Iraq policy: appeasement. By the way, the term has gotten a pretty bad rap over the years, thanks to Neville Chamberlain and Stanley Baldwin, but wasn't that also Great Britain's policy towards a certain nation in the Western Hemisphere, from about 1814 to 1917? From the Monroe Doctrine to "54:40 or Fight" to kidnapping British envoys on their way to meet leaders of the Confederacy, Her Majesty's Government was always willing to look the other way whenever the US presented a causus belli, a policy which ultimately paid rich dividends. To summarize: appeasement with dictators, bad; "constructive engagement" with emerging democracies that allowed legalized slavery and tolerated genocidal policies towards aboriginal natives, good.

September 25, 2002

OK, I admit I'm starting to be a little concerned about the Angels....
The Senate is now making noises about drafting its own resolution concerning Iraq, rather than rubber-stamping W's. When even a conservative Democrat like Ben Nelson is questioning Bush's policy, it stands to reason that the support in the "homeland" is only an inch thick on this issue. His hissy-fit on the German election, his changing rationales and flip-flops on why we need to bomb Baghdad, the level of mendacity on issues of policy exceeding that of Clinton's on the issue of interns, together with the tanking economy, paint a very unpleasant picture of a man not fit to be Commander in Chief.
"Michael Kelly" or Neal Pollack: you make the call !!

September 24, 2002

It seems Zell Miller can't even get the backing of his fellow faux-Democrats in the Senate. Just days after Miller announced his support for a "compromise" bill co-sponsored by Senator Phil Gramm of Texas, the White House had to helplessly watch as the Democrats, with the backing of Senators Breaux, Lieberman, and Nelson, agreed to pass their own version of the Homeland Reorganization bill, which contains more protections for workers than the President's bill did. Not only was Miller unable to bring along other members of his "party", but GOP Senator Lincoln Chafee abandoned the White House as well. Although the President has promised a veto, it is mainly a face-saving gesture; unless he wants his grand domestic proposal to go the way of the bankruptcy reform act, the final version of the bill will be much closer to what the Democrats are proposing than the one passed by the House. Part of being an effective leader is not only knowing when to compromise, but whom to compromise with.
After a three-year wait, the Ryder Cup competition is renewed this weekend. Just a reminder, in 1999, the US came from way back on the final day to edge Europe, with Justin Leonard nailing a long putt on 18 to edge Jose-Maria Olazabel, leading to a mob celebration; for obvious reasons, the Euros were none too happy. It was scheduled to be played last year, but was postponed a year due to September 11. Although the teams are supposed to represent the best players from the US and Europe over the past year, the line-ups were frozen from the year before, which as circumstances developed, favors the US. ESPN already has the likely American teams for the first two days. Tee time is midnight Friday P.S.T.

ED--My mistake: Leonard hit his long putt to clinch the Ryder Cup at the 17th hole, not the 18th. By the way, if the Euros have a similar celebration this year, here's hoping that it happens near Scott Hoch's lie.
The Angels' Rally Monkey now has its own website. We rule !!!
Those of you who wish to read the full transcript of Al Gore's speech yesterday(complete with applause lines and laughter cues) can go here. It really is an astonishing speech, a rare moment of courage at a time when Congressional Democrats seem more concerned about November than their responsibilities as a party in opposition. More importantly, the People's Choice makes a compelling argument attacking the Ashcroft Doctrine abrogating due process, especially the high profile but increasingly bogus arrests of "suspected terrorists", at a time when almost all the 2004 hopefuls are silent on the issue. As I said before, if Lieberman is the nominee next time, I vote for Nader.
In the same post that loony right blogger Andrew Sullivan uses to excoriate Al Gore and other members of what he calls "the left" for "an abdication of seriousness", and in which he attacks Prof. Krugman and MoDo for using the collapse of the economy as a diversion from the "real" problem facing America, the all-important showdown with Iraq, he manages to link to a column celebrating the return of chest hair in men. As Dr. Evil would say, "Riiighhht".
Is there anyone out there besides this Slate writer who honestly believes The West Wing is a better show than Six Feet Under. I mean, besides anyone free-basing Metamusil every hour.

September 23, 2002

And so it day after Schroeder pulls victory from the jaws of defeat by running against American foreign policy, it now appears that Tony Blair's perceived sycophancy may be costing his party, as a new poll now shows the Tories only five points behind Labor (or is it Labour?).
Page 15 of the LA Times Sports Section this morning has a simple ad, set amidst the Kings training camp report and a preview of next weekend's Ryder Cup: Mick Fleetwood Call Randy in Ohio. Just in case the former Fleetwood Mac drummer wasn't keyed in on the Times' coverage of Tiger Woods' victory in the AmEx Championship, and didn't catch the article announcing the return of Adam "Grateful" Deadmarsh to the Kings' lineup, please pass the word along.

Speaking of which, I managed to get an entry into the Joxer Daly's Hockey Pool, even though I didn't get back from my uncle's memorial in Kernville until after the draft ended. My friends put me in a group with a couple of other drafters, and I got to enjoy the best of both worlds: participation in this year's contest without having to draft, and thereby reveal my lack of expertise in the sport. In the past, I've usually just picked the same four or five players, which was fine when Martin Rucinsky, Derek Plante, Ryan Smythe, and Daniel Alfredsson were still in their primes, but has now placed my teams fairly consistently at or near the cellar. But no this year, my teammates actually knew what they were doing, and have awarded me with a fine selection of worthies.
Finally, a breakthrough: America's funniest living pundit, "Michael Kelly", gets a long-overdue opportunity to publish something outside of the stiff confines of the Washington Post. And its a beaut; Kelly truly does for punditry what Neil Pollack does to blogging (thanks to Atrios for the link; btw, check out the photo he has of W. in the classroom today). Hopefully, this brilliant satirist will get more opportunities to be published. If only "Martin Peretz" could get the same break....
After reading this article about my competition in the SFV mayor's race, I'm beginning to think my write-in candidacy is doable. So why isn't Kausfiles bitching about the LA Times' non-coverage of my campaign?

September 22, 2002

According to the LA Times, the brother of Bison Dele is in a coma, and is "brain dead". In all likelihood, the most likely witness to whatever happened to the former NBA star will never regain consciousness.
It took about 155 games, but I finally made an emotional connection with the Dodgers last night. I don't know if it was the gutty pitching performance by Hideo Nomo, the late comeback, or the two-run rally in the ninth off of Trevor Hoffman, but I finally got it last night. On Wednesday, I attended my first game of the year, a depressing, dull loss to the Giants, where the only joy I got out of the experience was the companionship of my friend Deborah, who is just getting into the game; it must have been like how my dad felt, taking me to a game when I was just a lad, and I would say things like "do the best you can" when Steve Garvey or Willie Davis came up as the tying run in the bottom of the ninth, so as to take the pressure off them. The Dodgers this season were just another team to me, not as fun or interesting as the Angels; the Sheffield trade seemed to remove the one player on the team who gave a rat's ass about winning, so for most of the season I didn't care how they did, even though they were in contention from Day 1. I guess for me it's always about just one player; if I can identify with someone, no matter how obnoxious or arrogant or incompetent he is, then the team follows. Last night it was Nomo, a consummate professional, throwing some wicked stuff and laying down a perfect bunt in the fifth inning to set up the tying run; all night long, he had this look in the dugout, a cross between determined and pissed-off, that was so unlike the typical frat-boy attitude that has permeated the team since they broke up The Infield in 1982. This was someone who was upset that the team wasn't going to make the playoffs barring a NoCal collapse, that he had to share a locker room with the same morons who were now counting on him to carry the team, again, and he just wanted the damn ball. LOVE IT !!!
According to Google, this is one of the top sites for surfers seeking info about Bush's verbal miscue last week (ie., "fool me once...won't get fooled again"), which for a time led to two of the biggest days in traffic in the five month history of Smythe's World. Since all I did was accurately transcribe the quote, without comment (snarky or otherwise), in my thought-of-the-day box, above, it was a bit of undeserved good fortune for yours truly; by the way, I found the accurate quote from the White House's own website; for their part, the media amended his remarks to reveal what they thought the President meant to say, inserting a "...fool me twice, shame on me" at the end, as if he were a teenage prospect from San Pedro de Macoris, valiantly attempting his first interview in English. According to this Bush expert, however, the gaffe may have been less of a misstatement than previously thought, and more of a character flaw that could prove devastating to the Republic.
It seems that if W and the GOP were serious about compromise on the Homeland Security Bill, they will have to do a better job than Zell freaking Miller. C'mon, if you want to convince real Democrats in the Senate on the sticking point of employee rights, you'll have to find a senator who's not from a right-to-work state to be your water boy.