Monday, April 30, 2007

More Seahawks moaning

Just in case you thought I was overreacting, here's ESPN's compilation of what various experts think about the Seahawks' draft. Highest grade given is a C. The Seahawks average "GPA" is 1.7, ranking us 31 out of 32 teams (thank God for the Redskins).

Grading the Seahawks draft -- it's an F!

Fuck. Me.

What a horrible, horrible draft weekend for the Seahawks. I don't know even know where to begin. We may have actually made our team WORSE in the last 72 hours. Strike that -- we definitely made our team worse.

Where to begin? The Darrell Jackson trade was a fiasco. Complete nightmare. Makes no sense. Before I woke up Saturday, I was thinking "Maybe, just maybe it'll be worth dealing him to move up in the second round and nab a top guard or TE." Instead, we dealt him for a 4th round pick -- a fucking 4th rounder! -- to our leading division rival that was desparate for WR help.

Again, I say: Fuck. Me.

But let's put aside Ruskell's temporary insanity for a moment. What about the picks themselves? Surely we addressed our gaping needs at guard and TE, right? Right?

No. No, we fucking didn't. We drafted a "project" player, Mansfield Wrotto, who switched from defensive line last year and is at least a year away from playing, even though Josh Beekman fell all the way to the 5th. And as for tight end -- we didn't draft one. At all. Even though Ben Patrick, a consensus third rounder, fell all the way to the 7th round.

And what about our first pick, cornerback Josh Wilson? He's fast. He fumbles a lot. He's really small (just like Jennings). But perhaps most importantly, virtually no one thought he'd go in the second round. We could have traded down -- see Seahawks Insider blog post on this item -- and still picked him up and some extra draft picks.

The lone bright spot was Brandon Mebane in the 3rd, a decent pick who helps address the need at DT (though Mebane is not without question marks). Other than that, I spent the whole weekend developing an ulcer. It's going to be fun watching Darrell Jackson torch us for 120 yards as he separates from rookie Josh Wilson.

I've got to go throw up now.

Friday, April 27, 2007

TPM on TPV on Iraq

Josh Marshall, over on his excellent blog "Talking Points Memo," makes a cogent argument for why it's misleading to talk about "winning" or "losing" the Iraq War. As he points out, we -- meaning the U.S. -- "won" the war in 2003, insofar as the reason we went to war was to remove Saddam Hussein. Since that time, however, we've been engaged in an occupation who's endgame is unclear. As Marshall argues persuasively, that's no coincidence, because our stated reasons for invading in the first place -- to remove WMDs (primary reason), and to install a pro-Western democracy in the Middle East (fallback justification) -- have turned out to be false and/or hopelessly naive. Hence:

It's often been noted that we've had a difficult time explaining or figuring out just who we're fighting in Iraq. Is it the Sunni irreconcilables? Or is it Iran and its Shi'a proxies? Or is it al Qaida? The confusion is not incidental but fundamental. We can't explain who we're fighting because this isn't a war, like most, where the existence of a particular enemy or specific danger dictates your need to fight. We're occupying Iraq because continuing to do so allows us to pretend that the initial plan wasn't completely misguided and a mistake. If we continue to run the place a bit longer, the reasoning goes, we'll root out this or that problem that is preventing our original predictions from coming to pass. And of course the longer the occupation continues we generate more and more embittered foes to frame this rationalization around, thus creating an perpetual feedback loop of calamity and self-justification.

I think this nails the problem. We are hoping that the surge, and Gen. Petraeus, will figure out some strategy that will stem the sectarian and anti-U.S. violence. There was a name for this in Vietnam: escalation. But escalation didn't work then, and sadly, I think it's unlikely to work now.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

TPV's CYA's Seahawks Mock Draft

I've spent approximately 50 wasteful hours reading up on this weekend's NFL draft. One thing I've noticed is that most draft pundits release about 50 different predictions for every pick, thus ensuring that they can inflate the accuracy of their predictions.

Well, that's not very ballsy, is it? So here's my 100%-guaranteed-to-be-wrong-but-at-least-I-went-down-swinging predictions for this Saturday and Sunday:

With our first pick, we take Deion Branch.

In the second round, pick #55, the front office will be praying for Zach Miller, TE-Arizona, to fall to them, but will have to go to plan B when the Packers take him. It'd be tempting to reach for a guard here, most likely Josh Beekman from Boston College or Sam Satela from Hawaii, but it's a little too early for either of those guys. Thus, despite signing Patrick Kerney, the Hawks will take the best player available -- in this case, LaMarr Woodley, DE-Michigan. As we learned earlier this week, Ruskell loves big program players, and Woodley was the best defensive player on arguably college's best defense. The big concern on him is size, but unlike many GMs, Ruskell isn't afraid to draft small (see, e.g., Kelly Jennings and Daryl Tapp).

In the third, we'll be praying for Beekman again, but he'll be gone, so the choice will be between our glaring need at TE and our only slightly less glaring need at DT. The obvious pick would be Ben Patrick, TE-Delaware, but once again, we know Ruskell doesn't like small school guys. So with that said -- and after taking a long hard look at Brandon Mebane, DT-Cal -- we'll take a bit of a risk on Quinn Pitcock, an Ohio State DT who put up great numbers but for some reason is slipping on draft boards.

In the fourth, we'll finally have to get serious about drafting a guard, and that's when we get our steal -- Manuel Ramirez from Texas Tech. Ramirez played in an absurdly pass-happy offense, which doesn't really showcase a guard's ability to run block and drive DT's off the line. But the guy is a beast -- he can bench 550 lbs -- and there's a bit of a buzz developing around him.

Shit, it's round five and we still don't have a TE. Not good. Not only that, the only real interesting option left is Kevin Boss from Western Oregon, who's coming off an injury and played at a small school. So we have to play a little defense, and decide to go with value pick Scott Spaeth, TE-Minnesota. It's an uninspiring choice, but then again, our starting TE pre-draft is a 35-year old guy coming off a 19-reception season, so we've got nowhere to go but up.

Round six, it's a complete crapshoot. So let's take a wild stab and go with Jason Snelling, FB-Virginia and Tim Duckworth, G-Auburn.

If round six is a crapshoot, round seven is "guys who will likely be stocking your nearest Costco once training camp ends." So we'll look for special teams help and more uniform sales with William Gay, CB-Louisville.

Christopher Hitchens, My Hero

I take a lot of pot shots as Christopher Hitchens' views on the Iraq War, largely because I think he's one of the last remaining intellectuals standing with the neocons. But there's one area where Christopher Hitchens remains, quite literally, a hero of mine: atheism. And now, Hitch has written a book, "God is Not Great," that -- if the excerpts published on Slate are any indication -- may prove to be the seminal, devastating, literary critique of religion. Here's one choice excerpt:

The argument with faith is the foundation and origin of all arguments, because it is the beginning—but not the end—of all arguments about philosophy, science, history, and human nature. It is also the beginning—but by no means the end—of all disputes about the good life and the just city. Religious faith is, precisely because we are still-evolving creatures, ineradicable. It will never die out, or at least not until we get over our fear of death, and of the dark, and of the unknown, and of each other. For this reason, I would not prohibit it even if I thought I could. Very generous of me, you may say. But will the religious grant me the same indulgence? I ask because there is a real and serious difference between me and my religious friends, and the real and serious friends are sufficiently honest to admit it. I would be quite content to go to their children's bar mitzvahs, to marvel at their Gothic cathedrals, to "respect" their belief that the Koran was dictated, though exclusively in Arabic, to an illiterate merchant, or to interest myself in Wicca and Hindu and Jain consolations. And as it happens, I will continue to do this without insisting on the polite reciprocal condition—which is that they in turn leave me alone. But this, religion is ultimately incapable of doing. As I write these words, and as you read them, people of faith are in their different ways planning your and my destruction, and the destruction of all the hard-won human attainments that I have touched upon. Religion poisons everything.

Thank you, Chris Hitchens.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Does Tim Ruskell draft "small school" players?

As the Seahawks approach draft day, I thought I'd take a look at the drafting habits of Seahawks President Tim Ruskell. According to some of the commentors who, like me, waste way too much time on Seahawks Insider, Tim Ruskell will only draft players who went to "big" schools -- e.g., the Pac-10, Big-12, the SEC -- and not from small, Division II schools you've never heard of. Is this true? Let's take a look at the drafts we know Ruskell was responsible for: Hawks 2005-2006, Falcons 2004, and Bucs 2001-2003.

To summarize the data below, Ruskell does seem to avoid drafting players from small school teams. Indeed, you have to go back to 2001 -- his first year as director of player personnel with the Bucs -- to find a high pick used on a small-school player (in this case, a 3rd rounder on Dwight Smith from Akron).

Does this tell us anything about this weekend's draft? Well, it suggests TE Ben Patrick, from Duke/Delaware (transfer), and Kevin Boss (TE, Western Oregon) might have a tough shot landing with the Hawks. I'd also be surprised to see Daniel Bazuin, DE-Central Michigan, end up in Hawks blue. But then again, this is an unusual draft for us, and may require some unusual picks.


1 (31)
CB Kelly Jennings - Miami

2 (63)
DE Darryl Tapp-Virginia Tech

4 (128)
G Rob Sims-Ohio State

5 (163)
FB David Kirtman-USC

7 (239)
P Ryan Plackemeier-Wake Forest

7 (249)
WR Ben Obomanu-Auburn

Seahawks 2005

Chris Spencer

Lofa Tatupu

David Greene

Leroy Hill

Ray Willis
Florida State

Jeb Huckeba

Tony Jackson

Cornelius Wortham

Doug Nienhuis
Oregon State

Atlanta Falcons 2004
DeAngelo Hall
Virginia Tech

Michael Jenkins
Ohio State

Matt Schaub

Demorrio Williams

Chad Lavalais
Louisiana State

Etric Pruitt
Southern Mississippi

Quincy Wilson
West Virginia

Tampa Bay Buccaneers


Dewayne White

Chris Simms

Lance Nimmo
West Virginia

Austin King

Sean Mahan
Notre Dame

Torrie Cox

Bucs 2002

Marquis Walker

Travis Stephens

Jermaine Phillips

John Stamper
South Carolina

Tim Wansley

Tracey Wistrom

Aaron Lockett
Kansas State

Zack Quaccia

Bucs 2001

Kenyatta Walker

Dwight Smith

John Howell
Colorado State

Russ Hochstein

Jameel Cook

Ellis Wyms
Mississippi State

Dauntae Finger
North Carolina

Than Merrill

Joe Tafoya

Monday, April 23, 2007

Hitchens on Iraq -- An Experiment in Cognotive Dissonance

What do Christpher Hitchens and I have in common? We both supported the Iraq War largely for humanitarian reasons. I've long since abandoned defending the war, but over on Slate, Hitch -- desperate to salvage some of his spent credibility -- is pushing a new line of logic: Iraq would have imploded whether we invaded or not.

This hypothesis is appealing to folks like Hitch because it's unfalsifiable. We will never know what would have happened in Iraq had America left Saddam in power. In my view, the most likely scenario would be a North Korean style transfer from Saddam to one (or even both) of his sons, perpetuating that grotesque family dictatorship for another 30 to 50 years. Of course, it's also possible -- Hitch might say inevitable -- that Iraq would have descended into the anarchy that presently consumes it.

But here's where Hitch's logic goes awry -- without explanation or justification, he-posits that this hypotehtical post-Saddam Iraq was America's problem to fix! In his words:

I have never been able to overcome the feeling that Iraq was our ward and responsibility one way or another, and that canceling or postponing an intervention would only have meant having to act later on, in conditions even more awful and dangerous than the ones with which we have become familiar.

Let me try to overcome that feeling for you, Hitch. Iraq is not the 51st state in the Union. Had Saddam fallen and anarchy ensued, presumably the world -- and by world I mean Europe, the United Nations, and the collective 170 odd states that inhabit the globe -- would have rallied to take action, as the world has done for the most recent state crisises (in Bosnia, Kosovo, East Timor, etc.) More importantly, if the U.S. in this imagined counter-factual scenario played a primary role in trying to save Iraq from itself, we -- meaning Americans -- would be seen as the good guys, rather than self-interested interventionist imperialists.

The Quiet American always feels that world is America's ward and responsibility. Christopher Hitchens is never quiet, and yet the Quiet American he has become.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Predictions from the year 1900

Here's a fascinating list of predictions from the Ladies Home Journal, December 1900 (hat tip: Andrew Sullivan).

How'd the predictions hold up? Some, not so bad!

Prediction #1: There will probably be from 350,000,000 to 500,000,000 people in America and its possessions by the lapse of another century.

Prediction #3: Gymnastics will begin in the nursery, where toys and games will be designed to strengthen the muscles. Exercise will be compulsory in the schools. Every school, college and community will have a complete gymnasium. All cities will have public gymnasiums. A man or woman unable to walk ten miles at a stretch will be regarded as a weakling.

Some, completely wrong!

Prediction #7: There will be air-ships, but they will not successfully compete with surface cars and water vessels for passenger or freight traffic. They will be maintained as deadly war-vessels by all military nations. Some will transport men and goods. Others will be used by scientists making observations at great heights above the earth.

Prediction #11: No Mosquitoes nor Flies. Insect screens will be unnecessary. Mosquitoes, house-flies and roaches will have been practically exterminated. Boards of health will have destroyed all mosquito haunts and breeding-grounds, drained all stagnant pools, filled in all swamp-lands, and chemically treated all still-water streams. The extermination of the horse and its stable will reduce the house-fly.

Some, completely bizarre!

Prediction #16: There will be No C, X or Q in our every-day alphabet. They will be abandoned because unnecessary.

Prediction #22: Store Purchases by Tube. Pneumatic tubes, instead of store wagons, will deliver packages and bundles. These tubes will collect, deliver and transport mail over certain distances, perhaps for hundreds of miles.

(I totally want a pneumatic tube to my apartment.)

Thursday, April 19, 2007

The show trial will end soon

Alberto Gonzales, to absolutely no one's surprise but his own, failed spectacularly to save his job today during his Senate testimony. When even the right-wing newsmagazine National Review says your performance was a disaster, it's time to go.

It's odd to me that Alberto Gonzales is being forced out of office not because he endorsed torture, or supported holding detainees without trial, but isntead because of the bungled firing of eight U.S. Attorneys. Similarly, Paul Wolfowitz is about to lose his job at the World Bank, not because of questions regarding his judgment that led to the invasion of Iraq, but due to a tawdry little issue involving his girlfriend who used to work at the Bank. But this is no stranger, I suppose, than the American public turning its anger against NBC for showing video of the Virginia Tech killer instead of, you know, the legal regime that allowed him to mow down his classmates using legally available handguns and ammo clips.

America. What a country.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Unfathomable heroism

Please read this story about Liviu Librescu, the Holocaust survivor who died saving his students from Cho Seunh-Hai. The word hero has been devalued by overuse, but there can be no doubt that Liviu Librescu deserves to be known as such.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

The Virginia killer's bizarre screenplay

The Smoking Gun has obtained a copy of Cho Seung-Hi's bizarre screenplay for one of his writing classes, entitled "Richard McBeef." Here's a quick synopsis:

Stepfather Richard McBeef fights with his stepson, John, over breakfast. John accuses McBeef of murdering his real father and being a pedophile.

John's mother comes down the stairs, expresses concern for her son, who she refers to as her "poor little pooey pooey boy."

John and "McBeef" fight in front of Sue; McBeef chases her through the house after John flees upstairs. After cornering Sue, McBeef asks, "Now why don't we go in the bedroom and do it doggy style, just the way you like it, honey-poo."

John confronts McBeef -- apparently, a former NFL player -- and accuses him of being a fat piece of shit. He yells, "Fuck you DAD" and charges. "Out of sheer desecrated hurt and anger," McBeef swings his large arms and kills John.

The End.

In defense of lawyers

Like Andrew Sullivan, I have very little to say about the Virginia Tech massacre. I've also had very little to say about the Duke non-rape case, other than it was obvious to me early on that the boys were innocent. But in today's Wall Street Journal, libertarian law professor Randy Barnett writes a spirited opinion that illuminates the important role criminal defense lawyers play in the American justice system. Money grafs:

The crucial importance of defense lawyers was illustrated in reverse by the Duke rape prosecution, mercifully ended last week by North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper's highly unusual affirmation of the defendants' complete innocence. Others are rightly focusing on the "perfect storm," generated by a local prosecutor up for election peddling to his constituents a racially-charged narrative that so neatly fit the ideological template of those who dominate academia and the media. But perhaps we should stop for a moment to consider what saved these young men: defense attorneys, blogs and competing governments.

Our criminal justice system does not rely solely on the fairness of the police and prosecutors to get things right. In every criminal case, there is a professional whose only obligation is to scrutinize what the police and prosecutor have done. This "professional" is a lawyer. The next time you hear a lawyer joke, maybe you'll think of the lawyers who represented these three boys and it won't seem so funny. You probably can't picture their faces and don't know their names. (They include Joe Cheshire, Jim Cooney, Michael Cornacchia, Bill Cotter, Wade Smith and the late Kirk Osborn.) That's because they put their zealous representation of their clients ahead of their own egos and fame. Without their lawyering skills, we would not today be speaking so confidently of their clients' innocence.

These lawyers held the prosecutor's feet to the fire. Their skillful questioning at pre-trial hearings revealed the prosecutor's misconduct that eventually forced him to give up control of the case and now threatens his law license. They uncovered compelling exculpatory evidence and made it available to the press; they let their clients and their families air their story in the national media.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Horrors in Virginia...and the White House response

Twenty-one students have been shot and killed on the Virginia Tech campus. Details are still emerging, but already we have this response from the White House:

"The president believes that there is a right for people to bear arms, but that all laws must be followed," spokeswoman Dana Perino said.

I don't really have words to describe how asinine that statement is.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Pelican eats bird

The subject heading says it all.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

From a soldier in Baghdad

The following message comes from a friend of mine who's fighting in Baghdad. His words speak volumes as to the toll this war is taking on those who are actually fighting it. Here's to hoping he gets home soon safely (his tour was just extended through October).


I have been "surging" now for 1.5 months and things are still just as shitty. We have pushed into both Sunni and Shia areas and cleared them. The insurgents are running out of room and the more frequent patrols are making it harder for them to move weapons and bombs. I have been concentrating on the neighborhoods that produce the car bombs. I make the Iraqi Army approach any car that is parked on the street and search it. If I really don't like the way it looks I will call the Explosives guys and blow it up. It is quite rewarding to pull the igniter myself. Needless to say I have about 1 "suspicious" car a day...The political fighting in DC is starting to wear on the soldiers. I have no answers for them when they ask questions. Personally I don't feel we should be here any longer. The Iraqi's will never stand up for themselves while we are here. Why should they? Twice as many Americans died in March compared to Iraqi Army. They are smarter than we give them credit for. I just tell my troops to do their job and try and protect them as much as possible...In the meantime, while all eyes are on Baghdad, some of my buddies up North are in some serious shit in the Sunni triangle. It is really bad up there and the fighting will never stop using the "soft" approach. Why can the insurgents shoot mortars at us, bomb us, set booby traps for us, snipe us and move freely among the populace that supports them? I'll tell you it is because we do not do anything back to them. If we shot mortars into the neighborhoods that they shoot from and said "fuck the collateral damage" it would greatly hinder them. Think about it, would you let someone shoot a mortar from your yard if you knew it would bring a whole salvo on your house? Probably not. I just don't understand our leaders and am sick of the whole lot of them. Republicans and Democrats, it doesn't make a bit of difference, either pull us out or shut the fuck up and let us do our jobs without complaint, micro-management, and bickering. I don't think any party is truly right, but I do know that unless they figure something out quick, it is time to come home...

The beginning of the end of Kurdistan?

The one part of Iraq that is self-governing with success is the Kurdish area of Northern Iraq. Today, the Turkish government launched a regional offensive against the Kurds in southeast Turkey, and according to this story, they may be planning to cross the border into Iraq.

The time has come for the U.S. to reckon with Turkey about the future of Kurdistan. If we are to salvage any humanitarian benefits from this disasterous war, it will be the creation of a Kurdish state -- whether independent or part of Iraq -- that provides the world's largest stateless people a government of their own. Turkey cannot be allowed to threaten the stability of Northern Iraq.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Seahawks 2007 schedule -- the early predictions

NFL just released the 2007 schedule. My early predictions:

Week 1 versus Tampa - Win
Week 2 at Arizona -- Loss
Week 3 vs Cinn -- Win
Week 4 at SF -- Win (revenge is sweet)
Week 5 at Pitt -- Loss
Week 6 vs New Orleans -- Loss
Week 7 vs Rams -- Win
Week 8 -- BYE (nice, right in middle of season)
Week 9 at Cleveland -- Win
Week 10 vs SF, Monday Night -- Win
Week 11 vs Chi -- Win
Week 12 at StL -- Loss
Week 13 at Phi -- Loss
Week 14 vs Arizona -- Win
Week 15 at Car -- Loss
Week 16 vs Bal -- Win
Week 17 at Atl -- Win

Predicted record, 10-6.
Scooch - Flying The Flag (For You) UK Eurovision Entry

Britain's nomination for the prestigious Eurovision music award. Possibly the worst song I have ever heard.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Bottom line: Bush's political rhetoric won't work

President Bush has gone on the offensive against Congress's war-spending bill, which includes -- for the first time -- a concrete timetable for withdrawal. At various times, he's accused Congress of "failing to fund" the troops, and I keep hearing this line over and over:

The bottom line is this,” Mr. Bush said. “Congress’s failure to fund our troops will mean that some of our military families could wait longer for their loved ones to return from the front lines. Others could see their loved ones headed back to war sooner than anticipated. This is unacceptable.”

Here's what I don't get: if you are going to try to fool the American people into thinking that Congress won't support the war with the necessary funds, does it make sense to claim that soldiers will be heading "back to war sooner than anticipated?" Or that soldiers will be stuck on the front lines? There's a logical disconnect here: if Congress isn't funding the war, then eventually, the war will have to stop and the soldiers will have to come home. My guess is Joe American will be completely confused by this line of pseudo-reasoning -- I know I am -- and I think Congress is going to win this showdown.

Monday, April 09, 2007

I'm looking forward to the Alberto Gonzales show trial

At this point, it's a foregone conclusion that Alberto Gonzales will have to resign. Nonetheless, the guy seems to be laboring under the misimpression that he can save his job, if only he studies hard enough (this is how most Harvard Law grads think, by the way). But according to Newsweek, even his homework is posing problems for the AG:

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales has virtually wiped his public schedule clean to bone up for his long-awaited April 17 testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee—a session widely seen as a crucial test as to whether he will survive the U.S. attorney mess. But even his own closest advisers are nervous about whether he is up to the task. At a recent "prep" for a prospective Sunday talk-show interview, Gonzales's performance was so poor that top aides scrapped any live appearances. During the March 23 session in the A.G.'s conference room, Gonzales was grilled by a team of top aides and advisers—including former Republican National Committee chair Ed Gillespie and former White House lawyer Tim Flanigan—about what he knew about the plan to fire seven U.S. attorneys last fall. But Gonzales kept contradicting himself and "getting his timeline confused," said one participant who asked not to be identified talking about a private meeting. His advisers finally got "exasperated" with him, the source added. "He's not ready," Tasia Scolinos, Gonzales's public-affairs chief, told the A.G.'s top aides after the session was over, said the source.

I'm looking forward to his public crucifixion.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

The fucking stupidest guy on the face of the Earth's PowerPoint presentation on the Iraq-Al Qaeda connection

The unwieldy headline for this post comes from Gen. Tommy Franks, describing former Undersecretary of Defense Douglas Feith, one of the neoconservative architects of the Iraq War. Yesterday, Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich) released Feith's brief to the White House on the relationship between Iraq and Al-Qaeda. You can see the declassified PowerPoint presentation here (hat tip: Talking Points Memo).

The presentation is breathtaking in its fucking stupidity. Feith concludes that Iraq and Al-Qaeda had a "mature, symbiotic" relationship, even though most of the evidence is based on pure speculation or intelligence information that was suspect even during the run up to the war. Take this little ditty on page 12:

"Through cheating on Oil for Food program, CIA estimates Iraq has earned $325 million by March 2000
-- Some of the funds could be used to finance terrorist organizations"

Sure! Why not? Of course, some of the funds could be used to support animal rescue shelters for injured kittens, so this isn't evidence in any conceivable sense of the word, but hey, it's not like we're going to war over this sort of stuff anyway, right?

But there's more. From page 8:

"Fragmentary reporting points to possible Iraqi involvement not only in 9/11 but also in previous Al Qaida attacks"

Fragmentary reporting points to possible involvement? Well, I'm sold, how about you? Talk about your airtight proof.

Of course, it's not all speculation and bullshit. At times, Feith managed to drill down on some hard intelligence to support this nefarious Iraqi-Al Qaeda axis of evil:

"CIA has corroborated June 2000 Prague visit [by 9/11 hijacker Mohammed] Atta."

This meeting between Atta and Iraqi intelligence never happened, despite Bill Safire's (and apparently, Douglas Feith's) insistence. And I'm fairly certain the CIA corroborated no such thing, though I'll need to check my worn copy of the 9/11 Commission Report.

I could go on, but you get the idea. For a different perspective, check out Feith's "I am NOT the Stupidest Fucking Guy on the Planet" website here.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

President Bush stuck in the Evildoer mindset

President Bush today, as quoted by the AP:

"It's a tough war," Bush said. "The American people are weary of this war. They're wondering whether or not we can succeed. They're horrified by the suicide bombing they see."

Yet Bush used a horrific tale in Iraq — one in which terrorists put children in a car to get through a checkpoint, then exploded the vehicle — to describe why he won't pull back.

"It makes me realize the nature of the enemy we face, which hardens my resolve to protect the American people," Bush said. "People who do that are not — it's not a civil war, it is pure evil. And I believe we have an obligation to protect ourselves from that evil."

Does Bush really believe the insurgents are "pure evil"? If so, how in the world does he imagine winning the Iraq War? We cannot possibly hope to win their hearts and minds. And we cannot possibly hope to eradicate them from Iraq completely. So what's left is an unending, expensive commitment without any exit strategy for our soldiers, who -- unlike our President -- are paying the price for his fight against "pure evil" with their own blood.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Projected Seahawks Picks

Here's a brief roundup on the Seahawks' projected picks according to various free websites. Of these, I think Scott Wright's best fits our current needs. Also, apparently it's a foregone conclusion that we're taking Josh Beekman in the third.

Rob Rang,

Round 2: LaMarr Woodley, DE Michigan
Round 3: Josh Beekman, OG Boston College

Scott Wright, NFL Draft Countdown:

Round 2: Ben Patrick, TE Delaware
Round 3: Josh Beekman, OG Boston College

Robert Davis, Football's Future:

Round 2: Daymeion Hughes, CB Cal

Ryan McCastle, Draft Ace:

Round 2: Tank Tyler, DT N.C. State
Round 3: Josh Beekman, OG Boston College

Bryan Stevenson, Draft Notebook:

Round 2: Brandon Mebane, DE Cal

Monday, April 02, 2007

Random notes

1. Here's a short, well-written story about buyng beer that illustrates what journalists so often get wrong about tax policy: when you cut taxes, the rich will always benefit in "absolute" terms. (Hat tip: Andrew Sullivan)

2. Here are two stories that suggest the Iran hostage crisis may be thawing ever so slightly:

Let's hope those soldiers get home soon.

3. NCAA prediction: Ohio St. 76, Florida 74.

4. If you aren't a Seahawks fan, you won't care about this one, but the NFL has cancelled the Hawks-Patriots preseason game scheduled for August in China. Most of us in "Hawk" nation are pleased -- preseason games are pointless injury risks, and this trip would have been exhausting.

5. Make sure you see "The Lives of Others" before it leaves the indie film circuit. Deserved to win the Best Picture Oscar, not just Best Foreign Language film.