Tuesday, September 27, 2005

When I'm bored and a little sick

I like to look at upcoming matches for World Cup Soccer qualifying. Israel has an outside shot. And can Australia beat the fifth or sixth place finisher from South America to qualify for Germany 2006?

But then, when I'm done with that, I like to look at the World Men's Soccer Rankings.

And I like to start at the bottom.

Let's examine the #s 201 to 205 out of the 205 FIFA-sanctioned countries.

#201: Djibouti. Which is funny to say out loud. They can't quite rise to the level of war-torn, horrifying, blown-back-to-the-stone-age Afghanistan, which is currently #200.

#202: Montserrat. Couldn't muster a goal against St. Lucia, which ended their 2006 World Cup dreams...in early 2004.

#203: Turks and Caicos Islands. I'm a little disappointed they've never played Montserrat. They haven't scored an international goal since 1999, when they played the Virgin Islands to a 2-2 draw. You betcha!

#204: Guam. Why Guam is classified in Asia rather than in Oceania is beyond me, but it makes for some fascinating results. Guam decided to sit out qualifying for Germany 2006. I assume this decision was made before the 2005 East Asia Football Federation Cup, where North Korea, Hong Kong, Mongolia, and Taiwan scored 49 goals on them in 4 games. North Korea beat them 21-0. Wow.

They have been outscored 174-3 since joining FIFA in 1996. They gave up at least 133 unanswered goals between August 1996 and March 2005. That's nearly 9 consecutive YEARS! I'm looking hard for the goal scorer for Guam in a relatively-unembarrassing 4-1 loss to #183 Mongolia on March 9 of this year. He's the stud-man of football this year. Beckham never broke an international scoring drought of 9 years and nearly a gross of goals...although the English back-pages may write like it.

#205: American Samoa. The problem, FIFA writes, is that inhabitants of American Samoa greatly prefer American football. And why wouldn't they? ASA played some close matches against fellow Oceanians like Tahiti and Tonga in the 1990s...lots of one-goal losses. But next thing you know, they're losing 12-0 to Tahiti. Then 18-0. So they didn't exactly have momentum on their side when they went to Australia to qualify for the 2002 World Cup through Oceania. Here's the result:

7 April 2001. Lost 13-0 to Fiji.
9 April 2001. Lost 9-0 to Samoa.
11 April 2001. Lost 31-0 to Australia.
14 April 2001. Lost 5-0 to Tonga.

I'd like to focus on the grittiness of the American Samoans, and how they bounced back from their tough 31-goal loss to lose by only five the next game. But instead, I will focus on the 31-0 loss. This wonderful BBC article sums up the game. My favorite anecdote: according to the coach, the best player of the match was goalkeeper Nicky Salapu, who made many saves (and had many, many opportunities to do so).

Here's the match sheet, copied from here:

***
Played: April 11, 2001
Venue: International Sports Stadium, Coffs Harbour, AUS
Score: Australia 31 - 0 American Samoa

Australia

Michael Petkovic, Kevin Muscat (c), Craig Moore, Tony Popovic (Fausto de Amicis 46), Tony Vidmar (Scott Miller 46), Simon Colosimo, Aurelio Vidmar, Steve Horvat, Con Boutsianis, Archie Thompson, David Zdrilic.

Goals: Boutsianis 10, 50, 84; Thompson 12, 23, 27, 29, 32, 37, 42, 45, 56, 60, 65, 85, 88; Zdrilic 13, 21, 25, 33, 58, 66, 78, 89; A Vidmar 14, 80; Popovic 17, 19; Colosimo 51, 81; de Amicis 55.

American Samoa

Nicky Salapu, Mexico Lisi Leututu (Richard D Mariko 50), Soe Falimaua, Levaula Fatu, Sulifou Faaloua, Travis Pita Sinapati, Baby Mulipola, Pati Feagiai, Ben Falaniko (Darrell Ione 84), Tiaoali'l Savea, Young Im Min.

Referee: Ronan Leaustic (Tahiti)
***

Did American Samoa give up? Hell no. FIFA changed the Oceania qualification process, letting the little guys knock each other around a little bit. And this time around, American Samoa was only outscored 34-1. That's over the course of 4 games! And Natia Natia scored in a 9-1 loss to Vanuatu!

Way to come back, boys.

It can't be that far to Guam. Let's set up a friendly.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Amazing Race 8 Predictions

It has been far too long. But Tuesday night, we get started again.

My baby has already made predictions...quite a while ago. I held off at that point because CBS's website for the show said "Bios coming soon!" I felt that my baby was jumping the gun...I want all the information I can get before making the final decision. And now, I have it.

A general observation: Throwing kids into the mix has made the teams very, very nervous. There's a nine-year-0ld girl on one team along with her twelve-year-old brother. Another team features brothers, eight and eleven. No fewer than three teams said that they do NOT want to be defeated by a little kid. I would imagine that the challenges are going to be such that a kid and an adult are on equal footing. This will add a very interesting aspect to the race...adults trying to beat the crap out of kids in competition.

So I will give you a one-to-two sentence breakdown of each of the ten families of four who are vying for the million bucks.

All the bios and videos are available here.

The Gaghan Family: Their video was hysterical. They're a Cleaver-like upper-class family from Glastonbury, CT--mom, dad, son, daughter. In the video, the parents prattle on and on while 9-year-old Carissa gets more and more bored and antsy in the foreground, then lets out a massive yawn. The parents come off as controlling in that "of course you want to play soccer!" fashion.

The Schroeder Family: Dad, stepmom, 17-year-old girl, 15-year-old boy. Hunter, the son, comes off as the stereotypical eighth grader...the introversion, the constant scowl. The others appear with-it and athletic.

The Aiello Family: Dad with three sons-in-law. I can't decide if not being blood-related will be an advantage or a disadvantage. My instinct is that it's an advantage--no baggage. Think it over...would you perform better in the Race with your parents or your in-laws? Be honest.

The Rogers Family: Shreveport--parents of two college-aged kids, one beauty queen and one surfer-looking dude. An admitted control-freak dad...I don't get much a vibe from them.

The Black Family: Conveniently named, since they're the only African-American family on the race. They have the two young sons and share a Taekwondo instructor. I get a good vibe from them...they have the good match of wanting to win and having fun.

The Weaver Family: A widow and her three teenage kids. The father died suddenly in an accident as he worked at Daytona speedway, and the family was understandably adrift for a while as the mom re-entered the workforce and everyone recovered from the shock. The 14-year-old son is so cute that he'll be the recipient of a LOT of attention from the many gorgeous college-aged girls on the race.

The Linz Family: Cincinnati siblings from 19 to 24. Their interview contains a lot of wacky banter that isn't funny at all. Easily the most athletic team--two of their bios say they're college athletes, and the others look like they could have been as well.

The Bransen Family: My wife calls them "the Prell model team." Three gorgeous blonde sisters in their early 20s teamed with their CFO dad. Their interview indicates that one of the daughters was obsessed with the Race and brought the others on one-by-one...the dad only agreeing to play because he thought there was no way they'd actually be selected.

The Paolo Family: Italian immigrant HS dropout Dad who has made a good living as a garbage man, his wife, their two sons (24 and 16). Mom wears a neckerchief. That alone disqualifies her--if you take the time to wear a neckerchief, you're too prissy to be competitive.

The Godlewski Family: Four sisters, ages 26 to 42. Again, all blonde...are we seeing a fetish in the casting director? I get more or less no image of them from their bio and their interview. Not thrilled that one of the women is a self-described obsessive.

Here's the order of elimination:

10th: Paolo family. I mean, LOOK at that neckerchief. There's no chance in hell.
9th: Gaghan family. See Black family below.
8th: Weaver family. They seem to be nice folks--but I don't know if they'll know who's making the decisions.
7th: Black family. When it comes right down to it, the families with pre-teen kids aren't going to last long. The reason why: in the end, if there's a situation where a family has a choice to do something to win the race or to take care of their youngsters who are facing a lot of stress, families will choose the latter. That and, if it comes down to it, the families won't be able to win a footrace.
6th: Bransen family. This is as far as the dad will physically and emotionally last.
5th: Linz family. They'll be able to follow people and hang in for a while, but around the halfway point, they'll make their really stupid decision and be eliminated.
4th: Rogers family. There are issues with college-aged kids and their parents--power struggles.
3rd: Aiello family. I wasn't blown away by their intelligence in the interview, and while I think they'll do well, I think they don't quite have what it takes, and the late-50s dad will be a liability in a footrace.
2nd: Godlewski family. My sweetie doesn't like how they talk about being able to form alliances in their interview, and I agree. But they're old enough to not be majorly bickering and young enough to do the physical stuff.

And the winners of Amazing Race 8 will be:

The Schroeder family. They're from New Orleans, so I also hope they won. I'm taking a leap of faith with this pick--I'm hoping the surly 14-year-old, Hunter, gets off his butt and works. And in the interview, the dad pissed Hunter off A LOT by giving him a left-handed compliment ("He's like a crocodile...he lays around a lot, but does the work when the time comes") before effusively overcomplimenting his 17-year-old daughter Stassi ("She's my Bond-girl-in-training...she's beautiful, brilliant...") But I think the competitive streak will kick in and the four of them will cross the finish line first.

Stay tuned to my baby's certain weekly updates to see if I'm right, or if she's right and the Aiellos take it.

It's been too long. I love this show...I'm stoked to watch it again.

Friday, September 23, 2005

15,000th Hit

Somebody from brous.net consulting in Eugene, Oregon keeps hours that are, let's say, very different from mine. At 5:01 this morning, he/she surfed in from Jack Bog's link to my dumpster-diving adventure, thus becoming my 15000th page hit. Jack is the only truly popular page that ever links to mine, and the spikes when he links to me are prodigious, so it's not surprising he's responsible for my 5000th and 15000th hits. My then-fiancee was responsible for #10000.

At what point should I stop counting hits and start counting unique visits? Is there a point where hits become old hat? If there is, I'm not there yet.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

A good day

One of the kids I taught last year, when she was a sophomore, came in today just to thank me for preparing her for last year's standardized writing tests. She passed. She hadn't passed the same test when she last took it in seventh grade. I said "Well, you had good eighth and ninth-grade teachers, too." She said "Nope. You were the reason."

I don't believe her...our primary feeder junior high is one of the best public schools out there at any level, period...but still, it warmed my heart that she'd stop by. Not because I'm so special, but because it shows that she is.

When I tell people I teach high school, they respond as though I hold up firing squad targets. That reaction is so ubiquitous that I hardly respond anymore. But it's bullshit. Total bullshit.

Don't let anyone tell you modern kids are a bunch of hooligans and losers. It ain't true.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Opportunity to rise to the occasion

When I came home, it didn't take long before my wife said it.

HER: "Honey, I'm sorry. I screwed up big time."

Hmmmm. What could she have done? It can't be that bad.

HER: "I accidentally threw away our American Airlines vouchers."

She was upset about it. I was upset about it. Not upset at my wife, mind you...it was clear she'd had a little brain fart. But we were so excited to be bumped from the NY/Boston leg of our flight last month. We had thought we'd get a pair of $50 vouchers...but it was $150 vouchers. Awesome.

Now, they were gone. $300. That's a lot of vacation money.

HER: "I cleaned out the travel envelope [the same one she loved so much and sang the praises of] the other day. I said to myself: 'heck, we don't need any of this anymore.' I tossed it a couple of days ago. Only today did I realize the vouchers were in there. They're gone."
ME: "Are they in our recycling box?"
HER: "We can check, but I don't think so."
ME: "Can we call American?"
HER: "We can try."
ME: "But I bet they won't issue new ones. Are they in the recycling outside?"
HER: "No. I accidentally tossed them into the dumpster. As soon as I let them go, I realized it was a mistake, but I couldn't reach in to move them."

I realize it's time.

I would not want to be married to a woman who is regularly sad, upset, or in need. I'm not into high-maintenance partners. But every now and then, I like being given an opportunity to rise to the occasion.

ME: "I think three hundred bucks is worth a little dumpster diving. Don't you?"

She tries to stop me.

HER: "Can we look in the box and call American first?"

She fails.

I zip back into the bedroom, remove my nice teacher clothes and get into ratty stuff. It's time.

She looks impressed at my manliness.

HER: "If you find them, I'll get you a really nice present!"

I step out into the condo parking lot.

The dumpster is mostly empty. This could be bad, as it could mean our vouchers are at the dump...and while I'll dig in a dumpster for my wife (and $300), I won't dig in a dump. But right there in the middle of the dumpster, there it is...a paper Whole Foods bag.

My wife does all the shopping there. That's our bag. But is it the bag with the vouchers?

It's sitting at a 45-degree angle, but facing towards the ground. It has a handle, however. My freakishly-long arms are just long enough to hook a handle and pull the bag upright. In the process, a little bit of the bag's contents spill out, but most stay in.

I need to check the spilled contents. It's time to step in.

I'm not athletic enough to hurdle into the dumpster, or even to clamber into it without pulling a gluteal muscle. Fortunately, the dumpster is next to a wooden fence with a conveniently-located horizontal middle beam. I'm in the dumpster quickly and easily. On the floor of the dumpster, I pick through the slightly-damp items that fell out of the Whole Foods bag. An issue of ESPN The Magazine. An empty box of Cap'n Crunch.

Yep. Those are ours. (Okay, mine.) And they're the only things to fall out.

I step back out of the dumpster to inspect the contents of the Whole Foods bag. I'll need to go through the items individually to be sure I don't miss the vouchers.

Thank God they were like the fifth things from the top.

My present: my baby will make lobster for dinner sometime soon.

I'm happy about the $300 back in our lives, and I'm happy about the lobster...but I'm most happy to have a rare opportunity to show what I'll do to make my baby un-sad and un-upset.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

We'll see if it's possible.

Sunday night, Sterling Sharpe made his debut as a color commentator. He had a bumpy point or two, but he wasn't stupid, wasn't shouting, and admitted when he was wrong to criticize officials (and when he was right). So, in his first-ever effort, Sharpe was about a billion percent better than Paul Maguire or Joe Theismann. Even when teamed with Mike Tirico (who I'm not a huge fan of), this wasn't a night that made the back of my neck stand up.

Theismann and Maguire are working on Monday night this week because of the extra game and NFL's Hurricane Relief Weekend. They'll be doing the Saints/Giants game.

Joey and Paul have made me hate watching football for over a decade now. I never thought that was possible.

But this week, they'll reach a new level of hellish lows.

This week, they're a lock cinch to actually make me hate disaster relief.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Quiz

What do these three photos have in common?

(And GOD, do I hate #2 on this list...)

If you figure out the answer (which you'd have to know me to know), I'd encourage you to do the same on your own blog...



Work

A student recently dropped his Peer Tutor position because, he said, "my parents feel the school should be providing tutors rather than having kids do it."

1. I love the image of schools as educational sweatshops forcing the students to do heavy labor, like they're stitching bean bags for games of Toss Across or something. Kind of a funny image.

2. I wholeheartedly agree that the school should provide needed tutors, and look forward to this boy's parents and the rest of the community voluntarily increasing their taxes by the 10000 percent necessary to pull it off.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Brush with infamy

Vegas was fun. It has provided me with a story I can't possibly pass up on telling.

Ten of us from various points in the U.S. gathered in Vegas to do our fantasy football draft, and the pinnacle of the weekend was going to be watching all of the football games at the same time and taunting each other about our fantasy game results. We scouted out sports books to find the best place for ten of us to watch a game together, and settled on Caesar's Palace. Games start at 10:00 AM, and we decided to wake up early and be there by 8:00 to secure seats.

Guess again. There weren't any seats left when we arrived--the security guys told us that the last seats were claimed at 6:30 AM. That's a hint for next time (we had such fun that we now plan on returning every other year). The only empty seats were inside a roped-off area which, we were told, was reserved for very high rollers...those who would be betting at least $5000 on that day. (Who the hell would do that?)

What to do?

We sat on the floor. We claimed a spot next to the roped-off high roller section, just on the other side of the felt barrier. It got uncomfortable, but hey.

It was in the second quarter that a buddy elbowed me.

"Look." He pointed at an oldish man leaning over his table just on the other side of the felt...no more than eight feet away from us.

"It's Pete Rose."

I looked. Wow.

The thought developed slowly, nearly one word at a time.

Pete..Rose...is right over there...and doing THAT!...Betting...betting...a LOT!

Amazing. Just amazing.

He looked a little old--but he is 64 this year, so I can hardly hold that against him. He was with two guys. I thought they might be friends of his, but others thought they were bodyguards, and I think the bodyguard theory makes more sense. He was wearing a black baseball cap with the Major League Baseball logo on the back of it. I don't know the particulars of his agreement with Bart Giamatti and baseball, but I do know that he's not allowed to appear at baseball events in MLB uniform, but I don't think they can prevent him from wearing MLB apparel elsewhere. So I was intrigued. Was he wearing a black Reds cap? I checked. He wasn't. The hat was simply black. In other words, it looked like a Reds cap from which the Red "C" had been removed. If that's not a symbol, I don't know what is.

Rose left his seat at the end of the early football games.

At that point, we had been sitting on the floor for five hours. We're all in our mid-to-late 30s, so that's not something our bodies are supposed to do anymore. So my sister-in-law and a friend decided they'd duck under the rope and sit in Pete Rose's seats, and if they got thrown out, so be it. Not long thereafter, they called my name.

"Hey, you want these?"

Again, the thought developed slowly.

They...were holding...betting tickets...Losing betting tickets. Oh my!...Pete Rose's losing betting tickets!

They were for three horse races at Belmont Park. He bet $900 on a horse to win (he finished second). He bet $800 on an exacta (the horse he had in first didn't show). And he bet $700 on a straight trifecta. If you don't know race bets, that means he bet on the first, second, and third place horses to a race in order. A winning two-dollar trifecta bet with favored horses in there pays around a hundred bucks--if a longshot gets in there, the payoff goes up in a hurry. Even a $20 bet would pay off $2000 or more in the unlikely event it hit.
So to bet $700 on a trifecta feels outrageous to me.

To be sure, I can't 100% guarantee that these were Rose's bets. They were simply left on his table, so they could have belonged to his companions. But since I believe the companions were bodyguards, I have 99% certainty the bets were his.

We were talking about this an hour later when a friend had an epiphany:

"We'd better make sure these are losing tickets."

That wasn't possible, I knew--no gambler of Pete's experience would leave a many-thousand-dollar winner sitting on a table. But then it occurred to me...it'd be just my luck to set out to get a worthless collectible and accidentally commit grand larceny. So I ran back to the window and got results printed. They sit next to Pete's tickets, proof of his $2400 in losses that morning.

So how do I feel about all of this?

What I saw Sunday was some combination of thrilling (the cheap thrill of seeing a celebrity) and very, very sad. I learned a hell of a lot about addiction.

Pete Rose as a man has always served as a sad figure to me, simply because he's a classic addict--unwilling/unable to see his own addiction. A quick review of Rose's autobiography reveals that gambling has harmed him more than perhaps any non-murdered, non-suicidal gambler in history. He's had severe family problems, financial woes that can't be helped by his gambling, lost his job, and has lost the one thing he wants more than anything in the world--the Hall of Fame. His gambling was so severe than he violated Rule 21 (D), knowing full well of the consequences. Perhaps worst of all, he has made himself into a national punchline. If somebody loses their family, their job, their biggest (and attainable!) dream, and their reputation, it seems pretty damn clear to me that's an addiction.

And yet there Pete was, gambling high sums, doing it in public.

The guy has given up everything just to feed his addiction--to get the adrenaline rush of a trifecta bet and a sports bet.

At the betting window, there's a sign that says "If you know of someone who has a gambling problem, please get them help."

EVERYONE in the join knew someone with a gambling problem. We all could have pointed to him. We could have directed him to the sign. But it's clear he's hopeless.

Sad, sad indeed. But amazing to experience a part (the end?) of this operatic tragedy in person.

Finally, I have a comparatively unimportant question:

What should we do with Pete's losing tickets? Ebay feels crass, and I can't prove the tickets are his anyway. Framing them would be silly...too much expense. But I don't want to throw them away. They'll probably be in our basement decoration someday (once we get a basement), but I'm open to other suggestions.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Vegas!

What will happen there will stay there.

Except for my fantasy football team. Because I have a student teacher this year, I've actually researched a little bit. Of course, this means nothing. A little bit of knowledge can actually hurt me. My one championship in 14 years of play (in what has been an 8-team league until this year) was a result of this critical strategy: TRP, you don't know more than the piece of paper you have in front of you. Do NOT go against the piece of paper.

48 hours in Vegas is about my maximum. I've only been there once prior to this upcoming weekend visit. I like gambling--I like the blackjack and the sports. But 48 hours is about the maximum I can handle the overstimulated senses. Those lights. That constant "BINGBINGBINGBINGBINGBINGBINGBINGBINGBING."

The other day, I asked my wife the following question: "How much money should we set aside to lose gambling in Vegas?" She responded with "How much do you think?" We went at it for a while (I asked you first, you should say first, etc.) before she stated a dollar amount. I was happy...it was the exact dollar amount I had in mind, but I didn't want to suggest if for fear she'd think it was too high. I said "That's exactly what I had in mind!" She replied by saying "Good. I was hesitant to say it because I was afraid you'd think it was too high." What a nice moment!

Anyhoo...think of me slaving over picks, seeing Cirque de Soleil, and tremoring over whether to hit on 16 with a dealer 10 showing.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes...

First, I've joined the world of word verification. I've freakin' had it with the spam comments. I get that advertising is the lubricant of capitalism, really, I do. But this bugs me because it is both annoying and ineffective. Has anyone, anywhere, ever clicked on a comment spam and made a purchase? I didn't think so.

Second, after meeting pankleb, I'm faced with the same problem he is. The old classification system of whether I can pick you out of a lineup is obsolete because I've met too many people...the "not-met" section will look small and sad. So I'm trying a new classification system--more similar to Hugh's than to anyone else's. A lot of the blogs' classifications are subjective judgement calls, so let me know if you feel you've been mislabeled.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

TRP's Fearless 2005 NFL Predictions

I've added up the wins, and they're the requisite 256.

This is a little bit conservative, but what the hell.

AFC WEST:
San Diego 11-5
Kansas City 10-6
Denver 9-7
Oakland 6-10

AFC NORTH:
Pittsburgh 12-4
Baltimore 11-5
Cincinnati 9-7 (good team, tough division)
Cleveland 5-11

AFC SOUTH:

Indianapolis 12-4
Jacksonville 7-9
Houston 5-11
Tennessee 4-12

AFC EAST:

New England 11-5
NY Jets 10-6
Buffalo 6-10
Miami 5-11

NFC WEST:
St. Louis 9-7
Arizona 9-7
Seattle 8-8 (end of the line for Holmgren)
San Francisco 4-12

NFC NORTH:
Minnesota 12-4
Green Bay 9-7
Detroit 8-8
Chicago 3-13

NFC SOUTH:
Carolina 11-5
Atlanta 8-8
Tampa Bay 5-11
New Orleans 5-11

NFC EAST:
Philadelphia 13-3
NY Giants 9-7
Dallas 5-11 (I don't understand the hype. It's not yet time for Parcells.)
Washington 5-11

PLAYOFFS: FIRST ROUND

Baltimore 24 at New England 14
at San Diego 28, NY Jets 9

at Carolina 35, Arizona 3
Green Bay 28, at St. Louis 27

SECOND ROUND

at Indianapolis 27, Baltimore 19
San Diego 17, at Pittsburgh 14

Carolina 30, at Minnesota 19
at Philadelphia 35, Green Bay 8

CONFERENCE FINALS

at Indianapolis 41, San Diego 10
Carolina 27, at Philadelphia 17

SB XL

Indianapolis 38, Carolina 17

Joey T

I've always found Joe Theismann annoying.
And dumb.

But I never realized he had a crack problem.

He's picking Washington to go to the Super Bowl.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Tomorrow night...

I will meet pankleb. This is a guy I have a scary amount in common with. I've been talking to him for a year, and I'm pretty sure he's me. We share a love of baseball and most tenets of liberalism and a hatred of Tim McCarver, Paul Maguire, and Madagascarians.

This is kind of like meeting some love interest you've met over the internet except that there's not going to be any chance of sex or kissing and that I'm married now and that we're going to be with many other people including my wife's parents and we'll already know a bunch about each other and there's not that certainty of eventual disappointment from both sides because each has so desperately been creating a facade.

Kind of. But not really.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

This bugs me.

Jack Bog posted a brief thought called "America the Ugly" in which he quotes examples of people taking advantage of the hurricane to make a political point, whether it be to bash Bush or bash liberals. His plea:

A city of a half-million people has been destroyed. Hundreds, maybe thousands, are dead. Demon-possessed people are looting what's left and shooting police officers in the face.

And this is how we're talking to each other about it?


Great idea, Jack. Too bad nobody listened to you.

Check out the comments. People went directly to their old habits. Bush is an idiot, liberals are stupid wimps, all of this is because Bush didn't fund FEMA...

Rather than seeing people in pain, so many see an opportunity to prove that the other side's politics is wrong. This is callous. This is cruel.

Could we have a fucking moratorium on the politics to rescue the desperate and bury our dead?

After one of the big school shootings took place at my alma mater high school a few years back, the dead had not been buried before the blame began. It was the fault of guns, the liberals said. No, it's the lack of character education, the Republicans said. (Neither considered the possibility that both could be true.) I saw the shootings blamed on Clinton's lack of morality, on hateful ideas spread by Republicans, etc. A HS classmate and friend of mine who works at the Heritage Institute sent an email warning us to watch for the "liberal agenda" to take advantage of the shootings to crack down on guns. I was pissed at liberal opportunists, but also noticed my friend was calling for political calm and using the phrase "liberal agenda" in the same sentence. I called her on it, and she said yes, she also wanted Charlton Heston (also guilty of grandstanding) to "shut up."

Were there questions to be asked? Yes. But not while the wound is fresh.

We can sort through the facts later, find the mistakes, pledge to fix them later. Many of the criticisms are on the money. In the sober light of day, we'll be able to figure that out.

But God damn it, the suffering people are more important than going after President Bush or his opponents. Let's work together to help our people.

The only proper sound in the presence of mourners is silence.

Let's try it.