Wednesday, June 30, 2010

World Cup - Collisions

The Round of 16 was a round of car crashes, as some major sides collided and rammed into each other like meth-crazed goats in an effort to advance.

In the true American tradition of fair play and good sportsmanship, Team USA graciously conceded the early advantage not once, but twice, enabling Ghana to beat our side 2-1 in extra time. We have got to stop doing that shit, up front - strike hard, strike fast and get the advantage right out of
the gate.

Apparently England was awarded a goal against Germany back in 1966 - a goal that never actually happened and would not have been awarded were it not for the Azerbaijani referee. Which made the Uruguayan referee in last Saturday's match all the sweeter for Germany. Lampard's attempt was, in fact, a goal - but the referee inexplicably wasn't looking, so play went on.

Best arguments yet for goal-line and instant replay technology.

Having England go home was sweet, too, and to make matters worse their hotel rooms were burglarized by the hotel staff. Money, some small valuables, and mementos such as team members' underwear were among the stolen items.

Almost as sweet was watching the Spain-Portugal match. Cristiano Ronaldo spit at the camera after the 1-0 loss, not from contempt but from frustration. Spain's pressure was relentless, and the Argentine referee - no doubt used to such antics - made sure that the overacting was kept to a minimum.

The yawner of the round was Paraguay-Japan, which resulted in the South American side going through on penalty kicks, 5-3. So the Asian teams are all out, as are both North American sides.

The quarterfinals are set to start Friday:

Uruguay-Ghana: My pick, Ghana
Germany-Argentina: My pick, Germany (I want to see Maradona's head explode)
Netherlands-Brazil: My pick, Brazil
Paraguay-Spain: My pick, Spain

Saturday, June 26, 2010

World Cup, Week Two

Hooray! We're out of the round-robin group stage!

The biggest news of the second week was the high-profile and eminently satisfying meltdown of the French side. It started midway through their 2-0 loss to Mexico, when Nicolas Anelka profanely chewed out coach Raymond Domenech. Domenech sent Anelka home.

In retaliation the French side went on strike and refused to train for one day. Things went from bad to even worse, and now the side that came in second in 2006 is gone.

Hot on their heels was the world champion in 2006, Italy. The CDLs, or Cheating Drama Llamas, lost to Slovakia, and had to go back to Rome in disgrace.

So, here we go with the next eight games that start this morning (Eastern time), and my picks for each matchup:

Uruguay v South Korea. I like the Koreans in this. They showed a lot of verve.
Ghana v USA. I want the USA to win, thank you.

Germany v England. I want Germany.
Argentina v Mexico. Although I want Mexico to win, I think it'll be the Argentines.

Netherlands v Slovakia. Team Orange are the better side.
Brazil v Chile. Although neither side showed much enthusiasm, I think Brazil will win.

Paraguay v Japan. Japan, plain and simple.
Spain v Portugal. A choice of pigs here, but some pigs are more equal than others. I want Spain to win, just to see Ronaldo throw a crybaby tantrum on the pitch.

And there you have it! The knockout round starts in three hours or so, so we'll see what transpires.


Thursday, June 24, 2010

Why Firing Was the Right Choice

Back during the Korean War, General of the Army Douglas MacArthur put his foot in his mouth and marched around a bit. His public pronouncements angered President Harry Truman, and gave him a dilemma.

On the one hand, MacArthur was a lot more popular than Truman.

On the other hand, Truman knew that MacArthur was being insubordinate. Insubordination is serious stuff in the military - you do NOT publicly disrespect your superiors in the chain of command. Add to that the fact that in the United States, the uniformed armed services are subordinate to the civilian government. If it were not subordinate, this wouldn't BE America.

The Uniform Code of Military Justice is explicit:
Any commissioned officer who uses contemptuous words against the President, the Vice President, Congress, the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of a military department, the Secretary of Transportation, or the Governor or legislature of any State, Territory, Commonwealth, or possession in which he is on duty or present shall be punished as a court-martial may direct.
So President Obama had a choice - laugh it off or otherwise ignore General McChrystal, which would have had the righties squealing that he was 'soft' and scared of the military. We have seen that Obama is hardly soft - he personally authorized the killing of Somali pirates by Navy snipers, and has authorized more predator drone attacks than his predecessor.

So Obama sacked McChrystal and his command staff, replacing him with Petraeus. It was a safe choice, since Petraeus helped write the current strategy, will likely get confirmed by the Senate today, and will provide some continuity.

At his Rose Garden press conference yesterday however, Obama ignored a shouted question, refusing to answer whether or not we're winning in Afghanistan.

I don't think we are, and I don't think we will. We dropped the ball in 2002, and haven't gotten it back.

Time to take the ball and go home.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Whistling Past the Graveyard, Redux

What's new from the Graveyard of Empires?

Well, the big news right now is the fact that our general running the show in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal, is probably regretting he opened his fat fucking mouth. See, Stanley made the mistake of running his yap for the microphones in an interview of Rolling Stone.

Some people will do anything to get on the cover:

So McChrystal is in the Oval Office, called onto the carpet by a President who is described as "furious." According to the Uniform Code of Military Justice (the law under which the military operates), the General is guilty of insubordination, a court-martial offense. Whether he'll be fired, broken to the ranks or allowed to resign remains to be seen - although our client ruler in Kabul, Hamid Karzai, has expressed his support for McChrystal.

No doubt those law-and-order types, the GOP, are foursquare behind the President in enforcing military discipline and the chain of command ... oh yeah, right. Never mind.

Meanwhile, a report surfaced that we, the taxpaying citizens of the United States are - gasp! - paying money to the Taliban! Paying the Bad Guys in dollars!

The news this morning acted all aghast at this revelation, while I shrugged and said, "It's old news."

And it is - I cited The Nation article in this post back in November.

We are (indirectly) paying Danegeld - routing money through "independent contractors" who in turn pay off the local warlords and Taliban in exchange for securing our supply lines - and anyone who's ever paid extortion money will tell you that the amount never goes down. There's no child or family or senior discount, either.

So, what do we do?


Get the hell out of there.

Private McChrystal can have the honor of being the last soldier to walk out of the country.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

World Cup, Week One

The first full week of the World Cup is behind us now, so let's go group by group and see what's going on, shall we?

Group A - Uruguay, France, Mexico, South Africa:
So far it hasn't been a good match for the hosts, despite scoring the first goal of the tournament. The Bafana Bafana drew against Mexico, then lost big against Uruguay. They need to beat France to have any hope at all of advancing.
The German news site N-TV called France farblose, or colorless, and their draw against Uruguay and 2-0 loss against Mexico has shown to me at least that Les Bleus stink and deserve to be left behind. The big show on the horizon will be Uruguay-Mexico, and those are the two sides I expect to see advance to the knockout round.

Group B - Argentina, Greece, Nigeria and South Korea:
Say what you want about Maradona, the Argentine side has a boatload of talent and knows how to use it. Their only in-group competition right now is South Korea, which I also expect to win against a lackluster Nigerian side.

Group C - USA, England, Algeria, Slovenia:
Okay. Forget about the Malian referee disallowing the winning goal against the Slovenes. We have to win against the Desert Foxes, and Algeria have shown that it won't be too easy. They fought hard against England and drew them.
England, on the other hand, are stinking up the place, and I expect them to lose badly to Slovenia. Irritated at FIFA for letting just one irate fan through security, England? Wait till you lose against the smallest country in the competition.

Group D - Ghana, Germany, Serbia, Australia:
Germany's match against Serbia was marred by the Spanish referee, who thought he was God and tossed cards around like he was wishing people a Merry Christmas. If Germany does advance (Ghana's move to the next round is largely a given, while Serbia may beat the kangaroo dung out of Australia), it won't be with Miroslav Klose, thanks to that sodding Spaniard.

Group E - Netherlands, Japan, Cameroon, Denmark:
Netherlands and Japan will be advancing. Enough said about that. Cameroon hasn't done well, and the own goal says it all about the Danes, unfortunately.

Group F - Italy, New Zealand, Paraguay, Slovakia:
Every side in this group has drawn, and it's stinking up the place. There are four more matches in this group, and SOMEONE needs to show some life. Although, whoever does I hope to hell it isn't the Azurri. Like France, I want to see Italy wash out.

Group G - Brazil, Ivory Coast, Portugal, North Korea:
I know Brazil will advance. Which of the other three will move forward is a matter of conjecture, with four more matches to play. Of the three remaining sides, my hopes are on Ivory Coast, basically since I expect half the North Korean side to defect en masse and I can't stand Ronaldo's posturing and antics.

Group H - Chile, Switzerland, Honduras, Spain:
I don't think Spain will be showing up in the second round, as their first match was lost to Switzerland of all people and they showed me nothing on offense. Chile won against Honduras, which might be the two sides who end up in the knockout round.

There's about another week of round-robin matches to consider, so we'll see if my predictions match up. Then I'll set out another set of predictions about who will move up from there.

Heinlein Moment

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Wednesday Sex Post

demotivational posters - MEANWHILE
see more

Well, sure - it's only Wednesday, but a woman dressed in nothing but liquid latex is just too good to pass up.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Feel Good Moment

Media Matters has posted up a short, down-and-dirty critique of Glenn Beck's new 'book' The Overton Window. I must confess I haven't read anything of Beck's oeuvre, but if it's anything like his verbal spewings I think it'll be regarded as the biggest piece of shit since The Turner Diaries.

But you want to know something?

I published three science fiction novels, and after reading the excerpts posted on Media Matters, I don't feel like such a complete asshole any longer.

In fact, I love my work, and encourage you to read it and buy it!

The Chronicles of the Race trilogy:
Fastoshi: Chronicles
Morshrarthi: Interactions
'Atshnegjir: Rebirth

Get 'em all!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Now We'll Never Leave

The New York Times is reporting that vast mineral resources have been found in Afghanistan - estimated at nearly a trillion dollars.

No oil, though, but apparently oodles of gold, lithium and copper. Lithium and copper, by the way, are essentials in making the little electronic gewgaws that we Westerners crave.

(Lithium can also be used in making a hydrogen bomb, but let's not think about that, okay?)

As the title suggests, now that we know there's something more exportable in the Graveyard of Empires than troublemakers and opium, we have even more incentive than ever to stay in Afghanistan. More troops, more money, with the constant bleating from the pundits and Slave Media that we can't afford to let these resources fall into the wrong hands.

Such as China, Russia, or Iran.

But look on the bright side!

If we practice the tried-and-true West Virginia mining techniques in Afghanistan, there soon won't be any mountains for the Taliban to hide in!

Tuesday, June 01, 2010