Friday, September 29, 2006

Just before the furor over Banned Books week ended ...

I got banned from making comments at one of the worst liberal blogs I've ever visited ("Pandagon").
Why was I banned? Good question.
There were many complaints that I was a "troll," or one who tries to disrupt the discussion threads. This despite the fact that I refrained from the type of name-calling that many of the Pandagon regulars chose to use in their responses.
So, what makes Pandagon such a bad blog among so many? Bad arguments. The bloggers there send out a fairly steady stream of bad arguments, and then the average commenter says something bad about Christians, or Republicans, or Bush, or whatever. It's okay to go off-topic if you essentially agree with Pandagonian orthodoxy.

One of my first replies over at Pandagon was in response to the charge (included in the original blog post) that Rush Limbaugh had "encouraged Republican efforts to deliberately disenfranchise voters." The quotation is direct, straight from the original blog post and respects the original context.

Rush, of course, did no such thing. He was making a point about the mentality of Democrats who think that telling Democrats that they are supposed to vote on Wednesday while the Republicans will vote on Tuesday counts as voter disenfranchisement.
If one believes that telling voters that they are supposed to vote in the presidential election on a day other than the one mandated in the Constitution (Tuesday) is a serious threat of voter disenfranchisement, then he is implicitly admitting (proportion to his fear of its effects) that the Democrat constituency is stupid to whatever degree he thinks they will be fooled.
That's Rush's point.
"Amanda Marcotte" thinks that Rush is trying to encourage Republicans to use such techniques as the election approaches, and that is just batty. Most of the Pandagonians who replied seemed equally convinced that Rush advocated techniques to disenranchise voters. One guy, Robert, seemed to understand what Rush was saying.

Here's my reply (posting as "Crow"--I'm not providing URLs since this site is so bad that they deserve no boost to their stats):

Robert gets it, for the most part.
The rest of you just hopped eagerly into the category that Rush marked off for you.

There is no advocacy of the Wednesday voting going on, so that charge is false (great job of superior ethics, folks, for asserting otherwise).
Rush’s point was (obviously) that Democrat concern over the stupidity of their constituency leads to seeing jokes like this (Dems have used the same tactic, as I recall) as a serious attempt at vote suppression.

Now, I suppose I could give you guys the benefit of the doubt and assume that you’re mostly Republicans posting here in order to make Democrats look silly …
(see entry for 10/10/04)

Or how about this one, from later that same year?
“Tomorrow is Election Day, so get out and vote! As part of the election reform passed in the wake of the 2000 election, remember that Democrats, Greens and Independents vote on Tuesday, and Republicans vote on Wednesday. So you Neo-Cons can just safely sit tomorrow out! And America–in fact, the entire world–will thank you for that.”

Get a clue, people.
Rush was not advocating this technique. He simply highlighted that [sic] fact that when you complain about it as vote suppression you’re admitting to having stupid voters.
To be fair, I saw a few Republican commentators make complaints about the technique coming from the left. Rush’s words apply to them equally.

The next post was Amanda's reply:
Why do I get all the Klansmen on my blog? Seriously. Crow, Robert—you’re not fooling anyone. I grew up in the South amongst white conservatives. I know what jokes about “stupid” voters are. I know they’re coded racism.

So, first the leap from analysis of Democrat mindset to the supposed advocacy of voter disenfranchisement, and then the leap from Rush meant X, not Y to an accusation of racism.
Unbelievable, I know, but that's exactly the way it happened.

My last post before I got banned, as I recall, was "I just love being around tolerant liberals."


I have in mind an ongoing project where I survey blogs as though I'm compiling a resource journal. Time-consuming? Sure, but the tedium of research can be fun.
Needless to say, "Pandagon" will get panned.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

The National Intelligence Estimate, in brief

Unfortunate that it had to be done, but nice work by President Bush.

It's astounding the fuss apparently made by Democrats about how the limited declassification could not be trusted. What do they think is happening when portions are published based on leaks?
No time to read it over in detail but at first blush it looks like what I was expecting, helping to place some needed context next to the stories that were published based on the initial leaks.
Key judgments from the NIE.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Rove stealing from Moby?

I left this as a draft; can't remember why I didn't publish it last year. If anybody figures out why I didn't publish it earlier, feel free to let me know in the "Comments" section.

I've been too busy to do a great deal of spelunking in the leftist end of the blogosphere, but today I stumbled across a blog that claims to have caught a Republican campaign staffer posing as a Democrat in order to sow doubt among the faithful left.

That's sad if true (the staffer should probably be fired as a result), but the funny thing is the Bush-centric mode of accusation. The tactic is described as "Rovian," in honor of Bush's campaign guru Karl Rove.
Could it be these folks are unaware that pop music artist Moby advocated that tactic to Kerry supporters during the approach to the 2004 election?
Moby suggests that it's possible to seed doubt among Bush's far-right supporters on the Web.

"You target his natural constituencies," says the Grammy-nominated techno-wizard. "For example, you can go on all the pro-life chat rooms and say you're an outraged right-wing voter and that you know that George Bush drove an ex-girlfriend to an abortion clinic and paid for her to get an abortion.

"Then you go to an anti-immigration Web site chat room and ask, 'What's all this about George Bush proposing amnesty for illegal aliens?'"
(New York Daily News)

Moby has a blog these days. Moby suggests that he's not partisan but merely sane (hence, supposedly, his support for Democrats).
The quotations are cut & paste, so forgive me the grammar as you would forgive Moby.
one of my favorite gw bush lies was when gw claimed to not know ken lay.
even though gw bush used the enron corporate jet to travel around america in 2000 on the campaign trail.
even though gw bush once called ken lay 'my good buddy ken lay' in front of a baseball stadium filled with people.

Moby's not really into documenting his claims, which is a pity since many seem so off-the-wall at first blush. With this supposedly favorite lie, my research immediately led to a competing (and contradictory) version of the lie where Bush says he got to know Lay in 1994.
The other site creatively implies that Bush must have gotten to know Lay prior to that since Lay contributed heavily to Bush's political campaigns in Texas.
I don't imagine that type of evidence would stand up in court, unless it's the court of public opinion in Democratic Fever Swamp, U.S.A.
Sane or not, Moby gives us little reason to suppose that he knows what he's talking about.
i'm not partisan.
i'm just sane.
support of the republicans in 2006 means that you oppose stem-cell research that could save millions of lives. that you support a war in iraq that was based on lies and has resulted in iraqii civil war. that you support pork-barrel crony-ism like the bridge to nowhere in alaska. that you're insane(see rick santorum). that you're a racist(see george allen). that you believe that dinosaurs and humans co-existed. that you'd rather ban flag burning than take care of homeland security. and so on.

I don't think that the limitations on federal funding of fetal stem-cell research qualifies as a significant issue among most Republicans. I suppose I could be wrong about that, leaving alone for now the fact that stem cell research may progress quite nicely without resorting to the destruction of living fetal Homo sapiens (call them what you will). It's really not that big a step from Moby's position to advocating experimentation on adults for the sake of millions who might be saved (last week's "House" touched on that issue, IIRC).
I have yet to see a coherent case suggesting that Bush lied about the evidence for the Iraq war (since Moby suggests it elsewhere, I'll see if the recent Senate report went so far as to suggest misleading handling of the evidence--what Moby called a lie). Liberals usually end up equating erroneous information with lying, and then go right ahead and call for impeachment as though the equivocation doesn't matter one bit.
Voting Republican supports pork-barrel cronyism? Somebody smack Moby awake. Republicans spearheaded the recent transparency-in-government legislation based largely on the efforts of Porkbusters--an organization with strong support from conservatives (more so than from Democrats, I think, not that I'm counting). Perhaps Moby is too young to remember the long tradition of high taxes and big spending established by the Democrats. Have the Dems changed their ways? Just find me some legislation from Democrats (other than a military appropriation) than spends less than the Republican version of the same bill ...
Rick Santorum insane? Based on what?
Racist? Generalizing much, forgiving Moby's apparently outrageous bias in understanding Allen's comments? This is great. As a white guy, I'll be a racist if I vote Condi Rice in 2008.
Young-earth creationism is rare among Christians, and probably no more common among Republicans. Moreover, where it has no direct bearing on policy it isn't worth mentioning as a criterion for voting.
Flag burning amendment instead of homeland security? Is there some reason why we can't have both?

I'll give Moby the benefit of the doubt regarding his sanity.
Judging from his journal, however, he's not the sharpest knife in the drawer and probably not the best person to seek out for political advice.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden hate each other

So much that CNN reported in 1999 that Saddam Hussein offered asylum to bin Laden as pressure was being applied to flush the al Qaeda leader out of Afghanistan.

The remembrance of this news report will trouble the Fever Swamp wing of the Democratic Party not at all. Hussein probably just wanted to lure bin Laden into Iraq so that he could hate on him in some fashion or other.
And of course the fact that bin Laden did not take Hussein up on his offer just goes to prove that bin Laden couldn't stand Hussein.

That's the beauty of conspiracy theories. There's always a way to make them consistent with the facts.

Hat tip to Captain's Quarters.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Morrissey counterpoints Dionne on Pope's speech

Though the Pope Benedict speech touching on radical Islam has drifted into the old news stage, Captain Ed's reply to an article by E. J. Dionne is a must-read.
Dionne argues that everyone who craves a liberalized Islam should scold the Pope for inciting riots. However, that's exactly backwards. Any liberalized version of Islam has to afford people the right to criticize Islam without resorting to intimidation and violence in response. How can Islam reform when the entire world enables its temper tantrums? Does appeasement ever work? One would hope that a newspaper columnist, operating under the freedom of the First Amendment, would understand that. To reframe the issue on Dionne's terms, does he believe that silence in the punditry would result in a more open government, or a more oppressive and abusive one -- and if he believes the former, then why does Dionne bother to write his column?
(Captain's Quarters)

Monday, September 18, 2006

Bucs slide to 0-2

This game was harder to watch than the loss to the Ravens.

Against the Ravens, it was an endless wait to see the Bucs get something going. The Ravens didn't really make any mistakes to allow the Bucs to stay in the game, even though the Bucs kept hanging fairly close until the fourth quarter.

Against the Falcons, the Bucs let opportunities slip away time and again.

First, credit where it's due. The Falcons' offense had a nice game even though they had trouble scoring. Getting over 300 yards on the ground is impressive even if near half of it occurs on passing plays and bootlegs by a quarterback who's one-half running back.
Also credit to Michael Vick for having a good day passing the ball--but I'm not going overboard with that since he threw an interception to Derrick Brooks that should have resulted in a touchdown for Tampa Bay except for the fact that the refs though that Ryan Nece bumping Warrick Dunn slightly from behind was an illegal block to the back. Nece was actually trying to avoid running into Dunn, fromt he appearance of the play. The fact that he put his hands up to may have doomed him, ironically. I'm supposing that the official took that as a sign that Nece was trying to make it look like he was covering up his dastardly deed with a showy play of innocence.
In any case, I won't use that as an excuse for my team even theough the Brooks INT could have been a key momentum-changer. Part of it falls on Simms again for some poor decisionmaking, along with his penchant for having passes tipped at the line of scrimmage. The offensive line actually played decently. Juran Bolden filled in okay for Brian Kelly.

I hate to sound like Dungy, but the team just needs to play better.

One complaint I will dwell on for a moment since the game announcers didn't pick up on it at all: That was an obvious clip by an Atlanta offensive lineman that sent Chris Hovan limping to the sideline. The Falcons are developing a reputation for dirty play by the offensive line. That one's going to strengthen that reputation.

As for the score, I'll take my lumps. The Falcons played better despite their hilariously inept field-goal squad (the Bucs' lack of success in that department tempers my ridicule, unfortunately).

Better luck next week against the hated Panthers, who dropped to 0-2 with their OT loss to the Vikings.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

The Cougar

One of my favorite blogs, EU Referendum, has had a few mentions of a relatively new military vehicle that is likely to become important in modern warfare--the Cougar by Force Protection, Inc.

Check out the comparison to the old HumVee.

The hull design deflects the force of a mine blast, conferring considerable protection from IEDs and the like.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Bucs stumble out of the blocks, lose home opener

The Bucs didn't just lose the home opener.
They suffered a humiliating defeat at the hands of the Baltimore Ravens.

On the other hand, it's as though the Bucs merely lost the home opener. It just counts as a loss.

There's the tarnish on the silver lining, however.

The offensive line broke down a few times. The problems were predictable given the late scratches of TB's two starting guards, Dan Buenning and Davin Joseph. The loss should not be pinned on the offensive line, however.

I don't suggest an alternative starter for young Chris Simms, but Simms put on display the one facet of his game that I have criticized repeatedly: lack of pocket presence. Simms only occasionally flashes that sixth sense that makes a quarterback do the right thing in the pocket. Simms' retreats from the Raven pass rush added needless lost yardage on a couple of occasions.
He also persists in telegraphing his throws to the extent that defenders can get a hand on the ball near the line of scrimmage. One such pass was batted up in the air and snagged by a Baltimore lineman who lumbered deep into TB territory with the ball, eventually resulting in a field goal for the Ravens.

Though the defense gave up 27 points (yes, one touchdown came on another Ravens interception), they turned in a solid performane after the initial Ravens touchdown drive.

The game actually hinged on the big plays. The Ravens gathered three interceptions off of Simms, picked up key third downs, failed to lose any of their three fumbles, and picked up a questionable pass interference call on Ronde Barber (a similar play by a Baltimore defender was not called as pass interference later in the game). Baltimore, in addition to playing solid football in all phases of the game, had a bit of luck on their side.

The Bucs come out of the game with the loss, and three questions.
The first question mark was expected even without the loss of the two starting guards. Run protection was expected to be a strength, while pass protection figured to be a bit of a liability. The Bucs ran very little since they trailed from early in the game, but the run blocking looked okay for the most part. The pass protection was mediocre--it was the outcomes of the plays where the quarterback was pressured that produced the pain (big yardage losses, interceptions).
The second question mark, referencing my comments above, is Simms' pocket presence. Simms will need to make better decisions in taking care of the ball in order to be an elite quarterback--unless the line starts offering him sterling protection. His play against the Ravens was not good enough for a win.
The third question mark concerns the rest of the offense: Where were the big plays? Cadillac Williams had a solid game, but had no big gainers and scored no points. Joey Galloway had only one pass thrown his way, by my count, but it bounced off his hands and chest as he began to run to elude the onrushing defender as the ball arrived. Galloway looked like he worked his way open on some deep routes, but Simms didn't attemt any deep throws to Galloway. Michael Clayton had three catches. Alex Smith caught a ball for a nice gain. No points from either. Mike Alstott picked up some important first downs (his run for a first down on a pass in the flat may have been the best individual effort by a TB ballcarrier on the day, as Alstott slipped past the linebacker standing right in front of him to pick up about seven yards after first contact), but no points.

The bottom line is that the offense is not producing, and it has yet to prove at any point this season (emphasizing the light preseason work) so far this year.

One more thing: Buccaneer fans have yet to learn how to support their team properly. The crowd cheers wildly when the Bucs are introduced, goes crazy during the kickoff, and then promptly lapses into a coma when the Ravens offense takes the field.

The Ravens' opening drive was a big key to their success on the day. The early score dictated strategy, and the problem was compounded when the TB offense made mistakes on which Baltimore capitalized. That opening drive took nearly 9 minutes, and took some of the starch out of Tampa Bay's defense.

That opening drive is precisely when crowd noise is helpful, but early-game crowd noise is typically absent at Raymond James Stadium. A three-and-out on that first drive, assisted by a boisterous crowd ... and who knows how the game turns out?

Tampa Bay crowds cheer the success of the previous play. They are reluctant, out of habit, to exhort the defense to success on the next play, except when the importance of the play has become obvious even to them.

Every play is important. Make noise when the defense is on the field.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Baileywikipedia IV

Baileywick attempts to answer points made in Baileywikipedias II and IIa.

The presupposition -- enshrined for corporations in U.S. law, but not therefore proven to be true -- that corporations and nations are, in some sense, persons does not really address the question of state action and "state actors." Corporations are not "people" (as you note in the first part of this post), but "legal persons," and that distinction is relevant in determining the kinds of things that individual people can do that corporations cannot.
It is not a "presupposition" but a proposition, one recognized in civil society going back thousands of years and an argument built on analogy (and Baileywick would find himself arguing in just those terms in order to justify his own personhood to others if he didn't rely on the law--see the Turing test).
Baileywick is demonstrating a dismaying propensity for answering with the semantic dodge technique (point amplified below).

Among other things, corporations cannot vote. If this is not a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment, it is only because corporations are not citizens, and do not have the rights guaranteed citizens by the Constitution.
Again, we see from Baileywick the apparent suggestion that differences erase similarities, just as we saw with his dismissal of valid comparisons to Adolph Hitler.
It simply isn't possible to erase the existence of valid similarities using any number of differences. A green ball filled with helium and a red ball filled with water are alike in that each is a ball. No appeal to coloration or contents erases the similarity. If Hitler were shaped like a ball, I could say that the green ball is like Hitler in that each is a ball, also.
In the absence of a World Government and international law, even if nations are corporate entities like corporations and act in ways analogous to individual persons, it seems nevertheless far more difficult to hold them accountable for their actions.
That's dangerously close to an admission that nations are corporate entities like corporations, acting in ways analogous to individual persons. Perhaps Baileywick will reconsider.

The analogy continues to hold.
Where formal governments do not exist, social organization occurs anyway. Social organization abhors a vacuum. Some form of law will exist, even if by default, through the actions of the entities involved. Those actions may be moral or they may be other than moral, just as with human individuals.

Baileywick seems willing to allow individual sovereignty to be trampled for the sake of national sovereignty (for example, it would apparently be wrong, in Baileywick's eyes, for an outside entity to force a greater expression of individual sovereignty over the current sovereign governmental system in Iran).
Am I wrong, or is there a presupposition built into his preference?
That is not to say that we cannot hold them accountable -- maybe we can; I haven't thought it through -- but their accountability is going to be of a radically different sort than that of people.
I'll assume Baileywick makes that latter claim in light of at least some thought.
And the criterion by which we hold them accountable, as well as the things for which we make them account, are not very clear.
Baileywick should love that. If we're not certain what the criteria are, then our response will undoubtedly refrain from resorting to oppression or violence (unlike those wicked absolutists who tend to oppress and kill).
This much, however, I am pretty sure is true: if there is a good justification for American production and stockpiling of nuclear weapons, then there is a similarly good justification for Iranian production and stockpiling of nuclear weapons. In terms of national sovereignty, there ought to be no difference between the U.S. and Iran.
Uh-oh. Baileywick is sounding like one of those evil abolutists again (his "pretty sure" notwithstanding). If his opinion about how the U.S. and Iran "ought" to have no difference between them respecting custodianship of nuclear weapons is to be taken seriously, then it would seem to have to be something along the lines of an absolute. Otherwise, Baileywick needs to consider that the opposite may well be true (that the U.S. has a right to such weapons while Iran does not--and that does seem to be the case if we bother to consider the NNP treaty signed by both parties), and on what basis would Baileywick elevate his own opinion over that of the one in polar disagreement?

One more thing:

One need not be a relativist to believe that no one is justified in holding others to one's own moral standards.
Correct. One merely needs to be willing to hold to a self-stultifying position (the one who holds that no one is justified in holding others to one's own moral standards is evidently trying to hold others to his own moral standard).
The relativist would argue that Ahmadinejad is as justified in believing that the Holocaust never happened as BW is to believe that it did; I do not mean to make this claim, nor ever to deny that I think Ahmadinejad is evil. My only claim in this regard is that my thinking he is evil is not sufficient justification for deposing him and/or attacking/invading his country. If it were, Ahmadinejad would be equally justified in
his stance toward Israel or the U.S. -- and that would be relativism.
Somewhat a roundabout way for Baileywick to deny being a moral relativist, but I suppose it will do.
Cleaning up Baileywick's mild ambiguity, it would be relativism if Baileywick's and Ahmadinejad's opposing views were both correct based merely upon the respective (subjective) beliefs themselves. On the other hand, it would be logically possible for Baileywick's opinion to be the absolute universal standard, according to which Ahmadinejad would simply be wrong. It is not, in other words, the justification from Baileywick's own beliefs that produces relativism, but the allowance that the opposite belief could also be the correct belief in an apparently contradictory fashion.
Just because we are convinced of a moral truth does not mean that we are entitled to act as if it is true.
I agree that not everything that one believes is necessarily true, and I think that Baileywick's rhetoric is suggestive of a type of paralyzation resulting from epistemic uncertainty.
A paralyzation of foreign policy based on epistemic uncertainty paves a path to ruin. There must be some point at which decisive action may be taken, and at the point the distinction Baileywick likes to make between absolutists and others effectively vanishes. In other words, when one acts as though certain conditions exist even if he is not absolutely certain of those conditions, his actions are indistinguishable from the one who acts as though the conditions exist based on unwavering belief.
This is, perhaps, the first lesson of living in pluralistic societies (whether inter- or intranational in scope).
Any society that fails to have significant commonality of worldview is very probably doomed. Theists and deists found a significant common basis expressed in the Declaration of Independence. A society that fails to nurture its common ground prepares itself for Balkanization, division, and eventual downfall.
Case in point, many liberals began talking in apparent seriousness about dividing the country into two parts in the wake of the 2004 election. That talk may only have been suppressed by the prospect of regaining control of congress in 2006. I would expect another loss to bring on another round of that sort of talk, with perhaps an increased degree of seriousness.

On the "Pathgate" kerfluffle

Following up on my initial post on "The Path to 9/11," I found an interview of Cyrus Nowrasteh, the writer of the film, by (conservative) radio show host Hugh Hewitt.

I've kept a few tabs on liberal commentary regarding the film, and I made my own comments regarding a sequence that features Sandy Berger calling off a special ops mission in Afghanistan aimed at bin Laden.

The interview clears up a few things, and it would be nice if those who were reporting on the issue would educate themselves about it before formulating and publishing opinions.
My opinion, that the Berger episode probably shouldn't be taken at face value, finds support in the interview, on the other hand (I suppose that qualifies as a shameless plug).
HH: There is quite a lot of attention to the fact that we did not take serious action against Osama bin Laden throughout the 90’s, nor in the first 8 months of the Bush administration, where they focused on bin Laden. It was clear from the record that that was the case. As to the specific attempt when the composite character, Kirk, is in the field about to snatch bin Laden, does that have history behind it?

CN: Well, I’ll tell you what it is. Yes, it is a…but it is a conflation, it is a fusing together of a number of different attempts. I have heard, and you’ve got to understand, we’re dealing with classified missions here.

HH: Right.

CN: I have heard that there were as many as nine to thirteen capture and or kill attempts on Osama bin Laden in the late 90’s. And rather than show a dozen straight sequences of trying to do the same thing, and each time failing or lacking the will to execute the action, we sort of did a melding together for one major sequence.

HH: Okay. And there’s also a sequence in which there is a question about whether or not the cruise missile attempt on Osama bin Laden following the bombing of the embassies had been tipped to Pakistani intelligence. Is that based on any particular series of sources?

CN: It was based on a number of sources, yes.

HH: And so you’re confident that we did give Pakistan advance warning that we would be trying to hit him?

CN: Yes.
The warnings given to Pakistan regarding an impending use of Tomahawk cruise missiles are mentioned in the 9/11 Commission report, by the way, along with testimony suggesting that a tip-off from inside the Pakistani government may have allowed bin Laden to escape the effects of the attack.

It will be interesting, once the film is aired and the facts are all on the table, to compare the Democratic complaints about the film's content and the testimony of the historical record.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Satire featuring Chomsky and Zinn

Technorati led me to a nifty satire of Noam Chomsky and Howard Zinn.

The piece concerns running commentary by Chomsky and Zinn intended for inclusion in the release of "The Fellowship of the Ring" (platinum series extended edition).

It's funny, but it's almost too real.
Chomsky: The film opens with Galadriel speaking. "The world has changed," she tells us, "I can feel it in the water." She's actually stealing a line from the non-human Treebeard. He says this to Merry and Pippin in The Two Towers, the novel. Already we can see who is going to be privileged by this narrative and who is not.

Zinn: Of course. "The world has changed." I would argue that the main thing one learns when one watches this film is that the world hasn't changed. Not at all.

Chomsky: We should examine carefully what's being established here in the prologue. For one, the point is clearly made that the "master ring," the so-called "one ring to rule them all," is actually a rather elaborate justification for preemptive war on Mordor.

"The Path to 9/11"

The distribution of preview copies of ABC's "The Path to 9/11" has produced a buzz in the blogosphere, with the film getting pretty good reviews from conservative blogs.

One aspect of the film came as a shock to me--an account of Sandy Berger pulling the plug on a potential Osama bin Ladin hit. I'd heard in Clinton's own words his statement that he could have had bin Ladin turned over to U.S. custody, but this account was entirely new to me.

Dean Barnett, posting at Hugh Hewitt's blog, makes a good point about this segment of the movie (read the whole thing).
THE CONTROVERSY ABOUT “The Path to 9/11” centers on one scene where CIA operatives and Northern Alliance irregulars under the leadership of the awe-inspiring Ahmed Shah Massoud have the opportunity to kill bin Laden. They phone NSA chief Sandy Berger for authorization to make the hit. Berger refuses to make the decision and in the scene actually hangs up on the operatives.

I’ve done a lot of reading and research regarding 9/11, and I have to admit that this story is new to me. The closest parallel I can think of is Tenet’s, Berger’s and Clinton’s irresolute follow-through on the Predator program which had the very real likelihood of knocking off bin Laden assuming the administration was willing to risk the death of innocents. Given the fact that Clinton was willing to take such a risk when the Lewinsky scandal reached its most fevered pitch, the fact that he wasn’t as bold without the looming specter of political calamity is damning. What’s more, the Clinton administration’s lethargic and chronically dilatory efforts to deal with bin Laden are an irrefutable part of the historical record.
If the account is true, it is a sensational bit of news.
I'm no Clinton fan by any stretch of the imagination, but on the face of it this account is incredible. I look forward to seeing the sifting of the supporting evidences.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Dems have a plan!!!

It's a bit hard to see how this is different from what's already going on, except for the suggestion of a "redeployment" before year's-end and the suggestion that the U.S. change the Iraqi constitution by working with Iraqi leaders&. Shouldn't that be up to the Iraqis?
Therefore, we urge you once again to consider changes to your Iraq policy. We propose a new direction, which would include: (1) transitioning the U.S. mission in Iraq to counter-terrorism, training, logistics and force protection; (2) beginning the phased redeployment of U.S. forces from Iraq before the end of this year; (3) working with Iraqi leaders to disarm the militias and to develop a broad-based and sustainable political settlement, including amending the Constitution to achieve a fair sharing of power and resources; and (4) convening an international conference and contact group to support a political settlement in Iraq, to preserve Iraq's sovereignty, and to revitalize the stalled economic reconstruction and rebuilding effort. These proposals were outlined in our July 30th letter and are consistent with the "U.S. Policy in Iraq Act" you signed into law last year.

We also think there is one additional measure you can take immediately to demonstrate that you recognize the problems your policies have created in Iraq and elsewhere -consider changing the civilian leadership at the Defense Department. From the failure to deploy sufficient numbers of troops at the start of the war or to adequately equip them, to the prison abuse scandal at Abu Ghraib, to disbanding the Iraqi military, to the failure to plan for the post-war occupation, the Administration's mistakes have taken a toll on our troops and our security. It is unacceptable to dismiss the concerns of military personnel and their families when they are affected by the consequences of these failures, as the Secretary of Defense recently did in Alaska by suggesting that volunteers should not complain about having their deployments extended. While a change in your Iraq policy will best advance our chances for success, we do not believe the current civilian leadership at the Department of Defense is suited to implement and oversee such a change in policy.

Mr. President, staying the course in Iraq has not worked and continues to divert resources and attention from the war on terrorism that should be the nation's top security priority. We hope you will consider the recommendations for change that we have put forward. We want to work with you in finding a way forward that honors the enormous sacrifice of our troops and promotes U.S. national security interests in the region. We believe our plan will achieve those goals.
(U.S. Newswire)

Hat tip to Captain's Quarters.
*in other words, all the good parts are already underway

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Monday, September 04, 2006

Nasrallah gives deterrence lesson

I've a little overdue in highlighting an excellent point made over at Jedi blog S.P.Q.A. regarding the effectiveness of military deterrence.
According to Hezbollah leader Nasrallah, had he known that the Israelis would respond as forcefully as they did to the kidnapping of their soldiers, he would never have ordered it. Even though Olmert never ordered the killing blow, the possibility was always there. This is not only a reminder that non-Westerners are not the military masterminds and adept students of Sun Tzu that lefties imagine them to be, but also of the value of deterrence.
(read the whole thing)
The point he's making is simple, but pithy.
Taking Nasrallah at his word, the expectation of a strong military response would have averted the situation that occurred in Lebanon (including the abduction of the two Israeli soldiers).
That's the essence of deterrence.

Winds of change in France?

Captain's Quarters took note of a story which may bode well for Europe's future.
THE battle to be the next French President heated up yesterday when Nicolas Sarkozy, the centre-right favourite, set out his manifesto for a revolution to restore basic values that would win the confidence of a younger generation that distrusts him.

M Sarkozy, 51, the Interior Minister and leader of the Union for a Popular Majority (UMP), President Chirac’s party, blamed the Sixties generation for squandering France’s heritage and creating a sense of entitlement and despair among the young. He would, he promised, create a new, better-educated France of hard workers and entrepreneurs.
(The Times)

Searching for Sith

I'm not happy with my Sith blogroll.

Charles Kuffner ("Off the Kuff") is so concerned with things in Texas that most of his material is only of passing interest to me.
Kele of "Kele's Journey" is apparently on another one of his frequent vacations (check his spotty archive sometime).
Barnum's Baileywick's Wick o' the Bailey is serviceable enough in providing grist for the mill/food for thought, but with all due respect to Baileywick, there has to be something better from the Left.

My random searches have mostly turned up Fever Swamp liberals, and those who aren't Fever Swampers still somehow manage to make Baileywick seem a Socrates by comparison.

What to do?

I went to blog rankings looking for possible Sith candidates. I did so with some reluctance, since the more popular blogs draw the heaviest commentary in response, and I'd just as soon not chant along with the crowd.

Thanks to Wizbang, I'll be tracking Michael J. Totten's blog. Today, I didn't find much from Totten that fit the category of Leftist political talk, but Totten provided some fascinating pictures and commentary from Israel. If I had stumbled onto his blog accidentally (and forgotten his name from the blogs of other commentators), I wouldn't have thought him a liberal from this material ... maybe that's a good thing.

Those who attain the Sith blogroll will receive strong benefit of the doubt before prompting me to remove them. The upshot of that is that there will very probably always be more than two Sith in the Sublovierse.

Ahmadinejad executes yet another deft political move

Iraq's nutter president, fresh from declining to discuss the historicity of the Holocaust in his letter to Chancellor Merkel of Germany, hosted U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan in Iraq over the weekend.
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — The U.N. chief got little satisfaction Sunday at the close of his trip to Tehran, snubbed by Iran's leader over international demands to stop enriching uranium and ignored in warnings not to incite hatred by questioning the Holocaust.

In a provocative move on the final day of Kofi Annan's two-day visit, Iran announced it would host a conference to examine what it called exaggerations about the Holocaust, during which more than 6 million Jews were killed by the Nazis.
(USA Today)
Maybe the secretary general should demand that the U.N. be allowed to set up a nukes-for-oil program. That might get negotiations going.

Hat tip to Captain's Quarters.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

The Government takes some swings at 9-11 conspiracy theorists

Federal agencies recently published two reports concerning the nature of the 9-11 attacks, in an attempt to defuse the disturbingly popular crackpot theories concerning that day's events.
Jim Dwyer of the New York Times penned a nifty story on the subject.
Here's a bit of it:
The State Department report is titled, "The Top Sept. 11 Conspiracy Theories" and says, "Numerous unfounded conspiracy theories about the Sept. 11 attacks continue to circulate, especially on the Internet." The report is dated Aug. 28 and appears as a special feature on the department's web site, at misinformation.html.

The report brought to light one little-known detail about the morning: a private demolition monitoring firm, Protec Documentation Services, had seismographs at several construction sites in Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn. Those machines documented the tremors of the falling towers, but captured no ground vibrations before the collapses from demolition charges or bombs, according to a separate report by Brent Blanchard, the director of field operations for Protec.
(Albany Times-Union)

The hard-core conspiracy theorist will, of course, explain away the seismographic evidence as another facet of the conspiracy.

Watch out for unfalsifiable theories and look for best explanations, people.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Baileywikipedia III

Referring to a slightly older comment from BB, regarding the supposed wisdom of an appeasement strategy in Iran.
I'm going to skip the part where BB deals with the argument that Iran should be attacked as though it has attacked Israel, since I know of nobody who advances that argument save for BB himself for the sake of answering the argument.
My position has ever been that Iran should be deal with sternly based on what it has already done, namely breaking the NNP treaty to which it is signatory, failing to heed UN resolutions, and threatening Israel and others.
On to the part worth treating:
The recent UN talk of sanctions makes this a very interesting issue, of course, since the world has essentially told Iran that it is not allowed to enrich uranium. Given that many if not most of our allies would not support military action, even in the face of evidence of nuclear weapons in Iran, it seems that the only practicable as well as the only moral option at this point is negotiations and the imposition of sanctions. It worked in Iraq (until Bush invaded), and it could work in Iran.

1) If our noble Western allies are unwilling to face down Iran when it does not have nuclear weapons, just imagine how bold they will be once Iran possesses nuclear weapons. Picture the response to Iran's next round of demands coupled with European fear of a nuclear attack.
2) Sanctions in Iraq produced exactly the sort of "peace in our time" situation that should be avoided with respect to Iran, though it should be pointed out that the real reason that Iraq's military was no threat to neighbors is because the immediate aftermath of the Gulf War saw relatively aggressive enforcement of the types of UN demands with which Iran refuses to comply.
Despite the relatively strong action is disarming Iraq through UNSCOM, Iraq actively cheated throughout. The cheating was confirmed by UNMOVIC, and overwhelmingly chronicled by the Kay/Duelfer Iraq Survey Group publications.
Iraq today, minus the actions of the U.S. and the U.K., would probably have Hussein still in power and poised to have sanctions lifted. U. N. Security Council nations France, Russia, and Germany were all rather keen to lift sanctions since each nation was owed billion$ by Saddam Hussein's regime (Mirage aircraft and Russian tanks are not cheap).
Additionally, Iraq would be poised to restart chemical weapons production today if sanctions had been lifted in 2003.

The strategy in Iraq was not an appeasement strategy, and regardless the strategy in dealing with Iraq did not work as BB appears to suppose.
In fact, it is very likely the example set in dealing weakly with Iraq that gives Iran the confidence to thumb its nose in the UN's direction. That, and North Korean boldness in pursuing nuclear weapons (it's worth noting that Korea seems to be dealing with Iran in weaspons technologies--not to mention China).
With the West's response to Iraq, particularly the lack of cohesion among the Western nations as they compete for economic benefits (see the reluctance of nations owed money by Iraq to take a hard line, the United States excepted), Iran learned an important lesson.

If only the Western nations could learn that lesson in conjunction with the lesson of WW2 appeasement.

Ahmadinejad's latest offer: "Iran will not back down an inch"

The United Nations Security Council Resolution 1696 had urged Iran to halt all nuclear enrichment and reprocessing work by August 31. The IAEA had been asked to make an assessment of Iran's compliance to this resolution.

In Tehran, the deputy chief of Iran's nuclear agency, Mohammad Saeedi, said the IAEA report was "not negative."

In a public speech, Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said: "Iran will not back down an inch in the face of intimidation, aggression and will not accept being deprived of its rights."
(The Hindu)

A reasonable interpretation of Ahmandinejad's words might be Iran will only negotiate based on an appeasement strategy from the West.

I wonder how high President Kerry would have jumped?

Bottom line: Failure to adopt a hard line against Iran will only result in Iran achieving its aims. Appeasement such that Iran acquires the complete enrichment cycle virtually guarantees that Iran's nuclear weapons ambitions will be fulfilled. Dragging on negotiations interminably allows Iran to continue to surreptitiously tweak their program (with the help of certain UN Security Council Nations, by the way) and likewise achieve the goal Iran forsook by signing the NNP agreement.

Baileywikipedia IIa

Adding one more thought to my previous post, it seems to me that the willingness of Barnum's Baileywick to apparently afford much greater latitute in terms of national sovereignty compared to personal sovereignty is probably indicative of some degree of moral relativism on his part; I won't assume that his moral system is logically coherent, however, even with the addition of the charitable assumption that out-and-out moral relativism is coherent.

Baileywikipedia II

Another Barnum's Baileywick comment (where does he find the time?):
Points 1-5 add nothing to what I've already admitted: that Iran is in the process of building a nuclear arsenal, and that the President of Iran thinks that the destruction of Israel is a good idea. Whether taken singly or in combination, these points do not imply that Iran is engaged in the project of destroying Israel by nuclear attack.
The question is why BB does not consider points 1-5 as evidence of a sinister intent, such as a pre-emptive strike against Israel, and the question does not diminish in importance simply owing to the fact that BB acknowledges the truth of the points per se.
I think that there are some things -- justice would be one, but there are others -- that mandate from us that we not understand human life as an absolute good.
I favor a moral understanding similar to that of W. D. Ross, in the form of a hierarchy of moral absolutes (as Norman Geisler expresses it). Within that framework, I would agree with BB. It seems that there are moral tenets that would outweigh the goodness of human life.
At the same time, I do think that human life is a good, and worth being preserved.
Ah, so BB is an anti-abortionist and condemns euthanasia.
But if what you're saying with the final questions -- about relativism, and the deaths of millions -- is that, in light of the extreme consequences of a potential Iranian nuclear attack on Israel, we are within our rights to pre-emptively attack Iran so as to prevent even the possibility of those Israeli (and Iranian) deaths, then I think we disagree in a fundamental way about the nature of moral and political rights.
It might be nice if BB could just skip the part where he guesses at my motivations and just answer the question. :)
If the two come into conflict, the preservation of liberty is, I think, a more fundamental value than physical/material security.
If BB's understanding represents a competition between two absolutes, then our views may be essentially similar. If his view is informed (however ambiguously) by moral relativism, then our agreement is superficial.
I would rather live in an unsafe society where I was free, than a safer one in which I had fewer basic rights.
You do want to live, then. Vote Republican! Those other guys will get us killed.
Similarly, I would rather live in a world where nuclear attack from state or non-state actors is a real possibility, than in a world where the sovereignty of nations is routinely challenged.
BB's view is silly, and I shall promptly explain how.
Nations are people, in the same manner that corporations are people. They act in a manner strongly analogous to sentient beings in relation to civil laws. When people act contrary to civil law, they suffer consequences, and that is how order is maintained in a society. When society places a criminal in jail for life, or visits capital punishment on a murderer, the sovereignty of that criminal is being challenged. There are enough civil laws on the books such that the sovereignty of the people is routinely challenged (woe is BB).
Iran has flaunted the international civil laws respecting its nuclear programs and research. That compounds the transgression against society.
Fail to address the actions of criminal nations, and you will assuredly undermine the freedoms you seek, along with those of perhaps millions of others.
I don't think there's anything fundamentally relativistic about these things, even though I do admit the very real possibility that I am wrong.
Poo on you. There's nothing in principle keeping the moral absolutist from believing that there is a very real possibility that he is wrong. BB is telling me nothing, unless it's that he's so humble that I should be impressed.
I have faith that these basic beliefs are true, but I am no dogmatist.
I think BB should admit that he might be a dogmatist, otherwise it looks like he's being dogmatic about how he's not dogmatic. :)
Show me a good reason to believe the security of the Israelis is more valuable than the sovereignty of Iran, and I'll accept it. I just haven't come across one yet.
Israel's leaders have never hinted that it would be worthwhile to use nuclear weapons in a pre-emptive strike intended to wipe out their neighbors, in contrast to those of Iran.
The leaders of a nation are those who exercise sovereignty on behalf of a nation.

The good reason is under BB's nose, crowding his nose hairs. He simply declines to acknowledge it as a good reason.

Fascist, shmaschist

John Hinderaker at Power Line blog has posted the perfect antidote for those who deplore the supposedly fascist turn of President Bush.
Liberals have been announcing the imminent Nazification of America for some years now, and the presumed embarrassment of nutballs like Keith Olbermann and Howard Dean...the dark night of fascism stubbornly refuses to fall. Not only has Bushitler refrained from rounding up liberals and putting them to the sword, the heady air of freedom has never been headier.

In many social circles, people not only dare to launch vicious attacks on the President, they risk ostracism if they fail to do so. It's not quite the repressive atmosphere that liberals were expecting. Are liberals setting up overseas bank accounts so they are ready to flee when the crackdown comes? Um, no. Indeed, liberals appear serenely confident that no adverse consequences will follow from their accusing the President of every crime known to humanity. They go happily about their business, secure in the knowledge that their hysterical attacks on the President are bullshit.
(Power Line)

Friday, September 01, 2006

"Mystery Pollster" now ""

The great poll-demystifying site, "Mystery Pollster" has been polished, expanded, upgraded and redubbed ""
I encourage political junkies to pay the site a visit.

One day I'll get around to updating the name in my "Links" section.


On the continuing issue of Hitler/Iran (with not so much immediate emphasis on Iran), Barnum's Baileywick popped this missive into the comments section (reproduced in its entirety but punctuated by my comments)...
Naturally, I do not agree with Tono Rondone that Bush orchestrated 9/11, or that Hunter S. Thompson was murdered. I don't think Bush is another Hitler, even though I don't think that Ahmadinejad is another Hitler, either.
No, naturally not that, since Hitler "is a unique moment in the history of Germany, Europe, and the world." Not even a cloned Hitler with Hitler's memories and personality could produce another Hitler, it seems.
So, despite the fact that BW uses some pretty obvious sophistry, and has a deep and unhealthy reliance upon some poorly written freshman logic textbook or other, it is nevertheless the case that he's right about T.R. Except ...
"[U]ses some pretty obvious sophistry" and "has a deep and unhealthy reliance upon some poorly written freshman logic textbook or other," eh?
Let's hope BB's evidence is up to his assertions.
Of course, Hitler was already Chancel[l]or of Germany when the Reichstag fire took place, but it was the Reichstag fire that allowed him to take advantage of the clause in the German constitution that allowed the chief executive, in times of national crisis, to assume whatever powers necessary to put the crisis to an end.

Close, but Hitler relied on President Hindenburg for his appointment as Chancellor and for declaration of those powers. After that, Hitler seized his real power ("Within weeks, Hitler would be absolute dictator of Germany and would set in motion a chain of events resulting in the second World War and the eventual deaths of nearly 50 million humans through that war and through deliberate extermination.")
In contrast, Bush had trouble with the Miers nomination.
With that assumption of power, Hitler disbanded the Reichstag, turning a constitutional democracy into his own little megalomaniacal dictatorship.

Hitler coerced the Reichstag into effectively disbanding itself, and that was the seizure of power.
While T.R. is wrong to compare Bush to Hitler in any meaningful way, it nevertheless does stand to reason that there is a valid comparison here between the arguments made for increased power to the executive -- that times of national crisis give the President the power to conduct matters as he sees fit (in the present case, not only the fighting of wars, but also any "related" intelligence gathering or sorting activities -- I put "related" in scare quotes because the President also maintains that he is the sole authority in determining which activities are legitimately related to the war).
I'd like a supporting citation presented in favor of the latter claim.
As it was in the German constitution (the clause was, of course, written out after WWII), so in our interpretations of the U.S. Constitution. To give the President unlimited power in any sphere of his activity is, I think, the first (or second, or third) step on a slippery slope toward the New American Fascism.
Pending the citation, it seems proper to regard BB's proposition as a straw man with respect to the real-life situation.
Nevertheless, I will note again (since I have a problem with being misinterpreted over here from time to time), that Bush's movements in the direction of fascism do not make Bush a fascist, and much less justify a meaningful comparison to Hitler. T.R. is just wrong.

I'll take that to mean BB thinks that T.R. is wrong.

Where was the "sophistry" and the reliance on a poorly-written freshman logic text, BTW?
Or was that just BB's occasional indulgence in ad hominem?

Another good editorial from the WaPo

Trailing fairly closely on the heels of its editorial on the recent court decision against the NSA surveillance program, the Washington Post hits the nail on the head in summing up the Valerie Plame saga. After placing some qualified blame on the Bush administration the article concludes:
Nevertheless, it now appears that the person most responsible for the end of Ms. Plame's CIA career is Mr. Wilson. Mr. Wilson chose to go public with an explosive charge, claiming -- falsely, as it turned out -- that he had debunked reports of Iraqi uranium-shopping in Niger and that his report had circulated to senior administration officials. He ought to have expected that both those officials and journalists such as Mr. Novak would ask why a retired ambassador would have been sent on such a mission and that the answer would point to his wife. He diverted responsibility from himself and his false charges by claiming that President Bush's closest aides had engaged in an illegal conspiracy. It's unfortunate that so many people took him seriously.
(the Washington Post)

Ahmadinejad's letter, and Reuters

Power Line notes "The apparent incuriosity of the mainstream media on the utterances of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is striking; his letter to Angela Merkel, to which [Victor Davis] Hanson alludes, has not been addressed since its text was released."

I was curious as to what had appeared in the press; the Detroit Free Press included a piece on the letter, but the remaining hits were overwhelmingly international. The hit coming from Reuters caught my eye, however, given the recent photography scandals.

Especially this part:
In the letter, the Iranian president did not repeat his previous assertion that the Holocaust, in which 6 million Jews were killed by the Nazis, was a myth. But he said it had been used to weaken Germany, and he railed against Zionism.

Chancellor Angela Merkel rejected the letter at the time as "totally unacceptable to Germany" and said it did not deserve a reply.

"I have no intention of arguing about the Holocaust," Ahmadinejad wrote. "But ... some victorious countries of World War Two intended to create an alibi on the basis of which they could continue keeping the defeated nations of World War Two indebted to them," the English version of the letter said.

Reuters goes too easy on Ahmadinejad, I believe.
Even while Reuters credits him with not repeating his earlier claims, they pass over the rather obvious subtext of Ahmadinejab's letter, which is clear enough even in the abbreviated form reproduced in the story. Review what comes after Ahmadinejad's big "but," recalling such oft-heard exclamations as "I'm not one to complain, but ..." and "I thought I'd seen it all, but ..."
It's slightly more obvious once we sort out the text that went missing in favor of Reuters' ellipsis:
I have no intention of arguing about the Holocaust. But, does it not stand to reason that some victorious countries of World War II intended to create an alibi on the basis of which they could continue keeping the defeated nations of World War II indebted to them. Their purpose has been to weaken their morale and their inspiration in order to obstruct their progress and power. In addition to the people of Germany, the peoples of the Middle East have also borne the brunt of the Holocaust. By raising the necessity of settling the survivors of the Holocaust in the land of Palestine, they have created a permanent threat in the Middle East in order to rob the people of the region of the opportunities to achieve progress.
(Fars News Agency)
If he's not saying that the Holocaust is a myth in terms of an invented story, he's at the very least calling it a myth in terms of "an unproved or false collective belief that is used to justify a social institution."
The Fars News Agency URL purports to have a full English text version of the letter. Give it a read, and see if you can detect Ahmadinejad trying to cozy up to Germany based on (he hopes) their mutual victimization at the hands of an unnamed oppressor.


In a potentially related note (connected to the content of Ahmadinejad's letter, that is), "Mein Kampf" is reportedly becoming a big seller in Turkey. The Arabic title ends up as "My Jihad," as I understand it.

Preseason wrap-up

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers finished the preseason campaign 1-3.
No biggie. As mentioned in earlier posts, preseason championships don't count for squat.

The loss to Houston underscored the questions brought into focus the previous week against Jacksonville: The defensive subs need to step up, and the offensive line play is shaky.
Houston was able to run very effectively against TB's best subs, though the Texans had trouble wringing points out of their offense.
The struggles of the defensive subs don't really play that significantly into the regular-season success of the Bucs, however.

The offensive line issue is a different matter.

The Bucs used the first-team offensive line for much of the first half and definitely had trouble running the ball, along with the expected difficulties in pass protection. Compounding the somewhat gloomy outlook, left guard Dan Buenning came out of the game with an injury (apparently an ankle sprain) and did not return.
The opening-day line, from left to right, figures to be Anthony Davis, Jeb Terry, John Wade, Davin Joseph, and Kenyatta Walker. That line will not be a significant upgrade over last year's group. Joseph should be better in run-blocking than was Sean Mahan last year--he's bigger and stronger--but he'll be more likely to make mistakes so that's a wash. Walker hasn't played well during the preseason, probably because his knees are bothering him.

The offense will probably be inconsistent until the line begins to gel (sorry for the cliche).

Rookie quarterback Bruce Gradkowski made some impressive plays. His numbers will look good after the game, but he made enough rookie mistakes that Coach Gruden was doing what he does in order to sound hoarse after the game.
Gradkowski's last play was the biggest stinker. On fourth down and about 17 yards to go, he threw to the fullback in the flat, where there was no realistic chance to pick up the critical first down. Gruden would obviously have preferred for Gradkowski to take his chances on the longer throw, so that there would at least be a chance to pick up the first down. My rudimentary lip-reading skills confirmed Gruden's opinion on that one.

Bring on the regular season.