Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Update

Just a quick note to let everyone know that our expectant son has decided to delay his arrival. Jen is due any day now so we have just been on baby watch as of late. It is a weird feeling to sit around with your wife waiting for her to go into labor. Kinda like waiting for a bomb to go off, I suppose.

In other news, the U.S. soccer team got robbed against Italy, but I predict we will beat Ghana and advance into the next round (Italy will beat Czech). However, our next match would be against Brazil, which happens to be the best team in the world(although they have yet to show it).

As I mentioned last week, Wednesday night is the online poker tournament for those who live near Madison/Milwaukee. Hard to pass up a chance at a free seat in next year's World Series. If anyone signs up, please email me.

Other than that life is good. I have been reading a lot of the interesting Supreme Court cases that have come down in the past few days, but I will spare you all my commentary. I will write more once our baby is born.

More to follow...

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Calling All Madison Rounders

Here is a great deal for those of you who like no limit Texas Hold'em and live in the Madison area. I stumbled on to it two days ago and signed up. You really can't beat a freeroll with a chance to win a WSOP seat.

If you sign up, post here or email me so I know who to look for to knock out.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

An Inconvenient Truth

Okay, so my job search is still proceeding. I sure have had my taste of "sorry, we're not hiring." Anyway, if things get really bad this summer, I will probably try to take him up on the offer.

Depressing

Did anyone else watch the U.S. world cup game against the Czech Republic yesterday? I hope not, for your sake. I remember World Cup 1990 when we faced Czechoslovakia in our opening match. As some of you will remember, they smoked us 5-1. It was embarrassing. Against that backdrop, I was really looking forward to yesterday's game. I thought it would be a great game and we had a good chance to walk away with one, if not three points. Boy was I wrong. The game was horrible. It was, by far, the worst I have seen our team play in the last four years. They were flat from the opening whistle. I don't really mind that we lost, after all the Czech team is one of the best in the world; rather, it was the manner in which we lost. If one judged all the teams on their performance so far in the tourney, we would be (by far) the worst team. We showed no progress from that horrible 1990 four goal assbeating. We are better than that.

I am not sure what a coach can do about a team coming out flat. Surely, the players are all working hard on the field, but there is just no chemistry. It is hard to explain, but you know a team is flat when you see it. My only solution would be to mix up the lineup a bit and try to introduce some new, hungry, blood into the team. I will spare you all my lineup suggestions because coach Arena told me he wouldn't be able to read my blog while he was in Germany and he forgot to give me his cell phone number. Darn.

Anywho, we need to beat Italy on Saturday and then beat Ghana next week to advance (only to face Brazil). Both Italy and Ghana looked good in their game, so we will have our hands full in both games. If don't beat Italy on Saturday, it's all over and the game against Ghana is irrelevant.

Now, we just have to wait and see which U.S. team shows up.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

In The Joint

It's funny that we never hear similar cries over the inmates who decide to kill themselves in our own state and federal prisons. Should we shut down those prisons as well?

Saturday, June 10, 2006

World Cup 2006

It's finally here! I am sure I am in the minority, but I look forward to the World Cup more than any other sporting event. So far, it has been great. Can you believe that over a billion people watched the opening game? Incredible. Since I am currently unemployed, I was one among billions. Germany looked strong, but susceptible in the back. Poland was disaster and probably cost themselves a spot in the second round. Anyway, I am sure most of you aren't following it all that close, but I am rooting for the US, England or Italy to win it all. However, Brazil looks unstoppable. We shall see.

Just a reminder that the US plays on Monday against the Czech Republic--a huge game for us. We need a least a tie, but a win would be better. I believe it is on in the morning, but it will be rebroadcast on ESPN2 (double check) later that night.

It's funny, four years ago, I was a singly dude in the Army riding through the Mojave desert getting updates over my radio. Times have changed. Now, I am a "civilian", a lawyer, married and I have a kid on the way. Sheesh.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Good Eats

In case anyone missed it, here is the recent "Top 30" restaurants in the Milwaukee area. I have been to a couple, most notably Sanfords. I committed the classic engagement mistake and took Jen there because it was romantic and expensive. I never considered that we might not like the food. We didn't, but that is because neither of us have much of a taste for gourmet food. Anyway, if anyone post their own recommendations, feel free.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

More on Zarqawi

I can't say that I am truly glad (more neutral) that Zarqawi is dead, but I think his death is a sign of true progress. Sure, Zarqawi (like Bin Laden) is just one man and there are hundreds, perhaps thousands, of young believers who will rise to replace him. Consequently, on one level, Zarqawi is just a sole enemy KIA in a country filled with bad guy assholes.

However, if this story is true, our ability to gain intelligence on the innermost workings of Al-Qaida in Iraq cannot be overstated. This war is not necessarily about who owns what piece of key terrain (although that always helps); rather, this war, at this stage, is about perception, intelligence and public sentiment. (Oh, and killing bad guys and breaking things also plays a role).

If we got an "inside tip" that means that either the public, or portions of it, dislike Zarqawi and his actions more then they dislike us, so they decided to give him up; or, we were able to gather independent covert intelligence to learn his whereabouts. Either is a great accomplishment, but I would take the first scenario over the second. This could very well be the day that the Iraq, as a country, decides to take itself seriously and begins to wag war against the terrorists hiding in its ranks. Let's hope so.

As an amusing aside, did anyone catch the actual video footage of the air strike (available here)? One part of the briefing made me laugh. After the pilot drops the first bomb and it explodes, the briefer stated something along the lines that "the fighter pilot is trying to determine if it struck the target and if another bomb is needed."

Um, what would you do if you were the pilot? You bet your ass I am dropping a second bomb. Hell, I would even spit out the window or try to shoot the rubble with my sidearm if I thought that was necessary. I really really really wouldn't want to be known as the guy-that-didn't-kill-Zarqawi-because-I-only-dropped-one-bomb-guy. No way. Not me, pal.

Word of the Day

Five bucks to the person who slips this word into their daily conversation:

floccinaucinihilipilification

It means: Estimating something as worthless.

Have fun!

Al-Zarqawi

Well, I don't think I would describe the death of the man who beheaded my child as a "double tragedy," but that may just be my sentiment.

Here are some highlights from the article if you don't want to click on the link:

Michael Berg, a pacifist who is running for Delaware's lone House seat on the Green Party ticket, said al-Zarqawi's death is likely to foster anti-American resentment among al-Qaida members who feel they have nothing left to lose.

(Um, I hate to interject, but I think they had a little "anti-American resentment" when they flew planes into our buildings and beheaded our civilians. I am not sure al-Zarqawi's death will do much to fuel that).

Berg said the blame for most deaths in Iraq should be placed on
President Bush, who he said is "more of a terrorist than Zarqawi."

"Zarqawi felt my son's breath on his hand as held the knife against his throat. Zarqawi had to look in his eyes when he did it," Berg added, pausing to collect himself. "George Bush sits there glassy-eyed in his office with pieces of paper and condemns people to death. That to me is a real terrorist."

(He can't really believe that can he? Is there some bizzaro reality world revolving around me that I am not aware of?)

Spooky.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Update

See I told you so. I think what bothers me so much about this is that Republicans are treating this issue as a throw away. It was no secret that the Senate Republicans were no where near the required 60 votes for passage so why even schedule it for debate now? If they really cared about this issue, why not wait until it has a realistic chance to pass? The debate over gay marriage is an important an issue and deserves a better forum for discussion.

(Now, please get back to informing the country on the importance of fixing the illegal immigration debacle and that great things occurring in Iraq).

Thank you.

Deserter?

Stories like this disappoint me. To have an Army officer announce his plans, on a website no less, that he plans to desert his unit is disgraceful. Everyone knows the deal when they sign up for the armed services, especially post 911. Maybe he should have thought a little harder about what being a soldier entails before he decided to announce his plan to go AWOL. I hope two years at Leavenworth provides him time for reflection.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Clarification

I reread my last post and I don't think I was very clear in the ultimate point I was trying to make. I have no problem with the White House or Republicans in general pushing for the gay marriage amendment, I just have an issue with the timing. To be sure, gay marriage is an explosive issue and one that needs to be debated intelligently. Although I am opposed to a federal Constitutional amendment, I think there are good arguments on both sides. My main point is that I think the Pres should be a little worried because support for the Iraq war has dropped over 40 points since the initial invasion. Do I think the military is failing in Iraq? No. Do I think democracy will prevail in Iraq? Yes. Do I think that the Pres is doing a good job of explaining his position on Iraq and the war on terror generally? No, I don't.

Like it or not the media is a player in our foreign relations and the White House should have a plan on how to best utilize the media in order to support its objectives. I don't think it has done so. For the impact of the media, one has to look back only a short 62 years to June 6, 1944 to the beginning of Operation Overlord (D-Day). We lost thousands of brave men on that day, but yet support for the war remained strong. Fast forward to today and support for the war is at all time lows despite the fact that our casualties are only a fraction of what they were then. One explanation, among many, is that television was not ubiquitous in the 40's and we tend to deal better with stuff that we hear about, but don't see. Images are powerful. Dead bodies and car bombs penetrating the American psyche on a daily basis is bound to take its toll and rattle our confidence. In these times, I want our focus to be on the winning the war in Iraq and intelligently waging the war on terror. One of those fronts is the American media, and on that front, the White House is not earning passing marks.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Hodge Podge

A lot of interesting things going on in the world these days. I thought I would take a couple minutes to cover some of the things percolating in my brain.

1. Rick's annual party was a blast last weekend (as usual). For you Wisconsin natives, check Rick's blog for the highlights. Another year without bringing home a trophy...so sad.

2. Jen is doing well and our baby boy could come any day now. He is officially due on Father's Day (June 18), but Jen has been feeling lately that he will show up sooner rather than later. Stayed tuned...

3. A constitutional ban on gay marriage. What? Are we seriously going to waste time on this issue? Oh, wait, I forgot the Republicans are crapping themselves about the election this November. I guess Republicans think they can win back some support with this issue, but I am not so sure. I think most Americans (and conservatives) would rather see our government officials work to solve more pressing issues (war on terror, immigration, etc) and not waste time with purely political legislation. Let's be frank, there is no, zero, nada, chance that this amendment will pass. For starters, it is damn near impossible to amendment the constitution. For example, the last proposed constitutional amendment (Equal Rights Amendment) was designed to prevent gender based discrimination, and it couldn't muster the requisite level of support during the zenith of the feminist movement. I am glad the Framers designed the constitution with such high amendment standards because hot-button, fly by night issues like this will eventually fall by the way side.

Assuming the amendment makes it out of the legislature, which it wouldn't, do you really believe that 37 states will sign off on it? I don't see it happening and I don't like that the Bush Administration is trying to divert attention from the war on terror, immigration, etc. Those issues are much more important. I don't like to see the President (who I voted for) turn and run every time and issue gets tough and the polls start coming back with low numbers. For example, what ever happened to social security reform? It's dead. It's dead because the White House let the press murder the issue before it got anywhere. The same pattern exists with Iraq War. In my opinion, President Bush is losing the Iraq war. Let me be clear. Ground truth in Iraq is favorable and I have no doubt that we are doing good things over there. Additionally, I think history will prove Bush right and democracy will flourish in Iraq. HOWEVER, the White House has been dreadful in explaining and defending this war. I want to see the Pres out there making speeches, informing the public on the good things that are happening, etc. I want to see him explaining his strategy because it makes sense. Don't hide from the fact that we continue to lose soldiers and things are tough. That is war. He needs to take the lead on this because he is in danger of abandoning our soldiers on the field of battle.

4. Haditha. I am sure everyone has heard all about this issue. Basically, a group of Marines are being investigated for allegedly violating the ROE and shooting innocent Iraqi citizens. This has certainly turned out to be an explosive issue in the press. The liberal types have been orgasmic since this story broke--more evidence that the "American War Machine" is out of control and the military is nothing but a bunch of gung-ho murderers. Also, it helps their another-Vietnam analogies, although in reality, the incidents are readily distinguishable.

Here is my two cents. I trust the military to conduct a neutral examination to determine what happened and to take the appropriate actions. I certainly don't believe the accuracy of the reports coming out of Iraq because they seemed to be based on nothing but third party hearsay (from Iraqi's), which isn't the most trustworthy source. I believe the Marines to be innocent until proven guilty--a novel concept. However, if it turns out that the killings were unjustified then the soldiers should be severely punished. Events like that happen because of leadership failures at various levels. Those leaders should be held accountable--we expect and demand more from our military servicemen.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

It's Official!