Da Scent

This is my first real attempt at an on-line journal. It'll be parts political, parts personal, parts other. I'll try to keep it interesting, whatever I write. Feedback is appreciated...

UPDATE: Ok, I've taken a step to avoid spammers. So anyone can post comments again, you'll just have to do a word verification first. No big deal, just a minor pain in the ass, courtesy of the fucktards.

Name:
Location: Pasadena, Maryland

Aspiring novelist (hey, write, call or e-mail if you can hook me up with a literary agent...no hurries though, I've only just started).

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

College Football Preview

First of all, I just spent 30 bucks at the gas station today...30 bucks!!! To fill up a Corolla! The only good thing about this is those jackasses driving around in H2s have to be spending dame near 70 dollars...haha, assholes...

Ok, College ball season starts tommorow evening, with a slate of games highlighted by Wake Forest/Vanderbilt (yes, I know, that's a pretty crappy highlight). So without any further ado, here is my look ahead and predictions for the Power Conferences.

ACC

The Marcus Vick era finally begins at Virginia Tech, and younger Vick has quite a bit of pressure on him. In addition of trying to live up to his brother's name, he also has to deal with the pressure of playing on a team which won the League last season. Meanwhile, FSU is having all kinds of issues at QB, and Miami is trying to rebound from a very dissapointing last season. Going by the "It's Miami, so they can't be bad two years in a row" theory, I'm picking the 'Canes to win the ACC this fall.

Big 10 (11)

The power in the Big 10, as always, is with Ohio State and Michigan. OSU is returning no less than 18 starters. Michigan is coming off a League Title. It'll be a battle till the end, and the only reason Michigan will win out is because the season-ender is gonna be at the Big House.

Big 12

With Nebraska still in apparent disarray trying to install their West Coast offense, the Big 12 is still the property of perennial powerhouse Oklahoma, and their neighbors to the south, Texas. The Sooners have owned the Longhorns over the last few seasons, but their is reason to believe that will be turned around this year. Jason White is gone, and Vince Young is ready, in many people's opinion, to challenge for the Heisman. Still, until Mack Brown & Co. can knock the monkey off their back, it's tough to pick against the monkey. Look for Oklahoma to win the League again.

Big East

The Big East is getting some imports this season, and a lot of folks like one of those imports, Louisville, to win the League this year. But their starting QB from last year is gone, and West Virginia and Pittsburgh still have a recruitng advantage over what until this year has been a md--major school. WVU graduated a few players off of a dissapointing squad last season, so I look for a repeat winner here, as well, in Pittsburgh.

SEC

The nation's premeire conference is going to be a war zone this year. Last year's undefeated League Champ, Auburn, lost their entire backfield in the offseason, so a drop-off must be expected. Across the state, the Crimson Tide are statring to recover from their probation, so look for them to return to elite status shortly, although they are probably still a couple of years away. The class of the West this season appears to be the LSU Tigers, who are returning 20 starters (!!!), but NOT their head coach, who moved on to the NFL. Over in the East, the big story is the return of Steve Spurrier, although not to Florida, but rather to South Carolina. Florida has a new coach, too, and Urban Meyer has inheirted one hell of a football team, including a QB that is a potential #1 overall pick in an upcoming NFL draft. Tennessee is powerful, as always. I look for a barnburner of a Championship Game between LSU and Florida, and damned if I know who is going to win.

Pac 10

When Heisman Trophy Winner Matt Leinart decided to return to USC, that took, for many people, a lot of suspense out of this coming football season, especially in the Pac 10. UCLA will have a decent squad, and Coach Tedford will probably find someone at Cal to replace Aaron Rogers, but USC should be dominant one more time.

BCS Bowls

Fiesta Bowl
Michigan def. Oklahoma

Sugar Bowl
SEC Runner up def. Texas

Orange Bowl
Miami def. Pittsburgh

Rose Bowl (BCS Championship)
USC def. SEC Champ

Monday, August 29, 2005

Monday Night Ramblings

Tonight is the last Monday night without a football game on TV till January. Next Monday Florida State plays Miami in the first big time match-up of the College season, and then the weekend after that the NFL kicks off, with a Monday Night match-up featuring the Falcons and the Eagles in an NFC Championship rematch.

As always on Monday, DU has their Top 10 Conservative Idiots of the Week up, and as always, it's hilarious yet frightening. I notice on that list that Rush Limbaugh is questioning my patriotism. I'll tell him the same thing I tell everyone else who does that. Fuck that, this is as much my country as it is yours. If you want to live in a country where the only political speech that is allowed is that which supports government policies whether we agree with them or not then it is you, sir, not I, who is living in the wrong place. And since all you did for the 8 years between 1992 and 2000 was bash then President Clinton, take your hypocritical ass - cyst and all - and go fuck yourself.

Tell Max Cleland, who left three limbs in Vietnam while you were off dodging the draft for some bullshit ass pimple and your fearless leader was hiding out in the Texas National Guard, about patriotism, you piece of shit.

Ok, my college football preview is coming up Wednesday evening. Till then, P&L...

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Another Post Column

This one is more recent (it's in today's Post). It's just as good, if not better. Don't be the last to read it...

Rallying the Troops and Avoiding Reality

By Colbert I. King

Saturday, August 27, 2005; A17

There is something almost surreal in the juxtaposition of President Bush's statements on Iraq and news reporting on the war. The two are simply irreconcilable.

Bush's upbeat take collides with recent news reports about events in Iraq as well as with the judgments of senior officials within his administration. If the media have got it wrong, then we deserve to get hammered. If, however, it turns out that Bush is not being straight with courageous U.S. service members and their families, then it will be the Bush presidency and his legacy that will pay dearly.

At the moment he's hitting it off in visits to military posts, where he dons his commander-in-chief hat. One Bush line always draws applause: "We will stay on the offensive. Whatever it takes, we will seek and find and destroy the terrorists, so that we do not have to face them in our own country." It went over well last year with a gathering of applauding Screaming Eagles of the 101st Airborne, Green Berets of the 5th Special Forces Group and the Night Stalkers, at Fort Campbell, Ky.

In June the president went to Fort Bragg, N.C., and in a televised address described Iraq as the latest battlefield in the war on terrorism, saying: "America's mission in Iraq is to defeat an enemy and give strength to a friend . . . . We will stay in the fight until the fight is won."

And to cheering military families at Nampa, Idaho, this week, Bush said: "Terrorists will emerge from Iraq one of two ways: emboldened or defeated . . . . for the sake of our children and our grandchildren, the terrorists will be defeated."

Bush's portrayal of America as a nation besieged by a cruel enemy that has made Iraq the battleground is one of the reasons America's military families willingly send sons and daughters off to war. Yes, it's hard duty, but what goal is worthier than defending America? Stated that way, there's no argument, at least where I'm concerned. That was one of the reasons that I, along with many in my generation, suited up during the Cold War.

The country should be grateful to all who wear the uniform of the United States and to the families that are sacrificing to achieve Bush's stated mission to fight the terrorists over there, and "stay until the fight is won."

But what if something else is in the works? Suppose staying on the offense "until the enemy is broken," an applause line, is just that -- an applause line?

There are good reasons to ask.

In an Aug. 12 Page One story that included interviews with U.S. officials involved in Iraq policy, The Post's Peter Baker wrote: "Administration officials have all but given up any hope of militarily defeating the insurgents with U.S. forces, instead aiming only to train and equip enough Iraqi security forces to take over the fight themselves." Bush, the piece said, is only trying to buy time until the Iraqi political process moves along and Iraqi troops get up to speed.

Two days later, The Post's Robin Wright and Ellen Knickmeyer reported an even gloomier assessment based on interviews with senior administration officials and analysts who spoke on condition of anonymity. "Washington now does not expect to fully defeat the insurgency before departing, but instead to diminish it," they reported. Said a U.S. official: "We've said we won't leave a day before it's necessary. But necessary is the key word -- necessary for them or for us? When we finally depart, it will probably be for us."

In other words, while Bush is out rallying the troops and reassuring their families that their sacrifices won't be in vain, administration officials in Washington are quietly playing down expectations of what can really be achieved in Iraq.

Far from the cheering crowds, this is the word in the Nation's Capital: Forget all that prewar talk about a secular, modern and united Iraq emerging after the toppling of Saddam Hussein. Get ready instead for some form of Islamic republic in Iraq that gives special status to clerics and majority ethnic groups, and less deference to women's rights. A new Iraq free of violence and divisions? Oops, never mind.

Which brings us back to the troops who are doing the suffering and dying. Are their sacrifices worth it?

Consider the Iraq now unfolding on the ground.

What's the value of Americans giving their lives so that cleric-dominated Shiites and northern Kurds can get their hands on political power and oil revenue?

Why are American women and men sacrificing lives and limbs in a country where women may have to settle for less?

Stay the course. What course? So religious-based militia can divvy up the northern and southern portions of the country? So Islam can be enshrined as a principal source of new Iraqi legislation?

Are any of those things worth dying for? Do any of those likely outcomes represent an American victory? They certainly aren't why Bush said we went over there.

Okay, the Bush folks also promised us weapons of mass destruction, and greetings with rice and rose water, and Iraqi oil money to pay for reconstruction, and a model new democracy in the Middle East, none of which has happened.

But this is different.

President Bush is out selling a vision of victory in Iraq while U.S. officials in Washington and Baghdad are resigned to settling for less. George Bush can't make good on his original promise, and they know it. They also know that more Americans are going to die in Iraq for what may end up as a theocracy-tinged spoils system.

When those carrying the burden of this war realize what they have sacrificed and died for, the worst days of George W. Bush will have just begun.

kingc@washpost.com

Gary Hart's column in the Post

It's a couple days old, but it's right on...


Who Will Say 'No More'?
By Gary Hart

Wednesday, August 24, 2005; Page A15

"Waist deep in the Big Muddy and the big fool said to push on," warned an anti-Vietnam war song those many years ago. The McGovern presidential campaign, in those days, which I know something about, is widely viewed as a cause for the decline of the Democratic Party, a gateway through which a new conservative eraentered.

Like the cat that jumped on a hot stove and thereafter wouldn't jump on any stove, hot or cold, today's Democratic leaders didn't want to make that mistake again. Many supported the Iraq war resolution and -- as the Big Muddy is rising yet again -- now find themselves tongue-tied or trying to trump a war president by calling for deployment of more troops. Thus does good money follow bad and bad politics get even worse.

History will deal with George W. Bush and the neoconservatives who misled a mighty nation into a flawed war that is draining the finest military in the world, diverting Guard and reserve forces that should be on the front line of homeland defense, shredding international alliances that prevailed in two world wars and the Cold War, accumulating staggering deficits, misdirecting revenue from education to rebuilding Iraqi buildings we've blown up, and weakening America's national security.

But what will history say about an opposition party that stands silent while all this goes on? My generation of Democrats jumped on the hot stove of Vietnam and now, with its members in positions of responsibility, it is afraid of jumping on any political stove. In theirleaders, the American people look for strength, determination and self-confidence, but they also look for courage, wisdom, judgment and, in times of moral crisis, the willingness to say: "I was wrong."

To stay silent during such a crisis, and particularly to harbor the thought that the administration's misfortune is the Democrats' fortune, is cowardly. In 2008 I want a leader who is willing now to say: "I made a mistake, and for my mistake I am going to Iraq and accompanying the next planeload of flag-draped coffins back to Dover Air Force Base. And I am going to ask forgiveness for my mistake from every parent who will talk to me."

Further, this leader should say: "I am now going to give a series of speeches across the country documenting how the administration did not tell the American people the truth, why this war is making our country more vulnerable and less secure, how we can drive a wedge between Iraqi insurgents and outside jihadists and leave Iraq for the Iraqis to govern, how we can repair the damage done to our military, what we and our allies can do to dry up the jihadists' swamp, and what dramatic steps we must take to become energy-secure and prevent Gulf Wars III, IV and so on."

At stake is not just the leadership of the Democratic Party and the nation but our nation's honor, our nobility and our principles. Franklin D. Roosevelt established a national community based on social justice. Harry Truman created international networks that repaired the damage of World War II and defeated communism. John F. Kennedy recaptured the ideal of the republic and the sense of civic duty. To expect to enter this pantheon, the next Democratic leader must now undertake all three tasks.

But this cannot be done while the water is rising in the Big Muddy of the Middle East. No Democrat, especially one now silent, should expect election by default. The public trust must be earned, and speaking clearly, candidly and forcefully now about the mess in Iraq is the place to begin.

The real defeatists today are not those protesting the war. The real defeatists are those in power and their silent supporters in the opposition party who are reduced to repeating "Stay the course" even when the course, whatever it now is, is light years away from the one originally undertaken. The truth is we're way off course. We've stumbled into a hornet's nest. We've weakened ourselves at home and in the world. We are less secure today than before this war began.

Who now has the courage to say this?

The writer is a former Democratic senator from Colorado.

Woo-hoo-hoo!

It's been a hell of a good week for my two favorite pity parties...the Democrats and the Redskins.

Well, not so much a good week for the Democrats as it was a bad one for the Republicans, who decided to take some target practice out on their feet. The highlight, of course, was "Christian" leader Pat Robertson calling for the assassination of Venezuelan President Chavez. If I told you Chavez was the Progressive leader of an oil-rich nation, would you be shocked? Neither would I. But still, you have to wonder how *Jesus* feels about some asshole supposedly acting on *His* behalf telling us we should go killing people. A Scrivener's Lament puts it beautifully: "Will Pat Robertson now petition for The 9 Commandments to be displayed prominently in public buildings?"

It wasn't just Pat Robertson, of course. Our Great Leader was on vacation in Texas...again, he has broken the record for vacation time taken by a President and he has 3 1/2 more years to pile on to his record...when Cindy Sheehan showed up at Crawford and demanded that he tell her why he sent her son off to die for, well, nothing. So, he decided that his vacation wasn't going very well, so he took a vacation from his vacation to go to Idaho, where he can apparently still find some people who don't think he's a complete toolbox (you have to love his 36% approval rating...not quite as high as Richard Nixon's was at the height of the Watergate scandal). He then proceeded to bash the greiving mother of a dead American soldier by comparing her to another mother who (supposedly) told him that her sons would be happy to die for their country. Nice.

The Sheehan trashing (have these people no shame?) continued from other fronts as well, from Rush Limbaugh to a "grassroots" group called "Move America Forward". Only, this grassroots group is what we call "artifical turf" because it isn't a grassroots movement...that's horseshit. It is directly tied to the RNC. It's unethical, it's bad politics, it's the stuff that only complete scumbags do. And to tie it off nicely, it's only purpose is to verbally attack the mother of a dead U.S. soldier. Read that last sentence a couple of times, Republicans. Is this really what you want to be?

Watch Jon Stewart spank right-wing blowhard Christopher Hitchens all over the stage.

It would be nice for the Democrats to get off of their asses and participate, but since they're a bunch of jack-offs who would probably fuck it up anyway, maybe it's better that they're not saying anything. I am dissapointed in Howard Dean's silence, though.

Ok, on to the Redskins, who got their first preseason win, 17-10, over the Steelers. The good news is Ramsey looked pretty sharp overall in a half of play, with some really nice completions downfield (although no monster hook-ups) against a defense that absolutely stifled pretty much everyone they saw last year, including Ramsey & the Skins. The running game looked really good, from Portis to Betts to the two guys fighting for the third spot. Special teams was still shaky, and way too many penalties. Still, a good win for a team that needed one.

Later...

Monday, August 22, 2005

The Return of Dascent

Goodness gracious, it has been forever since I've posted here. My bad, kids (ya, right, like anyone reads this...).

Anyway, it's been one hell of a busy summer, for reasons I mostly won't go into. I will mention - and I'm not trying to bring anyone down, here, it's just that I wouldn't feel right writing about this summer and not mentioning this - that a very close friend of the family's, Dorothy Barchonowicz, passed away after a four-year battle with various forms of cancer. She was my mother's best friend and things have been mighty gloomy around here all summer becasue of it.

The Orioles have collapsed spectacularly. They had an opportunity to be competitive but allowed the trade deadline to pass without a whimper. Well, fuck them. If they aren't interested in spending the money to contend, I'm not interested in wasting my time and money on them. If George Soros succeeds in buying the Nats, I'll have no problem swaping to a team that wants to act like it belongs in the Major Leagues. If they were spending the money and losing (like my Skins), I'd at least give them the credit for putting forth the effort, but it seems like Peter Angelos's only concern is the bottom line. The bottom line, Peter, is you just lost a fan, and if you don't pull your head out of your wallet, you'll lose a bunch more.

While baseball is unpleasant, football season is coming, and I couldn't be happier about that. College season kicks off Labor Day weekend, and we're going to get right to business with several very interesting match-ups, highlighted by Florida State-Miami. More on that as it approaches. Pro ball starts the weekend after. Should be a blast...

In other news, the war is still going on, kids are still dying, Bush is on vacation, Republican Senators are likening the conflict to Vietnam. There's a lady in Texas hanging around the Prez's vacation spot (hooray for W, by the way, breaking the vacation record it took Ronnie Reagan 8 years to set in a mere four-and-a-half rotations of the Earth around the Sun...), trying to get him to explain to her why her son got shipped home in a box, and the fact that the enitre Democratic Congressional Coalition isn't down there giving her their support is UNFUCKINGFATHOMABLE. This war is a sinking ship. It's a fucking disaster, and everyone who has a functioning brain is coming to realize this, including Chuck Hagel. The Democrats have to get on the boat now, and they'll send the Repubs to Federal Pound Me In The Ass Prison in '06. If they continue to try to reach out to the right-center, well, we saw the results of that strategy in '04. And '02. And '00...

Speaking of which, Hillary Clinton can kiss my ass. She needs to spend less time worrying about video games, which, last time I checked, do not kill actual people, and more time parading against the war, which, last time I checked, had killed over 1,800 American troops, and God knows how many Iraqi civilians.

Ok, that's all for now. But I'm gonna be updating this badboy regularly from now on, which hopefully means everyday. So, till later (tomorrow?), take care...