Archive: August, 2009
That would be the National Association for the Advancement of Running Quarterbacks.
Apparently, part of the mission of the NAACP, at least here in Philadelphia, is to support running-style quarterbacks and to denounce pocket-passing quarterbacks, irregardless of their race (or moral turpitude).
I was driving home from work last night and caught the tail end of an interesting discussion on the Dom Giordano Show on WPHT. They were talking about Michael Vick...and Sen. Ted Kennedy. On one level, that seems absurd -- Vick is a scandal-scarred football player; Kennedy, the so-called "lion" of the United States Senate. But Kennedy was dogged for 40 long years by the same essential issue that the Eagles' new backup QB faces today: Can we ever redeem ourselves from one terrible and irreversible act?
About 90 minutes later, the world learned that Kennedy had finally succumbed to brain cancer at age 77.
The most interesting online discussion I've seen in a while, courtesy of Atrios, is this article and the many comments that followed about a) the differences in how tourists experience the United States versus Europe and b) the differences in the way that people live in these very different industrialized corners of the world. Much of it comes down to the age-old debate of cities v. suburbs (which author Bryan Caplan calls, accurately, our "natural habitat"). Caplan endorses the American way because he doesn't want to bicycle to a grocery store and, in his words:
It's easy to see why tourists don't go to the suburbs, because they're places to live and work, not places to see. But almost no one in Europe lives in places as comfortable and convenient as American suburbs: The houses are spacious, the cars are huge, cheap Big Box stores and chain restaurants are nearby, and (to quote South Park) there's "ample parking day or night." Europeans can learn a lot more about the American psyche with a visit to a random CostCo than a visit to the Guggenheim.
I hopped in the car a couple of times this afternoon to run errands and then commuted into the office tonight, so I had at least a half-dozen times or more to check out what they were talking about today on Philadelphia's two sports stations, WIP and 950-ESPN (of whatever it's called this week). Guess how many times I heard a mention of the city's premier franchise, the defending and hopefully near-term future World Series champions, the Philadelphia Phillies? That's right. Zero. Nada. Nil. Nothing about our new general Lee and his 5-0 record, nothing about Ryan Howard's string of amazing Augusts or Brett Myers' rehab (hip, I mean) or...anything about the most popular team incarnation in the nearly 20 years I've been here.
It was all football, and more specifically -- with the odd exception of an out-of-left-field (mixed metaphor) discussion on NY's gun-toting Plaxico Burress -- it was all about our own No. 7, Michael Vick. Should he drink Grey Goose? Can you stomach the Eagles now? Do you care how he performs on the field? The non-stop gabfest got me to thinking...When I learned that the Eagles had signed the felonious ex-Falcon, I was just as baffled as anyone else. Why would a team that already has a quarterback of the present/past and a quarterback of the maybe future and a....well, an A.J. Feeley, go out and sign another one with so much baggage?
There's been a lot of low-quality journalism lately -- even, or especially, after all the fear and loathing about the botched coverage of the Iraq war run-up -- and now you can add to that ever-growing list some of the coverage of scathing, finally released reports about the Bush-Cheney torture regime. It seems like the relevations that got a lot of the hype, especially in the first few hours, involved sleazy (in my opinion) but non-violent interrogation techniques against some of the worst of the worst like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (guaranteed to cause reactions like "What, they blew cigar smoke at a guy who killed 3,000 Americans?...well boo frickin' hoo!"). But the reports also contain what are (again, in my opinion) much more serious allegations, often involving violence, against suspects who in some cases may not have even committed a crime. The worst cases were redacted, meaning that reporters had to some digging. At least ABC News did that.
So here's something more deserving of coverage: People died.
(Photo from the ever-invaluable Philebrity)
For a number of years now, cynics have been merging the name of two of what Jon Stewart would call America's "fringe states," Pennsylvania and Kentucky, into a common heritage of unfairly stereotyped corruption and ignorance (OK, the corruption part is actually real) called Pennsyltucky.
Phillies Phever (the actual phenomenon, not the late '70s disco version) is only going to grow between now and October, as it should. Visions of unassisted triple plays, Ryan Howard going deep to left and right in the same game, and the most unflappable Lee to wear a grey road uniform since Manassas are already dancing in our heads. But it wasn't preordained to turn out this way.
In an alternate universe, Roy Halladay pitched for the Phillies today. And they got clobbered. Check out what happened in the reality-based world:
Progressives have long called for a criminal investigation of the Bush-era torture regime...but despite all the fear and loathing from the right over today's naming of a special prosecutor by Attorney General Eric Holder, this may not be the investigation that I and many others had been seeking. Spencer Ackerman had a good analysis of this dilemma a few days ago:
Drumheller, a retired chief of CIA operations in Europe — who was never an interrogator — said restricting an inquiry to CIA interrogators is unfair. “What happened is a reflection of policy” at the time, Drumheller said. “None of this stuff was done in a vacuum.”