Humor Life

Cheerleader Injuries

[digg-reddit-me]From Seattle’s KOMO 4 News comes this report about one of the dangers of cheerleading: getting ploughed by an entire high school football team running onto the field. At the Auburn High School vs. Auburn Riverside football game this past Friday night, this cheerleader, 18 year old Cali Kaltschmidt, who had totaled her car the night before, made a smart decision to fix a banner just before half-time was over. Here’s what ensued:

And of course, KOMO 4 News had this hard-hitting follow up earlier this week.

Holy Cross Life

A bit of controversy at my alma mater

And a rather light news article covering the controversy.

Election 2008 Obama Politics

As the race tightens…

The University of Iowa’s newest poll shows John Edwards and Bill Richardson slipping in the polls and Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton in the top two places in a dead heat.

Election 2008 Morality Obama Politics

The Evangelical Crackup

The New York Times had a piece this Sunday describing the supposed crackup of the evangelical movement as a single-party political force.  The article cites two factors.  First, according to Rev. Gene Carlson, a prominent conservative Christian pastor of the Westlink Christian Church, evangelical Christians are beginning to realize:

“When you mix politics and religion, you get politics.”

Mike Huckabee, perhaps the only evangelical still in the race went further:

“In biblical terms, it is like the salt losing its flavor; it’s sand,” Huckabee said. “Some of them have spent too long in Washington. . . . I think they are going to have a hard time going out into the pews and saying tax policy is what Jesus is about, that he said, ‘Come unto me all you who are overtaxed and I will give you rest.’ ”

The second factor is that many evangelicals are focusing more on traditionally Democratic issues such as the environment and health care.  Paul Hill, an associate pastor and a member of what is termed an “emergent” church explains:

“There are going to be a lot of evangelicals willing to vote for a Democrat because there are 40 million people without health insurance and a Democrat is going to do something about that.”

I find the “emerging” church phenomenon fascinating, although the article barely touches on it.


According to the article, the primary mainstream candidate that evangelicals, especially younger evangelicals, seem to have an interest in is Barack Obama.  And, if the 2008 race were between Giuliani and Obama:

“You would have a bunch of people who traditionally vote Republican going over to Obama,” said the Rev. Donald Wildmon, founder of the Christian conservative American Family Association

David Kirkpatrick, the author of the piece, gives this anecdote about a potential Obama supporter:

Patrick Bergquist, a former associate pastor at a local evangelical church who as a child attended Immanuel Baptist, became a regular. “From a theological standpoint, I am an evangelical,” Bergquist, who is 28, explained to me. “But I don’t mean that anyone who is gay is necessarily going to hell, or that anyone who has an abortion is going to hell.” After a life of voting Republican, he said, he recently made a small contribution to the Democratic presidential campaign of Barack Obama.

The article ends though on this negative note:

In the Wichita churches this summer, Obama was the Democrat who drew the most interest. Several mentioned that he had spoken at Warren’s Saddleback church and said they were intrigued. But just as many people ruled out Obama because they suspected that he was not Christian at all but in fact a crypto-Muslim — a rumor that spread around the Internet earlier this year. “There is just that ill feeling, and part of it is his faith,” Welsh said. “Is his faith anti-Christian? Is he a Muslim? And what about the school where he was raised?”

“Obama sounds too much like Osama,” said Kayla Nickel of Westlink. “When he says his name, I am like, ‘I am not voting for a Muslim!’ ”

Election 2008 Giuliani Politics

A thoughtful hit piece

The New Republic‘s John B. Judis published a thoughtful hit piece on Giuliani today, examining the role Giuliani’s Catholic upbringing and particular family background have had on this thought. Judis carefully identifies Giuliani’s Catholicism as a more traditional strain formed pre-Vatican II. (I initially was a bit wary to see The New Republic taking on Giuliani’s Catholicism, but Judis handled it well.) He puts into context Giuliani’s quote from a 1994 press conference about freedom and authority that has been making the rounds on the internet :

“Freedom is about authority. Freedom is about the willingness of every single human being to cede to lawful authority a great deal of discretion about what you do.” Asked in the question period to explain what he meant, Giuliani said, “Authority protects freedom. Freedom can become anarchy.”

Judis explains the context in a sympathetic but critical way:

…individuals have to be encouraged to use their liberty well; and that is where authority comes into play. Authority, embodied by law and the state, encourages–at times, forces–free individuals to contribute to the common good. Or, to put it in Aristotelian terms:Authority–by creating a just order–encourages liberty over license.

Judis overall judges Giuliani’s first term as mayor as a success but excoriates him for overreaching in his second term:

Giuliani’s seemingly insatiable appetite for authority was evident, first and foremost, in the way he ran his administration. Obsessed, as always, with loyalty, he demanded that power be centralized in his hands and that he receive credit for any of the administration’s achievements. Even the Department of Environmental Protection’s daily reports on the water level in the reservoir had to be cleared through Giuliani’s press office before being released.

And then of course, there was Rudy trying mightily to hang onto power after 9/11, pushing for an extension of his term and a repeal of the term limits. It seems to me that most everyone who is paying attention has dismissed Giuliani. The exceptions are those who believe the price of safety is eternal vigilance, and that freedom is just another word for government omnipresence.

Humor Life

The Cuddle Mattress

Some xkcd wonderfulness.


“I don’t want you to be the guy in the PG-13 movie everyone’s really rooting for…”

A classic for a Saturday night…Peace.


Making everything better: 99 Luftballoons



I am not, and have never been, a Red Sox fan. If I were offered a deal at some point that if I became a Red Sox fan, I would become a billionaire or president of the United States of America, I would probably take it. I love the Mets. But I think I would give them up for that because I don’t love them that much. Especially after the spectacular collapse this season.

I would not give up such things as my beliefs, my religion, or any significant relationships in order to become a billionaire or president though. I don’t think I would give up baseball either. And I certainly wouldn’t fake being a Red Sox fan, or a fan of any other team, in order to get these things. I would change my team allegiance. The Red Sox are a very attractive organization with one of the best histories in sports.

I wanted to get that out of the way.


What I really wanted to point out though is the great story of the song “Tessie” and the role this song and the Dropkick Murphys have played in the 2004 Red Sox and in this year’s Sox domination. “Tessie”was apparently one of the Red Sox theme songs from 1903 until 1918 when they won a slew of championships. But after 1918, the song fell out of use. That is until 2004 when the Dropkick Murphys decided to re-do the song, and then of course, the Sox won the World Series for the first time in 86 years. It certainly seems like magic to me.

The superstition embedded in baseball is evident when such stats as this are taken seriously:

During the ’04 season, the Murphys were invited to sing “Tessie” live at Fenway Park. Incredibly, the Red Sox are 5-0 with four final at-bat wins when the band appears.

Don’t think the Red Sox brass isn’t aware of the Dropkick Murphys’ magic. With the Red Sox seeking their second American League pennant in three years this season, they invited the band to perform their famous song prior to Game 7 of the AL Championship Series. (Source.)

And of course, the Sox are already trying to get the Murphys back to Boston in case of a Game 7 in the World Series. Here’s the song:

Election 2008 Obama Politics

“Throwing a few elbows…”

CNN has an article by a political analyst describing what Obama needs to do in order to gain ground on Clinton.  He needs to “get tough” and “show some fight.”  Or as Obama has described it, to “throw a few elbows”.  Obama’s political team certainly is ready to fight and fight back; and Obama himself has said he knows he needs to, and that he’s willing to.  I do not quite buy the premise that many in the media seem to have that Obama has not wanted to “get tough”. I still maintain my position that this is part of the Obama campaign’s strategy to wait, and then begin, late in October or early November to make his move.  This seems to be precisely what he is doing, hitting Clinton harder on Iraq and Iran, calling her out by name, and by suggestion.  The press will need a story to write about in the next two months until the election.  The “coronation” story will get boring, and with a quick succession of primaries and most voters still undecided, momentum could be everything.  Only a ruthless political machine and a lot of money could stop the momentum an Obama win in Iowa would generate.  And of course, this is precisely what Hillary brings to the table.  If Obama wins Iowa, and currently, he is not leading, the question will come down to this: can Obama’s campaign fight dirty enough to take out Hillary’s machine and sink her candidacy.

A harsher critique of Clinton, highlighting her current hawkishness and her Bush-like views on executive privilege, continuing to harp on her divisiveness; a Gore endorsement; one or two more Clinton mistakes; a few strong sound bites that get play; and a bit of luck.  With these on his side, Obama takes Iowa and sets up the real contest: where Hillary and Obama slug it out and all sorts of stories about Obama are leaked to Drudge, The New York Post and Fox News.  How Obama would respond to this hypothetical onslaught – that undoubtedly would become real in the event he wins Iowa or New Hampshire – will determine if he becomes president.  I believe this will be the real test.  If Obama’s “politics of hope” can survive and not be tarnished by “throwing a few elbows”, and if he is able to thwart Clinton in this, he will have proven he has the stuff to win the general election.

He will have proven that he is a candidate the Democrats can accept, as the piece in CNN said:

Democrats are tired of being bullied. They want a candidate who will punch bullies in the nose.