Quick Roundup 69

Monday, June 19, 2006

Hedge Hoppin'

Reader Hannes Hacker says of this video clip: "I love the bit where one of the pilots reads what looks like a map. I can't even keep my pickup from weaving while I'm reading a map ..."

Good thing my father-in-law isn't a pilot. He was doing email on his BlackBerry while driving until my mother-in-law put the kibosh on it!

Italy 1-1 USA

Last week, after the American national team badly lost its opening match in the World Cup, I said, "Unless we at least have a win and a draw (and some help) in the remaining two games of round-robin play, we're out." Well, we got our help early Saturday, when Ghana defeated the Czech Republic 2-0. And then we drew Italy 1-1.

I got to see game and I was very pleased with the quality of play of our team for the first twenty minutes. I'd heard them compared to the abysmal 1998 squad after the Czech game, but Saturday, the guys I followed through qualification showed up, and it was anyone's game.

And then the idiot ref, Jorge Larrionda, who was scratched from officiating in the 2002 World Cup for "irregularities", started calling fouls, issuing warnings, and ejecting players for reasons real and imagined. As Bernie Miklazs of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch put it:

The Yanks were victimized by hideous officiating. Jorge Larrionda, 38 and a clerk from Uruguay, did everything in his power to ruin a spectacular match. The Italians were on the receiving end of some terrible rulings as well, but the United States got the worst of it.

Larrionda was right to eject De Rossi for his intentional assault on McBride. [This left his face bloodied and required stitches. --ed] The red card left Italy a man short, and later the Italian coach agreed with the call. But instead of maintaining the strength of his convictions, Larrionda obviously felt the need to even things up and give the Italians a break. And he waited for the opportunity to do so.

Larrionda got his chance in the 45th minute when he red-carded U.S. defender Pablo Mastroeni for a late tackle on Italian midfielder Andrea Pirlo. The tackle, at most, warranted a yellow card.

In the 47th minute, Larrionda was at it again, this time showing the red card to U.S. defender Eddie Pope. The red card was automatic because Pope had received his second yellow card of the day, after fouling Alberto Gilardino. But Larrionda could have kept that yellow card in his pocket; it was a borderline infraction.
I will add that in soccer, the referee has a great deal of additional discretion under the "advantage" rule and may waive a call if he thinks it will harm the flow of the game. (i.e., Stopping play for a free kick would be less advantageous to the team fouled than continuing play would.) Larrionda thus not only unfairly ejected two of our players, he completely ruined the flow of the game.

We very nearly won anyway, but for a goal that was called back in the second half. (This call was actually correct.)

To advance, the Americans must defeat Ghana, whose two goal-scorers from its last game are suspended from the next match due to warnings accumulated in the first two games. Then the Yanks will need more help. The most straightforward scenario involves Italy defeating the Czech Republic. In that case, we advance. Period.

If there is a tie in that game or Italy loses, we will not advance unless we pummel Ghana because qualification will depend on tie-breakers, the first of which is, I believe, based on the difference between goals scored by each team and goals against. Losing that first game 3-0 thus looms large in any of these scenarios.

LA Times: Fraud OK for Storm Victims

Editorializing about the recent finding that some 16% of the government handouts from FEMA related to Hurricane Katrina were misspent, the LA Times declared amnesty:
It's easy, and necessary, to criticize FEMA's across-the-board incompetence in responding to the largest displacement of Americans since the Civil War. But obsessing about the spending habits of refugees comes perilously close to blaming the victim. [bold added]
Much is being made of this, but this attitude is merely a logical outgrowth of the notion that people who live in areas at risk for natural disasters are entitled to our money when the inevitable occurs. If we don't hold them responsible for the big mistakes they make, who cares how they spend a couple of thousand bucks of loot?

Not to side with the Times, but the morality of the free spenders is a red herring whether or not they knew that the FEMA money was "supposed" to be spent for certain things. The answer is not a larger bureaucracy or better auditing. It is the end of such welfare state programs.

Quibbling over how the recipients of stolen money are going to be allowed to spend it bypasses what we should really be concerned with: the fact that all this money has been stolen in the first place.

New Negotiations on Tap with North Korea

Now that the Clinton and Bush Administrations have shown the triumph of negotiations as a means of stopping the mentally ill from acquiring nuclear arsenals, I hear that President Bush is preparing to take a tough diplomatic "stance" against North Korea destroying any more than one American city now that they are preparing to test a missile that can reach the United States.

Memo to the President. In a time of war, the standard for success isn't, "They haven't actually bombed us yet." It's, "They are completely unable to bomb us." Please don't duplicate this "success" with Iran. And consider using our capability to remove North Korea as a threat, would you? That's basically the only reason I voted for you.

ACLU as Fashion Police

Let's leave aside for a moment the whole question of whether we should be telling businesses whom they can and can't hire. Let's even pretend that hiring quotas are alright.

If we do those things, we will see that the ACLU is now fighting its latest misguided fight not even for the sake of preventing discrimination against people for things beyond their control (like race or sexual orientation). It is making a mountain out of a cornrow!
"They told me I had to cut [the braids, which had been three feet long] even shorter or go home," DeLeon told The Washington Post. "They said they wanted an all-American thing. That's what they said to all the black people. I had already cut it a lot, so I just left."

The 2006 Six Flags America handbook states that employees are not allowed to have "any hairstyle that detracts or takes away from Six Flags theming."


Some employees said they tried to adjust by buying wigs to cover their hair or by paying to have their hair braided into cornrows, but they too were told that the hairstyles were inappropriate.
The ACLU had previously justified its assaults on capitalism by appealing to morality: that it is wrong to judge someone on the basis of something not under their control. But now, we're expected to accommodate for any hairstyle, no matter how outlandish.

This reminds me of the odd blue- or green-haired kid you'll encounter from time to time, who dresses like a bum or a thug, is covered with tattoos, and has piercings over every square inch of any stray appendage. Look at him funny and he'll fly off the handle, demanding that we not "judge" him.

Except that grooming is completely under everyone's control and should plainly be fair game for judgement as well as hiring decisions.

-- CAV


Jennifer Snow said...

Is it just me or is that video link broken?

Gus Van Horn said...


It works for me. If you tried visiting it at work, you may have had a firewall stopping it. Otherwise, you could be missing a plug-in. (That's just an off-the-cuff guess, though.)


Jennifer Snow said...

It works now, apparently I managed to check the page while it was temporarily down.