Dublin Saab

Cars, politics, sports and what not from my view. (Closed Sundays and Holidays)

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Geely is coming, Geely is coming!

Hot on the heals of my speculation on the Geely model that may be coming to the US Geely has announced the all new car that will be brought over, the 7151 CK. They are expecting to begin selling here in 2009. (perhaps late ’08 as an ’09)

The exterior of the Geely 7151 CK has a cobbled together, unfinishedness to it that, while not ugly is slightly off putting.

They claim that the car will be coming in under $10k and we all know that means a price in the 9 thousand range for if it were in the 8 grand range they’d have said, “under $9k”. This means the car should be the lowest priced offering in the compact segment, unfortunately for Geely by ’09 that already competitive segment will be even more crowded.
The interior is clean with a simple utilitarian dash layout, which is a good thing. Though I wonder both where the CD slot is and if that big LCD looking screen could be any lower.

Right now the class is lead by the Chevy Aveo, and includes the Scion xA and the platform sharing Kia Rio and Hyundai Accent. A quick comparison of the base numbers shows that the 7151 CK offers nothing but a price advantage, but no much of one.

That list is a comparison of cars in the segment at this time, however the Aveo will be all new in ’07 and by ’09 the field will have grown with the addition of 3 new models. Here’s a look at the cars the 7151 CK will be going up against.

2007 Toyota Yaris Sedan

2007 Toyota Yaris "Liftback"

Scion xA

Nissan Tiida, concept car for the 2007/8 Versa.

2006 Kia Rio

2007 Honda Fit

2007 Chevy Aveo

2006 Hyundai Accent

Geely is going to be entering what seem to be shark infested waters with their 7151 CK in 2009 and I don’t know if a few grand in savings will be enough to really move much iron. When the Japanese came to the US they created the cheap sub-compact market. When the Koreans came in the mid 80’s they struggled against Japanese models but then in the early 90’s the Japanese started to make their cars ever larger, thereby opening the door to the Koreans in the sub-compact field. Today the Koreans are willfully squatting in the segment and the Japanese are coming back to play, all just before Geely even shows up for the party.

Will Geely be able to do more than get a few toes in the door? Well they won’t do it with the styling of the 7151 CK, or it’s awful moniker for that matter. It’s going to come down to fit & finish, material quality, ride quality and reliability. After my visit to the NAIAS next month I will be able to report on the first two on that list.

On a person note here at DublinSaab if we had $10,000 kicking around for a new set of wheels we'd spend it on this nice, 2001 9-5 Aero. But that's us.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Hollywood's box office decline.

For the first time since the start of the Great Depression, 2005 will mark the occasion of Hollywood pulling in less money than the previous year, the questions is why.

All the analysis’s that I have seen trying to explain the sudden drop in what has been for years one of the strongest growth industries in the world, have done so by looking at a single cause. Many look to blame what the writer of the analysis feels is a bad thing from people being upset over America “losing” the war in Iraq to disgust of Hollywood’s open “immorality”. In this look into what I feel is at the root of Hollywood’s box office backsliding I will try to expand my focus beyond a single causal factor.

The following are no by any means without exception and in no particular order.

Tired Predictability.

This is one mostly ignored factor at play in the losses at the box office this year. Simply put movies goers cannot be brought out in numbers to pay for a film whose outcome is known, unless the story is overwhelmingly powerful. The problem is that often the plot of an entire 2 hour film can be fully ascertained from the 1 minute trailer.

A text book recent example of this is the highly hyped, Oscar hopeful film The Constant Gardner. From the trailer one could see that this was yet another example of the little guy fighting against the overtly evil corporation. In the case of The Constant Gardner the evil corporation is played by a pharmaceutical corporation while the mild mannered little guy whose wife first discovered the evil truth and as since been murdered by the evil greedy corporation. Boor-ring.

The greedy corporation / power hungry government / trigger happy military are up to no good and willing to kill in order to keep it a secret, unfortunately for them the plucky little guy is willing to risk his life to shed light on the truth. It isn’t the politics of the film, which for full disclosure I don’t agree with, that make this story dull it’s the fact that it’s about the 856th rehashing of the same old, same old.

In 1975 when Three Days of the Condor smashed down the box office with an intriguing story of power mad secret division of the CIA out to kill their own people this formulation was new and fresh. Three Days is a classic film, while The Constant Gardner is a flop. The difference? 30 years.

As we close in on the end of 2005 not one single film that fits the Corporations / Government / Military / America is bad mold is even threatening to crack the top 10 in ticket sales. Last year’s The Day After Tomorrow was able to come in at 7th, not because people were excited to see yet one more film of how humanity is at fault for X but rather because the film promised to be a dazzling special effects show. Lacking the eye candy of the Day After Tomorrow, The Constant Gardner is looking to finish 67th in 2005, only marginally better than Doom.

Hollywood has always been full of duds, but the recent trend is for movies that should win at the box office – according to the old formula that spelled success three decades ago – to fare poorer than crap that people at least haven’t seen before, like the 40 Year-old Virgin which should finish out the year with almost 4 times the tickets sales of The Constant Gardner. Unquestionable star power, full press hype and the glitter of Oscar potential can’t convince people to spend money watching a film that they know they’ve seen many times before.

Pathological Contrarianism.

Over the last few decades a growing contrarianism has taken root and gone wild within Hollywood. The Hollywood that once stood toe to toe with the values of Joe Six-Pack now look down their noses at things that the vast majority of Americans hold dear. It has advanced to the point that if it’s popular in Kansas you can be fairly certain that Hollywood will have disdain for it.

Movies like Brokeback Mountain, which explores the relationship of two gay cowboys who hold a secret love, which they hide away from their wives and children, are heralded ground breaking films, but why? Secret gay love is not new or particularly stunning, but gay cowboys! It seems the easiest way to get cred among Hollywood is to take a cherished icon of middle American and drag it through the mud. Were they gay used car salesmen would the film get attention? I think not. Will the combined star power of Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger be able to bring out the masses to the theaters? Again, I think not.

This attitude can often be seen in the reviews of movies that do hold true to what are labeled as “traditional values”. Scott Holleran’s review of Narnia is typical of this reaction. He views CS Lewis’s crowning achievement as nothing more that dirty evangelical pulp.

In Scott’s review he constantly bashes the story for its theme of selflessness, decries Aslan (the Christ figure lion) for not using his powers to defeat the White Witch by himself, declares the Fox “two-faced” for lying to the evil White Witch, mentions Christianity more often than Lewis and Tolkien arguing over a pint, calls the devil figure White Witch the movie’s, “greatest asset” and shows his utter ignorance with the line, “Rock bottom is reached when Santa Claus drops in looking like something the reindeer dragged in and sounding more like Oprah than a jolly old elf.”

North Pole to Scott, that isn’t Santa Claus, it Father f*cking Christmas. He’s from the English tradition, of which the Englishman CS Lewis grew up with, that long predates the Coke-a-Cola marketing generated idea of a “jolly old elf”. If Scott had actually read the story he so confidently rips up he would have know who the guy in the sleigh was but instead he wrote from the template that one must show contempt for anything that upholds the old outdated values of the American rubes, especially if it’s an admitted Christian allegory.

Now there’s nothing wrong with a willingness to question icons, however for Hollywood they have descended into a worn grove that blindingly questions everything for nothing more that the sake of questioning, and it is as boring as tired formulas – not a recipe for getting butts in seats.

Stunning Disconnect.

There has been talk for a while now, mostly from the harshest critics of Hollywood, of the disconnect of the entire industry from the rest of America. They often site single example of personal hypocrisy in their attacks, such as Barbara Streisand’s admonishing of regular folks to save the planet by living frugally while she lives in lavish mansions. While galling there’s enough hypocrisy to go around and is not solely the purvey of the Hollywood elite.

Yet there is certainly a disconnect. Just look at the movies opening this Christmas weekend around the country;

Memoirs of a Geisha: Family sells daughter into sex slave industry
The Ringer: Con artist tries to cheat at the Special Olympics
Cache: Reporter is threatened while police refuse to help
The Matador: Salesman on vacation befriends a hitman
Munich: PLO terrorists murder Jewish athletes at the 1972 Olympics
Rumor Has It: Woman learns her grandmother was the real slut the movie, “Mrs. Robinson” was based on.
Wolf Creek: Texas Chainsaw style gore flick
Casanova: A gigolo meets his match
The New World: Europeans show up to ruin thing for the natives living “harmoniously” with nature.

This is what’s coming out on Christmas weekend?!? This from the same Hollywood that gave us It's a Wonderful Life. They couldn’t put in one single movie that had an up lifting or hopeful message? The short answer is “no”. Hollywood may not have noticed it was Christmas and for those who did the idea of family and all that jazz is quite possibly viewed as outmoded concepts from previous generations.

The whose and what’s its of how the virtuous Hollywood of Jimmy Stewart morphed into the distant jaded Hollywood of today is well nigh beyond the scope of this post. The point to be made is that Hollywood is in a disconnect, and that when you are in a disconnect from your consumer base you will almost find yourself losing traction with them, regardless of your product.

Story Revisionism

This is, what we can call, the last of the “product” points and I feel perhaps, may have the least impact. However personally it’s the one that really rubs my cheeks the wrong way.

Now when I say Story Revisionism I’m not referring to a director or writer taking, “artistic license” when dealing with an already written story or historical event. That’s fine, and sometimes near unavoidable. No, that I am talking about is when a key item is changed in order to cater to some political exigency or to conform to some preexisting world view.

A famous example of the first is the hack job done to Tom Clancy’s The Sum of All Fears. In the book, a group of Palestinian terrorist fearful that the PLO might have a true peace with Israel, and on the outs ex-commie leaders of now democratic Eastern Europe conspire to nuke the Superbowl and rekindle US-Russian aggression. However, after the 9/11 attack the makers of the film decided to sacrifice the story on the alter of Political Correctness, over fears of offending Arabs. Yea, cause a movie is going to give Islam more of a bad name than the, at the time, still smoldering crater in Manhattan. So instead of Clancy’s villain we get James Bond style villain that is both as shallow and unbelievable as Ben Affleck’s acting.

As for the second category a great illustration is the recent flick Jarhead, based on a book by Anthony Swofford about his own personal experiences as a sniper in the 1991 Gulf War. The book paints a true to life picture of life as a sniper with the anticlimactic climax coming when Swofford, after being trained to be eager to kill a man in his sights, is ordered to stand down after, for the first time, “acquiring” an Iraqi commander as a target. Shortly after being ordered to stand down, the Iraqi commander and all the soldiers under his command surrender peacefully without a single shot. The movie tells a different story, first they cherry pick only the elements of the book that make the military and soldiers look like thuggish brutes, put a “why are we here” spin on things that can only be commentary on current events in Iraq since there was certainly no question of “why” in ’91 after Saddam’s invasion of Kuwait. Then in the movie’s anticlimactic climax Swofford, played by Jake Gyllenhaal, is ordered to stand down, not so the Iraqis can surrender, but rather to not waste the ammo as seconds later the entire Iraqi force is killed by an air strike.

These are changes that cannot be defended artistically, and can be added to the soup of causes weighing down on Hollywood’s neck.

Changing Ground Rules.

The previous points all deal with the product which Hollywood is trying to get people to come out and buy tickets for, this is the other half of the equation.

From the birth of the moving picture, going out to the theater was a special night. For decades people would plan ahead, get dressed up and generally be excited by the big screen. After a few decades of wide spread television ownership a bit of the gleam had come off the movie going experience, people went in street clothes and maybe didn’t even make a night of it with dinner. However Hollywood and the theaters still reigned supreme and the 19 in non-stereo television at home just didn’t hold a candle to the theater.

The last 10 years have witnessed a watershed of change. The old gods are dead

Home Theater

When I started High School (1986) I was lucky enough to have my own 13in color TV and a VCR. If I missed a movie at the box office I was looking at a good 2 years before the film would be available on VHS at the local rental shop. I made damn sure that I didn’t miss films at the theater. Hollywood and their retailers ruled the oceans.

Today I am lucky enough to have a Mitsubishi 56in HDTV, Sony pro-scan DVD, Yamaha Dolby Digital 5.1/DTS/THX receiver pumping out to a Yamaha powered subwoofer and Cerwin Vega towers. I have a couch of great comfort and pet cats that like to snuggle. I have the ability to stop and start the film when I want. I don’t have to turn my phone off. I can have a beer. Popcorn is 40 cents. No one is ever blocking my view or kicking the back of my seat. The volume is never too loud or too soft. Shall I go on?

In the last twenties years the exponential growth in consumer electronics have presented a challenge to the traditional Hollywood/Movie Theater concept, a challenge that has been completely ignored. It’s not that they think you’ll keep coming no matter how much better the home option become, it’s that they just don’t even think of it.

Blurring the Lines

At the same time that the revolution in consumer electronics has taken place the Hollywood movie moguls have been squeezing ever more money from the theater owners. Looking to replace lost revenue theater owners started to place ads on the big screens before the shows. These early ads consisted of nothing more stills flashed up for a few seconds while music played. Now these ads have evolved into full motion, live action, commercials. Commercials just like you would expect to find on your TV at home.

At the exact same time that the electronics industry is trying to push the home experience up to the starts the movie industry is dumbing down theirs. Brilliant.

Sense of Urgency

In 1946 if you missed a show at the theater you could expect to never, ever see it. You got to the theater or you didn’t watch it, simple as that. By 1966 one could, if they missed a movie at the theater, at least hold out a slim ray of hope that if the movie was big enough it might be on TV in 5 or 6 years. And while the overall experience would stink they’d be able to see it, if nothing else. Twenty years later in 1986 if I missed a show I was, as I stated before, looking at about a two year lag before I could rent the film. The experience hadn’t improved much since ’66 but I could at least pause the tape if I needed to toilet.

What about today? Well I was interested in the film Kingdom of Heaven, guys in armor, Liam Neeson, Jeremy Irons, you know I wanted to see it. But, sadly I missed it during its run. Kingdom of Heaven left the theaters on 9/1. On 11/25, less than 3 months later, I purchased it on DVD at a used DVD store for $8.99.

What was once “never” has become, “wait 3 months and own it for less than the cost of one ticket”, and people in Hollywood throw up their hands in wonder at ticket sales backing off.

The Future.

As long as the Hollywood “elite” maintain the current world view they will continue to produce cynical drivel like anti-war activist George Clooney’s war for oil mantra Syriana while deriding Lewis’s Narnia as religious poppy-cock. At the same time Hollywood is still a business – no matter how many pinkos live there – and as long as Narnia opens with $67m to Syriana’s $12m then as much as it pains the “elites” and gets under the critics skin they will continue to create films that cater to the base elements in America.

The real question for the future is the status of theaters as they are squeezed between the greedy movie houses and ever improving home technology. In the Eighties a night at the theater presented a wide representation of ages, today the theaters are over run with teens as adults that can swing $30 for tickets and popcorn almost certainly have some degree of home theater. This creates yet another snow balling mass as more teens drive more adults away, creating even more teens.

There are owners trying to fight back. In LA a few theaters advertise age minimums and no pre show commercials. Here in Columbus a local owner has opened a high dollar venue with leather seats, gourmet foods and a full bar in order to entice the adults to the screens. It’s too early to tell if these attempts will work.

The future could be a multi tiered theater network with the top catering to adults willing to spend money for a special night out. Or, the future could be full of boarded up movie houses as film are released directly to consumers, or some combination of both.

One thing that is for certain is that single cause analysis’s of the loss of ticket sales over these last 14 months are off mark. There are many different factors at play and no one adjustment will be able to stem the tide of change, in fact it may not be possible to stem the tide at all. Either way we as movie goers should be able to sit back and enjoy the show.

NOTE: Gross revenue provided by, Box Office Mojo, who require an account to view the numbers. You can view them only after creating the account, and only for 3 days without paying for the service.

Monday, December 12, 2005

China coming to Detroit.

Well, looks like Geely is going to try and be the first to draw blood in the US market. Geely has sent four cars to be tested for approval by the federal government and will be the first Chinese manufacturer to display their wares at the upcoming 2006 NAIAS in Detroit.

The article claims that the cars to be on display will be all new models but the web site for China Motors claims to be pushing for the Solo to be first. Since we don’t know anything about the mystery models let’s concentrate on what the Solo has to offer the American consumer.
Image brightness enhanced so that you can get a good look in the wheel wells where there is nothing protecting the painted metal inner fender. Can you say rust bucket?

The starting price is expected to be $6,995, which when adjusted for inflation is only marginally more than the Yugo when it was introduced 20 years ago. The Solo offers a 1.35 liter inline four cylinder engine that produces 85 horsepower (81 ft/lb of torque), scoots from 0 to 60 in a scant 14 seconds with a top speed of 95 mph. Styling would best be described as disjointed.

Things to keep in mind: The communist Chinese government has no regard for the environment and requires no emissions on CDM (Chinese Domestic Market) cars so God only knows how much of a slow poke the Solo would be here in the US. Also, the communist Chinese government has no regard for human life and as such has no crash worthiness standards for CDM cars.
Classic Chinese car styling. Which is to say an early 80's Honda body, Volvo headlights and a Mercedes grill.

This summer the Jiangling Landwind, an Isuzu Rodeo knockoff, was tested in Europe. It performed so badly that not only would a human have died in the 30 mph offset test but the crash test dummy used in the test was also destroyed. The European rating system runs from 1 to 5 stars, they gave the truck 0 and told them without a redesign and retest it couldn’t be sold in the EU Market.

But assuming that Geely can get is cars USDOT approval we are less that five years away from Chinese cars being sold in the US. Some feel that this will be the final straw that kills GM and Ford. Buggrit!

This is, I feel, a racist assessment of the automotive industry. It comes from a thought process that runs from A) Those Nippers make good care to B) and those yellow Koreans make good cars, therefore C) the slanty-eye Chinese will make good cars. It simply lumps all Asian counties into one pot and makes assumptions from there. However, go tell some Korean guy there’s no difference between him and a Japanese or Chinese guy and see what happens. On second thought, don’t, just take my word for it that they are very different peoples and nations. Germany is very close to where Yugos were made and they still managed to be turds.
Nice interior though, for an '89 Camry. And just what in the hell are the power window buttons doing in front of and below the driver's seat cushion?!

Japan and Korea are countries that respect civil liberties, have dynamic free market economies and representative governments. China is a country with no civil liberties, a nominal free market masking a top-down core and a totalitarian oligarchy. Japan and Korea were known for lower cost high quality goods and willingness to innovate before they started plying cars in the US. China is known for cheap junk and a willingness to perform blatant copyright infringement on everything from music to rocket propulsion. Japan and Korea learned from the older manufacturing models in Europe and the US to create more efficient business practices that lead to reduced cost. China uses teaming masses of very low pay workers to build things as cheaply as possible. After all, why buy million dollar robots and hire highly paid process engineers when you can just get poor illiterate peasants to work for $5 a day. China has just too many internal hurdles to overcome before they can complete in the open market with the likes of Toyota, VW, GM and the rest.

In the end while some fear that Chinese cars will soon spell doom for US makers I myself fear being late for work due to a stalled Geely in the intersection.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Beware of the boogeyman, or not.

In the Eighties everyone talked about how Japan Inc. was going to surpass the US as the world’s leading power then the steam ran out of their economy and they have spent the last decade stagnating and trying to things moving.

The came Germany and the EU, with new stronger unity and a warm glow cast by the Euro currency. Then they gave actual European citizens a voice and things suddenly came crashing down. Riots, staggering unemployment and governments who can only think to raise taxes as an answer to their economic slow going.

And of course who can forget fears that the Soviet Union would won day over shadow us. Harrumph.

In all three cases the eventual collapse, obvious in hindsight, wasn’t for one second imagined. Right up until the moment the rug got pulled out people were dumb struck, like deer in headlights, at what appeared to be strong economies.

Oh! But let’s not forget the Asian Tigers, in the mid Nineties it was the grouping of small economies of Malaysia, Singapore and other Asian Rim countries that were out to leave us choking on their dust as they became the engine of the world. Then came the “Asian flu” – a flu that effect economies and not birds – in 1997 and they haven’t made a peep since.

Today it’s China’s turn to be the unstoppable force that will knock the US off the top of the hill. Will they? While it is certain fact that the US won’t be on top forever, there are also a ton of reasons to doubt the assumption that China will be the one to do it.

Here’s one to think about

"We are not allowed to buy food outside the village. They asked the nearby villagers not to sell us goods," the woman said, sobbing. "The government did not give us proper compensation for using our land ... Now they come and shoot us. I don't know what to say."

China, in a eminent domain move that would make the libs on the SCOTUS beam like proud parents, have taken land from rural peasants (yes, peasants) for the governments own use. When the people protested against the move the communist government sent in the troops. A country with no civil liberties, no representative government, a country that still has friggen peasants is handed status as crown prince, waiting in the wings to seize power from the tired aging king.

China may leap us or they may implode first. I believe it will be the latter, and I have the Third Generation Law backing me up, and then perhaps it will be India’s turn in the on deck circle.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

America Wins!, 413-382

Breaking News! Some group, the Union of Concerned Scientists, that until now I’ve never even heard of has taken it upon themselves the important task of getting this vital information out to the public.

What information? Well nothing less than the fact that over 50% of all satellites orbiting the Earth are American satellites! I’m stunned. In this day and age I would have though such an none diverse satellite representation impossible. Sadly I was wrong.

Losers. The UCS, founded in 1969 at MIT, with offices in Cambridge MA, DC and Berkley CA is nothing more that a bunch of watermelons. What they are looking for, aside from finding Socialist solutions – masked behind a shroud of scientific legitimacy – to everything, in telling us we own the skies I’m not sure.

They present this information as if it’s de facto bad. You say we have most of the satellites? A say, bully for us.

I’ll be looking forward to the UCS’s next press release that the AP treats as a news story to expose yet another area in which America is an exception success. Good to see someone trying to get some good news out there.

Lesson #287: Don't claim to have a bomb.

Yesterday a crazy man on a plane in Miami claimed to have a bomb and ended up shot dead by an Air Marshall. When I caught wind of this in the evening I knew I was about to witness a micro version of the conflict with terrorism, Iraq and Saddam unfold before me.

Both situation start with a mad man claiming to have a bomb. Both situations where ended with pre-emptive strikes. And already, within less than 24 hours, the Chicken Littles in our nation, who have been going so far as to say Saddam should be put back in power of late, are claiming that the Air Marshall “acted in haste” because as it turns out there was no bomb.

A man, on a plane, acting strange, with a companion that is also acting funny, the man claims to have a bomb in his bag, he refuses to be subdued and refuses to put down the bag within which he claims to have a bomb. The man then reaches into the bag.

What do you do, Mr. Air Marshall?

In one regard it doesn’t matter what you do as the Chicken Littles will attack whatever decision you make as improper. Shoot and no bomb and you are a trigger happy goon so should have shown more restraint. Don’t shoot and there’s no bomb and they’ll want you fired because you weren’t willing to take action to defend the lives of the passengers. Shoot and there is a bomb and you’ll be lambasted for being so asleep at the wheel that you let this person on the plane in the first place. Don’t shoot and there is a bomb and you and many innocent passengers are dead.

You don’t really have a choice, you have to shoot, but for the Chicken Littles out their the blame is on you – not the man with the bomb, it’s your fault for not having the compassion and understanding for a unfortunate victim of a mental disorder – not of the man who stopped taking his medication.

This fits in perfectly with the cry of the Chicken Littles, (Dean, Murtha, Kerry, Polosi, et. al) over Iraq. In 2003 they demanded a second act from Congress to authorize the war so they could all show how they were willing to standup to a murderous thug hiding WMDs. But then once it turned out that we haven’t found a nice big warehouse with a sign reading “WMD Storage Facility” they are now crying foul. Crying they were lied to, tricked by the trigger happy Bush into going along with attacking an innocent victim of US aggression.

However, like Mr. Air Marshall, Mr. President has to make a decision – based upon the information at hand (backed up by intelligence information from countries from Russia to Canada) on upon his decision the lives a many hang in the balance. The mad man on the plane and the mad man in Baghdad both were asking for it by feigning the ability and willingness to kill masses of others.

Chicken Littles are afraid of everything and they wish nothing more than instilling their fear into the rest of us but the only thing I’m afraid of this the possibility that people in positions of making theses hard decisions may become infected.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Chinese tea.

I noticed a rather odd loosely tangential final sentence in an AP article about the deadly crash of an Iranian military plane into an apartment building in Tehran.

The article, written by one Ali Akbar Dareini, tells of the story of the crash. Okay. Then in the final paragraph goes on to mention other recent crashes by large aircraft in Iran. Fine. But then the last sentence;

And in 1988, an Iran Air A300 Airbus was shot down by the USS Vincennes over the Persian Gulf, killing 290.

Huh? The tragic and unfortunate downing of Iran Air Flight 665 is neither recent or a crash. The article is not about the US military, US-Iran history, airline downings or anything else can I feel can clearly explain the addition of this little anti-US jab.

It’s as if an article about some Israeli Jew who was under arrest for murdering his cheating wife finished with the line, “And in 33 AD the Jews had Jesus Christ killed.”

Sure yea, but what does it have to do with anything?

Who's scared of the pussy cat?

When a dog corners a cat the cat will rear up, arch its back all in an effort to make itself look larger, look like a more imposing enemy. When a high school bully finds his turf challenged he will widen his stance, puff his chest, again, in a effort to seem more formidable.

It is no different for terrorist organizations like Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Al-Qeada. They are masters at twisting propaganda in order to make themselves look like masters of the battle field. One of their tactics is to pretend to be many different groups.

How many acts of terrorism have been claimed by a “hitherto unknown terrorist group” with ridiculous names like, The Holy Army of the Warriors of the True Faith and Prophet, only for the group to fade away and never be heard from again? What’s up with that? They put such effort into their grandiose names only to be one hit wonders, no. There is no great proliferation of terrorist groups that the Islamists would have us believe – and our lazy press is more than happy to pass off as the truth. Heaven forbid our fearless journalists investigate the truth behind anything or anyone that doesn’t have an “R” next to its name.

This is a known tactic, why isn’t it looked into by the press? One can only speculate but one thing that we don’t have to speculate on is that the Islamists fellow travelers on the American left pull the same stunts trying to seem like so much more than the few moonbats they really are.

Take these “organization” for example:

International Action Center
People Judge Bush
Troops Out Now
No Draft, No Way!
Peoples Video Network

Are these five seperate groups of like minded people evidence of wide spread disapproval for Bush, conservatism and the war against terror? Perhaps but before making that decision consider this, all five groups have the exact same mailing address; Suite 206, 39 West 14th Street, NY, NY. Then also consider that according to this site the group called Mumia Mobilization Office is also located in Suite 206. That must be on hell of a crammed office. The cherry on top is that the leader of the pack seems to be the International Action Center which is run by none other that Ramsey Clark, the same Ramsey Clark that is currently in Iraq defending Saddam and claiming that he is the rightful ruler and should be reinstated into power.

The media reports the talking points off the press releases from groups like this as fact and presents the endless stream of ethereal terrorist group as legitimate. The whys of our press’s duplicity in all this chest puffing and back arching is open for debate and for this post, immaterial.

Sometimes the cat gets the dog to run away yelping with a slash across the nose, and sometimes the cat ends up dead. The question for this post is what kind of dog are we going to be?

Sunday, December 04, 2005

The BCS Shakedown

Thanks to the upsets of Virginia Tech and LSU the Ducks of Oregon can’t even cry foul as the losses move Ohio State up to #4 in the BCS rankings, which is an automatic berth, regardless of whether or not you win your conference, and move Notre Dame into the #6 spot, which thanks to the cushy deals ND always manages to gives them an automatic berth. So technically speaking, there are no true “at large” teams in the BCS this year. Now on to the games.

Rose Bowl

Texas vs. USC
This is the match up that has been in the cards since the preseason when both teams started ranked 1 and 2. Both teams survived games they should have lost, USC 34-31 to Notre Dame to Texas 25-22 to Ohio State and both teams made strong statements in their last to regular season games.

I expect this to be a shoot-out but I feel Texas has a better defense and are a bit more hungry.

Who to cheer for: Texas
Why Texas? A) They beat us, in our house no less, which will sting a little less if they finish 12-0 and national champs. B) I really don’t want to hear about “First ever 3-time Champion USC for the next 12 months. C) Southern California sucks.
My pick: Texas 54-42

Orange Bowl

Penn State vs. Florida State
Joe Pa vs. Daddy Bowden, much hype is going to be made of these two legendary coaches going at it for perhaps one last time (Joe leads the series 6-1), but they aren’t playing. FSU has played some really awful ball this year, Penn State hasn’t. The question is did the 4 loss Seminoles run their tanks dry in defeating Virginia Tech for the ACC crown? I think yes. PSU is having a special season while FSU backed into their BCS spot.

I see a close game with the coaches being a draw, while the kids wearing blue and white are better.

Who to cheer for: Penn State
Why Penn State? A) They beat us, which will sting a little less if they finish 11-1. b) We hate Florida teams. C) Penn State is in the Big10, unity brother!
My pick: Penn State 28-21

Sugar Bowl

Georgia vs. West Virginia
With VT and Miami leaving the Big East their cupboards are rather bare. WV not a bad squad per se but their just don’t play anyone. In the one game WV had a chance to make a statement they got their shit handed to them by Virginia Tech. The mountaineers will play hard but in the end just simply aren’t the same caliber as the Bulldogs.

This is the least, by far, exciting BCS match up.

Who to cheer for: Georgia
Why Georgia? The Big East is a middling level conference posing as an elite, they have an automatic berth that should be an “at-large” and they need to be taught their proper place in the world of college football.
My pick: Georgia 38-9

Fiesta Bowl

Ohio State vs. Notre Dame
Whee! This is a classic match up with two of the best traveling teams in the nation, eBay should do well on the fees from the sale of tickets for this game. Ohio State matches up very well with the Irish. The games that OSU has had a problem this year was against the mobile quarterbacks from Texas and Penn State, unfortunately for Notre Dame Brady Quinn is not a mobile quarterback. The Buckeye’s two losses are to fellow BCS teams, while ND lost to 5-6 Michigan State. As long as Ohio State’s Troy Smith and the offense keeps humming Notre Dame should be in for a long game.

OSU and ND are 2-2 all-time, look for the Buckeyes to will this rubber game going away.

Who to cheer for: Ohio State
Why Ohio State: duh.
My pick: Ohio State 48-24