Do You Want the Terrorists to Win?

This test is just a bit skewed:

Your ‘Do You Want the Terrorists to Win’ Score: 100%

You are a terrorist-loving, Bush-bashing, “blame America first”-crowd traitor.  You are in league with evil-doers who hate our freedoms.  By all counts you are a liberal, and as such cleary desire the terrorists to succeed and impose their harsh theocratic restrictions on us all.  You are fit to be hung for treason!  Luckily George Bush is tapping your internet connection and is now aware of your thought-crime. Have a nice day…. in Guantanamo!

Do You Want the Terrorists to Win?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

Kristoff: Retreat By The Religious Right?

Nicholas Kristoff has a strange column today. He concludes his column with:

Now that the Christian Right has largely retreated from the culture wars, let’s hope that the Atheist Left doesn’t revive them. We’ve suffered enough from religious intolerance that the last thing the world needs is irreligious intolerance.

I’m afraid I just cannot see where he draws this conclusion from the rest of his column. Sure there are a couple of recent books out by atheist writers, such as The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris’s Letter to a Christian Nation. Neither of these books advocate using the political process to enforce the beliefs of the authors among others, which is the prime objection to the conduct of the religious right.

My real question is how he comes about the claim that “the Christian Right has largely retreated from the culture wars.” Are we to take it that there will be no more attempts to restrict abortion rights, prevent federal funding of embryonic stem cell research, or to teach creationism in the schools? If this really happens, then I’ll believe that the Christian Right has really retreated. We’ll probably see the first sign than this is not occurring when George Bush vetoes the next bill to fund embryonic stem cell research with the approval of the religious right.

Tool To Circumvent Internet Censorship

Despite all the unreasoned arguing in the blogosphere, we do have areas of common ground. Hat tip to Michelle Malkin for this story. There’s a new tool to get around censorship of the internet in countries which do not allow free access:

Researchers at University of Toronto plan to introduce a software tool on Friday that aims to help people in countries that censor the World Wide Web.

Psiphon (pronounced sigh-fawn), a web-based utility, lets individuals in a country that censors the internet sign on to a server that gives them secure access to web pages anywhere, bypassing government restrictions…

“We’re aiming at giving people access to sites like Wikipedia,” a free, user-maintained online encyclopedia, and other information and news sources, Michael Hull, psiphon’s lead engineer, told CBC News Online.

Citing countries such as China and Iran among some 40 countries that censor the internet, Hull said that the way in which access to information is cut off is troubling.

It is interesting that, after responding to an article on article which argues that the blogospere is a “world, increasingly driven by unreason” which is polarized between left and right, I find both this area of agreement with a right wing blogger, and a liberal blogger responding to my post gives a good demonstration of the lack of reason shown by some on the left. The divisions between left and right are great, but these are not the only divisions I’m concerned with.

ESPN Columnist: Michigan was Robbed

My prediction that BCS would vote to avoid the rematch came true as Florida slightly edged Michigan in the vote. The front page of ESPN’s web site has the teaser for this column, Wojciechowski: Michigan was robbed:

If you’re Michigan coach Lloyd Carr, how do you explain to your players that they won’t be in the BCS Championship Game? How do you tell the second-best team in the country to get pumped about playing USC in the Runner-Up Bowl? How do you resist the urge of wishing Nutcracker drills on every person who jumped one-loss Florida ahead of the one-loss Wolverines in the final polls?

Lloyd Carr

Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE
Lloyd Carr and Michigan lost to No. 1 by three points…and aren’t title-game worthy.

There is no polite way of saying it: Michigan got jobbed. Sunday’s rankings are Exhibits A-Z why the BCS means well, but simply doesn’t work — and never will.

Carr had to do what Auburn’s Tommy Tuberville did two seasons ago. Tuberville’s team finished the regular season 12-0, but was left out of the Tostitos BCS Championship Game in favor of undefeated USC and Oklahoma.

“It’s hard,” said Tuberville. “It’s hard to look them in the eye. Heck, we’re still not over it. You never get over it. It’s like a question that’s never been answered.”

Carr is asking those same questions. And he’ll get the same shoulder shrugs that Tuberville got.

Let me get this straight: Michigan, which was unbeaten against all teams on its schedule ranked lower than No. 1, isn’t going to Glendale, Ariz., for the Jan. 8 national title game because …

It didn’t win its conference.

No, it didn’t. But did you see who did? Team by the name of Ohio State. Maybe you’ve heard of the Buckeyes? Undefeated. Ranked first in the country. Beat Michigan in Columbus by the grand total of three whole points.

And feel free to show me in the BCS handbook where it says you’ve got to win your conference to play in the championship game?

Nobody wants to see a rematch.

Just asking, but how did Ali-Frazier II and III work out? Or that Georgetown-Villanova Final Four?

I know Florida’s Urban Meyer doesn’t want to see a rematch, but he’s not exactly an impartial observer, is he? And if Meyer were in Carr’s Nikes, I guarantee you his objections to a second Ohio State-Michigan game would have disappeared.

A rematch, this time on a neutral field, would have been a game for the ages. And if you threatened to take away his precious sweater vest if he didn’t tell the truth, I bet you Buckeyes’ coach Jim Tressel would rather play Florida than have to face the Wolverines again (Tressel declined to vote in the final coaches’ poll).

Florida played a tougher schedule.

Agreed. But strength of schedule is part of the equation, nothing more. Tuberville’s 2004 team had the strongest strength of schedule, but didn’t make it.

You want to give the Gators the edge based on scheduling? Fair enough, though you could argue that Florida didn’t exactly beat vintage Alabama, Georgia and Florida State teams this year, and Central Florida and Division I-AA Western Carolina were dreadful.

And look at the one loss each suffered by Florida and Michigan on their schedules. You tell me which defeat was more impressive: the Gators’ 10-point road loss to an Auburn team that finished the season No. 9 in the BCS standings? Or the Wolverines’ three-point road loss to an Ohio State now favored to win the national championship?

“It’s hard to look them in the eye. Heck, we’re still not over it. You never get over it. It’s like a question that’s never been answered”

— Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville

The BCS system rewarded Florida for finishing its season with wins at FSU and against Arkansas at the SEC championship in Atlanta.And the BCS penalized Michigan twice for being on the wrong end of the calendar: once when USC moved to No. 2 after beating Notre Dame (even though Michigan beat the Irish worse), and now, when Florida overtook the Wolverines (even though U of M’s season ended two weeks ago).

How can you call this a “system” when Florida belongs to a league that plays a conference championship, and Michigan doesn’t? How can you call it a quasi-playoff when Michigan drops twice in the standings without losing a game.

Florida has earned the right to play Ohio State.

Absolutely true. But so has Michigan.

Ask the coaches at Vanderbilt (the Commodores played both Michigan and Florida this season) who is the better team, and the consensus pick — privately, of course — is the Wolverines. Florida has more speed and a handful of players to die for, they say, but Michigan is more physical, would control both sides of the line of scrimmage, have wonderful wide receivers, and are led by a senior quarterback who doesn’t make many mistakes.

Ask them who would give Ohio State the better game, and you’ll get the same answer.

Tuberville voted Ohio State, Florida and then Michigan on his final ballot. “But I watched Michigan this year,” he said. “Heck, I think they could beat anybody. But that’s the way the system is. It’s a screwed-up system.”

Michigan never had that chance. It was 11-1 on Nov. 18. It was 11-1 on Dec. 3. But between then and now the Wolverines apparently became the cellulite queens and somehow lost the swimsuit portion of this ridiculous BCS beauty pageant.

Michigan didn’t do a thing wrong. And yet Carr was the one who had to console his team Sunday night. He did it, but here’s guessing he wasn’t Mr. Congeniality.

Gene Wojciechowski is the senior national columnist for You can contact him at

Election Day in College Football

For college football fans, this is the election day that counts as voters decide whether Michigan or Florida gets the opportunity to face Ohio State for the national championship. Yes, for those who are unaware of how college football works, it comes down to a vote and not the playing field.

The BCS system is supposed to pit the top two teams against each other for the national championship. Previously we faced a system where, after the bowl games, there was not always unanimous agreement as to which team was best. The fault with the current system is that, prior to the bowl games, it isn’t always any clearer which teams are the top two. Some years, like last year when Texas and USC were the only undefeated teams, the system has worked. Other years, such as this, the choice hasn’t been clear.

Late in the regular season, most agreed that Ohio State and Michigan were the top two teams in the country. When the two played, Ohio State dominated for one half, and then Michigan came back to dominate the second half. If not for a late penalty which rescued a stalled Ohio State drive, Michigan would likely have won the game. In the end, Ohio State won by three points, with both teams having an equal number of scoring drives but Michigan settling for a field goal on one. (A two point conversion for Michigan narrowed the gap to there points.)

After the game, many agreed that Ohio State remained the top team in the country and Michigan the second best, and obviously one team had to lose if the two played each other. In looking at Michigan’s come back, many also felt that Michigan could win a rematch on a neutral field, while questioning whether any other teams would have a chance to beat Ohio State.

Michigan remained number two in the BCS for a week, but USC slipped ahead after beating Notre Dame, despite beating them less impressively at home than Michigan had beaten them on the road earlier in the season. Many voters simply did not want a rematch game for the national championship, defeating the purpose of having the two top teams meet.

Having seen USC already lose to an unranked team, I was not surprised to see them get upset by cross town rival UCLA yesterday. There was celebration in the State of Michigan but it might be short lived. Later in the evening Florida beat Arkansas for the Southeast Conference title. While Michigan has had a lead over Florida in the polls, there is now the fear that the same voters who previously did not want a Michigan v. Ohio State rematch will now vote to move Florida ahead of Michigan.

Both Michigan and Florida have a single loss, but Michigan’s single loss is by only three points to the number one team in the country while Florida lost by ten points to number eleven Auburn. Some claim Florida deserves to play for the national championship because they won their conference championship. I don’t find this a meaningful argument because if the two best teams in the country are really in the same conference then there is good reason for one not to win the championship. While an excellent conference, the top SEC teams just did not appear to be as good as either Michigan or Ohio State this year. In addition, one-loss Florida received an opportunity that Michigan didn’t have as their conference holds such a championship game. If the Big Ten also held a championship game which allowed one-loss Michigan another chance to win the conference title perhaps they would have won.

The old system from before the BCS might actually have been better. Ohio State would have played USC in the Rose Bowl. There wouldn’t be the same frustration on the parts of Michigan and Florida as neither would have expected to play Ohio State. Florida and Michigan would either play other conference champions or might even have played each other. If Ohio State won they’d be the national champion, but if they lost both Michigan and Florida could have been considered. Another advantage would be that more than one bowl game could have significance, while under the BCS system there is no real “championship series” but only the championship game really matters.

It is unrealistic for the old New Year’s Day bowl system to be scrapped in favor of a true play off, but it would be far more interesting if Michigan and Florida could play on New Year’s Day to determine who would have the opportunity to play Ohio State for the national championship. For whatever it means, the Las Vegas odds are that Michigan would beat Florida by six points in such a game. That is a strong reason why Michigan should receive a rematch against Ohio State, but I suspect the voters will defeat the purpose of the BCS by voting for Florida to avoid a rematch.

Update: ESPN Columnist: Michigan was Robbed

Fifth Worst President Ever

In considering who is the worst President ever (previous posts here and here), I agree that a handful will probably turn out to be worse. After showing that some other Presidents have caused even more harm than Bush, Michael Lind places him as fifth worst:

By contrast, George W. Bush has inadvertently destroyed only Baghdad, not Washington, and the costs of the Iraq war in blood and treasure are far less than those of Korea and Vietnam. Yet he will be remembered for the Iraq conflict for generations, long after tax-cut-driven deficits, No Child Left Behind and comprehensive immigration reform are forgotten. The fact that Bush followed the invasion of Afghanistan, which had sheltered al-Qaeda, with the toppling of Saddam Hussein, will puzzle historians for centuries. It is as though, after Japan had bombed Pearl Harbor, FDR had asked Congress to declare war on Argentina.

Why did Bush do it? Did he really believe that Hussein had weapons of mass destruction? Was it about oil? Israel? Revenge for Hussein’s alleged attempt on Bush’s father’s life? The war will join the sinking of the USS Maine and the grassy knoll among the topics to exercise conspiracy theorists for generations, and the photos of torture at Abu Ghraib will join images of the napalmed Vietnamese girl and executed Filipino rebels in the gallery of U.S. atrocities.

Like all presidents, George W. Bush wants to be remembered. He will get his wish — as the fifth-worst president in U.S. history.

Worst President Ever Contest Continues

The discussion of who is the worst President ever continues in The Washington Post. Douglas Brinkley isn’t ready to decide who was worst, but finds a good comparison for Bush:

The problem for Bush is that certitude is only a virtue if the policy enacted is proven correct. Most Americans applaud Truman’s dropping of bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki because they achieved the desired effect: Japan surrendered. Reagan’s anti-communist zeal — including increased defense budgets and Star Wars — is only now perceived as positive because the Soviet Union started to unravel on his watch.

Nobody has accused Bush of flinching. After 9/11, he decided to circumvent the United Nations and declare war on Iraq. The principal pretext was that Baghdad supposedly was stockpiling weapons of mass destruction. From the get-go, the Iraq war was a matter of choice. Call it Mr. Bush’s War. Like a high-stakes poker player pushing in all his chips on one hand, he bet the credibility of the United States on the notion that Sunnis and Shiites wanted democracy, just like the Poles and the Czechs during the Cold War…

There isn’t much that Bush can do now to salvage his reputation. His presidential library will someday be built around two accomplishments: that after 9/11, the U.S. homeland wasn’t again attacked by terrorists (knock on wood) and that he won two presidential elections, allowing him to appoint conservatives to key judicial posts. I also believe that he is an honest man and that his administration has been largely void of widespread corruption. This will help him from being portrayed as a true villain.

This last point is crucial. Though Bush may be viewed as a laughingstock, he won’t have the zero-integrity factors that have kept Nixon and Harding at the bottom in the presidential sweepstakes. Oddly, the president whom Bush most reminds me of is Herbert Hoover, whose name is synonymous with failure to respond to the Great Depression. When the stock market collapsed, Hoover, for ideological reasons, did too little. When 9/11 happened, Bush did too much, attacking the wrong country at the wrong time for the wrong reasons. He has joined Hoover as a case study on how not to be president.

I agree with the comparisions to Hoover, but Brinkley is giving Bush too much credit for honesty. There isn’t the individual corruption seen in some past administrations, but I find the institutionalized corruption which Bush has accepted, such as The K Street Project, to be far more damaging to the nation. Considering the dishonesty used to push programs ranging from the Medicare Part D Program to the war on Iraq, George Bush could hardly be considered an honest man.