Finals begin today; tons of stuff
The good news is that I got the rest of the "last class day" exams graded.
Of course, I got an e-mail message from a student who didn't bother to see me during my office hours (schedule specifically when they didn't have other exams) who wanted last minute tutoring.
I politely reminded the student that I was completely avialable during the pevious two days.
Sigh...there is always one; at least this is only one out of 71.
My injury continues to improve slowly; I've been doing indoor cycling, yoga, treadmill "running", weights and swimming.
My mood is better than it was last year at this time, though I am still a bit down. I think that the reason that my mood is better is that I have my injury to work through. I think that I am the kind that needs something to look forward to.
I am so thrilled; our population, which is already too fat to begin with, has yet another place to fatten up! I'll bet that the folks who do bypass surgery (both the kind on the heart and on the digestive track) are happy about this; business will get even better!
It's conclusions: the amount of violence is underreported (duh), the situation is bad (duh), we ought to get the neighboring countries involved; they might cooperate as they don't want instability on their borders (duh).
I admit that I am underwhelmed. I think that Senator Feingold said it very well:
December 6, 2006
There is more about Senator Feingold's reaction here:
“Unfortunately, the Iraq Study Group report does too little to change the flawed mind-set that led to the misguided war in Iraq. Maybe there are still people in Washington who need a study group to tell them that the policy in Iraq isn’t working, but the American people are way ahead of this report.While the report has regenerated a few good ideas, it doesn’t adequately put Iraq in the context of a broader national security strategy. We need an Iraq policy that is guided by our top national security priority – defeating the terrorist network that attacked us on 9/11 and its allies. We can’t continue to just look at Iraq in isolation. Unless we set a serious timetable for redeploying our troops from Iraq, we will be unable to effectively address these global threats. In the end, this report is a regrettable example of ‘official Washington’ missing the point.”
The fact is this commission was composed apparently entirely of people who did not have the judgment to oppose this Iraq war in the first place, and did not have the judgment to realize it was not a wise move in the fight against terrorism. So that's who is doing this report. Then I looked at the list of who testified before them. There is virtually no one who opposed the war in the first place. Virtually no one who has been really calling for a different strategy that goes for a global approach to the war on terrorism. So this is really a Washington inside job and it shows not in the description of what's happened - that's fairly accurate - but it shows in the recommendations. It's been called a classic Washington compromise that does not do the job of extricating us from Iraq in a way that we can deal with the issues in Southeast Asia, in Afghanistan, and in Somalia which are every bit as important as what is happening in Iraq. This report does not do the job and it's because it was not composed of a real representative group of Americans who believe what the American people showed in the election, which is that it's time for us to have a timetable to bring the troops out of Iraq.Amen.
Of course, there are those in the loony right wing who take issue with the report from the other direction. They say idiotic things like this:
Enemies like this understand only one thing: power. They do not keep promises, or honor treaties and agreements that do not serve their primary interests. For them, those interests include humiliating the United States, securing Iraq for the acolytes of Osama bin Laden and then moving on to challenge America in other places and finally on our own soil. The problem is that if we wait to crush them until they reach our shores (and too many are already among us), it will be too late.What morons like Cal Thomas don't seem to get is that most of what is going on in Iraq is either simple lawlessness, the Shites and the Sunnis going after each other, or simple Iraqi's who don't want us there. Only a small percentage of the fighters are Al Qeda who are actively there to fight us.
See, for example,
It is no wonder that an article in the newest issue of the American Conservative magazine called our Iraq war "operation provide targets". Basically, all sides end up using our troops for target practice; it isn't that uncommon for our troops to be shot at by one side today, and then get shot at by the other side the next day!
First, understand that this war had nothing to do with weapons of mass destruction, no matter how much the Bush administration lied. The idea is something like this:
- We are subject to attack by terrorist groups that spring up in areas that Barnett called "The Gap". Barnett divides the world in to two regions: "The functioning Core" (countries connected to the global economy) and "The non-functioning Gap". There is a rough loop drawn around the equator that shows where the Gap countries are; the exceptions would be a country like North Korea (a Gap country) and Israel (a Core country).
- Shrinking "the Gap" is essential to our security and to global peace.
- We can shrink the Gap by a policy which combines diplomacy, economic means, and by appropriate preemtive war (such as the one to topple Saddaam Hussien).
Who decides when to go to war? We do! What gives us the authority? "Might makes right". Yep, he really says that!
Wait, what about the experts who say things like "well, you know that Iraq consists of three seperate groups (Sunnis, Shites, Kurds) who really don't like each other, and the elimination of a brutal dictator could well plunge the country into a civil war"?
Barnett calls such experts "pessimists" and "vertical thinkers"; "if we listen to them, we'll never do anything" such as invade other countries!
Yes, in Dr. Barnett's world, too much specialized knowledge isn't a good thing.
No, I am not making this up.
I'll report more when I finish the book, (I am currently in his "happy ending" phase) but that is more or less what he says.
Anyway, that is how the neoconservatives think.
I disagree; what people forget is that Notre Dame beat several good teams along the way to posting a 10-2 record, including bowl teams Navy (9-3), Purdue (8-5), Penn State (8-4), Georgia Tech (9-4) and UCLA (7-5). Where is is true that Notre Dame played some weak teams, LSU played some patsies as well, but they played most of them at the beginning of the season, whereas Notre Dame's schedule was mostly "front loaded".
Here is a brief history of football between the two schools; this is taken from my faulty memory and a couple of references. I welcome corrections and additions.
1970: This time the Tigers are better and rout the Irish 28-8 in Baton Rouge. LSU starts with a 14-0 lead. A key series of plays is a goal line stand where the LSU defense stuffs ND on 4'th and inches at the goal line.
Parsegian finishes 1-1 against LSU
1981: Faust takes over, the ND campus is completely out of control with unrealistic expectations. This is about the only time I was ashamed to be an Irish fan; ND hires a HIGH SCHOOL coach and people expect a string of national championships? (can you say "superstition"?)
Anyway, LSU comes to South Bend haven been blown out at home by Alabama. ND wins 27-9 and is elevated to no. 1. ND goes on to lose 4 of its next 5 on its way to a 5-6 season.
1984: ND comes in to Baton Rouge with a 3-4 record. Everyone is expecting no. 7 LSU to blow ND out and LSU starts with a 7-0 lead. ND turns to its ground game and outscores LSU 30-7 over the next 3 quarters or so and hangs on to win 30-22. LSU wore its purple jerseys at home.
1985. Faust announces his retirement after the game; ND loses 10-7 to no. 17 LSU in South Bend. The next week, ND goes on to "go through the motions" against a hungry Miami squad and gets blasted 58-7.
Faust finishes 2-1 against LSU.
1986. Holtz takes over and a winning season is in reach. But in Baton Rouge, ND fails to score in the red zone repreatedly and loses 21-19 to the no. 7 Tigers. Holtz gets a 15 yard pentalty for protesting some bad calls.
Holtz finishes 0-1 against LSU
1997: Davie takes over.
Davie takes in a team that has lost 5 of its first 8 games against the top 20 Tigers. The Irish play very well in Baton Rouge winning 24-6. Former ND standout guard Gerry DiNardo coaches LSU (he played on Parsegian's 1973 National Championship team)
1997: ND agrees to a rematch with LSU in the Independence Bowl. LSU shows up in retro uniforms (gold jerseys, white pants, white helmets) and it is close at the half (13-9) but LSU pulls away in the second half to win 27-9.
1998: ND hosts LSU in South Bend and brings a 8-1 record into the game. ND is up 39-34 and tries to take an intentional saftey at the end of the game. Jarius Jackson (ND quarterback) gets tackled in the end zone and gets hurt.
ND wins over struggling LSU 39-36, but then ND goes into the next game (against USC) and loses 10-0 with an offense that can't do anything with the no. 2 quarterback.
Davie finishes 2-1 against the Tigers.
In short, LSU brings in the better team against Notre Dame six times. Twice, they win in a blow-out. Twice they win in close games, and twice Notre Dame scores an upset.
Once, the teams are evenly matched: it is a close game with ND winning.
Twice, ND comes in with a better team, and once ND wins in a blow-out, and once ND wins a close game.