Friday, March 31, 2006

I got your right to choose right here

In a continuing theme of public political faces inexlpicably misbehaving in front of cameras (see Silvio), Justice/ Official-right-wing-nutjob/ Dick-Cheney-hunting-buddy-who-escapes-unharmed Antonin Scalia was in Boston recently for a speech, and looked RIGHT AT A CAMERA before making this obscene Sicilian gesture:

The Boston Herald first reported the story, which was refuted by Scalia (did he not recall the lens directly in front of his face?), and today the photographer came forward with the photo. The Herald printed it:

Amid a growing national controversy about the gesture U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia made Sunday at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross, the freelance photographer who captured the moment has come forward with the picture.

“It’s inaccurate and deceptive of him to say there was no vulgarity in the moment,” said Peter Smith, the Boston University assistant photojournalism professor who made the shot.
Despite Scalia’s insistence that the Sicilian gesture was not offensive and had been incorrectly characterized by the Herald as obscene, the photographer said the newspaper “got the story right.”
Smith said the jurist “immediately knew he’d made a mistake, and said, ‘You’re not going to print that, are you?’ ”

That's right, the lovely lifetime benchwarmer made the gesture in a church. He and Dick have more in common than just shooting small animals (everyone remember when Cheney told Sen. Patrick Leahy to "go fuck yourself"?).

And as for the alleged ambiguity of the whole gesture, we know a vile motion when we see one. We even asked Giovanni the pizza-owner for confirmation.

It's cool though, we'll get him when he's up for re-election. Wait...

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Turkey, Baghdad. They all hate us, right?

Another lesson of pissed-off liberal bloggers using their way-to-abundant free time to take down GOP candidates:

Howard Kaloogian, one of 12 Republicans running to replace the convicted felon Randy "Duke" Cunningham, posted a photo on his web site recently displaying a "peaceful" Baghdad. Problem is, the photo was of Istanbul, Turkey. It had this caption:

Downtown Baghdad: We took this photo of dowtown [sic] Baghdad while we were in Iraq. Iraq (including Baghdad) is much more calm and stable than what many people believe it to be. But, each day the news media finds any violence occurring in the country and screams and shouts about it -- in part because many journalists are opposed to the U.S. effort to fight terrorism.

Howie is running on an anti-mainstream media campaign, and wanted to show how peaceful Baghdad is these days. Never motivate the bloggers...

Philly fans love cocks?

Too easy. Just too easy...

Apparently the Phillies marketing team made a huge mistake (brilliant marketing ploy?) with their season ticket holder DVD. Contained in a few lucky recipients' DVDs were hours--HOURS--of genuine cockfighting. Sweeeeeeet.

6abc, as always, is on top of the real news in the area.

No connection was immediately available between the Phillies and the matadors, but we hear that bidders unhappy with their hens hurled Duracells their way.

Rich punks, take 2

Some more developments have surfaced in the last 24 hours regarding the Duke lacrosse scandal...

Smoking Gun has posted the original (and graphic) police report;

we learn (via the AP) that 15 players had priors. To be fair, this is entirely normal on a college campus, depending on the school's level of security. Almost all the charges were minor and alcohol-related (ie-carrying an open container), so this was made to be a bigger deal than it is;

The team broke its silence...sort of. The captains released a short, carefully-worded statement after meeting with the President again. They called the allegations "totally and transparently false." Despite their proclaimed innocence, they continue to stonewall the authorities.

For bios on the alleged perpetrators, see the new link we've posted.

Still monitoring...


Who's that prickly pol?

That lewd leader?

That sensual statesman?

OK, we're finished. That, ladies and gents, is everyone's favorite Italian Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi, playing "hide the salami" with an unsuspecting woman on his way to his escort (car, not woman).

The video first appeared stateside on Countdown with Keith Olbermann, and has since been making the rounds on the internet. Say what you will about the gall of this glad-hander, but one fact will make everything just:

Silvio's in an election year.

See the video

High-Yield Bonds

Three cheers for revisionist history!

Apparently Bud Selig feels so shocked--and castrated--by the recent revelations (GASP!) that Barry Bonds took steroids. As if that wasn't enough, there may have been others, too! NOOOOOOO!

In order to rectify this pissing on our pastime, good ol' Bud has appointed George Mitchell, former Democratic Senator (Bud obviously is a big Sporlitics fan) and current Disney chairman of the board, to head a task force to...wait for it...wait for it...investigate Barry Bonds! ...and any past offenders, but probably noone named McGwire, Sosa, Giambi, Vaughn, or Thomas. But shh! Don't tell nobody.

Cork it, Bud. There are so many different ways this investigation is both impotent and hypocritical, they're almost not worth, come on, of course we're gonna do it:
1) This should have been done years ago. Selig had not one, but two separate CBA negotiations since steroids started being widely used. He had two separate chances to demand of Don Fehr that players obey the law and submit themselves to steroid tests. Even the second time, in 2003, when fans caught the whiff of the juice, Bud succumbed to the mighty union. It appears he has the same problem as many of the juiced players: no balls.
2) Who will be investigated? How will you investigate them? All hearsay? Remember, no one was tested before a couple years ago, so there are no vials of urine waiting to be tested. We are most curious about this part of the investigation. How do you investigate the past if there is no evidence?
3) Let's make the assumption, however grand, that this investigation actually turns up a few high-profile culprits. How do you punish them? Go back and take away stats? Trophies? Keep them out of the Hall? Fat chance. Even if they wanted to, they couldn't do any of this, because...
4) Being on the juice wasn't against the rules! Steroids were as illegal as Gatorade in baseball (and about as prevalent). As Sporlinoted above, Don Fehr convinced Bud Selig time and time again to allow ballplayers to circumvent U.S. law. They could take substances that we could not, and therefore they did not break any rules.

Good luck to Bud. Not for finding any users--which is as easy as looking at some before/after photos--but for pasting together the shards of his legacy.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Duke's week gets WAY worse

A story that has somehow traveled under the radar for almost a week is just starting to creep out into the open.

Last week the Duke lacrosse team held a bachelor party in which two strippers--both black, both students at nearby North Carolina Central University--were allegedly heckled with racial slurs shortly after the dancing began. They say one was then taken away from the nearly 50 players present (after being told they would be dancing for just a handful) and led into a bathroom where she was allegedly beaten, choked, and raped.

Even though the players have stonewalled the authorities, the University is taking action. 46 of the 47 players were forced to give DNA swabs, and the season has been canceled. It is worth noting that Duke is the #2 team in the nation.

The race of the strippers is notable because the Duke lacrosse team looks like almost every other team--no matter the level: 46 of the 47 players are white. The black player was not made to give a swab because the strippers said the attackers were white.

Lacrosse has always been chock-full of the same types that later commit the white-collar crimes like Enron: rich, white kids whose only possession greater than their wealth is their cockiness and general sense of untouchability. The only difference between them and what they will become thirty years down the road is a total misunderstanding of consequences, a dangerous ingredient.

We still live in a society where you are innocent until proven guilty. There are a few aspects of this case that do not paint things positively for the stud athletes:
1) Duke's severe--and admirable, in the face of passive institutions--actions. If they thought their students were innocent, they would not have taken the drastic actions they have.
2) Rich, white, cocky athletes paying $43,000 a year to go to an almost all-white school in a town, Durham, where half the population is black. Mix that with two black students from the low-income community, and you've got yourself some old-fashioned, Southern-style racial tension.
3) The aforementioned teflon sense of many rich 21-year-olds, combined with the fact that none are cooperating with the authorities.

A tragic story that we all hope comes to a swift, fair conclusion. Monitoring...

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Thank you, Ms. Teacher, may I have another?

Apparently Delaware, our crazy mid-atlantic neighbor, is considering legislation to return spaking to its schools.

You read that correctly: RETURN.

They repealed the law in 2003, thus prohibiting corporal punishment, and now some wahoo named Atkins wants to bring it back. He claims that the schools "were asking for it."

Worst (or best?) part: it's got bi-partisan sponsors. We get to blame everybody!

First Slate has more...

The luckiest team on the face of the earth

It wasn't the FTs (47 for UConn, 23 for UW). UConn plays inside, Washington does not.

It wasn't the turnovers (26 for UConn), although it should've been.

It was 2 things: the most clutch player in the tournament, Rashad Anderson (the Courant suggests renaming it Rashington, DC), being left open by another Sweet 16 regretter (UW joins Gonzaga and BC as teams that blew big leads in the Sweet 16) on jump shot after late jump shot; and

Brandon Roy, a senior who has been overlooked all year and whom Jim Calhoun called "the most complete player in the country", losing his cool mid-dominance and mid-lead. He decided to remind Rudy Gay who was showing up for the NBA Scouts in attendance, and in the process picked up his 4th foul (see picture). That was it. A double-figure lead evaporated, and the UConn luck streak continued.

Squeaking by Albany? Barely surviving an 8-seed? And now down 11 late to a PAC-10 runner-up? These dogs have many, many lives.

They are dangerously close to becoming the most talented team never to win anything. We are sick of hearing how skilled they are while watching them commit 23 turnovers in the first 25 minutes. At some point you forfeit skill with lazy, stupid play. And the man who would have been on the hook is one of the best in-tourney coaches ever: Mr. Calhoun.

If a team is so consistently empty-headed, you have to blame the coach. That may come soon. But for now, UConn lives to see another day, and a game mid-major playing a home game.

Besides, we still got Nova winning it all. (Big 5 love)

Friday, March 24, 2006

Weah Weekly Awards, 3/20

And now, for the Weah's, Sporlitics' weekly awards named after a great athlete (George Weah) now making his way into the world of Politics in his home country of Liberia...

Weah to go:
1) George Mason: No matter what they do from here on out, they made some serious headway for the CAA and shutup all those naysayers.
2) Russ Feingold: firmly holds onto his place as ballsiest Senator. Throw in a great appearance on the Daily Show, and it's another solid week.
3) Whomever is winning their pool.

On the Weah down:
1) Dick Vitale, Seth Davis, Billy Packer, and Jim Nantz: All ate crow on (respectively) Duke prediction/love affair, Gonzaga prediction/love affair, railing on MVC, railing on Craig Littlepage (one of the classiest men in sports). Packer/Nantz keep trying to change the subject to the Big 10, but they look like morons, as usual.
2) President Bush: his answer to sagging approval ratings and a disatrous war effort is to call a press conference and beat up on an 85 year-old lady.
3) US Soccer: maybe no one cares, but they got blown out this week against a faltering German squad--although the US was missing many stars.

The "Take that, Darwin" Award of the Week:
JP Bautista, Gonzaga. Derek Raivio was standing right there, wide open. Throw him the damn ball!

How sweet it is...

...watching 6'6 men cry.

An amazing night of ball last night, one that reminds us (as if we needed a refresher) on why the tourney is what it is.

And why we all hate Duke.

First it was the baby Tigers running rampant over everyone's model program. We had a bunch of freshmen and sophomores driving seniors, consensus all-Americans, crazy. As he has in big games his whole career, JJ Redick shat the bed (never scored 20 in a Sweet 16 game or beyond; last night had more turnovers, 4, than FGs, 3. And cried like a true Duke star). Beyond that, the Devils choked down the stretch and their depth--hey coach, how many McD's all-Americans do you have warming that pine, exactly?--killed them as it always does. And yet again, Coach K was outKoached. Yeah he's won 3 championships, but he has been consistently outsmarted in the tourney recently. Calhoun, Mike Davis, Tom Izzo, and now Mr. Brady. So what if your program recruits itself; learn how to manage a game.

After just enough tears from the Devils and Mr. Vitale, it was time for the main event. Although you wouldn't have known it for the first 30 minutes. UCLA couldn't have hit Starr Jones' ass for the whole first half, yet they found themselves down a managable 13 at the break.

We should pause briefly and acknowledge two things:
1) Adam Morrison and the zags got their wake-up call. Morrison said Gonzaga has "got to be considered a top-notch program." News flash, Ron Jeremy: the Zags hadn't been to the Sweet 16 in 5 years, the Elite Eight in 7. Bradley has gone as far as you in the last 5 years. You are a top-notch mid-major.
2) This is why a weak schedule will bite you in the ass. Since January they have played only the WCC, which is equivalent to Our Sisters of the Poor. And the games were close. This team was not that good. It's not their fault that they are in that conference, but if they want to be a power, switch conferences. The PAC-10 will welcome you.

Oh, and we called it. Our brackets may have all been dead after the first day (Sporlinote: NEVER pick a Big 10 team as your darkhorse Final Four contestant), but we knew the Zags were overrated. So Seth "Gonzaga WILL be in the Final Four" Davis can eat it again.

Sorry, we're getting off-track. Jordan Farmar and UCLA completed the greatest steal-and-layup since Bird on the Pistons. Bird steals the ball! Gets it underneath to DJ and he lays it in!!!!!! The Bruins showed balls, but more importantly they showed what playing a real schedule will do for you. They have been in close games against tough teams. Gonzaga has had their hands full with Mt. St. Mary's. It just don't compare, and it showed down the stretch last night.

It's also worth Sporlinoting that UCLA showed some serious class. Indicative of coach Ben Howland, some of the Bruins stopped their celebration to go over and console Morrison, who was weeping face-down on the floor. He later said he appreciated the effort.

Last, Redick and Morrison: media darlings. If we hear one more tidbit about how they're friends we're suing the national media for lack of creativity. Enough. They are great players, but neither could get it done in the clutch. Good for them for their stellar college careers. We just can't wait til those Larry Bird and Pistol Pete comparisons die in a year.

All in all, a wonderful night of Tourney action with plenty left to go. And no matter what happens, just remember: it's not like we can ever run out of reasons to enjoy A-Rod's humiliation (take 1, and take 2).

...aaaaaaand we're back!

As you can already tell, we here at Sporlitics like to take as many vacations as our President. For every week worked, we get time-and-a-half for vacation. But we're back now, and with more ammo than ever.

Where to begin? President's duh-proval ratings...TO in Dallas...

come on. It's march. In the immortal words of Dook Vitale (who must have some hangover this morning):


Thursday, March 02, 2006

Watch. Your. Neck.

What do the following people have in common?
LaVar Arrington.
Sam Madison.
Eric Moulds.
Trevor Pryce.
LaRoi Glover.

They are all pro bowlers who are probably going to be free agents by the end of today (you only get partial credit if your answer was "large, agile black men"), thanks to what all the clever sportswriters are calling Bloody Thursday.

Here's the lowdown: There was an obscure clause written into the last labor agreement that basically said if there was no continuance by today, all salary cap hits would be counted against this year (as opposed to spread over later years). So every team now has more money to fit under the cap, and as such must cut more high-priced players.

We dare the NFL and the players to have some sort of strike/lockout/bitchfest. The NFL is hands-down the most popular--and richest--league in sports. The only way they can possibly screw it up is with a shutdown. Morons.

The problem is that both sides have decent arguments. Gene Upshaw and the players see that owners are making more money than ever, and want a bigger cut. The owners see how much money the players are making already, and how fans reacted against the players in hockey's missed season, and call the players greedy.

We say they're all idiots. Meet halfway, count your millions, and suit up for the next season.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006


Veteran Senator and original Sporlitician Jim Bunning offered up this heater to vocal critic Russ Feingold and the 3 other dissenters in today's extension of the Patriot Act:

"Civil liberties do not mean much when you are dead."

ZING! Searing AND enlightening. That's how the vets play hardball.

How's that for some chin music Feingold, you pansy. (Sporlinote: Feingold was the only Senator to vote against the original Patriot Act in 2001)

The other three "nays" were Bob "Grandpa" Byrd, Tom Harkin and Republican ship-jumper Jim Jeffords.

The mystery of outsourcing uncovered

MSNBC has a story about how more Americans can name all the Simpsons than can name more than one of the rights guaranteed in the 1st Amendment (Press, Religion, Assembly, Speech, and some complicated one).

No real surprise here. Just an excuse to show an old fave, an earlier MSNBC story that shows the majority of American college grads cannot complete intellectual tasks, such as, we shit you not, interpreting "a table about exercise and blood pressure."

Some of the priceless results:

More than 50 percent of students at four-year schools and more than 75 percent at two-year colleges lacked the skills to perform complex literacy tasks.

That means they could not interpret a table about exercise and blood pressure, understand the arguments of newspaper editorials, compare credit card offers with different interest rates and annual fees, or summarize results of a survey about parental involvement in school.

Almost 20 percent of students pursuing four-year degrees had only basic quantitative skills. For example, the students could not estimate if their car had enough gas to get to the service station. About 30 percent of two-year students had only basic math skills.

Most students at community colleges and four-year schools showed intermediate skills, meaning they could perform moderately challenging tasks. Examples include identifying a location on a map, calculating the cost of ordering office supplies or consulting a reference guide to figure out which foods contain a particular vitamin.

Great. So when a teacher asks where all the smart kids are in the world, "most students" will be able to pick out that location on a map. Just don't made them calculate how many jobs.