Oct 03

On Race, Sports, Rush and Ralph Wiley

It’s a shock to no one that I love sports. I also love to look at questions of sports in the context of the larger world. To that end, Ralph Wiley of ESPN.com is one of the most interesting, provocative sportswriters around, and while I don’t always agree with him, I find that his points are always well-made, always thoughtful and often force me to confront my own assumptions.

So I looked forward to reading his take on the Limbaugh-McNabb dust-up. I wasn’t disappointed. Wiley’s take on the events was insightful, controversial and tied it into the larger context that Limbaugh operates in.

Oct 02

The Plume Affair

Brad Delong has a fantastic break-down of the Valerie Plume scandal and why it’s a big deal.

For me, the entire deal shows that the Bush White House is willing to say, do or use anything for political gain or to punish those they don’t like. I’m hoping that, finally, they have done something that so breaks the code of conduct that Americans begin to scrutinze Bush’s actions, not the flowery words he uses.

Oct 01

Tech Learning Conference

[To quote Paul Simon, "I should be in bed, but a voice in my head says, 'aw what the hell...'"]

Spent today at the TechForum, sponsored by Technology & Learning magazine. I saw several of the old Alternative Schools group, which is always fun, although it was sad to think of what we all had built there and what has been torn down, but more importantly, it’s always interesting for me to go to these events to see what’s new and what’s interesting… and, to be honest, to get a sense of where Beacon is in the grand scheme of things.

Oct 01

Good Karma and Geek Sports

Here’s the article I wrote for the front of the Beacon web site on this weekend’s tourrney.

But on a more personal level, I love this squad. This is the third and fourth year with so many of these boys, and they work so hard. Today was the type of games that last year we lost. We had to come back again and again, and the kids just kept battling. For me, perhaps the classic moment of the tourney came when Gonzo chased down a floating huck twenty yards and got a block on the player who was just waiting for it to come down. Or maybe it was the Iggy to Joe or Iggy to Trigger long flicks down the line… or maybe it was the "AP Study Skills" call and perfect throw… or maybe it was Ricky’s block on game point… or Pablo just stepping up all day long… or Stephen running the wrong way and still catching the game winner… or Little Nick taking all his energy and just playing beautiful Ultimate… or Arthur laying out or out-sprinting player in the second half of the finals… or Ashley just screaming her lungs out all day long… or Adam just playing the best Ultimate I’ve ever seen him play…

I love coaching. And I love this team.

Sep 23

Welcome to Vietnam

Max Cleland, former Senator from Georgia, has fired off the latest salvo, making very explicit comparisons between Vietnam and Iraq. Moreover, Cleland — a vet who lost both legs and an arm in Vietnam — argues that the current administration did not learn the lessons of Vietnam… and he’s not shy about his reasons why.

Unfortunately, the people who drove the engine to get into the war in Iraq never served in Vietnam. Not the president. Not the vice president. Not the secretary of defense. Not the deputy secretary of defense. Too bad. They could have learned some lessons….

This is the latest of the "chicken hawk" arguments against the Bush Administrator, and this one resonates pretty strongly. How is it that all these men are so quick to send America soldiers to war, yet of Cheney, Bush, Perle, Wolfowitz and Rumsfeld, only Rumsfeld served in the armed forces?

Cleland goes a step further than merely accusing this administration of hypocracy, he argues that their lack of experience in any kind of modern war has led to several errors. To wit, he argues that the administration seems doomed not to learn from the past and, therefore, repeat it.

Now… before anyone suggest that Clinton’s Oxford deferment was no better than Bush’s National Guard "service," let me suggest that Clinton wasn’t rushing us into war. That creates a tangible difference.

And the thing is, I don’t fault anyone who didn’t want to fight in Vietnam. I wouldn’t have. I’m glad my father failed his physical. It was a quagmire that damaged our nation’s psyche for years afterwards. But Bush managed to dodge in a way that took advantage of every privilege available to him and then has the audacity to both fake his way into a war and then pass himself off as a war pilot. That’s where his actions cross the line into truly reprehensible. (Moreover, the GOP claims for the patriotic high-ground really fall apart when you compare the list of GOP veterans to the Democratic list.)

So where does this leave us? It leaves me asking more and more questions about what we’re doing in this war. It leaves me wondering why the media savaged Clinton for his Oxford deferment, yet does not want to ask Bush about his military record — worse, allows him to use our military for a PR shot. And it leaves, I’d imagine, Max Cleland angry. In fact, I’ll let him have the last word:

Welcome to Vietnam, Mr. President. Sorry you didn’t go when you had the chance.