Stadium wins, 108-36

Filed in SportsTags: Colts, Indiana, Indianapolis, NFL

Good news for the Colts. The Stadium funding bill passed, 108-36

After four months of sometimes angry debate, the General Assembly took a crucial step toward solidifying the city's NFL future Friday night by easily approving a financing plan for a new Colts stadium and expanded Indiana Convention Center.

Ground-breaking for the new, retractable-roof stadium is scheduled for August 1, with completion of the stadium scheduled for 2008. The convention center expansion is slated to begin at that time, with a projected completion of 2010.

Colts new stadium, artist renditionA lot of controversy - mostly local politics and questions of who should bear the tax burden for the new stadium - has surrounded this project, but in the end, getting this deal done - at almost any cost - is a long-term boon for both the Colts and the city of Indianapolis.

More Reuters Bush Bashing

Filed in PoliticsTags: Media Bias, War on Terror

Vyvoda asks what "Bush supporters" have to say about this Reuters article, which in typical roto-Reuters fashion is headlined World Terror Attacks Tripled in 2004 by U.S. Count:

The U.S. count of major world terrorist attacks more than tripled in 2004, a rise that may revive debate on whether the Bush administration is winning the war on terrorism, congressional aides said on Tuesday.

The number of "significant" international terrorist attacks rose to about 650 last year from about 175 in 2003, according to congressional aides briefed on the numbers by State Department and intelligence officials on Monday.

Sounds pretty bad for the Bush Doctrine, and the Global War on Terror, no? Oh, but wait; let's dig a bit deeper, shall we? Elsewhere in the article, we find:

Waxman's letter said that of the about 650 significant attacks last year, about 300 reflected violence in India and Pakistan, leaving some 350 attacks elsewhere in the world -- double the total 2003 count.

He suggested this reflected enhanced U.S. efforts to monitor media reports of violence, thereby leading to the identification of "many more attacks in India and Pakistan related to Kashmir."

Okay, stop right here. Which is it? Terrorist attacks tripled, or we just weren't counting them in the first place? Is it even plausible that the number of terrorist attacks in Kashmir alone is double the total number of terrorist attacks in the entire world just a year prior? Obviously, this year's count reflects better information/intelligence gathering with respect to world terror. So, this story is really a non-story, right? Oh, no - Reuters can't end it without letting some Democrat hack take a cheap shot at Bush:

"What it effectively means is that the Bush administration and the CIA haven't been putting the staff resources necessary and have missed 80 percent of the world's terrorist incidents" in past years, said a Democratic congressional aide. "How can you have an effective counterterrorism policy from that?"

So, it's Bush's fault! Of course! But, wait; a little earlier in the article we read:

It later said the number killed and injured in 2003 was more than double its original count and said "significant" terrorist attacks -- those that kill or seriously injure someone, cause more than $10,000 in damage or attempt to do either of those things -- rose to a 20-year high of 175.

(Emphasis added)

So what's the implication? Roto-reuters would have you believe 1) Bush's counterterrorism policy has been an abject failure due to its inability to count terrorist attacks accurately, and 2) Bush's counterterrorism policy has been an abject failure due to its inability to prevent terrorism from spiraling to more than three times its 20 year high.

So what's the truth?

Congressional aides said about 10 full-time employees worked on the 2004 count, up from about three in past years, and that this produced a more complete count.

So, Bush put together the Department of Homeland Security, has made a good-faith effort to enact intelligence changes proposed by Congress, and is generally putting significantly more resources into HumInt than previous administrations ("previous administrations", referring directly to Clinton, is the correct translation of Reuters' misleading "past years") - and Roto-reuters manages to blame him at every turn.

A better analysis of this information is that world terrorism was higher all along, and the Bush administration should be praised for dedicating the manpower to track and count terrorist acts more accurately and completely.

Absolutely Fascinating

Filed in PoliticsTags: Missouri, Saint Louis, War on Terror

Samir with captured dictator Saddam HusseinWhile I don't often agree with their politics, I generally enjoy reading the sub-/counter-culture weekly Riverfront Times. It usually has well-written articles of local interest, like this one, which ConservativeDialysis found and wrote about. (Ditto the caveat: RFT doesn't fall under "family-friendly" in the language department.)

Some choice nuggets:

Samir says a soldier fired several blank rounds into the bunker's exposed opening, and a man's voice cried out from the spider hole, pleading for his life.

"He said, 'Don't shoot. Don't kill me,'" recounts Samir.

How appropriate. The last, defiant words uttered in freedom by the murderous tyrant were a plea for mercy. Mercy, I might add, he would never have dreamed of giving anyone.

Later, when the world's most wanted man was whisked onto an awaiting helicopter, Samir remembers Saddam muttering to himself in English, asking the same question again and again: "America, why? America, why?"

And the cries continue to rise from the mass graves, filled with those killed by the Saddam regime, the silent din crying out in unison: "Why, Saddam?", "Why, Saddam?"

Samir was a twenty-year-old college student living in the southern Iraqi city of Nasiriyah when he joined a civilian uprising against Saddam. It was 1991, and U.S. and coalition fighters had just declared a ceasefire after liberating Kuwait.

Encouraged by the Republican Guard's swift defeat, Samir grabbed the family AK-47 and joined thousands of southern Shiites organizing a massive rebellion. In hindsight, Samir says, the revolution was doomed from the start.

The ceasefire allowed Saddam to regroup and launch a counterattack against his own people. It soon became clear that the United States never planned to assist the Shiites with any tactical support. The failure of the U.S. government to provide military assistance during the uprising still strikes a sour chord with Samir and countless other Shiites.

"We were defenseless," fumes Samir. "Saddam began a retaliation campaign with tanks and helicopters. Our guns were useless."

George Bush Senior's worst mistake: not finishing what he started. How long did it take Coalition forces to rebuild the trust lost by this perceived betrayal?

The next morning Samir hopped on a Humvee for the half-hour drive to his parents' home. The entire neighborhood, some 700 residents, poured into the streets to greet him."It was an awesome feeling," he says. "I felt like I was coming with the U.S. forces to free my family. It was the best feeling of my life."

Not a bad homecoming, for someone who left in fear for his life - returning like the conquering hero from the Hollywood westerns he loved as a child.

Samir is quick to anger when people dismiss the necessity of the U.S. invasion of Iraq -- or, even worse, when they question the validity of Saddam's capture.

Not that they elaborated on this point, but kudos to RFT for even writing it; it pretty well flies in the face of the beliefs of most of their readership.

Late last month Samir returned to Iraq for the third time since the fall of Saddam's regime. This time he's working not as a interpreter but as a political and cultural consultant in the U.S. government's rebuilding efforts. The job can earn Samir in excess of $100,000 a year, though he says he'd do it for half as much.

As to the risks of arbitrary suicide bombings, Samir says he'd rather die in Iraq than here in a car accident or from a heart attack.

"Everyone dies one day," he muses. "Dying with honor is better than dying with nothing. At least you're going to be remembered."

And this man will be remembered well, of that I am quite sure.

Wittenberg Gate: Christian Carnival

Filed in ReligionTags: Carnivals, Christianity

Wittenberg Gate hosts this week's Christian Carnival:

Posts are divided into the following categories: Apologetics, Bible Study, Books, Christian Living, Church Issues, Culture & Current Events, Family, Gospel, and Theology.

Do you think anything I write is carnival-worthy?

Vote Fraud Theorists Battle Over Plausibility

Filed in PoliticsTags: Elections

Stones Cry Out reports on much ado about nothing in the Washington Post:

Yet there's lots of chatter in the blogosphere, but little coverage in the mainstream media, of a study that suggests the early exit polls that showed Kerry beating Bush may have been accurate after all. The study, conducted on behalf of U.S. Count Votes, a non-partisan but left-leaning non-profit organization.

Let's have a look at their conclusions, shall we?

But in some ways they seem to be playing a game, too, because the study clearly leaves the impression that the authors believe there was wholesale fraud in the 2004 presidential election.

The methodology and math of the study are far too complicated to get into in detail here. But here is a link to the entire study for your reading pleasure.

Among other things, the study reports that some of the largest discrepancies between exit polls and final vote tallies occurred inexplicably in battleground states.

I'll revisit this post after reading the report, but here are my initial thoughts:

We have a case in which a sample varied significantly from the population. On the face, we are faced with three possibilities:

  1. The sample was accurate, but a statistical outlier
  2. The sample was accurate, and the population inaccurate
  3. The sample was inaccurate, and the population was accurate

It appears that the first goal of this report is to rule out option #1. Fair enough; I'll agree whole-heartedly with ruling out option #1. However, I suspect the report spends the rest of its pages supporting option #2 over option #3. To wit:

Among other things, the study reports that some of the largest discrepancies between exit polls and final vote tallies occurred inexplicably in battleground states.

"This discrepancy between exit polls and the official election results has triggered a controversy which has yet to be resolved," according the report.

If true, this analysis again has multiple explanations. The report chooses to favor option #2 (above), and probably goes to great length trying to support that conclusion. However, what the report implies as "wholesale vote fraud" I propose is actually "wholesale exit poll fraud". Which is more plausible? Top-to-bottom coordination across state lines to throw the election to Bush through vote fraud, or misleading exit poll data?

Looking at the 2000 election, incorrectly - and prematurely - calling Florida for Gore suppressed the Bush vote in the yet-to-close Florida panhandle precincts, and in a ripple effect suppressed the Bush vote across the rest of the country. Might it be plausible to think that someone concluded that a similar tactic could be used to "throw" the election for Kerry, by reporting biased exit poll data indicating a Kerry victory, with the assumption that such flawed data would become a self-fulfilling prophecy by once again suppressing the Bush vote across the country? If I recall correctly, the 2004 exit poll data over-sampled demographics that indicated biased results in favor of Kerry. (Which, if true, would really be more Option #1, with intentional, malicious intent.)

More later...

(Temporary: original Haloscan Comments - Comments)

’05 NFL Draft – Round 7

Filed in SportsTags: Colts, Draft, Indiana, Indianapolis, NFL

With the 243rd overall pick in the '05 draft, the Indianapolis Colts take Anthony Davis (RB, Wis, 5'6, 200, 4.51). From the ESPN NFL Draft Tracker:

Davis is one of the more explosive backs in this class and he also has terrific overall running skills. He's quick, shifty, decisive, tough for his size and shows a second gear in the open field. The problem when projecting him as an NFL back, however, is that he lacks size, has durability and character concerns, and has much room to improve in the passing game.

Probably a good seventh-round pick-up. Serviceable immediately as a backup for Edge, though probably too undersized to be his long-term replacement. Even so, is explosive and has home-run potential - assuming he doesn't get overwhelmed by NFL-sized d-backs.

NFL Draft Countdown
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’05 NFL Draft – Round 6

Filed in SportsTags: Colts, Draft, Indiana, Indianapolis, NFL

With the 202nd overall pick in the '05 draft, the Indianapolis Colts take Dave Rayner (PK, MSU, 6'2, 210, 5.0). From the ESPN NFL Draft Tracker:

Raynor has one of the stronger legs in the country but accuracy continues to be a problem. He has been below average in terms of his field goal percentage and he also has missed an extra point in three of his four collegiate seasons.

I can only speculate that Polian is hoping to find a cheap place kicker who can actually get touchbacks. Doesn't appear to have the consistent accuracy needed to replace a Vanderjagt.

NFL Draft Countdown
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’05 NFL Draft – Round 5

Filed in SportsTags: Colts, Draft, Indiana, Indianapolis, NFL

With the 148th overall pick in the '05 draft*, the Indianapolis Colts take Jonathan Welsh (DE, WIS, 6'3, 244, 4.52). From the ESPN NFL Draft Tracker:

Welsh is a bit of a late-bloomer. He lacks ideal size as a DE prospect and he has limited experience dropping into coverage as a linebacker. However, his combination of speed, upper body power and explosiveness make him an intriguing late-Day 1 or early-Day 2 prospect for a team that employs a 3-4 scheme and is looking for an impact pass rusher at the "rush-LB" position.

*NOTE: Philadelphia traded the 148th (5th) pick to Indianapolis for a 4th round selection in 2006.

Looks to be an undersized, speedy DE who most predict to be converted into an OLB at the pro level. Such a move would suit the Colts well, upgrading their LB corps, and having a good "system" DE for depth. Looks like a midseason-2004 injury dropped him down to the fifth round, and as such, this pick could be a real steal for the Colts.

On The Clock

With the 165th overall pick in the '05 draft, the Indianapolis Colts take Rob Hunt (C, NDSU, 6'4, 301, 4.93). From the ESPN NFL Draft Tracker:

Hunt has a chance to develop into a late-round "sleeper" from this year's class. His level of competition is obviously a concern. He also has work to do in terms of his technique and his lower body strength. However, Hunt is a durable and tough player with an impressive combination of size, speed and athletic ability.

This one could be the Colts' Center of the future. Lots of upside. Should flourish under Howard Mudd's o-line system.

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With the 173rd overall pick in the '05 draft, the Indianapolis Colts take Tyjuan Hagler (OLB, Cincinnati, 5'11, 236, 4.62). From the ESPN NFL Draft Tracker:

Hagler is an undersized WLB prospect with very good quickness and speed for the position. Hagler had his best season as a senior and he had an impressive showing at the combine

Looks like a Dungy-type linebacker: strong and fast, if "undersized". Good pick; upgrade to the front seven - especially if he develops well in the Dungy system.

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’05 NFL Draft – Round 4

Filed in SportsTags: Colts, Draft, Indiana, Indianapolis, NFL

With the 129th overall pick in the '05 draft, the Indianapolis Colts take Dylan Gandy (OG, Texas Tech, 6'3, 304, 45.12. From the ESPN NFL Draft Tracker:

Gandy is undersized, lacks great strength and still needs more experience. However, his athleticism, versatility and quickness make him an intriguing mid-to-late round prospect in the 2005 draft class. Dylan had a strong senior season as a fulltime starting center and, if he can continue to improve at the NFL level, he has a chance to become a valuable interior OL reserve.

Moving to the offense with the first pick in the fourth round. The third through fifth rounds have usually been where Polian and Co. have done a great job of mining gold with o-line picks. Looks like Gandy will fit well in Mudd's system.

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With the 136th overall pick in the '05 draft, the Indianapolis Colts take Matt Giordano (S, Cal, 5'10, 195, 4.54). From the ESPN NFL Draft Tracker:

Another bone-crunching safety to bolster the secondary...


’05 NFL Draft – Round 3

Filed in SportsTags: Colts, Draft, Indiana, Indianapolis, NFL

With the 92nd overall pick in the '05 draft, the Indianapolis Colts take Vincent "Sweat Pea" Burns (DE, Kentucky, 6.0, 267, 4.89). From the ESPN NFL Draft Tracker:

Burns reminds us a lot of Anthony Adams, a second round pick of the 49ers in 2003. He is a 'tweener DE/DT that may never be more than a "wave" player as a 3-4 DE or 4-3 DT.

Finally! In the third round, the Colts dip into the d-line pool. Could be the much-needed complement to Dwight Freeney; at the very least, will provide good backup on the line.

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