Some Belated Soccer Notes

My day to day life has been consuming my time a good bit, but did want to stick my head in for a few moments and address some recent events in the world’s most popular sport.

I’ve been putting this post together in my head for weeks and one of the points I was about to make was that being an Arsenal fan was going to be tough this year. Now I’m not so sure. Clearly, RobinVan Persie is going to have to be healthy; he’s scored half of their goals in league play this year.

I was also wondering if Arsene Wenger’s skill at picking players and nurturing their talent was waning. Thierry Henry’s career took off under Wenger. Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri were inspired signings, Aaron Ramsey is progressing wonderfully and Jack Wilshire will be a terrific asset when he returns from injury. Yet Marouane Chamakh has been a major disappointment, Nicklas Bendtner is out on loan to Sunderland and I doubt if he will be on the team next year, I last saw Sébastien Squalacci on a milk carton and Andrei Arshavin, is to be charitable, very inconsistent.

The English game is a lot different, isn’t it Andre Villas-Boas? You might want to bolster that midfield a bit and get some help on the back line.

This has got to be one of the strangest Champions League Group stages I can remember: Manchester City may not move on, while a Cypriot  team is leading a group with FC Porto and Shakhtar Donetsk, both of which may be eliminated.

I have a good friend originally from Turin who pulls for Inter Milan. He’s had a tough year. How tough? He’s more optimistic about the Italian National Team in Euro 2012 than he is about Inter. Hang in there, Massimo.

Wayne Rooney’s temper got the best of him in a Euro 2012 qualifier against  Montenegro and he received a red card and three game suspension. This has given Fabio Capello, the England coach a tough decision to make: put Rooney on the squad even if he won’t be available for the group stage or find someone else.

Manchester United may have beaten Everton on Saturday, but what I saw failed to impress me, at least defensively. I do not see what Alex Ferguson sees in Jonny Evans. I really don’t.

A bit of fixture congestion is building up for FC Barcelona. The current schedule has them facing Real Madrid on December 10 and appearing in the semifinals of the FIFA Club World Cup on December 15 (the CONMEBOL and UEFA Champions enter the competition at that stage) in Japan. I’m not sure if that schedule will hold, but there’s not a lot of room to maneuver: their next team is currently scheduled for December 17, the day before the Club World Cup championship and third place games and then the Christmas break starts.

Busted, disgusted

An interesting piece by Nate Silver on conservative blogosphere reaction to the Cain sexual harassment story (which is starting to interest me in terms of phenomena like this, if not in and of itself):

The conservative blogs that I counted were those that had been linked to on Memorandum, an aggregation website, either Monday night or earlier that day.

I then classified the reactions as being either basically sympathetic to Mr. Cain, unsympathetic to Mr. Cain, or fairly neutral and adopting more of a wait-and-see approach. There were 46 conservative journalists or bloggers who wrote in enough detail about the allegations to allow me to characterize them in this way. (You can see the way I classified each individual blogger here — there were certainly a few debatable calls.)

Overall, the reactions were quite sympathetic. I counted 23 bloggers who either defended Mr. Cain or harshly critiqued the reporting in the story. There were just 6 bloggers, meanwhile, who took a largely unsympathetic position toward Mr. Cain.


[P]articularly given the already extant tensions between the political establishment, which is broadly dismissive of Mr. Cain, and the conservative grass-roots, which has evident affection for him, the accusations might carry less weight against him than they would against a more “mainstream” candidate.

The general trend in establishment media is to suck up more and more to the far right, whether it’s Kaplan and NYT deciding to follow every O’Keefe story or CNN hiring Erick Erickson (which doesn’t bother me, but is just a sign o’ the times), while nothing that they do can assuage the right’s hatred and hatred distrust. What’s the point?

RSS reader bleg

The new version of Google Reader is a disaster, weird colors, doesn’t size properly, red buttons everywhere for stuff you don’t want to do.

Are there any decent RSS readers for Mac? I tried bloglines but it makes it a pain to migrate my Google subscriptions over. Is there anything else that’s good?

Am I wrong to think that Google has gone so wrong — first with Buzz, then with this — that I should think about having an alternative to Gmail in case they shit that bed too?

Virginia GOP Halloween-themed email featuring zombie Obama with a bullet in his head? [updated]

Not cool, dudes.


Surprise! Some Republicans somewhere did something really stupid:

Virginia Republicans were in apology mode Monday over a Halloween-themed email that depicted a zombie-like President Obama with what appeared to be a gunshot wound to the head.

Read more

Speaking of incoherent speaking

ABL wrote something below that reminded me of a seemingly forgotten nugget from those sepia-toned years way back in Bush junior’s first term. Did anyone else watch shrub’s live address after the New York blackout in 2003? Completely. Shitfaced. I mean beet-red, unable to frame a sentence in common English, needs help to and from the podium booze-clobbered. Not that there’s anything wrong with that; the guy was hosting a private fundraiser at the time and maybe that’s what it takes to reel in the big bucks. But definitely not the best approach when your main point is to reassure a frightened public that someone vertical capable is running the country.

If anyone has a clip of the full address to upload to YouTube or something, that would be awesome. The networks all spliced their rebroadcasts into a series of five second snippets because, honest to god, the last thing Americans needed at the time was to know that the President is face down on tile gurgling vomit when that three AM phone call comes.

Yes, we Cain

I have no interest in this Cain sexual harassment story. Do any of you have any interest in it?

There’s only one part that amuses me, and that’s the conservative claim that the librul media did this. I agree with those who say that Rove dropped a dime here. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, it’s all in the game.

Also too, I am hoping that Juan Williams and Richard Cohen weigh in on this.

Monday Night Open Thread

Had about 45 kids tonight and ran out of candy with 45 minutes left, so I had to turn the front porch light off and hide. Really weird- last year was a nicer night, and I had half as many kids. This year it was drizzling, and there were kids everywhere.