Thursday, November 09, 2006

Exit Nine divine! Rutgers a BCS contender?

Read it and believe.

Well, the Scarlet Knights had tradition on their side. It's been 137 years and three days since they won the first college football game ever played.

Update: Downside, for me, is that Louisville's next game is against my alma mater, South Florida, which, you may recall, beat the Cardinals last year when Louisville was undefeated and ranked number nine. So, the Cards will be doubly primed for revenge. It could be really ugly for the Bulls.

Next week, Rutgers faces Cincinnatti. The Bearcats (who play west Virginia tomorrow, and therefore will be coming off either a great upset or an expected defeat) are a prime upset suspect, i.e. a team it's easy to underestimate. If the Knights survive that encounter undefeated, they next must beat Syracuse, which is having a bad season, but is an inconsistent team capable in any given game of puling off a surprise. It will be the Orangemen's final game of the year, which may motivate them to play above their usual level. Rutgers' final test, on December 2, is against West Virginia, in Morgantown. Even if the Knights are still undefeated going into this one, they're likely to be considered underdogs.

I'm not going to attempt an answer to the question in the caption of this post. I will predict that, if they make it to the BCS championship game, they'll lose. Cinderella teams always do.

Extra update: The Gators won, but Urban Meyer may still have lost some weight in the cliffhanger with Spurrier's Gamecocks. USF pummeled 'Cuse, thereby strengthening their case for another minor bowl bid, and the "Dump Bowden" crowd in Tallahassee got a big boost from the Demon Deacons.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Mandatory post-election comments.

The Bush press conference just ended. He handled it better than I expected. The cockiness and the smirk were gone, though the customary jocularity broke through a few times. He seemed contrite, but not by any means abject.

He was best at handling attempts to embarrass him by citing campaign rhetoric, both Democratic and his own, and asking him how he could work with the new legislative leadership based on what had been said. He was also deft in handling questions arising from his assertion to three reporters, a few days before the election, that Rumsfeld would stay at Defense.

He did artfully dodge one question, which was about disillusion on the part of religious conservatives with his administration. He pretended not to know what the questioner meant, then mumbled something about his continued commitment to "faith-based initiatives" relating to social services. He wasn't about to be drawn into a discussion about abortion, stem-cell research and gay marriage.

About the last mentioned, Glenn Reynolds and I find our libertarian instincts in agreement.

This year, it's Virginia's turn in the barrel. I hope the Old Dominion handles it better than my old home Sunshine State did in 2000.

No surprises here in New York, except maybe Hevesi's margin of victory despite his ethical lapse, which I think many viewed as simply business as usual in Albany. I was surprised, however, on scanning the voting machine, to find that an old friend I had lost touch with several years back was the Green Party candidate for Attorney General (on a ticket headed by the founder of the Bells of Hell).

Update: Jacob Weisberg, in Slate, finds a dark lining on the silver cloud: many newly-elected Democrats are economic nationalists.

Counterpoint: Kausfiles, in a critique of Weisberg's article, links to an excellent post on Real Clear Politics by former Oklahoma Democratic Congressman Brad Carson. Carson's argument is that illegal immigration (Kaus's fave hobby horse for the past several months) is greatly amplifying the negative effects of globalization on America's large body of unskilled and semi-skilled labor market participants, and making us liberals' preferred palliatives (short-term adjustment grants, minimum wage increases and, most importantly, increased funding for education and retraining) both less effective and more expensive. An unstated conclusion is that this is likely to lead to increased pressure for protectionism in markets for goods and non-labor services.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Color guard for a parade that wasn't.

This powerful Army Corps of Engineers tug, flying a plus-sized flag, was meant to lead the WW II veteran aircraft carrier Intrepid as she was towed from her berth on the West Side of Manhattan to Bayonne, New Jersey, where she is to undergo extensive repairs. Unfortunately, despite an unusually high tide in the Hudson estuary this morning, Intrepid's propellors dug into the mud that has built up around her berth over the years, and the move had to be postponed. There will be another attempt in December. (Photo taken from the Irish Hunger Memorial, about which I'll be posting in the near future.)

Sunday, November 05, 2006

QM 2 again, The Bridge again, autumn flowers and kayaks on the East River.

Queen Mary 2 was back at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal today. The late afternoon sun highlighted her British Merchant Navy "red duster", fluttering from the staff at her stern, quite nicely.

Another view of Brooklyn Bridge, from further up Old Fulton Street. The white building in the foreground, One Front Street, once was a bank. In recent years it has been home to several restaurants and night clubs. The legendary Patsy Grimaldi's pizzaria is further down Old Fulton; the entrance is, in the photo, just below the traffic light.

These flowers were blooming in the small strip of parkland that borders the Brooklyn Heights Promenade on the inland side.

The East River (actually a strait linking Upper New York Bay to Long Island Sound) used to be regarded as unfit to travel in anything smaller than a Circle Line boat; the only bodies that came in contact with it were Brooklyn Bridge jumpers and those wearing cement overshoes. Nowadays, it's becoming a popular site for kayaking, as seen in this photo.