Wednesday, October 31, 2007

It's Over...Not that they'd tell us

Well, the lockdown's over. Still, they didn't do much of anything to inform us of this. They had a security guard come in when the lockdown was first announced, bellowing at the top of his lungs about how everyone must stay in the bloody building until further notice, and then they don't give us further notice. Bloody bureaucracies.

La Salle Lockdown

I am here at La Salle University, which has been locked down due to a shooting at 66th and West Oak Lane, which if I am not mistaken is over a mile away.

After the whole Virginia Tech bloodbath, I guess the administration is a little nervous about the possibility of a school shooting and, more likely, the lawsuits that would stem from it. Thanks to these lawsuit-fearing pansies, I'm stuck in this goddamn computer lab.

Although I think safety precautions and quick reactions are all prudent measures, I believe our society has become too fearful of danger and risk. This has culminated not only in a lawsuit-happy culture where we punish everyone and anyone if something goes wrong, but also in a culture of fear, where we panic at the slightest hint of a threat. Notice how we panic at every bit of chatter from al-Qaeda.

Meanwhile, I am trying to cope. I have been trying to call Mom. The phones in this lab don't seem to reach the outside world, or Mom is busy talking to someone on the phone, as I got a busy signal when I tried. I just don't want her worrying.

The atmosphere in the room is surprisingly relaxed. I felt a lot of tension when I first heard about it, but I am beginning to calm down. The students seem to be taking it in stride. I think they realize the risk of the shooter coming here is relatively low.

Monday, October 29, 2007

How 'Bout Them BoSox!

Well, the World Series has turned out to be a complete sweep! Red Sox vs. Rockies 4-0.

I have to admit, I was glad to see the Rockies receive a collective kick in the rear. After all, they dealt the Phillies a sweep at the beginning of the playoffs several weeks ago.

Still, I have to give the Rockies credit, as they had some great fielding and pitching through much of the Series. Terry Francona admitted that he was biting his nails throughout the last half inning of the game. (While we're on the subject of Francona, why on earth did the Phillies fire him anyway? See what's he's done for Boston?)

Sunday, October 28, 2007

An Endorsement for Philly's Elections

On November 6th, I recommend that everyone in the city vote for David Oh for City Council at Large. I think he is a candidate who could bring real reform to the city.

A recent article in the Philadelphia City Paper described Oh's underdog candidacy, bucking both the Democratic establishment and the (so-called) leaders of the Philadelphia Republican Party. He is targeting Republician councilman Jack Kelly, a waste of space who has spent his time in City Council trying to ban foie gras, on account of possible cruelty to animals. Never mind all the murder victims piling up on the city streets, Mr. Kelly.

We need a city councilman who really cares about the state of Philadelphia, rather than wasting time appealing to middle-class animal rights activists who have nothing better to do with their time. David Oh looks like the man who can make that happen.

Friday, October 26, 2007

World Series, Game 2

The Sox won again last night. Still, the Rockies demonstrated they were a team to be reckoned with, keeping the Sox offense down to only a few hits and even fewer runs.

A recent article on the Slate website sings the praises of the Rockies' fielding, which was truly on display yesterday evening, with many hitters getting thrown out at first. The article argues that fielding is just as important as offensive prowess to a team's success.

I have to admit, I have always found fielding to be one of the most impressive aspects of baseball. Just the thought of catching a ball flying at you from over a hundred feet in the air gives me the tingles.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

World Series Game 1

Last night's World Series game was one of the most amazing I have ever seen. The Red Sox's performance at the bottom of the fifth inning was incredible-seven home runs in a half-hour long inning! That was some of the best offensive performance ever.

Their pitching was also great. They kept the Rockies down to one run, an amazing accomplishment given Colorado's recent success streak.

Outside of the Phillies, I really like the Red Sox. Until relatively recently, they've shared our underdog status. During the pre-game show last night, one commentator predicted that the Sox were no match for the Rockies. He may just eat his words.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

A Potentially Interesting Video Blog

In last week's Philadelphia Weekly, I read about an interesting video blog called Shadow World, which documents what life is like under the Kensington Avenue El. It features interviews with the various people you'll find there, ranging from shop keepers to crackheads.

It's worth a look. Just click on the link above.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Worst Debate Ever...

Saturday's debate between Democratic mayoral candidate Michael Nutter and Republican would-be candidate Al Taubenberger was a waste of all thirty minutes of its time. The candidates rarely if ever disagreed, and Taubenberger frankly came across as a non-entity with no political experience.

Philadelphia's political situation is truly pathetic. Despite the city being in wretched condition after fifty years of rule by the local Democratic party, which has grown undeniably corrupt, the Republican Party has failed to mount an effective response. Part of this is because of the racial politics of Philadelphia. However, a total lack of organization on the part of the Republicans, combined with an over-reliance on the now discredited Sam Katz, has rendered the Philadelphia Republicans totally worthless as a party.

Just take a look at Taubenberger's website. It isn't even well put together, especially when compared to Nutter's website, linked above. The candidate hasn't even bothered to present himself well or run a decent campaign.

I am thinking of looking at third party candidates, just as a means of protest. The Green Party of Philadelphia doesn't seem to be running anybody for mayor, but I'll look into other possibilities.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Bombings in Pakistan

The attempted assassination of former Pakistani leader Bhutto yesterday by a suicide bomber illustrates the instability of Pakistan and the potential threat it poses to US interests. If Pakistan plunges into chaos, we will face the real prospect of nuclear weapons falling into the hands of al-Qaeda, as well as the possibility of limited nuclear war between India and Pakistan, with devastating consequences for the US economy.

In my opinion, this demonstrates another reason why we should disengage from Iraq. By having all of our troops tied up in Mesopotamia, we run the very real risk that we will be unable to quickly react to situations in the rest of the world. There is an opportunity cost for every military engagement we participate in. The potential opportunity cost of Iraq is becoming too high.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Ron Paul DVD

Last night, I watched a DVD of Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul's various television appearances, including his participation in televised debates with Rudy Giuliani. He has some good ideas, some bad ideas, and some truly odd ideas.

For example, he thinks we should draw out of Iraq completely-good idea. However, he also thinks we should get rid of the income tax, the inheritance tax, and the inflation tax, among others-bad idea. And, just to top things off, he thinks that the Federal Reserve and our membership in the United Nations are unconstitutional. Okay...

I received this DVD from a group of students supporting Ron Paul at La Salle Monday. They seemed like far left types who actually would not agree with many of Ron Paul's positions, such as his opposition to abortion. They deserve kudos for having included these positions on their home-produced DVD.

Their support for this candidate speaks to the pathetic lack of truly anti-war and anti-drug war candidates in the 2008 race. You have to go with fundamentalist libertarians to find anyone with intelligent positions on these issues.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Getting a Little Naive There, Andy

Andrew Sullivan, usually a pretty insightful blogger, came up with a pretty naive post today. He thinks that African-Americans are not supporting Obama because they wrongly think a black person can't win the presidency.

Although I would not necessarily conclude it is impossible for a black man to win, I would not deny that this could be the case. Although racism has been-thankfully-largely extirpated from the middle and upper classes, it is alive and well among the lower middle and working classes. There are various reasons for this, too many to go into in a single blog post. Nevertheless, this is the case, and cannot be denied by anyone who has dealt with this portion of society.

Sullivan's naivity stems either from a lack of contact or, as I suspect is the case, a lack of interest in the bottom half of society. These remaining sections of bigotry will be obstacle to Senator Obama, albeit one he may well overcome.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Assassins at the Arden Theatre

Yesterday, I went to see the play Assassins at the Arden Theatre. I really enjoyed it. The actors were uniformly good-I especially liked the woman who played Squeaky Fromme. I also found it to be hilarious, yet at the same time a deep exploration of how disappointing it can be to live in America.

I stayed for the question and answer session after the show. A lot of audience members, especially the older ones, seemed to take issue with the play, considering it to be in bad taste. Uh, folks, what the hell did you expect? It's a musical about presidential assassins for crying out loud!

One woman sitting next to me kept muttering about how offensive it was. Getting annoyed, I turned to her and asked, "Then why did you attend?" The woman apparently had not even bothered to find out what the play was about.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Phillies On the Line

Well, the home team's facing a tough one. If we don't win tonight's game, we're toast.

My thinking is we need to get some more effective pitchers. We have a few prime cuts, like Brett Myers and Jamie Moyer, but a lot just can't do anything.

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