Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Fabulous Football Fall Saturday

Ah, a clear blue sky, but more to come...

After two close losses and two injuries to quarterbacks, the Furman Paladins rolled(?) into a (mostly) refurbished Paladin Stadium for the first home game of the year.  Unlike most of the home games last year, not cloud was to be seen.

New press box and facilities
Paladin on the plaza seems excited
Concession choices seem limited
Luxury boxes aren't finished yet
Dad checks out new seating
Synthetic turf, looks the same

 The Paladins took the opening kick and drove, drove, drove down the field.  No passing, nothing fancy, they just ran over the visiting Blue Hose.  With half the 1st quarter gone they punched it in for the touchdown.

I got excited, but trust me, they scored here.

 On PC's first drive, after and inital penalty by Furman, it was three plays and punt.  Oh glorious stadium! Oh, glorious performance! Oh, glorious day!

Yeah...about that.

After the PC punt was a drive that should have ended in a Furman punt.  Should have....but a bad snap left the Furman punter diving on the ball.  And giving the ball up inside your own 10 yard line is a bad way to keep the other team out of the end zone.

And so it went.  A fumble coughed up.  A long drive allowed.  A missed field goal.  The half ended with PC up 20 to 7, with only a missed PC extra point keeping the margin from being two full touchdowns.  The normally late arriving Furman crowd began heading for the concession stands, and for some the exits.

The Paladin is not impressed.

At halftime, Furman unveiled it's new paladin logo:

 And a performance by the Paladin Regiment and Paladin Dancers:

With extra xylophones:
Seriously, there's like 5 xylophones.

The second half brought a turn of fortunes.  A PC fumble couple with 2 penalties placed Furman first and goal at the Blue Hose two yard line.  Touchdown!  A very short PC punt led to another Furman
touchdown drive.  And the Paladins entered the 4th quarter with a slim 1 point lead.

Back and forth the ball went.  Short drives. Punts.  Agonizing incompletions. Stagnating offenses.

But with 6:30 left in the game PC got the ball for their final drive.  They converted third downs.  they converted a fourth down.  They had missed 2 field goals, but crept closer and closer.  With 8 seconds left, they were in chip shot range, with the ball in the center of the field.

 And the kick issssss....


And blue skies prevail!

Including my sun burn

Monday, September 2, 2013

Will missiles matter in Syria?

Whether we respond to the use of chemical weapons in Syria with military force is ultimately irrelevant.  Our reaction, or lack thereof, will not end the civil war there. It will not reduce the brutality of the Assad regime.  What that regime does not accomplish with chemical weapons, it will accomplish by other means.  The Assad family has proven over decades it will do as it sees fit to maintain its authoritarian control over its people.  A few cruise missiles may change their methods, but not their goals or morals.

This is the way of dictators.  They are the bullies of politics.  They are not interested in discussion or reason.  They are only interested in obtaining and maintaining power by any means necessary.  Whether they accomplish this through rhetoric, intimidation, or outright force of arms is of little consequence in their minds.  

 The Russian and Chinese governments may not (yet) be as outwardly brutal as the Assad family, but that is only because their secrecy and restraint was the price they paid to increase their economic power.  Syria’s much desired oil reserves means that whoever controls Syria will have a place carved out for them in the world economy for those who desire access to those reserves.

Is it outrageous? Absolutely. But by catering to dictators throughout the world we have helped create a world where for many people their choices are to decide between fanatical religious terrorists, strongman regimes, or military takeover – Al Qaeda fighting with the Syrian Rebels, the Muslim brotherhood the clear winners of the “Arab Spring”, the Pakistani and Egyptian armies moving against extreme regimes as democracy fails to bring freedom.

The decisions over decades of the Cold War were based largely on oil reserves and Red/non-Red status.  Promoting the values of individual freedom took a backseat to the realpolitik of that age.  And economic decisions made since the fall of the Soviet Union have served only to strengthen the varied and militant forces of tyranny throughout the world.

The nation with the world’s greatest economy and military freed business, not people.  Look at the world we have wrought.