Thursday, May 17, 2007

WP: Scientists cast doubt on Kennedy bullet analysis - Highlights -

WP: Scientists cast doubt on Kennedy bullet analysis

They found that the scientific and statistical assumptions Guinn used -- and the
government accepted at the time -- to conclude that the fragments came from just two bullets fired from Oswald's gun were wrong. "This finding means that the bullet fragments from the assassination that match could have come from three or more separate bullets," the researchers said. "If the assassination fragments are derived from three or more separate bullets, then a second assassin is likely, as the additional bullet would not be attributable to the main suspect, Mr. Oswald."
SNAP, baby!

I still believe Oswald didn't even fire a shot that day. He was a patsy in the complete sense of the word, although who was actually controlling the situation is still a question we may never answer. They had some serious brass balls, though. The subject of the JFK assassination always makes me reflect on how easy it would be to kill someone, particularly if you did not care what happened to you after the deed was done. There are so many times when even the most protected man on the planet is vulnerable that I really feel sorry for the Secret Service. I don't know how they do it, year in and year out, but it must be near impossible to guard against someone who is truly, fanatically dedicated to the task, and is happy to martyr himself in the attempt. Good thing there aren't too many of those people around, right? *cough*

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

My Way - Sports News

Phoenix Coach Rips Ruling

The NBA suspended Stoudemire and Diaw for Wednesday night's Game 5 of what's become an intense, rough Western Conference semifinal series against the San Antonio Spurs.

The two violated an NBA rule by leaving the bench area after Robert Horry's flagrant foul on Steve Nash in the final seconds of Phoenix's 104-98 victory in Game 4, a win that tied the series at 2-2.

Horry was suspended for Game 5 and Friday night's Game 6.

Western culture reveres characters that 'break the rules' to get things done 'their way', replacing mindless authoritarianism with common sense. When it comes to professional sports - in this case, the NBA - common sense is generally ignored. I've seen the highlight several times now, and it's clear to me that what Horry did was the equivalent of a sucker punch. It was beyond flagrant - I'd call it a foul with the intent to injure. Let's say Nash is a little more off-balance when Horry hits him; then Steve might have smashed his head against the scorer's table. Horry can say what he wants about Nash over-dramatizing the hit, but when you don't see it coming, any reaction you have is completely instinctive. It's not like Steve thought in the half-second it took to hit the floor, "Hey, this is my chance to flail around like an Italian soccer player." So Horry only getting a two-game suspension is a gift compared to what he would have received if Nash had sustained a serious enough injury to miss one or more games.

But what really bothers me is that David Stern felt that he had no choice but to penalize the two Suns players who came off the bench. This betrays a stunning ignorance of how players relate to each other as people and as teammates. If I was in a bar with my brother, and while he was up getting a beer, some guy punches him in the head, what do you think I'm going to do? Sit on my ass because assault is against the law? Or am I going to tackle that bastard for hitting my brother? There's not even a conscious decision here; no thought is required. Somebody messes with my brother, they're messing with me. I'd be out of my seat in a heartbeat.

Amare Stoudemire and Boris Diaw see their brother knocked over like a bowling pin, and they're out of their seats in a heartbeat. They're not thinking about the rule that says they can't leave the bench, they're not thinking about anything except their brother is down, is Steve all right, and what the hell is going on here? I'm not suggesting they should have been allowed to tackle Robert Horry, but I'd rather have a player who stands up for his teammate than one who sits on his hands and doesn't want to get involved. It's harder for NBA players to stay on the bench in situations like this because there is no barrier between them and the court. Hockey players have the boards between them and the ice, so that helps to remind them in a keyed-up emotional situation that they have to stay where they are.

If I were commissioner, this would be my common-sense revision of the rule:

If a player leaves the bench area for any reason other than checking into the game or heading for the locker room, he is immediately ejected from the game. Any further punishment will be decided on a case-by-case basis by the commissioner.

The rule as it stands now is designed to eliminate the decision-making process. David Stern wants to be able to point to the rule and say, "See, that's the rule, so this is the punishment. Fnehh." The problem with a blanket rule is that it ignores context. Amare and Boris were upset that their teammate was thuggishly fouled, but they did not come into contact with any of the San Antonio players. The suspensions Stern gave out cost both the Spurs and the Suns two man-games, except that Stoudemire is the second-best player on his team, and one of the best players in the NBA, so you could reasonably argue that the Suns are losing 2.5 to 3 man-games in a tight playoff series, thus giving an unfair advantage to the team that instigated the situation in the first place.

What the NBA is telling everyone is that you can physically target the other team's best player, try to take him out in an unsportsmanlike fashion, and you'll come out ahead on the deal.

That's not common sense. That's just stupid.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

My Way News - Warner Bros. Cancels Canada Previews

My Way News - Warner Bros. Cancels Canada Previews

Canadian film lovers hoping to catch an early peek at "Ocean's Thirteen" and the upcoming Harry Potter sequel will be out of luck after Warner Bros. canceled all of its advance screenings and accused Canada of being at the forefront of the piracy market.

Darcy Antonellis, Warner Bros.' senior vice president of worldwide anti-piracy operations, defended the move Tuesday, saying weak Canadian copyright rules have made the country a haven for organized crime syndicates to make and sell illegal DVDs.

It's been pointed out already by Michael Feist that the MPAA's claims of rampant piracy in Canada are at best ludicrous, but of course what this is really about is strong-arming the Canadian government to pass draconian copyright legislation like the U.S.'s DMCA. The idea that Canada has weak copyright law is laughable - it's already against the law to sell or rent an infringing copy of copyrighted material. Uh, doesn't that cover it? Where's the weakness there? From Geist:

The Copyright Act includes severe penalties for violating this provision with the potential for million dollar fines and up to five years in jail. Indeed, the MPAA's own website specifically points to Canada as an example of how many countries have legislation that prohibit illegal camcording. The movie lobby group states that "in Canada camcording is an infringement under the Copyright Act, regardless of whether it is for the public or personal use of the person making the copy."

So make up your mind, MPAA... Oh, and didn't I read a big news story a few days ago about a movie called 'Spiderman 3' that set box-office records? Yeah, that whole 'piracy' thing is really hurting the industry. You'd think, though, that they might want to tackle 'quality' first. Just a thought.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Gov. Hasn't Reviewed Hilton Fan Petition

Hilton - star of E! network's reality show "The Simple Life" - has called the sentence unfair, and her fans have posted a petition on the Internet urging Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to pardon her.

Paris Hilton has fans. I know, this was probably obvious to you, but give me a second. Paris Hilton has fans. Fans of what, exactly? What has she accomplished that would attract favorable attention? She parties. That's what she does. That's her forte. I knew a lot of people in university who majored in partying, and yet they somehow avoided fame and fortune. Yes, fortune, that's what we're talking about here. She's famous for having a rich daddy... Oh, and there was that sex tape thing.

How pathetic is your life if you count yourself a Paris Hilton fan? Oh, yeah, Paris, she gets hammered every night, and she's had so many boyfriends that you'd need the computing power of IBM's Big Blue to keep track of them all. Plus, she has absolutely no talent at anything. And small boobs.

Yeah, she's an easy target, but we're standing at the edge of the pop culture precipice when there are people in this world who think Paris Hilton is all that and a pack of rubbers, who actually take the time to write up a petition to the Governator asking for clemency. These are the kind of IQ-challenged morons that caused people to believe eugenics was a great idea. Paris is nothing. Less than nothing. Except she's a queen-sized distraction, and that makes the wrong people happy. I can only hope that she fades into obscurity with the good grace common to those who were born with everything and gave nothing in return.