Is it Really the Ball?

JabulaniThe most important thing in the whole entire world right now is the sport of World Cup Soccer. Adidas gets to decide what technology the ball uses, and no one is happy about it:

Several players are going all out against the new World Cup ball, with more than one comparing it to those bought at a supermarket.

And this time it's not only goalkeepers who are complaining. Strikers, defenders and midfielders are also lashing out at the Adidas ball just a few days before the monthlong tournament is to begin in South Africa.

The ball is called Jabulani, which means "to celebrate" in isiZulu, but not many are celebrating it so far. It's hard to find a player who is happy with it, and those who don't like it are not saving adjectives to describe their feelings.

"It's very weird," Brazil striker Luis Fabiano said Sunday. "All of a sudden it changes trajectory on you. It's like it doesn't want to be kicked. It's incredible, it's like someone is guiding it. You are going to kick it and it moves out of the way. I think it's supernatural, it's very bad. I hope to adapt to it as soon as possible, but it's going to be hard."

Brazil goalkeeper Julio Cesar on Saturday called the ball "terrible" and was the first to compare it to those plastic ones bought on a supermarket. Italy striker Giampaolo Pazzini said the same thing, calling it a "disaster."

Here's how jacked up that article is over at Sports Illustrated. It really is one of the most incompetent news stories I've seen in quite a while. When you write a story about a ball, you should probably find a good picture of the ball. I know it sounds like the demented ranting and raving of a man wearing pants that are too tight and with ideas that were flushed out of his ears with hydrogen peroxide, but this is a visual medium. It's where you can put up a simple photo, perhaps a video, maybe an interactive graphic, and do something for a reader or a blogger. I don't know. It's where you can make a token, half-assed effort at trying and see it pay off for you.

I've never been above half-assing it, and I'm not going to start now. What?

Never mind. I'm on a roll, homes. Am I that kind of a blogger? Absolutely. I found and cropped (read: stole) a photo of the Jabbablouyouaniyappidy-whatever ball and I am making a heck of an effort here to give you something useful and informative. I'm asking the question--really? Is this ball really like the cheap ones purchased at supermarkets? I have to find out if this is true. I have to go to work for you and make something happen. Blogging is more than just finding an article and saying something about it--it's. Blogging is more than...hold it. My roll just came to a stop.

I found a picture, you see. I did what I should have done. I made this about me.

So, after my nap and a little apple juice, I went out to a supermarket and tried to buy a soccer ball. They just laughed at me. They told me I was crazy. Supermarkets don't really sell soccer balls unless they are an impulse item or a key buy added to a section of the retail establishment where toys and accessories and other purchased-in-bulk items are sold off of end caps or out of tables full of assorted pieces of merchandise that can be bought by people who don't really go looking for their ilk in supermarkets. You know, like hamster balls, duffel bags, soup can crushers, beaded seat covers, and Christmas ornaments that won't offend anyone Jewish.

It was a total bust. I must have gone to two supermarkets. Wow. I could have bought a new shower mat and made a soccer ball out of that, but I'm avoiding the impossible and trying to bring you the probable. I could have bought a beach ball. I passed. So, okay, fine--I went online and I ordered a soccer ball.

Yep.

It's going to take about three weeks to get to me, so. You know. I'll post something. That's how blogging works. I bought it out of some supermarket chain that allowed me to select items for purchase and throw them into a consolidated shopping cart after I spent a half an hour setting up an online profile. Oh, this wasn't entirely for buying a soccer ball--this is how I'm going to get some Archway cookies. The lemon ones.

I know it's a waste of time, but I'll probably check the mail tomorrow. Well, that's kind of stupid. The ball--and, more importantly, the Archway cookies--are all being shipped from an Albertson's in San Antonio, Texas, but I did choose UPS expedited shipping, I think. I might have clicked on that wrong. Let me check the confirmation E-mail and I'll get back to you.

Anyway, I was going to take the soccer ball that I bought in the supermarket and see if it was any good. Miranda played soccer when she was in high school, and she actually has the ability to "bend it like Beckham" because she has these incredibly fat legs and can kick things really hard.

This post was going to be about what Miranda told me about the supermarket ball. Oh, and I was going to get a World Cup ball as well. Maybe do a little side by side comparison. Maybe film Miranda kicking the two balls and giving her opinion. I don't know. Miranda doesn't really humor me when it comes to blogging.

Posted via web from An American Lion is on Posterous

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Roy Halladay Joins the Immortals


Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Roy Halladay threw a perfect game during a baseball game against the Florida Marlins, Saturday, May 29, 2010 in Miami. The Phillies defeated the Marlins 1-0. There are now twenty perfect games pitched in the history of Major League Baseball, and Roy Halladay has the more recent one.

Dallas Braden had the last perfect game:

• Oakland's Dallas Braden threw a perfect game on May 9. The only other season with two perfect games was 1880: Lee Richmond (June 12) and John Montgomery Ward (June 17).
• Of the 20 perfect games thrown in baseball history, three have come in the last two seasons.
• The Phillies are the fifth team to have had two perfect games in their history. Jim Bunning threw Philadelphia's other one on June 21, 1964 vs. the Mets.
Holy cow!



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Fat Guys on Four Wheelers Did This

Photo seized from Flickr, but credited to: http://www.flickr.com/photos/cowlishaw/I've never been so certain of anything in my life:



A prominent sandstone arch at Valley of Fire State Park in southern Nevada has collapsed.


Park rangers said it appears Natural Arch was claimed by forces that will eventually destroy about 300 others in the park: gravity and erosion.


They said horseback riders notified them about the damage Wednesday, and no one has reported seeing it fall. While it's unclear exactly why and when the arch collapsed, there's no evidence of vandalism, rangers added.


"Maybe someone tried to take a picture on the rock, which we don't recommend, but there's nothing here that proves this was done on purpose," park supervisor Jim Hammons told the Las Vegas Review-Journal.



Yeah, give it a rest Johnny Law. I know what happened. I'm fairly certain that a small group of four wheeled All Terrain Vehicles were riding on the arch when it collapsed, probably injuring at least one or two people who were, obviously, too fat to be riding ATVs. The bulbous continuation of the arch and the ridges on the right side of this image show ATV tracks. Anyone with a brain can spot this.


Crap. Now, all of a sudden, I'm Andy freakin' Borowitz. Someone, anyone--please kill me because I'm lame.

Just a comment on our polite society



Do you have a picture or a painting of Kurt Cobain on your wall? In your room at school or at home? If you have a picture of Kurt Cobain on your wall, I am not too old to know you, but I still don't know you.

Will it be the Flyers?


I haven't had much of a chance to think about sports, but I have had the inclination to consider who I think will win the Stanley Cup this year.

Philly.

That's probably too easy. I like the season that Chicago has had, and I am a Western conference sort of fellow, but Philly just seems inevitable. To come out of the east, where it was a tossup between Washington and Pittsburgh, and come out on top of that, well, that's a much steeper climb than Chicago had in the west, which wasn't very dominant this season.

A couple weeks later, what if Laviolette had decided to remain mum and let his team figure a way out of the mess in Game 7 against Boston? Instead he called what is being hailed as possibly the most important time-out in the Flyers' storied history, telling his players they had two choices. It was 3-0 Bruins in the first period, the ghosts of Eddie Shore and Dit Clapper ready to sing after Boston had supposedly recovered from choking a three-games-to-none series lead. The Flyers ended up winning that deciding game, 4-3, a stunning climax that resulted from a power play goal after the Bruins were whistled for having too many men on ice. History can be such a wicked witch.

"Lav told us if we scored the next goal, we'd win the game," Giroux says of that time-out pep talk. "His words might have been more colorful, but it was basically, 'Get your heads out of the clouds, stop feeling sorry for yourselves, and have some confidence.'"

What if Laviolette hadn't been hired to replace John Stevens in early December? What if Laviolette hadn't been fired as coach of the Hurricanes one year and one day earlier? What-ifs are for people who don't believe fate has at least a tiny voice in the way the universe unfolds.

"It is kind of surreal," Laviolette says. That appears to be the word of the day, the theme of the week, the mantra of the season for the Flyers.

"I've seen a lot but I'd be lying if I said I saw this coming," says Chris Pronger, the imposing forward who has developed a flair for raising the Stanley Cup.

"You can't make this stuff up," says Mike Richards, the Flyers' captain. "Everything has been unpredictable, beginning with the coaching change that (inspired) a change in the way we play. It wasn't until the Olympic break that we really felt comfortable with what he was trying to do."

Laviolette's career swing has taken one unusual twist after another. Never drafted, his 10 seasons as a stay-at-home defenseman in the minors were interrupted by a cup of mocha in New York, when the Rangers summoned him for 12 games. He played for and coached U.S. Olympic teams, endured two seasons as coach of the Islanders, won a championship in Carolina. Now it's his full-rink, exhale-when-it's-summer 60-minute press that has the Flyers giving the city of Philadelphia major flashbacks to the 70s.
Now that, my friends, is sports writing.

Philly in six. The cup will make it to Chicago here in the next few years, perhaps, but I think it goes to Philly now.
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The Superbowl Should Be Played in the Snow


I rather like this change:

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell says the success of the 2014 Super Bowl slated for Meadowlands Stadium will determine whether more championships are played at undomed cold-weather sites.

Goodell spoke at commencement ceremonies Saturday for the University of Massachusetts Lowell, where he accepted an honorary doctorate for his father, the late Sen. Charles E. Goodell of New York.

The commissioner was introduced by Robert Kraft and stood with the New England owner after the ceremony. The Patriots play outside at Gillette Stadium.

On Tuesday, the league awarded the 2014 championship to the new $1.6 billion home of the Jets and Giants.

Kraft, who supported the decision, said "the elements should be part of the game."

Cold weather football is the stuff of legend. Anyone who lives in a cold weather environment already knows that you have to prepare and dress appropriately for the game when it is held late in the season. The Superbowl should be no exception. And, as to whether or not the drunks will get frostbite, I say, let the drunks freeze solid and then melt when they flush out the stadium in March or April.
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Why the Devil Were You Sightseeing in Yemen?

Sana'a, YemenI realize that there are seasoned, experienced travelers out there who know how to get around in dangerous countries (I'm not one of them, at least, not without Peej telling me who to bribe). I realize that there really are Americans who go overseas and have adventures and whatnot.


But, what the hell were these people doing in Yemen?



The U.S. Embassy in San'a said it was working with Yemeni authorities to resolve the situation.


The security officials, a taxi driver and tribesmen said the two - a man and a woman - were seized while traveling in al-Hudaydah province west of the capital, San'a.


The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.


Taxi driver Mohammed Saleh, who was driving the two, said six gunmen stopped them on the road and took them to the al-Hamra village. Al-Sharda tribesmen said the hostages were now "guests" in the village.



How do we know Mr. Saleh didn't sell these people? How do we know these Americans won't be bought by any of a number of terror cells?


I do know one thing--I know how to read the State Department Travel Warning Website:



The Department of State warns U.S. citizens of the high security threat level in Yemen due to terrorist activities.  The Department recommends that American citizens defer non-essential travel to Yemen.  American citizens remaining in Yemen despite this warning should monitor the  U.S. Embassy website and should make contingency emergency plans.  This replaces the Travel Warning for Yemen issued June 26, 2009.


The security threat level remains high due to terrorist activities in Yemen.  The U.S. Embassy in Sana’a, Yemen closed on January 3 and 4, 2010, in response to ongoing threats by Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) to attack American interests in Yemen. Following the attempted attack aboard Northwest Airlines flight 253 on December 25, 2009, Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) publicly claimed responsibility for the incident and stated that it was in response to what they described as American interference in Yemen. In the same statement, the group made threats against Westerners working in embassies and elsewhere, characterizing them as “unbelievers” and “crusaders.”  On the morning of September 17, 2008, armed terrorists attacked the U.S. Embassy in Sana'a, Yemen.  A number of explosions occurred in the vicinity of the Embassy's main gate.  Several Yemeni security personnel and one Embassy security guard were killed, as were a few individuals waiting to gain entry to the Embassy, one of whom was a U.S. citizen.

U.S. Embassy employees have been advised to exercise caution when choosing restaurants, hotels or visiting tourist areas in Sana’a in order to avoid large gatherings of foreigners and expatriates.  Only limited travel outside of the capital is authorized at this time.


U.S. citizens who travel to or remain in Yemen despite this warning should exercise caution and take prudent security measures, including maintaining a high level of vigilance, avoiding crowds and demonstrations, keeping a low profile, varying times and routes for all travel, and ensuring travel documents are current.  American citizens in Yemen are advised to exercise particular caution at locations frequented by foreigners countrywide, including restaurants and hotels frequented by expatriates.  From time to time, the Embassy may restrict official Americans from restaurants, hotels, or shopping areas.  The Department of State strongly encourages American citizens to consult the most recent Warden Messages on the U.S. Embassy website to get up-to-date information on security conditions.  Americans who believe they are being followed or threatened while driving in urban centers should proceed as quickly as possible to the nearest police station or major intersection and request assistance from the officers in the blue-and-white police cars stationed there.



I mean, Christ. Why not just go see what Mogadishu looks like this time of year?

A Gentleman's Row Between Australia and Israel

Here's the latest development in the strained relationship between Australia and Israel:



Australia on Monday called for the expulsion of an Israeli diplomat over fake passports used in the assassination of a Hamas operative in the United Arab Emirates.


An investigation had confirmed that Israeli agents were behind the forgery of Australian passports used in the January 20 killing of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, a founding member of Hamas' military wing, Foreign Minister Stephen Smith said.


The four Australians whose passports were used were victims of passport fraud and had nothing to do with the killing, he said.


Smith did not elaborate whom Australia wanted expelled from the Israeli diplomatic mission in Canberra but said diplomat has to leave within the week.


He briefed parliament on the results of the investigation Monday morning and said the forgeries were so sophisticated, only a state intelligence service could have carried them out.



If this was really serious, I would think that the Israeli Ambassador would have been thrown out, at a minimum, and that the Australian Embassy in Israel would have been emptied out in protest. This seems like a scaled-down protest, and a very similar reaction to what the British did several months ago:



Britain expelled a high-ranking Israeli diplomat Tuesday in retaliation for alleged misuse of British passports by Israeli agents suspected in the assassination of a senior Hamas commander two months ago in Dubai.


Foreign Secretary David Miliband said the decision was made after consultations with his Israeli counterpart. The expelled official was not identified, but the BBC and the Times of London reported that he was the head of the Mossad intelligence agency in the Israeli Embassy.


The expulsion follows an investigation by Britain's Serious Organized Crime Agency, or SOCA, into the Jan. 19 slaying of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh at a luxury hotel. Officials in the Persian Gulf emirate have alleged that the killing was carried out by an Israeli hit squad using forged European and Australian passports, 12 of them cloned from documents belonging to British citizens living in Israel.



The assassination operation may have been uniquely successful, and embarrassingly so. It's pretty obvious that none of the nations who have expelled Israeli diplomats are that upset. They cannot be seen doing nothing, or expressing approval, so they're throwing a few sacrificial lambs out there to maintain a little plausible deniability. Yes, they may be angry. They're angry their own security apparatus can't pull off such an operation. It's assassination envy.



Campbell Brown Gets Out of the Way

Give the people what they want--Jennifer Aniston's crotch!I love it when failure makes a person tell the truth*:



Campbell Brown, pretending to be a journalistOnce again, a star anchor is leaving CNN. This time it is Campbell Brown, and she is leaving with an extraordinary amount of candor.


In a heartfelt statement on Tuesday afternoon, Ms. Brown said she was leaving on her own accord, having concluded that she was unable to compete with the opinion-mongers that dominate cable news in prime time.


“The simple fact is that not enough people want to watch my program, and I owe it to myself and to CNN to get out of the way so that CNN can try something else,” she wrote. “CNN will have to figure out what that is.”


CNN, a unit of Time Warner, announced no immediate plan to replace Ms. Brown, who said she would remain during a transition period.


In a little more than six months, the channel has also lost the controversial anchor Lou Dobbs and the foreign correspondent and anchor Christiane Amanpour.


For the last two years, Ms. Brown has tried to hold down the toughest time slot in cable news, 8 p.m. Eastern, the same time that Bill O’Reilly of the Fox News Channel and Keith Olbermann of MSNBC go head-to-head.


Compared with those bombastic opinion shows, her weeknight news program, titled “Campbell Brown,” has struggled to gain an audience. It has attracted an average of 591,000 viewers so far this year, while “Countdown” on MSNBC has averaged one million, and “The O’Reilly Factor” from Fox, 3.34 million.



The numbers are deceiving, however. The millions who watch O'Reilly are usually old, futzy, and broke. Advertisers can't really sell anything to old, futzy and broke. The million or so who watch Olbermann are so angry they don't know where their money is anymore. They're walking around in a stumbling, blind rage. The only thing they're buying is Advil and weed.


What Brown should have done is offer the exact opposite of what Olbermann and O'Reilly are offering. She should have offered something that would confirm our worst suspicions about ourselves--we're a bunch of tubby fat baby dumb heads. She should have hosted an hour long infomercial on butt toning and gut busting situps. She should have sold Americans on the idea that they can look like Jennifer Aniston after Jennifer Aniston has possibly used Ex-Lax for eight straight days trying to lose enough weight to appear in a staged photograph used to sell water to idiots. She should have done a show about helping fatties hide their cellulite. She should have focused on the lowest possible common denominator--fear of being humiliated for being a lardass. 


That's how you succeed in America now. Don't offer entertainment, news, or information. Offer an unrealistic way of looking like Jennifer Aniston to people who look like oversized futons being rolled through the snack aisle at Wal-Mart in boiled meat.


*even for me, this is pretty bad

Goodbye, Arlen Specter

A final, pathetic grasp at holding on to power passes from his fingertips:
U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter on Tuesday lost a Democratic primary in his bid for a sixth term after taking the risky step of switching from the GOP.

Voters picked U.S. Rep. Joe Sestak as the party's nominee and rejected the 80-year-old Specter in his first Democratic campaign since his Republican Party defection.

With 93 percent of precincts reporting, Sestak received 520,479 votes, or 54 percent; Specter received 446,281 votes, about 46 percent.
Could Specter reverse himself and do what Joe Lieberman did in the Nutmeg State? And run as an independent?

I don't think he could. Specter is 80 years old. It's time to hang it up. Kudos to him for not trying to kneecap Sestak, who I hope loses because that would make a better story.

Is Lane Kiffin Worth Four Million Dollars a Year?

The Kiffins and their nutty detour through Tennessee

This is probably not news, and it's probably not a surprise, but, wow:

Quick exits from the Oakland Raiders and Tennessee Volunteers and just 12 wins over two years did little to deter USC from making Lane Kiffin one of the highest-paid college coaches.
The private school, which doesn't make coaching contracts public, is paying Kiffin $4 million a year -- nearly as much as it paid Pete Carroll -- according to a report on HBO's "Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel," which will air on Tuesday night.
Carroll was paid $4.4 million, and he won two national championships and seven Pac-10 titles.
Kiffin, who made $2 million last season in Tennessee, is on par with veteran coaches Mack Brown of Texas, Alabama's Nick Saban, Florida's Urban Meyer, LSU's Les Miles and Oklahoma's Bob Stoops in terms of salary. He ranks ahead of Ohio State's Jim Tressel. Every one of those coaches has won at least 12 games in a season en route to national championships.


Is he worth it?


No.


He's never won anything and he's never done anything to deserve the coveted spot that he occupies. There is no "Coach Lane Kiffin." There's Lane Kiffin, and then the people he brings with him, including his father. Now, is Lane Kiffin plus daddy worth that kind of money?


I have no idea. I suspect Kiffin will bail on USC after three games, possibly four, to go coach the Washington Redskins, who will fire Mike Shanahan if he goes 0-3. If ever there was an impulsive team that was perfect for the most impulsive of coaches, it's Washington.
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Stealing Valor and Rewriting History

There's a fellow in Connecticut who likes to embellish his resume, apparently. This is not, in and of itself, much in the way of news. The problem is, he's the Attorney General and he's trying to run for the United States Senate. 


Richard Blumenthal had this to say recently:



“We have learned something important since the days that I served in Vietnam,” Mr. Blumenthal said to the group gathered in Norwalk in March 2008. “And you exemplify it. Whatever we think about the war, whatever we call it — Afghanistan or Iraq — we owe our military men and women unconditional support.”



The man never served in Vietnam. He obtained five deferments, then landed in the Marine reserves. A rhetorical mistake? Or a pattern of conceited vanity, otherwise known as trying to steal a little valor:



[...] the way he speaks about his military service has led to confusion and frequent mischaracterizations of his biography in his home state newspapers. In at least eight newspaper articles published in Connecticut from 2003 to 2009, he is described as having served in Vietnam.


The New Haven Register on July 20, 2006, described him as “a veteran of the Vietnam War,” and on April 6, 2007, said that the attorney general had “served in the Marines in Vietnam.” On May 26, 2009, The Connecticut Post, a Bridgeport newspaper that is the state’s third-largest daily, described Mr. Blumenthal as “a Vietnam veteran.” The Shelton Weekly reported on May 23, 2008, that Mr. Blumenthal “was met with applause when he spoke about his experience as a Marine sergeant in Vietnam.”


And the idea that he served in Vietnam has become such an accepted part of his public biography that when a national outlet, Slate magazine, produced a profile of Mr. Blumenthal in 2000, it said he had “enlisted in the Marines rather than duck the Vietnam draft.”


It does not appear that Mr. Blumenthal ever sought to correct those mistakes.


In the interview, he said he was not certain whether he had seen the stories or whether any steps had been taken to point out the inaccuracies.


“I don’t know if we tried to do so or not,” he said. He added that he “can’t possibly know what is reported in all” the articles that are written about him, given the large number of appearances he makes at military-style events.


He said he had tried to stick to a consistent way of describing his military experience: that he served as a member of the United State Marine Corps Reserve during the Vietnam era.



Richard Blumenthal is not a Vietnam Veteran. He served during that era, but he never served in Vietnam. What a disgrace.


I don't care what party we're talking about. Blumenthal is a Democrat; were he a Republican, I would still call him a reprehensible, moral and physical coward.


I'm old enough to remember the ridicule that Vice President Dan Quayle received for his service in the reserves during that era; had Quayle equated being a weekend warrior with service in Vietnam, he would have been laughed out of the room. Mr. Blumenthal should resign immediately, and find a way to go into private practice. Public life has no place for this kind of nonsense. Really, does the man's shame over gaming the system and avoiding service in Vietnam even exist?

Why Do They Always Make the Woman Hold the Derringer?


Megan Fox is going to be in a film called Jonah Hex
In this movie poster for the upcoming film Jonah Hex, you see the wonderful and talented Megan Fox. And, she's holding a derringer pistol.


Now, why on Earth would you make her hold the derringer? Why not give her a whip or a Gatling Gun? Why not give her a .44 magnum? I realize that there are plot considerations, story lines, and I also realize that Megan Fox is a small young woman with exceptionally delicate hands, but why isn't she walking around with a Springfield Rifle or numchucks? I don't care about your little comic book plots and your "true to the original" considerations. There is money on the line here. Know what money is, geek boy?


Haven't we evolved as a society since the olden days? Aren't we getting to the point where a woman can carry a pistol and not have it be a wimpy little derringer? Aren't there small men who could carry a derringer in a movie, freeing up Megan to wield a battle axe with a shotgun on the end of it and a chainsaw on the hilt that cuts off heads and shoots them down a long hallway?


Come on, Hollywood. Give the girl something better to hold. Besides, of course, my heart and my everlasting affection...


I'm sorry. I have to go weep now.

What's Going on at Permian High School?


Guerdwich Montimere, in the white uniform, playing basketball for Permian High School
Officials say a 22-year-old man accused of posing as a high school student and basketball star in West Texas was arrested Friday on suspicion of sexual assault.
Sgt. Gary Duesler of the Ector County Sheriff's Office said Guerdwich Montimere was charged with suspicion of sexual assault, a second-degree felony, and was being held in the Ector County Detention Center on a $50,000 bond.
No additional details were available.
Thursday, Montimere was released on $7,500 bond about five hours after his arrest on a felony charge of tampering with government documents.
Montimere originally was arrested Tuesday on a misdemeanor of failure to identify himself to a police officer. Permian High School officials say he admitted then that he wasn't 16-year-old sophomore Jerry Joseph.
The alleged victim, a 16-year-old girl, reported on Wednesday that in August 2009, when she was 15, she was involved in a relationship with Montimere under the pretense that he was Joseph. The girl reported to authorities that she and Montimere had a sexual relationship at a residence in East Odessa.
  
Now, as I said earlier, there's no way this homeless 22 year-old man could have, or should have, been able to start playing high school basketball at Permian without getting some sort of help. Help getting registered for school. Help getting a place to live. Help getting clothes, and shoes to play in, and all of the other things that go with being a high school student. What is the economic incentive for a kid to play basketball in high school? He should be in college, right? But he fakes his way back into high school? What were his grades? Did he go to class? Somehow, playing against smaller, weaker, and younger kids just doesn't ring completely true here. There had to be some economic incentive for a homeless kid to play high school basketball. And, why as a 10th grader? Why not as a senior, which would have been easier to get away with?
Hey, charity is a beautiful thing. But this kid is getting railroaded. He's taking the fall for the malfeasance or incompetence of a number of adults whose job it is to look after kids. Or, win state championships. Who the hell knows anymore?
Here are some pertinent details:
Guerdwich MontimereSuspicions about Montimere's identity first arose when three Florida basketball coaches familiar with the player recognized him at an amateur tournament in Little Rock, Ark. in April.

ECISD officials initially rejected the allegation and a judge granted coach Danny Wright guardianship so that Montimere would be allowed to remain in school. The district said Montimere had claimed to be an illegal immigrant from Haiti with the name of Jerry Joseph.
After continued investigations, ECISD officials, police and ICE agents confirmed Montimere's true identity Tuesday, and he confessed to the scheme after being confronted, officials said.
Montimere graduated from Dillard High School in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., in 2007. Authorities determined he was not an illegal immigrant but rather a naturalized U.S. citizen from Haiti.
He first enrolled at ECISD as a ninth grader in February of 2009, having showed officials a Haitian birth certificate indicating he was 15, Adkins said.

At the time, Montimere told school district staff he was living with a half-brother in the dorm of a local university, Adkins said, but he later admitted the man he had stayed with was a friend.
Do you think that judge was a booster? I don't know. I read that and my bullshit detector goes off. He intercedes and grants the coach guardianship. How many games were left to play in the season? Was that really in the best interests of everyone involved? Or did this ensure that they could close ranks, ride out the season, and figure out a way to make this go away? Is someone going to look at this judge and his decision? I hope so.
Really, do you think for one second that a men's basketball coach, and a high school educator, and all of the people who work at that school, and the administrators of that school, can't tell the difference between a 22 year-old man and a 16 year-old kid?
Did the tattoos on his inner arm cause any warning bells to go off? Or, perhaps the rather hinky living arrangements? Or, the fact that he presented a birth certificate that probably wasn't anywhere near being real or valid? Or, perhaps the fact that he doesn't look like a 16 year-old kid?
Please.
If this young man is truly guilty of fooling all of those adults, then those adults have no business taking care of the educational needs of children. Period. End of story.

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What's Going on at Permian High School?

The plot thickens in Odessa, Texas. 
Officials say a 22-year-old man accused of posing as a high school student and basketball star in West Texas was arrested Friday on suspicion of sexual assault.
Sgt. Gary Duesler of the Ector County Sheriff's Office said Guerdwich Montimere was charged with suspicion of sexual assault, a second-degree felony, and was being held in the Ector County Detention Center on a $50,000 bond.
No additional details were available.
Thursday, Montimere was released on $7,500 bond about five hours after his arrest on a felony charge of tampering with government documents.

Montimere originally was arrested Tuesday on a misdemeanor of failure to identify himself to a police officer. Permian High School officials say he admitted then that he wasn't 16-year-old sophomore Jerry Joseph.

The alleged victim, a 16-year-old girl, reported on Wednesday that in August 2009, when she was 15, she was involved in a relationship with Montimere under the pretense that he was Joseph. The girl reported to authorities that she and Montimere had a sexual relationship at a residence in East Odessa.
Now, as I said earlier, there's no way this homeless 22 year-old man could have, or should have, been able to start playing high school basketball at Permian without getting some sort of help. Help getting registered for school. Help getting a place to live. Help getting clothes, and shoes to play in, and all of the other things that go with being a high school student. What is the economic incentive for a kid to play basketball in high school? He should be in college, right? But he fakes his way back into high school? What were his grades? Did he go to class? Somehow, playing against smaller, weaker, and younger kids just doesn't ring completely true here. There had to be some economic incentive for a homeless kid to play high school basketball. And, why as a 10th grader? Why not as a senior, which would have been easier to get away with?

Hey, charity is a beautiful thing. But this kid is getting railroaded. He's taking the fall for the malfeasance or incompetence of a number of adults whose job it is to look after kids. Or, win state championships. Who the hell knows anymore?


Here are some pertinent details:
Guerdwich MontimereSuspicions about Montimere's identity first arose when three Florida basketball coaches familiar with the player recognized him at an amateur tournament in Little Rock, Ark. in April.
ECISD officials initially rejected the allegation and a judge granted coach Danny Wright guardianship so that Montimere would be allowed to remain in school. The district said Montimere had claimed to be an illegal immigrant from Haiti with the name of Jerry Joseph.
After continued investigations, ECISD officials, police and ICE agents confirmed Montimere's true identity Tuesday, and he confessed to the scheme after being confronted, officials said.
Montimere graduated from Dillard High School in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., in 2007. Authorities determined he was not an illegal immigrant but rather a naturalized U.S. citizen from Haiti.
He first enrolled at ECISD as a ninth grader in February of 2009, having showed officials a Haitian birth certificate indicating he was 15, Adkins said.
At the time, Montimere told school district staff he was living with a half-brother in the dorm of a local university, Adkins said, but he later admitted the man he had stayed with was a friend.

Do you think that judge was a booster? I don't know. I read that and my bullshit detector goes off. He intercedes and grants the coach guardianship. How many games were left to play in the season? Was that really in the best interests of everyone involved? Or did this ensure that they could close ranks, ride out the season, and figure out a way to make this go away? Is someone going to look at this judge and his decision? I hope so.

Really, do you think for one second that a men's basketball coach, and a high school educator, and all of the people who work at that school, and the administrators of that school, can't tell the difference between a 22 year-old man and a 16 year-old kid?

Did the tattoos on his inner arm cause any warning bells to go off? Or, perhaps the rather hinky living arrangements? Or, the fact that he presented a birth certificate that probably wasn't anywhere near being real or valid? Or, perhaps the fact that he doesn't look like a 16 year-old kid?

Please.

If this young man is truly guilty of fooling all of those adults, then those adults have no business taking care of the educational needs of children. Period. End of story.

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Municipal Bonds Are Worth What Nowadays?

Washington D.C. hasn't bothered to figure out how to give us good government so the people who run the cities and the local governments out there are going to have to do it. I define good government thusly--it is when the people in charge are not lining their pockets, when they are paying for the services they provide, when they are making tough budget choices, and when they are telling the voters as much of the truth about how things are going as possible.
I'm not naive--I'm too old for that. Good government is not impossible when the electorate is well-informed. When they're ignorant reactionaries, howling about some stupid issue, good government is impossible. Think of a small town where everyone knows where the money is being spent, how it's coming in, and when there are arguments and debates over what to do between honest brokers. Oh, good government exists. Treasure it when you can find it.
Anyway, the gist of what I'm saying relates to that reliable old hobby horse--the municipal bond. I was always an active investor, and when I was working the market and making acquisitions and deals, I would park money in municipal bonds if I needed to look respectable. They were always the plain girl you'd take to the prom if the girl you really wanted to take was arrested for killing the gym teacher or run over by a haywagon full of hockey players.
Nicole Gelinas has a very nice piece on this subject. I think I can buy what she's selling, which is this: Municipal bonds aren't a great investment anymore:
You might think that municipal bonds would have lost their low-risk reputation. In the past two tumultuous years, tax revenues have plummeted by double-digit percentages, and state and local governments have struggled to close historic deficits. Nationwide, they face cash operating gaps of $200 billion, or 15 percent of their budgets, through 2011. Big spenders have shown no sign of cutting costs in line with a new reality. Ordinarily, if a borrower is in such straits, lenders start thinking twice about lending it yet more money: Who’s to say that the borrower won’t declare bankruptcy and default on its obligations?
Yet the industry’s gatekeepers still consider municipal bonds low-risk. “We do not expect that states will default on general-obligation debt, even under the most stressed economic conditions,” analysts at Moody’s, one of the three major credit ratings agencies, wrote in a February 2010 report. As for cities and towns, “we expect very few defaults in this sector given the tools that local governments have at their disposal.” The firm’s chief competitor, Standard and Poor’s, agrees.
Why are the ratings analysts so sanguine? First, they assume that states and cities will do anything to avoid default. As John V. Miller of Nuveen Asset Management told clients in 2009, “State and local governments have strong incentives to maintain access to the credit markets.” The main incentive, of course, is their desire to borrow more tomorrow, which depends on demonstrating that they would never renege on their obligations today.
I don't think munis are as leveraged or as dangerous as mortgage-backed securities but I do think that the ability of the Federal government to bail out Podunk, Arizona if said municipality decides it can't pay its bills anymore is seriously stretched right now.


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