Friday, January 30, 2009

Broccoli Sex

Have you seen this one? It's PETA trying to sell you on how hot it is to be a vegetarian. You won't be seeing it during the Super Bowl. Apparently it's too racy. I bet you'll be seeing plenty of ads for erectile dysfunction drugs though. Oh, and plenty of beer ads with the exact same women as this. Maybe it was actually too tasteful.

Now I'm a vegetarian myself. Vegan, even. One level of lunacy beyond. I can only speak for myself. And I'm here to tell ya that it ain't really all that different. I do feel 100% better since dropping meat and dairy. (Much more so after dairy than I did with meat.) But the hot girl-type action? No discernible change.

The folks at Slate have some actual scientific debunking over here. It may actually make sex worse. I highly doubt that the fine ladies in the PETA ad were going to convince the Bud Light and Chili's crowd to give up the ribs anyway.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Fun With the Republican'ts

Hooray for bipartisanship!

So BO spends time and energy wooing Republicans in congress in order to get them on board for the economic stimulus bill. He even waters down the bill so that it includes some tax cuts, which, as we've already seen over the past 8 years, have done nothing to "stimulate" the economy. He doesn't need to do this. Democrats are in the majority and they win a party-line vote no matter what. But BO wants to walk the walk. This is admirable and refreshing after our recent history.

So the unnecessarily watered-down-to-please-the-minority bill comes up for a vote and it passes. Hooray! And how many of those nice Republicans voted for it? [pause for dramatic effect] NONE!

Holy fucking crap. Not one of those creeps voted for it. Not one! 178 Republicans voted against it. 0 Republicans voted for it.

The math is not complicated here. If they're not going to vote for the bill no matter what, then why the hell is there anything in it that is just for them? It is utter foolishness to pass a bad, or merely inadequate, bill that was cheapened for votes that didn't materialize and weren't needed in the first place.

I'm all for compromise when it's appropriate and I applaud BO for trying to make it happen. But they've shown that they're clearly not interested. The first big FU has officially been dropped. Should they be rewarded for this? Come on. Take the bill back. Fix it. Make it the Republicans' worst liberal nightmare. Remove all of the tax cuts and add a lot more infrastructure spending. And even more family planning spending.

If this is how they're going to be, screw them. Do the country's work and let them worry about it.

"Bipartisanship" has two meanings, it seems. 1: When the Republicans are in the majority, Democrats should bend over, lube up and take it in the spirit of unity. 2: When the Democrats are in the majority, the Democrats should bend over, lube up and take it in the spirit of unity. This has to stop. Now.

The difference between "obstructionist" and "principled" depends entirely on which party we're talking about. Democrats were "obstructionist" when a few of them piped up and said maybe we shouldn't let lawbreakers off the hook or give lots more money to people who don't need it. Republicans, of course, are never anything less than brave fighters standing on principle.

I'm not looking forward to another congressional session of partisan shitstorms, but I'm sick and tired of the Democrats just getting rooked by these people. You guys run the show, Dems. Toss them a bone every now and then but don't get suckered into letting those who had their chance and failed miserably continue the same bullshit. Let 'em cry all they want. We voted for change. Now give it to us. No lube necessary.

AN UPDATE: Glenn Greenwald says pretty much the same thing here, only better. Not that this was some kind of original thought of mine or anything. Be sure to read the link in Greenwald's second update for a good laugh.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Six Best Words I've Read in the Past Week

This is William Kristol's last column.

Oh, if only. He'll be spewing crap like this somewhere else really soon. But at least he won't be defiling the Times with it anymore.

Times readers howled with fury when they announced that this Bush-apologist lightweight hack was given a forum in the Paper of Record. Conservatives screamed that Times readers were so blinded by Bush hatred and their own suffocating liberalism that they couldn't abide an alternate viewpoint.

I can abide an alternate viewpoint just fine. What I can't abide is someone who so clearly spews bullshit, someone who so obviously is not a thinker but a propagandist, someone who has been so demonstrably wrong about so much for so long and still claims to have been right about everything. And gets paid for it to boot, as if he's some kind of expert.

I rarely agree with George Will, but I read him because he's intelligent and attempts to make a rational, honest case for his positions. He does his homework and knows what he's talking about. And he's not afraid to say when something a Republican does is not exactly conservative. Or honest, for that matter. He makes me think. You'll never hear Bill Kristol doing anything but carrying water for the Bushies and their ideological minions.

I almost never actually read Kristol's columns. Why? Not because I was afraid I might learn something, but because no matter the topic I already knew what he was going to say. And it wasn't going to be said artfully, either. All I'd get out of it was anger, or annoyance at best. He never once disappointed me in that regard. Get out the cookie cutter. It's time for Bill's latest column. You've read one, you've read 'em all.

Could the Times not find one intellectual conservative in this country to fill a few hundred words a week? Is it really that difficult? Or is the answer to that question the real problem with conservatism right now?

Good riddance, you stupid lying shitbag. You will not be missed.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Dumb Letters: The Fascist States of America

There are certain topics to which we continually return. The Bush administration's Culture of Fear isn't going away just because they did. Those left behind are already blaming Obama for the next terrorist attack. Did we expect otherwise?

Here's another gem from today's LA Times.

Obama jump-starts his presidency by announcing the closing of Guantanamo just two days after he warned killers and terrorists, "we will defeat you." He wants to fight a war on terrorism consistent with American ideals and goals. With this rhetoric, he is making the same crucial mistake his predecessor made -- America is not in a war with terrorists, it is in a fight to the death with militant Islam.

Okay, let's stop for a second. I've got two problems here. The first is that the writer uses the term "rhetoric", which is always used disparagingly. But it usually means that the person doesn't mean what they say. It's just talk. "Did you mean it or was that just rhetoric?" The writer's problem seems to be that Obama does mean it. So he gets to call it rhetoric while lamenting its truthfulness. Sorry. No.

My second problem is not about the false use of language (rhetoric?). It's that he conflates Obama's "mistake" with Bush's. This makes it seem as though the writer is purely bipartisan. But it looks like his problem with Bush, if he really had one, was that he wasn't militant enough. I would dispute that. Bush used the "war on terror" line to scare us and sell his wars, but he knew exactly who he was fighting, even as he used that vague term "terror" to assure the widest berth possible.

Okay, actually I have a third problem. "We will defeat you" is portrayed as antithetical to Obama's plans. This fits in very nicely with the right-wing trope that anything less than fascism on our part is tantamount to willful surrender. Bite me.

As for potentially releasing jihadists at Gitmo, so be it. It is clear these detainees are only following the teachings of their prophet that implore Muslims to kill nonbelievers. Guantanamo will be closed, and future jihadists destroying Western civilization will have the right to remain silent if captured. Freedom of religion will thrive. And the overthrow of America will be nearer.

Harry Heath

Here we go again. Every single person at Gitmo is not only a proven terrorist, but they are sworn by their religion to kill all of us. Yes, the Qu'ran says infidels should be killed. It also says we should all love each other. You'll find the same contradictions in your precious Holy Bible. Read it sometimes. It's fun. I'll point you to the right parts, if you'd like. They're really nasty. The book of Joshua alone should turn any peace-loving person off from Judeo-Christianity, but there's plenty more.

I love the "It is clear" line and the concept that every last one of them will immediately start attacking us as soon as they are released. I can pretty much guarantee that some of them earned their hatred of us because they were imprisoned at Gitmo, not the other way around.

Once again, we apparently must make a choice between safety and liberty. We must become as bad as our enemies in order to defeat them. I'm so sick of reading this. I'm so sick of writing about this.

America is not a bunch of people who happen to be living in a certain geographical area. It is a bunch of people who live under the ideals and laws in our constitution. If we decide to act as the Bush administration has acted, then America already has been overthrown. All of you fascists can go start your own country. I don't care what you call it. But our constitution stays with us.

Friday, January 23, 2009

PYSBRIoM: Eugene Robinson

Eugene Robinson is a regular columnist at the Washington Post. He's also a regular on MSNBC, where he pals around with Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow. Me likes him.

I'm bringing him up specifically today because, contrary to this blog's subheading, I'll take an ego stroke where I can get it. Today's column by Robinson echoes my post from yesterday about BO's closing of Gitmo. (Not that I had any real original insights into it.) But what I really like about this one is how he echoes a previous post of mine that referenced "known unknowns" and "unknown unknowns" at its tail end. Yes yes, Gene, I used that Rumsfeld reference already.

Okay, also probably not a terribly original concept, but still.

Don't read him because he agrees with me. Read him because he's good. And check out Olbermann and Maddow, while you're at it, if you don't already. (And if you read this, you probably do.) He'll show up.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Gitmo to Go

With fries, please.

Okay, so we're off to a good start. There are many things that The Idiot and The Dark Lord did that required immediate repudiation, but even I'm surprised at how quickly BO acted to shut down Gitmo. Well, not shut it down exactly, but to set the process in motion. This is unbelievably important.

It's going to take a while to figure out what to do with all of the prisoners there, and not all of the possible outcomes are exactly great improvements, but this is a great place to begin.

This is not only a great political move (we're already looking better in the global community just by one dude signing a piece of paper) but this is an important personal move for The Prez (still love typing that!). Here's why: As commander-in-chief of the United States military (and nothing else) our president is responsible for what happens under his command. And as of 12 noon Tuesday, Gitmo was under BO's command. If war crimes are being committed, they are his immediate responsibility. If Gitmo itself is illegal, he's responsible for every day it's open.

The swiftness with which he signed the papers made me hopeful that actual war crimes may be investigated. Obviously, if he wants to cover his tush he needs to make sure that his face isn't on any of the things that go on there. I'm sure he doesn't want DOJ to be investigating their own president.

Thanks, Mr. President (yes!) for giving all of us, or at least most of us, real action to be hopeful about after all of the feel-good talky-talk.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Barack the (White) House

A couple of stupid things first.

Stupid Thing #1: Hmm, it seems like it's been almost a week since I posted anything here. Off with his head, the lazy lazy blogger. I do not post out of obligation. I post when I feel the urge. Sometimes there are dead spots in my urginess. Forgive me. Use your extra time wisely.

Stupid Thing #2: Apparently this is my 100th post. Huzzah! If we were on base 6 instead of base 10 I would have reached this milestone 64 posts ago and I now wouldn't be writing about my exciting 244th post. But we're not.

So... Anything happen recently?

Oh, yeah. BARACK FUCKING OBAMA IS THE GODDAMN PRESIDENT. I'm still knocked out by this. It took a presidency as corrupt and incompetent as The Idiot's to bring it about, but that's usually what it takes.

Some folks are disappointed with BO's speech. I'm not. Because he's such a good speaker people think he's going to hit rhetorical home runs all the time and keep the folks at Bartlett's busy with their newest section. I'd rather he give me the truth. And he did. Lordy, he did.

How much fun was it to know that The Idiot himself had to sit RIGHT THERE and listen to the President (I love typing that!) bitchslap him and everything that happened over the last eight years. And the Reagan era too, for good measure.

He had a whole passel of zingers that basically negated everything that was wrong with the Bush administration, including hostility to government, torture, general belligerence, arrogance, lack of compassion, free-market absolutism, dishonesty and fear-mongering. There are way too many pull quotes that I love, but I'll drop in my favorite bit. Okay, my two favorite bits.

"Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America."

Holy shit. With The Idiot and The Dark Lord sitting right there, he told the whole freaking country that they were gigantic failures and we were all going to start cleaning up their industrial-sized mess. Yowza.

Even better...

"As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our Founding Fathers, faced with perils that we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience's sake. And so, to all other peoples and governments who are watching today, from the grandest capitals to the small village where my father was born: Know that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and we are ready to lead once more."

Shit! The first line is perfect. And the last line is both harsh and beautiful. We're ready to lead once more. Because, you know, we haven't been. And we reject as false the Bush/Cheney scare lines. Awesome.

This is one of those speeches that may not have knocked anyone out immediately but will probably become more and more well-regarded as time goes on. Particularly if BO manages to act on it.

Much as I despise the outgoing douchebag, I was a bit uncomfortable when the crowd booed The Idiot and Mrs. Idiot on their entrance. A bit tacky, that. But I did think it perfectly appropriate (and funny) when they sang "Na Na Hey Hey" as his helicopter whisked him away, Wizard of Oz-style, to somewhere else where he can practice being a big fucking fraud.

Good riddance, motherfucker. Don't come back, unless it's for your war crimes trial. Dick's invited too.

The new boss is here. And I feel good.

For now.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Ricardo Montalban

You know, when people croak you learn all sorts of stuff. Until I read Ricardo Montalban's obituary I didn't know that there really was no such thing as Corinthian leather, soft or otherwise. That saved me a gaff or two, I'm sure.

It's a been a tough month for Trekkers and the booking agents who populate their conventions. First, Majel Barrett, and now the man who made William Shatner scream, "Khaaaaaaan!" Next thing you know, Max Grodenchik will drop off. Oh, the humanity.

Of course, when I was a wee lad it was "Fantasy Island" that really got us going. "Smile, everyone, smile! We want our guests to feel welcome!" Every freakin' week he had to remind those idiots. And every week another group of tourists was not too careful what they wished for.

After seeing Ricardo looking so dapper on that show and in the Cordoba ads, it was a bit of a shock to go catch the reruns of "Space Seed" and seeing just how, well, hunky he looked. And then, flipping forward to "The Wrath of Khan", just how, well, odd he looked. But still strangely hunky.

It's the best of the Trek movies and, after the snoozefest of Robert Wise's "Star Trek: The Motion Picture", it saved the franchise and paved the way for the new TV series. So we have Ricardo to thank for that. Okay, and Nicholas Meyer. But he's still kicking.

I love what they've done to my car. Khaaaaaaaaaaaan!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

PYSBRIoM: Dan Froomkin

Your one-stop shopping for media news and commentary is right here in White House Watch by the Washington Post's Dan Froomkin.

Dan comments on the day's news, he excerpts and comments other people's comments, and he comments on his own comments. It's a very informative roundup of what's happening and who's saying what about it. And it's copiously hyperlinked. Some bloggers can be a bit lazy with their linking (I admit it. Sometimes I'm not in the mood.) Froomkin always gives you the link to the source material. He'll usually toss in the link to his last column(s) discussing the matter too. And he always ends with a roundup of political cartoons.

He posts Monday-Friday, usually about 1 or 2 in the afternoon. Yesterday he gave a succinct roundup of Bush administration failures and debunked the nonsensical idea that the verdict of history won't be in for a long time.

"President Bush famously asserts that history's verdict on his presidency won't come until he's long dead. But far from waiting until his corpse is cold, the verdict is largely in before he's even left the building.

Some things just aren't gonna change, no matter how much time passes."
Good stuff follows.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Context Is Everything

The unrelenting assault on the English language perpetrated by The Idiot over the last eight years (and counting) has been difficult to take. But Governor Moosekiller is really giving the dope a run for his money. It's a very different flavor of stupid but it's still got the Stupid-Aid brand plastered all over the front of the package.

The crap that comes out of her mouth makes one fearful for the safety of those in her charge, including, but not limited to, her family and constituents. (And for the sanity of those same people for putting her in that position.)

And she shares with The Idiot the idea that absolutely nothing is her fault. It's usually the media. Or those pesky "elites", whoever they are. Take this latest gem from a recent interview with Esquire magazine.

"You have to let it go. Even hard news sources, credible news sources — the comment about, you can see Russia from Alaska. You can! You can see Russia from Alaska. Something like that — a factual statement that was taken out of context and mocked — what you have to do is let that go."

Okay, let's talk about this, darlin'. Your problem here was not that something was taken out of context. It's that it was taken in context. Out of context it was much smarter. Yes, you can see Russia from Alaska. It's a fact! (Only from a couple of remote islands, but still, we'll give you that.) See, it was the context in which you said it that was stupid. I read your quote above and I'm with you. But then, when I read the context, oh boy. Problematic.

Honey, you were responding to a question about why being geographically close to Russia makes you an expert on foreign policy. And I think we can all agree that...

Geez, what the hell am I doing? You're a fucking moron! Just shut the hell up and go away, already!

And you, American media, please just stop giving this nitwit even more airtime with which to bury herself.

This Man Is a Hall-of-Famer!

Yeah! Jim Rice! It's about time, BBWAA.

Jim Ed was my favorite player when I was a kid. His career stats don't look all that impressive compared to some of the bloated figures from the steroid era. But from about 1977-1983 he was the baddest badass in all of baseball. No one was more feared.

He's been considered a marginal choice for the Hall by some, but for those of us who remember what he could do (and, okay, grew up in New England) he should have been picked long ago. His prickly relationship with sportswriters certainly contributed to the delay.

Congrats, Jim. It took way too long, but the plaque's finally going up now and it's not coming down.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Truth, Justice, OR the American Way

Yesterday's New York Times Op-Ed page (usually a feast on Sundays) had a series on what to do about the almost-universally acknowledged law-breaking of the Bush regime. This discussion makes me want to scream.

The first salvo went to Harvard law professor Charles Fried. This is the screaming part. Fried seems to think that we should just forget about it and move on. The basic idea here, and I've heard it expressed elsewhere far too often, is that the election is all the punishment the Bushies need. This reminds me of The Idiot's own statement in early 2005 that "We had an accountability moment. It was the 2004 election." I am sick and tired of the notion that the vote of the generally ill-informed American people is all the justice that is required. If someone breaks the law, well, just vote 'em out. If we don't vote 'em out, we give tacit approval to anything and everything they do. No. No! NO! Fried uses multiple terms that are just plain false and inappropriate in order to suggest that those who want crimes to be punished do not have the purest intentions. Get a load of this:

"It is a hallmark of a sane and moderate society that when it changes leaders and regimes, those left behind should be abandoned to the judgment of history. It is in savage societies that the defeat of a ruling faction entails its humiliation, exile and murder."

This is insulting. We're not talking about people with whom we merely disagreed or who were just not good at what they did. We're talking about criminals. And yet Fried equates those who wish for a true accounting with savages hell-bent on revenge. Sane and moderate people would just let it go. Bullshit.

Here are some other bullshit terms he uses: "show trials", "persecution", "a politics of hate and revenge", "barbarism and desolation", "night of the long knives", "urge to criminalize", "our own over-lawyered culture".

Fried goes on to admit that these were indeed crimes, but it would just be too much of a hassle to deal with them. Listen, bub, a sane and moderate society would not dream of allowing crimes to go unprosecuted because it might mean we won't get home in time for "American Idol". We do not have an "urge to criminalize". You can't criminalize crime. It's crime already. And calling it something else is what our main problem is here.

Fried ends with a disgusting claim that those who want justice are comparing Bush and Cheney to Hitler and Stalin. This infuriating tactic is the same one that I (and Joel Stein) wrote about in this post. Saying that what you did isn't as bad as what the most horrible people in the universe did is not an excuse. People get arrested for drunk driving too. That doesn't make them Mao but it does make them criminals. We don't let them go and say, "Eh, at least he didn't willfully kill anyone. And it was only one, not like that Saddam guy." Enjoy your tea, Chuck. The rest of us want justice. Including the next contributor...

Next up is Slate's Dahlia Lithwick. This is more like it. Lithwick's piece reads like a direct refutation of Fried's. I have no idea if she read Fried's screeds before she composed this, but she certainly has heard the sad arguments before. It's not complicated. If the law is broken, it is appropriate and mandatory that investigations and, if necessary, criminal proceedings take place. We're a big tough country. We can handle it. Yes, we have other things to worry about, like cleaning up the mess we've got. But we have plenty of fine folks who need work right now. They can help.

The argument that Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld et al are going to be punished enough by the shame of having lost an election and having some people mad at them is ridiculous. Have you heard these people lately? They couldn't care less what you or I (or the law) think. The only way to make sure this doesn't happen again is to punish those who broke the law.

"If we declare presumptively that there can be no justice for high-level government officials who acted illegally then we exhibit the same contempt for the rule of law.

It’s not a witch hunt simply because political actors are under investigation."

Last up is Yale law professor Jack Balkin. This is supposedly the calm middle ground between these arguments. The truth is more important than "revenge" or, as some of us call it, justice. I understand this to a point. But truth should lead to justice, if it points that way. I agree with Balkin's most rational argument against the "witch hunt", which is that the Bush team (in their "over-lawyered" fashion) did a bang-up job of providing themselves with legal cover in the form of made-to-order legal "opinions" designed specifically to aid them in a situation like this. Even though we know the true rationale behind it, it's tough to legally trump it.

And, of course, the Military Commissions Act of 2006 (Worst. Law. Ever.) gave them even more cover. With the help of our own congress, thank you very much. Who also were "consulted" on just what was going on, albeit in a roundabout way. Are these same people now going to investigate crimes that they aided and abetted? And make themselves potentially culpable? Good luck with that.

Yes, we need to know the truth. What we know already is horrifying and we know that there is a whole lot more that we don't know. (Known unknowns, anyone?) And the Bushies are going to fight tooth and nail, as they have already, to make sure that we never find out the rest. But we are a weak and pathetic nation if we just allow this to be swept under the rug because we think we don't have the time or energy for it. That's exactly what the Bushies are counting on.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Ron Asheton

Damn, it seems like my record collection is getting more and more populated by dead people.

I reckon that now's the time that those who actually survived the 60s are starting to drop in earnest. I wrote about some of them fairly recently. (Believe it or not, I skipped Mitch Mitchell.)

The latest is Ron Asheton, guitarist for the Stooges. That's Ron with the glasses over there with a practically zygotic Iggy Pop in front. Ron, Iggy and the bunch (including Ron's brother Scott) were responsible for some of the dumbest, simplest, most awesome music to come out of the late 60s-early 70s. They were punk before punk existed. Which is not really news, but hey.

Here's their most well-known stupidfest, "I Wanna Be Your Dog". You have to love this. I love even more that classically-trained John Cale, recently divorced from Lou Reed, was responsible for producing the record.

Ron and Scott had re-united with Iggy recently for a tour and album, which just goes to show you that anybody who isn't dead will eventually get back together. Weirdness, indeed.

Even weirder... Chuck Berry? Still alive, people.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Poopy Chao

Elaine Chao can bite me. So can all of the other Bush apologists who continue to insist that history will judge him kindly.

"History will show that President Bush was successful in protecting the homeland," says Labor Secretary Elaine Chao, the only member of his original Cabinet who remains there.
Really? Here's what happened in my town during Bush's reign.

Anyone remember that? Here's what our lord and protector was doing at the time.

All while the buildings burned and Dick Cheney was ordering people around.

Shall we talk about New Orleans? Let's not.

Apart from the patently stupid idea that "protecting the homeland" is the president's #1 responsibility (It isn't. Protecting our constitution is. See?), how ridiculous is it for these people to even make this assertion?

"Apart from that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you enjoy the play?"

Arguing about "history" is just kicking the can down the road and avoiding responsibility for right now, when things really suck.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Playoffs Schmayoffs Dismayoffs

As much fun as it was watching the Patriots scrape out an 11-5 season after Tom Brady bit the dirt in the first quarter of their first game of the season (compounded by a whole pile of other injuries), it's going to be correspondingly unfun not watching them in the playoffs this weekend.

Some people hem and haw and say "They deserve to be in the playoffs!" and "The system is unfair! It should be changed!" I'm not into that. Everyone knows the rules going into the season. You have to either win your division or be one of the next two best teams in your conference. Didn't happen. Do they "deserve" to be in the playoffs? Without question. They're way better than most of the teams that are still alive. Is it unfair that they aren't in the playoffs? Absolutely not. They simply didn't qualify. Dem's da berries.

But, just to get it out of my system, here are some stats for ya.

4/12: Number of teams in playoffs with a worse record than the Pats out of total number of teams in playoffs. Three other playoff teams went 11-5.

1: Number of games more than the Patriots that the New York Giants won this year. The Giants. Yes. 12-4. Where are they now? Why, not only in the playoffs but with home-field advantage throughout. Ha!

4: The tiebreaker that lost it for the Pats. Tiebreaker #1 is head-to-head (1-1). Tiebreaker #2 is division record (both 4-2). #3 is common games (both 11-3). #4 is conference record. Miami was 8-4 and the Pats were 7-5. You may as well flip a coin. Wait, that's Tiebreaker #12. Oh, well.

10-6: The Giants' record last year, when they won the Super Bowl. Also the Pats' record the first year they won it. Also the record of the Vikings this year. The Vikings? Division winners. Playoff-bound. Had a better record than...

9-6-1: Eagles. Playoff-bound. Wild card, even.

9-7: Cardinals. Playoff-bound. Division winners.

8-8: Chargers. Playoff-bound. Division winners. 8-8? 8-8! The Cardinals could have finished 8-8 and won their division too. And almost did.

And by the way, the Chargers and Cardinals compiled those records in really crummy divisions. Although the Chargers did beat the Patriots this year. (But the Cardinals beat the Dolphins, and the Chargers were a better team, really. Ecch.)

The Patriots would have been fun to watch in the playoffs, what with Matt Cassel figuring this game out and all. Alas and alack, we'll get to watch the stellar Vikings-Eagles matchup and the highly-anticipated Falcons-Cardinals contest. It's annoying, but those are the rules.

We can whine all we want, but it all would have been immaterial if the Pats had just beaten the Jets at home in November.