Archive for November 2009

Buh Bye Huck

November 30, 2009

In 2001, then Governor Mike Huckabee commutes the sentence of Maurice Clemmons from sixty plus years to time served, setting Clemmons free; in November 2009, Clemmons is wanted in connection with the killing of four police officers.

Count me among those who think those two facts have ended Huck’s presidential dreams.

That’s doesn’t mean I agree with the reasoning.

One, the Huckster ought never have been a candidate for president. Primarily because he’s a theocrat. But also because he’s the worst of the Democrats and Republicans combined into one horrific candidate; he wants to police your bedroom AND your refrigerator. Really, I could fill a book with reasons NOT to vote Huckabee and never mention Maurice Clemmons. If he’s your sole reason for ditching Huck, well, you haven’t been paying attention.

Two, those two facts – Huckabee set a man free and the man later killed four cops – do not by themselves mean the commutation was a bad idea. No one can know how the future will unfold. Obviously, here, the future turned into a nightmare. When assigning blame, though, the issue is whether the information available at the time of the commutation should have led Huckabee to suspect problems in the future. If Clemmons was a certified psycho even in 2001, then sure, slam Huckabee. Or if Huck didn’t have much information and acted out of ignorance, then slam him. But don’t fault him if this looked like an ideal commutation case in 2001. If that’s the case, he made the best decision those of us without omniscience can make.

So what were the facts in 2001? The news reports tell us that prosecutors opposed the commutation. BFD. When’s the last time a prosecutor supported the use of clemency? Geez, prosecutors often oppose releasing people from jail even when DNA has proven innocence. In short, that prosecutors opposed Clemmons’ release means nothing.

Here’s the only other facts I know:

In 1990, Clemmons, then 18, was sentenced in Arkansas to 60 years in prison for burglary and theft of property, according to a news account in Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. Newspaper stories describe a series of disturbing incidents involving Clemmons while he was being tried in Arkansas on various charges.

During one trial, Clemmons was shackled in leg irons and seated next to a uniformed officer. The presiding judge ordered the extra security because he felt Clemmons had threatened him, court records show.

Another time, Clemmons hid a hinge in his sock, and was accused of intending to use it as a weapon. Yet another time, Clemmons took a lock from a holding cell, and threw it toward the bailiff. He missed and instead hit Clemmons’ mother, who had come to bring him street clothes, according to records and published reports.

On another occasion, Clemmons had reached for a guard’s pistol during transport to the courtroom.

When Clemmons received the 60-year sentence, he was already serving 48 years on five felony convictions and facing up to 95 more years on charges of robbery, theft of property and possessing a handgun on school property. Records from Clemmons’ sentencing described him as 5-foot-7 and 108 pounds. The crimes were committed when he was 17.

Clemmons served 11 years before being released.

News accounts say Huckabee commuted Clemmons’ sentence, citing Clemmons’ young age at the time the crimes were committed.

I don’t know. That’s a lot of convictions and charges. He didn’t help himself with his behavior during the trial. But he was only seventeen and sixty years is a long time. So is the eleven he served; imagine spending your 17th through 28th birthdays in prison.

Still, this isn’t enough information to judge Huck’s decision. To start, I’d like to know what the “five felony convictions” were. Possessing too much pot? Or an assault? Then how about the robbery, theft and gun possession charges? Did they result in convictions? Was this all one act? Did it involve violence? Also, how did he behave in prison? Model inmate or problem? Don’t forget the family history, either. That would help in deciding whether the guy was a sociopathic career criminal or someone who could redeem himself. Absent all of that information, it just is not fair to either slam or defend Huckabee’s decision to commute Clemmons’ sentence.

So while he’s a moron for a lot of things, it’s too early to add commuting Clemmons’ sentence to the list or reasons why Mike Huckabee should never, ever, not if he was the only person left on Earth*, be the president of the United States.

*If the was the second to last person on Earth, and Sarah Palin was the other, it would be O.K. for Huckabee to be president.

 

MNF: Pats By 14

November 29, 2009

I don’t want it to be true. I hope I’m wrong. I like the Saints; I hate the Patriots. But I have a bad feeling about tomorrow’s BIG GAME. I think the Patriots will jump up big early and then the two teams will trade touchdowns for the rest of the game, leaving the Patriots a sort-of convincing win.

About That LSU-Arkansas Game

November 29, 2009

If I was Les Miles, I would have faked the field goal at the end of regulation. Kicking it was the right call. LSU has a great kicker, it was relatively easy, and it gave them a chance to win in OT. Still, how awesome would a fake have been? Yeah, if it failed Miles would be gone. But if it worked? I can’t think of any better way for him to have reasserted his authority over the team. After all the heat he’s taken – deservedly – for screwing up the end of last week’s game, it would have been cool to see him basically say “F**k all you haters, I’m Les Miles and I coach my way.”

Happy Thanksgiving

November 26, 2009

I’d Title This “What I’m Thankful For” But That Would Be Cheesy

November 25, 2009

 

Would This Be Caveat Emptor? Or Must You Disclose The Paranormal?

November 24, 2009

As if the market isn’t enough of a problem:

A real estate agent showing a house in Gibson got to the basement and found about 100 human bones in a corner.

James Kenny, a forensic investigator with the Terrebonne Parish Coroner’s Office, says the bones found Saturday were so old that dirt had saturated the marrow inside them. He says they probably are remains of Native Americans buried long before the house was built.

Kenny says he learned that the previous residents would often find bones while mowing the lawn or doing yard work, and would put them in the basement.

Half of the split-level house is on top of a circular mound, which parish officials suggest may be an Indian burial mound.

There has to be an HGTV show here. Designed to Sell meets Ghost Hunters. “To get this house ready to¬† sell, we’re going to re-paint the living room in a neutral brown, and then help out the basement with an exorcism!”

 

 

Now That’s Fucking Brilliant

November 24, 2009

“School Board members, employees may get in trouble for cursing

In case you ever doubted that the average school administrator has wayyyy to much time on his hands.

Don’t Fire Les Miles

November 22, 2009

Bill Simmons has a less expensive solution that lets LSU keep Miles’s recruiting skills but solves his biggest problem: Making decisions at the end of games. Simmons is talking about Eagles coach Andy Reid, but everything in this column applies equally to Miles and LSU.

First, an e-mail to Simmons suggests the idea:

“Andy Reid is a great coach for 3 and a half quarters. In baseball, most starting pitchers do their job really well for most of the game, then need a little help to finish it out. I think you see where I’m going with this. The Eagles need a closer. A coach that they can bring in at the end of close games when they’re trailing, or winning by a touchdown or less (save situations). As asinine as this sounds, tell me Eagles fans wouldn’t strongly consider it.”

How about it Tigers fans?

Now Simmons expands the idea:

Consider it? Are you kidding? They just broke their necks nodding violently. It’s a fascinating idea and I spent way too much time thinking about it. Every coach has a flaw or two. It’s impossible for them to be perfect. In Andy Reid’s case, he knows how to handle the media, build a roster, come up with game plans, delegate to assistants, get his players playing hard for him, keep them prepared and keep them motivated. It’s a eight-step job and he nailed seven of the steps. But he’s helpless with clock management — as we saw last Sunday in painful detail — and since he’s been doing this since the mid-90s, it sure seems like he will always be helpless. It’s his Achilles’ heel. So why not fix it? Either have the Clock Management Closer come in and stand next to him, or even better, just have Reid actually leave the sideline and head into the locker room like a baseball pitcher. He could even get a standing O on his way out. I would love this. Who wouldn’t love this?

As Miles leaves, they could even have a big ceremony for the closer. Like how Bevo precedes the Longhorns or Chief Osceola and Florida State, only it would be one guy, the fourth quarter and Mike the Tiger. Think Mariano Rivera and Enter Sandman, but with the LSU fight song and a 600 pound carnivore escorting the closer. Not only would we have someone who knows how to call the end of a game, but think of the intimidation factor! Especially if they could leave Mike on the field for the rest of the game. Genius, I say.

F**K

November 21, 2009

That’s all I have to say about the most ridiculous, stupid, unbelievable, f’d up ending to a football game I have ever seen.

Well, that and I wonder how many remote controls flew across rooms around this state at about 6:30 tonight.

O.K., and also how about benching Jefferson and Lee and playing without a quarterback? LSU couldn’t be any worse. How the hell you take a sack like Jefferson did in that last drive just blows the mind.

Running out of time, though, was all Les Miles.

The YMCA Half Marathon

November 21, 2009

I ran it this morning in a sort of disappointing 1:45.

I didn’t have to think real hard before deciding to run, even though I didn’t know about it until about three weeks ago. My marathon training plan had me running about 13 miles today anyway. With a race, I’d have a fresh environment instead of a plain old training run. Also got a nice t-shirt, and it was only fifteen bucks to register. So why not, I though.

Then I had to choose how to race it.

Normally, at this stage of training for the marathon, I’ll run about twenty miles during the week and then do a big run on Saturday. Right now that would be in the low to mid teens. Sundays I ride my bike anywhere from twenty five to fifty miles.

One option for the race was to simply fit it into my usual routine. The plus of that is I would still have a normal training week. The drawback is not having a very good time. I usually do speed work during the week, leaving my legs dead for anything other than steady distances on Saturdays. The other option was to recover during the week prior to the race and try for a really good time.

Initially I leaned towards recovery and racing, for two reasons. One, I wanted to see if I could hold my ideal race pace (7:30-7:40 per mile) for the whole thing. Two, plenty of people have told me about the advantages of walking through water stations during the marathon and I wanted to try it and see how it impacted my endurance and time during a real race.

I ended up splitting the difference. I cut out my ride last Sunday. I also cut out my run Thursday, giving me Thursday and Friday to rest for this morning’s run. In between, I did some hard running for five miles on Tuesday and then six miles with the kids in the jogger Wednesday.

With the easier week I was hoping to run anywhere from 1:40 to 1:45. In addition to doing that, I wanted to maintain a steady pace and finish strong. I’ve always had problems taking off too fast and then collapsing towards the end, so that latter goal really mattered to me.

And I met that one. The first mile – which felt like I-2o at five o’clock – was my slowest: 9:15. After that my three slowest were all miles when I walked through the aid stations and they averaged about 8:25. My last mile was 7:45. Also, only one person passed me, while I passed quite a few who were fading in the second half, which tells me I did a good job keeping a steady pace.

The time, however, bugs me. First, doubled, my time today would be exactly my “I’ll be thrilled” marathon time. But even if I can keep it close, I know I’ll lose some time in the second half. That would mean today’s run would equal a 3:40 or so for the marathon. I’d be “happy” with that, but not thrilled. Second, the time bugs me because two weeks ago, after a normal training week, I ran ten miles in 1:17. I felt strong doing it, too. That pace would have finished the half in five minutes less time than I did today. Most of the difference, I think, was due to the first mile and the walks.

Still, the slow first mile and the walks might end up saving time once I’m doing the whole 26.2. They cost time at first, yes. Long term, though, they should keep me fresher and thus faster. I’m hoping that over a full marathon the benefits will be more apparent. In other words, maybe doing those things will make the second half of the marathon the same as today’s. If that’s the case, not only will I be thrilled, but even today’s run will look great.