The Counterpoint

December 30, 2004

Vikings blogging

I blogged about the problems with the Minnesota Vikings over at QWERTY. Go check it out; it's long, but it I think it's at least interesting.

December 29, 2004

The high life

Okay, so get this:

SALISBURY, Md. (AP) -- Olympic swimming champion Michael Phelps was sentenced to 18 months' probation Wednesday after pleading guilty to drunken driving.

Judge Lloyd O. Whitehead granted Phelps probation before judgment, meaning his record will be expunged if he follows the terms of probation. Phelps pleaded guilty to driving while impaired, and prosecutors dropped charges of driving under the influence, underage drinking and failure to stop at a stop sign.
Meanwhile, for one glass of champagne (and no moving violations), I was given 12 months of probation, 25 hours of community service (probably roughly the same that he got), and massive fines.

Sometimes I don't understand our crazy, mixed up world. Maybe it's just me, but I think celebrities should be held accountable for their mistakes just like us regular guys.

Law and Order's Orbach dies

Jerry Orbach of Law and Order dies at 69.

I was never really a fan of Law and Order, but I watched it occassionally after the West Wing (which, regardless of what you think of its politics, is the best drama on TV) and I always enjoyed his character and the chemistry he had with Jesse Martin.


December 27, 2004

What really happened to Flight 93?

I see, courtesy of Wizbang, this story on World Net Daily:

During his surprise Christmas Eve trip to Iraq, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld referred to the flight being shot down – long a suspicion because of the danger the flight posed to Washington landmarks and population centers.

Was it a slip of the tongue? Was it an error? Or was it the truth, finally being dropped on the public more than three years after the tragedy of the terrorist attacks that killed nearly 3,000?

Here's what Rumsfeld said Friday: "I think all of us have a sense if we imagine the kind of world we would face if the people who bombed the mess hall in Mosul, or the people who did the bombing in Spain, or the people who attacked the United States in New York, shot down the plane over Pennsylvania and attacked the Pentagon, the people who cut off peoples' heads on television to intimidate, to frighten – indeed the word 'terrorized' is just that. Its purpose is to terrorize, to alter behavior, to make people be something other than that which they want to be."
As Wizbang noted, this is bound to stir up the conspiracy nuts. I can't say for certain whether or not this was just a slip of the tongue or part of some major cover up, but if true, why would it have been kept a secret in the first place? Given the solidarity of our country at the time, if Rumsfeld or Bush had come out and said they were forced to shoot the plane down I don't think anyone would've faulted the decision.

But the bigger question is this: does it matter? The fact is Flight 93 was heading towards a pretty high profile target, most likely the White House. That plane hitting the ground where it did, whether at the hands of some brave passengers or a fighter pilot on alert, was the best outcome that we could expect.

Oh, in case you were wondering, the Pentagon has already said that Rumsfeld misspoke.

December 26, 2004

Target Corp: Minnesota's biggest giver of charitable grants

Hopefully this will help Target's reputation a little:

Minnesota's Target Corporation became the state's largest giver of charitable grants in 2003. Its 96 million dollars in grants helped it surpass the McKnight Foundation for the first time ever.

Target's giving increased more than ten percent in 2003 over the previous year, and it's likely to pay out just as much in 2004.
I think it's a given that all corporations do their parts for their communities in one way or another, so it was puzzling to me that Target was getting criticized so harshly by much of the blogosphere in the weeks preceding Christmas about not allowing the Salvation Army bell-ringers. To me, it's all about freedom of choice; Target didn't want the Salvation Army to position bell-ringers outside their stores, but that alone doesn't make them any less charitable than the companies that did. They still have good deals, they don't censor music (I am looking at you, Wal-Mart), and though they aren't as visible about it (which has undoubtedly damaged their image), they do indeed give back to the community. That makes for an okay company in my book.