Casualty of Capitalism

Exiled into Wilmington, Delaware by virtue of corporate layoffs. (Note: Unless otherwise stated, all photos on this blog are Copyright 2005, Michael Collins, and cannot be used without permission.)

Location: Wilmington, Delaware, United States

Graduate of University of Maryland School of Law; University of Maryland, College Park (Economics/Political Science).

Sunday, October 31, 2004

Today's View From the Unemployment Line

Don't forget to vote on Tuesday.

This mighty flag on the top of Federal Hill in Baltimore flew at half staff on September 14, 2001. I remember the eerie, desolate, airplane-free skies on the day I took this photo. I remember grim-faced police officers in paramilitary outfits demanding that I stop taking photos in certain spots downtown. I remember the strange feelings of both purpose and mourning I felt during those days.

And now three years later and with the war on terror only just begun, I still get angry seeing pictures like these of our national symbol taking this knee after suffering a body blow from the viscious fanatics who wish death and destruction on our citizens and way of life. I do not want to see our national symbol falter before terrorists again. For that reason, I urge you to cast your vote for George W. Bush.Posted by Hello

The Redskins Rule

The Redskins lost today, which is supposed to predict that the incumbent president, George Bush, will lose the election on Tuesday. 17 straight elections, the Redskins last home game has "predicted" such results: Redskins win, incumbent wins; Redskins lose, challenger (here, John Kerry) wins.

The Redskins were down most of the game, but regained life after a couple of late Brett Favre interceptions got the Skins back within striking distance. Down 20-14 and with less than three minutes to play, the Skins scored what could have been the game winning TD, only to have it called back by a penalty for an illegal shift. On the next play, the Packers intercepted a Redskins' pass over the middle, and the game was essentially over.

I wonder if the touchdown overturned by the penalty flag for a ticky-tack infraction is a metaphor for Kerry's inevitable perfect storm of lawsuits after the returns show Bush winning on Tuesday at the close of the polls? Let's hope the refs keep that flag (lawsuits) in their pockets and let the players (candidates) determine the outcome on the field.


Maryland 20, Florida State 17!!!

All is forgiven. Joe Statham for Heisman. I don't care! Terps win! Terps win!

I had no delusions that Maryland could compete on the same field with FSU this season, especially after they way they destroyed Virginia recently. Give credit to the Fridge and his players. Wow.

WaPo: Afterward, fans immediately converged on the field in a blanket of red. Somehow, both goal posts remained standing. Some fans carried players into the locker room. Others followed [Maryland Coach Ralph] Friedgen to the corner of the field, where he sang the school's fight song. "Close your eyes and sing," Friedgen said later.

"I don't know if you've ever seen a rock concert," [Maryland wide receiver Rich] Parson said. "It was like that. That was beautiful."

IN OTHER NEWS: Navy improved to 7-1 with a win over Delaware.

Photo courtesy of by Hello

Friday, October 29, 2004

Today's View From the Unemployment Line

Don't forget to turn your clock back on Saturday night. And don't forget to vote on Tuesday!!!

This picture was taken on September 14, 2001 in front of Nacho Mamas in Baltimore, MD. Posted by Hello

Kerry's Latest October Surprise

The Kerry campaign unleashed its latest October surprise today: George Bush once gave one of his staffers the finger (in jest) while a camera was rolling! Shock! Surprise! Gasp! Yawn.

The video is obviously very old, probably from when the young-looking current president was governor of Texas. Unpresidential? Certainly. But at the time, he wasn't president, nor was he running for it. Nor was the gesture used in a malicious way.

Who remembers John Kerry's Rolling Stone interview from last December when he was running for president...the one where he says Bush "f---[ed] it up" in Iraq? So this Bush video is suggestive of his inability to lead the country, but not Kerry's published remarks?

Things to consider:

1) Bush made his gesture jokingly; Kerry was utterly serious in his proclamation about Bush.
2) Bush made his gesture during a pre-broadcast moment; Kerry used the f-bomb in a prominent, published national magazine (one read exceedingly by students, no less)
3) Bush made his gesture prior to his election to or campaign for national office; Kerry said Bush "f'd it up" while running for president and in furtherance of that goal.

Pretty low, and (surprise, surprise) hypocritical of the Kerry campaign.

For the best available version of the Bush video, go here.

PS: And speaking of October surprises, Bush has four days left to produce Osama Bin Laden as Paul Krugman and Madeline Albright predicted he would for re-election purposes.

UPDATE: I guess Bush won't be holding a press conference in the Rose Garden with Osama in chains before Tuesday, much to the chagrin of Democrat I-Told-You-So'ers. Quite frankly, I'm surprised he's alive. I was hoping his dried up corpse was providing food for some cave spiders somewhere in the mountains of Afghnistan. You have to admit, the final days before a U.S. election can be pretty bizarre. I'm both anticipating and dreading what will happen in the next four days.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Maybe I was wrong. Is Bush behind the Bin Laden tape?

According to the Drudge Report, a senile, formerly relevant news anchor seems to think so:

Former CBSNEWS anchorman Walter Cronkite believes Bush adviser Karl Rove is possibly behind the new Bin Laden tape.

Cronkite made the startling comments late Friday during an interview on CNN.Somewhat smiling, Cronkite said he is "inclined to think that Karl Rove, the political manager at the White House, who is a very clever man, he probably set up bin Laden to this thing."

Interviewer Larry King did not ask Cronkite to elaborate on the provocative election eve observation.

I guess the nursing home let him out of the Alzheimer's ward to give this interview.

College Hoops Pre-Season Polls

CBS Sportsline recently released it's pre-season Top 25 for men's college basketball. Their #1 is Oklahoma St. It's an interesting poll to compare to ESPN's, Dookie V's, and the Coaches' Poll.

Some notable differences:

Oklahoma St.: CBS Sportsline #1, ESPN #8, Dookie V. #13, Coaches' #8.
Maryland: CBS Sportsline #21, ESPN #10, Dookie V. #10, Coaches' #16.
UNC: CBS Sportsline #11, ESPN #4, Dookie V. #1, Coaches' #3.
Duke: CBS Sportsline #23, ESPN #14, Dookie V. #9, Coaches' #12.
Pittsburgh: CBS Sportsline #10, ESPN #21, Dookie V. #15, Coaches' #17.
Wisconsin: CBS Sportsline #12, ESPN #24, Dookie V. #18, Coaches' #20.

Obviously Dookie V. has an intense bias toward the ACC, and UNC and Duke in particular (hence his nickname). You wouldn't expect any else from Vitale than UNC or Duke at #1 and Duke in the Top 10 regardless of how depleted their roster is. Dookie V.'s bias makes his poll about as credible as speech by Al Gore on the merits of the Bush administration.

I think it's interesting how ESPN once again is buying into the usual pre-season ACC hype. I, of course agree with them, and believe ESPN to be the more credible poll. Yes, I'm biased too, but I don't get paid for my views (though it would be nice...please see buy something from from this website!). But the CBS Sportsline poll is fun to read because for once, someone's experts are giving a lot of respect to lesser conferences and teams.

CBS Sportsline is obviously the outlier of the four polls. The Coaches' appears most solid. Unfortunately, they rank Duke ahead of Maryland, so you have to take it with a grain of salt. Coach K is a great recruiter, but we'll see how he coaches a team of lesser talents this season. No longer a line-up of the top four or five McDonald's All-Americans. Wonder if he'll come down with a mysterious back problem like he did the last time he had a bad recruiting class. He was able to use that as an excuse to take a break while his team finished under .500 for the first time in many years. Let's see if he can coach these kids up in 2004-2005.

With the early season tournaments right around the corner, the men will soon be separated from the boys.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Today's View From the Unemployment Line

Since we're coming up on the election next week, figured I would remind readers for the next few days what you will be voting for: the future of AMERICA! Don't forget it. Posted by Hello

You Don't Say!

America's "ally," France, provided some more assistance today to the US lead War on Terror:

RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) - Doctors decided to fly ailing Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat to Paris for treatment, as associates described an Palestinian leader who was too weak to stand Thursday, appeared confused and spent most of the day sleeping.

Once again, we are proud to count on French aid when trying to protect the lives of the innocent worldwide.

Red Sox Are Champs, Curse Reversed

His work here is done. R.I.P. The Curse.

Now what about the Cubs? 96 years and counting.Posted by Hello

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Today's View from the Unemployment Line

Just developed some pictures from this summer, including this one of the Blue Angels as they flew over my apartment during the Chicago Air & Water Show. Posted by Hello

Bye-Bye Democracy, Hello Rule by Judicial Fiat

They didn't even wait until after the election this time.

All together, the Democrats have now filed 35 lawsuits in 17 states.

I might just sue the Democratic party for false advertising by virtue of their misleading party name. The mascot is still appropriate, however.

The Way It Used to Be

Did you think I could go a whole week without commenting on the Maryland football debacle at Clemson over the weekend?

This is Terps football the way I remember it. All the snotty Maryland students who were treated to bowl games and double-digit win seasons the last three years (not to mention national and ACC hoops championships) finally get to feel what it's really like to be a Maryland fan. In general, it's rather painful. Losing is expected. Winning is a nice, fleeting surprise. Choking is definitely the name of the game. Now they too have to go through about thirteen links to finally get to the Maryland game summary rather than being able to look it up with ease as a "Top 25" score.

Last weekend, the Terps lost to a Clemson team that scored a TD with less than a minute remaining to win 10-7. The defense did their job. But what about that hideous offense?

Let's start with the positive. Three weeks ago, the Terps had 81 yards of total offense. Two weeks ago, 91 yards total offense and three points. Last weekend, the Terps ran up 194 yards on offense and scored 7 whole points. We're improving, baby!

Now back to the negative. First, Maryland has only once been within 10 points of current #5 Florida State since the Seminoles joined the ACC. Wake Forest lost by three last weekend. Don't even dream that the same is possible from Maryland. FSU is our daddy.

Maryland (3-4, 2-3) has lost all 14 of its meetings with Florida State, including 12 since the Seminoles joined the conference.

Second, Joe "I Wish I Had the 'Talent' of Mike Mardesich" Statham is still our starting QB. Statham threw for 14-31-118-2 last weekend, the second INT sealing the Terps' fate at the end of the game. This your national 95th ranked QB, folks (the scary thing is that to this point, the Terps' strength of schedule is 90th). He's also fine at rallying the troops behind him:

"Really, there's no where we could go but up," quarterback Joel Statham said. "It can't get any worse than it is right now."

That's the guy you want as your QB. What a positive attitude. But when you threw 7 INT's and fumbled 10 times in your first four games, went 6-11-18 in a game, and are presiding over a three game losing streak characterized by utter offensive futility, well maybe you'd think the same way.

Unfortunately, FSU is coming town. It's going to get worse, young Jedi. I remember a game in 1998 when Maryland's starting offense was held to negative second half yardage while FSU scored on each possession. And FSU was using it's second and third string QB's to do it. Maryland's defense is too good to allow that to happen this year, but the offense could match that negative yardage milestone with Statham at the helm. Wouldn't that be something?

Maryland still won't get within 10 points of FSU. I give the 'Noles a 20-0 win. Now that you have been forewarned, anybody want my extra tickets?

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Today's View from the Unemployment Line

We actually got rain yesterday. About an inch, at that. But the overnight/early morning rain yielded to another spectacular day of sun and temps in the mid-70's. It's not so bad in Chicago after all. (Note: please return to this site in January and I'm sure we'll revisit the weather topic.)

For the next couple of weeks, I'll temporarily be back at work, so I don't expect to have too much time to post much here. I'll do my best and have my camera ready. I hope to be immersed in work for the next eight days so I can take a break from the election coverage as we slide in the muck toward Election Day. On November 3, for better or for worse, we can finally get back to being Americans, rather than potential voters. That is, provided those meddling lawyers don't get involved again.

"You have a very close election," said [David] Boies, author of a new book, "Courting Justice," which devotes three chapters to his work on the historic recount fight. "You have an election that will probably come down again to Florida. You have an election where you have a partisan secretary of state making decisions that at minimum favor one party over the other party consistently. You've got armies of lawyers poised to do battle for their candidate."

As usual, politicians and lawyers care only what is best for themselves, not for our country.

Whoever wins, it's going to be a nasty next four years. Hopefully, someone in one or both of the parties exercises some judgment and leads our our national politicians out of the cesspool they're currently wallowing in and returns some sanity and grace to politics.

Unlikely, but I can dream. Posted by Hello

Friday, October 22, 2004

Hype Watch

I haven't done one of these in a while. But here is one of the biggest overstatements I have heard yet in this campaign. There are many statements a person can make over the course of a campaign that may cause voters to think twice on Election Day. Kerry's comment about Dick Cheney's daughter during the last debate being one. Another example is the sum effect the slew of misstatements Bush has "misarticulated" since he came to office has had on the President's perceived intelligence. Keeping that in mind, this seems like pure hyperbole to me:

JOHN KERRY, in his grand effort to be all things to all people, has spent the last few weeks trying to convince people that he, too, is a sports junkie, a hardcore Red Sox fan, and devotee of the NFL. His missteps, such as lauding "Lambert Field" during a visit to Wisconsin in August, may prove catastrophic come November 2. This particular blunder spurred the Football Fans For Truth to action, and may be, to some extent, responsible for Wisconsin's seeming transition from blue to red-these people take their football very seriously. [emphasis added]

Come on. Please tell me voters aren't that shallow. There are plenty of other more important issues to vote on.

Kerry: No "Worth[y]" Deaths for America

John Kerry quoted in the Washington Post regarding the value of American soldiers' lives:

NATO and the United Nations appear to be touchstones for the Democratic nominee, not just the troublesome hurdles that they appear to be to President Bush. In speeches over the years, Kerry repeatedly has denounced unilateral action.

Kerry's belief in working with allies runs so deep that he has maintained that the loss of American life can be better justified if it occurs in the course of a mission with international support. In 1994, discussing the possibility of U.S. troops being killed in Bosnia, he said, "If you mean dying in the course of the United Nations effort, yes, it is worth that. If you mean dying American troops unilaterally going in with some false presumption that we can affect the outcome, the answer is unequivocally no."

Senator Kerry emphasizes, "unequivocally", that an American life lost in defense of America is illegitimate unless the action is approved by the United Nations. Incredible. And frightening.

The United States tipped the war in Bosnia towards peace by carrying out the bulk of military operations against the Serbs (and on behalf of Muslims, no less). Even though Bosnia was on its own doorstep, Western Europe did very little but debate the situation until media focus on the genocide occuring there forced Washington to act. Without the US, the uneasy peace in Bosnia never would have been won and thousands more Muslims would have been murdered. It's bad enough that Kerry doesn't believe US lives lost in a fight for human rights and our ultimate self defense (preventing the western spread of the conflict) are not "worth [it]" unless blessed by the UN, but that he does not believe our forces could "affect the outcome" shows "unequivocally" to me the contempt with which he holds our military men and women. Do not forget that he came to office as an anti-war/anti-military hero and his votes against military weapons systems and appropriations in the Senate show this clearly. His track record on military matters is established and, amazingly for Kerry, very consistent. Do not expect this to change come whatever happens on November 2.

A Lesson in Courage or How to Lose Your Next Bid for Re-Election

Following the death of a student in the Boston mini-rioting following the Red Sox game 7 win over the Yankees, the mayor of Boston is considering taking some extreme measures for the World Series (the last time Boston was in the World Series was 1986):

Mayor Thomas M. Menino said he was considering prohibiting liquor sales and asking bar and restaurant operators to ban live television coverage during games to curb the rowdiness. "Since people won't accept responsibility, I, as mayor, will take it into my own hands," Menino said Thursday.

Menino planned to meet with bar and nightclub owners Friday. He said he was considering invoking a state law, never before used in Boston, that would allow him to ban the sale or distribution of alcohol "in cases of riot or great public excitement."

The last time the Red Sox won the World Series was 1918, before the invention of television. It was also a year before Prohibition was imposed in 1919. It is cool to be retro, but in a city as cursed as Boston has been, these ham-handed measures appear to be overkill.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Today's View from the Unemployment Line: Lawyering the Outdoors Edition

A while back I had read about a state park just south of Chicago called "Starved Rock." Since the trees are currently strutting their autumnal stuff, I thought I would make the trek down and see what the buzz was all about before I missed the show.

Last night I consulted my guidebook to get a better idea what the park was like. I remembered reading somewhere that the views were pretty stunning, and the rock formations awe-inspiring. Not too far into this book's review, I came across this alarming tidbit:

You'll cover a dozen canyons carved out of porous St. Peter sandstone hiking back from the park's visitors center to Kaskaskia Canyon and back. I think a lawyer designed these trails; you'll encounter handrails and stairs in parts.

Boy, was this writer correct. Not only where there stairs and rails, but boardwalks and signs galore telling you all about the things the hiker is not permitted to do. The park wouldn't want anyone to get hurt of course, but isn't that just assumption of the risk when you're talking about the outdoors? Not in today's overlawyered climate. Even nature has been tamed by some pointy-headed know-it-all.

Below is a little photo-journal of my hike today. Enjoy if you dare. There may be a park rule against that. Posted by Hello

Some of the many things I can't do at the park. Maybe I would just be better off reading about what's down that path in a magazine. At least I can't get arrested for enjoying my outdoor experience that way! (That kid in the yellow picture looks like he's having a lot more fun than I will.) Posted by Hello

Oh, this artificial experience is for my protection. And I am reminded of this pretty regularly so as not to get any other ideas. Posted by Hello

I know this has nothing to do with lawyers, but apparently, it's good luck to rub Abraham Lincoln's nose. Posted by Hello

No fishing. Posted by Hello

No climbing. This means you. Posted by Hello

Restricted area! No climbing. No wading. No fishing. Posted by Hello

For the dense, there are huge maps at various locations. YOU ARE HERE! Posted by Hello

For the especially dense, there are "away" from the visitor's center and "return" to the visitor's center reflectors everywhere. Heaven forbid anyone learns basic map skills anymore. Posted by Hello

Oooo! Watch out for THIS step. Posted by Hello

Gosh, this incline might be too steep or slippery. Let's instead use taxpayer money to build hundreds and hundreds of wooden stairs. Posted by Hello

Why hike on a trail, when you can walk on boards instead? No more stubbed toes. Just as nature intended it. Posted by Hello

Heaven forbid someone should touch that tree. Posted by Hello

An egregious oversight. Someone put a cone and some police tape around that hole. A person could break an ankle in that thing. Posted by Hello

Use this trash can, dadgumit! And no fishing! Posted by Hello

Yes, we can fit another rule on this trail marker! Posted by Hello

That last sentence is pretty harsh, considering I hadn't taken or defaced the sign yet. PS: Was there a premium on apostrophes or something? Posted by Hello

Someone call Under Armour. I think we may have a case of trademark infingement! Who Will Protect This Park?! Posted by Hello