Thursday, October 02, 2003

Check out this piece from the Weekly Standard on why Bush is the big favorite going into the November 2004 election. And have a look at this article from Slate on prison rape. I've made a couple bad jokes on this subject but it's not really that funny, especially when you consider the likelihood of catching a venereal disease, particularly AIDS. Seems to me that prison should not be a picnic, it should be distinctly non-fun, but anal rape is not supposed to be part of the punishment that you deserve for having stolen a car or having driven drunk or having failed to pay your child support. Five years in jail, that's harsh enough without getting raped and maybe syphilis or AIDS as part of the deal.

There ought to be different prisons for violent and non-violent criminals; it just doesn't make sense to lock up the insurance cheat with the street mugger, gang-banger, murderer, carjacker, drive-by shooter, or armed robber. I had thought that that was the difference between minimum-, medium-, and maximum-security prisons. You've got to put the really violent guys and escape threats in maximum security, semi-violent guys who behave themselves in medium, and non.violent guys in minimum. It also seems to me that prison guards ought to be drawn from a considerably higher caliber of person than they currently appear to be. If we paid them twenty grand more a year we might get people of pretty decent material to do what must be a nasty and extremely unpleasant job.

Here's how hard up for cash FC Barcelona is. They took a payment of some €1.5 million to fly to Mexico City Tuesday, play a friendly against Azteca Wednesday, and then fly back here today. I bet Barca is just gonna do great this weekend against Valencia. Their players will be all nice and rested up. By the way, in the exhibition game they lost 2-0. Kluivert muffed three or four goal opportunities, showing that he can screw up just as badly when the game doesn't count for anything.

Here's Sports Illustrated's Paul Zimmermann on dirty play in the NFL and the officials' failure to put a stop to it. My suggestion has been for several years: Do like they do in pro soccer. You get a yellow card for a personal foul or an unsportsmanlike conduct. If you earn yourself another yellow card in that game, you're out of the game and suspended for the next one. 1 / 16 of your salary would, of course, be deducted and given to an NFL charity. Also, if you manage to put together five yellow cards along the length of the season, you'd be suspended for a game. This would count for the playoffs, too; yellow cards from the regular season would carry over. So would suspensions. You get kicked out of your team's last playoff game, you're suspended for the first game next year. Accumulate your fifth yellow card in the last week of the regular season and you're suspended the first week of the playoffs.

I think that would put an end to a lot of dirty play by deterring it from the point of view of both the players' pockets and their team's possibilities. Coaches would certainly no longer encourage dirty play if they knew it was going to be called and that it would lead to suspensions.

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