Oh United, Oh $#!% United, Oh oh oh oh oh Mo-re-no.

2010 August 16 2 comments

OK, in terms of game recap, let me stipulate the following: United lost to FC Dallas with a defense whose starboard leaked as though it were bound for Liverpool and had just taken a torpedo from Kapitänleutnant Walther Schwieger’s U-20. When United runs TV ads that say “It Takes More” they forget that the sentence ends with “…Talent than we have to win a game.” Forget Black and Red, United is the Black and Blue. We suck worse than the inevitable “Will Farrell as a Serious Dramatic Actor in a Bid to Win an Oscar” movie. Granted granted granted.

So let’s address the Jaime Moreno non-playing, non-captaincy issue.  Fullback and Landru are in 100% agreement, which is scary.  Fullback calls it “kicking a club legend in the teeth.”  Landru elaborates “He should’ve started, and worn the armband, and barring that, he absolutely should’ve been substituted into a losing effort. Seriously, Benny? Adam Cristman? Are you really that inept?”  BDR then, characteristically, upps the ante “St Benny of Olsen is either an asshole or a coward.”

So let’s sound the discordant note, shall we?  Starting Jaime Moreno would have been a gesture only, a gesture of respect that is deserved for the his service to United and to MLS as a whole.  But it would have had nothing to do with putting the best team on the field.  As good as Jaime is, and he still is good, it doesn’t change the fact that he isn’t what he was.  Jaime could have retired in glory in 2006 after a strong season and a Supporter’s Shield.  He could have retired in glory in 2007 with another Shield and the MLS all-time goal scoring record.   It would have been on his terms, and no one would have felt he was leaving us too soon.

But the fact is, Jaime needed to go at some point, and the longer it went on, the more United was tied up in Moreno, not in United.  I love Jaime.  He never won an MLS MVP Award, but they should rename that trophy for him.  But there needed to be a time when United and Moreno parted ways.  Let’s not forget, Etcheverry’s retirement in 2003 was considered overdue.  And it needed to happen for United to get beyond the mire it was in at the time.

So am I incensed that Olsen didn’t play him.  Nope.  It would have been nice, but I can’t honestly say right now that Olsen’s Best XI includes Moreno up-top as a starter (or even withdrawn, tucked behind Allsop or someone).  Given that United’s best scoring opportunities came not with possession in the middle, but possession in the flanks, it seems to be that tactically, against F.C. Dallas, Moreno may have made more sense on the bench.  It is a fair decision.

If the entire season goes by and there is no recognition of Moreno, then I can understand being incensed.  But in the first match, in Olsen’s first league match at RFK?  Just chill out people.  Your problem isn’t that Moreno isn’t starting, your problem is that United sucks.  Freaking out over Jaime may serve to distract you from the real systemic problems that this team has.  But the larger problems are the ones we should focus on, and evaluate Olsen as he tried to address.

Categories: DCU, Soccer

Transparency for Gay/Lesbian/(B/T?) Gangs!

2010 August 12 Leave a comment

A few quick notes:

  • I didn’t know how until this that  Arlington and Alexandria were particularly bad at actually revealing information.  Which makes me want to follow this bill, in which: “criminal investigative and prosecution records would be open to the public after the ongoing criminal investigation or prosecution has become final or has been otherwise terminated, unless there is jeopardy to any other criminal investigation or prosecution.”  I am especially curious to see how the records requests are ultimately subverted.
  • Marauding Gay and Lesbian Gangs! Only, not really.
  • The stories of those disappointed by Obama amuse me, in the sense that others misfortune is funny. I, for one, am reasonably happy with Obama, but that is probably because at some level I still feel outside of the two part system, so if I am supporting someone in the two party system, it is with a sense of “Well, I suppose he’s the best we can expect, but he’ll still disappoint based on what I really want.”  So far, mission accomplished, so why should I be mad that he isn’t what I want.  No one is.
Categories: Uncategorized

Winning is Not Showing Up, or Even Winning the Right To Show Up

2010 August 11 Leave a comment

Oh, I feel sorry for you Independent Green Party of Virginia.  Believe me, making the ballot seems like a success.  I know, for a time I was a card carrying libertarian.  But I learned through years of press releases about ballot access success that nothing actually changed, and the party rarely won.  You don’t affect the race just by showing up, instead you serve as the useful foil for the parties in power.   The Libs get to make you look like the real fringe, and the Cons find you amusing.  Personally, I like trains over cars.  But really, no matter how many ribbons you win for participation, they do not equal the trophy of taking the win.   Keep fighting.  I wish you more perseverance in your ideals than I had in mine.

Categories: Uncategorized

Virigina Gets Pwned

2010 August 10 Leave a comment

There is a fascinating story of fraud and government that has a local Alexandria, VA connection.  It appears that the perpetrator of an identity fraud took on the identity of “Bobby Thompson,” the director of the U.S. Navy Veterans Association, then started doling out campaign contributions (including to the attorney general of the state, a tool for whom a screw has not yet been invented that is large enough).    An arrest warrant  for him (under his assumed name) was issued on August 5, 2010.

What I find fascinating isn’t that a fraud or crook managed to make campaign contributions to a bunch of people running for office.  That seems to happen to both parties all the time, and no amount of campaign finance reform is ever going to create a situation where bad people won’t give you money.

No, what is fascinating is that the fraudster collaborated on getting legislation passed in Virginia in collaboration with a local Alexandria representative to make “charitable donations” less transparent.  From the Roanoke Times, the story of how Patsy Ticer (D-Alexandria — and how good a name is Patsy for this story?) worked with a lobbyist to pass a bill for a fraudster, realize she got conned, ask the governor to veto the bill she got passed, only for the governor to sign the bill anyway:

“I had never met this man [Wright] before,” Ticer recalled. She recalls he wanted to raise money for his veterans group without going through the hassle of state registration.

“This little man seemed totally harmless,” she said. “I didn’t make any connection at all, with this particular group and that donation.”

At Wright’s request, she agreed to sponsor legislation that would exempt 501(c)19 veterans groups, such as the U.S. Navy Vets, from having to register to solicit in Virginia.

“It’s kind of like the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars,” Ticer said. “You know, they’re pretty darn harmless. And it never occurred to me that they [the U.S. Navy Vets] wouldn’t be pretty darn harmless.”

She introduced the bill Jan. 13. Klinge testified on its behalf before the Senate General Laws and Technology Committee, and the House General Laws Committee, Ticer said. It won unanimous approval in both.

It passed the full Senate 40-0 on Feb. 2 and the full House 100-0 on March 4.

The Roanoke Times believes that the lesson to this story is that it was too easy for a fraud to be perpetrated on the Virginia assembly:

So a man who allegedly stole his identity was able to secure a change to Virginia law that would make it easier to solicit money for a charity that, at this point, appears to have been a complete scam.

All it took was less than $75,000 in campaign donations and a slick D.C. lobbyist.

Members of the General Assembly should give that fact a lot of sober reflection.

Perhaps.  But if we believe in dealing in treating root causes, isn’t the real lesson here a more fundamental one.  Assemblies, Senates, Houses, and Legislatures of all jurisdictions pass rules and regulations all the times, then carve out exceptions that may or may not be warranted, then build and subtract on the margins in a constant session busy work.  The problem isn’t that a huckster conned the Virginia pols, it is that the political work passes so many rules and regulations that this kind of con is even possible.  Sure, we could shut out the identity fraudster, but that still won’t matter when it is the legitimate evangelical, or trade union, or birther, or whatever.  Government simply spends too much time making government, allowing for unanimous votes on all sorts of stupidity.

The lesson here isn’t that someone abused the system.  The lesson is that the system is almost begging for this kind of abuse.

UPDATE: Along similar lines, the ____ Act of ______

Categories: Alexandria

Your Government Approved Art Update

2010 August 09 Leave a comment

This article seems ready made to push a few buttons given the headline “Artists fear takeover at Torpedo Factory,” but as far as I can tell, no actual artists are quoted as saying anything of the sort.  Instead, there is a former Alexandria resident who advises art foundations, and the Old Town Civic Association, whose purpose according to their web page is “to preserve the historical and residential character of Old Town, Alexandria.”

So no actual artists, and an advocacy group that’s inherent charter is conservative (by which I mean, resistant to change) in nature, and that’s supposed to get me mad about the actions of the Alexandria City Council?

When the actual artists start protesting… well, then things become interesting, given that the Torpedo Factory is, by nature, a government building (even if it is one operated by a non-profit on behalf of the government).

Categories: Alexandria

New England Revolution 1 : 0 D.C. United

2010 August 09 Leave a comment

Or

Why United is Like Reading a Weekly Jobs Report

United is not a very good team, and perhaps that becomes most apparent as they fail to beat other teams that, well, aren’t particularly good.  The annoying thing is that if I wanted to strap on the rose colored glasses and talk about progress, and pride, and playing for the shirt, I could.  There is an argument to be made that United had better possession in this match than in most of the last five league matches, that they actually manufactured chances, that the team as a whole defended decently.  Of course, the fact that United wasn’t defending a Robbie Findley or Dane Richards who could torch the back line probably helped (No, Nyassi does not count as a speed demon.)  And the fact that the players were playing up for a new manager.  And the fact that New England is running out a team of subs and hacks.  And the fact that Shalrie Joseph is many things, but a great playmaker in the center is not one of them (He’s a hell of a good central mid, or holding mid, but he’s not a classical #10).

It’s as if we so desperately want things to be better that we imagine goodness all the time.  Even United’s official website has this problem (OK, this is probably a typo and not a case a Pravda, but still, and that’s my highlighting added)…

United's website indicated a nil nil draw, not a one-nil loss

United's website indicated a nil nil draw, not a one-nil loss

See, everything looks better, until you remember that United is essentially graded on a curve this match, at which point everything is recolored to suck.  To pay off on the metaphor at the top of this post, it’s as if we were told “Good news!  The Economy lost only 20,000 jobs last week.”  See, we’re still losing jobs, but not as many, so that’s progress right?  Only the economy would have lost 120,000 jobs if not for temporary census work.  And industrial orders are down.

I want things to be better as well.  But I can’t say they’ve gotten there until United puts together some points in league matches.

QUICK UPDATE: The only possible reason for the existence of Adam Christman is for him to score garbage goals.  If he can’t do that, when presented multiple opportunities, then he needs to go.  In other words: Seconded.

Movement for the Sake of Movement: Good-bye Curt.

2010 August 04 1 comment

Curt Onalfo’s firing and temporary replacement by Ben Olsen is not going to change this season.  I am sorry that Curt, the choice the front office got rather than the choice the front office wanted, didn’t work out.  But can I see a show of hands of people who are surprised that a coach with a mediocre records at best with Kansas City combined with a team in pieces didn’t set the league on fire?  Yeah, me neither.

And Ben Olsen?  I love the man, I loved the player, and I do not envy his task.  This is not a good team, and it seems a shame that he becomes a head coach in a sort of glorified Richie Williams in New York sort of way.

But if there is one thing that gives me hope, it is perhaps the recognition from Kasper and Payne that things are dreadfully wrong in DC, and perhaps part of the fault is their own.   United may not break 18 points this season, but if this signals some thought that Kasper and Payne are rethinking their approach, then that at least is something to be glad of.

Categories: DCU, Soccer
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