Monday, 3 January 2005

Petrino works to damage own reputation

Louisville football coach Bobby Petrino continues to make friends with his antics; fresh off the bizarre “he said, he said” situation during the Ole Miss coaching search—not to mention his complicity in the sleazy backdoor coaching search by Auburn in late 2003—he’s managed to annoy his own athletic director by pushing himself for the since-filled LSU job. Petrino had better hope he does well in the new Big East, because any sensible athletic director won’t get within a mile of him for the next couple of years.

AP Poll Corruption Watch

After Auburn’s squeak past previously 10–2 Virginia Tech tonight, how many additional AP voters will be so impressed to promote the Tigers above the winner of Tuesday’s Oklahoma–Southern Cal matchup of undefeated teams? Inquiring minds want to know…*

In other SEC news, Louisiana State finally hired a coach, who got this monetary vote of confidence from LSU AD Skip Bertman:

“I’m not going to pay Saban money for a guy who hasn’t earned it,” Bertman said.

Belated sense on DeLay

Since I expressed my annoyance with the GOP for foolishly changing House caucus rules to shield leadership members under indictment, a decision intended to protect Majority Leader Tom DeLay from an alleged partisan witchhunt by a Texas prosecutor,* I’d be remiss if I didn’t praise them for recognizing their mistake and reversing the decision, albeit in response to a decade-overdue decision by the Democrats in the House to adopt stricter ethical standards for their leadership members as well.

As always, James Joyner has more.

Update: Somehow Jazz Shaw (trackback below) characterizes this post as expressing “nothing but praise” for the House GOP members; apparently terms like “belated,” “annoyance,” “foolish,” and “albeit” are overwhelming endorsements of the GOP, not to mention my previous assault on the “dopes” at the DeLay-enabling NRO for having nothing to say about this idiocy. I guess trying to be (ever so slightly) gracious is now tantamount to being a shill. And, yes, the Democrats deserved the shot for only changing their rules when it was to their political advantage, just as the GOP deserved the shot for only reversing its decision when voters expressed outrage toward their behavior.

As to the remaining rules change (dismissing ethics charges when there is a tied vote, instead of keeping them alive), my gut feeling is that its substantive impact will be minimal, but as a symbolic measure I tend to think it’s a stupid move on the part of the GOP.

Book review: Time Lord

I picked up an autographed copy of Clark Blaise’s Time Lord: Sir Sandford Fleming and the Creation of Standard Time a while back at Square Books in Oxford, and just got around to reading it. While I have no doubt that the Scottish-born Sandford Fleming was an interesting individual—in addition to being a driving force between the adoption of standard time zones, he was one of the architects of the unification of Canada and the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway—Blaise’s book almost makes him seem boring.

The narrative flow of the book is horrible, employing no discernable organizational approach, and the book seems semi-randomly to leap into discussions of the use of time in literature—which may be one of Blaise’s scholarly interests, but has little to do with Fleming. Except for details of the 1884 Prime Meridian Conference in Washington and some confused recounting of Fleming’s role in surveying and building the CP, little of Fleming’s exploits get much attention. Blaise’s lament is that Fleming is being lost to history, but if he was such an important figure in Canadian and world history, his book does little to solidify his reputation, except as a crumudgeon who was annoyed that politics intruded on his efforts to create a “universal” reckoning of time.

Another career option missed

If I’d had any sense after 9/11, I would have gone into business producing portable concrete Jersey barriers; you can’t pass almost any federal government building, even such unlikely terror targets as national guard armories and Corps of Engineers buildings, that doesn’t have a few dozen of the things around it.