Leaking Like A Sieve

It is appalling that General McChrystal’s confidential report on conditions in Afghanistan for President Obama was immediately leaked to the Washington Post.  Who was the leaker?  Someone in the White House who thinks the war in Afghanistan is wrong and wants to exert pressure on the President to stop the fighting?  Someone in the military who wants the public to know that the military is recommending more soldiers on the ground, so that there will be pressure on the President to follow that recommendation?  Or is it just someone who got a copy of the report and wants to curry favor with the Post in hopes of getting some fawning Style article at some point in the future?

Does no one in government put the best interests of the country over their own self-interest or their personal political views?  Don’t the few people who got copies of this report feel sufficient loyalty to President Obama to allow him to review and carefully consider a confidential report about a military matter?  The people who leak these important reports to the press seem to think it is all some kind of Washington insider political game.  It isn’t.  The decision on how to proceed in Afghanistan — which unquestionably was an important base for terrorists before 9/11 and still serves as a significant refuge and threat — is an important one that the President should be permitted to make after quiet reflection and consultation, without being rushed or prodded by unseemly leaks.

As a former journalist, I am all in favor of open government and vigorous press coverage of important decisions.  A government has to be able to keep some secrets, however — particularly when it comes to military and intelligence matters.  Right now, our government seems incapable of performing that essential activity.  At some point, it will cost us.

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Another Putrid Exhibition

I read UJ’s post on the woeful Browns, and I am forced to agree with him that they stink, big time.  I realize that the NFL season is 16 games long and only two games are in the record books, but I am seeing nothing that indicates that the Browns will be anything other than awful this year.  So, it is likely to be another year of egregious failure and painful embarrassment for long-suffering Cleveland sports fans.

I must grudgingly admit that I could not even watch yesterday’s game to the end.  After seeing the offense sputter dismally in the first two series of the second half, I decided that life was too short and switched it off.  I’m glad I did.  The Broncos may be a defensive powerhouse on the order of the 1985 Chicago Bears — but somehow I doubt it.  I think the Browns are just bad.  Watching their futile, pitiful thrashing on offense is an affront to any knowledgeable football fan.

I don’t think the Browns defense is horrible, just not very good.  They put up a fight at first, then get worn down by being on the field two-thirds of every game.  The Browns offense, though, appears to be so terrible that it may rewrite the record books. Defensive coordinators must rub their hands in glee when the Browns show up on the schedule.  The Browns offense seems to run two first-down plays — an unsuccessful pass or a two-yard run.  Their second down play typically is a three-yard pass, and on third and five either Brady Quinn gets sacked or he completes a pass for a two-yard gain.  There is no big-play threat, no stretching the field vertically, and not even an effort to consistently throw to a receiver who is past the first down marker.  The offense struggles to get into field goal range; an offensive touchdown is a pipe dream.  It is maddeningly frustrating to watch them and wonder how a team that has spent millions of dollars on talent and coaching can be so stunningly inept.

Still, I can’t quit.  A fan has to be a fan.  I admit that there was a certain freedom when the despised Art Modell took the team to Baltimore and there was a football-free interregnum in Cleveland.  But when the Browns returned as an expansion team and Russell started following them, I was sucked back in like Al Pacino in Godfather III.  Now, I’m stuck watching disastrously bad football, with no end in sight.

I keep hoping that one year the cosmic tumblers will fall the right way and years of gut-wrenching losses will be rectified as the Browns surprise everyone, finally make it to the Super Bowl, and win the big game.  If you were to quit before that glorious day occurred it wouldn’t be quite so sweet to enjoy.  Of course, that theory presumes that the Browns someday will be a winning team again . . . .

Letter To My Brother Bob

Dearest Brother Bob,

You are one of the smartest people I know and I rarely feel that I need to give you advice, but I think that time has come. STOP watching the Browns because they are going nowhere this year and they STINK ! With Cincinnati much improved, a review of their schedule shows that the Browns might not even win a game and could go 0-16 if not for the game at Detroit in late November. So another high pick will be forthcoming in next year’s draft that will probably be used unwisely !

Don’t get me wrong you are a GREAT fan, way better than most and your continued faith in the Browns is commendable, but is it warranted ? You have stuck with them way longer than I have because you continue to watch their games. I haven’t watched one of their games from start to finish in probably the past five years. I got to the point where I asked myself is it worth my time and ENERGY to sit down and watch the team they are fielding and the conclusion I came to was no, not until the organization proves to me that they are willing to field a better team.

I noticed in your blog ” Bad Start” after the Minnesota game where you said “maybe the Browns are not as bad as they looked in the second half, well my response to that is YES they are that bad. The Broncos are not a good football team and their quarterback, Kyle Orton is not one of the better ones in the NFL yet they rolled up twenty seven points against the defense and Cleveland’s offense is pathetic scoring only one touchdown in thirty three quarters going back to last year ! So trust me, from BIG bro to LITTLE bro when I say the quicker you realize that there is no hope for the Browns this year the better !

Sweet September

I think September is the finest month, weather-wise, in Ohio. The mornings are cool and perfect for walking. The days are crisp and dry. Daytime skies are blue and virtually cloudless and nighttime skies offer clear views of the constellations. You can sleep with the windows open, enjoy the night air and gentle breezes, and hear the chirrups of crickets and the buzz of insects. During the days the temperatures generally hit highs in the 70s; at night and in the early morning hours the temperature gets down to the low 50s.

At about this time of the month the leaves begin to turn, there are hints of the first fall colors, and you see some leaves begin to drift to the ground. The message about what is to come is unmistakable — which just makes enjoying the fine weather all the sweeter.