Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Wednesday's wash

Wow, the Obama administration is taking it on the chin these days--from many of its allies in punditry and elsewhere, who deplore its failures and its attitude. From Ruth Marcus in today's Washington Post:
"The more I think about the Christmas all-but-bombing, the angrier I get. At the multiple failures that allowed Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab to get on the plane with explosives sewn inside his underwear. And at the Obama administration's initial, everything's-fine-everybody-move-right-along reaction....And how can it be, in the face of all this, that the administration's communications strategy, cooked up on a conference call, was to assure us that they were looking into things but in the meantime we should settle down? This was not just one supposedly out-of-context stumble by Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano; it was the official line. Making the rounds of Sunday talk shows, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs resisted every effort to get him to acknowledge that something had gone seriously wrong."
And then there's this surprising evisceration from Maureen Dowd in today's NY Times:
"Before he left for vacation, Obama tried to shed his Spock mien and juice up the empathy quotient on jobs. But in his usual inspiring/listless cycle, he once more appeared chilly in his response to the chilling episode on Flight 253, issuing bulletins through his press secretary and hitting the links. At least you have to seem concerned.... Citing the attempt of the Nigerian’s father to warn U.S. authorities six months ago, the president intoned: “It now appears that weeks ago this information was passed to a component of our intelligence community but was not effectively distributed so as to get the suspect’s name on a no-fly list.” In his detached way, Spock was letting us know that our besieged starship was not speeding into a safer new future, and that we still have to be scared. Heck of a job, Barry."

So Texas Tech has indeed fired Coach Mike Leach. He was accused of, among other things, confining an injured player to a small, confined space more than once out of concerns for the player's work ethic.
This is sad to me because I've thought for some time that Leach, despite his at-times quirky strangeness, was an excellent innovator when it came to football offenses, and I enjoyed watching his teams play. If the accusations are true, though, I guess he may have done himself in. I'm not sure this story is done, however. I've read elsewhere (for example, read this story on ESPN) that a number of Leach's players, both current and former, strongly defend him; and that the player Leach is accused of mistreating, Adam James, has perhaps been a malcontent in the Tech program for some time and indeed had work ethic problems. So how credible are his accusations? This story may not go away quite so quickly.

The University of Notre Dame women's hoops team wins again, 85-52 over Central Florida. I saw the game on TV; I liked the Irish' aggressiveness, pressing, and overall defense. They've got a chance to be really good. Once again they forced their opponent to commit over 30 turnovers, and UCF was a team which had played Florida State and Alabama tough.