Monday, July 28, 2008

The Surge Was a Success?

Did you see the interview last week by Katie Couric with Senator and Presidential-hopeful Barack Obama? It's gotten a lot of press. The right-wing bloggers and the Fox Noise Channel have been blasting Obama for the last 6 days on his answers to Couric's line of questioning on the "success" of the surge. In case you didn't see it, here are the highlights...

Couric: "You raised a lot of eyebrows on this trip saying even knowing what you know now, you still would not have supported the surge. People may be scratching their heads and saying, 'Why?' "

Obama: "What I was referring to, and I've consistently referred to, is the need for a strategy that actually concludes our involvement in Iraq and moves Iraqis to take responsibility for the country. ... What happens is that if we continue to put $10 billion to $12 billion a month into Iraq, if we are willing to send as many troops as we can muster continually into Iraq? There's no doubt that that's gonna have an impact. But it doesn't meet our long-term strategic goal, which is to make the American people safer over the long term."

Couric: "But do you not give the surge any credit for reducing violence in Iraq?"

Obama: "No, no ... of course I have. There is no doubt that the extraordinary work of our U.S. forces has contributed to a lessening of the violence. ... So this, in no way, detracts from the great efforts of our young men and women in uniform. In fact, that's one of the most striking things about visiting Iraq is to see how dedicated they are, what a great job they do."

Couric: "But talking microcosmically, did the surge, the addition of 30,000... additional troops ... help the situation in Iraq?"

Obama: "You've asked me three different times, and I have said repeatedly that there is no doubt that our troops helped to reduce violence. There's no doubt."

Couric: "But yet you're saying ... given what you know now, you still wouldn't support it ... so I'm just trying to understand this."

Obama: "It's pretty straightforward. By us putting $10 billion to $12 billion a month, $200 billion, that's money that could have gone into Afghanistan. Those additional troops could have gone into Afghanistan. That money also could have been used to shore up a declining economic situation in the United States. That money could have been applied to having a serious energy security plan."

Couric: "Do you think the level of security in Iraq ... would exist today without the surge?"

Obama: "Katie, I have no idea what would have happened had we applied my approach, which was to put more pressure on the Iraqis to arrive at a political reconciliation. So this is all hypotheticals. What I can say is that there's no doubt that our U.S. troops have contributed to a reduction of violence in Iraq."

Yo Katie! I thought you were a professional journalist! Let's start with the first question, shall we? "You raised a lot of eyebrows" and "people may be scratching their heads." Did you actually see raised eyebrows? Which people are scratching their heads? Are these made-up people that only exist in the world of failing news anchors or are they real people? Because, you know, I'm not a real journalist. I don't really know the rules here, but usually when I suggest that someone feels a certain way or that a person is physically doing something, that person usually has a name, and my personal integrity suggests to me that it's probably appropriate to back up such statements by applying a name to the person responsible for the feeling or action described. But then again, like I just said, I'm not a real journalist.

I'd move on to the next questions in the interview, but they are all the same question: did the surge reduce the violence in Iraq? And the answer is yes, which Obama agreed to each and every time she reworded it. But does that mean that the surge worked?

Let's think about that for a while. Did the surge work? To truly answer the question, one must first know what the "surge" actually was. The surge, or as it was originally called, "The New Way Forward" was actually a catastrophic failure. Yeah, that's right, it was a FAILURE. As far as I'm concerned, the only mistake Obama made with Katie Couric was that he didn't just flat-out say "listen, bitch, the surge didn't work."

Am I insane? Am I the only one in the whole country that understands the surge? No, I'm not, but I definitely seem to be in the minority. But why? The surge DID NOT work. Here are the facts...

"The New Way Forward" was a specific plan that called for an increase in troops on the ground in Baghdad and the Anbar Province to provide "breathing space" for the Iraqi government to implement 18 specific government, security, and economic benchmarks. The surge began in January 2007, and it was to take just six months. Six months later, when the surge was supposed to be over already, we were told that even more troops would be needed and that another six months would be required in order to meet the benchmarks. Six months after that, one year into the six-month surge, only seven of the 18 benchmarks had been reached. Six months after that, now 18 months into the six-month surge, 12 of the 18 benchmarks have been met. Does that sound like success to you? It's taken three times longer than projected to meet 67% of the goals. Success? When I went to school, 67% was a D, and you couldn't turn in your work a year after it's due date.

Now, it's true that violence has gone down, and part of that decline has to do with the increased number of American troops. But it's even more true to say that violence has gone down largely due to the fact that the Sunnis in Anbar and the Shiites fighting under al Sadr realized that the continued warfare was only serving to ethnically cleanse both sides of the civil war, and that a cease-fire was necessary. Both groups came to these realizations and began their draw-down months before the surge began.

So Barack Obama had to duck around Katie Couric's interview because it was obvious that Couric was trying to get him to disrespect the troops, which he had no reason to do and wouldn't have done even if there was a cause for disrespect. It would have been really nice to see him bitchslap her and tell her to just shut up, but that probably wouldn't have gone over too well either.

The surge has not been successful, and it should have never been necessary to begin with. George W. Bush led the United States military into a soverign country that had not attacked us or any of our allies. After overthrowing the government in Iraq, the United States has continued to occupy Iraq for over five years now. The right-wing attack machine is attempting to show that Obama lacks experience and wisdom, but the truth of the matter is that he wisely opposed the war from the beginning, he understood that the surge was nothing more than a tactic designed to continue the fighting so that the oil barons could reap the benefits of a chaotic situation in the Middle East, and, unlike McCain, Obama understands that every dollar we spend in Iraq is a dollar that we could have spent tracking down the actual terrorists that did attack us or investing into new energy ideas that are absolutely necessary if we plan to continue to be a beacon for the rest of the world.

Feel free to watch the whole Couric/Obama interview here:

And click on this to read a really good article on a similar vein by a much more credible person than myself:

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Chicago's very own Cory Current finishes 5th in singles in Montreal

Cory Current just represented Chicago at the 2008 Pro Kicker Montreal Footbag Championships and he did well as he kicked my ass for the 1st time ever in singles to secure a very honorable 5th place.

This tournament was not easy with a lot of depth. Complete results available on this page. Pictures and videos will follow.

btw the doubles finals was crazy. Former Chicagoan PT Lovern and partner Emmanuel Bouchard beat the Windy City Cup Champions JF Lemieux and Gilles Demers 16-14 in the third game.

Yves Archambault
reporting from Montréal

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Green Cup Documentary Released

A twelve-minute documentary made by Steve Dusablon at the Green Cup to commemorate the return of Kenny Schults and Randy Mulder to the rectangle has been released. Go to and click on the video labeled "The Game Goes On".

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The 2008 Second City Cup presented by CLCK

That's right folks! The city of Chicago now hosts not one but TWO annual footbag net tournaments. The Chicago Lake Coast Kickers are proud to announce the 2008 Second City Cup to be held at Union Park in Chicago on September 20-21.

The Second City Cup is the brainchild of Bryan Nelson, who wanted a chance to compete in a friendly tournament before the end of the year. If you've been following this blogspot, then you know that Bryan is an old-school Chicago kicker that just came back on the scene this summer after a 6 to 8 year hiatus. He missed the Windy City Cup due to the fact that he is getting married and had some family obligations to attend to that weekend, but he's back on the court and itching to find out where he stands with the rest of the world (or at least the rest of Illinois).

The Second City Cup is a no-frills net tournament. We are not getting park permits or event insurance. We're doing the whole tournament at our prelims site, and there will be no banners, no bleachers, no PA system, no "special" finals court, no entry fees or prize money, and no big promotions. It will have great people, great players, and a great atmosphere for fun and friendly competition. We will run a single elimination bracket for singles net, and we will most likely do a "King of the Court" format for doubles net. The Windy City Cup requires hours and hours of planning and is designed to increase exposure to the public, while the Second City Cup is strictly for the players. It promises to be a stress-free weekend of great footbag net action. Oh yeah, and we've already received sanctioning from the IFPA, so there's a great potential to increase your World Ranking by competing in the Second City Cup.

Can't wait to see you there! (If you are not from the area but are interested in coming out, post a reply to this thread and we'll find you a place to stay while you're in town.)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Zeke Bitches About Net 2008

I've played... uh... most other forms of footbag for 17 years before getting into Net. On Sunday July 14th 2007 I came to a net demo at the Mayors Cup youth soccer tournament. I had played a few pick-up games over the years previous to this but never took it too seriously. I had a good time playing pick-ups and hanging out. Then I went to a net event 2 weeks after and had an absolute blast! After crushing a few big spikes through out the day and getting plenty of encouragement I was completely hooked and there was no turning back.

Now, I'm as determined as ever to get as good as I can even after playing poorly and burning out at Windy City Cup last month. I try to practice solo 2-3 times a week after work and play on the weekends with the newly formed net club. Exactly one year after the demo at the Mayor's cup I finally got some good net shoes with a pair of New Balance 1123's. After one session in these I've already noticed a reduction in shanks. Love these shoes!

So far I feel my sets are improving and not over setting as much. I'm still slowly getting consistent with some basic spikes. My serves are streaky but I can get pretty good power or placement when they're on. I believe strongly in playing good defense. The more I play against someone the better I can anticipate what they might do on a given play. If nothing else, I'm very active on the court and will run down dinks , shanks, try for blocks and even dig a spike or two.

I am still struggling to use my left foot effectively. I can bang with it on rare occasions but not much else. Unless it's an easy lob, I can't return a serve on either side to save my life it seems to get worse the more I play. I'm a pussy when I'm set too close to the net. Since I separated my collar bone a few years ago, I've been reluctant to do really crazy things in the air and it's holding me back with certain spikes. I could probably lose a few pounds to help with my diminishing vertical leap. I could probably use more discipline in my training. I should just train, actually.

I want to get as good as I can just for the satisfaction of being able to do something well that you couldn't do before. At this point in my life I'm not out to prove anything to anyone but myself and am not really interested in traveling to compete. Besides, I hate traveling. It's always a hassle and I like my life simple.

I'll track my progress and post my net related thoughts for the rest of the year. Feel free to leave a comment or give some tips. I appreciate any feedback and help I get.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Chicago Crush or Chicago Lake Coast Kickers

So I heard some smack last week that there was a vote for the new Chicago area footbag net players club and the they were down to two names; Chicago Crush and Chicago Lake Coast Kickers. I know my vote doesn't count but I am down with Chicago Lake Coast Kickers. I guess I am pretty biased though as I created a logo for Scot Hansen with this club name already on it. Well, either way at least we have the club colors down!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Windy City Cup Photos by Zeke

I just had to share with you all these awesome Photos from the Windy City Cupby Zeke on Footbag WorldWide. There are action and candid pics from both the prelims. and finals event. Worth a look for sure!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

CIC B-day Jam

Welles Park, has been our home for the past few years but it will be hosting a music festival this weekend. So it has been decided that Chicago Inner Circle will be celebrating it's eighth year of existence at Revere Park on Irving Park Rd. and Campbell this Sunday at 12pm. You are all invited for BBQ & Footbag all afternoon. We'll be set up with a grill and providing some food, several coolers to store cold drinks, and folding chairs for chillaxing. Guests are encouraged to bring their own food & drinks to help feed the masses (or just yourselves) and anything else to make your afternoon more enjoyable.

Revere Park Overview
Click the image to view a larger size

Revere is just 1/2 mile South of Welles Park on Irving Park rd & Campbell. It's about 2 miles East off the Irving Park exit on 90/94. Notice there a couple other parks in the area. Keep going east right past those 2 parks, cross the bridge over the river and go one block past the stop light (on Rockwell) and make a right turn to head south on Campbell. The parking lot entrance should be on 1/4 block down on your right.

Revere Park Detail
Click the image to view a larger size

1. Parking lot entrance
2. Freestyle will be set up in the tennis courts.
3. Net & 4-Square will be set up between the 2 east baseball fields.
4. There is an Ultimate Frisbee league playing there also. Hopefully, we won't be in each other's way.

Revere Park
2509 W Irving Park Rd
Chicago, IL 60618

Hope to see you all there,

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Windy City Cup Videos?

Does anyone that attended the 2008 Windy City Cup have any video footage they would like to upload? Please do so. I know there is a ton of other stuff from & Chaos on YouTube but I would like to see some footbag net being played in Chicago posted on this Inner-Rectangle site!