The Bulls' season opener was an unexpected pleasure. A very competent debut by Derrick Rose and a great game by a focused Tyrus Thomas added to the joy of watching Scott Skiles bomb out at the United Center. Gordon, Hinrich, Deng, and Noce also played well. Suddenly dropping a buck seventy on the NBA package doesn't seem like such a bad idea.
Unfortunately, the stupidity of spending $40 per ticket for CONCACAF crap at RFK came to a head tonight. The match was a trifecta of suck: (1) it was cold (and rainy); (2) we were surrounded by Marathon fans that got progressively more obnoxious as the Honduran team blew the game open in the second half; and (3) it was a fantastic display of CONCACAF refereeing. An early yellow on McTavish for a body block and non-calls on elbows thrown to Francis Doe's head set the tone. Santino Quaranta's sending off, based on vigorous dissent at a poor call, was probably deserved, but the calls were ridiculous. So two hours of Marathon players flopping, with a man advantage, at least culminated in Janicki scoring and Doe turning in another excellent performance up front (before destroying a Marathon player in what seemed appropriate comeuppance).
Nevertheless, while freezing my rear off and thinking about how I can possibly justify giving a thousand dollars to this team for season tickets for next year, I found myself getting agitated not about the circumstances of the game but about Professor Rashid Khalidi of Columbia University. Sen. McCain's campaign lost its moral bearings some time ago, but the efforts to demonize Prof. Khalidi are a new low. In a blog post for Harper's, Scott Horton succinctly sets out the intense dishonesty of the McCain campaign's new gambit. Setting to one side the loss of integrity here (which McCain seems to be comfortable with), this is a twofer for the moron conservative movement. Not only does Prof. Khalidi's name sound Arab (and thereby dangerous), but he is also a tenured academic at a respected Ivy League institution. Where others, like myself, might see the realization of the American dream -- meritocracy unbound -- nimrods cloaking themselves in the rich tradition of conservative intellectual thought perceive conspiracy and treason.
Prof. Khalidi will survive the pathetic efforts to debase his life's work. Indeed, perhaps, the attention will help the good professor sell more books on subjects of importance to those who care about our country's foreign policy.
And the support of Sen. Obama from conservative quarters makes a little more sense. Professor Charles Fried, a brilliant libertarian resident at Harvard Law (and author of the very good extended essay Modern Liberty: And the Limits of Our Government -- only $6.99?), will vote for Sen. Obama because Gov. Palin was a terrible choice as wingman. Another Ivy League professor, Jeffrey Hart of Dartmouth (formerly of The National Review), has also decided that Sen. Obama, and not Sen. McCain, is his choice for President. Double Harvard grad (BA and JD), Gov. William Weld has enthusiastically endorsed Sen. Obama as well.
If the choices are, on one side, Andrew McCarthy, the rest of the folks at The Corner, and Rush Limbaugh and, on the other, Prof. Fried, Prof. Hart, and Gov. Weld, then great, I'm on the right side. But what do I know? I have some books on Lebanon and Palestine to buy...