Wednesday, May 10, 2006


Whoa. This comes as a HUGE shock to me...

Federal Appeals Court Judge LuttigTapped for Boeing General Counsel

Judge J. Michael Luttig, one of the country's most prominent conservative
jurists and once considered a likely Supreme Court nominee, has resigned from
the Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va., to become senior vice
president and general counsel for the Boeing
Co. in Chicago.

Last year, as two vacancies appeared on the U.S. Supreme Court, Judge Luttig was
widely reported to be on the White House short list, and his candidacy was
touted by former clerks who had gone on to influential positions in the current
Bush administration. But the positions ultimately went to two fellow alumni of
the Reagan Justice Department, Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel
Alito. People close to the selection process said that it was unlikely President
Bush would consider Judge Luttig for any future vacancies, as political
imperatives all but precluded nomination of another white male for the high

Luttig was/is one of the biggest icons of the Federalist Society/conservative judicial philosophy. It appears that, seeing his best chances for the high court gone, he has decided to go in another direction. I have no idea if that is his actual motivation - but it is a reasonable possibility. In any case, it's a terribly interesting decision. And a BIG shock.

A picture says 1000 words...

...or more

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

The Roster...

GK - Kasey Keller, Tim Howard, Marcus Hahnemann

D - Steve Cherundolo, Oguchi Onyewu, Cor Gibbs, Eddie Lewis, Carlos Bocanegra, Jimmy Conrad, Frankie Hejduk, Eddie Pope

M - John O'Brien, Claudio Reyna, Landon Donovan, Pablo Mastroeni, DaMarcus Beasley, Bobby Convey, Clint Dempsey, Ben Olsen

F - Brian McBride, Eddie Johnson, Brian Ching, Josh Wolff

So what are the surprises from my list of predictions put up earlier? First, Jimmy Conrad makes the squad instead of Gregg Berhalter (who was named alternate). Conrad is a stead MLS defender for the KC Wizards...but Berhalter has had years of playing in the first team - in Germany, in both the Bundesliga and 2. Bundesliga for Energie Cottbus. I thought that German experience would put him over the top - guess Bruce didn't think so.

In the midfield, Arena chose Ben Olsen over Pat Noonan (who was chosen as an alternate). Olsen is a centeral DM...the only true DM on the roster other than Mastroeni. Noonan is a AM - generally on the left side. I knew that Arena was much more likely to take two DMs, but I was never overly impressed with Olsen...and every time I saw Noonan in a US kit he impressed me more. This is a kid that was one of the college players in American when he was at Indiana several years ago - but MLS clubs thought he was already as good as he'd ever be - so he wasn't one of the more coveted players coming out. He's been steady for the NE Revolution since then, and I thought that he took full advantage of his US chances the past two years. He's aggressive - always willing to make runs into the defense, and he rarely makes that big mistake. But Arena wanted that second DM.

And finally - in probably the biggest surprise of the bunch - Arena chose hometown Houston Dynamo Brian Ching over MLS MVP Taylor Twellman (who was included as an alternate). Until 2006, Twellman had always been a huge disappointment playing for the US. This year, however, he seemed to have stepped his game up, and most observers felt he had locked up a place on the World Cup roster...and that it was Josh Wolff, whose place was at risk. Not so. Ching has been on a terrific scoring spree at the beginning of the 2006 MLS season - and Twellman has been cold. In addition, Twellman did not capitalize on his last couple of chances to impress the US coaching staff in the last two friendlies. So Ching makes it. CONGRATS to the hometown hero!!! - although selfishly, I have to admit that the Dynamo are really going to miss him upfront for possibly two months.

Just as a reminder - the US drew the hardest Group of the World Cup - the Group of Death. Czech Republic (who I have made my early pick to win the Cup), Italy, Ghana, and USA. Terrible draw. My prediction is we go 0-2-1 with a draw v. Ghana and go home after the first round.

That should not be seen as a backward step for US Soccer - it's just we got stuck with about the worst possible draw in 2006. In 2010 we'll be back, and better than ever!

[In addition, Arena named the following as alternates:
GK - Tony Meola, Matt Reis
D - Chris Albright, Gregg Berhalter, Todd Dunivant
M - Chris Armas, Chris Klein, Pat Noonan, Steve Ralston, Kerry Zavagnin
F - Conor Casey, Chris Rolfe, Taylor Twellman]

Monday, May 01, 2006

My predictions...

Tomorrow night (Live on ESPN, 5:00 pm), Bruce Arena announces the 23-man World Cup roster for the US Men's National Team.

Here's my wild guess of what that roster will look like:

GK (3): Kasey Keller, Tim Howard, Marcus Hahnemann

D (8): Oguchi Onyewu, Steve Cherundolo, Eddie Lewis, Carlos Bocanegra, Cory Gibbs, Eddie Pope, Frankie Hejduk, Gregg Berhalter

M (8): Claudio Reyna, DaMarcus Beasley, Landon Donovan, Pablo Mastroeni, John O'Brien, Bobby Convey, Clint Dempsey, Pat Noonan

F (4): Brian McBride, Eddie Johnson, Taylor Twellman, Josh Wolff


It's coming.

USA Soccer Gatorade Commercial