Democrat From Kentucky

Democrat from Kentucky
We promote fair and honest political discussion from all sides of the ideological spectrum While my own opinions and my contributors tend toward a more progressive view, that's not always the case. I ask people to comment freely and openly to promote fair discourse.
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Previous Posts

A long time coming
Happy 2007
Mark Foley: SICK SICK SICK!!!
Looks Like Lamont Levels Lieberman?
Oil Prices in the tank
Clinton Reams Rummy
A long time...
Chandler/Abramson in '07?
A new poll



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March 2006
April 2006
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June 2006
August 2006
October 2006
January 2007
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September 2010
Current Posts
Bush Tough On Gas Companies: BWAHAHAHA!!! Monday, April 24, 2006

Bush is saying he's ready to get tough on gas prices by ordering a probe into price gouging. He's responding to a recent letter from the Republican leadership in Congress after the Democrats (Charles Shumer) called for a probe a week ago.

Now the entire laughable thing about all this is it's simply a smoke screen. Who the hell does he think he's fooling by "probing" price gouging. Someone needs to probe his head to find the alien devices inside. He won't bite the hand that feeds him.

From the AP story:

Bush is under pressure to do something about gas prices that have reached nearly $3 a gallon. In a new CNN poll, 69 percent of respondents said gasoline price increases had caused them personal hardship. Other polls suggest that voters favor Democrats over Republicans on the issue, and President Bush gets low marks for handling gas prices.

House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., urged Bush in a letter Monday to order a federal investigation into any gasoline price gouging or market speculation.

Bush was working on the speech aboard Air Force One as he flew home Monday evening from a four-day trip to California that ended with a swing through Las Vegas. McClellan outlined part of the speech to reporters traveling on the plane.

McClellan said Bush also will announce that his attorney general and Federal Trade Commission will send a letter to all 50 state attorneys general, who have primary authority over price gouging, to remind them to stay on top of the issue and offer federal help to do so. And he will call on energy companies to reinvest their profits into expanding refining capacity, developing new technologies and researching alternative energy sources.

"I think you'll hear the president say very clearly that he will not tolerate price gouging," McClellan said.

So what's he going to do on the national level? Is he going to go after the oil companies for manipulating the market? Doubtful unless it's to have dinner back at the ranch in Crawford. This is PURE garbage. Hell... he probably owns a few million shares in Exxon Mobil as does Dick Cheney and all the Bush family. They're getting richer off this. Yep... I'm saying it out loud. The president of the United States, George W. Bush, has an obvious conflict of interest and is committing the basest level graft possible. That's why he won't do anything about it. Never mind the polls saying most of America is experiencing personal hardship. As long as he doesn't.

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11:38 PM

More Oil Insight...

I found a great piece over at Ezra Klein over the price of oil, why it's happening and some notion on the future.

I think folks need to look at oil prices for the last couple of years. Consider the price of oil has nearly tripled in the last two years. Has demand really increased that much? Also consider that ExxonMobil has had record profits in the last year and are projected to have another record setting quarter. They are merely stacking the deck.

Now... in the companies' defense, consumption of petroleum based products, mainly gasoline hasn't slowed much. One could argue they are merely pushing the limits to see what the market will support. Unfortunately a lot of middle class folks and poorer will pay a hefty price in the process. Pay attention to the farmers too. They run farms of gasoline and diesel fuel. Food costs will surely climb too. I'd say Farm Aid will be busy this year.

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posted by Stithmeister @ 11:35 AM

Sunday Afternoon Sunday, April 23, 2006

What's going on in your world? I myself got up and went to meeting this morning, had lunch, came home, changed clothes and have been and will continue to work in the yard. Once the mowing is done it's off to euthanize dandelions.

posted by Stithmeister @ 4:40 PM

Miss Kentucky Crowned Miss USA Saturday, April 22, 2006

For those interested in such things, congratulations goes to Tara Elizabeth Connor, 20, of Russell Springs was crowned Miss USA in tightly contested pagent.

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posted by Stithmeister @ 12:05 AM

Record Oil Prices And Bush Is Helpless Friday, April 21, 2006

OIl hit record highs on the market today, soaring past $75 a gallon with no apparent end in sight. With problems continuing to mount in both Iran and Nigeria, the only thing we can do is bend over and grab our ankles.

Many "experts" list a number of problems resulting in such high prices at the pump but with $3 a gallon or more, results is what we need. The working men and women of this country continue to be forced in dire financial straits and it's all because of the price at the pump.

President Bush spoke at Cisco Systems today in SIlicon Valley and while he ackknowledged rising prices are "like a tax, particularly on the working people and the small-business people," he won't do anything about it. He said that any price gouging will be "dealt with firmly" but he won't do that because the entire oil industry is gouing the price. It's being done at the market place and reports are already showing ExxonMobile will have another record quarter.

So let's put this in perspective: He's killing our young men and women in Iraq, he's wreaking havoc on the poor in places like New Orleans and now he's trying to make everyone else poor in the process. He says he can't do anything about it. This is proof he's merely a pawn in office. He CHOOSES not to do anything about it. Presidents in the past have knocked heads with big companies. Hell... Teddy Roosevelt butted heads with JP Morgan. But then again, Dubyah is a far cry from Teddy.

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posted by Stithmeister @ 11:59 PM

Jim Bunning One of 5 Worst Senators in the Nation Wednesday, April 19, 2006

A new feature in this week's Time marks our own Jim Bunning as one of the five worst Senators in America, saying essentially that he's more than capable, he just doesn't do the job. Dan Mongiardo certainly couldn't have done any worse.

In addition to being hostile to staff members on the Hill and occasionally even other Senators, Bunning shows little interest in policy unless it involves baseball, according to congressional experts and colleagues. When asked, they struggle to recall any legislation Bunning has worked on, although he did join Arizona Senator John McCain last spring in demanding tougher punishments for steroid use in professional sports. Congressional observers consider Bunning, 74, a disappointment also because his sharp questioning of former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan on fiscal matters during hearings over the past couple of years suggest he has the smarts to be an effective Senator but doesn't put in the effort.

What a delight.

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posted by Stithmeister @ 2:43 PM

McClellan's Gone

It looks like Scott McClellan, the White House press secretary is leaving the White House. He's Bush's second mouth piece during this administration, getting the slot after Ari Fleischer left in 2003.

Also, Karl Rove is stepping out of the policy side of things and will be concentrating on upcoming elections.

WaPo said:

Karl Rove, the president's most influential adviser and a dominant force in the Bush administration since its beginning, surrendered key policy responsibilities today while press secretary Scott McClellan announced his resignation.

When Andrew Card bailed last week, you had to figure a shake up was coming. It's not really surpising in all honesty. The administration has been floundering for a while and they will continue to do so until the economy improves. With inflation rising, oil prices skyrocketing and the trade deficit totally out of whack, people's wallets are getting lighter by the day.

posted by Stithmeister @ 2:27 PM

Oil Prices Movin' On Up... Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Oil prices continue to climb to record highs, settling over the $71 mark today in New York. Gas prices also continue to climb, hitting $2.22 a gallon on the market. That means prices will continue to climb at the pump, well ahead of the summer driving season.

The high prices are contributed to a couple of different factors. First is the political situation in both Iran and Nigeria. Tensions with Iran, the second largest OPEC nation, continue to escalate as they continue to move toward becoming a true nuclear power. Nigeria is faced with geo-political tensions as rebels continue to threaten the oil rich nation.

Next comes the rising demand from growing nations like China and India, who've been industrializing and growing their middle classes by leaps and bounds. As more people require fuel for transportation, heating and electricity, demand will continue to go up.

The last note are the refiners themselves. Stocks have been dwindling as they've been working on heavy repairs for the various refineries in the U. S. This shortens the gas supply. And according to the Wall Street Journal, the repairs should be pretty much done by the end of the month, this doesn't help us now.

While President Bush stated today price gougers will be dealt with, he doesn't touch on the fact that the entire industry is gouging the prices. All the tension are merely a smoke screen to allow the oil companies to continue to enjoy record profits. Politically, this doesn't bode well for those in power though. As I've already stated, the one way way to cause problems during an election year is for people's wallet's to be in the shitter and that's what will lose elections.

You'll see election losses this year and oil/gas prices will be the reason.

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posted by Stithmeister @ 5:33 PM

Thoughts For Harry Moberly Monday, April 17, 2006

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Representative Harry Moberly, D - Richmond. The powerful representative had a heart attack in the state Capitol and is resting at Central Baptist Hospital.

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posted by Stithmeister @ 9:21 PM

What's shakin' kids?

What exciting is going on in your world tonight?

posted by Stithmeister @ 1:22 AM

Oil In The Overnight...

Late night trades on the New York Mercantile Exchange took oil prices over $70 a barrel with gas going to $2.12 a gallon on the market. This means gas prices at the pump are fast approaching $3 a gallon and will probably be there before April is over unless something changes. Unless oil and gas inventories in the U.S. increase dramatically on the Wed. update, then look for prices to continue to climb.

At this stage of the game, it's not out of the real of possibility to see $80 a barrel for oil and perhaps $4 or $5 a gallon at the pump. Honestly, unless Nigeria's political situation calms considerably as does Iran's, those prices will climb. Also consider the hurricane season kicks off in June. This is assuming all the refineries keep working right and no other countries have any real problems wityh oil production.

This is what's really going to decide this next election. As most primaries will be over within a month, incumbants have something genuine to worry about and that's oil prices. Both the president and VP made money in the energy business and they're treating it well at the cost of the American people. If the Democrats were smart, they would seize on this issue and begin hammering it home.

Lots of issues are abstract and uninteresting. But gas prices people understand and it's a prime opportunity to begin the assault on the Republicans. It's a good issue that will work, especially when combined with the Iraq war.

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posted by Stithmeister @ 1:22 AM

New stuff and the Reestablishment of the Know Nothings

I've not posted in a while because I've had some issues going on, however because we've got elections coming up, I feel I owe to the rest of the world to let them read my glorious and wonderful thoughts on all things, especially political.

One the biggest issues people are getting steamed about right now is immigration or more specifically illegal immigration from Mexico and other Central American nations.

This isn't the first time folks have railed at huge influxes of immigrants. If one looks back before the civil war, the Know Nothings were very much about "nativist" ideas. Large groups of immigrants were bad for the country, taking jobs away, filling up neighborhoods. They were all poor, sounded different, etc. Mostly, they were Irish and were really an offshoot of the Whig party. While I may be stretching a bit, they would be flourishing in today's society because of the immigrant issues. Then, later on, the Irish had problems with the Italian immigrants.

Now, on to modern times.

Back then, the Irish were leaving a famine. Now, the Mexicans and other hispanic cultures are vastly overpopulated. That's why Mexico City is the most populous in the world. Many are poor and come to America for a better life. Many are trucked in or run across the border and many live in substandard conditions, working low wage jobs.

Here's the real key though: economics. There's a market for these folks. There are millions of low paying jobs as physical laborers, restaurant workers, etc. that many "nativists" won't do. If the market weren't there, they wouldn't come here. There's obviously a huge market for low wage, hard working laborers. They help support our standard of living.

I'm not necessarily advocating or condoning illegal behavior but not only are there jobs for all these people but also, many are willing to risk death to get to those jobs. There's very little, in my estimation, that the government can do to slow this down.

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posted by Stithmeister @ 12:39 AM

Game Theory in action Wednesday, April 12, 2006

When I look at the current political landscape, I often feel angry about what I perceive as unwillingness on the part of so many Politicians in power to take action needed. Recently I was reading on a different matter and the discussion drifted into 'Game Theory'. Though my understanding is far from perfect, Game Theory does help reduce certain events and reactions to a more easily understood series of results. I'm trying to keep this post to the more basics elements. For those interested and willing to wade thru rather extensive and dense set of works, a bewildering variety of options and variables can be seen that will skew the best choices and the final results. However, I believe that after a certain point, one finds that most variables tend to become self canceling.

For a good overview I suggest the Wikipedia link

'The Prisoners Dilemma' is a classic bit of Game theory. It is based on long term cooperation for superior group gain versus short term betrayal for personal gain. I've began to believe that our current system of Government has fallen into a mode of operation similar to the Prisoners Dilemma. If played thru several rounds, cooperation produces the best overall results. In the short term, betrayal leads to better results for an individual. To add to the problems we run into, is that far too much of the world views the politics and economics as a Zero Sum game the only way one person can profit is for another to suffer loss. It seems most politicians and governments today operate on a Short Term/ Zero Sum approach, failing to see long term greater profitability. Most indications are that Politics & Economics are not Zero Sum nor does Short Term solutions produce viable political results..

The concept of 'Tit for Tat' was long considered the most viable option . It works fairly well, though the 'Tit for Tat with Forgiveness' strategy works slightly better. Current politics seemed to be working under a short term viewpoint and Zero Sum view. The problem is that both Democrats and Republicans are both are operating under the Short Term/Zero Sum approach. Until both sides see the advantage of cooperation, and yes, BOTH sides must cooperate, we're all losing this most important of games.

The more complex societies get and the more complex the networks of interdependence within and beyond community and national borders get, the more people are forced in their own interests to find non-zero-sum solutions. That is, win-win solutions instead of win-lose solutions.... Because we find as our interdependence increases that, on the whole, we do better when other people do better as well - so we have to find ways that we can all win, we have to accommodate each other - Bill Clinton, Wired interview, December 2000

posted by Greymagius @ 1:38 AM

Molly Ivins on Tom Delay Resignation Thursday, April 06, 2006

Molly Ivins is often insightful and certainly provides some interesting insight into much of what's going on with Delay. She's right on.

Molly Ivins: Good Riddance to DeLay's Crucifix-Shaped Hammer
Posted on Apr. 5, 2006
By Molly Ivins

AUSTIN, Texas - In general, I'm against kicking 'em when they're down .. unless really awful people are involved. I figured Tom DeLay is so awful, plenty of people would gang up on him and I could pass.

Imagine my surprise when the toughest question one famous TV tough guy could come up with was, "Do you think you invested too much in the Republican Party?" Another inquired whether DeLay could think of any mistakes he'd made. I waited with bated breath for the immortal, "I wish I could learn not to work so hard," but no, he couldn?t think of a single one.

Newt Gingrich and Tom DeLay first came to power promising to restore democracy to the House of Representatives, supposedly suffering from then-Speaker Jim Wright's tyrannical regime. Even after the Rs drove Wright from office, however, bipartisanship was out of the question for DeLay. In the budget fight and government shutdown of 1995, for instance, DeLay rejected compromise and famously said, "It's time for all-out war."

I never minded DeLay being a tough guy, it was his syrupy claims to carry the banner for Christianity that I found offensive, as he frog-marched the House toward being a cash-operated special-interest machine. The idea of putting pressure on lobbyists to give only to Republicans, pressuring lobbying firms into hiring only Republicans and then letting lobbyists sit at the table during committee meetings where legislation was written?it was just screaming overt corruption.

Tom DeLay and Newt Gingrich turned the U.S. House of Representatives, "the people's House," into a pay-for-play machine for corporations. Put in enough money, get your special tax exemption, get your earmarked government contract, get your trade legislation and your environmental exemption, get rid of safety regulation.

I'd like to address the idea that what DeLay did was only "payback" for the alleged sins of Jim Wright and then-House Majority Whip Tony Coelho, that it's "our turn" at the trough, so why not act like Dan Rostenkowski? It's a great way to rationalize misbehavior, even if the misbehavior is as disproportionate as Wright?s ethical peccadillo compared to the open corruption of DeLay's ""K Street Project," selling Congress to the lobby

I've watched enough switches of political power and use of the "payback" excuse to realize that what the new Ins call "payback" has little to do with whatever the new Outs used to do. It is, instead, a direct reflection - "projection," the shrinks call it - of the ethical values of the Ins onto the Outs. Every time you hear a misdeed justified by, "Well, they used to do it," you can generally mark off a 50% to 75% exaggeration.

To get a real sense of DeLay's cynicism and recklessness, forget the stuff the press loves, like the "free golfing trip" to St. Andrew's. Instead, take note of the following example.

The Northern Marianas Islands are a U.S. protectorate (so it can label goods "Made in the USA") being used as a sort of labor gulag in the Pacific, with workers imported from China and elsewhere and paid pitiful wages. Jack Abramoff had a contract with the government of the Marianas to lobby against stopping the flow of immigrant labor to the islands and to prevent a minimum wage bill (mandating a level higher than the island's standard $3.05 per hour) from getting to the floor of the House.

The islands are home to classic sweatshops. In 1996 and 1997, Abramoff billed the Marianas for 187 contacts with DeLay's office, including 16 meetings with DeLay. In December 1997, DeLay, his wife and their daughter went on an Abramoff-arranged jaunt to the Marianas. DeLay brunched with the Marianas? largest private employer, textile magnate Willie Tan.

Tan had to settle a U.S. Labor Department lawsuit alleging workplace violations. According to the book "The Hammer" by Lou Dubose and Jan Reid, among the violations common on the islands is forbidding women to work when they are pregnant, thus leading to a high abortion rate.

Evidently, DeLay didn't have time to look into such allegations, since he was busy playing golf and attending a dinner in his honor, sponsored by Tan's holding company. According to The Washington Post, it was at this dinner that DeLay called Abramoff ?"one of my closest and dearest friends." He also reminded those present of his promise that no minimum wage or immigration legislation affecting the Marianas would be passed.

"Stand firm," he added. "Resist evil. Remember that all truth and blessings emanate from our Creator." He then went with Tan to see a cockfight.

This is why DeLay's professions of Christianity make me sick. He was there. He could have talked to the workers. Instead, he chose to walk with the powerful and do real harm to the very people Jesus mandated we especially care for.

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posted by Stithmeister @ 11:56 PM

Rondo Headin' to the NBA Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Kentucky point guard Rajon Rondo announced his intention to head to the NBA yesterday during an afternoon press conference. He said he plans on hiring an agent so Rondo's career at UK is done.

I wonder if we'll do better with out him.

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posted by Stithmeister @ 12:57 PM

John Kerry's Op-Ed in the NYT

April 5, 2006
Op-Ed Contributor - NY Times

Two Deadlines and an Exit


WE are now in the third war in Iraq in as many years. The first was against Saddam Hussein and his supposed weapons of mass destruction. The second was against terrorists whom, the administration said, it was better to fight over there than here. Now we find our troops in the middle of an escalating civil war.

Half of the service members listed on the Vietnam Memorial Wall died after America's leaders knew our strategy would not work. It was immoral then and it would be immoral now to engage in the same delusion. We want democracy in Iraq, but Iraqis must want it as much as we do. Our valiant soldiers can't bring democracy to Iraq if Iraq's leaders are unwilling themselves to make the compromises that democracy requires.

As our generals have said, the war cannot be won militarily. It must be won politically. No American soldier should be sacrificed because Iraqi politicians refuse to resolve their ethnic and political differences.

So far, Iraqi leaders have responded only to deadlines — a deadline to transfer authority to a provisional government, and a deadline to hold three elections.

Now we must set another deadline to extricate our troops and get Iraq up on its own two feet.

Iraqi politicians should be told that they have until May 15 to put together an effective unity government or we will immediately withdraw our military. If Iraqis aren't willing to build a unity government in the five months since the election, they're probably not willing to build one at all. The civil war will only get worse, and we will have no choice anyway but to leave.

If Iraq's leaders succeed in putting together a government, then we must agree on another deadline: a schedule for withdrawing American combat forces by year's end. Doing so will empower the new Iraqi leadership, put Iraqis in the position of running their own country and undermine support for the insurgency, which is fueled in large measure by the majority of Iraqis who want us to leave their country. Only troops essential to finishing the job of training Iraqi forces should remain.

For this transition to work, we must finally begin to engage in genuine diplomacy. We must immediately bring the leaders of the Iraqi factions together at a Dayton Accords-like summit meeting. In a neutral setting, Iraqis, working with our allies, the Arab League and the United Nations, would be compelled to reach a political agreement that includes security guarantees, the dismantling of the militias and shared goals for reconstruction.

To increase the pressure on Iraq's leaders, we must redeploy American forces to garrisoned status. Troops should be used for security backup, training and emergency response; we should leave routine patrols to Iraqi forces. Special operations against Al Qaeda and other foreign terrorists in Iraq should be initiated only on hard intelligence leads.

We will defeat Al Qaeda faster when we stop serving as its best recruitment tool. Iraqis ultimately will not tolerate foreign jihadists on their soil, and the United States will be able to maintain an over-the-horizon troop presence with rapid response capacity. An exit from Iraq will also strengthen our hand in dealing with the Iranian nuclear threat and allow us to repair the damage of repeated deployments, which flag officers believe has strained military readiness and morale.

For three years now, the administration has told us that terrible things will happen if we get tough with the Iraqis. In fact, terrible things are happening now because we haven't gotten tough enough. With two deadlines, we can change all that. We can put the American leadership on the side of our soldiers and push the Iraqi leadership to do what only it can do: build a democracy.

John F. Kerry, a senator from Massachusetts, was the Democratic nominee for president in 2004.

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posted by Stithmeister @ 12:20 PM

Delay Resigns ... leaves slot open Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Former House Majority Leader and Republican powerhouse Tom Delay (R-Texas) announced he would be resigning his House seat in the next couple of months. While he said it wasn't because of his legal troubles, they've certainly played a part in his demise. The indictments are keeping him tied up with bad publicity and have hampered his ability to to be effective.

One must also consider the scandals tied to Jack Abramoff, formerly a close ally of Delay and the corruption conviction of Tony Rudy, his former deputy chief of staff. All these things together have plagued Delay's ability to be re-elected and while he claimed he probably could've won, it would've been ugly and quite expensive. He claimed the election would been a referendum about him instead of an issue based election.

A defiant DeLay declared he had "no regrets" and he professed "no fear" of any investigation as he railed against "liberal Democrats," vowing to deny them the chance to win his seat with a campaign highlighting a host of legal difficulties and alleged ethics violations. Polls showed that DeLay's latest reelection bid appeared increasingly likely to end in defeat.

The real issue comes down to who gets the seat in a special election. Delay will officially move his residence to Virginia to be taken out of consideration for the November election. This will allow Republicans to begin building a candidate.

Republicans said that, with DeLay gone, they have a much better chance of holding the seat. Although redistricting took some Republicans out of the district, Bush won 64 percent of the vote there in 2004. According to GOP sources, one almost-certain candidate is Sugar Land Mayor David G. Wallace. Tom Campbell, who was second to DeLay in the primary with 30 percent of the vote, said last night he would run in any special election.

Former Democratic Texas Congressman Nick Lampson was challenging Delay and led pretty strongly in the polls. This race will still be expensive but the Repugs think they can still hang onto the seat now that Delay is leaving.

This race is still winnable but it's going to take more effort than ever. Delay has promised whichever Republican fills his slot will go to Congress. Lampson will definitely need to take the slot in the special election. It'll be needed to give him a strong shot in November.

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1:37 PM

Late night thread... Monday, April 03, 2006

What're you kids doing tonight?

posted by Stithmeister @ 11:56 PM

Florida Whips UCLA

The University of Florida Gators whipped the UCLA Bruins 73-57 in a decisive victory that crowned Billy Donovan's Gators as the 2006 NCAA men's national champs.

Having watched the games, in all honesty, UCLA was never really even in the match. Florida led by 11 at the half and were up by more than 20 at one time. It was really pretty ugly as the Gators slammed the ball at will.

Congratulations Florida. The Cats will be coming for you next year.

posted by Stithmeister @ 11:56 PM

Location: Harrodsburg, Kentucky, United States

I'm currently working in the telecomm industry but one of my passions is still politics.

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