Monday, August 31, 2009

The September Chase: Rumbles of a Shakeup?

A funny thing happened on the way to the post season in the last full week of August. While the Texas Ranger failed to advance on the Boston Red Sox for the Wild Card, they continued to hold their own against California at five games back. While we joked that the Minnesota fans would be to engaged with the Brett Favre arrival in purple and gold to notice what the Twinkies are up to, but they just completed a 7-3 week going 1 ½ games over the Chicago White Sox, with their sights set on Detroit, five games their superior. They also obtained right-handed reliever, Jon Rauch. The balance of power still puts New York out front in the league with California second best, first in the west. The Red Sox still hold the Wild Card slot, but Texas, Minnesota, and Tampa Bay have earned the right to consider their possibilities.

In the National League, the St. Louis Cardinals have turned out the lights in the Central, but they’re still two back in the loss column behind Philadelphia (East) and Dodgers (West) who are tied with 53 losses. A week ago, however, Los Angeles was hearing a rumble from the Rockies who were closing the distance between the two teams. A five game losing streak, first two against the Dodgers and then three against San Francisco brought Denver back down to earth, now tied with San Francisco for the Wild Card lead but now a full six games behind the Dodgers. Now just three losses behind San Francisco and Denver, the Atlanta Braves and Florida Marlins are back in the Wild Card hunt, but for total weirdness, despite playing a mediocre 4-6 in the past ten games, the Cubbies are but four games behind in losses. Uncle Lou and the Addison Street crazies in the post season??? Nah!!!!

While all is the same atop the standings except for the NL Wild Card one week later on September’s eve, there’s a rumble that could explode and perhaps upset the AL West or Wild Card and do the same in the NL. Meanwhile, could there be one last postseason performance for the Metrodome? Stay tuned for the head-to-head matchups between competitors and perhaps some lowly also ran who decides to play spoiler.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Are YOU Ready for Some Football??

The days are getting noticeably shorter. Soon the temperatures will fall. If it weren't for football, remaining cheerful past the harvest would sure be rough!!!
For 2009, we will make our best attempt at picking the winners for all sixteen NFL matchups and pick a handful of interesting college matchups. Our method is simple. We admit to being unapologetic homers for the Baltimore Ravens. Aside from that, we attempt to assimulate some meaningful stats and trends. When all else fails, there's always voodoo, and we've been known to consult for divine inspiration too. Nevertheless, we picked correctly slightly over 65% on the NFL last year. Okay, picking the Detroit Lions to lose every game last year got our sheets off to a good start each week. it might no be so easy this year.
We invite, you, our distinguished readers to join in and suggest possible college matchups. We have a pro-ACC bias, but also pa attention to the Big Ten and SEC more than the rest of the bowl eligible conferences. Naturally, the hyped up match-ups will alway be on board.
How 'bout those Ravens, hon? They're showing much to be proud of in the preseason sweepstakes. Sure it would be nice to have another playmaker running to catch the ball and we're a little worried about the field goal kicking game with Mr. Automatic, Matt Stover, not on the 2009 Ravens. (Well, at least not yet.)
We're also in a fantasy league this year. We'll surely share our triumphs and frustrations.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Ravens Fans -- Be Careful What You Wish For!!!!

The Baltimore Ravens would be well served to find a good playmaker at wide receiver, but clearly one of the popular options, putting together a package to trade for Brandon Marshall would be a serious "error in judgment."
Marshall's conduct leading to a team suspension this week show exactly why this player has no place in the purple and gold. While he was recently let off on charges of domestic violence, he has that legacy hanging over him too.
It shows contempt for team and coaching to not run with the rest of the team, but to punt a ball away he should have just tossed to the ball boy? This fellow is a primetime jerk. The Broncos responded and Marshall is gone for the rest of the preseason, at least. The bottom line is Marshall is a trouble maker, a head case, and a selfish player.
Here are the news accounts for more information on his acting up in training camp.
While Marshall might be trying to force Denver's hand to trade him and the team might see cutting loose such a trouble maker, the Ravens don't need a player who could be one misstep away from a long jail sentence or could erupt into a clubhouse nightmare.
Yes, the Denver Broncos organization appears to be in a tailspin since firing long time coach, Mike Shanahan, but nothing justifies Brandon Marshall's out of control behavior.
We've heard the talk show callers and some sportscasters say couldn't Ray Lewis tuck Marshall under his wing and show him the way the Ravens clubhouse operates?
To that we respond maybe Ray could or maybe he couldn't. Ray Lewis commands a lot of respect from his teammates, but he's a linebacker not a baby sitter. The best indication of how Marshall would behave with the Ravens is to examine his past which has been pure hell going back to his time in college. It's not a matter of a couple miscues, but a long standing pattern of a variety of problems. The guy is trouble, period.
Character matters. NFL teams are challenged versus the easy fix of taking on a "dangerous dude" with a record of illegal or immoral behavior versus holding out for character guys. The question we would ask of Ravens' brass or any other NFL team's leadership, if a team signs a player who gets arrested for wife beating, dog killing, or another nightclub incident, how is a father supposed to explain one of a team's top performer's arrest to his son?
In the long run, the teams that take extra care in evaluating a player's heart, the better off the team will be in the long run.

Paving the Way for Premier Obama: Chilling Measure Proposed on Control of Internet

No one can deny the Internet has become so essential to day-to-day life and the conduct of commerce that cyberthreats could be a dreadful threat to national security, but how to secure the net and what authority should be involved demands careful study and debate.

Matt Drudge has posted a report on how not to do it. Sadly, some members of the Republican party have shown their knowledge and use of modern technology sadly limited. Howard Dean showed the way of what an effective tool the Internet can be and left-wing hate groups like have been exploiting it ever since.

Still, the CNet article posted by Drudge deserves careful consideration especially after recent abuses such as a dedicated White House email address for citizens to report "fishy" opinions and their use of spam to spread their messagae. Given Obama has the least amount of tolerance for opposition of any recent American President short of Richard Nixon, we should all be scared...very scared.

Please read this article:

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Don't Let the Door Hit Ya Where the Dear Lord Split Ya...

He said he was hiking on the Appalachian Trail when he was really in Argentina boinking his mistress. His attempts to rationalize and excuse his behavior show a total lack of rational judgment, yet he still considers himself fit enough to serve out his term as governor?
At a time South Carolina is dealing with severe unemployment and other issues, the state demands a clear headed, respected governor. Meanwhile, investigations continue to see if state or campaign funds were used to finance any of his mischief.
In response to recent calls from the State's lieutenant governor, Andre Bauer to resign, Sanford responded, he was "not going to be railroaded out of this office by political opponents."
Since he seemed to express an interest in hiking in attempting to justify his mysterious absence earlier this year, we could offer another option for the governor, TAKE A HIKE!!!!

Ted Kennedy: 1932-2009

What is a more difficult moral dilemma than dealing honestly with the history of one’s adversary than during the immediate post-mortem of that adversary’s death?

Surely, we celebrate without gloating when evil dictators who threaten the world’s security and brutally oppress their own populations at the time of their passing. When a dangerous murder suspect turns up dead, we stand relieved. We look at those who lived reckless lifestyles who meet their end with a sense of, “they had it coming, didn’t they?”

How do we deal with those who function within our system but we feel are clearly dangerous to our way of life? How do we maintain our resolve when there is a genuine outpouring of grief for our greatest adversaries who we’ve worked so hard to defeat and discredit through the years?

What is the right way for us to put the death of Ted Kennedy in perspective?

One thing is for certain, the death of Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy will serve as a rallying cry for the extreme left, those who believe in big government solutions and all aspects of the Liberal creed as it has evolved to what it is today. From early in his career, Ted Kennedy championed notions of government run health care for all. What clearly will develop in the hours and days ahead is a highly emotional attempt to make Ted Kennedy a martyr for the current push for the government seizure of our ability to choose our own health care options.

Sure, this is not the time to trump up insults and personal attacks against Ted Kennedy, but we must be clear and truthful what he represented because his legacy will live on, and in the short term, his name and spirit will be attached to so much monkey business the Democrats will attempt to thrust upon us.

With the election of John F. Kennedy as President in 1960, the short-lived era of “Camelot” was upon us, for the romantic Democratic mindset, this youthful President with his fashionable wife represented an American kind of royalty. The association between Democratic leaders and Hollywood fell into place with even a drunken Marlyn Monroe singing a sultry happy birthday to the President. However, the concept of an American royal family ran deeper into the operation of government itself. Robert Kennedy became his brother’s attorney general. Thus it was in keeping with the family business that Teddy would run for Senator for Massachusetts in 1962. Just barely a year later, President Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas so it was then Bobby’s turn to move up as the standard bearer for the Kennedy clan. He’d remain in the justice department long enough to antagonize Lyndon Johnson severely, but clearly his personality was too strong and his political differences too intense to stay with the Johnson administration. Using New York’s favorable laws, Robert ran for New York Senator putting the two surviving Kennedy brothers both in the United States Senate. The attention remained riveted on Robert as he became one of the country’s most outspoken critics of the Vietnam War leading him to run for the Presidency in 1968. Lyndon Johnson realized he couldn’t possibly battle the Kennedy charisma and political machine, so he stepped aside. As the primary season marched along, Robert Kennedy looked like the inevitable winner and more emotion went his way with the shocking assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King on April 4, 1968. Robert Kennedy wove the civil rights conviction of Dr. King in with the carefully crafted image of Kennedy idealism as his candidacy exploded. It was on to California which could very well have been the coronation of the Democratic nominee.

As the victory celebration was winding down, a 24 year old Palestinian shot Robert Kennedy at close range with a .22 caliber pistol throwing the Democratic Presidential sweepstakes in chaos and a family’s tragedy into misery beyond belief having lost the first son, Joseph, in an aircraft accident in World War II, but now with two more brothers both murdered, Edward Kennedy stood alone.

Ted had neither the great legacy of PT-109 fame and charisma of John, nor did he have the intense focus and drive willing to take on the Mafia and Lyndon Johnson’s war policies like Robert. He did have the Kennedy name, but Teddy was seen as the runt of the litter, the spoiled little rich boy with a little too much love for the party life, but now he was the family leader. He’d have huge shoes to fill and be under constant scrutiny.

As the days of Richard Nixon began, America wondered how Ted Kennedy would serve as a member of the opposition, but before his political identity could really take shape, he created his own disaster. While the whole story will never be known, while America was drawn to the Apollo 11 moon mission on July 18, 1969, Ted Kennedy was partying on Chappaquiddick Island at Martha’s Vineyard. Leaving the party with a former aide to his brother, Robert, Mary Jo Kopechne, he drove off the Dike Bridge into Poucha Pond Inlet leaving Kopechne trapped in the car while Kennedy swam for safety. Kennedy did not report to authorities until after Kopechne’s body was found the following day.

While the uproar was substantial and questions unanswered, Kennedy copped a plea of leaving the scene of an accident receiving a two month suspended jail sentence. Kennedy went before the cameras acknowledging, "I regard as indefensible the fact that I did not report the accident to the police immediately" but denied being drunk or having a relationship with the deceased young lady.

Subsequent investigations under orders from the Massachusetts highest court concluded parts of his statement were not true. A grand jury investigated but issued no indictment only confirming “negligent driving.” Despite a continuous buzz and much criticism over the Chappaquiddick tragedy, Kennedy won his second term to the senate with 62% of the vote.

Through the 70’s he became a firm fixture of the Democratic party in the Senate to where he would be seen as the true anchor of the most liberal faction of the Democratic party that was had been moving substantially to the left in the wake of the Great Society and Vietnam war becoming less the party of the working class but more one of a far reaching big government agenda.

Jimmy Carter, who was one of the first wave of “new Democrats” supposedly more pragmatic and less big government oriented, posed a contrary philosophy for the direction of the party, with the two of them forming opposing polarities of the party leading to Ted Kennedy to challenge Jimmy Carter, the incumbent President, in the 1980 primary elections which were hotly contested. Though Carter had enough delegates to win the nomination, Kennedy took his fight to the convention but the tactic was futile having won just 10 primaries to Carter’s 24. Kennedy’s attempt to free up committed delegates failed so Kennedy withdrew his challenge but he still had much fight left in him delivering a stinging address asserting the values of Liberalism. The Democrats beat up each other so badly in the 1980 campaign, but the tide of conservatism led by Ronald Reagan would be unstoppable, but Ted Kennedy would soldier on in the Senate as the personification of almost everything Reagan’s reforms were aimed at undoing.

As the tide of rational conservatism, a new sense of American pride, and renewed clout of the free enterprise system swept the land, Ted Kennedy was the most powerful voice for the big government, “great society,” welfare state approach. If Republicans and conservatives needed to mobilize their faithful, simply invoking the name of Ted Kennedy activated the forces. Kennedy fought Reagan’s build up of national defense and his foreign policy initiatives which led to the fall of Soviet communism.

While his political efforts continued, his health and behavior became the subject of scrutiny and ridicule shown as an obese heavy drinker. His reputation and perception of acting above the law as an immoral sot than being implicated with his nephew, William Kennedy Smith who many believe used the Kennedy clout and wealth to beat a rape charge. Ted Kennedy testified in that trial.

At no time did Kennedy’s ability to polarize the debate and perhaps set the stage for the partisan struggles that followed than his behavior during the hearings for Reagan Supreme Court Nominee Robert Bork. Viciously attacking Bork as the personification of everything the liberal movement believes, his angry tirade still echoes on Capitol Hill.

“Robert Bork's America is a land in which women would be forced into back-alley abortions, blacks would sit at segregated lunch counters, rogue police could break down citizens' doors in midnight raids, schoolchildren could not be taught about evolution, writers and artists could be censored at the whim of the Government, and the doors of the Federal courts would be shut on the fingers of millions of citizens ...”

These over-the-top remarks helped rally the forces sending Bork’s nomination to defeat creating a new concept in Washington politics where anyone whose reputation gets beaten and bloodied through vicious insinuations and character assassination is known as being “borked.”

Every subsequent Republican nominee except perhaps David Souter who proved to be one of the court’s most Liberal justices appointed by George H.W. Bush got the “Bork” treatment in some measure.

On a personal level, Ted Kennedy’s wild ways were tamed considerably upon marrying his second wife, Vicky, much younger who helped him overcome his health and behavioral demons focusing on his political goals. She ruled over him with a firm, caring hand.

He was no friend of the Clintons who were much more political opportunists than committed ideologues for Kennedy’s liking never the less, his position as the face of the Democrats in the Senate remained unchallenged. While President Clinton often pursued a more pragmatic agenda though appointing generally very left wing judges, Kennedy was seen as the heart and soul of the left wing base of the party but as the 90’s came to an end, more vicious and further left members of the Senate including Charles Schumer, John Kerry, and Barbara Boxer became much more vocal and more clearly hard left figures than Kennedy who took on more a roll of elder statesman.

To the surprise of some, he partnered with President George W. Bush to enact No Child Left Behind, a measure that was hard to take by both the extreme left and right, but on most scores, he was one of the Bush administration’s worst nightmares.

In 2001, Hilary Clinton became Senator of New York in much the same way Robert Kennedy did as only setting up residence in New York essentially in time for the election. Many saw their relationship as rivalry for supremacy within the party. Thus when the Presidential field for 2008 developed, Ted Kennedy enthusiastically endorsed Barack Obama for President giving the inexperienced Illinois radical senator a huge boost and instant credibility.

Kennedy suffered a massive brain seizure on May 17, 2008 which revealed he had a malignant glioma, a lethal brain cancer. Regardless, to the fullest extent possible, Kennedy supported Barrack Obama and the push for the government seizure of individual health care.

Having served over 46 years in the Senate, Ted Kennedy’s imprint is enormous. Unquestionably, as one of the Senate’s most staunchly left wing voices and one of the institution’s most outspoken voices, few senators appeared more polarizing than the Massachusetts Democrat.

Time will tell what his long lasting legacy will be and who will assume his high profile voice in the Senate. He unquestionably leaves a leadership void. Will there be a more moderate alternative or will it give members like Chuck Schumer and Chris Dodd to play a bigger role.

Right minded citizens cannot let opportunists use his death as an emotional wedge to elevate support for the government health care seizure.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Late August Baseball: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

The Red Sox acquired a distinguished closer, Billy Wagner, to serve as their setup guy while nursing a 1 ½ game lead over the Texas Rangers in the Wild Card chase and probably not completely conceding the division to the hated Yankees who enjoy a six game lead over the Beaners.

The Minnesota Twins have pulled even with Chicago, both playing .500 ball but good enough for second place 4 ½ games behind the Tigers in the AL Central. While out west, speaking of the Rangers, they’re 4 games behind the Los Angeles Angels.

If the play offs were held today, New York would host Detroit while the Los Angeles Angels would host the Red Sox. The Sox are 2-4 against the Angels but have not played them at home yet facing them September 15-17. The Yankees are finished with the Tigers having played them to a 5-1 advantage.

There’s only one real sleeper in the American League, with Tampa Bay 3 games behind the Red Sox. If Boston or Texas stumble, the Rays could rumble.

In the National League, folks can pretty much end the discussion for the NL East and NL Central, where the Phillies are ahead by 7 games. St. Louis leads the Central by 9 games.

The wild wild Western Division is the National League’s hot story. The Dodgers still have the National League’s best record but they are the only first place team that actually has a chance of staying home for the playoffs. Why?

The Colorado Rockies are the deadliest team in baseball having been winning everything in sight since late June. They’re now only two games out of first and stand as the wild card pick right now. The San Francisco Giants are 6 games out of first and 4 games back in the Wild Card chase, but they have an ingredient that works effectively at the end of the season, starting pitching. Not completely out of the picture are two teams from the East for the Wild Card, 5 ½ back, Atlanta and Florida are playing winning baseball.

The final notes are the sob stories as in whatever happened to the Chicago Cubs and New York Mets. Both teams were picked to excel this year, but the Cubs are close to falling below .500 while the Mets have been falling apart all summer. With seven players on the 15 day disabled list and five players on the 50 day list, one would think the remaining players might be scared to walk out of their front doors in the morning. What next? Maybe a front office shakeup and new manager for 2010 could be inevitable as if they caused the injuries. By the way, the Mets are playing in a beautiful new stadium this year. It’s just beyond the outfield of old Shea Stadium, and yes they have the big apple that’s supposed to rise up with each Mets’ homerun, but even that gizmo has malfunctioned. With the Yanks tearing up the American League and plenty to talk about with their two NFL teams in preseason, the Mets are back page news now.

As for the Cubbies, their fate rests on just plain lousy performance. Look at this. Their top run producer, Derrek Lee has 24 home runs and 83 RBI’s. Next in line is Alfonso Soriano who has never hit fewer than 28 home runs since 2002 checking in with 19 so far and only 52 RBI’s. No other player has hit more than 11 homers. No other player has more than just 48 RBI’s. No pitcher has double digit wins, but two stand with 9. Closer Kevin Gregg has 23 out of 29 saves, but the team as a total shows 30 out of 50 meaning they blew a remarkable 20 late inning games. All this, and Lou Pinella hasn’t been hauled out of the stadium in a straight jacket and leg irons? Who knew the man could be so patient with a team of such under achievers.

In the futility department, here’s to the Washington Nationals who at the All-Star Break were headed for the worst record in MLB history. They’re not going to come close to that disappointment, but still lead in the race for next year’s number one draft pick with a 3 ½ “lead” over Kansas City and a six game gap versus Baltimore. Ironically, Pittsburgh seems to be the team trying hardest to put a losing team on the field but they’re dead even with San Diego and Cincinnati in losses and four teams worse off than they are. Pity the Pittsburgh baseball fan. Their team sucks at sucking and that really sucks. At least the Nationals and the Orioles can tell a convincing story of building for the future.

Late August in Birdland


Few expected anything less than a losing season and a last place finish for the 2009 Orioles, and they have surely played up to that expectation. However, the key that the Orioles’ brass and fans had hoped for was a team that would show some improvement toward the end of the season as the young talent starts to gel.

Sadly, their record after the All-Star break has been horrible, and the comparison to last year’s mark, a team having taken just the first steps toward rebuilding, does not speak well of what’s happened this year. Last year after 126 games, the Orioles stood at 61-65 but were in the early stages of an all-out melt down. This year, the record is 51-75. At the current pace, they will finish at 66-96 compared to 68-93 (one game not made up).

Surely, the team can’t concede they’re not playing to win, but having traded Aubrey Huff, their most stable RBI threat and George Sherrill their closer, that puts the team deeper in the hole while new players emerge. Surely, Nolan Reimold and Matt Wieters are showing they are everyday players of the future. While the rookie starters are much more obvious works in progress: Chris Tillman, Brian Matusz, David Hernandez, and Jason Berken. Surely, Berken looks to need a little more time at Norfolk but the team has no more experienced starter in good health to take his place.

Brian Roberts and Nick Markakis continue to develop in their roll as the homegrown veterans while Adam Jones alone appears to make the Erik Bedard trade look worthwhile.

While the clubhouse appears cordial and congenial, what is so sadly evidence is a total lack of chemistry on the field as base running blunders and fielding fiascos point to a lack of communication and ability to work as a unit. Covering bases, hitting cutoff men, or not even having a player standing as a cutoff man or covering a base all point to this deficiency.

We wrote earlier about Jim Palmer’s reflection about the team lacking a sense of urgency. That’s a terrible reflection on a young team where players need to show themselves worthy of the big leagues.

Is it time to seriously question Dave Trembley? Palmer pointed out that the players could get some good clues on how to prepare the game from watching Derek Jeter with the Yankees, one of baseball’s most disciplined players with exceptional work habits who is a present day reflection of what made Cal Ripken’s accomplishments possible. Where are the infield practices, the shagging fly balls, and not taking batting practice for day games where they have one of the most embarrassing records in the big leagues. Discipline isn’t a matter of a manager playing the hard ass as much as it is putting the team through the paces through practice drills and working with the coaching staff to work as a unit. Look at what rookie head coach, John Harbaugh, accomplished across the parking lot with a very uncertain Ravens team at the start of the 2008 season, one game away from the Super Bowl. Discipline and practice pulled that team together, but they did have proven veterans with exceptional leadership skill the Orioles don’t have. The Orioles once had their equivalent to Ray Lewis. He wore #20. Remember him?

Now that the football preseason is underway, the Orioles are totally irrelevant to many Baltimore sports fans. They will only make headlines if something exceptional happens. For their sake, it better be stunning achievements by their developing players and not something like giving up 30 runs as they did against Texas this time of year two years ago. Baltimore is once again a football town, but does anyone think the passion this town had for baseball from 1979, the birth of Orioles Magic to 1997, their last winning season, couldn’t be revived by a young aggressive team moving up the ranks of the AL East?

With each passing few weeks, the pieces that could be part of that team are starting to be known, but what will it take for them to gel as a competitive unit?

There’s enough time left in 2009 to start to answer that question. We’ve heard enough excuses.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Come On, Sean

We like Sean Hannity. He's a lively talk show host who does a great job of representing the conservative point of view. He's witty, informed, and not afraid to stand his ground. While he takes some indefensible positions at times, we applaud his efforts.

We hope Sean will let go of something. Yes, it was outrageous when David Letterman sacked Sarah Palin with comments about her daugher being knocked up by Alex Rodriguez. The gap toothed, washed up standup comic deserved to be called out for his over-the-top insults. Letterman gave a half-assed explanation he could use to show his critics, "see I apologized." Then Letterman didn't miss a chance to flog the former Alaskan governor when the day's news gave him the chance.

This is what David Letterman does. He's an angry man who is strongly in the fold as a left-wing media mainstay. He presumes a like-minded audience. The rest of us tune him out, but we all know where he's coming from.

So Letterman's at it again. He'll milk Sarah Palin for jabs as long as he thinks she's worth the joust. So what. That's what he does. That's what he'll do.

So why does Sean have to make it an issue worth pointing out on his nightly show with Fox?

There are far more important issues to discuss. Letterman's garbage is well-known. Maybe over three hours of a radio show where he can loosen up a little more, mentioning Letterman's silliness could be part of a daily wrap-up, but we feel that calling attention to Letterman only gives him more recognition of which he is not worthy.

Letterman's a jerk. Who doesn't know that by now who isn't part of his audience?


Quick, call "the Geek Squad!" They mounted this dag-gone
fancy HDTV too low in our big party room!!!

You’d think after spending 1.15 billion dollars for the ultimate fancy new football stadium something like this wouldn’t happen, but tomorrow, Tuesday, August 25, 2009 the NFL competition committee has a red hot emergency to deal with. Saturday night, the Dallas Cowboys performed one of their two dress rehearsals for opening day in their fancy new home to the shock and awe of football fans worldwide as the game was nationally televised on the Fox network. Everything about Dallas Cowboys Stadium, a name that will last until naming rights can be sold for the highest price tag ever for such a transaction, is Texas tall, gigantic, huge, overwhelming. Every gizmo, doodad, modern gadget, and luxury touch is there. It’s about as humble as the Cowboys’ owner Jerry Jones, so shall we call it “Jerryland” or maybe “Jonestown.”

Yes, they thought of every detail down to the microscopic level, but this is the high tech, high definition era, so no expense would be spared on having one magnificent scoreboard and display. Hanging from the roof, at 160 feet wide and 72 feet tall, its high definition screen is the world’s largest. That’s 11,520 square feet! Wouldn’t it be fun to hook up the Blue-Ray player, crank up the sound, and watch your favorite movie?

Saturday night was the opening performance in Jerry’s big showcase, the Cowboys against the Tennessee Titans. No matter what hoopla surrounds the opening of a new football stadium or how unique the venue, the goal lines are always 100 yards apart, once the ball is kicked off, it’s football. Some play on real grass. Some play on synthetics. Some are open to the stars. Some are indoors. Every city’s crowd has its own character from the raw madness of M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore to the more polite laid back feel at some west coast arenas; the game is still the game.

Or is it?

Everything looked like a regular football game until 8:07 in the fourth quarter when the Tennessee Titans lined up to punt. Titans punter, A.J. Trapasso let it fly. DOINK!!! The punt crashed into the multimillion dollar high definition score display. No harm done to the fancy equipment, not even a blip on the screen, but what’s supposed to happen? In the God awful confines of Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg Florida, hitters routinely bop the catwalks in that atrocious indoor baseball arena, ground rules address that ruling such encounters are home runs, but this is something new for football.

Naturally, Jerry Jones, seldom at a loss for words, had something to say, “If you look at how you punt the football, unless you're trying to hit the scoreboard, you punt the ball to get downfield. You certainly want to get some hang time, but you punt the ball to get downfield, and you sure don't punt the ball down the middle. You punt it off to the side."

Yeah right! What would the story be had it been the Dallas punter.

The officials on the field ordered the down be replayed. Fair enough, but this is not something that anyone in the NFL wants to be a regular course in games that count. Surely, there might be some ways to abuse that.

The bottom line is the bottom of the display hangs too low. While it is supposedly compliant with league specifications, such a situation has not been encountered in other indoorsy stadiums.

So the NFL brain trust will gather tomorrow to issue their sacred edict. Will they come up with some exotic rule or make the most sensible ruling that will provide some of the best television all summer, order the display be pulled up higher. Exploding scoreboards have been featured since Bill Veeck designed such craziness when he owned the Chicago White Sox and wired up the scoreboard at old Comiskey Park. But tune in to your nightly news, NFL Network, or SportsCenter tomorrow and watch the antics of the exploding NFL franchise owner. It’s hard to imagine any ruling will not drive the Cowboys owner totally mad.

All this is one more thing that makes us glad the real season with real football games are on the way. Has there ever been an offseason with more headlines from the Brett Favre soap opera, yes he really is going to play for the Minnesota Vikings to some much darker and more horrible stories we’re all too familiar with the horrible tales that played out.

Here in Baltimore, we love our Ravens and our stadium fits us just fine. We’re darned proud of it and for those of us who’ve been down the road to that other NFL field in Maryland; no one would ever trade M&T Bank Stadium for FedEx Field.

Monday, August 24, 2009

NFL Means "No Fun Legal" For Delaware Sports Betting

More Federal Encroachment

First, Right Minded Fellow is not a fan of big time gambling. A friendly poker game among some good pals, an office football pool, or those great NCAA tournament bracket competitions are all great fun, but what goes on in a commercial context and lotteries run by states are not all as innocent as they appear. It’s one thing to budget a little bit of money as part of an afternoon or evening’s entertainment and play a few ponies. If you’re clever, you might break even or even get a little boost in the bucket, but don’t count on it. Gambling is for recreation, period. Anyone who thinks of greater rewards or seriously thinks of getting big payoffs is deluding himself. If someone wants to budget a certain amount of money for lottery tickets and voluntarily pay more state taxes, that’s fine. But don’t let yourself feel you’re being charitable, that the five dollars you spend is five dollars more for education than if you didn’t play. It all goes through the state budget process, but targeted lotteries have helped build stadiums and that’s a good thing.

The evil is that the gaming industry and state lotteries do prey on stupid people. It’s one thing to play with the idea that the money you bet is money you’re spending to have a little fun and leave it at that. Playing Black Jack for instance can be a load of fun. If a person buys a lotto ticket twice a week, that’s cool. Sometimes it’s kind of nice to dream of what it would be like to have lots of money, but truth be told, you’re more likely to die from a comet falling out of the heavens and squashing you like a bug than winning the big lotto. Still, somebody’s going to win it, and it might as well be you? Right?

The sad thing is, go in any economically disadvantaged neighborhood, and you can almost tell what time of the day it is or if it’s drawing day for the big prizes by the lines at lottery terminals at liquor and convenience stores. In Central Maryland, the Maryland lottery has been especially effective marketing their product to working class and lower African American residents who spend far more than just a couple bucks when they’re in line. Many have a written out list of various boxing combinations and schemes to win the daily numbers games and the lure of the big lotto games and a few scratch offs also figure into the transaction. That states actively cater to creating a mindset that if one plays their lottery games, “You gotta play to win,” a one dollar lotto ticket could be their ticket out of poverty, their chance to escape from a meaningless low paying job, their chance to be rich enough to hobnob with celebrities and sports stars at all those fancy clubs. If you can dream it, a lottery victory will pay for it. It’s one thing if someone has some blow money to spend on such adventures, but when it’s at the expense of one’s children having clothes for school or lunch money, that’s sinful. Yes, folks there really is sinful behavior. Deal with it.

Given that is our philosophy on gambling, we believe it should be legal but we really need to do some serious soul searching about our states running lotteries that are so accessible and becoming more accessible and more varied all the time with no regard of how such marketing preys upon ignorant members of the population. Greedy state legislators see it as a way to have more money to spend, but even in the states with the richest lottery receipts, how much difference does the lottery make in terms of keeping state taxes low?

To think that it does is a myth. They’ll always push the budget as far as they can if the state requires a balanced budget, raise taxes at the last minute screaming EMERGENCY!!!

Delaware seeks to have parlor betting on sports events where folks going to the right destinations in the state could bet football games. The courts say “no” on the basis of a 1992 Federal ban on sports wagering. While we don’t encourage Delaware’s behavior, if that’s what the voters and their elected representatives want to do, they should be able to do so. Once again, the big Federal government is calling the shots on things that can be handled appropriately by states.

Delaware is a state with very low taxes on its citizens and businesses because they are geniuses at soaking up revenue from out of state. America’s second smallest state geographically, hardly a hop around the block in the northern area where I-95 travels through to Philadelphia or drivers veer off to cross the Delaware Memorial Bridge to hop on the New Jersey Turnpike. For starters, for the cost of 35.7 cents per mile, $4.00 toll in both directions, Delaware registers roar “cha-ching.” This little segment of I-95 does not connect anywhere in Delaware to anywhere else in Delaware, local streets do that; this is all money from out of state drivers. Add to that, much of the traffic goes on to the Delaware Memorial Bridge, “Ch-Ching!!!” Those entering Delaware pay $3.00, split 50/50 with New Jersey. Heading to Dover or to the Delaware Beaches, Delaware Highway 1 is the way to go. There are little nickel and dime tolls from I-95 down to Dover. Up in the narrow north, Delaware Park lures gamers and horse racing fans from the whole mid-Atlantic with Washington and New York within two hours drive. Dover Downs has more of the same half way down the state. The Delaware beaches serve Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington, DC. Delaware is very good at making money off of out-of-state visitors who come to the state to have fun. Add to that, two NASCAR Sprint cup races with around 150,000 fans twice a year, “Ch-Ching!!!” And Delaware doesn’t even charge its guests sales tax.

With four major cities in easy daytrip range, sports betting is another big “Cha-Ching.” From the MD line along the coast and US-13 on up to the northern squeeze, with lots of hotel space along the shore and in Dover, why not go to Delaware and go crazy on NFL Sundays?

Well, the NFL says no and the Federal courts agree.

For more on the specifics, here’s an A/P article from

Just because we personally think something’s not a good idea doesn’t mean we think the government should be poking their nose into it. It’s just one more way the federal Government keeps poking its nose where it doesn’t belong.

Obama's Health Care Message: The Science of Deception -- the Art of Lying

Who’s bearing “false witness” Mr. Obama, who? With each speech, each statement, each public meeting, the message keeps changing, the focus blurs, and what is is not what’s in the most tangible proposal the public can examine as what will be the government take over of the nation’s medical system, HR 3200. The people Obama lies about, regular citizens, seniors, Americans from all walks of life and political backgrounds are doing what many Democrats in Congress refuse to do, read the bill. These are people whose concerns are real, heart-felt, and carefully considered. “False witness” is accusing their concerns as being trumped up or somehow stirred up by insurance companies, the Republican party, talk radio, and Fox News. There’s enough debate among Democrats themselves that blamestorming to accuse everyone else is most dishonest.

The whole presentation, the methodology of selling the plan to the public is at heart dishonest. The intent is for the Federal government to take over the health care industry. What is being said, what’s in the speeches, the ads, the promotions, being carried around by spokespeople to convey on television is carefully researched and tested language their research shows the public might be willing to swallow and this strategy worked in the past, but this bill is so onerous, the public can’t be fooled any longer.

If the public isn’t buying, change the name. First, it was “universal” health care, then talk turned to cutting health care costs. Now it’s an all out assault on the private insurance industry, calling the strategy now, “Health Insurance Reform.”

While the Obama administration attempts to reassure Americans that, “If you like the care you have now, you can keep it.” Examining the details of HR 3200 tells a different story.

All explanations have been wrought with fuzzy language. One marketing ploy is that health care coverage will get better because there will be competing options, the current system with the government system. What they’re not telling is how the government’s plan is stacked and that the private option will be regulated out of existence.

The media is doing a shameful job of reporting the full extent of Barack Obama’s philosophy on health care including past statements, many as recent as the 2008 Presidential campaign that show a firm commitment to socialized medicine. The ultimate smoking gun is from a speech delivered to the Illinois AFL-CIO in 2003 where he carefully described how an incremental approach could accomplish the eventual goal of total government control.

The public is aware of some key issues that deserve attention which could all be considered “health insurance reform,” but make no mistake, what Barack Obama envisions and what is spelled out in HR 3200 is no such thing.

Perhaps the biggest insurance reform would be allowing the insurance industry to operate on a national not a state level whereby if a health consumer can find a better policy offered out-of-state, it will be available. Emphasis needs to be put on putting the policy holder or health care consumer more in charge with less emphasis on the employer. We need private market reform that will allow coverage for pre-existing conditions.

None of these concerns justify creating a huge Federal bureaucracy, extremely expensive to start up and extremely expensive producing another mandatory huge government outlay in every year’s budget.

The radical left approach suggests that millions of Americans are basically cheated out of health care by a greedy for profit economic system where employers opt not to provide coverage for their employees at the expense of the company’s bottom line and that the cost of individual coverage is out of reach for “working” people to afford. On closer examination and crunching the numbers, the real number of uninsured citizens falls off tremendously when eliminating those who clearly have the means to afford insurance and illegal immigrants are not counted toward the total uninsured.

What are left are employees who work for small companies and the self-employed, the private contractor, who don’t have the buying power of larger companies. This issue can be solved in several ways not requiring government take over. For instance, if insurance associations could be formed which small companies could join allowing small companies banded together to buy insurance en masse, that would create the kind of numbers, the buying power, of big business.

The beauty of the private system is that many ideas can be floated, attempted, and in an open market competitive system, the best system will prevail.

Government systems are slow to respond to the need for change and ultimately become a huge beast addressing all kinds of non-productive and in-effective political needs.

Do not fall for the latest ploy, this is not about insurance reform, it’s still about the Federal Government taking over health care and eliminating YOUR CHOICES.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

What Makes Obama Different -- Some Basic Socialist Essentials and More

We’ve heard a lot of terms used to describe Barack Obama’s political orientation: liberal, radical, socialist, opportunist, among others. Most of these are quite appropriate though “liberal” in the classic sense is way too mild a description of what kinds of beliefs and policies he believes.

Perhaps the most important distinction that is not being developed is that Barack Obama is an ideologue, a true believer in his cause where what is all important is his ability to use the power of the office of President of the United States to transform American society from the capitalistic, free enterprise system governed by a limited constitutional republic into a government of centralized authority where the Federal Government directs the priorities and scope of operation of the private sector and where the government determines what individual needs are justified. Once established, all Americans will be provided those needs and those who are deemed to have too much will face massive confiscation of their assets to be used to finance the greater role of government and to be redistributed to the public he deems deserving.

These perceptions are not that of a conservative writer. These come from Barack Obama’s own words, many of which were more revealing before he attempted to adapt his rhetoric to something easier to sell to get elected.

Barack Obama asserted he would rather be a one term President if that meant being able to accomplish his objectives. This viewpoint was reasserted by his spokesman, Robert Gibbs again this week. What is implicit in this position?

First, forget about the campaign rhetoric about being post-partisan willing to unite divided factions. His conduct so far has shown unwillingness to compromise and to write out Republican influence using House Speaker Pelosi as his enforcer. Where Obama has appeared to compromise has truly been more a matter of backing off realizing his position lacks support. He’ll back off and settle for something that gets his foot in the door on the issue. This technique is called incrementalism.

For the time being, pursuing “card check” the measure that would eliminate private union elections was not going to get enough support to be enacted. Obama backed off for now supporting rapid fire elections with little time to schedule and debate the union vote. The Administration also indicated it would not pursue the “fairness” doctrine where the FCC would determine the nature of political speech and force broadcasters to provide equal time for the opposite point of view. Imagine what that would do to a station that carries the big three: Mark Levin, Sean Hannity, and Rush Limbaugh. Instead, they are currently looking at changing station ownership rules that would impose friendlier station ownership that would accomplish the same goal. Nothing has changed the Obama agenda to silence their opponents over the public airwaves. Fortunately, there is no legal authority, at least not yet, to control satellite and cable broadcasts or Internet content.

Socialism traditionally has meant the government takes control of production, but that’s in the context of a strictly industrial based society. In post World War Two reality, the west has moved beyond industrialism to a more service and information based culture. With economies devastated by World War Two and vital resources in short supply, European nations flocked to socialism as an attempt to provide for the needs of society and allocate vital resources. What might have seen somewhat justified in the rubble of war, has turned out to be a huge burden for the European nations, most of whom are part of the European Union, whose governments are described as Democratic Socialists. Most industry is still in private hands, but the government regulates their operation broadly and more importantly, vital personal needs like medical care have been seized by the state who determines who gets what based on funding and what political considerations determine true need.

Essential to any socialist system is redistribution of wealth. Limits are placed through policy or taxation how much income can be achieved and how much property can be retained. Nothing tipped off Obama’s philosophy better than his exchange with Joe Wurzelbacher, “Joe the Plumber,” as he became known as a media figure. “Joe’s” questions took aim on Obama’s economic philosophy as well as his tax and economic policies. Candidate Obama’s responses were quite revealing none more so than when he specifically stated:

“And I think when you spread the wealth around, it's good for everybody.”

Do we need any more illustration of how high a priority this is than the appointment of a Pay Tsar, an administrative post not subject to congressional confirmation, to monitor executive compensation and to make recommendations about salaries and compensation provisions deemed out of line. While the government can be justified in limiting compensation for publicly traded companies that have accepted TARP or bailout funds to stay afloat, the administration announced that they would be examining all publicly traded companies. Why? On what legal basis do they have such authority? This is socialism on its face.

On the specifics of Barack Obama’s desire to seize control of private sector health care, how can he reconcile his attempts to market the current proposals to rush through passage before too much scrutiny can reveal not only what’s in the bill but what the true intention of its supporters ultimately want to accomplish?

In 2003, just six years ago, then State Senator Barack Obama addressed the Illinois AFL-CIO and envisioned the following:

“I happen to be a proponent of a single payer universal health care program. I see no reason why the United States of America, the wealthiest country in the history of the world, spending 14 percent of its Gross National Product on health care cannot provide basic health insurance to everybody. And that’s what Jim is talking about when he says everybody in, nobody out. A single payer health care plan, a universal health care plan. And that’s what I’d like to see. But as all of you know, we may not get there immediately. Because first we have to take back the White House, we have to take back the Senate, and we have to take back the House.”

Shall we call this our smoking gun? Clearly an incremental approach, take as much as they can steal right way then go back for the rest later is insinuated in this speech.

As citizens examine what Barack Obama says in carefully prepared teleprompter speeches, it is important to understand what went into creating those speeches. Much polling and marketing research goes into naming various concepts and deciding what pitches to use which should have the maximum selling value to lure in public sympathy. Given how events played out in 2008, how could anyone not welcome “change you can believe in.” What no one asked was what specific changes did Barack Obama have in mind. Knowing that the population essentially wants government to leave them alone and not pay more taxes, he stated in various different ways he favored middle class tax cuts insisting he would not raise working peoples’ taxes. However, the other side of it was classic socialism, stirring up class resentment demonizing successful people who had earned much wealth as if their wealth was somehow ill-begotten and owed back to society.

Learn Obama’s biography. Study what he said to smaller audiences that are most sympathetic to his radical roots – the labor unions, grievance issue groups, and community organizing groups.

Look at what is going on with the organization most commonly known as ACORN and Barack Obama’s association with their efforts in the past and today as they and SEIU, perhaps the nation’s most radical union that originated in Chicago and broke away from the AFL-CIO to pursue a more radical agenda.

Examine the long list of Tsars and other White House appointees and see what background they hail from. Aside from some more moderate and established Washington window dressing Obama found in appointing former Clinton administration figures and DC insiders, most come from highly radical activist backgrounds or are connected with the corrupt Chicago political machine.

The more carefully one understands what drives Barack Obama, it is clear his stated desire to “transform” America, this pledge was far more than part of articulating “change” but a clear indication he has a complete agenda to reshape the function of government in our day-to-day lives.

Realizing where the President recognizes immediate victory is not possible and he is willing to use his incremental strategy to get his policies slipping through the door with the threat of the ever-possible “Trojan Horse” what is publicized to accomplish a reasonably popular objective but in fact aims toward far more radical objectives, it is dangerous to support ANY Obama administration initiative for what looks harmless in isolation could be a building block to something far more dangerous and sinister.

On the health care issue, nothing better stated Barack Obama’s true philosophy than his remarks quoted above from 2003. Since his inauguration last January, we’ve seen him feed various different positions attempting to find the right marketing ploy the public will embrace. From starting with containing health care costs which early research putting a price tag on the health care proposal by the Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO’s) over a trillion dollars, then going through other stated objectives to now it’s supposedly “insurance reform” while his henchmen like Henry Waxman attempts to demonize the health insurance industry, the pattern of deception cannot be more obvious.

While the Democrats and mainstream media paint Rush Limbaugh as a vicious demagogue, an extreme right wing hate merchant, and the shadow leader of the Republican Party, perhaps his statement that caused such a stir in the media last winter should become every American’s rallying cry. When Rush Limbaugh didn’t shy away from boldly asserting he wants Obama to fail, explaining specifically he wants his policies to fail, how can we not see just how dead on target his message is. We absolutely cannot afford to have any major Obama policy initiatives to succeed.

The task of undoing the harm could be a challenge the likes of which the United States has never come close to having been forced to undertake before.

We must be prepared. We must speak out against Barack Obama at every turn, clearly, succinctly, with a clear understanding of the facts and issues that drive our criticism. We cannot be intimidated by the attempts to discredit our vision as being motivated by factors we know they are not. We are not racists. We do care about the misfortunate in our society. We do want to fix problems in medicine, education, and the environment. We do not accept a sweeping conversion to socialism to accomplish it.

That’s the crux of the debate. It’s time to act.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

More Relections on Obama's Religious Rhetoric; Shades of Demonic Red

How filthy and politically calculating we find Barack Obama’s attempt to manipulate religion and faith in to the health care debate. By virtue of winning the 2008 Presidential election, President Obama is entrusted certain duties as prescribed by the Constitution of the United States. The scope of his authority is carefully constructed within the Constitution and in taking the Presidential oath, he made his sacred pledge, "I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."

What is set forth in the constitution, nothing more, gives the President his authority, and while we have had many Presidents whose faith guided their vision and helped direct their action including Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, and George W. Bush, none of these figures ever used their faith as a wedge to define citizens on opposing sides of a political issue as being spiritually noble for supporting and issue and sinful and dishonest for opposing an issue.

On what moral authority does the President derive any credibility attempting to cast the health care debate according to passages of scripture he bends and distorts to make them sound like supporting arguments of his position?

Examine Barack Obama’s religious upbringing, his choices as an adult, and how he operates now and it’s clear there is no clear spiritual center in his thinking. Between his father who was originally Muslim but turned atheist to his mother who could best be described as spiritually confused, Obama was never fully integrated into a specific religion nor did he seek to embrace any religion or attempt to define his beliefs from an individualist stance until he realized to achieve his ambitions it would be necessary to do so. However, what is undeniable that from his college days forward, he deeply involved with Marxists and others espousing various radical and socialist beliefs all which were clearly secular. One must never forget communism defines religion as the opiate of the people and whether Obama specifically embraced that concept, it was at the heart of the values system of those from whom his values were influenced.

What the American people need to understand is that some of the most revealing statements about Obama’s attitude toward his religious involvement come not from opinions and reportage from conservatives but from Obama’s own words including his book, The Audacity of Hope. He stated that Reverend Jeremiah Wright, the outspoken anti-Semite, anti-White, anti-American radical church leader, brought him to Jesus, married him, and baptized his children. Given the wealth of Obama’s radical influences and the vicious rhetoric spewing from Wright’s Trinity Church, that Obama did not know what was going on during his twenty year association simply doesn’t ring true.

Clearly, when all the information is assembled mostly framed by Obama’s own words, his involvement with Wright’s church was a careful, calculated move to help develop his political credentials within the Chicago activist black community. How much of Wright’s black liberation theology Barack Obama assimilated into his own views is hard to evaluate.

Add it all up, any claims Obama makes to claim the kind of Christian status or to embrace the kind of Christian values most American Christians embrace simply don’t add up and have no credibility.

The truth is that there really was no surprise at all when videos of Wright’s vicious outbursts surfaced in the media. There’s no way Barack Obama could not have known what was going on. It translates into a classic “gotcha” moment.

Unlike former Presidents as vastly different as Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush, and Jimmy Carter, the Christian message is not a source of comfort, guidance, and inspiration as it was in vastly different contexts for each of these former Presidents. For Barack Obama, Christianity is yet another political tactic, a means to an end, a vehicle to shape his rhetoric and influence to manipulate public perception to the extent that they can be fooled by his salesmanship.

Consider this, when campaigning in the primary election in Pennsylvania, Obama speaking at a San Francisco fund raiser spoke of Pennsylvanians “who clung to guns and religion” clearly attempting to stereotype the small town and rural conservative population as intellectually inferior and that their religious faith was but one attribute showing their lack of sophistication. That played great with the radical far-left San Francisco audience pandering quite effectively to their prejudices against heartland America.

Now, a little over a year later, Obama is using biblical language to create what would seem to be in his mind a moral imperative to support the Government seizure of private health care and to viciously demonize his opponents “bearing false” witness.

Can anything be a more conspicuous attempt at vile demagoguery?

Take Obama’s most recent tactics to defend his health care plan and his attempts to discredit opponents to his policies along with other voices within his administration, radical Democrats on Capitol Hill, and his sympathetic media shills as an attack on ordinary citizens expressing their questions, concerns, and grievances not only are they showing an elitist, we’re better than you are so you don’t count kind of attitude but the way it undermines ordinary citizens by attacking their morality, impugning their affiliation with certain organizations seen as enemies to the left amounts to the kind of brutal oppression known as McCarthyism as the Cold War got hotter and more threatening during the Truman presidency after World War II.

What Obama fails to realize, he can trot all the religious figures he likes out as pitchmen for his policies, that he has openly attacked his opponents invoking divine sanction can only unite those who are truly faithful who will see their convictions as being toyed with for cynical political gain. Obama’s history in dealing with matters of faith and his association with Reverend Wright never finding an alternative since splitting from his old Chicago church when the political heat got too hot can’t be brushed under the rug. The middle and working class citizens and senior citizens who started out breaking away from Obama with the Tax Day “Tea Party” protests and now find the prospects of the radical transformation of American society injecting the government into every aspect of health care delivery will reject Obama’s shallow religiosity. By attacking them on false assertions for who he perceives them to be, his opponents will only become more steadfast in their opposition and will find more conviction in their understanding just how wicked and threatening the Obama administration is.

We must all proudly assert who we are, speak up for the preservation of the American system that has served us so well giving us a rich standard of living where freedom and opportunity give every person the chance to accomplish great things. In Obama-Nation, all citizens are simply rank-in-file, followers in the movement, servile masses who need to be led and provided for by the ever expanding state.

Stand up and fight. Pray for wisdom and that the American people will prevail against the vicious onslaught of an oppressive secular society.

Friday, August 21, 2009

MLB: Major Shakeup in Races Changes Stretch Drive Prospects

The 2009 Baseball Pennant Race: Seven Weekends to Go

We believe we see the American League Playoffs setup. The New York Yankees will have home field advantage as the team with the best record. The Los Angeles Angels will host the other first round playoffs. Because rules prohibit Wild Cards from playing the champ of their division, Boston will travel to Anaheim. The Detroit Tigers will be the first team to step up to bat in post season play in the new Yankees stadium.

Two races are still active in the American League, the Central Division and the Wild Card. While Detroit appears to have the upper hand over Chicago, the Tigers have more proven consistent starting pitching, solid fielding, and probably just enough offense to get them to round one. The addition of Aubrey Huff could pay huge dividends. Huff gives them an instant RBI threat they badly needed, but though he might be seen as a 1B/DH type, he can also fill in at third base and left field. Against right handed starting pitching, Manager Jim Leyland will surely find a spot for Huff in the middle of the lineup and what a great bonus it is to have an everyday quality player who can also help some of the vets get needed days off down the stretch. Huff is also darned hungry for his first shot for postseason. Chicago can play brilliant baseball at times, but perhaps what happened with Mark Buehrle’s rendezvous with baseball history serves as a metaphor for the team’s performance this year. Nothing tops perfection, and Buehrle did pitch a perfect game. Not only that, he went deep into his next start holding the opponent hitless. Stuff happened, and he wound up losing the subsequent start. The White Sox could have an “X” factor with Jake Peavy. In what was one of the most unusual player moves, the team traded for the former San Diego Padres stopper while on the disabled list knowing he would not be ready for business for at least a couple weeks after completing the trade. Peavy is still on the disabled list making rehab starts for AAA Charlotte, but the Chicago Sun Times reports rehab will take longer than expected with seven weeks to go, how many starts can they project Peavy could make and will he be in top form able to hold the opponent down for six full innings? Acquiring Alex Rios with 64 RBI’s so far this year provides some outfield depth and more kick in the batting order. For pennant race drama, nothing could work out better than what lies ahead for the Chicago/Detroit matchup. Chicago hosts Detroit the next to last weekend of the season then travels to finish against Detroit the last weekend setting up the possibility the race will be decided in a head-to-head match up that final weekend. It doesn’t get better than that!!!

The Wild Card race looks like it’s between the Boston Red Sox and the Texas Rangers. While it looked to be the Red Sox being in the driver’s seat, Texas pulled even this week but now stand one game back. Boston made numerous mid-summer moves to sure up their lineup but having major starters injured and the John Smoltz experiment turning into a horrible failure leaves what was their perceived strength now their big question mark. Vic Martinez adds some of that ol’ deep depth on offense behind the plate, at first base, and at DH. Meanwhile, the Rangers are a young team still growing finding their potential. Experience favors the Red Sox.

This weekend matches up the Red Sox and Yankees at Fenway Park. The Red Sox take the series, they will surely look like a serious playoff rival. They’ll play in New York again the next to last weekend. While the Yankees might have too many things under control to lose the division, the Sox can establish credibility and could work toward another Boston/New York showdown in the ACLS if everything falls their way.

The Tampa Bay Rays face both the Yankees and Red Sox. If they got hot and go on a hot streak, they could throw themselves into the Wild Card race or upset the balance at the top of the division. They’re four games behind the Sox in the Wild Card. Keep an eye on them. The can deliver real pain.

If there’s any thing left to say about the American League races, the Minnesota Twins? Nah! Well, if they go on a September tear which they are capable of doing….Most likely by the end of September the Twins will barely be a rumor in the Twin Cities. They’ll be too busy following the Brett Favre drama.

The late August summary of the National League sure looks different from early in the month. The Phillies and Dodgers were running away with the East and West with a robust Wild Card and Central race. The Philadelphia Phillies still look dominant with 6.5 game lead in the East, but what happened to the Dodgers who managed to hold down their lead without missing a step during the Manny Ramirez suspension early in the year. Now Dodger Blue looks like they could blow it with just a 3.5 game lead over the surging Colorado Rockies one of the hottest teams since the All-Star break. Meanwhile, the widest division lead baseball is now in the Central with the St. Louis Cardinals solidifying their fortunes with helpful additions to the Albert Pujois machine.

Assuming the Phillies, Cardinals, and Dodgers prevail, the Dodgers still have the best overall record but the other two division leaders are very close so it’s way too soon to speculate on home field possibilities. The big question for the National League is just how strong Colorado is. They’re two games ahead of the San Francisco Giants who’ve been the most consistent Wild Card possibility for most of the season. Atlanta and Florida are four games behind the Rockies, and the Cubs six games back. Perhaps then what happens in the West determines both the division and the Wild Card. So let’s look at Colorado and see what they face before the final weekend.

Go no further than this weekend. Colorado plays San Francisco at home. Dominating the Giants helps nail down their Wild Card lead. The Dodgers come to town next before they head for San Francisco next weekend. In the next three series, the Rockies have the power to seriously define their power in the 2009 Pennant Race. They travel to San Francisco for three games on September 14th and then face a possible playoff preview the next to last weekend when they host the St. Louis Cardinals. For the ultimate measure of drama for the West and Wild Card race, they’ll finish against the Dodgers to finish the year. Once again, here’s an active race that could be decided rival against rival the last weekend with a real possibility the winner gets the division, the loser will be the Wild Card.

The flip side of the story is how could the Dodgers have fallen to be so close to the Rockies? Compare their records since the All-Star break: the Dodgers are a mediocre 16-17 while the Rockies shine at 20-12. Beyond Chad Billingsley, who’s the stud starting pitcher the Dodgers can depend on down the stretch? Right fielder Andre Ethier leads the offense with 25 homers and 83 RBI’s followed by Matt Kemp and Casey Blake before getting to Manny Ramirez who has their 4th best slugging stats reduced by his time on suspension. One would perceive the Dodgers have plateaued and could be waiting to be had at this point. While they face home and away series against key rivals Colorado and San Francisco, the rest of their competition consists largely of Arizona, San Diego, Pittsburgh, and Washington, teams they should be able to dust off en route to October play.

The prospects would show the Dodgers and Rockies in the post season with the top spot to be determined. San Francisco must overcome one of those teams to get into the picture. Who would that be?

Atlanta and Florida are four games back in the Wild Card sweepstakes. Either team is capable of a dramatic surge. It’s still a legitimate race.

As always, nothing attracts more attention than a Boston/New York showdown which will have Fenway Park rumbling this weekend. We’ll see what happens and have something to talk about Monday morning.

Sprint Cup 2009, Race 24: Saturday Night Bristol Madness

Just a few miles south of the far western tip of Virginia off i-81.

And then there were three….

Yes, three races remain before the field for the 2009 Chase for the Championship will be locked in after Richmond’s competition. No contest has the potential to scramble the competition more than the 500 lap mad dash around the high banked, half mile short track at Bristol, Tennessee Saturday night. It seems ironic, then, that some writers for attempt to minimize the significance of this race under the banner of “Fireworks or Fizzle.” We assure our readers that before the fireworks are launched when the winner’s car enters victory lane, some hopes will have fizzled tremendously.

With 43 cars compressed on such a short distance which boosts speeds with carefully engineered banking, quickly the field gets jumbled and leaders have to contend with slower lap traffic. Additionally, did anyone consider this is the first short track race with the double file restart? Oh, won’t that be fun!!!

Smart money suggests the ultimate shootout for the championship is shaping up as a contest between Jimmie Johnson and Tony Stewart, but their dominance during this run of the season takes a big hit when points are reassigned after Richmond. We’ll take as a given that they’ll be atop the standings the moment the checkered flag drops in Richmond, but then what?

That’s exactly why Saturday night at Bristol is so important. Plenty of drivers are on the edge of hanging on to the top twelve while three drivers are knocking on the door trying to get in. The extremes run from Juan Montoya in 7th, 108 points above 13th to David Reutimann in 16th, 118 points below 12th place. Juan Montoya is not disaster proof. Meanwhile, it might be tougher for Reutimann to rise up since he has three drivers ahead of him also outside looking in, but winning solves a lot of deficiencies.

Here’s the contest: Driver, driver’s position, points, and margin

Juan Montoya, 7th, 2887, 108 pts in the chase
Kasey Kahne, 8th, 2884, 105 pts in the chase
Ryan Newman, 9th, 2845, 66 pts in the chase
Greg Biffle, 10th, 2821, 42 points in the chase
Matt Kenseth, 11th, 2811, 32 points in the chase
Mark Martin, 12th, 2791, 12 points in the chase

Brain Vickers, 13th, 2779, 12 points out
Clint Bowyer, 14th, 2633, 58 points out
Kyle Busch, 15th, 2721, 70 points out
David Reutimann, 16th, 2673, 118 points out

The good news is that Kyle Busch has a very tough task ahead of him to make the chase, but here’s a driver who could bang out a couple wins and a top five and need just a little bit of slippage from Martin, Vickers, and Bowyer.

The bad news is Mark Martin in his glorious comeback season with four wins, the most of any driver, could easily be knocked out of the honor of running for the championship. Likewise, the “Blue Oval” boys who want to see Fords in the Chase’s future have to see that Greg Biffle and Matt Kenseth cannot give ground if they are to secure their ride for the trophy in Homestead. Likewise, after a rough start, Ryan Newman’s team appeared to be growing into top competitive form but in the summer stretch, they’ve fallen off tremendously.

In recent history, Kyle Busch and Carl Edwards are the big winners with Busch wining two out of three of the last spring events, but Carl Edwards has won back to back August races. Kurt Busch won four races between 2003 and 2006. Tony Stewart has one victory, but back in 2001. The track also has been good to Matt Kenseth with August wins in 2005 and 2006. Jeff Gordon has multiple wins – his last in 2002. Mark Martin is a two time winner, 1993 and 1998. Jimmie Johnson has never won at Bristol.

Also studying recent history, Roush Ford drivers failed miserably in last March, with Carl Edwards in 15th being the highest finish. Conversely, the team did well one year ago. Brian Vickers, the closest driver to knocking into the chase has never finished in the top ten in ten attempts at Bristol.

Forty seven drivers are currently listed as entered to compete in the Sharpie 500. Included in the field are the usual “start and park” entries who will sure have to head for the exits in a hurry given how fast the field intermixes with lap traffic in the tiny Tennessee bull ring for auto sports. Somehow, the “start and park” scenario seems especially onerous at a track like Bristol where noncompetitive rides create a greater distraction in such a crowded field. Sadly, looking at the “go or go home” slate, entries 36th or lower in owner points, few rides have anything at stake to prove even factoring those who might be shooting for a spot in the top 35. Scott Speed is racing for rookie of the year but trails Joey Logano by a huge margin. That team is also shooting for the owner’s points berth. No other team looks like a true threat to break into the 35 secured spots. Of this field, Terry Labonte has a past champion’s provisional available to make the field racing the 08 Toyota for owner John Carter. Scott Wimmer races a #4 Chevy for Jerry McClure. Aric Almirola joins the Finch team’s tag team in the #09 Dodge. The balance of the field looks like the drivers who make it will be all ones who will park it.

Perhaps we could call the Bristol spectacle “Driver Darwinism” as the species best prone to adaption that can evolve while avoiding predators will be still standing as only the strong survive in Thunder Valley. Given with what ease a good ride can be trashed, we’re not going to offer an opinion on a favorite to win. We can offer who we’re cheering for. First and foremost, it would be horrible for Mark Martin not to make the Chase, so we’ll cheer for Mark. We also like Fords so we hope Greg Biffle and Matt Kenseth excel.

Let the fun begin.

This Just In... God Endorses Obama Plan for Government to Seize Health Care. The Lord also wants opponents punished.


"I need you to knock on doors, talk to neighbors, spread the facts and speak the truth,"

"These are all fabrications that have been put out there in order to discourage people from meeting what I consider to be a core ethical and moral obligation: that is, that we look out for one another; that is, I am my brother's keeper, I am my sister's keeper. And in the wealthiest nation in the world right now we are neglecting to live up to that call."

"There are some folks out there who are, frankly, bearing false witness."

The quotes above are from President Obama’s “teleconference” to hundreds of religious leaders on Thursday, August 20. Looking to bolster support for his failing attempts to seize government control over the nation’s health care plan, Obama attempted to convert his political stance into a moral imperative suggesting that not supporting his policy is immoral and that criticizing it is sinful. How clear can the insinuations be when he speaks of an “ethical and moral obligation” and then to suggest that somehow those who don’t interpret the thousand plus page measure are “bearing false witness” is staking out new territory in this debate that is not just inflammatory, it’s pure demagoguery of the worst kind.

On what moral authority does Barack Obama stand? He joined Reverend Jeremiah Wright’s infamous Trinity United Church of Christ in his attempt to establish his roots as an African American given his background, a world from which he was totally divorced. In his ambitious scheme of things, joining this church would give him an aura of authenticity given his Kenyan father and white mother from Kansas, Barack Obama had no connection with the history of African Americans whose ancestors were rounded up like animals in their native land, sold as slaves, and treated as second class citizens long after slavery was abolished. Having no lineage to this history, the Marxist educated and influenced bi-racial ambition consumed opportunist found the Chicago church setting as the proper place to establish a legitimate identity. Make no mistake, however, as was so clearly revealed by Jeremiah Wright’s rhetoric of hatred and racism best punctuated by his screaming, “God damn America” this church is a far cry from the Black church in the mold of Martin Luther King’s Ebenezer Baptist Church. The Jeremiah Wright brand of religion is called “Liberation Theology,” a radical doctrine originating in Latin America making the Marxist doctrine of Fidel Castro and Che Guevara more accessible to the traditionally Catholic population. In the context of urban Chicago, Liberation theology is a hybrid including some of the radical sentiments of 60’s style radicalism, a values system Obama influences like Richard Ayers were key leaders of spreading. What could be more perfect for a person nurtured by professed Marxists? Obama alluded to this influence in his Dreams of My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance. He wrote:

“To avoid being mistaken for a sellout, I chose my friends carefully. The more politically active black students. The foreign students. The Chicanos. The Marxist Professors and the structural feminists and punk-rock performance poets. We smoked cigarettes and wore leather jackets. At night, in the dorms, we discussed neocolonialism, Franz Fanon, Eurocentrism, and patriarchy. When we ground out our cigarettes in the hallway carpet or set our stereos so loud that the walls began to shake, we were resisting bourgeois society's stifling constraints. We weren't indifferent or careless or insecure. We were alienated.”

Obama’s earliest influence from Hawaii, of course, was the Black Marxist poet, Frank Marshall Davis, a writer who fanned the fires of racial conflict and class warfare.

Only through understanding what’s in Obama’s background can we understand where his appeal to religious leaders is coming from. It’s not from any kind of moral reflection or religious upbringing. Has anybody noticed Obama’s reluctance to establish a new church since after making excuses for Reverend Wright initially severing the relationship when the political heat got too hot leaving the President with no established church?

The obvious is clear. Barack Obama is weaving religious rhetoric into the debate in attempts to demonize his opponents and to provide his supporters a self-righteous sense of moral superiority to their opponents where in their minds it is no longer disagreement over a hotly contested political issue that many citizens do not embrace for plenty of carefully thought through reasons. Government controlled health care is a moral mandate and those who oppose it are immoral. Plain and simple, that’s the message Barack Obama wanted to cement in the minds of those religious figures who’d defend him.

What can be more perverse than a notion that comes from the furthest left of the secular humanist point of view being now cloaked in religious values?

Through out the nation, ordinary citizens from all backgrounds but significantly senior citizens have gone public with their concerns at town hall forums who’ve examined health care proposals and have serious concerns. How quickly Team Obama with agents like Nancy Pelosi have quickly struck to demonize them and attempt to render their arguments illegitimate accusing them as being rounded up by the Republican Party leadership, Insurance and drug companies, right-wing talk show hosts, and the Fox News network. While truth be told, many government run health care opponents might have gotten some of their information from Fox News or talk radio for their initial information, that’s largely because other news sources have so openly embraced and advocated the Obama plan in some cases acting as a virtual PR extension of the administration as witnessed by the cozy relationship between the White House and Jeffrey Immelt, CEO of General Electric, parent company of NBC news and MSNBC. Further, many members of the media such as Lynn Douglas, administration media lead on health care “reform” populate positions in the administration.

While they accuse Republicans and conservatives of manufacturing opposition, interviews of opponents clearly reveal they are folks with little or no background in any political issues. They aren’t members of anything and many are registered as independents neither Democrat nor Republican. What is true, however, strong organizational support ensures that Obama supporters are present at these meetings often busing in activists from miles away with marching instructions that go beyond simply trying to voice support of the President’s plans. Supported by SEIU and ACORN factions, they are directed to openly confront and attempt to intimidate ordinary citizens with no experience of participating in the political process and having no established leadership to help coordinate their efforts.

With remarks of “swastika waving” opponents from Nancy Pelosi and Barney Frank’s insulting comments telling an opponent he’d rather argue with a “dining room” table, the proponents of government health care with all the restrictions and takeaways it embraces, have decided not to attempt to counter arguments directed against them. They will not engage in any kind of comparative analysis designed to assert their program more effective. They cannot document how their program meets some of the most important originally stated goals such as reducing health care costs. Instead, they are resorting to almost every form of logical fallacy, mass distortions, false assertions, and character assassinations to further their conquest of basic economic and personal freedoms American citizens currently have preserving their health and working with their doctors. Perhaps Obama and his supporters have no other recourse as their policies simply do not stand up under scrutiny.

Nevertheless, as of yesterday, opponents to government takeover of health care are sinners. They’ve already been characterized as racists since the system they defend is argued to punish largely African-American and Hispanic populations since many of them currently do not have health insurance due to the nature of their employment or economic situation. Not getting notice, of course, is the notion that illegal aliens (undocumented workers – as the left defines them) should be covered by government health care. For these economic considerations, therefore, they argue the system is racist and thus those enjoying the benefits of the current system are taking advantage of ill-begotten gains as if they enjoy their quality health care on the backs of those who don’t have healthcare. What they don’t concede is the government regulations that define how private insurance operates have as much to do any other factor. One of the most common assertions the elite left makes of health care opponents is the accusation of racism. That somehow because the health care policy issue would represent a huge victory and demonstrate the leadership of a black president, such a prospect is totally unacceptable to people they are quick to brand as racist once again using dirty logic labeling critics with false insinuations to dismiss the substance of their arguments. We’ve heard often in the last couple weeks, Obama supporters claiming that “socialist” is the new code word used when Obama opponents clearly mean to say “nigger.” In the elitist mind, that’s what it’s all about. They refuse to take their critics at their word. They know what’s in their opponent’s hearts more than their opponents do. How dare they assert that our assertions about what we know as true implicit and explicit in Obama’s policies are grounded in racial prejudice. This issue was fought vigorously when championed by Hilary Clinton, a white woman, in 1993. Does anybody who questions the government seizure of health care feel they’d react any differently had John Edwards, John McCain, Hilary Clinton, or anyone else offered up such a disaster? If anything critics are perhaps a little more careful how they formulate their criticisms for fear of how they might be labeled.

Once again, this is the left’s typical strategy of attempting to take focus off the issue and put it on their perceived motives of their adversaries. If they can’t deal with the subject, change it.

They refuse to look at the health care difficulties issue by issue and try to work on solving such issues individually, but instead to throw out the entire system and replace it with the kind of system that is failing millions in Canada and Great Britain. Given the number of citizens, for instance, who are uninsured, certainly plenty of options are available to provide this population with adequate coverage which would probably be better than what the whole society has in store should Obama medicine be thrust upon America.

Adding insult to injury, on the same day Barack Obama attempted to stuff the issue with religious implications, he also accused the Republican party of having had a preconceived plan to block all health care proposals regardless of their content for simple political terms looking to attempt to recreate their victory in 1994 in the wake of Hilary care.

The whole health care debate took a very ugly and dangerous turn yesterday with Barack Obama’s attempt to invoke religious imperatives into the debate. When considering Obama’s attempt to put religion to work to support his health care scheme we must consider it against the backdrop of Barack Obama’s religious credentials and that he and the recent tradition of the Democratic party has systematically attempted to marginalize traditional religious values and through their judicial appointments attempted to force any kind of religious expression out of all public settings be it banning the display of the Ten Commandments in public buildings or creating the kind of anti-religion zealotry that would punish student valedictorians who might speak of their faith in graduation addresses. How often have they taken sincere moral arguments and attempted to marginalize them as the ranting and raving of the most extreme factions of the Fundamentalist Religious Right?

American citizens who find government controlled health care unacceptable and who seek to preserve their freedom to work with their health care providers to chart the best health care options and guidance on life and death decisions must view yesterday’s actions as pouring fuel on the controversy in a very dangerous way. Responsible Americans who are exercising their fundamental rights to address their elected officials and express their concerns must be respected. Surely, if one were to interview government health care opponents on issues of their faith, most would be revealed to be very morally upstanding people who being portrayed as the President has cast them and to demand of them support as a moral requirement presents some of the most treacherous political strategy in recent American history revealing just how dangerous, hateful, corrupt, and vicious Barack Obama truly is.