Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009 Horse's Ass Awards

We can't name them all because there were so many. This list is in no particular order aside from by the gravitas of the position alone, Barack Obama must be #1. We find folks from show biz, politics, the media, and sports all of whom have helped cheapen our culture in significant ways in 2009. We hope they will just go away and become obscure in 2010, but.....

Barack Obama, former radical community organizer, law professor, President of the United States
Right Minded Fellow can surely say I told you so. Barack Obama’s lethal combination of faith in far left radical ideology, an astonishing lack of experience, being groomed in governing by the corrupt Chicago machine, and a hearty dose of extreme self-infatuation contribute to make Obama perhaps the most dangerous chief executive ever to reside in the White House. His desire to “transform” America amounts to essentially a pledge to grow government’s involvement in the private sector and each citizen’s life to an extent only known in totalitarian societies. We’ve seen a series of embarrassing blunders as the notorious background of some of his radical advisors became known. Other key figures most notably Attorney General Eric Holder and Homeland Security Chief, Janet Napolitano have signaled a shift in focus away from an all-out war on terror to a nuanced stance of appeasement. When one considers their initial phobia against using terms like “terrorism” and “terrorist” as witnessed by Napolitano calling a terrorist attack a “man caused disaster” and then substantial actions like the closing of the Guantanamo Bay Detention center and seeking to try the worst of the terrorists in civilian court, the reality of 9/11 escapes Obama’s grasp. As the real Barack Obama becomes known to the American people who are quickly seeing through his shallow façade, the public will come to terms with the fact that we are currently governed by a corrupt, incompetent left wing extremist who is perhaps the worst President in American history making Jimmy Carter look capable and equaling Richard Nixon for inability to deal with critics.

Let’s not forget about Obama’s irresponsible racist comments about how the Cambridge police behaved arresting one of his Harvard cronies leading to the so-called beer summit.

Harry Reid, Senator, Nevada
No one would ever accuse the aged, constipated looking, senate majority leader of being personable, but we have more substantial accusations. Senator Reid is one of the most thoroughly corrupt partisans to infect Capitol Hill leadership in a long time. His efforts to craft a government takeover of health care with such provisions as the buyouts for Louisiana and Nebraska to gain fence straddling senators’ votes is the tip of the iceberg of a thoroughly gutless immoral leader who will almost certainly lose his job when he stands for reelection next November.

Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House, Democratic Representative, San Francisco, CA
Show some class and don’t call Nancy Pelosi a god-damned bitch. We should show more respect for female dogs who are loving creatures who bring joy and comfort to the human condition. When it comes to character, Pelosi occupies a spatial plane lower than snake excrement. For calling the CIA liars, for her blindly partisan leadership, and for her overall dishonesty and lack of any sign of human character, she stands out as one of the most hateful figures of 2009 and the entire decade. Perhaps she’s about all one could expect from San Francisco politics.

Sarah Palin, former Republican Vice Presidential Candidate & resigned Governor of Alaska
Her fifteen minutes of fame ran out a long time ago, but we can’t get rid of her. Now having published her own book, Going Rogue, Palin has invaded the media with her “aw shucks, by golly gotcha” superficial demeanor offering simplistic pseudo-conservative platitudes appealing to the most anti-intellectual impulses of her audience. Sarah Palin should use her undeserved fame to land a spot as a small market drive time talk show host or maybe find a late afternoon television spot with a pseudo-conservative version of “Oprah.” It’s hard to take someone with such limited experience who’d quit the one source of experience she has, the governorship of Alaska, seriously. We do regret some of the shameful smears that have been thrown at her by left wing idiots like David Letterman. However, Sarah Palin was not ready for prime time in the 2008 elections and has shown no evidence of intellectual growth since, by golly.

Glenn Beck, Fox News celebrity
Glenn Beck’s presentation makes this writer shiver as one who generally fashions himself as a conservative advocate. Glenn Beck’s presentation is a disgraceful mess between his insane emotional outburst from mindless tirades to breaking into tears over some sentimental “where have the good times gone” sob stories. His critique of the left and the status quo over reaches making it sound like environmentalism and social justice are in and of themselves bad principles not the way they are carried out by the left wing. What makes Beck especially dangerous is that he makes a convenient whipping boy for the left who will quickly characterized mature and reasonable conservative values as sounding like the nonsense Glen Beck spews. His attempts to argue there is little difference between Democrats and Republicans is also grossly irresponsible. One cannot imagine “cap and trade” or socialized medicine coming from Republican leadership. That alone makes the two sides light years apart and for Beck not to recognize that shows the kind of flaming asshole he is.

Jeremy Mayfield, former NASCAR driver
Jeremy Mayfield flunked a drug test testing positive for meth, but he simply won’t go away quietly suggesting NASCAR has engaged in some big time conspiracy to push him out of the sport. His characterizations of how he has been treated and what goes on behind the scenes in NASCAR reflect a paranoid and delusional character. His days in a race car are over. He wouldn’t qualify for a job as a cab driver in Tijuana.

Mark Sanford, Governor: South Carolina
The story was he was hiking on the Appalachian Trail in “do not disturb” mode, but in fact he was getting frisky with his mistress in Argentina. After initial denial and fumbling the truth came out and that the governor was traveling on the people’s time and that his personal life was costing the taxpayers’ money, it was time to go. He has steadfastly refused to resign creating a furor among South Carolina Republicans.

Jeffrey Immelt, GE President and CEO
When Jeffrey Immelt became head honcho of General Electric after Jack Welsh’s retirement in 2000, it was one of the most successful and respected companies in the world. Since that time, he has run the company into the ground to where its once valuable stock is practically of junk bond status now. Among his misdeeds, hiring left-wing ideologue, Jeff Zucker, to head its broadcasting division, NBC whose ratings have plummeted and its news coverage has drifted to the extreme far left often to embarrassing extremes. General Electric has illegally sold technology to Iran. Further, Immelt is an Obama insider seeking great corporate privilege for supporting Obama’s radical environmental policies.

Kanye West, rap “singer”
We could write a book about this character’s misdeeds but we need only to focus on one. Taylor Swift was giving her acceptance speech for her VMA award. West took the microphone and complained that the award should have gone to Beyonce leaving Ms. Swift obscenely embarrassed though brushed off the abuse with class.

Alan Grayson, Democratic Congressman, Florida
Giving a presentation with supporting printed poster board material, Grayson announced that Republicans “want you to die” and that their answer to health care is that people should “die quickly.” He also suggested that the current health care crisis was akin to the holocaust as well as launching numerous tirades against Republicans, his critics, and the Fox News Network. For such boorish and uncivil behavior one would expect censure, but in today’s world, he has been crowned an outspoken darling by the radical left and some of its supporters in the media.

Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Harvard Professor
Gates created an uproar when questioned by a well-respected police officer, Sgt. James Crowley, who was investigating what appeared to be a break-in at his residence. Rather than cooperating with the officer and diffusing an obvious misunderstanding, Gates turned on the officer, initiated a shouting match, while the officer maintained his professional demeanor accusing the officer of among other things, racial profiling. Unable to control his outbursts and not obeying the requests from the officer led to Gates arrest. Gates continued to insist that the police were racist when Crowley was noted for his work on dealing with effective race relations. The episode became highly inflammatory when President Barack Obama stated he didn’t know the facts but that the Cambridge Police acted “foolishly.”

NFL 2009: Week 17 -- The Grande Finale

The 2009 NFL season concludes this weekend with several key playoff races still at stake and seedings to be determined. An atmosphere of controversy covers the field as some possible scenarios involving teams not playing at full strength add an element of intrigue as the final standings are determined.

The decision of the Indianapolis Colts to essentially throw their game against the New York Jets and not to even attempt to compete for an undefeated season created a buzz through out the world of football fans. Were the Colts playing to win, the Jets would not have vaulted into the playoff picture and Denver would be on a win, you’re in scenario after losing to Philadelphia. Cincinnati faces the New York Jets in the nationally televised 8:00 pm game and who the Bengals face in the first round of the playoffs could depend on whether or not they win this game. Speculation is they would seek to avoid Baltimore if Baltimore wins its game against Oakland securing a wildcard berth.

Much interest will be focused on Dallas as the Philadelphia Eagles visit. The winner will be the NFC East champion.

The AFC wildcards will be Baltimore and the New York Jets if those teams win. Any number of scenarios could play out if either or both of them lose with Denver, Pittsburgh, and Houston lurking for a chance to move in. With all of these teams showing 8-7 records, the seedings are determined on the basis of predetermined tie-breaker considerations.

Also at stake is the NFC first round bye. Minnesota could lose its spot if they lose to the New York Giants and Philadelphia beats Dallas. The third and fourth seeds are up for grabs depending on outcomes of the Dallas/Philadelphia contest and the Arizona/Green Bay contest for the NFC. In the AFC, the results depend on Cincinnati/New York Jets and New England/Houston.

Here are the contests for the final week of the season. Ones with playoff implications will be noted with an asterisk (*).

San Francisco (-7) at St. Louis
St. Louis couldn’t beat an egg much less the ‘Niners.

*New York Giants at Minnesota (-8 ½)
Minnesota must end its recent funk to beat the Giants as they should do at home. The spread might be a bit generous given recent play.

Jacksonville at Cleveland (-2)
Cleveland goes for four straight against the Jags who just fell out of playoff contention. Still the Jags are the better team.

*Pittsburgh (-3) at Miami
Pittsburgh fights for its faint hope of a playoff berth and should edge the Dolphins.

*New England at Houston (-8)
New England fights to secure its seeding while Houston fights for a chance at its first playoff berth. We’ll give Houston the edge but New England should beat the spread.

Atlanta (-2 ½) at Tampa Bay
Atlanta is left considering what could have been this year but should pull it together to beat the Tampa Bay Bucs who pulled the upset over the Saints last week.

*Philadelphia at Dallas (-3)
The winner gets to host the loser most likely in round 1 of the playoffs. We think it will be Philadelphia.

Indianapolis at Buffalo (NG, -8, -7 ½)
How on earth could Buffalo be favored? Given that the Indy brass could treat this game like the second half of a pre-season game answers that. Shame on a team that won’t compete. We’ll be cheering for Buffalo to follow through.

Chicago (-3) at Detroit
Chicago seems like a team on the decline while Detroit showed a flicker of hope this year, but still Chicago should prevail in this NFC North game.

*Baltimore (-10 ½) at Oakland
Baltimore must avoid penalties and other mistakes. If they do, they’ll win easily and head for the playoffs for the second year in a row.

Washington at San Diego (-4)
San Diego won’t be playing chicken like Indy and should beat the hapless Skins.

*Kansas City at Denver (-12 ½)
Denver must win to keep their playoff hopes alive depending on Baltimore or the New York Jets to lose.

*Green Bay at Arizona (-3.5)
Both teams are heading to the playoffs but minor seedings are at stake. We’ll pick Green Bay to beat the favorite.

Tennessee (-4.5) at Seattle
Tennessee had playoff hopes last weekend despite an 0-6 start. They’ll be able to finish proud pounding Seattle, a team that failed miserably in 2009.

*Cincinnati at New York Jets (-10)
Rex Ryan will have the Jets and their fans frothing at the mouths to nail down their wildcard berth. Cincinnati might play for comic relief as Chad What’s-his-name has promised some antics. Cincinnati is probably the team the wild card contenders would most like to face.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Thinking of Ernie Harwell

It breaks my heart to say this, but next year when the inevitable list of those who passed on in 2010 will be presented one year from now, one of the names on the list will almost certainly be Ernie Harwell. The sports world has known Harwell has been stricken with inoperable cancer since the closing weeks of the 2009 baseball season as he bid farewell to the faithful at Comerica Park, home of the Detroit Tigers.

Ernie Harwell is one of the last surviving members of a wonderful fraternity of baseball announcers who started their career when radio was king and television was in its infancy. They could enchant the listener to visualizing the ballgame in his imagination as brilliant story tellers and ingenious experts on the sport. Now only Vin Scully remains behind the microphone calling home games at Dodgers Stadium and other select western venues.
Baltimore fans will think fondly of Chuck Thompson as the avuncular figure who made Orioles games memorable remaining with the Orioles on a part time basis through the 1990's, but some of us remember Ernie Harwell was the first voice of the Orioles from the team's first pitch in 1954 through the 1959 season before he left for Detroit. For part of that tenure, Ernie and Chuck were partners. Imagine that!
Here's a wonderful article from ESPN.COM on Ernie's graceful final days. Time is running short, but can we pray this wonderful man can welcome one more opening day in Tiger town?
Please take a moment to say a prayer of thanks for this wonderful man. Anyone who loves baseball and has heard Ernie Harwell call a game knows what a wonderful person he is. One need not be limited to Detroit as Harwell frequently got the nod to be involved in post season and some game-of-the-week broadcasts.
We LOVE YOU Ernie!!!!

Monday, December 28, 2009

NFL 2009: Week 16 -- Colts Quit, Peyton Sits

Midway through the third quarter, the Indianapolis Colts were ahead of the New York Jets 15 to 10 well on their way to putting the game away maintaining their undefeated season, but something happened that will surely follow this team’s legacy for a long time. With the lead and victory in sight, Coach Jim Caldwell pulled Peyton Manning and other starters. Backup quarterback, Curtis Painter was inserted promptly giving up an interception to Jets’ cornerback Dwight Lowery with 4:52 left in the quarter.

Painter’s performance was beyond awful, absolutely incompetent, unprepared and unprofessional perhaps shaken by the awkward situation into which he was thrust, but never the less, the Jets would score 19 unanswered points to secure the win and vanquishing Indianapolis’s chance for a rendezvous with football history.

Is there something wrong with this picture?

We think so.

The Colts violated former coach and football philosopher Herm Edwards’ basic principle, “You play to win the game. HELLO!”

For the Colts, it was an early goodbye. While the intent was obvious, to protect players from possible injury having locked up home field advantage and a first round bye, was this a sound move from any position?

The Colts were facing a team in the playoff hunt. With the Ravens and Broncos at 8-6 and a six of teams including the Jets at 7-7 at the start of play, much was on the line with obvious post season consequences.

The Jets were all but out of contention, but with Tennessee, Miami, Jacksonville, Baltimore, and Denver all losing, the numbers added up to put the Jets in position to now secure a wild card birth. If they win next Sunday after yesterday’s results, they’re in. The loss to Pittsburgh and the Indianapolis surrender ultimately had little effect on the Baltimore Ravens who will still sneak into the playoffs with a win against Oakland since they have favorable tie-breakers.

The team most obviously impacted was Denver; they would remain slotted for the wild card had the Jets lost. The move all but eliminated the hopes of Pittsburgh and Houston who both stand at 8-7 but don’t have favorable tie-breakers.

In this context, is there any way to look at the Colts’ decision as a cowardly, ill-advised move?

Had there been a wide margin in the third quarter where the Colts were way out in front or way behind, such a move could be justified. Yes, to the victor goes the spoils, and the Colts did have the luxury of mailing this game in, but it appears to be a slap in the face for all we understand as basic sportsmanship.

Think of the pride of a quarterback like Peyton Manning who was visibly upset as the game fell to shreds. These are guys who are proud competitors with no sense of quit in their makeup.

Even more so, think of the fans at Lucas Oil Stadium. Would they invest in personal seat licenses, tickets, parking, refreshments, and maybe an ersatz souvenir or two giving up a Sunday afternoon to see Curtis Painter cough up a football game?

What could be a more arrogant thoughtless insult to the team’s loyal fans who rightly expect the team to put forth every effort to win every game? This isn’t baseball where there are 81 home dates where late September games could be of little consequence. There are only eight regular season games. With parking at $20.00, $7.50 for a draft beer, $3.50 for a hot dog, and tickets ranging from 44 bucks for the cheap seats way above the south end zone and 55 bucks for the nosebleeds to $129 for the really hot seats, we needn’t go into a song and dance about the sad state of the economy, NFL games are premium entertainment good times and bad.

Can or should NFL leadership attempt to ban the kind of practice employed by the Colts in their obvious forfeiture of a regular season game?

Probably not. It’s hard to imagine how a fair rule could be written. However, the Colts’ move surely shows that the sport is open to some very real forms of corruption if lineup manipulation was due to other motives. One would imagine Las Vegas and fantasy players are going berserk over yesterday’s fiasco.

The Indianapolis fans are in a miserable situation. They can proudly look forward to hosting the second round of the playoffs and the AFC championship game if they win their first playoff game. However, more than pride was robbed from them yesterday.

Let’s hope the tremendous uproar over the Colts’ management decision will serve to influence future teams not to consider such an ill-advised move. While Bronco fans surely should be more upset that their team lost to Philadelphia in a must win game yesterday, they can also feel some justified fury that their playoff status will be determined largely by a decision that was not the outcome of teams playing on the field with the intention to win.

Say it again, Herm, “You play to win the game, HELLO!!!!”

Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Senate Medical Mandate: Treacherous and Malicious Deception as Means to an End

American politics has seldom revealed its absolute worst instincts as what the Democratic leadership in the Senate showed in its efforts to secure the necessary sixty votes to pass their version of government takeover of America’s medical system.

For whatever the plan intends to accomplish, all provisions are mired in a spider’s web of special provisions, exemptions, and qualifiers each one carefully crafted to satisfy a certain special interest, appease various concerns, or buy the votes of possible nay voters.

In 2009, the Louisiana Purchase is the amount of funding in special Medicaid money to buy Senator Mary Landreau’s vote. Nebraska was granted Medicaid funding exemptions to secure Ben Nelson’s vote. Michigan and New York Blue Cross and Blue Shield have been exempted from a tax that will be imposed on all other 48 states. Florida gets special treatment being able to maintain the current Medicare Advantage program that is being obliterated for recipients elsewhere.

Follow a maze of clever manipulations and now abortion becomes a Federal entitlement while there is language in the bill that would indicate the contrary.

Taxes and fees are imposed right and left, often in deceptive ways so politicians can claim not to have raised taxes on the vast majority of voters. Well, their pay stub might not show the damage, but their cost of living as these costs will be absorbed into the cost of all kinds of goods and services will be extreme.

Further, as Medicare races toward insolvency as baby boomers reach retirement age, image this, the Senate intends to fund what they call health care for all by cuts in Medicare. They say most of this will be through eliminating waist and fraud.

If waste and fraud plagues Medicare which provides health care for only our aged and disabled population, imagine the scope of it when the whole country is involved.

Sift down the 2000 plus pages of favors, giveaways, qualifications, exemptions, and legalese there is nothing that changes medical service for the population with the possible exception of some aid for those with pre-existing conditions.

Now that the dirty dead was done at 7:00 Christmas Eve morning, the bill must be reconciled with the house bill which has its own treachery and march toward socialism in its mandates.

Isn’t it fascinating to note how much both houses have attempted to keep as much of the crafting of this legislation hidden behind locked doors? What’s the big rush? Could they be afraid of what would happen if the public had the time to study and respond to the provisions of this hateful legislation? Why so many late night and weekend sessions? Could it be there is less media and public scrutiny available at these times?

We should remember what candidate Barack Obama said time after time how he promised a bipartisan approach to what he called health care reform. Everything would be crafted out in the open and broadcast on CSPAN.

Instead, both houses created huge bills of thousands of pages rushed for the sake of arbitrary deadlines demanding action knowing full well that few legislators would have time to read or absorb its content.

We’ve long been told “the devil is in the details.” The sad truth is the Democratic Party’s attempts and manipulating health care is one of the most evil undertakings by the United States government since the founding of the Republic. For right-minded citizens how can we not see figures like Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid as Satanic villains and not want to seek political damnation for all the wishy-washy fence straddling fools who sold their political soul, their vote for this dreadful legislation for some perk that they believe would enhance their political stature.

We as concerned citizens must unleash the angry hounds of hells on Capitol to rip the political flesh from these gutless opportunistic pigs who in their cynical self serving treachery attempting to have the National Government take control of one of the most important parts of our life, our health, have attacked the very foundation of our system of limited government where all citizens are equal in the eyes of the law. Surely, their intrusion into health care and the special privileges granted in this legislation raises some serious Constitutional questions as well.

America, wake up, speak up. We cannot let our right to seek the best health care we can afford stolen by a corrupt and wicked government. We must demand that there will be hell to pay for what has been done to us and our culture by these loathsome legislators and our hateful ideologue, that leftist radical in the White House, Barack Obama.

No effort can be spared to destroy them politically, tie their hands, and run them out of office as quickly as possible.

Friday, December 25, 2009

2009: Reality TV and Its Sickly Side Effects

No recent phenomenon reveals the moral depravity of American culture more clearly than that of reality TV mania. Sadly, what started off as crude media exploitation from an increasingly sleazy entertainment industry for the sake of ratings success has provided a vehicle for some of society’s worst losers and craven misdirected opportunists to seek their pathetic fifteen minutes of fame. Shall we call this an example of where life imitates art? However, calling this kind of programming art is truly a form of cultural blasphemy.

Here are the highlights which demonstrate reality television has contributed to the cheapening of our culture beyond belief as if the early episodes of American Idol where folks without a lick of talent get to embarrass themselves performing their pathetic lack of singing talent on national TV.

2009 began with the saga of Nadja Suleman, the infamous “Octomom.” An irresponsible slut with no means of support leaching off of her parents already had six children out of wedlock created through in-vitro fertilization. Television brought its lens in sharp focus on this pitiful loser as it was discovered she was pregnant with EIGHT fetuses that were the result of another in-vitro procedure. The nation stood gawking over the babies’ birth and wondered aloud how the children would be provided for. Meanwhile, soon shopping her tale for money, Ms. Suleman was interviewed on the Today Show and then other shows revealing a person insanely self-absorbed believing she had some kind of saintly motherly virtue than alone would provide these damned children a satisfactory upbringing. As the story began to unfold further, the sick truth became obvious. Suleman saw her situation as the ideal script for reality TV success. Her story would be so compelling, media outlets would be kissing her feet and throwing her cash.

By the end of March, her deed was accomplished inking a TV deal with the British media outlet, Eyeworks, who will, in turn, market the show to television networks. A book deal is also pending.

Soon media hoopla turned to a show that made the Discovery network a fortune as Jon and Kate plus eight rocketed to the top of cable television ratings eclipsing major sporting events on ESPN and The O’Reilly Factor. This television program took its cameras into the household of the Goselin family chronicling the day-to-day misadventures of a dysfunctional family with eight children as the husband and wife revealed themselves to be moral ciphers as their marriage fell apart on live television. Jon Goselin was found to be having (big surprise) extra martial affairs. Soon they were headed for divorce after cashing in big time on giving sickly voyeurism impulses more than adequate gratification while the Discovery Channel bankrolled millions.

As an outcome, Kate Goselin is being touted for her incredible media appeal, even being hyped as the next Oprah. Talk about exploitation.

The exposure afforded to these losers and others in this sickly media format stimulated a new class of warped sleazoid entrepreneurs to attempt their skill to gain media exposure hoping it would be the gateway to media exposure.

On October 16, 2009, during the mid to late afternoon, America stood spellbound to their televisions and personal computers as what appeared to be a weather balloon drifted across the Colorado skies apparently with a little boy aboard. Rescue crews scrambled to attempt a safe rescue as audiences gasped with each possible mishap was seen right before their eyes. Would the balloon get tangled in high voltage power lines?

Finally, the balloon was brought in for a soft landing as rescuers surrounded the device not knowing what to expect upon close inspection. No boy was found. Meanwhile, more media had descended on the boy’s family residence. The boy’s brother suggested he must have fallen out. After an exhaustive search, the boy was found safe in a box above the family garage. Later the truth came out that the whole thing was staged as a hoax. The family had made several attempts to land spots on reality TV including appearing on the program “Wife Swap.”

The boy’s parents, Richard and Mayumi Heene, plead guilty and were sentenced to jail, Mr. Heene getting 90 days, Mrs. Heene getting 20 days, for an assortment of charges related to their idiotic exploit. We can only pray their fifteen minutes have run out.

Soon America found itself fascinated with another attempt at inglorious self-promotion, the venue, the White House, the event, a formal state dinner with the Indian Prime Minister. Michaele and Tareq Salahi, a Virginia “socialite” couple forged and faked their way past security hobnobbing with cameras flashing with various big shots at the gathering even having their names announced as they entered. After their fiasco was reported, their intention to seek a spot on reality television was revealed. Meanwhile, the White House appeared totally clueless on its handling of the affair. Yes, we are well aware of the hard core reality that the Obama White House is clueless but so are a myriad of people who engage in or watch this disgusting new form of entertainment.

Next month is January, another season of American Idol awaits us. GAWK, GAWK, GAWK!!!!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

NCAA '09 Football:A Look Ahead to the Major Bowls

Which team will be the National Champ?

Are you ready for this? The 2009-2010 College Football Bowl season is already upon us as some of the more obscure contests are already under way. The competition goes into full gear on Saturday with most of the action still, thankfully reserved for its traditional slot on New Years.

Here’s a summary of the BCS bowls and some others we find interesting.

Saturday, December 26, 2009
Meinke Car Parts Bowl, Charlotte, NC , 4:30 pm, ESPN
Pittsburgh versus North Carolina

Emerald Bowl, San Francisco, 8:00 pm, ESPN
Boston College versus USC (#24)
(Played at the Baseball field, go figure!)

Sunday, December 27, 2009
Music City Bowl, Nashville, TN, 8:30 pm, ESPN
Clemson versus Kentucky

Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Champs Sports Bowl, Orlando, FL, 8:00 pm EPSN
Miami #15 versus Wisconsin #25

Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Holiday Bowl, San Diego, CA, 8:00 pm, ESPN
Arizona #20 versus Nebraska #22

Thursday, December 31, 2009 (New Years Eve)
Sun Bowl, El Paso, TX, 2:00 pm, CBS
Oklahoma versus Stanford #21

Texas Bowl, Houston, TX, 3:30 pm, ESPN
Navy versus Missouri

Chick-a-fil Bowl, Atlanta, GA, 8:00 pm, ESPN
Virginia Tech #11 versus Tennessee

Friday, January 1, 2010 (New Years Day)
Gator Bowl, Jacksonville, FL, 1:00 pm, CBS
West Virginia (#16) versus Florida State

Capitol One Bowl, Orlando, FL, 1:00 pm, ABC
Penn State #13 versus LSU #12

BSC Bowls
Friday, January 1, 2010 (New Years Day)
Rose Bowl, Pasadena, CA, 4:30 pm, ABC
Ohio State #8 versus Oregon #7

Sugar Bowl, New Orleans, LA, 8:30 pm, FOX
Florida #5 versus Cincinnati #3

Saturday, January 2, 2010
Cotton Bowl, Dallas, TX, 2:00 pm, FOX
Oklahoma State #19 versus Mississippi

Monday, January 4, 2010
Fiesta Bowl, Glendale, AZ, 8:00 pm, FOX
Boise State #6 versus TCU #4

Tuesday, January 5, 2010
Orange Bowl, Miami, FL, 8:00 pm, FOX
Iowa #10 versus Georgia Tech #9

Thursday, January 6, 2010
BCS Championship Game@ the Rose Bowl, Pasadena, CA, 8:00 pm, FOX
Texas #2 versus #1 Alabama

NFL 2009: Week 15 -- Merry Merry Two to Go

With two weeks to go in the 2009 NFL season, can anyone believe the playoff picture in the AFC? Currently twelve teams are in the playoff hunt though half of them must not only win their two final games but teams ahead of them must slip up to gain a wild card berth. Currently, the Baltimore Ravens and Denver Broncos are in with records of 6-6, but what stands out as most unusual, six teams, Jacksonville, Miami, the New York Jets, Pittsburgh, Tennessee, and Houston all stand with a mark of seven wins and seven losses. Only four teams in the conference have losing records as the Indianapolis Colts stand atop the heap with a perfect record followed by San Diego at 11-3 with Cincinnati and New England the other division leaders at 9-5.

The NFC picture is much simpler. New Orleans (13-1), Minnesota (11-3), and Arizona (9-5) are in. Philadelphia stands at 10 and 4 with Dallas one game back and the New York Giants two games back. Green Bay (10-5) and Dallas (9-5) are the current teams slotted to be wild cards with Atlanta at 7-7 the only team with a faint hope of making the field.

Much will be decided this weekend, but the playoff field might not be decided until the final games at 4:00 pm on the last day of the season are completed.

Meanwhile, what the heck is going on in Minnesota? The feud between coach Brad Childress and quarterback Brett Favre is getting endless coverage four days after an on the field exchange of harsh words on the field Sunday. Coaches and quarterbacks blow up at each other frequently but when Brett Favre is involved everything gets tabloid proportioned attention in a wave of sports media hoopla.

The games:
San Diego at Tennessee (-3)
Go with Tennessee. San Diego has nothing left to prove. Tennessee does.

Baltimore at Pittsburgh (-2. ½)
Baltimore seeks to accomplish that which has eluded them far too many times bringing home a win in Pittsburgh. The Steelers have faint hopes of being in the post season while Baltimore is slotted. This game will come down to which team is healthier. Baltimore has the slight edge though we are admittedly biased. As Ray Rice goes, so go the Ravens.

Tampa Bay at New Orleans (-14)
Tampa mailed this season in back in October if not September. Forget about it!

Buffalo at Atlanta (-8.5)
Buffalo can rise up and hurt some decent teams but not this time.

Houston at Miami (-3)
Two 7-7 teams fight for a distant playoff hope. Miami will prevail at home.

Seattle at Green Bay (-14)
Seattle limps toward the end of a miserable season proving Coach Jim Mora not up to the job. Green Bay will stuff them into the frozen Tundra.

Carolina at the New York Giants (-7)
Carolina limps to the end of an embarrassing season as the Giants must prevail to punch their ticket to a possible wild card berth.

Oakland at Cleveland (-3 ½)
Two miserable teams which have some surprise victories to their credit, Cleveland should have the slight edge given the home field and west coast at east coast factors working in their favor.

Jacksonville at New England (-7 ½)
It’s do or die for Jacksonville who lost their lock on a wild card berth with last week’s loss. Meanwhile, New England seeks to secure their position as AFC East champ. They should take care of business at home in Foxboro.

Kansas City at Cincinnati (-14)
While Cincinnati has shown complacency once they appeared to have the AFC North locked up, Kansas City simply does not seem to have the power to pull the upset in this matchup.

Denver at Philadelphia (-7)
Denver needs this game to ensure their post season spot. Philadelphia needs this game to fend off the Cowboys to win their division. The Eagles have just enough of an edge to pull off this win.

St. Louis at Arizona (-14)
St. Louis couldn’t beat an egg much less a legitimate NFL team. Arizona wins big.

Detroit at San Francisco (12)
Detroit is still a miserable failure especially on the road.

New York Jets at Indianapolis (-5)
Rex Ryan’s Jets have a distant shot at a playoff berth. How much will that motivation count against a Colts’ squad seeking to achieve the perfect season? It would seem that almost by pure will alone Payton Manning will run an offense capable of stuffing the Jets.

Dallas (-7) at Washington
Washington can pull an upset especially at home in Largo, but Dallas should win this one unless they are truly hopeless in December, a reputation that last week’s win helped dispel.

Minnesota (-7) at Chicago
Chicago looked like one of the farcical failures in their loss to Baltimore last Sunday. Minnesota should come into Soldier’s Field and slaughter them. Given the high visibility of a nationally televised game, the Favre/Childress feud will get all the attention. Who needs the soap opera?

What Were They Thinking? Philadelphia Eagles Select Dog Killer Michael Vick as Ed Block Courage Award Winner

Imagine the vicious torture and death of a lovable Beagle
this beautiful dog? Michael Vick used beagles as bait to
serve as attack victims developing the killer instincts in
the pit bulls who'd be used for dog fighting spectacles.

Vick's Comments reflect a sickly ball spiking and end zone dance in light of one of the most retched tragedies in recent memory.

Are you sick and disgusted? Whatever humanitarian contributions Mr. Vick has made recently through community service has been with the gun of what he was required to do for reinstatement against his head. He'd darned well better carry his weight in an acceptable manner after the unspeakable horrors he is responsible for committing. He will carry the burden of his misdeeds for the rest of his life, and the actions of one football season are only a token first step for what needs to be a lifetime commitment to doing the right thing.

The Philadelphia Eagles voted unanimously to honor disgraced dog-killer Michael Vick with this year’s nomination for the venerated Ed Block courage award for reasons simply faint and half-assed in light of the unspeakable horrors Mr. Vick is responsible for inflicting on helpless dogs. That one should make efforts to do the right thing in light of one of the most despicable examples of depraved and immoral human conduct is simply not the kind of thing for which one should ever receive an award. It’s simply the right thing to do.

We know what Michael Vick has done. For what he has done, any attempts to praise him should force those considering doing so to withhold judgment until he has much more experience in his attempts to perform appropriate deeds to show he has completely accepted the horrors he unleashed.

His comments upon being informed of the award show grotesque insensitivity and the kind of extreme hubris that was probably a part of his character in the first place that would have enabled him to act so cruelly in the first place.

Here are excerpts from Michael Vick’s remarks provided by the Associated Press report on Vick’s award.

"It means a great deal to me, I was voted unanimously by my teammates. They know what I've been through. I've been through a lot. It's been great to come back and have an opportunity to play and be with a great group of guys. I'm just ecstatic about that and I enjoy every day."
"I've overcome a lot, more than probably one single individual can handle or bear, You ask certain people to walk through my shoes, they probably couldn't do. Probably 95 percent of the people in this world because nobody had to endure what I've been through, situations I've been put in, situations I put myself in and decisions I have made, whether they have been good or bad.
"There's always consequences behind certain things and repercussions behind them, too. And then you have to wake up every day and face the world, whether they perceive you in the right perspective, it's a totally different outlook on you. You have to be strong
, believe in yourself, be optimistic. That's what I've been able to do. That's what I display."

Can anyone see the theme of Vick as victim in these remarks? While reciting the kinds of clichés some would expect in a situation like his, there is so much self-pity and rationalization that shows this writer he just doesn’t get it, and apparently the Philadelphia Eagles don’t either.
The Ed Block Courage Awards are awarded each year in Baltimore, Maryland to one player from each NFL team as part of a campaign to raise awareness on the evils of child abuse. To this end, 32 players are selected on the basis of exhibiting their commitment to the principles of sportsmanship and courage.
As Baltimore Ravens fans, we cannot help to think how Michael Vick’s award stands in stark contrast to that of O.J. Brigance, the fallen Baltimore Raven struggling in the advance stages of Lou Gehrig’s disease still working in player development for the team while acting with superhuman strength coming to terms with the ongoing degeneration suffered from a fatal disease.
Though the Christmas holiday represents a time for reflection and forgiveness, Michael Vick has a long way to go before he can ever be given credit for rehabilitating a shameful reputation for his horrible behavior. While nothing can ever erase the reality of the horrible sins he has committed, a lifetime of humble service to the wellness of humans and other animals is certainly the expectation appropriate for Vick’s roadmap for the rest of his life.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Two Feet of Snow Headed for Crab City and We're All Out of Kitty Litter!!!

...but you don't own a cat!

It doesn't matter. Say the "S" word in upper Chesapeake country and the denizens PANIC!!! Like lemmings, they're off to their favorite discount or home improvement store to buy huge quantities of rock salt, ice melt and snow shovels. (Hmm, what's that stuff piled up in the corner of the it's not from last year is it?) Surely, it would be a good idea to grab some long underwear at Walmart. Every resident of the household should have a working flash light with at least six two packs of batteries per unit for each day of expected confinement. Be sure each person has a fully stocked first aid kit, battery powered radio with ample replacement batteries (three changes per day), four pair of heavy duty blue jeans, and two thermal blankets.

A stop at the video rental store should be next on the agenda. Approximately eight to ten DVD's per expected day of confinement should be rented.

The next stop is the liquor store. Experts recommend that one should stock up with at least one case of beer for each adult of legal drinking age for each day of the expected time out of action. Figure on two days for each four inches of snow. Each adult for which beer is purchased, two bags of potato chips, one bag of corn chips, two jars of salsa, two jars of onion dip, and three cans of beer nuts are mandatory for each shut in day. Likewise, two bags of "Funions," pork rinds, and two pounds of beef jerky per day are also required. Count up the number of males at least twelve years old and purchase at least six large Slim Jim's per male per day.

Next head to the filling station. Pour in two bottles of dry gas and then fill the gas tank with 93 Octane Premium gasoline because some body's dad said it worked better especially for cold weather.

The final destination is the grocery store or grocery stores one of which should be Giant. The following items should be stocked up on in abundance?: two loafs plain white bread per occupant per day, one gallon of milk, four rolls of toilet paper, one dozen eggs, and three gallons of drinking water for each person for each day of expected confinement. Very important is the procurement of kitty litter, five pounds per day per confinement day. If one owns a cat, double the quantity for each cat in residence.

Remember, the materials listed above are what experts consider MINIMUM requirements. Additional material should be procured to the extent that one's family balance or personal credit limit can withstand.

Being prepared can be a matter of YOUR survival. Storms are always worse than predicted as the meteorologists would not want to report forecasts that could possibly cause undo panic or sensationalism. If you don't believe this we urge you consider two words, "Hurricane Katrina." Likewise, for those who have family members older than baby boomers who lived in Baltimore all their lives, ask them about the famous Palm Sunday Blizzard.

At 11:32 pm, WBAL-TV weatherman, Tom Tasslemyer reported that the oncoming storm should be a record for December in Maryland with expected accumulations of 20-30".

Stay tuned to your local TV stations for up-to-the-minute reportage. The Disaster Relief team at Rightminded Fellow will monitor the developments and report accordingly.

Now what was it President Obama was saying about global warming?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

NFL 2009: Week 15 -- Hot Games, Cold Weather

Week 15 most likely won’t be decisive in determining the playoff lineup other than St. Louis could lock up the NFC West and perhaps some of the AFC 7-6 teams could void their playoff chances if they lose. Eyes will be on Indianapolis and New Orleans to see how intensely they are going after perfect seasons given they both have locked up just about everything imaginable. San Diego can enhance its chances of nailing down a first round bye by beating Cincinnati who’d secure the AFC North if they win. Minnesota has a two game advantage over Philadelphia.

Good news for Ravens fans, if Jacksonville falls to Indy, they will move into the 6th seed that even some national talkers are predicting though a few are putting their chips on the Miami Dolphins to eventually secure that berth. Jacksonville is the team most see likely to fall off. Meanwhile, no one’s talking about Rod Ryan’s Jets as they need to leap over all of the 7-6 teams. This all assumes Denver will hold on to its spot given they host Oakland and Kansas City with a tough trip to Philadelphia sandwiched in between.

Surely, we can talk of malice in Dallas since they will get their butts handed to them in New Orleans Saturday night. The Giants face the inconsistent Redskins in DC. Should the likely happen in those two games, the Giants will move ahead to the final spot in the NFC. Both teams face tough final games with Dallas hosting Philadelphia seeking to secure their spot as NFC East champs while the Giants travel to Minnesota who could have the first round bye locked up by then.

For what it’s worth, the odds makers in Vegas are nervous about his weekend’s games because as of this writing Wednesday morning, odds are not posted for some games. Does that make anybody’s life more complicated? We hope not. Meanwhile, many fantasy leagues go into playoffs. Have fun kiddies!!!

Indianapolis at Jacksonville (no odds) THURSDAY NIGHT
The odds makers must think Indy’s going to play soft in this game. Don’t count on it. We’ll give them the edge over Jacksonville.

Dallas at New Orleans (-7)
Let’s see how much worse the horrible Phillips/Romo December record can get. The Saints will gleefully exploit their situation.

Chicago at Baltimore (-10 ½)
Isn’t it amazing how slaughtering the 2-11 Lions make the Ravens look like a playoff team? Chicago is struggling this year and the Ravens defense could make them look silly.

Cleveland at Kansas City (-2)
Ugly! Kansas City will work hard to not let Cleveland equal their record. Home team gets the edge.

Atlanta at New York Jets (NO ODDS)
What’s up with this one? The Jets win.

Miami at Tennessee (NO ODDS)
Maybe someone should check the injury wire on Saturday for this one. Tennessee is playing like they have a shot at the playoffs while Miami must win to keep their post season chances alive. Perhaps Tennessee has the slight edge. That’s our pick.

San Francisco at Philadelphia (NO ODDS)
If San Francisco can bring their show east that messed up Arizona, the Eagles should be worried, but we’ll go with the Eagles.

New England (-7) at Buffalo
We don’t want to hear about the Randy Moss/Terrell Owens comparisons in this game. New England is professional enough despite this year’s struggles to hang on for this must win.

Arizona (-12) at Detroit
Detroit has a wonderful way of making a team’s horrible performance the previous week look of little consequence by the time their game reaches half time with the Cowardly Lions. Arizona wins this one and locks up the NL West.

Green Bay at Pittsburgh (-1)
Many odds makers did not post for this one. Pittsburgh is hurting. Green Bay is hungry. The big burger needs cheese more than it needs pickles. Green Bay wins.

Houston (-10) at St. Louis
Houston should win handily.

Oakland at Denver (-12 ½)
Denver knows they must win this game or else their comfy spot for the 2nd wild card gets thrown into chaos.

Cincinnati at San Diego (-6 ½)
This game should be one of positioning for post season position. San Diego at home is the stronger team.

Tampa Bay at Seattle (-7)
This game should be a bright spot for the Seahawks who’ve had a largely miserable year.

Minnesota (-9) at Carolina
This could be the next to last home game for the Fox/Delholme era in Charlotte. Too bad they face Minnesota then New Orleans which means the last dance could be uglier than imagining Rosy O’Donnell in ballet. Brett Favre will win this won and maybe do a Wrangler ad with Dale Earnhardt Jr. if he’s at home this weekend.

New York Giants (-3) at Washington
The Giants should be favored for this one but they are quite capable of coughing up games they’re supposed to win. The Redskins gave New Orleans the scare of their season but then can turn around and look like the bottom feeders. The Giants should have the edge in this game. They need to win this one to help destroy Dallas.

Monday, December 14, 2009

NFL 2009: Week 14: The Playoff Blender on High Speed

Okay, Ravens fans, it was a BIG victory scoring the most points in Ravens history beating the Detroit Lions 48-3. However, as uplifting as this chilly game in the cold rain was, it would be premature to get too excited about renewed playoff hopes. Yes, what needed to happen today took place, Jacksonville lost too. We must remember this bold victory was against the Detroit Lions, a team with two victories this year after losing them all last year. When’s the last time they won a game on the road? Second, the Ravens are dependent on Jacksonville losing one more game while the Ravens must win their last three games to secure a wild card berth. The other possibility would be Denver’s collapse losing two of their last three games. The Ravens host the Bears next week before travelling to Pittsburgh then Oakland to finish the season. Jacksonville faces Indianapolis then travels to New England and Cleveland. Denver hosts Oakland, travels to Philadelphia, then hosts Kansas City to finish the year.

Jacksonville faces two contenders, but how seriously will Indianapolis fight to go for an undefeated season when they have everything wrapped up for playoff seedings. New England could be fighting for their playoff life in week 16. It’s hard to imagine Jacksonville losing to Cleveland. A reality check would suggest Jacksonville will lose one more game, but Denver having both Oakland and Kansas City at home looks like a lock to be the first wild card seed.

The Ravens must win three games. A team like the Chicago Bears could rise up and beat them but the Bears are battered and not playing good football down the stretch. As horrible as things look for Pittsburgh, hosting Baltimore could be their last hurrah for the season, a chance to salvage a little pride. While they are out of the playoff picture, they could at least revel in knowing they knocked off the Ravens. The Ravens will have their hands full in Pittsburgh, but at the beginning of the year, did not most experts indicate they would have to go two out of three in their games against Pittsburgh and Indy? Surely, their trip to Oakland cannot be considered a freebie.

Lurking in the balance is the fate of the New England Patriots who could be ousted by Miami or perhaps the New York Jets as a long shot. They simply do not have their characteristic on field discipline this year. Their defense is full of holes. Tom Brady and his receivers are not automatic. Though Buffalo and Houston aren’t awesome contenders, these will be road games while they’ll have one heck of fight hosting Jacksonville.

The NFC playoff picture is far easier to discuss. Three divisions are surely secured at this point, Minnesota in the North; New Orleans in the South with both those teams securing first round byes. Arizona has all but locked up the West. Green Bay will be one of the two Wild Cards at 9-4. The opening is in the NFC East where three teams are in competition for two spots, the Division lead and the second Wild Card with Philadelphia, Dallas, and the New York Giants sorting out who moves on. Philadelphia clearly appears the strongest of the three teams while both New York and Dallas have significant problems. Once again, Dallas is in full self-destruct mode in December having lost miserably to the New York Giants in Week 13 and looked completely out of it this week despite only a three point loss to San Diego. It could have been much worse.

Looking at the competition ahead, things don’t look good for Dallas. They travel to face the undefeated New Orleans Saints next week then move on to Washington, DC where the Redskins will be playing for some measure of honor for what has been an embarrassing season. They’ll wrap up hosting Philadelphia in a game they hope will still be meaningful. Philadelphia hosts San Francisco then Denver. San Francisco would have to be playing on a higher level than shown so far this year to beat the Eagles. Denver could be tough but has not played well on the road during the second half of the season. If they win both those games, they should at least have a playoff berth secured by the time they travel to finish the season in Dallas. The New York Giants have two games they would win handily travelling to Washington then hosting Carolina. Their last game should be interesting playing Minnesota for their final game. Will Minnesota put their “A” team on the field or go easy to keep everyone healthy for the playoffs?

The road ahead would seem to cast Dallas as the odd team out. Their competition is tougher and their reputation for late season play is awful. Having listened to Wade Phillips comments to reporters, one does not see a coach with the fire in his belly prepared to lead a team into intense battle. Tony Romo, once again deserves his share of the blame, but the Cowboys’ failures are on both sides of the football.

Philadelphia appears to have the advantage. The Giants have definite weaknesses on defense on in its receiving corps. Further, Quarterback Eli Manning is far from 100% still nursing a sore heel. Their showdown tonight proved Philadelphia a touchdown better than the Giants in a 45-38 death match where both teams showed moments of brilliance then turned around looking sloppy and confused. Emotions were at a fever pitch with minor episodes breaking out to almost a brawl after the Giants gave up a fatal turnover deep in their own territory with seconds left. How ironic that the Giants started 5-0 and perhaps might not make the playoffs if Dallas holds up.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Fox and the Tiger

We generally approve of the fine work Fox News provides us given they are the one news source that actually acknowledges there is an alternative point of view besides the self-proclaimed progressives who inhabit all the rest of the news outlets. However, we've documented our concerns about Glenn Beck, but we have another grievance, Tiger Woods coverage, particularly as presented by one of the news media's worst scoundrels, Geraldo Rivera.
On its Saturday, December 12 broadcast, Geraldo's program spent at least the entire first half hour of his program going into intimate detail on the specifics of Tiger Woods' misadventures including showing interviews with prostitutes and madams. In one interview, Geraldo's brother Craig, asked a Hollywood madam whether Tiger Woods wears a condom when having sex. The madam answered.
Through out its programs this week that we've watched so we can't speak of Glenn Beck's show (we won't watch his nonsense), virtually every program has given its share of coverage aside from the 6:00 pm Fox Report. When there is major news such as Congress getting ready to spend large sums of money for who knows what, the medical system debate, the war in Afghanistan, the Copenhagen climate change summit, and other real news items, it is unprofessional and unwarranted to give so much fancy to Tiger Woods' fall from grace.
Sadly, the public now knows Tiger Woods is a womanizing cad. The extent to which his transgressions have gone and the number of mistresses involved is alarming. How much of any of this does the public need to know? That this story generates so much interest is a bad reflection as much on those who are attracted to watching coverage about it as it is on the news media itself whose opportunism is already well established.
If Fox News seriously wants to be the cable equivalent of the National Enquirer that's one thing, but most of their programming presents itself as serious news. Gawking over a celebrity's downfall is not serious news. It's sick news opportunistically broadcast to attract the prurient interests of some viewers. Naturally, Geraldo Rivera would relish the roll of sleaze journalist gleefully. Considering some of the programs he served as front man for before coming to Fox, no one should be surprised. He is capable of stooping to darned near Jerry Springer's level.
While we commend Fox News for giving conservatives, libertarians, and independent thinkers a voice including commentary programs like "The O'Reilly Factor" and "Hannity," they cheapen themselves to providing fuel for their credits by too much emphasis on gawker TV.
Leave the sleaze to channels like E! and other gossip channels. Serious news must know what to avoid to maintain its credibility. Fox News can, should, and must know better than to participate in such garbage.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Army/Navy Game -- The True Champions

In a marvelous tradition that dates back to the first time they face off against each other on the grid iron on November 29, 1890, Army will face Navy hosted at their customary site in Philadelphia. Navy is an overwhelming favorite having completed a highly successful season including beating Notre Dame in South Bend.

The pageantry and tradition remains a sight to behold through the generations as the cadets and midshipmen take on the challenges of yet another era in American history. Regardless of politics, the world mood, or what mission awaits them, these fine young men should be every American's pride and joy.

Tiger Woods: Damage Done, Too Much To Ignore

Can't Avoid the Awful Truth -- Sadly We Will Never Be Able to See Tiger Woods the Same Way Again

He never had his day in court. The law looked into the matter, issued its findings, passed judgment, and considered the case close. The media had other ideas. An unfortunate auto accident in the wee hours has become the springboard for an unprecedented media feeding frenzy that at times appears bigger than the O.J. Trial, the Anna Nicole Smith Death, and the Bill Clinton/Monica Lewinsky affair.

While we repeatedly voiced our disapproval of the media overkill where a couple of tabloid/gossip organizations reportedly have millions of dollars invested in their exposes, short of not logging on to the Internet or watching the Greek Urn Painting Channel on cable, the story has been unavoidable.

Entering Thanksgiving weekend, Tiger Woods was atop the sports world. Coming off a season where he failed to win a major, his efforts were still substantial despite recovering from major knee surgery in the off season. The world seemed to love Tiger Woods. His carefully guarded image was perfect for advertisers. What’s the worst thing the public might have seen? A little bit of an ego – doesn’t that go with all successful competitors?

Tiger Woods was the ideal roll model. Set high standards, work hard, and achieve at the highest level. Be careful what you say publicly. Avoid controversy. Be positive. Who wouldn’t make a better “brand” for advertising product? The Tiger Woods brand sold Buicks, Gatorade, Nike products, and a lot of air time for PGA golf events.

There were whispers that off camera, Tiger Woods could have a bit of a foul mouth. The typical grievance based “black leaders” criticized Woods for not being outspoken for the African American community as those “leaders” defined its agenda. Golf is seen as the bastion of rich white guys. Naturally, there are still bigots out there who hate him for his skin color.

Who had the name recognition and general approval Tiger Woods enjoyed?

The damage is done now. When the PGA resumes play in January leading to its first major in early April at the Masters, how much discussion will be on Tiger’s golf game, what records are in his reach, and what his chances are for another green jacket.

The discussion will be on his relationship with intimate relationship with women outside of his marriage where every sordid detail will be all over celebrity gossip and sports programs. By the time the Masters opens in April, surely a number of bimbos will have had their prime time interviews. God only knows what his wife will be driven to doing.

The undeniable truth is everything about this story stinks from what details have been made public to the timid way Woods has attempted to handle his disgrace. Of course, how could Woods possibly have a good response when the extent of his trouble is so widespread?

Taking a wide-angled view of the Tiger Woods’ fall from grace, who are the winners in this mess? So far we see mostly losers. To call the attention opportunistic tabloid journalists and overanxious sports channel broadcasters have gained, while it might help their ratings and bottom line, can this be called a victory?

This is a horrible story, one we did not want told, one that we’d be better off not knowing. What good can come of such a human tragedy? Will it serve to help parents be more active in helping find appropriate roll models for their kids? How could it? Tiger Woods was the good guy three weeks ago. Will it perhaps stimulate a meaningful discussion of the sanctity of marriage and the virtue of upholding one’s marriage vows? That would be nice, but likely, probably not. The media will focus on the sensational, those things that titillate our prurient fascinations, they will not help show the benefits of virtuous conduct.

Time and time again, American society has been quick to forgive and give its sinners and scoundrels a second chance? However, how will Tiger Woods be seen in the future? What can he do to redeem himself?

For more than a decade, Tiger Woods has served as a great ambassador for the sport of golf attracting millions of viewers worldwide, but what is he now? What is he going to be?

His downfall is a terrible loss for all of us. We’d have a hard time counting all the ways we’ve lost because of this moral downfall.

We hope Tiger Woods will responsibly come to terms with his behavior and find the moral guidance to never transgress like this again. Whether he can resurrect his marriage might be already out of his control. We hope life will be good for Mrs. Woods and her children. Expecting the media will be sensitive in that regard is hard to imagine. We hope that Tiger Woods’ and the PGA’s fans will not let this story become a hurtful preoccupation. We must learn from it what we can and use it as a prime example; all humans are capable of great errors. While the most important action of all is too behave so such behavior would never occur in the first place, when we do fail, we must be honest and make amends appropriately.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The BCS Bowl System: Like It or Hate It -- Look What Congress is Getting its Fat Nose into Now!!!

As sure as the college football regular season comes to a close and it’s closing in on just two weeks left of Christmas shopping comes the annual fury about the bowl system and how the national champion is chosen.

This is nothing new. In the past, debates flourished. Was it the Orange Bowl or the Rose Bowl that truly established a national champ? Since the BCS was initiated in 1998 growing out of the Bowl Alliance and Bowl Coalition which started earlier in the decade, rather than legitimizing the selection of a true champion by having a precisely defined system to rank teams providing for a face off between #1 and #2, the debate appears to have gotten louder.

The current system selects the top teams from the five elite national conferences: the ACC, Big East, Big 10, Big 12, Pac 10, and SEC. Additional slots are awarded to “at large” teams that may include teams outside the five major conferences.

The BCS uses an elaborate system of carefully defined metrics, polling results, and all kinds of data stuffed into computers to determine their rankings. Are they any better than the AP Writers’ Poll or USA Today’s Coaches poll is hard to determine?

In establishing a rotating location for the grand finale at the site of the great traditional bowls, those famous bowls once held on New Years Day have lost some of their prestige, and that the bowls are spread out for maximum TV exposure, sure reduces the quality of what games are played on New Years Day. The major bowls, removing the corporate naming conventions are: The Orange Bowl, Miami Florida; the Sugar Bowl, New Orleans, Louisiana; the Rose Bowl, Pasadena, California; and the Fiesta Bowl, Glendale, Arizona. While they are all subject to the BCS process, the Rose Bowl, for instance, will typically feature teams from the Pac 10 facing the Big 10.

Aside from teams and conferences feeling they’ve been slighted if they don’t achieve what they would consider proper consideration from the system, for decades the major bowls have provided great football and the debates on which teams are truly reflective of the legit contenders and who the number one team is perhaps adds to the interest. Sports fans never shy from a good debate.

The current method of determining the National Champion is far from scientific or objective despite all the efforts made to develop a sophistication selection process. Many are proponents of a playoff system. Some of them are politicians. One is the President of the United States who has stated on numerous occasions including an interview on ESPN, he would like to see a playoff system instituted. There’s nothing wrong with politicians having their preference one way or another. Likewise, though many of us would love not to hear their posturing and bloviating, they have every right to express their stance on the issue knowing full well they have a unique position for their views to become well known.

What is totally unacceptable is Congress thinking that how college athletics and the NCAA determine the national champion is their official business. Only if there were some substantial scandalous institutional corruption where public money is involved could they get their foot in the door to act. Even if the system is unfair, it’s not their business if the conduct is legal. Organizations in a free society must have the freedom to determine their own rules and policies.

How bad is it?

While congressmen and senators have been banging their chests on this issue for a long time, now it’s getting way too serious. The House Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection approved legislation to allow the Federal Trade Commission to prevent any bowl from identifying itself as a “national championship” unless the game is the final game of a single elimination playoff system.

The bill was written and is sponsored by Rep. Joe Barton (R – Texas). Radical rep, Bobby Rush (D – Illinois) is a key supporter. The next step would be a full house vote, senate action, and then how would the President respond when he is already on record wanting that playoff system.

If enacted, the FTC would be empowered to assess costly fines against any organization promoting a “national championship game.” The law is designed to take effect and cover the 2011 season.

Thankfully, this insane legislation is not without strong opposition including senators Orrin Hatch and John Cornyn.

That a measure like this would even be debated reflects badly on the state of today’s congress which in this case is truly bipartisan madness. Most obviously, this represents a blatant attempt for congress to once again stick its nose where it does not belong regardless of what bogus reasons they use to justify. There is no fraud or sinister purpose in the current bowl system. It’s truly a disagreement on what method should be used to determine a championship. The member schools and their representative organizations have decided one way. Many others have a different idea.

Given that many of the top BCS programs are from major state universities and states have a huge investment in the BCS bowl system, one would think state legislatures would go on record on this issue if they thought their schools were slighted by an unfair system.

As long as the bowls enjoy huge attendance, rake in substantial sponsorship and advertising dollars, and gather strong television ratings, where is there any motivation to change?

If fans were outraged by the BCS system and found the games illegitimate, they’d stop watching. When the economy is sputtering, unemployment massive, and many important issues being left unresolved, it is insulting that members of congress would waste public time to intervene on an issue that is governed by the appropriate interscholastic authorities against which no charges of corruption or malfeasance have been indicated.

To drive this point home, consider that Congress is currently attempting to pass legislation that would have the government seize control of all aspects of modern medicine aside from the sacred cows exempted for the sake of their special interest status largely due to their financial contributions to the benefit of our elected leaders. The public is well aware than many elected officials have not found it necessary to read this legislation which impacts well over a trillion dollars in the near future just as they did not read measures rushed through spending billions of dollars that were supposed to provide an economic stimulus to a faltering economy funding hundreds of entitlements and federal mandates rewarding more special interests supportive of such congressional action. The cost of the so-called stimulus was at the cost of fattening up a Federal deficit now in the trillions of dollars.

When trillions of dollars are at stake and some elected officials have gone so far as to ridicule the notion that they would study and read health care and stimulus legislation, how on earth can they justify spending the people’s time designed to establish a playoff system to determine a national football champion?

While sports fans can and should debate such a change to the college football landscape that what should be a conversation for the guys over a beer or two, that our elected leaders would consider the topic as official business shows their incapability to responsibly set their priorities and behave responsibly. Take all these measures collectively, the public sees an institution drunk on power and its sense of importance clearly out of touch with reality failing miserably to execute the public trust bestowed upon them.

Big government is so pervasive now it is messing with how sports conduct themselves. What next?

Laptops for Student Athletes -- GOOD MOVE!!!


The Chronicle of Higher Education reports intercollegiate at the University of South Florida will be provided laptop computers because their athletic director noted their team travels more miles than any other team in a Bowl Championship conference.
USF will loan out 461 13" Macbook Pro laptops at a cost of $175,000 annually for the whole program. This would not be limited to the glamour sports of men's' football and basketball but for all sports requiring travel to compete. Given that most Big East teams are either deep in the Appalachian Mountains or above the Potomac River, the distance from South Florida to the North East is substantial. A wide range of technological opportunities are ready for their use.
Though the price tag might look substantial, there are grants and foundations that help defer the cost. We applaud the university's decision because the student part of student athlete is way too often overlooked.
College sports is big business. Fans and the media relate to football and basketball teams with the same intensity as for the pros. Players are criticized and ripped to pieces in the same manner as if they were established pros pulling in six figure or greater salaries. While they certainly aren't just ordinary college kids, they are STUDENT athletes. The extent to which the academic aspect of their college tenure is ignored can be appalling. Examining the graduation rates of some top Division I programs presents an unacceptable picture of these great institutions failing their students. For every student who does not graduate to go on to a professional career, how many leave having attended college and played a major sport and have no marketable credentials to show for it?
While many sports fans follow big college football and basketball, and on some campuses baseball and lacrosse attracts substantial fan support, the vast majority of NCAA athletes are in sports most fans never notice outside of the Olympics: swimming, wrestling, track & field, golf, and various winter sports. While not in the spotlight, largely out of sight and out of mind, these competitors have substantial travel commitments as well.
Providing students with the appropriate technology which in some cases could even allow them to participate in lecture classes streamed across the Internet represents a great opportunity to help make the educational component of these students' needs.
Perhaps there are even marketing opportunities for the technology companies to contribute equipment and get a commercial plug in. The days of "Hewlett Packard the official computer company of the PAC 10" might be close at hand. College sports are already so totally commercialized. Let's see that factor be turned into a positive for the STUDENT athletes.

More Thoughtful Analysis on the Impending Government Seizure of the Medical Industry

Once again, the honorable Diane Auer Jones provides thoughtful insight into the health care debate. It's also interesting to note the tactics used be her critics that are so typical of how the radical left in academia and media respond to things.
This posting speaks for itself. No further commentary required.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

NFL 2009: Week 14: No Time for Losers or It's Over

Baltimore and Pittsburgh fans have something more in common than their contempt for each other. They’re both looking at their teams at 6-6 all but out of the playoff chase seeing Ochocinco and the Cincinnati Bengals running off to the playoffs as the Northern Division champs. Does anyone expect the Bengals will lose their last four games? Not likely, but didn’t the Tennessee Titans lose their first six? Warning Ravens fans, don’t use this as something to provide hope. Something else they have in common, they both play teams they should surely beat convincingly with Pittsburgh travelling to Cleveland for the NFL Network’s Thursday night game. Meanwhile, the Detroit Lions come to Crab City.

Two of this week’s most interesting games in the AFC feature Denver playing at Indianapolis. Will Indy play full strength to preserve their perfect season or will they let up a little in preparation for post season? Meanwhile, Miami visits Jacksonville with its faint hopes of playoff action, but for any of the 6-6 teams to have playoff hopes, Jacksonville must lose.

Week 14 has a very interesting inter-conference game with San Diego visiting Jerry Land to play the Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys still haven’t proven capable of winning in December. San Diego just rolls along.

Finally, the Sunday night match up has great stakes for the NFC East especially if Dallas loses. Philadelphia is tied for first but visits the New York Giants one game behind them.

This week’s toilet bowl matchup features Buffalo visiting Kansas City. The Ravens can look at the Washington Redskins travelling to Oakland as mine canaries for their final game of the season.

Here are this week’s picks:

Pittsburgh (-10) at Cleveland
Is there any way the Steelers can screw this up?

Detroit at Baltimore (-13)
A much needed easy win for the Ravens.

New Orleans (9 ½) at Atlanta
Atlanta is fading fast while New Orleans continues to pursue perfection.

New York Jets (-3 ½) at Tampa Bay
The Jets are one of those 6-6 teams holding on for dear life. They’ll win.

Green Bay (-3) at Chicago
Only a three point favorite? Green Bay should annihilate “da Bears.”

Seattle at Houston (-6)
Wasn’t the young Mora supposed to bring changes to the Seahawks? Wasn’t Houston supposed to contend this year? Houston has this one.

Denver at Indianapolis (-7)
The Colts express will continue to roll on.

Miami at Jacksonville (-2 ½)
Jacksonville has the edge though Baltimore fans pray for the upset.

Buffalo at Kansas City (pick ‘em)
KC should have the edge. Both miserable teams have some great upsets to their credit.

Cincinnati at Minnesota (-7)
Go get ‘em Brett!

Carolina at New England (-13 ½)
Charlotte will be too busy buzzing about Danica Patrick coming to town next year to even realize there’s a football game. The Fox/Delholme era is winding down.

St. Louis at Tennessee (-13)
The Titans got a taste of ugly against the Colts, but their 0-6 start will be even more of memory after they clobber the Rams.

Washington (-1) at Oakland
If the Redskins that almost beat New Orleans is the same team that travels to Oakland, this game will be a blowout. Otherwise, it could be way too close.

San Diego at Dallas (-3)
A Dallas loss almost guarantees the end of Wade’s World unless somehow the Cowboys go deep in the playoffs. There’s just something very basically wrong with the Dallas Cowboys. When will the Cowboys figure out Tony Romo is more interested in the star his celebrity status than the star on his helmet.

Philadelphia at New York Giants (-1)
A game couldn’t be much more closely matched but the Eagles could make this a strong win that with a likely Dallas loss will give them the lead of the NFC East.

Arizona (-3 ½) at San Francisco
Arizona’s strong victory over Minnesota proved they are truly a playoff contender ready for all comers in the 2009 post season. San Francisco continues to go through growing pains as Mike Singletary tries to find the right pieces.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Tiger Woods Scandals: No Winners to be Found

There is absolutely nothing in the Tiger Woods drama we either wanted to know or feel we need to know but because we know, we have been changed.
There sadly seems to be no denying Tiger Woods, the world's greatest golfer, sure had his share of extramarital relationships. Other issues about his marriage seem likely to be revealed. There's talk of sleeping pills, alcohol, and pain killers being involved in the accident. The ultra-professional, good guy image that Mr. Woods and his associates worked so carefully to maintain is severely damaged. How can anyone be aware of what the media has put right in our face and not be affected?
Tiger's not the guy we thought he was, and that is sad. We've lost a great roll model. We lost a great symbol of excellence. His golf career will continue. He is poised to set some of the greatest records in the sports' history. Over time, his image will be rehabilitated to some extent, but the innocence is gone. Further his historic accomplishment for being who he is in professional golf will forever now wear a disgraceful blemish. Some how Tiger Woods comes across more as pitiful than wicked in his moral lapses.
Tiger Woods surely was overdosing on his own hubris if he thought he could be such a major figure in the public eye and carry on the way he did without some of it being forced into the public eye. Who can defend him for that?
What is so disturbing is how much the gawker media has invested in digging up every last clump of dirt on Tiger Woods' private life. What is the purpose of this?
Sure the tabloids and celebrity gossip television programs stand to make money off of this tragedy, but they wouldn't be doing what they're doing if there wasn't a ready public audience who'd consume every last morsel.
In every corner, the Tiger Wood tragedy reflects badly on those involved. We're aware of how badly Tiger Woods is diminished. The press reveals itself to be hateful voyeuristic predators. The bimbo mistresses reveal themselves as common sluts who'd serve the fantasies of a wealthy famous man at the cost of his marriage. Finally, the public at large who continue to hunger over stories and each subsequent revelation must be condemned for exhibiting such unhealthy interests in seeing a highly respected person ruined.
No matter how much we condemn the media for its rapt attention to Tiger Woods' private life, ultimately Tiger Woods is responsible for his own fall from grace. How Tiger can rehabilitate his image is hard to imagine. He must come to terms with his behavior and make amends. His public behavior must show maturity and sound judgment.
Sadly, the positive lessons to be learned are slow to be revealed. How much more can the institution of marriage take?
In this major tournament, the game of life, there are no winners in the Tiger Woods saga.

Here She Comes!!!

Did anyone think this day was not coming?

Danica Patrick, Sports Illustrated Swimsuit model, highly successful advertising actress, and top 10 IRL race car driver is coming to NASCAR.

She will participate in the Nationwide series for JRM, Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s team with substantial Hendricks backing. Sponsorship is a done deal as both she and Junior are highly recognized sponsorship recipients from Go Daddy, who sponsors Patrick, Earnhardt’s Nationwide ride that was held by Brad Keselowski who graduates to Sprint Cup’s #12 Penske ride, and will be the full time sponsor for Mark Martin’s #5 ride for Sprint Cup.

Is this a deal made in NASCAR heaven or what?

Danica Patrick will drive car #7 with Go Daddy sponsorship for about twelve races. The races before the Indy season begins and the races after the IRL season ends with a few races interspaced during the season as IRL has more off dates.

JR Motorsports is one of the top operations in Nationwide racing with Brad Kesolowski being the top non-Sprint Cup driver in the standings the last two years.

Further, there is a likely career path that if she succeeds at this level especially considering the sponsorship alignment, she could surely be groomed to race the #5 car for Hendricks when Mark Martin retires. Ideally, she would get a couple years Nationwide experience and get to know the tracks before moving up to Sprint Cup.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. remains NASCAR’s most popular driver despite having completed an absolutely dreadful season that if it weren’t for bad luck he wouldn’t have had any luck at all. Whether it was driver or crew error, being in the wrong place at the wrong time on the track, or just inexplicable weird things, the #88 ride was a horror. The more attention fell on Junior’s shoulders the worse it seemed to get.

Danica Patrick is the most popular driver in the United States outside of NASCAR. Working with Dale Earnhardt Jr. unites two bright stars the media loves to go bonkers over in their coverage.

White Ms. Patrick has about the perfect setup to move into NASCAR, the pressure will be enormous. There is a yokel element that simply cannot stand the thought of a female attempting to compete in what they see as a man’s (or good old boy’s) world. Much will be made of her sexuality, the swimsuit covers, the racy ads that delight some and invoke sanctimonious moral reactions from others.

Her hard work and talent alone are what matters when she’s strapped into her ride. Success will be judged by finishing races gaining top 10’s, then top 5’s, then achieving that first win. Being able to do so consistently will be her ticket to move up to Sprint Cup.

She’s leaving an environment where she is the biggest fish in the IRL pond. She’ll be just another driver in Nationwide apart from the publicity she brings with her. Nationwide is not NASCAR’s top series, but she will bring huge attention and ESPN hopes TV ratings the series badly needs.

Open wheel drivers have participated to various degrees in NASCAR for decades with some experiencing tremendous success, some putting in cameo appearances, and others failing miserably. While the legacy of A.J. Foyt is part of NASCAR lore, Tony Stewart was well on his way to being an IRL champion, then spent a year racing for Joe Gibbs in the Busch series before moving on to Winston Cup. Patrick would hope to follow his path to success. Meanwhile, Juan Pablo Montoya struggled when first making the switch but did not season in Nationwide first. He is now a legitimate contender. Sam Hornish and Scott Speed still have a ways to go before being considered successful. Patrick Carpentier, Scott Dixon and Dario Franchitti were not successful. Anyone expecting overnight success for Patrick should think again.

She is also entering a sport where female competitors have not had much fortune most recently seeing Patty Moise and Shawna Robinson experience some success on the Nationwide/Busch series. Erin Crocker looked poised for success in the Truck series but her relationship with Ray Evernham among other concerns torpedoed that effort. There is no compelling reason a good woman driver with a good team can’t be a tremendous success. Danica will be the first woman who truly will have first rate equipment to prove her talents as a driver. Other female competitors at the Nationwide level never had the opportunity to drive for top flight teams. Add to the mix, her crew chief will be Tony Eury Jr. who knows a thing or two about supporting a high profile driver and dealing with extreme frustration. He could be the perfect translator to help Danica become oriented to the world of NASCAR.

We welcome Danica Patrick to NASCAR reminding her nothing will be given her and her determination and professionalism are essential to her success. We also send out this message to some on the lunatic fringe, those who traffic in denigrating Danica Patrick for the sake of being a gorgeous female in what had been a man’s business, any sexist demeaning behavior will not be tolerated.

Danica’s entrance into NASCAR will make this February one of the most anticipated season openings in Daytona ever. How much attention will be on Jimmie Johnson racing for his fifth consecutive Sprint Cup championship versus Patrick’s arrival can surely already be predicted. It will be Danica, Danica, Danica!!!!

Frankly, we can’t wait.