Friday, December 31, 2010

NFL 2010: Week 17 -- The Grand Finale

The 2010 season ends Sunday with the AFC north and central to be decided. While wild card selections, the south and west divisions are undecided for the NFC. The Patriots have all playoff advantages locked up while the Kansas City Chiefs have locked up the west. Pittsburgh, Baltimore, and the New York Jets have secured playoff berths. Indianapolis or Jacksonville will join the field with the Colts in with a win or Jacksonville loss.

The NFC has Chicago, Atlanta, Philadelphia, and New Orleans secured in the playoffs. Green Bay, the New York Giants, and Tampa Bay are in contention for the final wild card berth. St. Louis battles Seattle for the west title.

Teams that had playoff berths last year that will stay home are San Diego and Cincinnati replaced by Kansas City and Pittsburgh. Minnesota, Arizona, and Dallas will not return all three teams having tremendous difficulties in 2010.

Cincinnati @ Baltimore (-9 ½)
Batman and Robin’s absence actually seemed to help the Bengals last week in defeating San Diego. The Ravens cannot take this game for granted. It could be Marvin Lewis’s last game as head coach – a sad loss against the team that earned him his Super Bowl ring as defensive coordinator.

Chicago @ Green Bay (-10)
Green Bay must win this game to clinch a wild card berth.

Pittsburgh (-6) @ Cleveland
Pittsburgh needs this win. If they lose and Baltimore wins, Baltimore jumps to the #2 seed. The chances of a Cleveland upset are slight.

Jacksonville @ Houston (-1)
Jacksonville showed no enthusiasm against the Redskins last week but should they win and Indianapolis lose, they’ll take the division. Houston should prevail.

Dallas @ Philadelphia (-6 ½)
Philadelphia’s surprising self-destruction against Minnesota playing Tuesday night gives them less time to get ready against a Cowboys’ team that can be difficult. Philadelphia needs this game to assure the NFC East title. They should win.

Tampa Bay @ New Orleans (-8)
Tampa still is technically alive for a wild card if the New York Giants and Green Bay Packers lose. For New Orleans, if Atlanta loses and they win, the Saints win their division. New Orleans should take care of business with this game.

Carolina @ Atlanta (-14 ½)
Atlanta faces a must win against a miserable opponent who has functioned as the worst team in the NFL this season. They still have to play the game and win.

Tennessee @ Indianapolis (-10)
The Colts should have little trouble nailing down yet another AFC North title beating the Titans.

St. Louis (-3) @ Seattle (Sunday Night Game)
So who wants the NFC West besides perhaps St. Louis rookie QB, Sam Bradford? If St. Louis wins and they’re the slight favorite, they’ll win their division with a lowly 8-8 record. If they lose, Seattle wins the division with a losing record, 7-9

New York Giants (-4) @ Washington
The Giants lose, they’re out. The Redskins suddenly won last week against Jacksonville, so the Skins aren’t completely dead yet but it’s hard to see them beating the Giants.

Miami @ New England (-3 ½)
Don’t expect New England to rest despite having wrapped up every conceivable advantage. Justin Bieber, uhm, Tom Brady might get some rest to ease some aches and pains. New England will prevail. They don’t play light just because they’ve clinched.

Oakland @ Kansas City (-3 ½)
KC will play their division rival as a tune up for the playoffs likely against the New York Jets next week.

Buffalo @ New York Jets (-1)
Regardless of what the Jets do, they are the 6th seed in the playoffs. Mark Sanchez is not at full strength so it will be interesting to see how Coach Rex Ryan handles the situation. Regardless, the Jets still have the slight edge.

Other games:
Minnesota @ Detroit (-3)
The Brett Favre era ends with the gunslinger on the side lines with multiple injuries including a concussion. Here are two teams appearing headed in opposite directions and Detroit could finally escape the cellar next year.

San Diego (-3 ½) @ Denver
One has to wonder after last week’s loss and a poor start earlier in the year, what the fate of Norv Turner as head couch of the Chargers will be. The Chargers were a strong playoff choice at the year’s beginning. Meanwhile, Florida Gator, Tim Tebow, will continue his maturation in his second NFL start. This is a tough call. San Diego’s the stronger team, but Tebow has more energy than the NFL can imagine.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Delaware Dullard Subject to Charges?

Well, we can rest assured Christine "I Am Not a Witch, I'm You" O'Donnell wasn't the stupidest candidate running for Senate -- surely South Carolina Democrat, Alvin Greene was, but as Sarah Palin's Delaware "mini-me" she cost the Republican party a rare shot for a Senator from the state and provided lots of juicy material to debase tea party followers and her party. As a candidate who reacted to many of the complaints that demonstrated she was unfit for office such as defaulting on her mortgage and legal and financial problems who'd just blow them off as she faced the same kind of problems most people face during difficult times, it should surprise no one that getting involved in a pursuit as closely watched and full of specific requirements, she'd become entangled in troubles from how she conducted her campaign.

Federal agents and prosecutors are investigating her use of campaign funds. Prosecutors are determining to what extent she used campaign money for personal expenses.

For her sake, let's hope her lawyers tell her to keep quiet and make no comments on this matter. It takes little imagination to see how she'll attempt to defend herself in public attempting to argue that the Obama administration is out to get her. They're going after her because they don't like her positions and want to shut her up. It's a very predictable script for someone so bankrupt of any positive attributes.

In truth, it would be more beneficial for the administration to encourage her to keep talking. With critics like her, the path is quite rosy for anyone she would direct her negative attention toward. Let's wait and see if Sarah Palin rushes in to give her old endorsed more lip service.

Put this in perspective and realize Christine O'Donnell's success is directly related to Sarah Palin's strong support. We must see this as one concrete example why the Republican Party and Tea Party must unload the Wasilla Wench immediately before the 2012 Presidential race heats up.

More details from the Washington Post:


Wednesday, December 29, 2010

More than 50% of Washington Area Kids Live in Single Parent Homes: The Washington DC Bastards You Don't Hear About

Is it any wonder that the city that invented the welfare state and used the Federal Government as a tool to systematically destroy morality and family unity should be cited for an incredibly high incidence of out of wedlock children living in single parent homes. Washington DC, particularly the eastern part of the city and Maryland's Prince George's County, particularly inside the Beltway in the shadows of Fedex Field are the areas most affected not to mention being just a short distance from Baltimore which faces similiar problems. For an area that was quick to roll out the welfare state, the result is the breakdown of society where no prevailing moral authority exists and public schools serve as enablers rather than helping to raise young people to develop responsible values and to prepare for a life of responsible living. Despite having a dynamic and assertive school system leader who was promptly fired when a new mayor took office, DC schools are among the nation's worst. Prince Georges County is not much better. The school climate with teachers incapable of purposeful instruction, disasterous test results, and dreadful discipline function hand-in-hand with dysfunctional homes to create generations reproducing generations of citizens with very low expectations for life likely to be recipients of government handouts. Between the roll of social policies, inferior schools, and no true family unit, the results are pure chaos where children are born with two strikes against them. Nothing in the the roll of public institurions truly are designed to elevate citizens out of their dependency but instead function to lock them into a system where the threat of losing their benefits makes them predisposed to support the politicians who claim to support them but in truth support the very measures that will ensure generations of losers to come.

Until we insist on demonstrating behavior has consquences and certain decisions are wrong, nothing will happen. As long as schools promote values of wishy-washy political correctness that avoid addressing irresposible choices at all costs, nothing good will happen.

The answers are hard to come by but demonstrating that good choices have good consequences would be a good place to start. No welfare benefits should be granted without certain stipulations and responsibilities having to be met. Schools must stop making excuses for dystunctional homes, realize this is from where their students come, and develop educational programs and teaching strategies that will get these kids doing well in school and assimulating positive values.

In an area where big intrusive government is the prevailing industry, it's little wonder that the worst results of such government would be so obvious in the area where such nonsense is legislated into being.

We must make our government rsponsible that it ensures no child is doomed to a life of misery and perpetuating such misery to the next generation.  We cannot afford maintaining such an immoral status quo.

For more information, here's data from the Washington Examiner:

Good Student Expelled in North Carolina Victim of Idiotic Zero Tolerance Discipline

Dangerous Weapons????

Any parent whose child attends a school that boasts of a zero tolerance discipline policy should be scared, VERY SCARED, what could happen to his or her children as there is no rhyme or reason, only bureaucratic intolerance guiding how school rules are administered in today's politically correct, morally bankrupt public schools. Terrorist suspects are accorded far more legal protection and due process than honors students through out the nation.

Here's the latest. A girl in North Carolina grabbed her father's lunch box by mistake. In in was a small pairing knife. The school decided to subject students to search for drug possession -- what happened to the presuption of innocense and 4th amendment rights for the crime of being a good student.

For more details, here's a link to the report from the local Raleigh-Durham TV station, WRAL-TV:

Local superintendent indicated such procedures are aimed at what's good for the students stating, "Bottom line is we want to ensure every student feels safe on campus."

Oh really, when a kid makes a minor, very undertandable mistake the kid is subject to being treated like a criminal, THAT'S FASCISM.  The outcome would surely be making kids paranoid.

It's time that we as the taxpayers who support these public institutions for their cruel, insensitive behavior toward the next generation of America. We must show them the same kind of zero tolerance for their incredibly stupid conduct they show our kids.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

O-Blunder Just Does Get It --- Global Warming???

Conventional Washington wisdom suggests that if an administration wants to deliver unpopular news, do it when nobody's paying attention. Such would be the case between Christmas and New Years particularly when much of the eastern United States is dealing with digging out from a huge snow storm dumping around two feet or more of snow in the New York City area. 

Given the unusually cold weather in the closing months of 2010 and the heavy snow storms, there is a cruel irony that the Obama administation seeks to go full speed ahead on pursuing global warming legislation while it has been more than hinted he'll also attempt to use the regulatory processs where the Congress might fail him as well.

Which scientific experts should one believe?  Or is it I can't believe what my lying eyes see? The problem with the environmental policies emulating from the political left is that its so hard to see the true environmental issues for all the socialistic and geopolitical agendas which get imported into the process. The aim to setup global authorities which at least by treaty would have authority over national governments and that the free enterprise private economic systems are clearly in their gunsights reveals the true agenda -- redistribution of property and wealth.

Here's the current situation as reported by Fox News. Any attempt to legislate or regulate environental matters must be seen against the broader context on whether it is truly an environmental issue being dealt with in policy conistent with our constitutional republic and economic system or if it is an attempt to use the environment as a pretext to engage in eonomic and social re-engineering.

When the environmental activists start talking seriously about the pollution problems in China, destruction of the rainforest in Brazil, Africa, and elsewhere, then perhaps we see the environmental discussion moving toward the real targts. We must also consider whether the push to use American coal is not included in environmnetal scrutiny for domestic political considerations.


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

NFL 2010: Week 15 -- 'Tis the Season, Playoffs in Sight

With two weeks to go and wrapping around the Christmas holidays, week 15’s slate has several high impact games for teams still in playoff contention. Remarkably thus far, only one division has been decided and three additional teams have clinched playoff spots; however, it’s pretty obvious several other teams will be there minus a titanic scale meltdown.

For the record, Chicago has clinched the NFC north, while Pittsburgh (AFC north), New England (AFC east) and Atlanta (NFC south) have landed playoff berths. In the AFC, Baltimore (AFC north) and the New York Jets (AFC east) are well positioned as the wild card teams. Indianapolis has the tie breakers over Jacksonville keeping the AFC south in contention. Kansas City enjoys a one game lead over San Diego in pursuit of the AFC west.

The NFC is still wide open aside from Chicago’s feat. Either Atlanta or New Orleans as a long shot could win the NFC south. Atlanta has a two game lead. The teams go face-to-face this weekend. Philadelphia leads the New York Giants after the Giants’ shocking loss last weekend. The “Who Wants It?” sweepstakes have St Louis and Seattle tied at an embarrassing 6-8 with San Francisco still in the chase at 5-9. New Orleans is almost certainly an NFC wild card, while Green Bay, Tampa Bay and the New York Giants battle for the remaining spot. The Giants have a one game lead.

Week 15 Picks:

Games with Playoff Consequences…

Carolina @ Pittsburgh (=14 ½)
This will be a rest up and get healthy game for the Steelers. No way has Carolina had a chance in this one.

Baltimore (-3 ½) @ Cleveland
Never an easy game for the Ravens playing in the city that hates them most, they must beat Cleveland to maintain a shot at the AFC east.

Washington @ Jacksonville (-7)
The Jaguars should have little trouble keeping their playoff hopes in tact versus a miserable Redskins team piloted by journeyman QB Rex Grossman. In what was to be a turnaround year for the Burgundy and Gold has turned out to be far worse than imagined in the Nation’s Capital. Can Daniel Snyder, boy genius owner, find the maturity to have the right football men build a new team? Mike Shanahan and his boy have failed horribly as coaches.

Tennessee @ Kansas City (-5)
A must win for the Chiefs to sustain their run at the AFC west crown. With the confusion over QB’s resulting from Vince Young’s demise and Randy Moss’s situation, the Titans are too messed up to be a threat.

Seattle @ Tampa Bay (-6 ½)
Both teams are fighting for playoff spots. Tampa Bay must win to stay alive. If Seattle and St. Louis both lose, a team with NINE losses could win the division.

Minnesota @ Philadelphia (-14 ½)
The Vikings are a hurting mess as Philadelphia’s playoff run is fired up. The 2010 season has truly been the Vikings worst nightmare.

New England (-6 ½) @ Buffalo
Merely a tune up game for the playoffs for New England.

San Francisco @ St. Louis (-2 ½)
Who would believe a team with a 5-9 record meeting a division rival with a 6-8 record could be fighting for a division crown? St. Louis has the slight edge. Unbelievable.

New York Jets at Chicago (-1)
The Jets need this game a lot more than Chicago does, but can the Jets sustain the energy that defeated the Steelers? Go with “da Bears.”

Indianapolis (-3) @ Oakland
The Colts will win when the chips are down. They have to have this one to stay in the playoff hunt.

New York Giants @ Green Bay (-3)
A battle for the NFC wild card, the unpredictable Giants face a team with a head-clubbed QB who missed the last two games with a concussion. This is a tough pick but the Packers appear to have more guts than the Giants.

San Diego (-7 ½) at Cincinnati
San Diego must and should win at Cincinnati. A loss ends their hopes for the playoffs.

New Orleans @ Atlanta (-2 ½)
Not the big game it was poised to be earlier in the season, this year’s final Monday night game has New Orleans visiting Atlanta who has a two game advantage over New Orleans for the NFC south lead. Having seen how the Ravens tore apart New Orleans, Atlanta should prevail.

Wait ‘til next year division….

Dallas (-6 ½) @ Arizona
A contest on the NFL Network Christmas nights, eggnog belching fans can see Dallas beat up on the ravaged Arizona Cardinals. Put “Charlie Brown Christmas” in the DVD player.

Detroit @ Miami (-3 ½)
Miami was supposed to be a contender this year. They’ve underachieved all year. Detroit finally has a season they can build on in pursuit of their 5th win. Miami still should prevail but a Detroit upset is far from out of the question. There’s no time for slacking down by South Beach.

Houston (-2 ½) @ Denver
The 2010 season can be shown as nothing but horrible disappointments for both teams. The Texans were supposed to be a playoff contender. No one would have expected Denver to be one of the worst teams in the game. Perhaps coaching rumors will make more noise than cheers for the game as Texans’ coach, Gary Kubiak sure looks like a possible fit for where he caddied John Elway. The Texans simply have too much talent not to beat the Broncos, a team in disarray.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Don't Ask, Don't Tell Repealed -- History Marches On

The Senate voted to repeal the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" punitive regulation against homosexual men and women serving in the military. With its passage one of the great barriers which still sanctioned legal discrimination has been eliminated. It's about time!!!

When one carefully considers the issues, all the possible harms thought to exist by allowing open homosexuals from serving are based of prejudicial stereotypes of homosexuals not the way they live their lives in public. Straight America tends to equate homosexuality with the bizarre lifestyles characterized as "gay" from San Francisco or the lower east side of Manhattan as typical gay life styles not the expression of the counter cultures that exist in those communities that have a lot more to deal with social rebellion than sexual preference.

Let's get something straight, there is no place for people making sexual advances toward their fellow servicemen or women or their fellow employees in the workplace whether it is heterosexual or not. Surely, there have been plenty of fights between servicemen over someone "stealing" another soldier's girl friend or other conflicts which arise over heterosexual relationships.

Equally most important, the vast homosexual majority is very discrete about their interpersonal relationships and that they are willing to take a bullet for their country speaks much louder about what their character is made of than anything else.

While it will see little fanfare, and surely the usual blowhards in talk radio and fire breathing fundamentalists will mark this as one step closer to our culture becoming the new Sodom and Gomorrah, it marks one more step toward eliminating the last sanctioned prejudice. This is the 21st century and the time has come.

It's time for the Republican Party to quietly come to terms with the new reality and embrace it  The next frontier is same sex marriage. The clock is ticking.

Congratulations, BGE

Despite persistent efforts by organized labor in the past two decades, the employees of BGE (Baltimore Gas and Electric), a subsidiary of Constellation Energy, have overwhelmingly voted to reject union representation. WBAL radio reports the margin was 1,135 to 304 the largest margin in related election history in the past fourteen years.

This victory for personal rights versus collectivism is a huge triumph given the climate of caving into union demands and the staunch labor support of the Obama administration. Clearly, something good is still going on at BGE and workers are increasingly aware that union membership assures nothing of value.

We applaud those employees and their wisdom. Let's hope to see more result like this in the near future elsewhere.


HATEFUL BASTARDS: The Final Days of the 111th Congress

Don't let the door hit you on the way out...
What could better illustrate the audacity of the 111th Congress than attempt to spend $10 million on immortalizing one of their own, the absolute legendary purveyor of budgetary pork, John Murtha for whom they figured every American tax payer should divvy up and pay to fiancĂ© a nebulous John P. Murtha foundation? Though he didn’t live to see his kind of politics rise to its finest hour, in his final days the Pennsylvania Pork Purveyor was up to his own tricks establishing himself as a great supporter of the Defense department spending Federal funds on gear and equipment for the military the Pentagon never asked for.

Waiting until the last minute to attempt to pass an omnibus spending bill, the bulk of the Federal Budget, until the very last minute, something that should have been done in September, tacking more spending on pet projects and adding more wastes of money on the continuance of the tax rates established during the Bush administration after an agreement was reached combining a two year extension with unemployment benefits with the hard reality everyone’s taxes would go up January 1 if a tax bill was not passed, they took the game to an even more grotesque level. How can there be any question that the 111th Congress has been one of the most irresponsible, corrupt, self-serving, morally bankrupt, and politically cynical elected assemblies in the history of western democracy. The Federal Budget was due October 1, 2010.

As we look at the events of the closing days of its existence trying to expedite their every last fantasy into law, it’s not hard to see what a band of hateful, loathsome bastards these pitiful excuses for political leaders truly have been. Talking about budget priorities when the mood of the country was to cut taxes and reduce Federal spending was seen as a burden they did not want to have to stand up for while running for reelection. Did taking that stance help them?

Probably not, given the huge switch over to a Republican majority in the House. The Senate would surely be two seats closer to a majority were it not for Sarah Palin’s meddling into the primary election process in Nevada and Delaware supporting unelectable Sarah Palin knockoffs over candidates who clearly had terrific odds at beating the Democrats’ candidates.

Against tremendous public sentiment to the contrary, the 111th Congress passed what is known as Obama-Care, the government take over of health care management in the United States. It didn’t matter what it took to get the bill passed, who needed to be bribed or what special provisions to satisfy a squeaky wheel Senator, the Democratic leaders would stop at nothing to ramrod through a totally ill-conceived disaster, a guaranteed failure. What better characterized their ethos than House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s statement that they’d have to pass the bill so the public could see what’s in it?

Job one upon taking office in January, 2009 was dealing with the economy. Big bill #1 was a supposed “stimulus” package. The critical needs that would have helped lead to a better economy, helping small businesses succeed, breaking through red tape bringing corporate America to a standstill, encouraging entrepreneurship were all ignored in favor of setting up a select few new Federal government jobs that had no urgency whatsoever but even more so providing all kinds of perks and privileges for the nation’s biggest unions. What was supposed to help the unemployed proved to be mostly a goody bag of thank you presents to the special interest groups who made their ascent into office possible in the first place.

During their tenure, the unemployment rate went from somewhere in the six to seven percent range to dangerously close to ten percent. Nothing has shown that that rate should go down in the near future despite promises that the goal of the program was to keep the rate from going past eight percent.

As racking up trillions of dollars in spending, the government credit card financed by China, Saudis, and others who have no interest in looking out for the USA allowed multiplying the debt to unthinkable levels with no urgent problems solved or any great returns that would benefit the population at large.

Who could be a better poster child for the 111th Congress than freshman congressman Alan Grayson who was thankfully not reelected in November? If one were to create a historical documentary of this renegade congress, surely the obscenity laced tirades of this pitiful excuse for a human being much less political leader would have to be included including his talking board presentation of how he assessed the Republican version of health care. “The Republican health care plan for America: Don’t get sick. That’s right, don’t get sick. If have insurance, don’t get sick. If you don’t have insurance, don’t get sick. If you’re sick, don’t get sick. Republicans have a back up plan in case you get sick, America, the Republican health care plan is this. Die quickly. That’s right. The Republicans want you to die quickly if you get sick.”

Amazingly, outside of alternative media, this disgusting tirade received almost no exposition or condemnation in the mainstream media almost surely because they share his positions if they wouldn’t be as blunt as to state them so graphically. How shameful is that?

Truly, the arrogance of power and the contempt of criticism so endemic in the Democratic members of the 111th Congress are so well represented by Alan Grayson. In describing his contempt for Dick Chaney he stated he had trouble listening to Cheney … “because of the blood that drips from his teeth while he is talking… He’s just angry because the president doesn’t shoot old men in the face. But by the way, when he was done speaking, did he just then turn into a bat and fly away?”

Grayson also characterized his opposition sneering, “We’re dealing with people on the other side who are utterly unscrupulous. These are foot-dragging, knuckle-dragging, Neanderthals who know nothing but ‘no.’”

We finish with Grayson’s theater of the absurd as it so well captures the overall outlook and attitude of an entity so short in existence, just two years, whose damage to the United States will take years to turnabout.

That a group such as them would attempt to ramrod every last item on their agenda trying to create a false crisis mentality in their closing lame duck days knowing that the measures they are attempting to make law are the exact things that the public objected to and used as rational to vote against them shows their absolute arrogance and contempt to the American people the swore to defend.

We can only hope that Nancy Pelosi looks pathetic and frail attempting to assert herself as House Minority Leader in the 112th Congress. One thing’s for certain, she and her colleagues will be treated with a much higher degree of respect from the new majority party than what her leadership provided. To what extent will Harry Reid with a much slimmer majority attempt to advance the Democrat’s agenda knowing full well in 2012, there will be a much larger number of Democratic Senators up for reelection than there were in 2010?

Given their inability to escape their sense of denial over what the electorate handed them on the first Tuesday of November, they will probably continue to plunder and plod until their numbers are eliminated to the point of being little more that a mouse fart after the next election.

Now for the scary part, are the Republicans up for the challenge or will they miss the chance to cease the moment and bury this generation of Democrats for good?

For one last look at how the 111th Congress was so intellectually clueless, let's consider the words of House leader Nancy Pelosi's insight into good conditions for economic growth citing the Haiti earthquakes. Madame Speaker opined:

"I think that this can be an opportunity for a real boom economy in Haiti,"

We pray that when the big one hits California, the Pelosi estate is not spared --- for using this logic, who'd want to deprive Nancy Pelosi of golden opportunity for great economic growth potential?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

NFL 2010: Week 15 -- P,p,p, play-Offs!!!! Did Somebody Say Playoffs???!!!!

The playoff picture is in sight especially in the AFC where it would appear the field is set except maybe the AFC West. It’s just a question of who will win the division and who’d be the Wild Card in the North and the East. The NFC is still wide open. Here’s this week’s action for NFL Week 15 as we enter the new era of Brett Favre not being involved. We’ll review the games with playoff implications first.

San Francisco @ San Diego (-10)
The team that loses this game loses its shot at the playoffs and that team should be San Francisco despite San Diego can be a frustrating underachiever. This is their time of the year, though, but that didn’t keep them from losing to Oakland.

New Orleans @ Baltimore (-2)
Both teams are likely to make the playoffs but the loser of this game and forget its chances to win its division. The Ravens must play sharper defense and get better protection for its passing game if it hopes to beat the defending champs.

Kansas City @ St. Louis (Pick)
Kansas City is struggling to hold on to first place while St. Louis in the hapless NFC West is tied for first despite having a losing record. Both teams are in the hunt since each conference has a weak division. KC has been more consistent and shows more ways to win than St. Louis, so pick KC to beat St. Louis

Philadelphia @ New York Giants (-2.5)
This could be one of the toughest fights of the weekend as the Eagles and Giants fight for the NFC East title while the loser could well be the second wild card team. The Giants seem to be a little more consistent across their lineup than the Eagles who’d need a commanding game from Michael Vick to prevail. Go with New York.

Jacksonville @ Indianapolis (-5)
Here’s the fight for the AFC South. The loser of this game will most likely not only not win the division but also fall from playoff consideration since they’d have to catch either the AFC North or East second place teams, both have 9-4 records. Payton Manning’s boys have the edge.

New York Jets @ Pittsburgh (-6)
The Steelers are pretty banged up. New York’s QB, Mark Sanchez, has lost his mojo. Pittsburgh needs the win to stay atop the AFC North. The Jets need the game for any hope of being New England for the AFC East. The Jets would need a huge turnabout after losing their last two games against Pittsburgh. That’s not likely to happen. Go with Pittsburgh.

Green Bay @ New England (no odds posted)
New England will destroy Green Bay who will be without QB Aaron Rodgers. Remember, the Patriots have no conscience about running up the score when they dominate another team. Green Bay’s post season hopes could die in Massachusetts.

Atlanta (-6) @ Seattle
No threat to Atlanta who are increasingly looking like the NFC’s top team.

Denver @ Oakland (-6.5)
Oakland needs this win to keep its hopes at winning the AFC west alive. Against the disassembled Broncos, that should be a challenge they can meet.

Chicago @ Minnesota (no odds posted)
Chicago should keep its playoff status healthy as the Minnesota Vikings have completely fallen apart in the 2nd half of the season. The Vikings will use the University of Minnesota’s stadium as their home field.

Detroit @ Tampa Bay (-5.5)
Tampa will keep its slight playoff hopes alive by whacking the Lions.

The following games have no impact on the post season:

Washington @ Dallas (-6)
Washington will get slaughtered and fall to being tied for last place in the AFC East. The Burgundy and Gold’s upper management simply doesn’t have a clue how to build an NFL franchise. Head coach, Michal Shanahan has been totally ineffective bringing the team together. Once the model for organizational stability, the Redskins are in freefall with no signs of reversing the mess any time soon.

Arizona @ Carolina (-2.5)
Can anyone believe these two teams played in the NFC championship recently? Somebody’s got to win. Home cooking and no cross country travel give this to the Panthers.

Cleveland @ Cincinnati (-1.5)
Here’s a tough pick between two awful teams from Ohio. It’s Cleveland’s young, unfocused talent against a bunch of undisciplined surly vets with Cincinnati. We’ll give Cleveland the edge in the battle for the Buckeye State.

Buffalo @ Miami (-5.5)
Miami will look like a playoff team they could have been in this one.

Houston @ Tennessee (-1.5)
Houston looked brilliant wearing the Baltimore defense into chaos Monday night, but they cannot generate much on offense. We’ll give Houston the ever so slight lead.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Brett Favre: 4 the Ages

Brett Favre’s pro football “iron man” streak is over having played an amazing 297 consecutive games. Given the wear and tear of professional football, size this up against Cal Ripken’s streak in baseball. Almost certainly, these are both feats of unbelievable commitment and intensity.

While Cal Ripken’s streak was an event worthy of national celebration, somehow Favre’s accomplishment falls short. Much of this has to do with what Favre’s story has been since leaving Green Bay, seemingly retiring at the end of the 2007 season.

After falling just a play short of guiding the Green Bay Packers to the Super Bowl only to fall short to the New York Giants. In early March, Favre gave his tearful farewell to the sports media. Green Bay took him at his word and prepared to have Aaron Rodgers ready to lead the team in 2008. As teams were preparing to begin training camp for the ’08 season, Favre decided retirement wasn’t such a good idea and wanted to return. The Packers wanted no part of it so for several weeks an escalating feud becoming increasingly hostile on both sides with each news cycle accelerated with Favre even dropping the suggestion that he would like to play for the archrival, Minnesota Vikings. The results were the Packers trading Favre’s contract rights to the New York Jets – a team sadly in need of leadership. Favre’s success was immediate but short-lived in New York where a series of injuries left him looking foolish to have not retired. What the media and public didn’t know was that the beloved southern boy charmer was engaged in some dirty business with a New York Jets female staffer who supposedly was sent naughty pictures by the legendary #4.

End of season, Favre supposedly retires again, but was anyone taking him seriously this time?

Favre refused to make commitments but the buzz was he was going to return to active play with the Minnesota Vikings, but when training camp began, there was no Brett Favre in camp. He still needed more convincing. He signed his deal with just one week to go before the regular season, and the 2009 season was almost all Brett Favre could dream of. The Vikings led the NFC north looking like a good bet to go to the Super Bowl. Favre led the Vikings to a strong 12-4 record, the second seed behind the eventual champions, the New Orleans Saints. The NFC championship would go to overtime perhaps because a Favre interception prevented the Vikings from being positioned for a game winning field goal. As with his last game with Green Bay, so close to the championship, but at the decisive moment – the goat, not the hero.

After the 2009 season, Favre remained vague and noncommittal on his plans. Any talk of retirement was dismissed until training camp began. What were the Vikings to do with their QB situation?

On July 28, Favre announced his intention to retire to the Vikings, but nobody thought that was his final answer. On August 18th, the local CBS station, WCCO-TV and ESPN said he’d return. A cadre of Vikings players was dispatched to Mississippi by team management to deliver the goods and the grandfather QB was back with the Vikings.

The 2010 season has been nothing short of an absolute disaster short of a few flashes of brilliance. The end result, an amazing streak, a hall of game career, 1992-2010. Cal Ripken’s streak went from 1982 to 1998 by comparison. Favre has three consecutive MVP awards from 1995-1997, eleven Pro Bowl selections and numerous longevity records.

It’s hard to imagine Brett Favre suiting up to play again. Fans will debate for a long time about how his last three years impacted his glory. Will they be seen as the mark of a relentless competitor or that of someone blinded by pride entering into a bizarre Faustian pact in an attempt to cheat father time?


Thursday, December 9, 2010

Republican Jew-Bashing in Texas Legislature???

How to destroy a political party, in 2010 show an anti-semetic political stance in selecting a legislative leader. Is this what's happening in Texas in attempts by the Republican leadership in the Texas legislature appearing to insist on a "Christian" leader over incumbent Texas House Speaker, Joe Straus"

If Mr. Straus is not suitable based on where he stands on key Republican issues, that's one thing, but there is no reading through what's going on here and not see the taint of reactionary Christian sentiment that colors the whole decision making process in this matter.

Clearly, as news reports suggest, way too much attention has been drawn to the notion that Joe Straus is Jewish and that the Speaker of the Texas House should be Christian.

Somehow when one readings between the lines, one can't help but here the whispers of, "they killed our Lord and Savior" nonsense echoing in the background. There is no carrying on intelligent convrsation with such people. While they are not the Christian Equivalent of Islamic Jihad as many secular extremists suggest, such conduct speaks very poorly for a very small faction of traditional fundementalists.

While there is a general lack of morality in today's political world and the need to advocate moral behavior through out society, when it becomes self-described Christians putting the hammer down on Jews, such conduct is intolerable.

What can be done to clarify this Texas matter so that the spector of anti-Semeticism is eliminated from the decision making process?


A Conservative Defends "Same Sex" Marriage and Ending "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"

A “Conservative” for Same Sex Marriage and Ending “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”

This writer’s opinion on this issue has been a long time coming. As a heterosexual, homosexuality is something that will always seem strangely alien to me as I am just not wired to identify with those feelings. My outlook on homosexuality has evolved over many years being something of a gay basher in high school to increasingly developing understanding and tolerance to this, the final barrier, consenting to the notion of same sex marriage.

My first revelation was that gay bashers were far crazier than anything I could ascribe to homosexuals even the ones who engage in the bizarre San Francisco kind of conduct which is probably more a reflection on San Francisco than is it sexual preference. From there I realized I had lots of friends and fellow workers who were “gay” or “lesbians.” They were just real good folks who one would never suspect – so much for don’t ask, don’t tell. How can we exclude people willing to take a bullet for their country over an issue like this?

I fully realize there are passages in The Bible which would appear to strongly condemn homosexuality. However, often in the same passage or elsewhere there are strong condemnations against adultery, promiscuity, and other lustful behavior. So if homosexuality is so awful, where’s the passion about the other things? It might be healthy if there were much more condemnation of having children out of wedlock. Let’s remember that we are also taught, “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.”

Let’s now add a social context. What kind of “sinful” behavior clearly has negative effects on others regardless of beliefs or morals? Conduct that results in not supporting a family or the needs of a child is surely far worse than what someone does in his or her private life or with another consulting adult.

This leads to the crux of the decision. How does same sex marriage do harm to others? How would permitting such affect this writer’s life in any manner whatsoever? Meanwhile, for the participants in a same sex relationship, the bond of marriage could be the ultimate affirmation of that which those two people hold most dearly. Why should someone else destroy their pursuit of happiness as they desire to do?

The only concern that is hard to resolve is the roll of children who have homosexual parents. Would not having two committed parents have benefits over a single parent home? The only harm is the extent to which kids might be bullied by homophobic other children. Has not our culture attempted to teach tolerance of same-sex relationships? Clearly, though a lot of values are borne from the home.

There’s only one other argument that surfaces from time-to-time, if marriage can be stretched to be inclusive of more than the traditional man and woman, where does society draw the line? Could courts then rule polygamy is okay? Could adult/child relationships be rationalized? If we employ the “do no harm” standard, those concerns should be addressed. The political process can mess up anything so ultimately then the responsibility rests in the voter. Where same sex marriage has gone to the ballot, there have been mixed results.

With all these considerations in mind, while it is far from a front burner issue in this writer’s list of political issues, both same sex marriage and eliminating restrictions against homosexuals serving in the military should be realized.

There’s a dark little secret. Some people with same sex preferences are politically conservative but might possibly ally their passions elsewhere because the conservative political factions have made them unwelcome.

Our society is full of sexual hang-ups that would be better served if all of us could discuss and debate more openly and not hide behind the barriers of outmoded morality or shrouds of political correctness.


NFL 2010: Week 14 -- Decision Time Drawing Near

This week's games will make the potential playoff picture much clearer starting with the outcome of tonight's game as a hobbled Indianapolis visits the unpredictable Tennessee Titans. One major contest which will determine how much of a race is left in the AFC West pits Kansas City against San Diego in sunny California. Las Vegas won't pick a favorite there but we will try. How will a new coach influence Denver not that they or Arizona are playing for much. Likewise, will Washington find new life with problem child, Albert Haynesworth banned for the rest of the season. Let's also look at the Ravens and Jets, both of whom lost and fell to the wildcard spot in the AFC whild Pittsburgh and New England look vicious.

Indianapolis (-3.5) @ Tennessee
How can you go against Payton Manning at this time of the year? Nevertheless, we don't have a whole lot of confidence in this pick for the Colts.

Tampa Bay (-3) @ Washington
The Bus look like an up and coming team guided by a promising QB. The Redskins are on life support. Tampa wins.

Cleveland @ Buffalo (-1)
Ugh, two mitakes on the lake...the great Lake Erie Sewage Bowl. We're picking the Browns.

New York Giants (-3) @ Minnesota
Could this be the end of the Favre era? Truth be told, it's already over but we'll see if he starts. The Giants will win this one certainly.

Cincinnati @ Pittsburgh (-8.5)
The Bengals will be heading home face down floating down the Ohio River after this one.

Atlanta (-7) @ Carolina
The Dixie Bowl -- Atlanta wins.

New England (-3) @ Chicago
New England probably won't do to the Bears what they did to the Jets, but this will be one ass-whoopin' in Chicago.

Seattle @ San Francisco (-5)
Las Vegas seems more convinced than this writer on this one but we like Iron Mike. Pick the 'niners.

St. Louis @ New Orleans (-9)
The Saints go marching on!!!

Denver (-5.5) @ Arizona
Okay, how will the Broncos play for their new coach against a team that seems to have quit for the season?

Miami @ New York Jets (-5.5)
Jets will bounce back big time after their Monday Night ass whoopin'.

Kansas City @ San Diego (pick)
San Diego will probably squeak this one out as it's now or never for them playing at home. KC wins this one, they're as good as in as West champs.

Philadelphia (-3.5) @ Dallas
Yeow, will the new Cowboys have enough to beat an energetic Eagles team? We'll go with Philadelphia knowing this could go the other way.

Baltimore (-3) @ Houston
The Ravens are hopping mad after clobbering the Steelers only to wind up beaten in the 4th quarter. Baltimore wins!!!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

NFL 2010: Playoff Picture with Four Weeks Remaining

The AFC post season pool is pretty much set. It’s just a matter of jockeying for position at this point.

Here’s the field:
(East) New England: 10 - 2 – Home field through out
(North) Pittsburgh: 9 - 3 – First Round Bye
(West) Kansas City: 8 – 4
(South) Jacksonville: 7 - 5
(Wild Card) New York Jets: 9 -3
(Wild Card) Baltimore: 8 – 4

In the North, the Ravens are three games ahead of Cleveland – no race there unless the Ravens can pull ahead of the Steelers to win the division. The Jets are three games up on the Miami Dolphins – same scenario as the North, but New England would go 2 – 2 for the rest of the season? Doubtful.

The race is in the AFC South. Jacksonville is one game up on the Colts and two games up on Tennessee and Houston. The Colts must get healthy. Their slaughter at the hands of Dallas showed how torn apart the Indianapolis team is. Indianapolis hosts Jacksonville in two weeks. That game could decide the division.

Who would have expected Kansas City to be playoff bound? San Diego was surging but gave up an embarrassing loss to Oakland and now stand two games back. Oakland has the tie-breakers over San Diego. Kansas City faces both San Diego and Oakland so tie-breakers could come into play if they lost both games and their competition won their remaining four games. The bottom line is if Kansas City wins three games, they’re in.

Incidentally, there are no teams beside the six teams we show seeded for the playoffs who currently hold a winning record in the AFC.

The NFC is a different matter. There are plenty of open races, but the West could really embarrass the NFL with a division leader with a losing record.

(South) Atlanta: 10 - 2 – Home field through out.
(North) Chicago: 9 – 3 – First Round Bye
(East) Philadelphia: 8 – 4
(West) Seattle: 6 – 6
(Wild Card) New Orleans: 9 – 3
(Wild Card) Green Bay: 8 – 4

Here are other contenders:
New York Giants: 8 – 4 – Wild Card or East title
Tampa Bay: 7 – 5 – Wild Card, South title (long shot)
St. Louis: 6 -6 – West title

In the NFC, all conferences are open races and two teams have a shot at the Wild Card beyond the two we show as seeded.

The Dallas Cowboys are surely the team nobody in contention wants to face. Since the dismissal of Wade Phillips, they’re winning convincingly with just one loss. Jason Garrett has the team on the move which had been a laughing stock through October. The Eagles do battle with the Cowboys twice, at Dallas, this weekend and then finish against them at home.

With four weeks to go, the AFC field looks almost set in stone. The NFC, the surest bet would appear to be Atlanta winning the south, but would anyone bet against the possibility of Green Bay overtaking the Bears if they are healthy. With two games against Dallas, and the New York Giants getting things pulled back together, the Eagles could fall. The West is total chaos. One team will win by default. With all these possibilities in play, it’s way too soon to project the final Wild Cards. Today’s first place teams could be the Wild Cards at season’s end.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Baltimore City Nightmare

An event such as this should not be hidden behind school walls.  How can any meaningful education take place where what is reported in the following link is possible?


Thursday, December 2, 2010

NFL 2010: Week 13 -- Playoff Racs Shape Up as Craziness Goes Wild

Fights, a QB laughing with a teammate while his team is being blown out then denying it to reporters then going ballistic, but other than that, a typical Thanksgiving weekend. Detroit got pounded, the other two games were pretty good. Sunday was full of fun. Here's Week 13's match ups and picks.

Houston @ Philadelphia (-7 1/2)
It's been a steady trip downhill for Houston who was expected to perform. Philadelphia should have this home game under control.

Washington @ New York Giants (-7)
The Redskins appear to be on life support. Unlikely to see any surprises as the Giants will be large and in change.

San Francisco @ Green Bay (-9 1/2)
Green Bay is rolling along as one of the NFC's elite. No contest.

Denver @ Kansas City (-7)
Denver appears in free fall mode.

 Buffalo @ Minnesota (-7)
Swamp boy Brett should have enough left in his old body to win this one.

Chicago @ Detroit (DRAW)
 Chicago will win.

Jacksonville @ Tennessee (-3)  
Jacksonville is one of the surprise teams of 2010 and should beat their division foes.

New Orleans (-6) @ Cincinnati
Forget the hype about New Orleans playing in cold weather. They'll make an ice sculpture out of the Cinco and Stinko show.

Atlanta (-3) @ Tampa Bay
Tampa is better than one might think but not good enough to stop Atlanta.

Oakland @ San Diego (-12 1/2)
San Diego showed what their offense can do against the Colts. At home they'll whack the Raiders.

Carolina @ Seattle (-6)
Pity the folks from Charlotte, the Panthers are about the weakest team in the game this year. Seattle can fall apart when they should win but not this time.

St. Louis (-2.5) @ Arizona
After how poor they played at home against San Francisco, they'd better show up for the Rams. They'll not have a chance without more effort.

Dallas @ Indianapolis (-5)
This game is a must win for the Colts. They're banged up and Dallas is playing better with Wade Phillips gone, but they still play well at home.

TWO BIG ONES -- The winners of these two games will probably be the AFC Championship contenders.

Pittsburgh @ Baltimore (3)
How hurt is Ben Roethlisberger?  If the Ravens whack him around they win. If they don't, it could get ugly.

New York Jets @ New England (-3.5)
Both teams are 9-2. This will be a brawl between contrasting styles. New England has the edge.


Monday, November 29, 2010

Sarah Palin's Latest Enemy: Barbara Bush


Sarah Palin: Thin-skinned as ever.

Few American figures are more beloved than Barbara Bush. She’s known for her folksy way of expressing herself and shooting straight from the hip unfiltered and unapologetically. So is it any wonder that in a Larry King interview when asked about Sarah Palin, the former first lady opined bluntly, “I wish she’d stay in Alaska.”

Naturally, in the next interview situation involving Sarah Palin, generally a daily occasion on Fox News or on programs by people closely associated with Fox News, she would be asked to react to Mrs. Bush’s remark. Laura Ingraham’s radio program provided just that forum.

The former governor of Alaska who attempts to cultivate an image for her straight talk said the following of the esteemed Barbara Bush:

"I don't want to concede that we have to get used to this kind of thing, because I don't think the majority of Americans want to put up with the blue-bloods -- and I want to say it will all due respect because I love the Bushes -- the blue-bloods who want to pick and choose their winners instead of allowing competition.”

How about that?

How much evidence does the public need that Sarah Palin is a lightweight, a classless moron, and one who lacks any kind of tact, humility, or ability to deal with criticism.

There are so many ways the Wasilla Wench could have responded to Mrs. Bush’s tart remark. Here are some suggestions.

“Laura, I really don’t want to comment on that.”

“Well, I really like Barbara Bush. I’m sorry I haven’t won her over yet.”

“Ouch, that hurts. Still ol’ Mrs. Bush doesn’t mince her words does she?”

In any case, this was a situation a mature public figure would have immediately sought to defuse and not intensify.

This also reveals how transparent Sarah Palin’s hypocrisy is. Sarah Palin would never miss a chance to criticize the Obama forces for fermenting a sense of class warfare, but what is she doing when a highly respected figure from a dedicated Republican family ruffles her big hairdo?

She appeals to a sense of class warfare between a perceived Republican establishment she chose to identify as blue bloods and that they somehow thwart the public will in some sense. It’s interesting to note where Palin backed candidates were ones drawing significant reservations from the so-called “establishment,” the results were a disaster.
Consider that there were at least three choices in Nevada who were quite capable of being Harry Reid whose defeat would have been a huge victory for American conservatism. Sharon Angle committed one embarrassing gaff after another showing a person truly not ready for prime time. The Republicans had a rare opportunity to pick up Delaware, a very liberal state, but the Palin factor brought in a total embarrassment, Christine O’Donnell, a candidate whose supposed resume was littered with patterns of irresponsible behavior and living proof she was not intellectually capable for the job.

Meanwhile, how embarrassing can it be to the Palin faction that they could win the primary in Alaska ousting incumbent Senator Lisa Murkowsi in favor of Joe Miller? Seeing what was in play and that so much of Palin’s intervention in the Alaskan primary was her personal vendetta against the Murkowski family, Ms. Murkowski chose to run as a write in candidate and it appears it’s just a matter of time for the appeals process to run its course and she will return to Washington as Alaska’s Senator.

Naturally, none of this is the way Sarah Palin would address these situations. It’s all about her and those who persecute her. She cannot refute substantive issues directed against her because quite frankly she lacks the intellectual capability to do so. As such her attacks consist of insulting her opponents or using sweeping generalities supporting her ideology to attempt to brand them.

For someone who makes a living insulting and belittling others, isn’t it amusing how every little insult finds Palin popping off screaming fowl and just like that every remark against her becomes a national story at least on Fox News and supportive talk show programs.

It’s a shame Fox News doesn’t recognize how their organization has been duped into being a persistent shill for Sarah Palin. While they may see ratings and advertising dollars in pandering to an audience willing to support Palin, it seriously compromises their integrity as “fair and balanced.”

Here’s to the former first lady, Barbara Bush. We couldn’t agree with her feelings more.


Thursday, November 25, 2010

NFL 2010: Week 12 -- Turkeys and Rare Birds

Here it is, Thanksgiving. We gather with our families where the women gather in the kitchen giggling and complaining about the men while cooking up enough turkey dinner to feed a small army. Some old uncle in a horrible button-up sweater will gather some of the young people in the gathering and share with them, “This is American History, this is important,” and BS the kids about how the poor Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock in Massachusetts and after their first harvest in 1621, the Massachusetts colonists celebrated the first Thanksgiving. They were so faithful to God and so patriotic, they gathered with the native Americans in the area who helped the discover some of the great edibles of North America, and thus a great tradition began. They feasted together and within years, the colonists more than paid off their hosts by slaughtering them soon thereafter. All the wonderful things the Native Americans or Indians did for the people who conquered their land even helping them learn the joys of really violent sports like lacrosse, but how are they thanked? The Detroit Lions and Dallas Cowboys have traditionally hosted football games not the Kansas City Chiefs of the Washington Redskins. However, the Thanksgiving NFL tradition does bear some resemblance to the native’s plight. The Detroit Lions, the home team, are routinely slaughtered on Thanksgiving on their home field. This year, how ironic, the New England Patriots, whose home in Foxboro, MA is near the Pilgrims’ settlement, get to conduct the slaughter.

Around the conclusion of the first game, the ladies will expect the men to come to the table and gorge on turkey, mashed potatoes, sauerkraut, sweet potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce, some casserole with green beans, pumpkin pie, apple pie, pecan pie, and a lot of beer. However, this will not be easy when the second game, New Orleans, the defending champs, visit Dallas who suddenly looks empowered after firing the couch who sort of met the description of the boring old uncle described above. New Orleans needs this game to stay on a hot playoff pace. They should beat Dallas, but Dallas is full of surprises under their new leadership.

The night concludes with the Cincinnati Bengals visiting the New York Jets in what should be the trash talk bowl given the likes of Ochocinco and T.O. for Cincinnati and Coach Rex Ryan and a bevy of his players doing the same for the Jets.

So let’s look at this week’s game and she who the rare birds and turkeys are.

New England (-6 ½) @ Detroit
Dress that lion up in the turkey costume.

New Orleans (-3 ½) @ Dallas
Edge goes to the Saints.

Cincinnati @ New York Jets (-9)
The Jets need to obliterate the Bengals to show they are real champ material and not the “Not Yets.”

Minnesota @ Washington (-2 ½)
Here are two teams in turmoil in part because the coaches have made some really weird decisions. Well, Chili’s gone but will Minnesota turn hot? Unlikely! The Brett Favre “wear out your welcome” tour marches on.

Green Bay @ Atlanta (-2 ½)
The Falcons should be rare birds and prevail over the Packers. Winning games like this will help them prove they are for real.

Jacksonville @ New York Giants (-7)
The Giants need a good strong win to help them stop an embarrassing midyear slide.

Pittsburgh (-6 ½) @ Buffalo
On the shores of Lake Erie, the scene will be dreary for the Bills.

Carolina @ Cleveland (-10)
How bad are things for the Panthers (Carolina Wild Turkey), when’s the last time the Cleveland Browns were given a ten point spread?

Tampa Bay @ Baltimore (-8)
Save some crab dip from the Thanksgiving munchies. While both teams have 7-3 records, Tampa has beat up on chumps. They’re in crab town now and plenty of Baltimore fans will be belching hot gas vapors from the residual effects of that good old sauerkraut Marylanders enjoy with their Thanksgiving Turkey. The Ravens will munch on the Bucs like a big crab cake.

Philadelphia (-3 ½) at Chicago
Philadelphia should win this one but this is one of the week’s toughest picks.

Tennessee @ Houston (-6 ½)
So can new Houston beat old Houston? The Texans who had their sites set so high have been a miserable pick this year, but the former Oilers are in disarray after a Vince Young meltdown and apparent season ending injury. The owner’s dabbling in Jeff Fisher’s need to manage the QB situation is not welcome.

Kansas City (-1 ½) @ Seattle
If KC is a true contender this year, they must do better than the dinky little point spread granted them.

Miami @ Oakland (-3)
Miami’s pretty beat up and Oakland can play tough enough to get the job done.

St. Louis @ Denver (-4)
Denver cannot afford to lose a game like this. While their playoff hopes are all but erased, they need to prove they still have stuff to work with.

San Diego @ Indianapolis (-3)
San Diego is like a fine wine that improves with age and they are getting better as the season gets deeper. The also have a history of messing with the Colts who are still a hurting team. Still, Payton Manning…. Enough said.

San Francisco (-1) @ Arizona
What did the turkey carcass look like after Thanksgiving dinner – something like the 2010 Cardinals – dead birds stripped to the bare bones and totally cooked?

Monday, November 22, 2010

Sprint Cup 2010: Race 36 -- Denny Hamlin

What a splendid position to be in. On the last race day of the season, to start the day in first place and to lead the Sprint Cup Series in wins would be the envy of 42 other drivers even if it was just a 15 point lead. Hamlin raced to perfect two weeks ago in Texas taking the points lead and looked on solid footing to dislodge Jimmie Johnson, the four year defending champion.

Hamlin raced well in Phoenix last week, but facing the prospect of running out fuel, Mike Ford, Hamlin's crew chief gambled by having the #11 make a fuel stop with what could be enough time for competitors to have to do the same or run out of gas. Alas, Jimmie Johnson finished in the top five and Hamlin finished 12th narrowing the gap for a real shootout in the finale. His poor qualifying put the strain on his competitive position as well, because once the green flag flew he was double digits behind Johnson on the track and would have to play catch up all day if he were to regain the lead and capture the championship. A bump with the #16 Ford driven by Greg Biffle ultimately sealed Hamlin's fate -- it caused enough damage to make the car a handling mess for the rest of the race good enough to finish but not to challenge for a top five position.

Johnson would win his fifth consecutive championship, and for Denny Hamlin, it would be runner up and better luck next time.

One can argue if Johnson truly won the championship or Hamlin lost it. There were signs Hamlin truly wasn't ready to be a champion yet. His anger and frustration after Phoenix calling out his crew chief for the wrong decision was not championship behavior. Through many an interview he took shots at other drivers and teams, as he had done through much of the season creating a real storm with Richard Childress drivers after bad mouthing the organization after Clint Bowyer's penalties after his win in New Hampshire. Hamlin has seldom shied away from taking verbal shots at other drivers even for episodes that involved nothing with his situation on the race track.

Drivers often talk of respect in the garage area. Danica Patrick spoke of wanting to be sure she showed proper respect to her fellow competitors as she started her Nationwide career this year. How out of character it looked to see Jeff Burton and Jeff Gordon get into a tussle at Texas since they are two drivers who have long been saluted for their respectful behavior. These lessons have not dawned on Denny Hamlin yet and he's deep enough into his career where it is long past time to turn the page.

Having five years as a pro in the Sprint Cup series who just turned 30 on Thursday, it's time to "man up" and be a true sportsman. The whining and finger pointing is not befitting of a NASCAR champion. The young veteran is dealing with some difficult reality checks that if he comes back from them wiser and more mature, the future could be very bright.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Sprint Cup 2010: Race 36 -- Jimmie Johnson Wins 5th Consecutive Championship!!!

If there were a NASCAR Mount Rushmore, there is now an absolute guaranteed third spot. When we talk of the greatest drivers of all-time, there’s Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt with their seven championships. Add Jimmie Johnson, the next in line with fie championships, but all five won in a row. By the way, 2010 was only Johnson’s 9th season; he’s only 35 years old with easily another decade to be considered right in the prime of his career. Isn’t it ironic that Jeff Gordon, once seen as the most likely person to challenge the seven championship barrier with his four championships, four years older than Johnson, serves as Johnson’s co-owner with Rick Hendrick and actively encouraged Johnson to join the Hendricks team.

By the way, Carl Edwards won the race, his second in a row and second for the 2010 season.

2010 was the most hard fought championship chase Jimmie Johnson faced, losing his points lead with three races to go against Denny Hamlin, Hamlin’s pit strategy put a big dent in his lead after last week’s race at Phoenix giving Johnson only fifteen points to overcome. Having qualified in the second half of the pack, Hamlin went into today’s competition with much ground to make up to regain his points lead. Johnson raced a strong competitive race while Hamlin had difficulties including a bump with the #16 car which was enough to impact the #11 car’s handling ability, by midway, it looked like Johnson’s championship barring catastrophic consequences while having Hamlin or Harvick in a position to take advantage of it.

Let’s not forget that Johnson won three of the first five races in 2010. He looked darned near invincible with the championship only being a formality back in March, but when the wing was yanked off and the spoiler put back on, suddenly the #48 came back down to earth.

During the main stretch of the season, Johnson did not look like the dominant driver on the circuit, but one should not discount the team had three wins in the first seven weeks of the season often standing atop the standings before having a series of misadventures in late spring and through much of the summer. Still, Johnson stood one win short of Hamlin and the standings were adjusted to begin the chase and when all was completed, Hamlin continued the top driver in victories. At year’s end, Hamlin would finish with eight wins to Johnson’s six.

The 2010 season was difficult for NASCAR, but who couldn’t argue that the racing was generally exciting and very competitive. The “Let’s have at it, boys” philosophy led to more of a race to win philosophy than play it safe and pile up points approach. Sadly, it would seem that the fans might not have noticed since ratings dropped off significantly this year. But of that might be from the Brickyard forward, the ESPN produced segments are now almost exclusively on ESPN not ABC over-the-air local stations. The NFL has enjoyed incredible viewership, but by contrast, the World Series was a dud. Media publications have suggested a direct correlation between viewership and how well Dale Earnhardt Jr. is performing. Is there any denying the 2010 season on top of a frustrating 2009 season has been a horrible embarrassment to the Earnhardt brand and the Hendricks operation? Aside from Junior’s bold victory in a #3 Wrangler Chevy in the Nationwide series at Daytona in July, when has Little E been a factor in a race?

Most long time fans agree ESPN’s current coverage is terrible compared to the coverage up to the end of the 2000 season with Bob Jenkins, Ned Jarrett, and the late Benny Parsons. The current approach is way too over produced, too many talking heads, way too much chatter away fro the competition and not much good natured humor.

NASCAR’s continued financial issues have weighed on the general sense of well-being this year as well. Last winter saw the Gillette financed, Richard Petty Racing merge with Yates racing and switch to Fords, but by fall the Gillette fortunes had vanished and the four car team has been in on-going financial peril through the fall hastening Kasey Kahne departing early to Red Bull, his ride for next year. The RPM operation has plenty of outstanding IOU’s and big questions about what 2011 will hold.

The start and park phenomenon rose to absolute embarrassment with as many as seven cars showing up to do nothing more than spin a few laps and drive off into oblivion to collect a loser’s share of prize money. NASCAR is a sport not a charity. The start and park entries must go away in 2011. They are an insult to the integrity of real racers.

Ford cars were almost no-shows through most of the first 2/3’s of the season bringing in their new engine program at a painfully slow pace. Ford neither did well in competition or qualifying until the last dozen or so races. That Carl Edwards won the last two races for Roush Fenway certainly brightens hopes for 2011.

The off-season will determine new sponsors, where some drivers land and perhaps some changes in manufacturer for some entries as Team Red Bull appears headed to Chevrolet while Earnhardt-Ganassi turned down a lucrative deal to switch to Ford. Ford surely needs another stable team given the uncertainly with Richard Petty Racing.

Kasey Kahne’s move to Hendricks for 2012 came early in the season, then it was a matter of what to do next year which was settled when the Red Bull operation gave him a one year deal. Paul Menard moves to Richard Childress with his family brand as his sponsor. JTG Daugherty will provide a seat for past champion, Bobby Labonte, while their previous driver, Marcos Ambrose was and perhaps still is slated to run with Richard Petty racing teamed with A.J. Allmendinger. Elliott Sadler is looking for work on the Cup level but will pursue a much bigger roll with Kevin Harvick in the truck series.

Much to the delight of many, Phil Parsons and his partner announced they are disbanding Prism Motorsports so their will no longer be the potential of early race clutter from the 55 and 66 rides.

Truthfully, aside from Hendricks, Gibbs, Roush-Fenway, Childress, Earnhardt-Ganassi, Michael Waltrip, and Penske, all remaining operations have some very grave issues to overcome to remain viable next year.

Clearly, NASCAR must entertain the possibility of allowing starting fields with fewer than 43 cars. It could make for better racing on some tracks. What is lost to the sport at large?

While it looked like a forgone conclusion during several parts of the season that the #48 car would win the championship, how Jimmie Johnson and Chad Knaus got there was far more interesting this year given one little mistake could have seen a #11 or #29 car getting the glories. Nevertheless, looking at the year ahead, who would be a better pick to be the 2011 champ?

Gibbs and Childress cars will definitely look to seize the glory in the season ahead and yes, maybe the fellow from the same garage in the #24 car will vault into the picture too. The last two weeks also suggest that the mad-hatter, Jack Roush could have some fellows like “Cousin Carl” ready to go to. Never the less, it’s Johnson’s trophy to lose. While they could almost be considered an extension of Hendricks, never rule out Tony Srewart and the Stewart Haas operation. This is big sports history in the making. All fans should appreciate that and salute the defending five time champ.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Nancy Pelosi -- Missing in Action when Character Matters

Nancy Pelosi is a classless bitch, a mean-spirited neurotic, and a lousy excuse for a human being. Evidence: here’s what she has to say about her rival. John Boehner. Haven’t we seen enough of the insults and character assassinations, but what does one expect from a person who has no character worthy of an insect herself?  Here's a sample of the Capitol's "Queen of Mean" shown recently in a New York Times interview.

You know what? He is known to cry. He cries sometimes when we're having a debate on bills," she told the newspaper. "If I cry, it's about the personal loss of a friend or something like that. But when it comes to politics – no I don't cry. I would never think of crying about any loss of an office, because that’s always a possibility, and if you're professional, then you deal with it professionally."

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Friday, November 19, 2010

Sprint Cup 2010: Race 36 -- There's No Place Like Homestead

Jimmie Johnson in ideal position to gain 5th championship with 5th place starting position while Denny Hamlin flounders in qualifying.

God must be a #48 fan! NASCAR desperately needed a contested chase, and how they have gotten one the last few weeks with Denny Hamlin even surpassing Jimmie Johnson with a bold win in Texas, but now it’s time to wrap things up. Down by fifteen points, Jimmie Johnson qualifies 6th while Denny Hamlin starts a disgraceful 37th fending off the start and park rides while Kevin Harvick fares slightly better in 28th. While pit strategy and careful manipulation of track position will play a huge roll in the outcome, nothing beats getting off to a good start and letting the competition try to catch up. Still, this puts Denny Hamlin in a very tough spot. Were the race to finish as they line up to start the Ford 400, Denny Hamlin would lose to Johnson by 83 points.

Kasey Kahne starts on the poll, a great accomplishment for him and the Red Bull team given their short tenure working together. This will be a team to keep an eye on next year. Hot off his win last week, Carl Edwards starts second. Meanwhile, take a look at Bill Elliott in his part time ride for the “legendary” Wood Brothers. Awesome Bill from Dawsonville starts 4th next to Jaime McMurray. Meanwhile, the ill-fated Richard Petty operation can feel proud that A.J. Allemendinger puts the #43 car in the fifth starting slot.

It all comes down to the Ford 400 in Homestead. The competition is close. A Johnson win would surely throw the driver into Dale Earnhardt/Richard Petty status, the only drivers who have more championships than Johnson, but to win five in a row would be something far out of the reach of Petty and Earnhardt in their glory days when there was not as much parity in the sport as there is now.

The pressure is on Denny Hamlin, make no mistake about that.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

NFL 2010: Week 11 -- Good, Bad, and Ugly

Chicago (1 ½) at Miami
This is a tough call. How will Miami’s QB situation hurt them?

Baltimore (-10) at Carolina
This could get ugly if the Ravens are on top of their game – real ugly.

Oakland at Pittsburgh (-7)
The Steelers should cover this one but had better not take the game too lightly.

Houston at New York Jets (-7)
Houston was supposed to accomplish great things but has fallen apart in the last few weeks. The Jets chug along.

Washington at Tennessee (-7)
The Redskins will have to play a darned good game to prove they are not in self-destruct mode. Since their defeat in Detroit and Coach Shenanigan’s decision to sit Donovan McNabb with two minutes to go, the ‘Skins have looked like a team in free fall.

Detroit at Dallas (-6 ½)
Let’s see if Jason Garrett’s influence on the Cowboys does what Buck Sholwater did for the Orioles. As they were falling apart, the pundits said they had the talent. Okay, prove it.

Green Bay (-3) at Minnesota
This game should be another embarrassing example of why Brett Favre should have stayed down in the swamps and not come north in August.

Buffalo at Cincinnati (-5 ½)
It might be an oasis of hope for the Bengals. Against the Bills, they should look like a decent team.

Cleveland at Jacksonville (-2)
This is a tough call. Cleveland has been playing better in recent weeks, but Jacksonville has likewise come up with some impressive wins. Jacksonville has the slight edge.

Arizona at Kansas City (-8)
The Cardinals are struggling to find a QB. They’re toast.

Seattle at New Orleans (-11 ½)
The Saints should win this game but the Seahawks might beat the spread.

Atlanta (-3) at St. Louis
The Falcons deserve more respect. They’ll get it on Sunday.

Tampa Bay at San Francisco (-3)
This is another tough call but San Francisco should prevail at home.

Indianapolis at New England (-3 ½)
Indy’s too banged up to do well against a tough New England team.

New York Giants at Philadelphia (-3)
The Giants looked awful against Dallas. They need to step it up to beat the Eagles and should do it.

Denver at San Diego (-10)
Denver just doesn’t have it. San Diego is like fine wine, they improve with age. That formula seems to be kicking in once again this year in a weak division.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Sprint Cup 2010: Race 35 -- Phoenix: Next to Last to Determine Who Will Be First?

Denny Hamlin – 17th
Jimmie Johnson – 21st (-33)
Kevin Harvick – 29th (-59)

Two races to go and the top three qualify in order of their standings but deep in the pack. Who’s to say how to divine the tea leaves for what this means, but the obvious is none of them qualified like champs and all of them have lots of metal to run through to get up front where they can go all out in their drive for the trophy next week at Homestead, Florida. The fifty nine point spread means anything is possible for which one of the three will finish as the 2010 champ. Each team will throw all its resources in to make their top guy the big winner.

All three drivers put in top ten efforts in practice with Denny Hamlin 4th best, Harvick 5th, and Johnson 7th. This would suggest all three teams are very race ready for tomorrow afternoon’s competition.

Of other note, pole sitter Carl Edwards also was fastest in practice while Dale Earnhardt Jr. ran second fastest. Who wouldn’t like to see Junior have a strong finish to add a little bit of triumph to an embarrassing poor two year stretch with Hendricks?

Much focus has been on the fate of Richard Petty Racing’s entries. They had some bragging rights in qualifying with A.J. Allmendinger qualifying 2nd. Aric Almirola finishing the year for the #9 Budweiser team pulls in 9th spot with Paul Menard in 18th and Elliott Sadler in 23rd. All four Roush-Fenway Fords qualified 15th or better with Matt Kenseth in 15th, David Ragan in 12th, and Greg Biffle 4th behind their pole sitter, Carl Edwards.

Other stories of note, Kurt Busch qualified 3rd looking to have some highlight from a horrible chase drive. While Denny Hamlin languishes in 17th, other Toyota drivers and teammates faired better. David Reutimann starts 6th, Kyle Busch 7th, Joey Logano 10th, Martin Truex 11th, ad Marcos Ambrose 13th.

Fans watching the championship chase play out will be noticing how the top three teams work their way through the field and employ track position to secure their most beneficial track position. Every potential chance to lead a lap is so important now. Five points can make a much more noticeable difference with what’s at stake now. Crew chiefs and pit crews must appreciate there is zero room for miscues. A performance like the one the 48 team crew put in last week in Texas will eliminate a team from further consideration.