Sunday, February 28, 2010

Unsung Hero Behind American Bobsled Gold



The United States won the its first Gold Medal in two man’s bobsled competition for the first time in 62 years. In saluting the team’s accomplishments, an unsung player needs his accolades. This person recognized American bobsledding was an embarrassment. Being from upstate New York, this great contributor recognized this American winter sport was horribly underserved outraged by Team USA’s failure in the 1992 Winter Olympics.

He used resources from his regular career having tremendous technological and engineering resources to provide sleds for the 1994 National team. He also used his status from his “day job” to raise money and interest in the sport. When the Olympics were back in the USA in 2002 at Salt Lake City, the US bobsled team finally won medals.

This unsung hero looks more like Elmer Fudd than a successful entrepreneur or athlete however in his career, he was successful in achieving one of its top honors. The man behind the scenes working endlessly to promote American bobsled success, won the 1986 Daytona 500, the 1987 IROC championship, 18 NASCAR Cup series wins and 190 top 100’s. His bobsled operation is named, Bo-Dyn, “Dyn” being named for Chassis Dynamics; the “Bo” comes from his last name.

We salute Geoff Bodine for his two decade quest to put the United States atop the world’s bobsled elite. That day has come.
Sadly, this writer has not followed much of the Olympic Men’s Ice Hockey. We’re proud to see the USA take it to the finals against the land where people chop wood, beat seals, and play hockey. (Hey, we’re just teasin’ ya, Canada, you hoseheads.) Team USA gave up a two point lead only to tie in the final seconds sending the game to overtime. However, the Canadians would be too strong and scored the necessary point in overtime. There is no question Ice Hockey is a great sport. The action is fast. The game is full of excitement the talent and competitive spirit that is required to play is on the highest level of all sports. What other sports have their athletes putting it all on the line like hockey?

Certainly not baseball or basketball, but surely NFL players give their bodies to their sport and think of the fine line of survival auto racers face. Hockey must be in the same class.

So why is this writer not a hockey fan?

Very simply, the fights, the sport obviously encourages it. We’ve all heard the joke, “I went to the fights and a hockey game broke out.” The effect is to take a sport of tremendous skill and high intensity and reduce it to the level of professional wrestling which isn’t a sport at all. Sports should always be controlled aggressiveness where all the fight and fury is channeled into excellence in effort playing the sport. There’s no denying tempers run hot and passions are high. Fisticuffs will break out from time to time in all sports. Surely, it’s NASCAR legend what happened at the end of the 1979 Daytona 500. On the other hand, is there anything sillier than a bench clearing brawl in baseball? How about two NFL combatants slugging it out in full armor? However, in all other major sports, weeks can go by without an episode anywhere in the sport, in the NHL, fights are a nightly occurrence to where some fans go to the game not thinking if but when the fights will break out. Mom and dad, is this what you want your kids to see?

Okay, living in Baltimore, we don’t have a hometown team or a suitable venue thus we’re diverted to the Washington Capitols, a team that certainly does rise to the occasion at times.

The other problem with hockey is the same problem the NBA has. The regular season is long, but of what importance is it when more teams than not make the playoffs and the playoffs begin in May and don’t end until deep in June? A fan must be truly dedicated to the sport to follow the regular season at all aside from a handful of well established rivalries. Nevertheless, look at how teams have gone deep in Dixie: two teams in Florida, Nashville, and the Raleigh/Durham area, but are they putting butts in the seats?

With better television technology, bigger TV’s, and the myriad of sports networks, hockey can be televised very effectively now with HDTV with screens of 40” and larger, fans can really see the game develop and the puck is visible. Hey, this Olympic stuff when on the NBC mothership where HDTV is available is great but how many games did the worst network in the business push off to MSNBC?

Perhaps if the NHL gets a new generation of owners, more enlightened leadership, they can address the game’s nagging problems, but this fan is not holding his breath. The violence does appeal to a core audience and somehow if the NBA and NHL both feel long drawn-out playoffs is the way to go, it must be the way to make money. Still, they play have the number of games baseball does but going to a baseball game means something.

Thirty years ago, before ESPN had caught on, no Internet, just over-the-air TV, America was held spellbound as the USA team beat the Soviet Evil Empire in Lake Placid, New York for the Gold Medal. This year’s Silver Medal sure drew much attention. It’s a wonderful sport. Let’s hope it doesn’t take the NHL 30 years to get it together and bring forth an appealing sport. There’s a load of talent in the league. How many NHL players played in the Olympics?

For this writer, College Basketball is THE winter sport. There’s no denying a better NHL package without the idiot fights could be quite appealing. It’s a great sport but a lousy business in the US and Canada when not fought on Olympic ice.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

NCAA College Hoops: FEAR THE TURTLE!!!


It's certain, the University of Maryland Terrapins will finish in second place in the ACC. Their record is 10-3 in the ACC, 2o-7 overall. They could even tie Duke for number one. We'll assume North Carolina won't beat Duke at Cameron Crazy land.
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Why haven't the Terps achieved National ranking yet?
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After their dramatic double overtime win against Virginia Tech, a team in the fight for 3rd place or at least a first round bye in the ACC tournement, when this week's national rankings, the Terps darned well better be somewhere in the teens in the top 25. Enough already!
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It has long been said that Testudo, the bronze statue of the Maryland Terrapin, would sprout wings and fly off campus if a virgin ever graduated from Maryland, but come Monday morning, if the Terps aren't ranked, perhaps the legendary turtle should take flight and exact a little revenge for the mighty Terps being slighted!

Sprint Cup 2010: Race 3: Sprint Cup in Vegas: Dice, No Dice, Paradise, and Old Spice


The Sprint Cup field has qualified for its third race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway for their race on Sunday. Let’s look at what this race holds in store from a Las Vegas point of view.

DICE:
Top twelve qualifiers:
1- Kurt Busch, #2, Dodge
2- Jeff Gordon, #24, Chevrolet
3- Ryan Newman, #39, Chevrolet
4- Dale Earnhardt, Jr., #88, Chevrolet
5- Kyle Busch, #18, Toyota
6- Joey Logano, #20, Toyota
7- Greg Biffle, #16, Ford
8- Mark Martin, #5, Chevrolet
9- Tony Stewart, #14, Chevrolet
10- Juan Montoya, #42, Chevrolet
11- Matt Kenseth, #17, Ford
12- Carl Edwards, #99, Ford

Team Penske must have some lucky dice. Fielding the only competitive Dodges, Sam Hornish Jr. is starting to excel. Kurt Busch looks strong.

NO DICE:
Well, three races no starting spot, Casey Mears and Terry Cook have no shot at the top 35 and have nothing to show for their efforts so far.

Starting positions 15 (Nemechek), 33 (McDowell), 36 (Blaney). We’ve said all we can say about “start and park” drivers. We’ve laid out all the logic and rationale for banning this practice. If teams don’t have the crew members and materials to compete, they should not attend, period. Still, just look at it from a less informed view, it just doesn’t make sense, does it? The only thing magic about the number 43 with NASCAR was when it was Richard Petty’s number when he was setting the standard of excellence for the sport. Nothing horrible would happen if races started with less than 43 cars.

This column showed much compassion for Joe Nemechek’s plight a year ago, but at 46 years old and a career that has been in a tailspin since losing his ride when MB2 racing became Ginn racing in 2006. He is not showing up in a position to compete at the Sprint Cup level and his participation in the Nationwide Series shows little promise. Perhaps he should take his act to the Truck series. He could enjoy some exciting racing there.

Dave Blaney is 47 years old and talk about dishonor, in Wikipedia it states in his entry, “He currently starts and parks the #66 Car for Prism Motorsports.” OUCH!!! You can bet his fans will attempt to correct that. A champ in World of Outlaws, his NASCAR dreams would prove elusive seeming to be always on the wrong team at the wrong time despite spending time with Richard Childress.

Michael McDowell at 25 years old is still a young driver. McDowell is best known for his horrifying crash at Texas Motor Speedway while attempting to qualify on April 4, 2008. Between safety improvements in the “Car of Tomorrow,” his use of the HANS device, and the SAFER barriers, he was able to crash and not only survive a car that exploded into nothing rolling eight times going from165 mph to a complete stop, he miraculously walked away uninjured. He was a 3rd car in the early days of Michael Waltrip Racing before they became competitive. His time there would be short-lived.

Having never had a full-time ride, his talent at the Sprint Cup level is hard to assess, but how can he showcase his talent when not given the ability to compete whatsoever holding back and dropping out by the first pit stop?

PARADISE:
Joey Logano, the series youngest driver, looks like he has arrived for sure in 2010. He’s racing well and put in one heck of a good qualifying run for Sunday’s race. Though he is so boyish in many ways when it comes to racing and all that is involved in performance, he says the right things.
OLD SPICE:
Tony Stewart and especially teammate, Ryan Newman, have gotten off to a curious start. Newman was even in danger of facing being outside the top 35. Looking at their qualifying results, they are poised for good racing on Sunday. Where there's "smoke" there's fire!

Friday, February 26, 2010

David Patterson: No Contest


He’s a political disaster. There’s nothing about him a right minded fellow would agree with politically, yet still it’s not hard to feel bad for New York’s Interim Governor, David Patterson.

Patterson announced today he would end his campaign to be elected governor for a full term. Was he pushed or did he jump hardly matters. He was headed straight for a buzz saw one way or the other. Sure, it would have been nice for him to stick around assuring the Republicans an easy win in the nation’s third largest state, but the poor soul had such a pathetic grip on power with one problem after another even including how he handled a staff member accused of domestic violence showed the man was in way over his head.

David Patterson will be a historical figure. He is New York’s first black governor and is the nation’s first legally blind governor. He attained status for a life of dedicated service to the New York Democratic Party serving as Elliot Spitzer’s lieutenant governor. Who would imagine a healthy robust Spitzer would prematurely leave office?

In most states, Lieutenant Governors cut ribbons for grand openings in the out-of-the-way small towns, go to a lot of meaningless conferences, and don’t do much else. What could David Patterson screw up?

History played a cruel trick. The former zero tolerance prosecutor got caught (literally) with his pants down having quite a craving for frolicking with hookers and with in days of the story surfacing he was out of the Albany State House. Just like that, Patterson was thrust into the governorship. Being a rather inoffensive character, much good will accompanied his ascension; however, it didn’t take long for him to prove he just couldn’t cut it.

With the state in economic turmoil and all kinds of persistent issues demanding firm leadership, he floundered badly. Soon, he was clearly damaged goods that Democrats right and left, well left and further left, were jumping away from so as not to have his baggage as a political liability.

As is so often the case, when politicians have something they don’t want to say, they wait until Friday afternoon. This was Patterson’s Friday afternoon. For the sake of the Empire State, let’s hope he can’t screw things up much worse between now and when the next governor is inaugurated.
The next prominent New York politician to explode will be Charlie Rangel. His demise won't be so polite and quiet.

Medicare Physicians Face 21.2% Cut in Reimbursement Monday: Serious Threat to Seniors and Disabled


WHERE'S THE NEWS COVERAGE ON THIS??? THIS IS EXTREMELY SERIOUS!!!
SERIOUS WARNING: FOR OVER 43 MILLION AMERICANS WHO RECEIVE MEDICARE, CUTS IN DOCTOR PAY THREATENS THEIR ABILITY TO FIND AND RETAIN DOCTORS QUALIFED TO PROVIDE THEIR CARE.

If anyone honestly believes the current party in control has any consideration for the health and well-being of American citizens in their attempts to nationalize management of our country’s health care system, YOU HAVE A LOT TO LEARN, RIGHT NOW!

This is not a discussion of the big health care debate but a focus on one particular issue that demonstrates clearly, they simply have no idea of what’s involved in health care and why there are so few qualified physicians in many fields and geographical areas.

Moving forward is legislation that would cut what doctors receive as reimbursement from Medicare by 21.2%. Yes, that means for every five dollar they have been receiving, they now get $0.79. For Medicare recipients, elderly and disabled, who need primary care physicians, the search can often be futile. Meanwhile, the number of those in need keeps rising if for no other reason than currently practicing doctors find they are not being paid enough to sustain their practice when dependent on insurance payments from Medicare. Right now, the House voted to suspend the cut; however, the SENATE DISMISSED EARLY FOR THE WEEKEND FAILING TO TAKE ACTION.

VERY IMPORTANT: This cut in doctor’s pay is not part of the big health care bill for which Barack Obama staged the White House “dog and pony” show yesterday. This cut is part of current law which ties physician reimbursement in with the overall state of the economy. Unless Congress acts, the cuts take place effective Monday, March 1. A provision to prevent this reimbursement cut to go into effect had been part of the recently passed jobs bill, but was removed. There was one recent instance where Congress could have but refused to act.


Supporting Articles:
CNN:
http://money.cnn.com/2010/02/24/news/economy/doctors_ditching_medicare_patients/
WFAA-TV, Dallas:
http://www.wfaa.com/news/health/Medicare-cuts-to-doctors-loom-85407017.html


Our attempts to research this matter have been extremely difficult. We heard a report on the Fox News Network and then went to work searching the Internet. There are various blogs on the subject but almost zero hard core news coverage.

Let’s be real, a pay decrease greater than 20% is significant. Doctors, particularly ones in private practice, face tremendous overhead to operate their operations not the least of which is malpractice insurance. It is truly getting to the point where doctors can’t afford to continue to practice medicine or at very least given the awesome responsibilities, high stress, and uncertainty about the future of the nation’s health care delivery system, the kind of intelligent hardworking people who are talented enough to become doctors have far better income earning potential elsewhere.

Put this another way, does anyone really want a cheap doctor?

Doctors should be paid well. Their income should be great enough that the profession attracts very smart, compassionate, hardworking people. Look at how the number of American born and raised people is not going into medicine and how much we depend on people from overseas to come to America and become our doctors. While we should be proud to be able to extend the American dream in a very important career to come to America and contribute in such a crucial profession, we don’t feel we are being prejudiced to suggest a profession that relies as much on interpersonal relationships as medicine where the doctor and patient have common experiences from which to build a relationship, that the doctor can understand nuances of discussion, we need good American doctors.
It's not just the poor pay physicians receive from Medicare, but by agreeing to participate as a service provider, the doctor agrees to all kinds of restrictions and rules that he must apply uniformly to receive reimbursement where the slightest deviation from the unyielding regulations can lead the doctor to being charged with noncompliance and fraud.

Sadly, right now, we need doctors, period, and the bar for what qualifies for entry into the profession is falling when adequate pay is not forthcoming.

Beginning Monday, big changes are in the wind that will absolutely harm the quality of medicine for those who require Medicare coverage. Good health care isn’t cheap. Who wouldn’t love to have other options than Medicare? The sad reality is most of us when the time comes do not have that choice.

Medicare is a mess RIGHT NOW. More and more patients are not having their needs met. The number of Medicare patients is about the skyrocket as baby boomers reach retirement age. One mantra of the current medical system proposals suggests Medicare for all. It’s bad enough seniors who’ve worked all their lives or disabled citizens who through no fault of their own must endure these horrors. We must fight for those citizens to get effective compassionate care. We further must fight to make sure this kind of disaster is never extended to the population at large.
Our Congress has setup an environment where the system is so bad that even the most compassionate highly motivated people cannot continue to practice medicine.

Sprint Cup 2010: Race 3 - Las Vegas, Baby




The Sprint Cup tour makes its third stop in the city of bright lights and pleasure as the 2009 season begins to take shape. Looking sharp are the Childress fellows and Jimmie Johnson looking once again like the inevitable champion after suffering disaster at Daytona. The Blue Ovals seem to have rolled snake eyes so far with only mediocre performance out of the Roush Fenway stable while the most powerful performer in the Richard Petty garage, Kasey Kahne, has suffered two horrible races wrecking both times.

Joe Gibbs’ Toyotas have been relatively stable but not shown winning form with all but Denny Hamlin in early solid contention. Both Red Bull teams are back to back with Brian Vickers in 14th and Scott Speed in 15th.

Teams that have gotten off to dreadful starts possibly in danger of not placing in the top 35 will look for good performances lest their anxiety grow more intense approaching competition in Bristol after which guaranteed starting spots will be determined by this years, not last years, owner point standings. Surely, Ryan Newman buried in 36th spot and Marcos Ambrose in 39th will seek to run good clean races looking for at least top 20 finishes to improve their odds to stay in the field. The new effort having taken possession of the fifth Roush car driven by Boris Said must seriously step up their efforts mired in 32nd second place. Kasey Kahne, surely Richard Petty’s operation’s best driver nervously inhabits 33rd spot.

The good news for struggling teams, a fine finish can give them the chance to leapfrog many positions and all is suddenly well. How quickly that which looks good can turn afoul with a DNF.

All things great and small take on far more significance this early in the season. Are these only little hiccups or minor issues needing some quick attention or are some problems indicative of serious systemic problems that could mark the beginning of a bad season.

Racing is a high stakes game. With all the hoopla of building up for the Daytona 500 and the first sense of normalcy afforded by California where better to take the next step than the land of loud entertainment, high stakes gambling, and all kinds of promotion.

The atmosphere will be intense this afternoon when cars roll out for their first practice and then qualify.

All Creatures Great and Small: Death of a Sea World Trainer Provokes Important Questions


There are many subjects on the treatment of animals this writer is not prepared to deal with. It may be cavalier to say this, but we didn’t wind up on the top of the food chain to eat nuts and berries. One of life’s great pleasures is a nice prime steak, Maryland Crab Cakes, or some tasty fried chicken. Likewise, this writer has no problem with furs and leather. In expressing this, we should strive to treat animals destined to be killed for our lifestyles to be treated and slaughtered as humanly as possible.

Likewise few things add value to our lives than a beloved pet. This writer loves dogs. Others like cats. Further dogs serve us in so many productive and healthy ways such as serving as animal companions for the blind and disabled. Sadly, there is a pet selling market that breeds animals for sale in horrible conditions that we cannot tolerate.

Our focus centers on three areas: animal testing, animals trained for recreational use, and zoos.

Scientists must work hard to eliminate animal testing to the fullest extent possible. Being forcefully injured, infected with diseases, subjected to harsh chemicals and toxins, and other horribly painful and torturous fates is utterly grotesque conduct especially when dogs, all too-often beagles for their lovable personalities and trusting nature making them very compliant subjects whose emotional reactions mirror our own, and higher primates for their biological similarities to our own, simply exceeds this writer’s humanity to tolerate. For some tests, if this is what it takes to test certain products, maybe the pursuit isn’t worth it. The end does not justify the means. Product testing for consumer goods and cosmetics can surely be accomplished without harming animals. Having read some reports of the experimental use of beagles is enough to drive this writer mad with hurt.

What really piqued our interest in writing about his subject is the horrible accident that occurred Wednesday at Sea World in Orlando where a trainer was killed by an Orca, commonly known as a “killer whale” though the species is a member of the dolphin family. Apparently the animal grabbed the 40 year old female trainer’s pigtail pulled her in the water and then gripped her in his jaw. This same animal had been involved in two fatal accidents before.

We’ve seen news footage of circus elephants going out of control hurting spectators. Other examples of “accidents” are widely reported.

Should we not do some serious soul searching about taking animals out of their element, subjecting them to extensive conditioning, some painful for the sake of our amusement?

What is the true value of such entertainment? Certainly it has a definite “wow” effect but what is it showing other than man’s mastery over the animal kingdom.

It’s a troubling question, but if such entertainment were outlawed tomorrow, would we be upset? Whose rights would really be stepped on? There is no constitutional amendment which provides the right to imprison animals for the sake of money making entertainment.

We’re also disturbed about the world of exotic pets. Dogs and cats are creatures that have gone through thousands of years of breeding and evolution to live side by side with humans in their homes and when housed kindly and appropriately can be tremendous joyful companions.

Other situations aren’t so pleasurable. How can we not think of the elderly lady who had a male chimpanzee as her domestic companion? The animal was not acting himself so she gave him behavior altering drugs for humans. The chimp later freaked out and could not be brought under control. The chimp absolutely mutilated the woman’s friend who suffered broken limbs and had her face literally ripped off leaving her blind and deformed for evermore.

Humans have left a growing danger in the wetlands of Florida. Collectors of exotic snakes are creating an unspeakable disaster. Pythons, huge and dangerous reptiles, are either getting loose or being released on purpose into Florida’s waterways providing them with an ideal habitat to flourish and reproduce. These snakes create a tremendous danger to the ecosystem’s existing inhabitants and pose tremendous danger to humans, sportsmen and residents near the water.

While we may feel we are special or superior creatures to the animal kingdom, we must respect that we are biologically their kin. That kinship requires respect and morals to act accordingly. When man gave name to the animals he assumed the role of often being those animals’ keeper as well.

We must respect they need their space to live, feed, thrive, and survive. Animals do not exist simply for our pleasure or recreation. Conservation efforts to preserve habitat are noble and necessary. As animal species face extinction we face up to hard reality that as creatures of the earth our time will come as well. A study of evolution and human development suggests that our time on this planet is but a small fraction of the time many everyday creatures have called earth home. One million years ago, there were no human beings as we know them today. Human history is only in the five digits. How much do we know that goes back further than 15,000 years?

Many controversies exist today where endangered species appear to be put in such high reverence that human concerns are overruled by laws, judicial rulings, and aggressive regulation. The water supply required to irrigate much of California’s most fertile farm land has been shutdown for threatening the life of some minnow like species. Meanwhile, along the shores of the lower Maryland western shore of the Chesapeake Bay, residents with shore front properties are facing severe erosion problems as their property falls off into the bay without structural reinforcement. Such efforts are being prohibited for the sake of an endangered species of beetle.

While the issues regarding animals, their inappropriate use in entertainment, exotic pets not suitable for human cohabitation, and attempts to protect endangered species, might not seem that important when we face serious issues like world terrorism, economic strife, and health care reform, we must address how we best live harmoniously with others with whom we share the planet. Surely, some of these debates have gone on since humans first developed self-reflective properties able to communicate with one another and discuss their differences with other beings on the planet. We now live in a world where the human footprint has set down in the most remote places on earth. Our presence exists on all continents and the effects of our behavior are universal. With our tremendous powers to control and harvest the earth come even more significant responsibilities.

We’ve only cited a few examples, provided even fewer answers, while raising many questions. That we question openly is perhaps the most important thing we can do aside from learning from how we can better treat all creatures great and small.

What is Most Transparent in Obama Arrogance


On the subject of Health Care reform Barack Obama stated: "I want Republicans to soul search."


Come on now. No matter how much the two parties are miles apart on how to deal with this country's medical system, how dare he suggest the Republican position is not one of concern and arrived at with much though and deliberation especially given it is clear the Republican position favors more choices for patients and less government mandates.


The Obama and Democratic approach seems to be one of providing mediocre medicine for all where the Republican approach is people should be able to get the best health care they can find while looking for ways to find private sector solutions to the fullest extent possible to help those who can't obtain worthy health insurance.


When we consider the sellouts, setasides, earmarks, and special provisions contained in 2,700 pages of legislation where labor unions, for instances, get privileges not granted the rest of the population, one has to wonder where the ethics and regard for good health for all is.


So who needs to soul search, Mr. President?

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Obama Political Organizers Target Conservative Talk Radio – Plan Blitz Strategy



Conservative talk show producers must be bouncing back and forth between two opposites, “Oh God, not again!” and “Bring ‘em on. We’ll devour them.”

Politico.com reports The Democratic Committee’s Organizaing for America has started a campaign to take on conservative points of view by bombarding talk shows with Obama organization seeks volunteer callers indoctrinated to carry the load for their talking points. The introduction on their website lays down the challenge:

"The fate of health reform has been a focus of debate in living rooms and offices, on TV and online -- and on talk radio. And since millions of folks turn to talk radio as a trusted source of news and opinions, we need to make sure OFA supporters are calling in with a pro-reform message.”

For the record we attempted to log on to “Organizing for America.” It quickly diverted me to www.barackobama.com where upon there is a huge pitch for joining the organization and contributing. The link to move on to the informational postings is buried in the lower right corner. Once again, the viewer is hit up to join and contribute. The overall tone is very typical of the language used in organizing campaigns the kind of stuff union members would be familiar with having seen communiqu├ęs from their unions. There’s nothing of substance just the same old same old talking points. WE COULD NOT FIND THE RESOURCE ON TALK SHOWS. It is reasonable to assume, that is a members only benefit. Surprise, surprise.

The users are given lists of radio shows that discuss political topics, the ability to listen live, and phone numbers for those radio stations. Additionally they supply talking points, essentially a script, for potential callers to use when the topic of health care comes up.

As if listening to the leaders of the far-left of the Democratic party doesn’t yield enough scripted robotic responses full of the usual broad sweeping statements, mischaracterizations, and lies about their opponents’ contentions, now we’ll get to hear from the virtual universe of folks from all walks of life who subscribe to the radical viewpoint, some of whom we’ve quoted and characterized in recent postings. Surely, it will be no surprise that so many people have no ability to engage in critical reasoning or advance beyond "fill-in the blank" reasoning.

We have total confidence this strategy will backfire. Talk show hosts and listeners recognize scripted responses. It’s amazing to see the meltdowns and fireworks that ensue when the host either interrupts or asks even the most obvious follow up questions. The responses basically fall into categories like, how many words can you use to say “duh?”

Our primary source of information for this posting is from Politico.com, Ben Smith’s column. http://www.politico.com/blogs/bensmith/0210/Obama_campaign_arm_focuses_on_talk_radio.html?showall

Barack Obama and the "S" Word ... SOCIALIST!


Socialist?
We think so but there are a lot of other
things we'd like to call him too!!!
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The debate whether Barack Obama is a socialist is one hot topic on political talk shows but how fruitful is this debate? Is it much ado about nothing; too little, too late; political demonizing or something else? Does it all even really matter?

Let’s unwind this topic and make some sense out of it. Surely those who watch Fox News programming probably have their heads spinning after the last few days of discussions on the O’Reilly Factor as the usually brilliant commentator seems to have some obsession of not wanting to cross the line and concede that Obama truly is a socialist. He seems to be bending over backwards in some desire to be seen as fair and open-minded not to be lumped in with the broad spectrum of conservative pundits, but especially after Tuesday night’s program, he’s really beaten a dead horse to death. We surely aren’t going to entertain anything stable mate Glenn Beck has to say on the subject. The paranoia and apocalyptic nonsense is too much to consider seriously. Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Dick Morris appear to follow the more prevalent conservative view that Barack Obama truly is a socialist.

We consider Obama a socialist and established his credentials from early in the Democratic primaries. Whether it was his education and comments he made about his influences, his associations with figures like William Ayers, his voting record in the Senate leading to his being identified the most liberal senator, the myriad of radicals he has appointed to his administration, or the overall direction of his policies and political instincts, Barack Obama uses old Chicago style big city machine politics as a means to push an agenda which invokes government influence and control over more aspects of out lives than ever before while exerting far more regulation and authority over business. His vision on health care, banking, and corporate governance are all most consistent with the leftwing of the British labor party or the socialist parties in France, Germany, and Italy. While this might not be socialism in its fully developed state where the government owns the means of production, a manipulated public ownership market with heavy government regulation with government bailout money and direct input on governance is at least socialistic from a functional standpoint. One of the key essential platforms of socialism is the Marxist creed, “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs” is lurking in the background of the President’s orientation to virtually all political issues and he has made no apologies for seeking wealth redistribution.

Surely, there are responsible ways to argue Barack Obama is not a Socialist. He surely is one who is a statist believing in a powerful central government which is involved in all facets of a person’s life. These kinds of debates can go on forever, but does the obsession for finding the right descriptive label for Barack Obama really accomplish that much? If people understand the dangers of socialism and see their President as a socialist, then perhaps they would more actively fight his attempts to advance his agenda. Call him what you will but concentrate on his policies and actions. That’s where the action is. For our purposes, though it would never be repeated on the news media, we see him first and foremost as a thin-skinned, self-absorbed asshole. We hope you do to. However, imagine one of the panelists on a TV political show said such. It would be the lead story on the news for at least a week while the person who uttered the unvarnished truth is ritualistically and systematically destroyed never to have a spot on the “polite” media again.

We need to stop worrying about labels and put all effort on arresting the advancement of Obama policies. Haven’t most people seen enough evidence that the kind of government seizure of the private medical industry would have all kinds of disastrous implications for all of us? His radical environmentalism and almost religious faith that global warming is a monolithic threat brings forth the outrageous “cap and trade” or “cap and tax” programs as the most onerous aspect of environmental policies that are much more punitive and less incentive and technology oriented toward improving air and water quality. His outlook toward the judiciary radically rejects firm application of the United States Constitution in favor of highly interpretative and ideologically based philosophy which broadens the grasp of the court to reshape society where the legislative process has failed. At some point our culture must find a way to thwart out of control judicial activism that has no constitution base for its pronouncements.

The task ahead is to identify, study, learn, communicate, and fight Obama administration initiatives. His stated goal to transform America must be stopped dead in its tracks. With each issue as it reaches the floors of Congress for consideration, we must speak up loudly and forcefully and take the fight right to them. We must identify and support new leaders who can be elected this coming November and work on building momentum for the ultimate goal, Obama’s exit from the White House in the 2012 elections.

The tide has turned. It started in town hall meetings across the nation last summer. In November, Virginia and New Jersey tossed out Democrats as governors. Then this past month we acheived the big prize, electing a Republican, Scott Brown, to the Senate from Massachusetts taking the seat that had been held by Ted Kennedy foThese victories were not achieved by screaming and shouting that the Democratic candidates were socialists, it was holding up what their policies were and showing better alternatives.

One additional point, focusing too much on trying to stick the Socialist label on Barack Obama totally escapes two big problems – his total incompetence based largely on absolutely no experience outside of the academic and legislative world and his absolute weakness responding to the threat of International Terrorism. Look at the silly ways they wanted to get rid of talk of “terrorism,” “terrorists,” or “war on terror.” Consider the efforts to try KSM in New York Federal court rather than military tribunal. Look at the awkward and confusing way they responded to the unsuccessful attempt to blow up an airliner in flight over Detroit on Christmas day.

While it might make for a lively on going debate, what’s important is not whether the label Socialism fits Barack Obama. What matters is fighting every policy, appointment, and action by the Obama administration which increase the roll of the Federal government, enslaves the economy through greater and greater deficits, all things great and small that will thwart the Obama vision to transform America. Understanding what Barack Obama means transforming America means makes the battle lines clear for the fight ahead. We must FIGHT, FIGHT, FIGHT until the job is done. We love our country and have benefitted from its greatness way too much to surrender to this radical fraud of a President.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Tony Kornheiser's Not So Excellent Two Weeks Off


Tony Kornheiser has done it again. ESPN suspended him, this time for two weeks, for his smart assed comment about Sports Center anchor, Hannah Storm. The acerbic dean of sarcasm quipped:

“I know she's very good, and I'm not supposed to be critical of ESPN people, so I won't. But Hannah Storm, come on now! Stop! What are you doing?"

"She's got on red go-go boots and a Catholic-school plaid skirt. Way too short for somebody in her 40s - or maybe early 50s by now. She's got on her typically very, very tight shirt. She looks like she has sausage casing wrapping around her upper body,"

Sports talk radio is all about expressing opinions which is exactly what Kornheiser did. While his remarks aren’t exactly noble, they are far less demeaning than those in the mainstream media on a daily basis. How is this worse, for instance, than David Letterman’s comment about Sarah Palin’s daughter being knocked up by Alex Rodriguez. Letterman was not suspended. Consider the stuff that is regular chatter from guys like Glenn Beck and Keith Olbermann. They’re still going strong like the Energizer Bunny.

Tony Kornheiser’s remarks were not made while on ESPN’s nationally broadcast program, “Pardon the Interruption.” It was on an ESPN affiliate in Washington DC for a local show that is syndicated elsewhere.

Looking at pictures from Hannah Storm’s Sports Center broadcast, it’s surely not the kind of outfit dignified professional ladies would wear, but certainly is not necessarily out of bounds for a sports program. It’s certainly more campy and quirky than pushing the lines for too sexy, but her outfit almost certainly was one that would invite comments.

So what’s going on here? Is ESPN being insanely politically correct?

If so, get over it. Others might find some of Chris Berman’s nonsense offensive. For people who are easily offended, scouring EPSN’s transcripts would almost certainly bug somebody.

Is it that Kornheiser dared to badmouth another ESPN personality?

If so on that count, there’s lots of crazy banter that probably approaches this level of nonsense pretty regularly.

Is ESPN management trying to make an example out of Kornheiser?

If so, what’s the example? What’s the message?

ESPN over the last three decades has become an indispensible institution in virtually all sports fans lives. When they stick to sports, they generally do quite well though some of their personalities can be boorish and annoying. There isn’t a big jerk in our book than Chris Berman. We used to appreciate Linda Cohn tremendously, but in recent years she’s started talking in a very exaggerated New York Jewish accent that at times sounds like it’s derogatory but perhaps because she is Jewish, she gets some license. Her act has become annoying and tasteless leaving the viewer to wonder what the accent is all about.

While we’re at, haven’t some of their docudramas been a joke and guilty of terrible stereotyping?

Surely Tony Kornheiser fans will flock to his defense. Hannah Storm fans will flock to her. Surely many ESPN viewers appreciate both of them. ESPN released the following statement through its Executive Vice President, John Skipper:

“Tony Kornheiser's comments about Hannah Storm were entirely inappropriate. Hurtful and personal comments such as these are not acceptable and have significant consequences."

Oh come on now. Hannah Storm is a big girl. Can we not expect her to have a sense of responsibility and accept that provocative attire provokes comment? We’ve seen nothing to suggest she’s reacted in any controversial way toward Kornheiser’s comments. She just continues to do her job and do it well. If she wants to have a little fun with how she dresses.

We’re looking for some clincher to wrap this up, but there’s not much more we can say about Kornheiser other than “boys will be boys” for better or worse and this wasn’t that bad.

For more, read the following article:
http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/2010/02/23/2010-02-23_espn_supsends_kornheiser_for_storm_comments.html#ixzz0gUcJrIKG

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

First Mama (You Know) Goes (You Know) Prime Time


Did (you know) see (you know) Michelle Obama on (you know) Mike Huckabee’s (you know) program? She was (you know) mostly (you know) talking about (you know) childhood (you know) obesity (you know) and the harms (you know) that’s causing (you know) kids.

No Surprise: Smokers Have Lower IQ's than Nonsmokers


Who needs all the research to prove the obvious. Smoking is STUPID.




And for those of you who try to use some kind of libertarian "right to smoke" kind of nonsense complaining about all the places that don't allow smoking any longer: stores, restaurants, bars, sporting venues, shopping malls, and virtually all indoor common space, GO TO HELL!


It is you, Mr. Smoker, who is engaged in the intrusive behavior. The rest of us have a right to breathing clean air and not have our clothes stink of tobacco from being around you and your habit.


You do have the right to choose to die. You don't have the right to intrude on me with your bad habit.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Sprint Cup 2010: Race 2: Update -- Qualify 5th and Park?



Roll ‘em out and fire ‘em up, the second race is upon us Sunday for the Auto Club 500. The starting lineup shows Jamie McMurray red hot on the heels of his big win in Daytona on the poll with a possible start and parker in the top five. Phil Parsons said if there’s no sponsor on the rear quarter panel his teams will not race. Here’s the top ten:

1—Jaime McMurray, Chevy, Bass Pro Shops
2—Juan Pablo Montoya, Chevy, Target
3—Clint Bowyer, Chevy, Cherrios
4—Kasey Kahne, Ford, Budweiser
5—Dave Blaney, Toyota, Prism Motor Sports
6—Kevin Harvick, Chevy, Shell/Pennzoil
7—Jimmie Johnson, Chevy, Lowes
8—Sam Hornish Jr., Motor Club Dodge
9—Kyle Busch, Toyota, Interstate Batteries
10—Mark Martin, Chevy, Go Daddy

The race marks a great start for Earnhardt/Ganassi racing that owns the front row with Childress/Earnhardt powered cars propelling four of the top ten cars.

The first round of practice showed total Chevrolet domination with Childress/Earnhardt horsepower in command. The top eight cars were all Chevy’s: Mark Martin, Ryan Newman, Juan Pablo Montoya, Jeff Burton, Clint Bowyer, Jaime McMurray, Kevin Harvick, and Jimmie Johnson. Martin, Newman, and Johnson are Hendricks powered.

Kurt Busch put Dodge in as the 8th fastest car in practice followed by the first Toyota with Joey Logano, then Sam Hornish’s Dodge before the first Ford, A.J. Allmendinger in 12th. The first Roush/Fenway Ford on a track where the team has done well particularly in the first race is Carl Edwards in 16th. No more Fords fall in the top 20. Eleven to twenty is largely Toyota’s domain.

Sunday’s weather calls for a 40% of rain with temperatures in the high 50’s. Fans must hope this race isn’t anything like last February’s race that turned into a competitive disaster with the race starting in miserable weather on Sunday leading to a car-collecting wreck then completed on Monday.

While it’s too soon to look for patterns, Ford is not looking strong despite their greater strength in numbers. New comer Richard Petty Racing is looking stronger than Roush/Fenway that has not performed well in the first practice or qualifying. Perhaps, they’re better set for racing trim which will be on display in 2nd round practice barring weather problems.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Tomorrow Mr. Woods Speaks -- Reports are More a Scared Kitten than a Tiger


For the first time since last Thanksgiving when a late night auto accident just outside his house soon led to revelations of vociferous appetite for sex with a parade of assorted mistresses, escorts, and bimbos coming out of darkness to absolutely obliterate his squeaky clean carefully crafted image, Tiger Woods will appear before an audience to begin reestablishing his career.

Given how the event is being staged, we hesitate to say Tiger Woods is going public. The expose is far too scripted and private and something about the way the whole event is being presented makes Woods’ attempting to come to terms with his difficulties seem still so out of touch.

Tiger Woods will appear before a group of friends and associates at the TPC Sawgrass clubhouse in Ponde Vedra Beach, Florida to offer some kind of statement or apology regarding his behavior. The people in attendance will be a carefully selected group of hand picked supporters. The event will be covered by one single camera. Meanwhile approximately a mile a way, a crowd of legitimate media will be gathered in a hotel ballroom to watch the spectacle. There will be no interaction, no question and answer, just Mr. Woods reading a prepared statement for the world to see.

True to form, in attempting to rebuild his career, once again Woods is working with his handlers to attempt to create a carefully crafted, perfectly packaged image…in essence re-launching the Tiger Woods brand.

How can we not predict that no matter how perfectly written his statement is, and surely it will be carefully written with all the right words and phrases that this endeavor will surely leave the public unfulfilled with just as many questions as ever? What is needed so badly is a little bit of authenticity and pure emotion some opportunity to measure the man and his sincerity to make amends for what he has done wrong. We’d darned well not hear any conditional or qualifying catch phrases we hear all too often in public apologies, the sleazy old, “If I have offended anyone….”

The bottom line is we don’t know Tiger Woods. We probably never did, and tomorrow won’t take us the slightest step to knowing him any better at all. His contributions to the sport of professional golf have been tremendous. Few athletes have dominated his sport the way he has. No one can deny his breaking the color barrier in such an elitist white sport was a long overdue accomplishment which he served so well.

As time went by, Tiger Wood became less a person and more a brand name as he was selling everything from Buicks to investments to Gatorade to Nike. His selling power was supported by an All-American squeaky clean image that he will never be able to convince us is real again.

Tiger Woods can only redefine himself by how he plays golf. If he plays at the highest championship level, all this will calm down. Some will remain forever skeptical of him, for most, his exploits will most likely be put aside. If he struggles on the links, the doomsayers will be proclaiming his misadventures have done him in. He’s washed up. It’s over.

We’ll see what comes tomorrow, but the prequel is making us think the only folks who will gain anything from tomorrow’s activities will be talk show hosts and gossip reporters. That’s a crime.

Sprint Cup 2010: Race 2: California Here We Come!



The NASCAR travelling road show travels across the continent to Fontana, California for the second race of the Sprint Cup season. This is where the complexion for the season ahead really starts to gel though there are a handful of drivers who have tougher tasks resulting from bad finishes at Daytona. Teams prepare all winter for Daytona. Now they’re in the week-to-week grind. We’ll start to see which drivers with the right equipment and team resources are poised to compete in 2010. Forty six cars are entered to compete for forty three starting positions in Sunday’s Auto Club 500.

Lots of attention will be on Roush-Fenway cars. They had an off year last year and are beginning to work in the new Ford engine. How will Richard Petty racing perform having switched to Ford with Roush-Yates engines? 2009 was an off year for Joe Gibbs racing. Will there be evidence their Toyota operation has turned things around.

How serious are some of the new operations going to compete?

Having signed a support alliance with Doug Yates to obtain Roush-Yates engines, the Front Row racing team will get owners’ points from the consolidation of six teams to four from the Yates merger with Richard Petty Racing. Cars #37 and #38 get points from last year’s cars #96 and #98.

Furniture Row Racing has been barely a cut above the start and park gang but this year has a support agreement from Richard Childress Racing and takes the owner points from #07.

The #26 car retains its points from Roush and will get engines and other support from Roush with Boris Said as their driver.

Of the remaining entries, which ones are serious about racing or are just putting in an appearance? Will the dreaded “start and park” withdrawals appear before the top 35 owners’ points transfer to 2010 results? What does it say about an entry that won’t even attempt to compete for the top 35?

Here are the teams with limited resources that could bow out shown as entries in the Auto Club 500.

#09 – Aric Almirola, Chevy, James Finch
#13 – Max Papis, Toyota, Bob Jermain
#35 – Johnny Sauter, Chevy, Beth Baldwin
#36 – Mike Bliss, Chevy, Tommy Baldwin
#46 – Terry Cook, Dodge, Dusty Whitney
#55 – Michael McDowell, Toyota, Prism Motorsports/Randy Humphrey
#66 – Dave Blaney, Toyota, Prism Motor Sports/Phil Parsons
#71 – Bobby Labonte*, Chevy, Kevin Buckler
#87 – Joe Nemechek, Toyota, Andrea Nemechek
#90 – Casey Mears, Chevy, Raymond Key

*Bobby Labonte has a past champion’s provisional to enter up to five races.
Aric Almirola, Johnny Sauter, Terry Cook, Michael McDowell, Dave Blaney, and Joe Nemechek have no sponsorship established for the race.

In evaluating Sprint Cup races last year, 2009, we had a hard time accounting for the “start and park” entries but did find it annoying. Late in the season when Jimmie Johnson wrecked at Texas and where his car finished relative to the rest of the competition could have been impacted by refusal to compete rides. One would hate to think a possible champion might get an advantage because of entries in the field who made no effort to complete the race. For 2010, our position is if a team does not intend to finish the race, stay out.

How this could be enforced is hard to determine. Invariably, some bogus cause is given for withdrawal such as “handling.”

Obama Administration Dismisses 4th Amendment on Cell Phone Searches


Warrantless Cell Phone Searches

This is America, damn it. We hold our rights dearly. Given how much more information about our goings on including schedules, notes, photos, instant messages, and memos, law enforcement views the ability to act quickly to see what’s contained on cell phones, well let’s be honest, handheld computers, as a treasure trove of evidence in developing their cases.

With the intense panic about the prospects of terrorists’ attacks, the public is perhaps a little too scared to stand up and protect long established freedoms not fully appreciating how new technologies should be treated with the same respect as information sources from the past.

The fourth amendment couldn’t be any clearer about the matter under discussion as it establishes:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Do we honestly expect the Obama administration or Attorney General Eric Holder to consider little inconveniences like the United States Constitution when making policy?

The President has spoken frequently about the limits of The Constitution and also like many on the radical left consider it to be a “living” document whose intent must be stretched to deal with realities our founders might not have anticipated.
Electronically stored data is the new "paper" of the 21st Century but legal authorities don't even have to establish that when the amendment uses the term "effects" to cover those things not previously explicitly made clear.

While we do not look to the Founding Fathers as some kind of deities and accept courts play a vital roll in determining how constitutional mandates are applied, we find so many cases where The Constitution, particularly provisions in the first ten amendments, The Bill of Rights, couldn’t be any more clear and exact. This is one of those cases.

Law enforcement must accept the responsibility and do it the right way, get the warrants necessary.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Fans Ruin Good Fight Between Cats and Dogs



Unruly Crowd Conduct Cannot Be Tolerated as Sad Episode at Mississippi State Demonstrates
When a 6-5 team plays the top team in its conference who stands at 10-1 in the conference is 25-1 overall and rated atop the national standings can play 40 minutes of tough basketball forcing overtime, the story should be about the basketball game. One would have hoped that would have been the case when Mississippi State played Kentucky, perhaps the best team in the country last night. Instead, the focus is on the fans’ behavior, conduct so hateful, it demands a prompt and firm response.

Among other things, the crowd seemed to be ignited because of three clutch calls which favored Kentucky possibly spoiling the Bulldogs’ attempts to pull the upset. Among other things, rowdy jerks in the crowd pelted official Mike Kitts with a full bottle of water. Cups of ice water reigned upon the court in the final seconds of the game as the crowd’s conduct turned totally unruly. Among other acts of hooliganism, they managed to pirate Wildcats’ center DeMarcus Cousins’ cell phone number sending him constant, unrelenting harassing calls and text messages some which where vicious racial attacks.

Details of this incident will become clearer in the days ahead. Hopefully, there is enough video tape and responsible audience members who will come forward to identify the offenders and that they will be dealt with harshly. If the person who tossed the bottle that hit the official, for instance, he should be charged with assault and disorderly conduct and tossed in jail. Those fans who can’t behave at games should have their privilege to attend games revoked. If the inflammatory phone calls and text messages could be traced back to their origins, the people who possess those phones should also be sanctioned. If students wind up expelled from school, so be it.

College basketball fans are a spirited bunch and often push the limits in their lively conduct supporting their teams. Duke fans are obnoxious, dopey, and irritating, but that’s what teams learn to deal with when playing at Cameron Indoor Stadium. However, there is a clear line behind wild enthusiasm and a crowd out of control. Not too long ago, the University of Maryland had trouble with fans screaming “Fuck Duke” to an extent that went much further than just a hand full of idiotic bozos. The Mississippi State episode comes on the heals of an out of control crowd at West Virginia in the Big East.

What needs to be clearly understood and enforced vigorously is a clear code of conduct that fans accept for the privilege of watching their team play. These include:

1- Fans shall not engage in obscene or profane chants or taunts.

2- Personal taunts, racist or sexually suggestive verbal assaults are absolutely forbidden.

3- Throwing anything will be treated as criminal behavior.

4- Fans must stay off the playing surface, stay away from the benches, and not engage in any behavior that physically interferes with players entering or leaving the sports venue or engaged in play.

5- Clearly intoxicated fans will not be permitted into the playing area. Breathalyzer or field sobriety tests may be administered on demand.

6- Fans acting in a disrespectful manner during the presentation of colors or playing of the National Anthem will be removed.

7-Appropriate dress codes should be established whereby no obscene or sexually revealing attire will be permitted.

These rules and others deemed necessary must be enacted by all conferences who will work with school administrations and local law officials to determine proper consequences including arrest and prosecution where appropriate for inappropriate conduct.
If you're reading this thinking, "Awh, man you're trying to take all the fun out of going to a game," you're an idiot and should stay home or stick to "professional" wrestling.

If the Snow is Getting to You: Encouraging Words -- Pitchers and Catchers Report!!!


Can you believe it? It’s only been just over two weeks since the Super Bowl and the Daytona 500 is still ringing in our ears, but while the ground is covered with heavy snow many cars and sidewalks still not dug out, here are some encouraging words:

Pitchers and catchers report for camp.

Yes, the time has arrived, tomorrow is the day, Orioles pitchers and catchers report to the Orioles new home for Spring Training in Sarasota, Florida. This is a huge upgrade for the Orioles who have been using the abandoned New York Yankees facility in Fort Lauderdale for the last fourteen seasons. The Sarasota facility which includes the Ed Smith Stadium was the location for the Cincinnati Reds who bolted Florida for Goodyear, Arizona. While they will be playing in what the Reds left behind, it is still a huge upgrade over their previous site. Additionally, Fort Lauderdale was far to the south of where other teams were playing as teams have left south Florida for locations for those staying in Florida further north mostly clustering in the Tampa-St. Petersburg area or in an area stretching from Orlando to Vero Beach while others have split for Arizona to where now half the teams conduct spring training out west. The Orioles will benefit from spending much less time on long bus trips and also have many more teams with whom they can schedule games.

The future is brighter still. Next year, the current facility will be demolished and replaced with a state-of-the-art venue that will have all the modern comforts and technologies to help the team prepare for the long season ahead.

A better place to call home and less travel should lead to more productive preparation for 2010, and given the Orioles 64-98 record last year, every benefit possible must be put to use because fans in Baltimore will not stand for more losing having not had a winning team since 1997. To think today’s kids in middle school, an age kids are often most interested in sports, weren’t even born yet. High school seniors were but five years old. The Orioles losing ways have gone on longer than the time Baltimore was without NFL football (if we can call the last few seasons the Colts were in town NFL football.)

So while “hope springs eternal” as the time honored phrase says, how hopeful can Orioles fans be in 2010.

The Orioles had the roster needs primarily, corner infields for first and third base, a closer, and at least one established veteran starting pitcher. They also need a stronger bullpen.

Key players not returning:
Melvin Mora … 3B
Danys Baez …RP
Brian Bass … RP
Chris Ray … RP



Additions:
Miguel Tejada … 3B
Garrett Atkins … 1B
Kevin Millwood … SP
Michael Gonzalez …. RP (closer)
Will Ohman ... RP (spring training invitee)
x
Looking ahead to opening day, these players almost certainly appear headed to Baltimore. What’s in doubt is the final composition of the bullpen. Perhaps an outfielder could be cut if the team is going to want a 12 man pitching staff. For a team that had the worst record in American League to be heading into Spring Training with so few positions undecided must mean good news. The real downer is the constant reminder that they play in the American League East, the home of the World Champion New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox, the two biggest spending, powerful organizations in the sport.
x

Offense:
C … Matt Wieters
1B … Garrett Atkins
2B … Brian Roberts
SS … Cesar Izturis
3B … Miguel Tejada
RF … Nick Markakis
CF … Adam Jones
LF … Norm Reimold
DH … Luke Scott

Starting Rotation
Kevin Millwood
Jeremy Guthrie
Brad Bergesen
Brian Matusz
Chris Tillman

Relievers
Michael Gonzalez
Jim Johnson
Mark Hendrickson
Dennis Safate
Cla Meredith
Koji Uehara
Will Ohman
x
Bench:
Ty Wigginton (infield)
Robert Andino (2B, SS)
Felix Pie (outfield)
Lou Montanez (outfield)
Chad Moeller or Craig Tatum (catcher)

So Who Hurt Sarah Palin's Feelings Now?




This is getting old. Somebody on television makes fun of Sarah Palin. Instantly Fox News makes it a news item surely to be mentioned on the O’Reilly Factor and one of the other evening commentary programs and Sarah Palin will blast the insulter with an angry sense of indignation either on Fox News or to an audience at a speaking engagement.

The offender this time is Seth McFarlane through his primetime animated comedy, Family Guy, an episode in which the dullard middle child, Chris gets a rare date with a girl with Downs syndrome. While dining, Chris asks his date about her parents, and in her response she indicates, “…my mom’s the former governor of Alaska.”

Put two and two together, it was a slimy way to mock Palin and her son, Trig, who was born with the genetic condition in response to which Palin has attempted to be a voice for children with special needs.

There can be no denying that the program content was a tasteless low blow, but that’s what The Family Guy is all about. The program deals with shock humor, cheap shots at anyone MacFarlane finds an easy target, and attempts to push the envelop on tastelessness as far as the network censors will allow which is pretty far when it’s Fox TV.

Seth MacFarlane is a dedicated leftist and the show was developed with support of David Zuckerman. He has used the cartoon program as a convenient prop to joust public figures he disagrees with to the right including portraying Nazis as Bush/Cheney supporters. It’s not surprising to find a marriage between tasteless content, sick abusive humor, and pitches from a leftist point-of-view. It works for David Letterman doesn’t it. However, on a certain level for a huge audience not just staunch lefties, Family Guy is gut-busting funny. On many levels what he does is not that far off from what might be seen on The Simpsons or South Park.

Long story made short: MacFarlane is an idiot. His show is tasteless. Lots of people find it funny. He takes cheap shots at anyone he thinks can generate a cheap laugh. The past episode was Sarah Palin. That he would ridicule people with Down’s syndrome shows what kind of character the fellow has.

Sarah Palin is too stupid to realize that her making a big deal about MacFarlane’s jab only gives him more publicity enhancing his credibility. Most would have seen the show and reacted “what do you expect?” from Family Guy. That Palin is so thin-skinned to make a big deal about something this inconsequential not only distracts from more legitimate charges of insensitivity to “special needs” people such as Rom Emanuel calling adversaries “fucking retards.” Emanuel is a person of considerable authority expected to act professionally and appropriately. If there is any standard of decency which applies to Family Guy be assured Seth MacFarlane will push it to its limits.

These continued distractions that Sarah Palin cannot resist makes most of us who she reaches dismiss her as little more than a common whiner.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Abbey Road: "Helter Skelter" for "Money"


As a compulsive record album buyer, former (and hopefully future) deejay, and music lover who has followed pop music since the Beatles invasion, we have focused a keen eye on the recording industry. From a mega perspective, there has been very little encouraging news for anything that would enhance the creative prospects where unique innovative music can thrive in favor of bland consistent marketable McMusic despite huge advances in technology. We harp on the theme that over 80% of recorded music comes from four huge international companies, but the smallest of the four, EMI, owner of Capitol records, home of the Beatles is struggling for life under horrible management that threatens its existence.

EMI's one bright spot is Abbey Road studios in London. For decades Abbey Road has turned out some of the greatest music from across the big pond from the London Symphony Orchestra, almost all of the Beatles work, the legendary Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd to contemporary greats like Coldplay. Recently, their engineering staff committed to remastering the second generation of Beatles CD's much to the acclaim of even the most hypercritical listeners.

Now Abbey Road looks to be the next casualty on the EMI death list. While today it certainly has state of the art technology, it was not so much the gear by those who knew how to use it that mattered, and hopefully the talented, sometimes nameless, engineers and technicians will remain intact. Compared to what was available at some studios in America, Abbey Road was quite primitive through most of the Beatles tenure. Is it any wonder the Beatles sought to have their definitive recording of Sgt Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band be the mono release?

Yet with only four tracks available and lots of "mashing down" they released one of the most revolutionary records in music history. By 1969, Abbey Road had the new industry standard 16 track recording technology and was poised to provide Alan Parsons and his team the resources necessary to record Dark Side of the Moon for release in early 1973.

Surely, if there is no buyer who can maintain Abbey Road as a world class studio, the City of London should consider making it a museum as one of the landmarks in music history. Within those walls so much wonderful music was crafted by world class artists and solid professionals working the controls.

For more information, here's our reference article: http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/E/EU_BRITAIN_ABBEY_ROAD?SITE=WBAL&SECTION=ENTERTAINMENT&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Sprint Cup 2010: Race 1: #1 is #1


Jaime McMurray is #1 for sure. Driving the #1 car to victory in the Daytona 500 is such an ironic triumph how can race fans not be amazed. McMurray was the odd man out when Roush-Fenway racing had to downsize from five to four cars. Meanwhile, at Earnhardt-Ganassi racing, the #1 car was open with Martin Truex Jr. departing for Michael Waltrip’s operation. So who were in the mix at the end, Jaime McMurray, Carl Edwards, Greg Biffle, and Martin Truex Jr. were all in the mix to win the race as were Kevin Harvick who appeared to have the strongest car, and who came up out of nowhere to almost pull off the win, Dale Earnhardt Jr.

For a race that took six hours and ten minutes, the final segment of the race was classic Daytona. How ironic is it that Roush coaxed Mark Martin into not retiring to save a seat for McMurray as his replacement. McMurray was under contract with Ganassi’s operation. He left Ganassi for Roush where things did not work out quite as well as expected though he did win a restrictor plate race last fall at Talladega. Meanwhile, Truex in his new ride was one competitor he had to keep behind him to gain the win.

Most of the race seemed to suggest that a true kind of parity exists in NASCAR with a record number of lead changes, a total of 25 leaders. There was no clear dominant team. For what it ultimately turned out to be worth Kevin Harvick led the most laps, 41, to finish 7th. Clint Bowyer led 36 headed to a 4th place finish. Kurt Busch led 32 but faded off to 22nd while Greg Biffle who looked like a possible winner, led 29th to finish in 3rd.

The inevitability factor never materialized. Though starting 3rd and looking racy early in the contest, Jimmie Johnson was not a factor in the race. First tire trouble and then drive train difficulties ruined the champ’s afternoon with a miserable 35th place finish, 23 laps down. Does anybody want to start a pool on which race Johnson will move into the top ten in points?

On the subject irony, could we say there is also irony in Dale Earnhardt Jr. finishing second to the team he left?

For all the positives of today’s race, anyone who watched the whole race or the fans in the stands must be disappointed with two long red flag breaks because the asphalt was breaking up requiring long delays for the potholes to be patched. That ISC (International Speedway Corporation) could have its track in such dismal shape for the premier event of the season simply is not acceptable. Sure there’s been two weeks of racing with the 24 Hours of Daytona then all the NASCAR related events and yes there was lots of rain, it does rain a lot in Florida. It is truly embarrassing that the overall condition of such a prominent facility could be allowed to deteriorate so badly having not been resurfaced since 1978. The famous 1979 race ending in the Allison/Yarborough fight, the whole Dale Earnhardt era, and all that has happened since has been on the same asphalt. While this wasn’t as embarrassing as the 2008 Brickyard 400 with all its competition yellow flags, what happened today was unacceptable. Thankfully, the racing action remained competitive. We’d be interested in knowing if the pavement trouble contributed to any of today’s DNF’s.

The top 12 for today’s race are:

1- Jaime McMurray, #1, Chevy
2- Dale Earnhardt, Jr., #88, Chevy
3- Greg Biffle, #16, Ford
4- Clint Bowyer, #33, Chevy
5- David Reutimann, #00, Toyota
6- Martin Truex, Jr., #56, Toyota
7- Kevin Harvick, #29, Chevy
8- Matt Kenseth, #17, Ford
9- Carl Edwards, #99, Ford
10-Juan Montoya, #42, Chevy
11-Jeff Burton, #31, Chevy
12-Mark Martin, #5, Chevy

Three of four Roush-Fenway teams, Michael Waltrip full-time rides, all three Childress teams, and the two from Earnhardt-Ganassi and Hendricks. Joe Gibbs and Richard Petty Racing were shut out. For Richard Petty racing, though Paul Menard finished 13th, Kasey Kahne was the most competitive ride before a late race crash. Elliot Sadler ran toward the front during much of the race.

The 2010 Daytona 500 was a particularly tough race for Roger Penske having two cars wreck with Brad Keselowski finishing 36th and Sam Hornish finishing 37th. Tony Stewart’s operation had a disappointing day with Stewart, Saturday’s champ, finishing a lack luster 22nd while his teammate Ryan Newman crashed out in 34th. None of the new formations like Front Row racing or the small independents had anything noteworthy to show for their efforts. Although Joe Nemechek finished in dead last, it was not because of a start and park effort. He wrecked.

Other noise around the track was a prerace performance by country singer, Tim McGraw, a mediocre star of the new package that is sold as country music. Almost as noisy as the car engines was a visitor who made her way around the track before action began, Sarah Palin was on hand to see and be seen. Won’t that help tie all the stereotypes together that the media elites hate?

The long march across America to Homestead has begun for 2010. Next week, the engines will roar in Fontana, California as the real grind of the season begins for real. Two far western races will help set the stage for what the 2010 season will become before the teams come east to Atlanta, March 7th when the season reaches its first landmark after which this year’s owner’s points set the field. In today’s rough economic conditions, the first four races could be decisive for which teams continue for the rest of the season. That the #28 Travis Kvapil ride could not lock into the top 25 with lack of sponsorship doomed that team and perhaps spelled the end of Yates racing which struggled all last season between its #98 car and alliance deal with Hall-of-Fame facing which no longer exists. Could there possibly be enough quality teams to allow Sprint Cup racing to shed the park and ride teams which only clutter up the field?

Bigotrry and Hatred: It's a Left Wing Kind of Thing


Here's a posting that appeared on RMF's Facebook. Guess this fellow never paused to think there might be a few folks on his list who aren't part of the regressive progressive hate machine.

Get a load of this...(OUCH!!!)
"Has anyone else noticed that the areas of the country where the Tea Party and the Religious Right are most active are also the areas where incest and generations of inbreeding run rampant? I'm sure there's a connection!"

This pretty much says it all about the thought processes coming out of the entertainment industry, much of the news media, Obama style Democrats, and the academic elite, a world of abusive attacks and hasty conclusions dismissive of anyone who dare question their creed. After all, the President himself implied racism when he made his infamous comment about, "The Cambridge Police acted stupidly."

Don't despair. Let such nonsense reinforce your resolve. There is no shame in admitting WE'RE MAD AS HELL AND WE'RE NOT GOING TO TAKE IT ANY MORE. And they thing they have a monopoly on intelligence...HAH!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Baltimore's New Mayor - A Refreshing Change!!!



While it’s way too soon to develop a lasting impression, we find Stephanie Rawlings-Blake a merciful breath of fresh air running city hall in Baltimore. Talk about trial by fire, having just assumed office on Thursday, February 4th, the following day the snow began to fall and by Saturday morning, the city of Baltimore was brought to a screeching halt by a historical snow storm. Immediately, she was thrown into office having to make executive decisions working with the city’s public safety and emergency preparedness operations to make sure resources are deployed to clear the streets and deal with having police, fire, and paramedic resources ready to deploy as needed. Naturally, she’d be called upon to address the media quick to drill her with questions on every little detail but having to maintain a sense of civility and calm to dispel public restlessness. As if the storm that disrupted the Mid-Atlantic region entering the weekend wasn’t bad enough, the city was just beginning to function again when more heavy snow, blinding winds, and significant accumulation, another blizzard in the popular vernacular, and given this was on top of that which has already fallen, the new mayor was leading the city through by far the worst winter weather emergency in the history of the region.

Through it all, the mayor remained upbeat and positive being very clear on what the challenges are and firmly telling the public what their responsibilities were, but she also showed tremendous respect and appreciation for all those involved in bringing Baltimore back to life from under often more than three feet of snow with substantial drifting with power outages through out the city. She noted, “Baltimore has never seen anything like this before,” and added the city was dealing with a, “difficult and inconvenient time for our citizens.” She also observed the real personal reality of the storm, “This city is not clear until your street is clear, so let's do this together.”

An attitude like that will earn much cooperation unlike the scolding the Governor and not too distant former Mayor, Martin O’Malley laid upon the State of Maryland.

We heard no whining, no finger pointing, no whoa is me, just clear determination. In less than a week, the new mayor dealt with circumstances never even remotely faced by her disgraced predecessor who has certainly not only disgraced the city with her criminal behavior but also left office kicking and screaming denying any wrong doing throughout burning every bridge en route on her road out of public life.

No mistake about it, Sheila Dixon was a bitch, a mean ugly bitch who was drunken with power, opportunistic from the word go who felt a sense of almost royal entitlement to the trappings of power serving as mayor of one of the nation’s great cities. That the charges against her involved the theft of resources set aside for the city’s most misfortunate for her own personal use showed a calloused disregard for the very people she was charged with trying to help. One could hardly hear Ms. Dixon speak without realizing the narrative was always about her and a sense that everyone else either owed her something or were out to get her. The finger pointing grew stale in a hurry.

Sheila Dixon’s misdeeds got national coverage from the Fox News Network to the National News pages of the New York Times showing a city government engrossed in corruption leading to its top official. This is not the kind of negative publicity the City of Baltimore needed having made so many advancements in rebuilding parts of the city where from the University of Maryland Hospital and downtown campus area and stadium neighborhoods in the west to Canton in the east, Baltimore is a city on the move with desirable business and residential properties filled with great entertainment, recreational, and dining facilities. It’s also a city with a failing school system which continues to crank out failure, decaying slums, and a dangerously high homicide rate, though slightly improved still presents the grim reality on any given day of the year, odds are better than not another African American male will be murdered.

One never got the impression that Mayor Dixon had any ability to act as a cheerleader for the city to invite businesses and residents to consider coming to Crab City nor did she give any indication of sensitivity dealing with the troubled neighborhoods of Baltimore. It was all about her, speaking in the first person, and attempting to shine in the spotlights.

What could be a more dramatic symbolic time for the City of Baltimore to turn a page in its history as one of America’s oldest cities must hope to see a bright history in its future. Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake seems to understand this and we hope she will bring a pragmatic approach and new energy facing the mountains of challenges the city faces as one of America’s great cities.


Friday, February 12, 2010

Sprint Cup 2010: Race 1: The Big One, The Daytona 500




Who can get over thinking Jimmie Johnson is inevitable? Not us. We’re prepared for him smoking the entire field early and often and having a Richard Petty like championship season for 2010. At least that way if other teams emerge, we can be pleasantly surprised.

Sitting in the 3rd position on the second row winning the first of the Twin 125’s, the reigning four time champion looks red hot. Many variables determine the winner of the Daytona 500 if there are a few cars in close competition, but if the #48 car is in a position to win in the final stretch, unless the entire field hangs him out to dry, it’s hard not to pick Jimmie Johnson as the favorite to win the Daytona 500.

Tony Stewart is an intriguing possibility. He complained about having a tough car to handle but none-the-less, he did well enough in the Twins to start 6th. Stewart, like Dale Earnhardt Sr. has won everything in sight at Daytona but hasn’t won the big one yet.

For dark horse candidates, keep an eye on Kasey Kahne, the highest Ford in the field. He won the second Twin 125 and looked sharp doing so. Juan Pablo Montoya starts 8th and sure is showing mastery of restrictor plate racing.

In so many ways, the Daytona 500 is setting up to be a reflection of the finish of the 2009 season. Hendricks cars are at the top swapping out Dale Earnhardt Jr. for Jeff Gordon in the Promised Land with Gordon checking in further back in 21st.

Roush drivers are nowhere to be found in the top starters. David Ragan who struggled so severely in 2009 is the top Roush starter way back in 19th. Greg Biffle starts 23rd, Matt Kenseth, 24th and Carl Edwards 27th, a most mediocre start for the team that has been the premier Ford team for well over a decade. Conversely, Ford’s other premier entries, the reformulated Richard Petty Racing operation merged with Yates racing not only fields Kasey Kahne on the outside of the second row, but Elliot Sadler starts 12th and A.J. Allmendinger starts 15th putting them in striking distance of the top. Their final team member, Paul Menard, the one driver from the Yates operation to join the team posts a 32nd starting spot.

Joe Gibbs Racing has a rather lack luster draw for the Great American Race, with Kyle Busch starting a respectable 7th. Joey Logano raced for a 15th spot while Deny Hamlin takes the 25th position. After a difficult 2009, Richard Childress racing posts former winner, Kevin Harvick, 5th just barely missing the Twin 125 by a fraction of second to Jimmie Johnson while team mates Clint Bowyer starts 9th but Jeff Burton could only manage a miserable 39th start. With Scott Speed and Sam Hornish Jr. down toward the bottom of the heap, Roger Penske’s and Dodge’s hopes rest on Kurt Busch’s shoulders who starts his #2 car in 10th.

NASCAR added one more rule change guaranteed to stimulate more excitement, all races must finish with a green/white/checkered flag sequence unless a caution is called after the final lap has started. Even if it takes several tries a race must return to green and the white flag can only fly once one green flag lap has been completed. It looks like NASCAR is very serious about trying to mix things up and making races more competitive.

Sunday’s weather will be cool and partly cloudy with temperatures in the 50’s. What a strange irony Daytona 500 historians will ponder that while conditions will have improved greatly in the north east from the worst of what hit the region, many will be more or less housebound on Sunday much like they were in February, 1979 when CBS aired the first flag-to-flag coverage of the race which ended in a vicious fight between the Allison Brothers, Donnie and Bobby, and Cale Yarborough who wrecked in the last lap. As they tangled in the infield grass near turn three, Richard Petty slipped past the carnage to capture his 6th and next to last Daytona 500 victory.

The field for the 2010 Daytona 500 will consist of eight former Daytona 500 winners accounting for twelve victories led by Jeff Gordon with three victories, Bill Elliot and Michael Waltrip, who just barely made the race, with two, and Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jimmie Johnson, Kevin Harvick, Ryan Newman, and Matt Kenseth each having one victory. Hendrick Motor Sports owns six victories leading all active ownership groups.

Manufacturers will be represented by 14 Chevrolets, 3 Dodges, 13 Fords, and 13 Toyotas.