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."

Read more:


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.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

NFL 2010: Week 10 -- Dallas Dumps Phillips; Moss grows in Tennessee; What's Up in DC?

Pity Jason Garrett. Three years ago he was the rising star coveted by teams like Baltimore and Washington as their potential new head coach. Garrett elected to stay in Dallas getting an outrageous paycheck to remain as offensive coordinator and a strong hint he'd be in line to replace Wade Phillips when Phillips would retire. Since then, Dallas has not looked like a Super Bowl offense by any stretch of the imagination. Then came the 2010 season where the owner dreamed of hosting the Super Bowl with his Cowboys as the home team, but the team collapsed in historic fashion with only one win so far this year. After getting destroyed on national television against the Green Bay Packers, losing 45-7, the long overdue dismissal of Phillips became automatic and now Jason Garrett is the head coach. However, one has to think, unless he's one of those guys Jerry Jones worships (possibility) or the team turns around and plays awesome football (unlikely), it's more likely that someone else will be head coach next year and with luck, Garrett will be somebody's offensive guru.

The food didn't agree with Randy Moss in Minnesota. Now he's in (YAHOO!!!) Nashville. If any coach can work with Randy Moss, it's Jeff Fisher who's low key intensity and ability to quietly lead his players might be the perfect match for the mercurial Moss. He could be a very valuable addition to the Titans' offense making their odds against Indy for the Southern Division in the AFC brighter while the Colts continue to get injured.

What could possibly be uglier for Washington given Coach Mike Shannahan and his "sonny boy" Kyle, the team's offensive coordinator pulled veteran QB, Donovan McNabb, with the game in reach losing to the Detroit Lions with two minutes to go?  Rex Grossman came in and obliterated the Redskins sanity with a prompt fumble leading to a Detroit touchdown. Now Philadelphia comes to town for a Monday night game, the Eagles, McNabb's former team. The tension will be thicker than the BS on Capitol Hill on Fedex Field Monday night. The only way out is for McNabb to play the whole game, play effectively, and beat the Eagles. Anything less will make the soap opera in DC that much more intense.

Thursday night football begins this week. Is this a good thing or overkill. For the Ravens who travel to Atlanta, it's a pain in the arse having to get ready on such short notice.

Here are our picks for Week 10:

Baltimore at Atlanta (-1)
No easy game for either team. They are well matched. Baltimore has faced tougher competition and should prevail.

Cincinnati at Indianapolis (-7)
Indy is all banged up. Cincinnati is not playing well as a team. Payton Manning will prevail.

New York Jets (-3) at Cleveland
Yeah, we know Cleveland upset the Patriots, but in the Ryan brother bash, Rex beats Rob.

Minnesota (-1.5) at Chicago
Minnesota is another one of those soap opera teams who came on brilliantly to pull out a win in the final moments showing they still have some real power despite the internal feuds and a dork of a head coach. They should be strong enough to edge "dah Bears."

Tennessee (-1.5) at Miami
A lot of question marks to this game, Moss joins the Titans and Pennington will take back his old starting roll. Miami's play against Baltimore showed they are no match for the better teams.

Houston at Jacksonville (-2)
Houston has been falling lately but should be ready to turn things around against an unpredictable Jaguar team.

Detroit at Buffalo (-3)
One could say Buffalo's bound to win one of these days, but Detroit is coming in strong after smashing the Redskins. Detroit is a bad team getting better. Buffalo has not turned the corner yet.

Carolina at Tampa Bay (-7)
Pity Carolina, the folks in Charlotte only have two more weeks of  NASCAR, then they'll have to face up to how terrible their football team is -- dreadful and ready to be rebuilt.

Kansas City (-1) at Denver
Have we finally established KC is a decent team this year?  They should be good enough to at least win the AFC West when they beat Denver Sunday.

St. Louis at San Francisco (-6)
If San Francisco is to get it in gear and salvage something from the season, they cannot lose at home to the Rams but they'd better be ready. The Rams are turning things around.

Dallas at New York Giants (-14)
Will the Giants kick the Cowboys when they're down?  Count on it.

New England at Pittsburgh (-4.5)
Could injuries be the Steelers' undoing?  Possibly, but this time of year Pittsburgh is very tough at home and the Pats still have to figure how the lowly Browns beat them last week.

Philadelphia (-3) at Washington
The Redskins will look like a cigar store Indian when the Eagles are through with them Monday night. After Shannahan's shenanigans, it's hard to imagine the team will do much of anything unless Donovan has some unbelievable leadership skills that father and son won't try to oppress.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Sprint Cup 2010 Race 34: Tension in Texas

What happened in Texas?  All of a sudden there are Fords all over the place in the top of the starting lineup led by Elliot Sadler whose team was threatened not to have been able to make the show just days ago. Greg Biffle and Carl Edwards line up second and third while David Ragan, practically an invisible man in 2010 takes the 5th spot. For good measure, A.J. Allmendinger took the 10th spot while the remainder of the Petty stable nailed down 12th (Paul Menard) and 13th (Aric Almirola). Matt Keseth completed the Roush picture in 20th. One additional Ford note, Traver Bayne instead of Bill Elliott will race the 21 car for the "legendary": Wood Brothers in their part-time effort. The Front Row team was nowhere to be found until the rock bottom.

The championship contenders make things interesting but favor the incumbent, Jimmie Johnson, who starts 17th. Kevin Harvick checks in spot 26 while Denny Hamlin starts in what could be a costly 30th position. For these challengers pit strategy and fuel mileage could be the key but given their place in the field, staying out of wrecks with over anxious competitors with nothing to lose could be a factor as well.

Five entries did not make the field none of which would be sponsored teams in any position to compete had they made the race.

The challenge is clear for drivers Johnson, Hamlin, and Harvick. Every race which does not narrow the gap if behind or increase the margin if ahead makes what remains that much more difficult in Phoenix and Homestead.  No driver is well enough off where a bad race couldn't completely destroy the season.

Given the uncertainty surrounding other teams outside of the absolute elite where most rides are already nailed down for 2011, a huge field of drivers will seek every advantage to put in a good performance that could be the ticket to a seat in next year's competition.

NFL 2010 Week 9: Time Out at the Halfway House

At the end of this week, the 2010 NFL season will have reached the halfway point for the 2010 season. By virtue of just one loss while the other contenders have two or more, one could say the New England Patriots look like the dominant team, but they surely aren't the sure bets of old. Are they better than the Ravens, whom they beat in overtime, the Steelers, or the Jets?  In the NFC, the Giants appear to be deeper and more forceful than other teams.  There are also some teams that are just plain terrible most noteworthy among them, the Dallas Cowboys who had visions of being the home team host of the Super Bowl, but they are fragmented, sloppy, and undisciplined. Their head coach, Wade Phillips, seems to be just as casual about losing as ex-Orioles manager, Dave Trembley. Sorry guys, at this level, "we tried hard," doesn't cut it.

So here are the games and our picks for the week.

Miami at Balitimore (-5 1/2)
The Ravens should dominate this game. Something gives: Miami has not lost a road game. The Ravens have not lost a home game. The Ravens off their bye should be fresh and the new pieces settled in to make this a good game for the Purple and Gold.

San Diego (-3) at Houston
Houston will be ready to get back on its feet after losing to the Colts. Yes, we've heard the Chargers get better with age in the season, but they haven't proven that yet.

Arizona at Minnesota (-8)
The Vikings are the second NFL team to undergo a Moss removal process this year. The team is in chaos, but should prevail over the bare cupboards of Arizona.

New Orleans (-7) at Carolina
No contest. Carolina is waiting for the meat wagons to clearout the slaughter house.

New England (-4.5) at Cleveland
No contest. New England wins.

Tampa Bay at Atlanta (-8.5)
Tampa Bay is one of this year's surprise teams but no one will be surprised when Atlanta wins.

Chicago (-3) at Buffalo
Neither team is very good, but Chicago has shown more so far this year. It's "DA BEARS."

New York Jets (-4) at Detroit
The Lions beat the Redskins and they finally have some power?  The Jets are better than a four point favorite for sure.

New York Giants (-7) at Seattle
It's a long flight to Seattle, but still this is no contest. The Giants win.

Indianapolis @ Philadelphia (-3)
Indy isn't the team of years past and is beat up, but they'll still take care of the Eagles.

Kansas City at Oakland (-2.5)
Both teams are far better than expected but KC has proven itself more consistently than Oakland.

Dallas at Green Bay (-2.5)
Fans will see another cheesy effort from Dallas leading to another emabarassing lost for the Cowboys.

Pittsburgh (-4.5) at Cincinnati
Cincinnati is going to rise up and win an upset at some point soon, but does anyone thing the Steelers aren't going to be plenty prepared. When they flush their toilets in Iron City, the sewage flows down stream to Cincinnati. Get the message.

The Bye teams are:
San Francisco
St. Louiis

This week there is also a Bye-Bye team, the Washington Redskins who seemed to completely mail a season that had hope in the second half last week. Mike Shannahan's benching veteran QB, Donovan McNabb has been the talk of the Mid-Atlantic for the past week especially given how horribly Rex Grossman fared upon his first possession. It was one of the ugliest sights by a team not called the Cowboys this year.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Sprint Cup 2010: Race 33 -- A Totally Satisfying Talladega

Going into this fall’s race at the great American Indian graveyard, there was much trepidation. Drivers still in reach of the championship feared getting caught up in a Talladega disaster. The whole field feared the typical big one where the long train of cars engaged in a massive draft pile up in a massive metal crunching wreck.

This year, there was no big one. Dale Earnhardt Jr. wrecked Jeff Burton in a bump drafting miscue, and at the very end of the race after the white flag was displayed, A.J. Allmendinger’s #43 Ford went sailing. Kevin Harvick had a little bit of a run-in requiring some smart duct-tape application but still finished second to his teammate, Clint Bowyer, keeping him firmly in contention and gaining points on Denny Hamlin and Jimmie Johnson who also finished in the top ten. Perhaps most amazing of all, there was only one start and park driver, #97 Jeff Fuller. All-in-all, it seemed like Halloween was a day to celebrate for the Sprint Cup gang.

The festivities had a somber side too. Veteran NASCAR official, Jim Hunter, a widely respected leader in the front office, died of cancer. Many drivers reflected fondly on his contributions to the sport. Hunter helped publicize the sport through the whole Winston Cup era.

Richard Petty Racing had all four cars in the race and generally outpaced the Roush stable in the Ford camp. Speculation remains how they will continue the year and then what lies ahead.

It’s on to Texas, the Dallas-Fort Worth area, where local sports fans are smarting over their baseball team, the Rangers, being promptly dispatched from the World Series, and where the beloved Dallas Cowboys are a dreadful embarrassment.

Three drivers are all in strong position for the championship in Homestead, after Texas and Phoenix. Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin will throw caution to the wind and race all out to void Jimmie Johnson’s “drive for five,” his fifth consecutive championship. As far as any long shot possibilities, forget it. The results at Talladega did nothing to move any other rides close enough to where that can even be a fantasy.

Who Says There Isn't Room to Cut School Spending in Baltimore County

(from The Baltimore Sun, 11/3/2010)

If Baltimore County can afford to erect signs like this on Charles Street for the new West Towson Elementary School and the Ridge School (a school for students with special needs), there is certainly room for examining and cutting the school's enormous budget. Consider this is truly a "sign of the times" erected during a time when the economy is not healthy and many citizens are facing hardships in their home budgets. Yet the Greenwood gang can see fit to spend thousands of dollars on an elaborate vanity sign for its schools.

Perhaps the system needs an audit to determine how much other money is going to noninstructional purposes or those which provide a safe and healthy environment for learning to take place.

When career teachers at the top of the pay scale can earn over $80,000 a year for 10 month employment whether they are effective teachers or not, there's much room to give to provide for students who are getting shortchanged while teachers scream poverty and demand ever more from the taxpayers they are employed to serve.

This is sort of like the Robert F. Kennedy Los Angeles fiasco in miniatureeee. It springs from the same kind of arrogance and sense of entitlement.

For more about this outrage and how the neighbors react, please consult the following article from the Baltimore Sun.,0,5729196.story


The Next Move for Conservatives -- Unloading Sarah Palin

Make no mistake, the Senate would be now in Republican hands if it weren't for Sarah Palin throwing herself front and center in the 2010 Republican primary process.

Senatorial losses in Nevada and Delaware could have been certain wins. The Republicans had sure winners poised to take seats going into each states' primary, but because of Sarah Palin's shrill screeches of bumper sticker slogans, her influence brought out the worst in the conservative electorate going for candidates who simply lacked the strength of character and intellect to wage effective campaigns for Senate.

The Republicans had in their reach defeating the sitting Senate Majority Leader. They could have assumed the Senate seat vacated by Joe Biden upon becoming Vice President.

Sarah Palin is not fit to size up and endorse capable candidates as it is obvious to be an effective politician and not a major media figure, it takes far more intellect and judgment than the Wasilla Wench possesses.

Her time is up. She has failed miserably aside from gaining way too much media attention which thanks to her unlimited access to Fox News is substantial. The 2012 Presidential campaign will be shaping up way too soon, and by the time it does, Sarah Palin can neither be a candidate nor a serious power broker.

It should quickly become evident to Republican leadership and hopefully Tea Party activists, that their golden opportunity to take back the legislature would be reality right now were it not for the Worthless Wasilla Wench.

Enjoy the moose hunt, Ms. Palin. Stay in Alaska and keep your shrill mouth shut. You are not welcome any more. Your time is up.


Monday, November 1, 2010

NFL 2010: Week 8: Shanahan's Shenanigans

Shanahan’s Shenanigans

The play clock stood at 1:50. The Detroit Lions had just kicked a field goal to lead the Washington Redskins, 31-25. If the Redskins could move the ball effectively and score a touchdown and kick the extra point, they’d take the win with seconds to spare.

Coach Michael Shanahan deployed backup quarterback, Rex Grossman to replace starter, Donovan McNabb. Grossman was sacked and in so doing fumbled the ball. Defensive tackle Noamukong Suh recovered the ball, completed a 17 yard dash for a touchdown leaving Redskins’ fans stunned in total disbelief.

In little more than a bat of an eyelash, they watched the spectacle of the starting quarterback yanked in favor of an unproven understudy, the execution of an ill-conceived play, sack, fumble, and touchdown for the opposition.

In a matter of seconds, it might appear the Burgundy and Gold saw its season meltdown with a move that few could comprehend.

Communication later never cleared up the matter. Going into the game, McNabb did have some stain in his hamstring, but was able to play most of four quarters in the game. There was talk that with just two minutes left, Grossman who worked with Shanahan’s son, Kyle, the team’s offensive coordinator, at Houston last year, had a better grasp of the two minute drill. Then in a later response to the media, Mike Shanahan made some reference to cardio-vascular issues.

No matter what concerns there might have been about McNabb, the game was winnable with two minutes to go. What does benching a starting quarterback with a long history of performance tell a team when the game is on the line?

For the record, McNabb threw one interception, fumbled once, completed 17 for 30 attempts passing for 210 yards, and scored a touchdown. Perhaps, this wouldn’t be Pro Bowl material in most circumstances, but it is hardly a QB meltdown.

Going into the game, the Redskins had a winning record, one game behind the leading New York Giants. The playoffs were even in play. Most would consider coming off the horrors of last year and how many question marks remained, the Skins might have been considered overachievers, but still they managed to pull out some rather tricky games.

While the Detroit Lions have shown improvement and have much potential, they were 1-5 going into action. A loss to the Lions is quite a letdown.

After the long Albert Haynesworth drama during the preseason and continued conflict extending into the season, not all was orderly for Washington football. Shanahan was brought in to establish order, a coach known for his no nonsense approach, yet from the beginning Haynesworth not wanting to play in a new defensive scheme with one of the largest contracts in the league stood up against the coach and the coach responded harshly. To say one has prevailed or the other might be a tough call but that Haynesworth is still on the roster collecting his millions and take shots at the organization, Shanahan can’t be seen as the man on top.

Since Joe Gibbs first retirement, the Redskins have been a team largely in decline over much of the 1990’s into the next decade and beyond. The pace accelerated rapidly once new owner Daniel Snyder attempted to put his imprint on the team which almost looked respectable with Marty Schottenheimer, who was fired leading to the embarrassing Steve Spurrier saga that even the return of Joe Gibbs couldn’t solve. That Joe Gibbs got some results but couldn’t reestablish a tightly run system revealed how much chaos existed. All the Gibbs accomplished collapsed furiously under Jim Zorn, ill-prepared for the roll of head coach under such circumstances.

Enter Mike Shanahan who took the Denver Broncos who had a reputation of being one of the great almost teams under Dan Reeves to a back-to-back Super Bowl winner with Quarterback John Elway. However, the Broncos slid into a long decline after Elway’s retirement hastening his dismissal after the 2008 season after a 13 year reign.

Is Shanahan over rated or is the situation in Washington so lethal? Nevertheless, the next two weeks will be filled with speculation about McNabb’s benching and what could be a worse way to head into the bye week than to lose in such embarrassing fashion to a team that is generally regarded as one of the league’s punching bags.

Once admired as a model organization in all of pro sports, what can be said of the Daniel Snyder era Redskins? So far, the Shanahan chapter does not look headed to a happy ending. With an impetuous and impatient owner who collects big salaried players like trading cards, the chances of a true house cleaning and rebuilding looks less likely than yet another head coach’s tenure ending in futility with a very short time on the job.

It’s not working, and Redskins fans know it.


NFL 2010: Week 8 -- Doomsday for Dallas. Is Favre Finally Finished?

Can it finally be made official beyond the shadow of any doubt? The Dallas Cowboys suck. They are one of the worst teams in the NFL. Cut out the hype. Cut out the stats and the “almost’s.” It’s wins and losses that count and only one team is worse of this year so far, the winless Buffalo Bills. There’s only one team that also has one loss, Carolina. The Cleveland Browns and Detroit Lions are better, so are 29 other teams including the next weakest team in their division, The Washington Redskins who’ve won three more games and lost two fewer than the hapless Cowboys. What better proof does a football fan need today to prove they are a terrible team? They played at home and got clobbered by the Jacksonville Jaguars hardly anyone’s playoff pick. Wasn’t the way the New York Giants picked them apart a week ago enough of tip off this team is going nowhere except straight down the drain? Their pretty boy quarterback is sidelined. Countless players are out to lunch. Their coach wouldn’t grab an ear talking football at your office lunch table. Stick a fork in them. They’re done, finished, kaput. It would be downright unpatriotic to dare care them America’s team unless we’re thinking of the kind of America Obama has in mind. Who knows, the Cowboys might be in line for Federal bailout money. And this was one of the teams that had high hopes of being the home team in their own palace of decadence for the Super Bowl. They won’t even be able to get in with a ticket they’re so bad.

The great “Burgundy and Gold” can’t be walking a straight line. They went to Motown and had to be thinking “What’s Going On?” as the old pigskin became a “Ball of Confusion” facing the Detroit Lines. “Mercy, Mercy, Me”

Way down yonder in New Orleans, the conger women, voodoo priests, and all the other forces of black magic rallied around the New Orleans Saints making them look like the defending champions as beating the Pittsburgh Steelers proved to be a real Breez.

If the Denver Broncos were real horses, they’d be taken out and shot for losing horribly for the second week in a row giving the San Francisco 49ers, another desperate team their second win of the year. The score: 24-16.

Does anybody feel sorry for the Cincinnati Bengals and all their bravado. They’ve slipped to 2-5 losing to the Miami Tuna Fish.

The New York Jets were supposed to beat the Green Bay Packers, but their cheesy effort found them shut out despite another strong defensive performance 9-0.

What’s going on with the Oakland Raiders? For the second week in a row they have won convincingly upending Seattle 33-3.

Finally San Diego won a game they were supposed to win beating Tennessee, 33-25.

Is it too soon to say the Kansas City Chiefs are for real? At 5-2, only the New England Patriots have a better record in the game. It’s not that they’re in a tough division.

The New England Patriots looked like the multi-Super Bowl winners against the Minnesota Vikings. They poured it on in the second half winning 28-18. The game could mark the end of Brett Favre’s career and any faint hopes the Vikings had left for post season play. Ask Brett Favre what “smash mouth” football is all about having taking a vicious hit to the jaw.

The Carolina Panthers continue to show themselves ready for reassembly showing nothing against St. Louis in a 20-10 loss. Tampa Bay showed lots of youthful inexperience but held on the beat the fading Arizona Cardinals 38-35.

Will there be what can be considered a changing of the guard in the Monday night game as Houston who beat the Colts in their house 20-10 week one, visit Indy to test Payton Manning and company. With both teams at 4-2, the team that loses would be one game down in the Wild Card chase.