Saturday, January 31, 2009

Super Bowl XLIII: Go Cardinals

I'm gonna agree with spacejace on the Super Bowl. As a Browns fan, rooting for the Steelers (aka The Dark Side) is not in my DNA, though I have been able to overcome the genetic predisposition when the Steelers play more-hated teams like the Ravens or Cowboys (aka The Axis of Evil).

You have to love the underdog, though I think the matchup is pretty much even given the way the two teams were playing through the playoffs.

I'm not making a projection on the final score, but thinking it's close regardless of who wins. Within a touchdown, for sure.


After tomorrow's game we can look forward two weeks and for those magical words, "pitchers and catchers report..."
The sign that spring is just around the corner.

Friday, January 30, 2009

um...who watches nip & tuck? and why, exactly?

What the *&^% is this? sj

The "Nip/Tuck" mutilation scene (warning: graphic):




PTC outraged by 'Nip/Tuck' self-mutilation
Time for another example of moral outrage from the Parents Television Council.

Earlier this month, the PTC was horrified that NBC accidentally showed a raised middle finger during the Golden Globes live telecast.

Today their objection is to an episode of frequent PTC target "Nip/Tuck." The scene in question, video below, "depicted a woman using an electric carving knife to cut off her own breast."

“Not content with depictions or descriptions of bestiality, incestuous necrophilia, or blood-soaked stabbings, the narcissistic sociopaths behind the production and distribution of Nip/Tuck have chosen to establish yet another low-point in the history of television," said PTC President Tim Winter, wordily. "Tuesday’s episode portrayed sickening and bloody images of a woman who takes a mastectomy into her own hands in the crowded lobby of a doctor’s office."

Okay, well, yeah. The scene is pretty revolting. And it is nice to see the PTC object to violence instead of sex or language, as is usually the case (though the inclusion of a boob in the "Tuck" scene surely helped raise PTC's twitchy antenna).

But let's be honest here.

PTC is great for reporters because they offer instant media fights, in press release form. Their stories write themselves: “A parenting group has filed a Federal Communications Commission complaint against the CW today for airing a nude scene during a telecast of 'America's Next Top Model.'"

Sounds like a big deal, right?

When, really, it’s Winter and Co. filling out a form. Thousands of TV fans, upset with various things they see on the bright screen in their dark rooms every night, fill out forms of their own the next day -- leaving comments on message boards and blogs -- to no effect. But the head of the PTC issues a press release and it becomes a news event.

For "Tuck," the PTC plans to contact each of the show's advertisers and ask "whether bloody self-mutilation with an electric carving knife is in alignment with the corporate image they wish to portray."

But don't advertisers on "Tuck" -- not to mention its viewers -- already know the show sometimes contains shocking scenes of gore?

The point isn't meant to belittle the content concerns of the PTC, or of conservative viewers -- their objection to crass, lewd, vulgar content is understandable. Complaining is their right.

But I don't know they are any different -- certainly no more important in the larger scheme of things -- than the legions of disgruntled “Grey’s Anatomy” fans annoyed by the current ridiculous storyline that has Izzie having an affair with a ghost.

What’s more upsetting, really? And what has greater bottom-line consequences for a network? Blurred nudity on "Top Model"? Or “Heroes” making no sense this season?

Unless a network is hit by a massive FCC fine (which is very rare), a show's fans are the ones who really matter -- not those who object to content they wouldn't normally watch.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

"go Cards!," Blagoya-pong, CSI, "the keystone GOPrS!" ...streaming thoughts..




...I'm rooting for the Cardinals this Sunday in Superbowl 43 (by the way, am I the only one who didn't remember what number the roman numeral "L" represented?). Look, the Steelers have 5 Superbowl victories, and unless you're a FANATIC of the team, that is quite enough. I'd probably root for ANY other team in football to beat the Steelers if they were playing them this Sunday - except Dallas. As much as the Steelers are an organization and team I have mad respect for, and they are what a great football dynasty is all about, so are the Arizona Cardinals every bit a part of what makes professional football so good (although the polluting and misguided new rules to make the game "more entertaining for the casual fan" this last decade has made me want to say-goodbye for good, at times): they're a testament to what can happen when good ownership, a skilled, hard-working coach, and incredible players can achieve in a short time when they're all on the same page and have the same goal (no Andy, Jeffery and Joe "the Mouse" Banner, I don't include you and your "Gold Standard" in this sentiment). Anyway, some of my best friends are Steelers fans (!), and of course they're the other team from my home state, and they'll most likely win, but nevertheless, I'll be donning red first thing when I wake up this Sunday morning (it's a throwback Joe Montana Mitchell & Ness Jersey, who, by the way, are having their 3-day, semi-annual 50%-off sale any day now -maybe now!). I like the underdog almost always. And I don't want to see the Steelers become football's Yankees (the sport's most parades).

...Ahhh, the corrupt and the clueless....I'm glad Blago was never taken seriously by a single bleepin' soul. Seriously. He just never mattered. Not now, not before, not ever (59-0 to oust him today!). Has anyone heard on "the tapes" what the highest bid actually was for Obama's former senate seat? We heard EVERYTHING else; why not the only thing anyone actually gave a crud about? I was just thinking, it would be a dream come true if Dem political scandals got no worse than this these next 8 years! maybe the next guy will be even funnier!

..."fugheddaboutit, eh!?" ... take Soprano's, House, Gray's Anatomy, Wire, Lost and the other favorite dramas out there and put them in the "wannabe-bin." The original CSI is STILL the best drama on television. Period. People pay good money to go to the movies and not see action, intrigue, and thrills on this level. THIS season specifically, has been fantastic; one of the best in their 9-year run (so far). TiVo them, DVR them, get 'em 'on demand', "where-ev!" But if you haven't been watching, you've been missing out on the best-written, superiorly-produced, fabulously-acted, most consistent, drama on television.

...still in shock, angry, and outright hurting, every one of you house republicans did indeed vote against Obama's stimulus package today ("er..like..he said, 'stimulus package'"). Whatever. Maybe all Senate republicans will do the same thing next week, and like today, the stimulus will pass without you. Then, even more people can see how irrelevant you are actually becoming. One thing I'm very hopeful about, should your insolence continue: it won't take long for Obama, and the remaining democratic members of congress who, for whatever reason, still think there's hope for you, to stop making concessions for you. Why give you concessions if we don't need your vote to get bills passed and stuff done? I think Pelosi, Reid, and many Democrats are happy to have their backbones back (after 8 years of not) since the election, and I expect them to begin asserting themselves, and once they get comfortable with that, to start pushing you around like the half-wits you are. All for the good of the country of course!

...Man. Props to Alton Brown! He is a true original. His Good Eats show is just awesome. Mentally, you just can't keep up with guy. You just can't.

...The Dark Knight was one of the best action/crime/good vs bad/superhero movies ever made. It's telling that the people who give awards out for this kind of greatness in filmmaking, don't see it for that.

(Please feel free to comment below, by clicking on 'comments')

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

...just another schlockey game...

...actually, there wasn't even a game at this point! You'll see the dropping of the puck to START the game, but these idiots had something else they felt was more important than a game to be played.

Hockey fight between Garrett Klotz of the Philadelphia Phantoms and Kevin Westgarth of the Manchester Monarchs on January 23rd, 2009. Klotz suffered a seizure and facial lacerations due the fight, but was released from the hospital the next morning.

Real science comes to Washington

(to read this entire awesome article, click on heading of this post)

Now THIS is thinking "outside the box"

Myopic conservatives and the media still don't get global warming. But if anybody can preserve a livable climate, Obama's amazing energy team can.
By Joseph Romm

Jan. 26, 2009 |

The greatest task of the Obama administration -- and the next 10 presidents -- is to avoid catastrophic global warming. The latest science warns that the unstable West Antarctic ice sheet has been warming significantly since the 1950s, the rate of Greenland summer ice loss tripled last year, and the planet as a whole lost 2 trillion tons of ice in the last five years. The best mid-range estimate for sea level rise by the year 2100 is 5 feet, much higher than U.N. scientists projected just two years ago.

Fortunately, Obama clearly gets it. He devoted more of his inaugural address to clean energy and global warming than even the strongest advocate could have imagined, asserting, "We will work tirelessly to ... roll back the specter of a warming planet." More important, he has assembled a team with unmatched knowledge and commitment to solve the climate problem.

But the path toward a carbon-reduced future will not be an easy one. President Obama will be challenged by a lack of awareness by the media and major opinion makers, who still don't grasp the scope of the problem, and by the majority of GOP politicians who refuse to accept the dire facts of climate science. If Obama is going to lead this country and the world in the fight to preserve a livable climate, he will be forced to do so in a partisan fashion. That task can't be underestimated. But it's a huge relief to see the energy team that Obama has assembled for the battle.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Vice President Joe Biden and Obama himself all campaigned on putting in place a cap and trading system that would cut U.S. greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050. This is the same target New Jersey adopted under the prodding of New Jersey environmental chief Lisa Jackson, named by Obama to head the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Science advisor designee John Holdren co-authored a major report for the United Nations in 2007, setting a target for global warming this century of no more than 2°C to 2.5°C, which requires global emissions to peak within a decade, and necessitates a U.S. target at least as strong as that on which Obama campaigned. Carol Browner, who will oversee Obama's energy and climate policy from the White House, has endorsed the same temperature and greenhouse gas targets.

Achieving the Obama target would require replacing the country's entire multitrillion-dollar energy infrastructure -- including the vast majority of power plants and cars -- in four decades. I would call this policy "radical," but in fact it is pragmatic. Failing to act quickly will most likely result, by century's end, in 5°C to 7°C global warming, sea levels rising 10 inches a decade or more, widespread desertification, the loss of the inland glaciers that provide water to a billion people and an ocean that is one large, hot, acidic dead zone.

(for rest of article, click on headline for this post)

Obama targets greenhouse gases, fuel efficiency

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama took aim Monday at the lofty but long elusive goal of making the nation more energy independent, ordering reviews that could lead to tougher auto emission standards in states and higher pressure on automakers to produce more fuel-efficient cars.

Attacking a Bush administration policy, Obama directed the Environmental Protection Agency to re-examine whether California and other states should be allowed to have tougher auto emission standards to combat a build up of greenhouse gases.

Obama also directed his administration to get moving on new fuel-efficiency guidelines for the auto industry in time to cover 2011 model-year cars.

"For the sake of our security, our economy and our planet, we must have the courage and commitment to change," Obama said in his first formal event in the ornate East Room of the White House.

"It will be the policy of my administration," he said, "to reverse our dependence on foreign oil while building a new energy economy that will create millions of jobs."

California and at least a dozen other states have tried to come up with tougher emission standards than those imposed by the federal government, but Obama said that "Washington stood in their way." The president wants the EPA to take a second look at a decision denying California - and the other states that want to follow its model - permission to set tougher tailpipe emission standards.

More broadly, Obama sought to show he was not waiting to put his stamp on energy policy, which has both near-term implications on the sagging economy and long-range effects on pollution, climate change and national security.

"Year after year, decade after decade, we've chosen delay over decisive action," Obama said. "Rigid ideology has overruled sound science. Special interests have overshadowed common sense. Rhetoric has not led to the hard work needed to achieve results - and our leaders raise their voices each time there's a spike on gas prices, only to grow quiet when the price falls at the pump."

The Clean Air Act gives California special authority to regulate vehicle pollution because the state began regulating such pollution before the federal government got into the act. But a federal waiver is still required; if the waiver is granted, other states can choose to adopt California's standards or the federal ones.

In 2007 the Bush administration's Environmental Protection Agency denied California's waiver request, gaining praise from the auto industry but touching off a storm of investigations and lawsuits from Democrats and environmental groups who contended the denial was based on political instead of scientific reasons.

Obama on Monday directed the EPA to re-examine the decision. That does not yet overturn anything. But still, the states' wanting their own power considered it a victory.

"The federal government must work with, not against, states to reduce greenhouse gas emissions," Obama said. He added: "The days of Washington dragging its heels are over. My administration will not deny facts; we will be guided by them."

California's proposed restrictions would force automakers to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent in new cars and light trucks by 2016.

At least 13 other states - Arizona, Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington - have already adopted California's standards, and they have been under consideration elsewhere, too.

Under California's approach, car makers would need to boost fuel efficiency in new vehicles to about 36.8 miles per gallon in the states that chose to adopt the California standards.

Automakers, which sued to block the state regulations, argued that it could require dealerships in some states to limit sales of large trucks in order to meet the standards. They have pushed for a single national standard.

Requiring automakers to build cars that get more miles to the gallon will reduce the amount of greenhouse gas emissions from the tailpipes of vehicles.

A law passed by Congress in 2007 requires that by 2020, new cars and trucks meet a standard of 35 miles per gallon, a 40 percent increase over the status quo. But the Bush administration did not set regulations in support of that law.

On Monday, Obama ordered new guidelines in place to start affecting cars sold in 2011.

He also promised a broader, bipartisan review with the auto industry.

Industry officials have also said they would face billions of dollars in new costs to meet the rules at a time when General Motors Corp. and Chrysler LLC have received billions in federal loans to stay afloat.

The Bush administration estimated the federal fuel economy rules would cost the industry more than $100 billion to implement the changes by 2020.

"Let me be clear: Our goal is not to further burden an already struggling industry," Obama said. "It is to help America's automakers prepare for the future."

Meanwhile, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Monday will appoint a special envoy for climate change as the Obama administration moves to restore America's credentials in environmental policy, said U.S. officials familiar with her decision.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Zakaria: The legacy of America's most unpopular president

This is straight from CNN. I saw Fareed Zakaria's video discussion of this yesterday, and while there's nothing you haven't heard before in this article, Fareed does speak briefly on whether it's tax increases or tax cuts that truly help the economy. I will most definitely be exploring the facts behind this "debate" and posting more on this in the future. Here's one thing I know: Bush's tax cuts did absolutely nothing to help the economy; BOTH 'refund' checks during his 8 years here and his tax cuts exacerbated the the current economic woes.

Anything Fareed expresses in his interviews, books, articles, reporting, podcasts, etc, is highly informative and requires paying attention to. Of all the people in politics, news and worldwide affairs that I've come to "know," there is no one who I agree with more on such a wide array of issues, and no one who does as good a job as Fareed on breaking down FACTS, and what they actually mean to us as a people.


Story Highlights
Fareed Zakaria: Bush leaves office the most unpopular president in modern history
Bush tax cuts were "most significant bad decision," leading to sky-high deficits
Zakaria praises Bush's policies in Asia, attempting peace process in Middle East
Editor's note: Fareed Zakaria is a foreign affairs analyst who hosts "Fareed Zakaria: GPS" on CNN at 1 p.m. ET Sundays.

NEW YORK (CNN) -- In his final public address from the White House, a reflective President George W. Bush on Thursday recalled the ups and downs of his eight-year tenure while predicting a bright future.

"We have faced danger and trial and there is more ahead," Bush said. "But with the courage of our people and confidence in our ideals, this great nation will never tire, never falter and never fail."

Bush, who as president has been known for adamantly sticking to positions even when they've come under widespread criticism, acknowledged setbacks and said he would have done some things "differently, if given the chance."

CNN talked to world affairs expert and author Fareed Zakaria about Bush's legacy as the 43rd president.

CNN: What do you think history's judgment will be of President George W. Bush?

Zakaria: Well, he leaves office the most unpopular president in modern history. There are so many different strands of anger and disappointment in the president -- Iraq, Guantanamo, Katrina, torture, financial woes, his stand on the environment -- that I can't imagine it will fully dissipate over time. I certainly don't think he will ever be seen as a great hero.

CNN: In your view what was his biggest mistake?

Zakaria: I think the single most significant bad decision George Bush made came early in his presidency. It was a decision widely applauded at the time and with much bipartisan support. Remember the Bush tax cuts?

Remember their effect on America's finances? In 2000, the Clinton administration had almost balanced the federal budget and the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office was projecting that over the next 10 years the United States would have budget surpluses that would add up to $5.6 trillion.

By the spring of 2002, two-thirds of that projected surplus had evaporated and the rest disappeared soon thereafter. It was the most profoundly un-conservative act of Bush's presidency. Rather than pay down debt and save in the good times for the inevitable bad times, Bush squandered it all so that all of us -- particularly high income earners -- could indulge in a bit more consumption.

And now, when times have gotten bad and we sorely need that reserve, we're clean out of cash. The federal budget deficit will likely range from $1.2 to $1.8 trillion over the next few years. Imagine what we could have done by either saving that money or spending it wisely on an energy revolution, on upgrading the infrastructure, on modernizing the health-care system.

CNN: But hasn't he kept us safe from another terrorist attack?

Zakaria: I give Bush, and the American government as a whole, credit for this but it can't be the only yardstick by which to judge a president. After all, Jacques Chirac and Nicolas Sarkozy have kept France safe; Angela Merkel has kept Germany safe, yet we don't regard this as a singular achievement. And the obsession with "keeping us safe" has led to some bad decisions that have compromised American liberty and ethics.

After 9/11, governments everywhere were aggressive in busting terrorists' networks, following their money and tracking their recruits with almost immediate results. As a result, in the six years since 9/11, al Qaeda -- the group led by Osama bin Laden -- has been unable to launch a major attack anywhere. It was a terrorist organization; it has become a communications company, producing the occasional videotape rather than actual terrorism.

Jihad continues -- but they operate on a local level, usually through groups with almost no connection to al Qaeda central. And this improvised strategy has a crippling weakness; it kills locals, thus alienating ordinary Muslims.

The one area where this analysis is not entirely true is in Afghanistan-Pakistan and there the Bush administration bears some significant blame for the resurgence of the jihadis and militants. So, Bush deserves some credit for preventing terror attacks but not as much as the administration keeps implying.

CNN: There has to be a bright spot in his tenure.

Zakaria: Oh, there are several. Nothing is all black and white. His policies in Asia were all intelligent. He kept a strong relationship with China while also strengthening ties with Japan, India, Australia, and Indonesia. That was smart strategy.

He was also wise enough to reverse some of his most egregious errors -- the North Korea negotiations, attempting a peace process in the Middle East, reaching out to Sunni tribes in Iraq. The problem in many of these cases was that it was often too late to get a dramatic result -- but still better late than never.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Brother JT and Original Sins

John Terlesky is a friend of mine but more than that, he's one of the most original artists and greatest songwriters that ever lived. He's also one of the funniest people I've ever met. For real. The band Original Sins (that he played guitar and sang in) is a rock/pop/garage band that simply must be heard by everyone. Check them out on iTunes, or order the CD/record from his website or somewhere else. If you've never heard them or JT before, I suggest starting with "Fuzz and Sunshine (recordings 87-97)" or "Radio Friendly/Turn You On." You can click on the title of this post and hear lots of his songs on the website player and I think even download MP3's from his site. A couple videos below. Rock and Roll, baby.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Democrats believe other people matter, too.

Once not long ago my Mum said to me that the difference between Republicans and Democrats was that "Democrats believe that other people matter too."
As a parent, that's one of those lessons that you hope to heaven you're getting into your kids' heads and hearts. At least, if you're one of those crazy Democrats, moderates, or Republicans with a conscience. In other words, a far cry from the norm of the last eight years.

Out with the greed and me-first-ism (and me-all-the-time-ism), and in with the community.

President Obama's speech, though a bit on the somber side, was terrific. A few points:

"We reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals"
Echoes of Ben Franklin, who told us if we make these a choice, we deserve neither.

"On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics."
Republicans have sucked since Reagan, if not earlier, and that false-deification ("St. Ronnie"? Please) should be swept out the door with the rest of the failed GOP detritus. Maybe they'll remake the party into what it once was...you know, principled, which it was--once--many decades ago.

"What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them - that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply.  The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works - whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified."
Are we channeling FDR here? JFK maybe (with some LBJ for good measure)? Both. In spite of some recent "scholarly" attempts at hacking apart the legacy of the New Deal, it did achieve much more than not at a time when things were probably even worse than they are now. Kennedy reminded us that government didn't have to leave you alone, but could be made a partner in your life, providing you are willing to be an active partner.

"For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness.  We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus - and non-believers."
Thank you for explaining--again--to the christofascist wingnutjobs that we have a Constitution that does NOT anoint them masters of the universe.

"This is the meaning of our liberty and our creed - why men and women and children of every race and every faith can join in celebration across this magnificent mall, and why a man whose father less than sixty years ago might not have been served at a local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath."
No need to comment further on that.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

"President Obama." Say it again. "President Obama." Sweet. Totally sweet.




So after work, running around, getting the kids to bed, we celebrated Tuesday night. It was low-key, but awesome; just basking and relaxing in the moment. Stoked for America's first black President. Relieved to the core, we don't have to look and cringe at Bush anymore. We watched the news and wrap-up from the day's proceedings (CNN and MSNBC are such superior networks) and then some of the inaugural balls, while we ate marinated and grilled rack of lamb, with a baked potato and sugar-snap peas. Like, YUM.

Couple quick thoughts on the neighborhood ball...

What a creative, original, great Idea the Obama team had! To think up, debut and establish this new ball, which is for the purpose (as I understand it) of introducing the incoming President, and his or her family to the people who live in the immediate communities, is just extraordinary. Obama just thinks like this; he's a community organizer, after all!

Beyonce sang the first song and she sounded great, and the Obama's danced, and it was quite a sight. So cool. The whole neighborhood ball was cool!

Michelle could've done much better with a different dress. It just didn't make any sense; it was a bad design, with some sand-colored 'piping' all over it, and it was thick and bulky. She's tall, beautiful, sexy and smart, for crying out loud! Where's the sophisticated and "wow" dress to match? Beyonce was wearing one.

Would it have hurt Jay Z to practice his rap once, before he hit the stage? Man. One line into the song you could tell he was having issues. Jay Z fans out there (Jud?): is that a new song, or no? It sure seemed like he never sang it before; he never got in a flow. It was painful to watch.

How many more decades do I have to be reminded that Bon Jovi still exists? Seriously. Months go by and you don't even realize that you have completely purged them from your mind and life; they're just dead and gone. And then they appear! How many more decades? Give me a bleepin' number!

Erica Hill and Anderson Cooper make an awesome team. A live, two-hour news show, every weeknight, that's as informative as AC360 (not the best name ever) is, is hard to pull off. They (and a staff of 100), do a fantastic job.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Donovan's Brain

This rules. Lee Mazzola's a buddy of mine and his blog, Lee's Steez (link to it on left sidebar!) is currently the funniest blog I read regularly. Check it out. This is a recent video he made. It was filmed during the NFC Championship game between the Cardinals and the Eagles (Lee lives in NYC and is a misguided, brainwashed Yankmees fan).

Lee Mazzola: "This starts at Philly's first possession of the second half, or what seemed at the time to be a major turning point of the game. I did my best to capture the excitement of the moment..."


Are we there yet, Martin?


MLK helped pave the road to the White House for Obama, but it will take more than Tuesday's inauguration to fulfill King's dream.
By Joan Walsh

Jan. 19, 2009 |

With Martin Luther King Jr.'s 80th birthday celebration only a day before Barack Obama becomes our first black president, it's impossible not to focus on the redemptive symmetry between 1968, when King was murdered, and 2008, the year of Obama's unlikely victory. But I find myself thinking much more about 1966 as I wonder whether and how Obama can complete King's work.

1966 was likewise full of Obama-King echoes: That was the year Obama's city, Chicago, devastated King when he moved his racial equality crusade north. It's the year King faced a growing white and black backlash. Most important, it's officially the year civil rights liberalism died, when Ronald Reagan defeated California Gov. Pat Brown, running against Brown's supposed tolerance for black Watts rioters and Berkeley radicals, channeling white fears of the urban violence King opposed, and riding a backlash against the civil rights and Great Society reforms King inspired. Two years before Richard Nixon honed the GOP's Southern Strategy, Reagan at once beat Brown and vanquished liberalism, and liberalism "never really recovered," Matthew Dallek wrote in "The Right Moment," his book about Reagan's first victory.

But lo, these 40 years later, a great black leader rose from the rough racial politics of Chicago to defeat the GOP strategy of scapegoating, fear and racism. The McCain-Palin campaign tried but couldn't smear Obama as a shadowy socialist who pals around with terrorists and wants to give your money to people who don't deserve it, the heir to the Black Panthers and Bill Ayers' Weather Underground all at the same time. Some 42 years after Reagan figured out how to thwart King's optimism and use the excesses of civil rights and antiwar radicals against Democrats, Obama put together a glorious multiracial Democratic coalition to defeat that grim GOP vision.

Clearly Obama's race as well as his commitment to equality and opportunity for all makes him a powerful symbol of King's legacy. "I may not get there with you," King prophetically told supporters the night before he died, "but I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land." Some 40 years later, are we there yet?

-see Salon link on left (blogs I follow); click on it; read rest of story. Or click on title of this post-

tough one...


my initial thoughts on yesterday's game...A sign, for sure: 2 Cardinals, one male, one female, were sitting in a tree next to our driveway, when I pulled back in from taking the kids to school!...that was a terrific football game and what conference championship football games are all about; we got slightly beat by a slightly better football team; make no mistake: this game was TEAM LOSS for the Eagles, on both sides of the ball; everyone on the team wishes they could have a "do-over," or a play they made or didn't make, back. The Cardinals, on the other hand, WON as a TEAM; everyone made plays ....Jimmy Johnson was either out-coached by the Cards o-coord or he was thoroughly mistaken in his assessment that just one of his CB's could handle L. Fitz. And he was a day late and 3TD's short in fixing the problem....can't give up 32 points in a huge game like that and expect to win....Donovan played awesome, 90% of the the game (28 for 47, 375 yards, 3TD's and 1INT), including engineering 3 straight TD drives! He also improvised beautifully, keeping many plays alive when w/ other QB's, they would have died; 10% of the game, he made some atrociously horrible throws and bad decisions to even throw the ball (this, without question, has been his biggest weakness since he became an Eagle); if he had made just ONE of those throws he made poorly, outcome of the game may be different....some of the best throws Donovan made were dropped by his WR's. Holy mother of Jesus, did Greg Lewis drop a perfectly thrown 50-yarder that might have actually won the game for us; the receivers came up VERY small at times....the last play of the game WAS pass interference on Cardinals (no one will deny that) and the ref who saw it should be fired immediately for being a spineless loser and deciding not to make the appropriate call....look at Warner's numbers: 21 for 28, 279yds, 4TD's, 0INT's. SICK....look at Arizona's balanced attack: 28 pass attempts; 29 rushing attempts....there were lots of mistakes by the Eagles but if one is compelled to find a scapegoat for the loss, one need not look further than out defense and Jimmy Johnson. While they tightened it up in the second half (after spotting the Cards 24 points in the first), they gave up an 8-minute drive in the 4th quarter to the Cardinals, which gave them the go-ahead TD w/ just 3 minutes left...Quentin Demps had a nice first year I thought, but wow, did he look like a high school player out there yesterday. And I'm not even talking about the TD he gave up to LFitz in the first-half, where he literally spun around trying to defend LFitz and TRIPPED OVER HIMSELF (this was Coach Johnson's mistake ultimately, anyway: you can't put a rookie safety, who hasn't played that position all year on the best WR in football; it wasn't Q. Demp's fault he was the only one defending LFitz on that play!); the play I'm talking about is Cards final TD, where K. Warner made a little pass to Hightower, the RB, who ran hard the last couple yards to the goal line (it was third and goal): Q. Demps made the most half-hearted, weak-ass tackle attempt I might have ever seen in the NFL. He didn't open his arms to wrap him up at the two yard line: he just put a shoulder into him thinking it would knock him down, and he just bounced off him. He didn't even try. HE DIDN'T EVEN TRY! And instead of forcing Cards to kick a field goal there, they scored a TD. SOOooo incredibly weak....for the 19th game this season - all of them - the 21.5 rushing attempts per game stat has PERFECTLY dictated every win and every loss this season: when the Eagles call at least 22 rushing attempts per game, they've WON EVERY GAME. When 21 rushing attempts or less are called, they've LOST EVERY GAME.....my predicition (video, below a few posts) of an Eagles win, 26-24 was looking like Nostradmaus when the score was 25-24, Eagles, for a nice stretch in the 4th quarter. If our defense could have held (they got WAY outplayed on that last drive), That very likely would have been the final score!...one might say, 'there's always next year,' but not me. This team, under Reid (Coach and General Manager, all 10 years here), is not good enough to win the SuperBowl....Reid's legacy (besides not running nearly enough, and never really getting any playmakers at the WR or TE position on a disproportionate, pass-first offense), will be this: 1 win and 4 losses in conference championship games.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Installing Husband 1.0

Dear Tech Support,

Last year I upgraded from Boyfriend 5.0 to Husband 1.0 and noticed a distinct slow down in overall system performance
-- particularly in the flower and jewelry applications, which operated flawlessly under Boyfriend 5.0.

In addition, Husband 1.0 uninstalled many other valuable programs, such as Romance 9.5 and Personal Attention 6.5 and then installed undesirable programs such as NFL 5.0, NBA 3.0, Nascar 2.0 and Golf Clubs 4.1.

Conversation 8.0 no longer runs, and Housecleaning 2.6 simply crashes the system. I've tried running Nagging 5.3 to fix these problems, but to no avail.

What can I do?
Signed, Desperate


Dear Desperate:

First keep in mind, Boyfriend 5.0 is an Entertainment Package, while Husband 1.0 is an Operating System.

Please enter the command: "http: I Thought You Loved Me.html" and try to download Tears 6.2 and don't forget to install the Guilt 3.0 update. If that application works as designed, Husband 1.0 should then automatically run the applications Jewelry 2.0 and Flowers 3.5.

But remember, overuse of the above application can cause Husband 1.0 to default to Grumpy Silence 2.5, Happy Hour 7.0 or Beer 6.1. Beer 6.1 is a very bad program that will download the Snoring Loudly Beta.

Whatever you do, DO NOT install Mother-in-law 1.0 (it runs a virus in the background that will eventually seize control of all your system resources). Also, do not attempt to reinstall the Boyfriend 5.0 program. These are unsupported applications and will crash Husband 1.0.

In summary, Husband 1.0 is a great program but it does have limited memory and cannot learn new applications quickly. You
might consider buying additional software to improve memory and performance. We recommend Food 3.0 and Hot Lingerie 7.7.

Good Luck,

Tech Support

Friday, January 16, 2009

Turn out the lights. The party's over.

Well, now that that's done...we can start cleaning up the mess.

As of about 5PM Eastern Standard Time, GWB's tenure effectively ended. Yeah, he's still the Preznit until Tuesday at noon, but for all intents and purposes "don't let the door hit ya in the ass..."

Friday at 5 is when most places empty out (and the happy hour bars get rollin'). Monday is a federal holiday, so as far as the US Gumint is concerned
"It's Change, Baby!"

The Pittsburgh Steelers Prayer


Our Father,

Who Art in Pittsburgh,

Football Be Thy Game.

Thy Kingdom Come,

5 Super Bowls Won,

On Earth as it is in Heinz Field.

Give us this Day a playoff Victory,

And forgive us our penalties,

As we defeat those who play against us.

But lead us into a victory,

And deliver us to Tampa!

A-Ben

Votes are in: Holidays not worth the trouble!

Well, y'all voted (er, actually just 12 of you did), and here is the breakdown for the holiday poll I posted mid-December. The question was, "are the holidays worth the trouble?"

58% of you said, "no."
41% of you said, "barely."

Birds/Cards prediction: a video (why not?!)

video

It's kind of lame, and I'll never be in movies, but if nothing else, I'm learning how to make, edit and post videos...
(click the play icon, left, underneath blank screen)

Didinger: Eagles Can't Take the Cards Lightly



If you don't know who Ray Didinger is, then get to knowing! He's a hall of fame sports writer, who primarily has written about and covered the Eagles for many years. He's an expert analyst, who breaks down film every week and knows the game as well as anyone. On top of that, he's one of the nicest guys you'll ever meet, as I've met him and had a chance to talk with him a few times.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

By Ray Didinger
CSNPhilly.com Contributor

Five things to ponder leading up to Sunday’s NFC Championship game between the Eagles and the Arizona Cardinals:

1. The Cardinals cannot be taken for granted.

It is rather alarming to hear Eagles fans already talking about the trip to Tampa. You would think most of them would make the connection between Tampa and title game overconfidence. Remember January 19, 2003? Remember Buccaneers 27, Eagles 10.

It seemed like there was no way the Eagles could lose that game. Frigid conditions. Final game at the Vet. An opponent the Eagles had already beaten during the regular season. A Duce Staley touchdown on the opening drive. And then… well, you know what happened.

The moral of the story is not to take any opponent lightly in a one-and-done scenario. It is hard to do considering how awful the Cardinals were at the Linc on Thanksgiving night. The Eagles crushed them 48-20 and it could have been worse. They coasted for most of the second half and still finished with 32 first downs (two short of the club record) and 437 yards in total offense.

The Cardinals took some hellacious beatings this season, including a 56-35 loss to the New York Jets and a 47-7 humiliation at the hands of the New England Patriots. They allowed the staggering total of 426 points so they hardly fit the description of a normal post-season team. But the fact is they’re still very much alive and feeding off the scorn of the critics. (Cris Collinsworth called them the worst playoff team in NFL history).

The Cardinals are a dangerous team at the moment. If I were Andy Reid, I wouldn’t even show my players the film of the Thanksgiving game. Instead, I’d keep re-running the tape of the Cardinals last two games: the 30-24 wild card win over Atlanta and Saturday’s 33-13 upset of Carolina. What the players will see is the Cardinals are a different team now.

After the last game, defensive end Antonio Smith said: "We ain’t no pushover. We ain’t going to take it from anybody.”

Are the Eagles listening?

2. How have the Cardinals improved?

Much like Reid, Arizona coach Ken Whisenhunt has started to run the ball more and brought needed balance to the offense. During the regular season, the Cardinals ranked dead last in the league in rushing. When they lost to the Eagles at the Linc, they ran the ball just 10 times for 25 yards.

In their playoff wins, however, the Cardinals actually outrushed the Falcons and the Panthers, two of the league’s top rushing teams. Against Carolina, the Cardinals ran the ball 43 times for 145 yards. They dusted off Edgerrin James, who hardly played at all in the regular season, and he ran for 73 yards in the win over Atlanta. Rookie Tim Hightower had 76 yards on 17 carries, a 4.5 yard average, against Carolina.

The running game has brought another dimension to the Arizona offense and that’s the play-action pass. Quarterback Kurt Warner threw eight play-action passes against the Panthers and hit all eight of them. That’s what happens when you have the kind of balance – 20 rushes, 19 passes in the first half – that Arizona had in Carolina.

Defensively, the Cardinals are attacking the line of scrimmage and that aggressive approach seems to suit players such as Smith, linebacker Karlos Dansby and tackle Darnell Dockett. The key play in the win over Atlanta was Dockett’s strip of a Matt Ryan handoff which safety Antrel Rolle scooped up and returned for a touchdown.

3. The key to beating the Cardinals is…

Stay cool on offense, bring the heat on defense. The biggest danger for the Eagles is if the offense gets over-anxious or careless. The Arizona defense forced nine turnovers in the wins over Atlanta and Carolina. The Cardinals are 10-0 in games in which they finish on the plus side of the giveaway-takeaway battle.

So while the climate controlled conditions may tempt Andy Reid and Donovan McNabb to chuck the ball all over the lot on Sunday, they need to be smart and patient. They cannot force the ball into tight spots, especially around rookie cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. He had four interceptions in the regular season (and returned them for a 32.3 yard average) and two more in the wins over Atlanta and Carolina.

On defense, the key is getting pressure on Warner. The Eagles did a good job when they faced him the last time. They only sacked Warner once, but they were in his face all night and forced him into three interceptions. Warner is a deadly accurate passer, but he cannot move at all. He’s a stationary target in the pocket so Jim Johnson can scheme his blitz packages accordingly.

It might be a little tougher this time around, however. The Cardinals pass protection has improved due in part to the running game. The play-action threat is something the Cardinals didn’t have in the regular season, but that – combined with Warner’s quick release – has kept the quarterback pretty clean (only one sack) in the two playoff wins.

4. Larry Fitzgerald is the best receiver in football.

At 6-3, 220-pounds with the leaping ability of an Olympic high-jumper and the velvet-soft hands of a concert pianist, Fitzgerald is a unique weapon. He’s one of those receivers who is never really covered. Even if you have a defender – or two – in perfect position, Fitzgerald can jump right over them and rip the ball away.

When Anquan Boldin (hamstring) was scratched last week, you would have expected the Panthers to load up their coverage on Fitzgerald – and they tried. However, offensive coordinator Todd Haley did a very nice job of moving Fitzgerald around, putting him in motion and sometimes lining him up in the slot which made it difficult for Carolina to key on him. The result: Fitzgerald had eight catches for 166 yards, including a 29-yard touchdown.

The Eagles pass defense has been very good (third in the NFL this season). The average quarterback rating for their opponents was 72.9 and their completion percentage was 54.1 which means every throw was a struggle. Eli Manning certainly felt that last Sunday. But Fitzgerald is a threat to break a game open on any play. He had two touchdowns on five receptions in the loss on Thanksgiving.

5. This week, the X-factor is…

Boldin’s hamstring. If he is able to play – and play full-speed – the Cardinals have enough firepower to move the ball even against the stout Eagles defense. Boldin had one of his worst games in the loss at the Linc. He had five catches, but he dropped at least three other balls that hit him right in the hands. For Boldin, that’s an aberration.

The 6-1, 217-pound Boldin is a perfect compliment to Fitzgerald, who is a classic down the field receiver. Boldin works the shorter routes and uses his strength and run-after-the-catch ability to turn five-yard passes into 30-yard gains.

Boldin is listed as questionable for Sunday, but it would be a shock if he didn’t play. After suffering through five thankless years of losing, he is not going to miss the chance to play in his first NFC championship game. The question is, how long will his hamstring hold up?

The Cardinals already suffered one loss: tight end Stephen Spach, a former Eagle, whose blocking was a big part of their rejuvenated running game, went down with a knee injury in Carolina and will be sidelined for the remainder of the playoffs.

some interesting recent polling numbers..

Mr. Popular: According to the latest NBC/WSJ poll, Obama's fav/unfav is 66%-14%, a whopping 71% approve of his transition so far, and while 55% say they like Obama personally and mostly approve of his policies, an additional 22% say they like him personally but disapprove of his policies. So that's 77% who say they like the president-elect. These numbers match the post-election euphoric period last month. NBC/WSJ co-pollster Peter Hart (D) also notes that the survey essentially breaks down feelings about Obama into three categories: personal, professional, and leadership. We have a battery of characteristic test questions that devoted polling fanatics should consume via the actual survey itself. But for those with less time, Hart culled it down to this: Obama's personal characteristic average (i.e., those giving him good marks on this score) is 68%; his professional characteristic average is 52%; and his leadership characteristic average is 68%. "The key to Obama's success, I think, will depend on his ability to keep up the leadership qualities," Hart says. "We like him personally, we're less certain about him professionally, but we think he has the leadership qualities to lead us forward."

...And Mr. Unpopular: But if Obama is coming into office riding a wave of unprecedented popularity for a president-elect, then Bush is leaving more unpopular than any other modern president except for Nixon (who resigned from office), according Gallup data of these past presidents. In the NBC/WSJ poll, Bush's approval rating is at 27% (which matches his all-time low in the poll), and his fav/unfav is 31%-58%. By comparison, when Bush's father left office in Jan. 1993, his fav/unfav numbers were essentially reversed, 52%-27%. And remember, Bush's father did not leave office on his own terms -- he was kicked out of office, receiving just 37% of the vote nationally. "Historically, presidents on the way out get some kind of glow," says co-pollster Bill McInturff (R). But that's not the case for George W. Bush, who, as it turns out, gives his farewell address to the public tonight.

my very cheesy 2009 calendar arrived...but it's still awesome!

Reid, McNabb will shoot for history

Phil Sheridan is a very good local Eagles beat writer, who works for the Philadelphia Inquirer. Never shys away from calling things how they are or calling Reid on the carpet when he deserves it. I agree with almost everything the guy's ever wrote. Good article here...

Posted on Tue, Jan. 13, 2009

By Phil Sheridan
Inquirer Sports Columnist

The resumes have begun to speak for themselves.

Andy Reid has been head coach of the Eagles for 10 seasons. He and his staff - most notably defensive coordinator Jim Johnson - have taken the team to the NFL's final four a total of five times.

Donovan McNabb has been the Eagles' full-time starting quarterback for nine seasons. In all but one of the seasons that he remained healthy for 16 games, he led the team to the playoffs. And five of those six playoff excursions lasted at least until the NFC championship game.

Before Dec. 28 - when a stunning series of events qualified the Eagles for the playoffs - Reid and McNabb's resumes were starting to yellow a bit. The 2004 season, when the Eagles were the class of the NFC and advanced to the Super Bowl, was receding behind a mounting pile of injuries, slumps, mystifying coaching and personnel decisions. It really was fair and reasonable to wonder if this coach/quarterback tandem had seen its best days.

Things have changed, and playoff victories in Minneapolis and East Rutherford changed them.

Reid and McNabb can be judged now, not just for having put together a solid run from 2000 to 2004, but for picking up that thread after years of disappointment and adversity. They earned the right to be evaluated for their entire body of work, not just for a 9-6-1 season in which each man appeared to have lost his grip at times.

After Sunday's game at the Meadowlands, arguably the most impressive playoff win of Reid's tenure here, McNabb alluded to the "trust and the coaching that we have with Andy."

Yesterday, Reid returned the favor.

"Donovan keeps getting better and better with age here," Reid said. "He's really doing a nice job. . . . He's upped his game, which you normally don't see this late in a player's career."

It's tempting to say that Reid and McNabb have bounced back in spite of their troubles during the regular season. But the reality is that they seem to have found this new level of rapport because of those troubles. There is something to the idea that McNabb has reacted to his Nov. 23 benching by playing with a renewed sense that he has something to prove.

But it also looks and feels as if Reid was affected just as deeply. When the coach felt he had to yank the single player most responsible for his success here, it must have forced a little soul-searching on Reid's part, too. Since then, the Eagles' offensive approach has been more balanced, the protection of the quarterback more of a priority than ever in Reid's tenure.

This is what Reid means when he talks about "putting players in position" to succeed. He and McNabb had let each other down in some ways. Now they have picked each other up again.

Along with the development of Johnson's defense into a truly dominant unit, that explains how the Eagles find themselves back in the final four after their season teetered on the brink of disaster just over three weeks ago at Washington.

And now that they're here, their resumes are much more relevant than 9-6-1 in evaluating their chances of finally winning a Lombardi Trophy. Of the four remaining coach/quarterback tandems, Reid and McNabb have the most impressive credentials. Throw in the estimable Johnson, and the Eagles are clearly in good position to seize the moment this time.

Arizona has Kurt Warner, who won a Super Bowl eight years ago with St. Louis. Thanks to a group of receivers that must make McNabb's eyelids twitch, Warner has returned to the top. He is still susceptible to pressure, however. Ken Whisenhunt, a former Bill Cowher assistant, is in just his second year as a head coach.

Pittsburgh won a Super Bowl a few years ago with Ben Roethlisberger at quarterback. Nobody confused the solid, unspectacular Roethlisberger with Peyton Manning or Tom Brady, however. Mike Tomlin is in his second season since replacing Cowher.

And then there is Baltimore, with rookies John Harbaugh and Joe Flacco in the two key jobs. Harbaugh is well-known and deservedly respected by Eagles fans. Flacco has been supernaturally cool in his first two playoff games.

The other three coaches, combined, have half as much NFL head coaching experience as Reid does. McNabb's combination of experience, skill and supporting cast give him every tool required to succeed in this unexpected trip to the brink of a title.

That's not a knock on the other coaches and quarterbacks in the final four. It's not the same as saying the Eagles are locks or even favorites. All it means is that the resumes of their head coach and quarterback speak for themselves. The resumes say the Eagles have every chance here.

Two more wins and those resumes will be complete.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Check out this disco dreidel - this rules!

(click on title of this post for more on Matisyahu)

Matisyahu used this at some of his shows recently to celebrate Hanukkah; I think it's absolutely hilarious. I'm a fan of Matisyahu, and his "Youth" record, released almost three years ago is 100% original and most def worth checking out (new release "Light" coming out in March of this year). I like it a lot and still listen to it fairly regularly.

crossing fingers (to be on Survivor)...

Well, my application (a long questionnaire, 3-minute video, waivers and more, including pic above) for Survivor arrived safely at its destination in Santa Monica yesterday (newly-hyped "express mail" from the US Post Office - guaranteed by next day afternoon - is great by the way; tracking number included and markedly cheaper than FedX). Those who actually make it on the show have to make it through 3 rounds of cuts and interviews. It's a really, really long process, and the odds are stacked against any one particular person making it. I don't know how many people submit applications; 10,000? 20,000? Who knows? But I do know that only 800 make the first cut. Then in-person interviews take place in 1 of 10 cities; then they take 48 out of those 800, and fly them to Los Angeles for a week's worth of physical and mental challenges, a check up, and substantial interviewing. Then they settle on the 18 people for the actual show. I would never have applied for this show on my own, but after a couple of years of hearing from friends that I "have to," I obliged. Why not? Like I always say, "you can't win if you don't enter."

Friday, January 9, 2009

America, then and now: "thanks for nothing, cretin!"


ahh...the good 'ol days...remember how Clinton left things for Bush. Now look how Bush left things for Obama! Thanks for nothing, GW! ..er, wait...actually..Bush didn't do nothing, now that I think about it? Wow. I WISH he did nothing. Instead, he started a wholly unnecessary war, decimating our military and getting american troops killed, by and large, for no reason (and TENS OF THOUSANDS MAIMED FOR LIFE), gutted our constitution, lied to us all constantly about WMD's and more (folks, every phone call you make is STILL being monitored by extremely sophisticated technology), assaulted our environment with policy changes, attacked and ridiculed science and scientists, completey destroyed our economy with his policies, tax cuts (is there anymore debate about these not helping the economy? please), lack of federal oversight, and by going against his "free-market" mantra and bailing out his corrupt buddies in the financial sector (not to mention his assinine "tax rebate" which failed miserably), and on and on and on...don't even get me started on Katrina!..the fact is any person reading this blog could have LEAD New Orleans, Mississippi, and this country better than Bush and this administration did, trough this terrible and fatal time. BUSH. DID. NOTHING. Seriously, this low-life has done everything possible to RUIN America in 8 years, not help it (and yes, I DO blame spineless democrats as a whole for rubber-stamping a lot of his lunactic actions). And if anyone disagrees, I sincerely would like to hear something to the contrary. Please, help me. Tell me what Bush has done to HELP AMERICANS in the last eight years. Please. I want to know. For real. Use the comments section after this great tidbit about "now/then's"...

From NBC's Mark Murray

With President Bush set to leave the White House less than two weeks from now, here's a "Then and Now" to show what the United States looked like when Bush was entering office and what it looks like now as he's leaving. The "Then" is the best-available figure as Bush was taking office in 2001. The "Now" is the most recent figure.

UNEMPLOYMENT RATE
Then: 4.2% (Bureau of Labor Statistics, January 2001)
Now: 6.7% (Bureau of Labor Statistics, November 2008)

DOW JONES INDUSTRIAL AVERAGE
Then: 10,587 (close of Friday, Jan. 19, 2001)
Now: 9,015 (close of Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2009)

BUSH FAVORABILITY RATING
Then: 50% (1/01 NBC/WSJ poll)
Now: 31% (12/08 NBC/WSJ poll)

CHENEY FAVORABILITY RATING
Then: 49% (1/01 NBC/WSJ poll)
Now: 21% (12/08 NBC/WSJ poll)

CONGRESS APPROVAL RATING
Then: 48% (1/01 NBC/WSJ poll)
Now: 21% (12/08 NBC/WSJ poll)

SATISFIED WITH THE NATION'S DIRECTION
Then: 45% (1/01 NBC/WSJ poll)
Now: 26% (12/08 NBC/WSJ poll)

CONSUMER CONFIDENCE (1985=100)
Then: 115.7 (Conference Board, January 2001)
Now: 38.0, which is an all-time low (Conference Board, December 2008)

FAMILIES LIVING IN POVERTY
Then: 6.4 million (Census numbers for 2000)
Now: 7.6 million (Census numbers for 2007 -- most recent numbers available)

AMERICANS WITHOUT HEALTH INSURANCE
Then: 39.8 million (Census numbers for 2000)
Now: 45.7 million (Census numbers for 2007 -- most recent available)

U.S. BUDGET
Then: +236.2 billion (2000, Congressional Budget Office)
Now: -$1.2 trillion (projected figure for 2009, Congressional Budget Office)

Thursday, January 8, 2009

St. Bernardus Beer. This stuff kicks. "...in a most de-lightful way!"



(click on headline to go to St. Bernardus site to learn and salivate)

This is what I drank on New Year's Eve. Great friends of ours came over with this mixed case of St. Bernardus Belgian beer. There were six different kinds. They were divvied up by six-packs, with each six-pack containing the complete "set," if you will. Wow. They all had the perfect blend of smoothness, taste and punch. And quite original; different than a lot of other top Belgian beers I've had before. Straight up: these beers crushed Chimay's 3 most popular styles. They lasted also, as we savored them without even realizing it. We drank a 6-pack each, through a chill dinner, and afterwards; pain I was not feeling. A case isn't cheap ($100, give or take), but I tell you true, these beers are worth it. Highly recommended.

Soldier dies after bar fight over Jimmy Buffett song

spacejace: you never know who is standing next to you or when you're gonna go...


By Tillie Fong, Rocky Mountain News

A soldier from Fort Bragg died this morning in Denver from injuries suffered from a bar fight in Steamboat Springs on Friday night over a Jimmy Buffett song.

Richard Lopez, 37, of Fayetteville, N.C., was pronounced dead at 4:16 a.m. today at Denver Health Medical Center. An autopsy by the Arapahoe County Coroner's office is scheduled for Tuesday.

"This is a very sad and serious case," said Capt. Joel Rae with Steamboat Springs police.

So far, no suspects have been arrested, although police have talked to two individuals involved in the fight.

"We know where they are and they have been interviewed," said Rae.

The case is being investigated as a homicide.

The incident occurred before 12:15 a.m. Friday when police were called to a fight between five people outside the Tap House.

"The initial disagreement was about music being played on the jukebox," said Rae, adding that it was a Jimmy Buffet song.

"Richard Lopez and two other individuals put on the song, but two other individuals did not agree with it."

It was not known which Jimmy Buffett song was being played at the time, but the fight was taken outside the bar.

By the time officers arrived on scene, the fight was over and Lopez was on the ground at Lincoln Avenue and Seventh Street.

Two of Lopez's friends, who were not identified by police but are from Steamboat Springs, were also injured in the fight.

Lopez was initially taken to Yampa Valley Medical Center, but later airlifted to Denver Health Medical Center.

Lopez's friends, identified by the Steamboat Pilot as Timothy Mottlau of Norfolk, Va., and Wesley Mottlau, of Fayetteville, N.C., were taken to the hospital with cuts and bruises.

Calls to the Mottlau's home in Steamboat Springs were not returned today.

Rae said that all three were on leave from the military - Lopez and one of his friends were with the Army, while the other friend was in the Navy.

A call to Fort Bragg indicated that Lopez was part of a special forces unit. More details were not available about his service.

Rae said the case is still under investigation.

"Somebody died," he said. "We're taking this very seriously."

While he said barfights were not uncommon in the town, it was unusual that a person died in a fight not involving any weapons.

"This is the first time that a physical fight has resulted in a loss of life from the use of hands and fists," he said.

"It's a shame that it had to happen."

Saturday, January 3, 2009

NFL Picks, Yo!

..no time for my extreme analysis...kickoff minutes away... here are my picks:

Atlanta beats Arizona.
Colts beat up on Chargers.
Miami beats Baltimore.
And Birds beat Vikings, 24-13.