Saturday, September 29, 2007

GOP misses opportunity at 'black' debate

I'm pretty disappointed in the Republican Party right now. Though the deadline for third-quarter filings was looming, the Big Four (Giuliani, McCain, Thompson and Romney) felt it necessary to skip the All-America Presidential Forum (see both the GOP and Dem debates here) hosted by Tavis Smiley on PBS on Thursday night.
This one night after the Dems debated in New Hampshire; a seemingly prime opportunity to grab back some headlines during this political preseason.
But instead of addressing this primarily black audience on primarily "black" issues, the Big Four decided to hopscotch around the country gladhanding for those few hundred thousand dollars that they hope will convey a sense of momentum among an electorate that probably doesn't much care at this point.

Anyway, I'm proud of the guys who did show - Mike Huckabee, Ron Paul, Sam Brownback, Tom Tancredo and Duncan Hunter. Oh, and Alan Keyes was there, too. I'm not sure why. Apparently someone left the back door ajar. (Incidentally, my disdain for Keyes has nothing to do with his race; it has everything to do with his intolerance.)
The reason I'm proud of them is because they acquitted the GOP well and, for the most part, said what I would have liked to in that setting. They shifted the focus from race to colorblind opportunity for ALL Americans.
The only way to get away from race being an issue in America is to stop MAKING it an issue.

Though I probably would've taken it a step further. When asked about the disproportionate number of young blacks who drop out of school and end up in jail, I would've placed a lot of blame on the Democrat Party. Reason? Because they foster a culture of dependency and consequence-free victimhood, to the degree that it's almost as if no black ever "deserves" to go to jail now. It's always racism.
Take the so-called "Jena 6." The alleged "civil rights leaders" are turning out in droves to scream into megaphones about how outraged they are about the six black teens charged with attempted murder for kicking the crap out of a white kid who called one of them an N. The white kid was treated and released in less than three hours.
Were those six black kids indicted because of racism? In this case, I think they actually were. But who's listening? Sharpton and Jackson have cried wolf about racism for so long about so many things, who pays attention when it really does rear its head?
The one kid who's become a poster child in all of this, Mychal Bell, a stud running back on the high school football team whose coach has touted his potential as a big-college recruit, also has the longest rap sheet and is probably the most deserving of jail time.

Blacks won't realize true emancipation until they divorce themselves from the Democrats and embrace the individualism espoused by the GOP.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Presidents and 'The War'

Two very cool things going on TV-wise right now (aside from the Packers going 3-0 by beating San Diego today):

The War - Wisconsin Public Television is airing this Ken Burns documentary in seven parts, the first of which I recorded tonight. Interspersed will be some Wisconsin-related war shows regarding WWII, Korea, and the USS Wisconsin. Do yourself a favor and check it out.

Presidential Libraries - C-SPAN is airing a series on presidential libraries, 2 hours each Friday night. They started with Hoover and will proceed chronologically through Clinton. Learn more.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Patriots' act nabs Belichick for wiretapping

Oh, the wannabe-pundit sportswriters are having a field day with this one.
With Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots getting busted for, essentially, warrantless wiretapping of opposing coaches' signals, writers such as Bill Simmons of ESPN just can't help themselves:

"Spying on opponent's signals is just plain seedy. It's one step above playing footsie with someone in an airport men's room. It's a disgrace. It's embarrassing."

But without knowing the parameters allowed by the NFL's and NFLPA's collective-bargaining agreement, I think Belichick and the Pats have gotten off easy.

Yeah, Belichick will have to write a painful check of $500,000 to the league, and yes the Pats will have to turn over $250k to the league office, and the team will have to (most likely) give up a first-round draft pick in '08. But if the Patriots brazenly broke an expressly verboten rule, and gained an advantage over the Jets that allowed them to beat the Jets, 38-14 last Sunday, then they should have to forfeit the game to the Jets.

Now, the NFL's rule is that any team that forfeits a game will lose that game 2-0. So the irony in my scenario would be if the Jets needed the total-points tie-breaker at the end of the year and, despite the "win" they would have been awarded over the Pats, wound up MISSING the playoffs because of the points they would NOT have gotten by winning the forfeit 2-0.

At the very least, the Pats should have to give up BOTH first-round picks in '08, and Belichick should be suspended a game. Or at least forfeit one of those picks to the Jets, the team that was wronged by Belichick's misdeed.

Heard someone make an interesting point, though, that the league could eliminate the problem all together by allowing the defensive coordinator to radio plays in to the "QB" of his defense, usually his middle linebacker.
To that, I say why not let all offensive and defensive players have radios in their helmets.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Godspeed, Kevin Everett

Amid the blurred colors and barely controlled chaos of the opening weekend of NFL games, the world changed dramatically for one young man Sunday in Buffalo, N.Y.
Kevin Everett, No. 85, a backup tight end and a third-round draft pick out of Miami by the Buffalo Bills in 2005, lay motionless on the field.
Fans and players awaited some sign of movement from him. A kick, a twitch. A quick reassurance that he was all right.
Everett dislocated his neck and injured his spinal cord on the opening kickoff of the second half. He launched himself into the ballcarrier, the Denver Broncos' Dominik Hixon, and hit Hixon's left shoulder pad face-first. Everett displaced his third vertebrae, pushing it over his fourth and creating a scissor effect against his spinal cord. Doctors are saying the cord isn't damaged, so there may be some hope for Everett to walk again, though they're calling such chances "slim."

I can't imagine what went through Everett's head in the moments after he dropped to the turf at Ralph Wilson Stadium. He never lost consciousness; I'm not sure which would be preferable, given the circumstances. The fear would be unfathomable. The regret. The immediate sorrow for everything you've ever done wrong in your life. Instant bargaining with God (or any god) for every word, thought or action you've ever perpetrated in your life. Silently begging for this to be just another stinger; just another scare among the many that longtime football players experience.

Instead, it appears Everett will become the fourth NFL player paralyzed by an on-field hit during the modern (post-merger) era.
Mike Utley was rendered paraplegic after hitting the unforgiving turf at the Pontiac (Mich.) Silverdome while playing for the Detroit Lions in November 1991. Utley offered an inspiring thumbs-up while he was being wheeled off the field, something countless players have replicated since then, as a reassuring gesture to fans and teammates.
Darryl Stingley never got that chance, having been rendered quadriplegic in a collision with Oakland Raiders safety Jack Tatum during a 1978 preseason (read: meaningless) game. Stingley died in April at the age of 55.
New York Jets defensive tackle Dennis Byrd broke his neck and was paralyzed in a collision with teammate Scott Mersereau in 1992. But Byrd miraculously recovered, inspiring a book and movie titled, "Rise and Walk: The Dennis Byrd Story."

I find myself wanting to launch into some heartfelt plea for stem-cell research, and for the NFL and NFLPA to do more for players both current and retired to ensure they get the medical care they need ... but I won't lay out some chest-beating case for it here. My thoughts are still with Everett. And frankly, the circumstances should speak for themselves.

Here's hoping that the Bills place Everett in their stadium's Ring of Honor, perhaps next to Bob Kalsu, who was killed in action in Vietnam in 1970. Kalsu exhibited valor on the battlefield as the only active NFL player killed in Vietnam. But Everett will have effectively given his life embodying the courage of all football players.

UPDATE: Neurosurgeon says Everett could walk again.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Kicking off silliness

So I'm settling in to watch the Saints @ Colts in the Thursday night opener of the NFL season, and who do I see bounding across my television screen? Not Reggie Bush. Not Drew Brees. Not Peyton Manning or Marvin Harrison. Hell, not even John Madden's head and Al Michaels' ego vying for space in the booth. But that would've been preferable to what DID grace my screen; Kelly Clarkson.

I think.

I don't know my manufactured pop idols.

But what the hell is the NFL doing to us with this non-football pregame garbage? When did Kelly Clarkson become synonymous with "football"? (Unless there's something I'm missing about the "big tight end" and "eight men in the box".)

Obviously the NFL knows a bit more about marketing than I do, as hundreds of thousands of people are probably listening to her warble through her own pregame warm-ups, while my audience consists of ... well, you.

But honestly, who will tune in to watch both her AND the game? ... Then again, given the choice between watching her strut and gyrate across a stage, and being unable to remove my gaze from Chris Collinsworth's Adam's Apple ... maybe I know where MY pregame vote would lie after all.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

The 'Hunt for a Fred November'

Fred Thompson, former Tennessee Senator and actor, just announced, on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno", that he is indeed running for president. It ... is ... ON!