Friday, October 30, 2009

Friday's football picks

I was 9-4 last week; I'm now 52-46-1 for the season.

BOSTON COLLEGE 5.5 over Central Michigan. PICK: CHIPPEWAS. This is a good CMU team with a good QB in Dan LeFevour, who beat Michigan State on the road. They can and will win this game.

Cincinnati 15 over SYRACUSE. PICK: ORANGEMEN. Not to win; but to keep it close on the road. This could be Cincy's letdown game.

Florida 15 over Georgia. PICK: BULLDOGS. Not to win; but to keep it close. I've seen no evidence that the Gators have gotten out of their offensive funk.

Georgia Tech 12 over VANDERBILT. PICK: YELLOW JACKETS. Nobody can seem to stop that option offense.

IOWA 17.5 over Indiana. PICK: HOOSIERS. Not To win; but to keep it close. Iowa lost a key RB to injury last week, and they too may have a letdown here.

Michigan 7 over ILLINOIS. PICK: WOLVERINES. They and their still-potent offense have a chance to feel better about themselves and get healthy against the battered, wilting Illini.

Michigan State 3.5 over MINNESOTA. PICK: SPARTANS. Because Minnesota just can't move the ball; and now their top receiver is out indefinitely.

NAVY 6.5 over Temple. PICK: MIDSHIPMEN. Navy is on a roll, winning last week over Wake Forest even though their backup QB played most of the game.

Notre Dame 28 over Washington State. PICK: FIGHTING IRISH. This game is at a neutral site, in San Antonio. WSU is so bad they'll wish it hadn't been played at all, anywhere.

Penn State 15 over NORTHWESTERN. PICK: NITTANY LIONS. They and especially QB Daryl Clark seem to be jelling.

TCU 35 over UNLV. PICK: RUNNIN' REBELS. Not to win; but to keep it a bit closer than that. 35 points is an awful lot, even with TCU at home. The Horned Frogs are bound to have a little letdown after last week's win at BYU.

Texas 9 over OKLAHOMA STATE. PICK: LONGHORNS. Texas and Colt McCoy too seem to be jelling. Okie State will miss Dez Bryant in a game like this.

TEXAS TECH 6.5 over Kansas. PICK: RED RAIDERS. Both teams are horribly unpredictable, perhaps Tech most of all. Tech was horrible last week. I doubt they'll be horrible two weeks in a row.

Southern Cal 3 over OREGON. PICK: TROJANS. It's a big game on a big stage, and USC always seems to come up big in such situations.

WISCONSIN 7 over Purdue. PICK: BADGERS. Purdue is not a good road team.

I was 7-5-1 last week--finally! Over .500 again!!
I'm now 54-47-2 for the year.

ARIZONA 10 over Carolina. PICK: PANTHERS. Not to win; but I see 10 points as too many here. Carolina still has a capable defense, and can run the ball. And Arizona can be a little unpredictable from week to week.

BALTIMORE 3.5 over Denver. PICK: RAVENS. This should be a close game, but you have the defense, the talent, and the home-field advantage to end the Broncos' remarkable run. Denver's had a bit of luck in this streak; it should be about to run out.

CHICAGO 13 over Cleveland. PICK: BEARS. This is a lot of points, and the Bears were awful last week. But they're at home, they're not as bad as they looked last week, and the Browns simply have shown no sign that they can exploit any team's weaknesses.

DALLAS 9.5 over Seattle. PICK: COWBOYS. The Cowboys finally showed us something last week, a big win against a good team. They appear to be jelling; while Seattle is just so beat up and injury-riddled that it's hard to see them giving the Cowboys a run for it.

DETROIT pick'em vs St. Louis. PICK: LIONS. This one for some reason is off the board. But it looks to me like, for the Lions, both Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson will play; the Lions are at home; and the Rams don't seem to have much of a pulse.

GREEN BAY 3 over Minnesota. PICK: PACKERS. The Pack is coming on; they're at home; and I suspect the emotions of the return to Green Bay might affect Favre more negatively than some would think.

Houston 3.5 over BUFFALO. PICK: TEXANS. Houston's offense is so much more dynamic and explosive than is Buffalo's, it's not funny. In the end, that will win out here.

INDIANAPOLIS 12 over San Francisco. PICK: COLTS. I worried about a Colts' letdown last week; it didn't happen. I don't see it coming this week either, despite San Fran's defense. Go with the Colts.

NY JETS 3 over Miami. PICK: JETS. I suspect Rex Ryan, with some time to study, has figured out ways to slow down the wildcat offense. And Miami's coming off a tough, tough loss.

PHILADELPHIA pick'em vs NY Giants. PICK: EAGLES. The Giants have offensive line issues and secondary issues. I know there's a question of whether Brian Westbrook will play. I say the Eagles will find a way to win this one no matter what.

SAN DIEGO 16.5 over Oakland. PICK: CHARGERS. The Raiders are just flat-out bad; that win over the Eagles was obviously just an aberration.

TENNESSEE 3 over Jacksonville. PICK: JAGUARS. Yes, I know, Vince Young is starting this week. But based on how the rest of the Titans have looked, it just doesn't seem like it will matter.

NEW ORLEANS 10 over Atlanta. PICK: FALCONS. Not to win; but to keep it close. This is a divisional game, and a big win. Atlanta can run the ball. I don't see a blowout.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Thursday's throwdowns

I dunno--in a lot of areas, seems like Mr. Obama is business-as-usual:
"More than 40% of President Obama's top-level fundraisers have secured posts in his administration, from key executive branch jobs to diplomatic postings in countries such as France, Spain and the Bahamas, a USA TODAY analysis finds. Twenty of the 47 fundraisers that Obama's campaign identified as collecting more than $500,000 have been named to government positions, the analysis found....Nearly a year after he was elected on a pledge to change business-as-usual in Washington, Obama also has taken a cue from his predecessors and appointed fundraisers to coveted ambassadorships, drawing protests from groups representing career diplomats. A separate analysis by the American Foreign Service Association, the diplomats' union, found that more than half of the ambassadors named by Obama so far are political appointees, said Susan Johnson, president of the association. An appointment is considered political if it does not go to a career diplomat in the State Department. That's a rate higher than any president in more than four decades, the group's data show, although that could change as the White House fills more openings."

Politics as usual.

Wow--in the special congressional election in New York's 23rd District, Conservative candidate Doug Hoffman really DOES have a chance to win (and to thus defeat horribly liberal Republican-lite candidate Dede Scozzafava, along with the Democratic candidate). Even a Daily Kos poll out today shows the race between Hoffman and Ownes virtually even.
Meanwhile a Democratic poll in New Jersey has Corzine with a slight lead, but I stand strongly behind my prediction that Christie will win.

Today in Pakistan, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton bashes--guess who?--George W. Bush:
"As a way of repudiating past U.S. policies toward Pakistan, Clinton told the students "there is a huge difference" between the Obama administration's approach and that of former President George W. Bush. "I spent my entire eight years in the Senate opposing him," she said to a burst of applause from the audience of several hundred students. "So to me, it's like daylight and dark."

Unsurprisingly, this irritates conservatives. But get used to it. Yes, of course--it's unseemly, it's whiny, it's petty, it's snarky, it gets old, and it makes the Obama administration look like a collection of hyper-partisans who don't realize the last election is over already. But get used to it. Because I'm convinced the Obama people see George W. Bush as the equivalent of Herbert Hoover, against whom the Democrats of Roosevelt and Truman ran for decades. The Obama-ites think they can run against Bush for ever--and find success. It will be up to the American people to let the current administration know they're sick of it. Let's hope they do. Maybe we can help.

Mind-changing "Bachelor" Jason Mesnick reveals more this week:
"Flip-flopping “Bachelor” Jason Mesnick recently revealed a little more about his infamous televised switcheroo. It seems Mesnick didn’t decide to dump short-term fiancĂ© Melissa Rycroft for fellow contestant Molly Malaney until he learned Malaney might land her own chance to love ’em and leave ’em. “(The producers) kept asking me if I thought Molly would make a good ‘Bachelorette,’” Mesnick told Us Weekly. He then “realized I was not willing to let Molly go on TV and have 25 guys fight over her.”

Maybe the show's producers should have hidden her phone number from him. This cost them a good show...Molly would have been an interesting bachelorette.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Wednesday's wash

NBA DIARY: among others, we'll be following the Dallas Mavericks this season. But it all got off to a rocky start, as the Mavs didn't shoot well or defend well, and lost at home to Washington 102-91. The Mavs got off to a slow start last year as well. They need to make sure that doesn't happen this season.
But as we said yesterday, the season has a long, long, long way to go...

Vince Young to replace Kerry Collins as the starting quarterback in Tennessee? All I can say is: you never want the owner of the team, and not the head coach, deciding who's going to play quarterback.
If the owner knew about these things, he'd coach the team AND own it.

Continuing bad news for used-to-be-Republican-now-Democrat Arlen Specter in Pennsylvania:
"Specter has a 28 percent favorable rating, 46 percent unfavorable. Only 29 percent approve of the job he's doing. Only 23 precent say he deserves reelection, while 66 percent say it's time for a change."
The poll shows a hypothetical race between he and conservative Pat Toomey to be basically a toss-up right now. But those kind of favorable/unfavorables almost always spell doom for an incumbent. Arlen Specter's in big trouble.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Tuesday's trackings

As predicted yesterday, Sen. Reid's bill including a "public option" is running into trouble with Senate moderates.
Including moderates within the Democratic Party, which is especially noteworthy. Stay tuned.

Well, not only is Bob McDonnell still leading comfortably in Virginia, but remember this: after the 2008 election, there was a whole lot of talk of how the Republican Party was in dire straits, due to changing demographic trends. Minority populations in America were increasing; diversity was increasing. Republicans were doomed. They could never attract minority voters.
But guess what--those same demographic trends have affected Virginia greatly in the last decade; and yet McDonnell is leading in Virginia precisely because he has been able to attract a diverse voting coalition, according to the polls. Imagine that.

There's a lot of diversity in New Jersey, too--and there, a new poll by a respected firm gives Republican candidate Christie now a 4 point lead.

The NBA regular season begins tonight.
And hey, in 3 months or so, the regular season will be...well, maybe half over.
Is there any league that has a longer season than the NBA, if you take the regular season and the playoffs into account?

Monday, October 26, 2009

Monday's musings

So the senate bill will include a "public option":
" U.S. Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid said on Monday the Senate's sweeping healthcare reform bill would include a government-run insurance plan that lets states opt out of participation if they choose."

But I predict Democrats will lose all "moderate" Republican support in going this direction.
And that's partly because, despite all the Democratic partisans' roaring about how supposedly popular is the public option and more governmental control of health care in general, the fact is that just isn't true. The public option and government-run health care is NOT popular, and polling data proves it:
"Regardless of how President Barack Obama's health-care agenda plays out in Congress, it has not been a success in public opinion. Opposition to ObamaCare has risen all year. According to the Gallup polling organization, the percentage of Americans who believe the cost of health care for their families will "get worse" under the proposed reforms rose to 49% from 42% in just the past month. The percentage saying it would "get better" stayed at 22%....An April 2009 survey conducted by the polling firm Ayers, McHenry & Associates for the conservative nonprofit group Resurgent Republic asked respondents which of the following statements about the role of government came closer to their view: (a) "Government policies should promote fairness by narrowing the gap between rich and poor, spreading the wealth, and making sure that economic outcomes are more equal"; or (b) "Government policies should promote opportunity by fostering job growth, encouraging entrepreneurs, and allowing people to keep more of what they earn." Sixty-three percent chose the second option; just 31% chose the first. This is consistent with nonpartisan surveys showing that most Americans think our increasingly redistributionist government is overstepping its bounds. For example, a September 2009 Gallup Poll found that 57% believe the government is "doing too much"—the highest percentage in more than a decade. Just 38% said it "should do more."

Don't let your liberal friends get away with telling you different.

The Indianapolis Colts sure look to be for real--they were expected to thrash the St. Louis Rams but--like a good team--they actually went out and did it, 42-6.
The Detroit Lions, meanwhile, had a bye week. This coming week they play the St. Louis Rams at home. The Lions will--gasp!--be favored. And feel pressure to win.

"Everybody knows New York City is an expensive place to live. But the United Nations wants to know if affordable housing is so tough to come by that it actually violates human rights.The United Nations has assigned an official, “a special rapporteur on the right to adequate housing,” to check the city’s affordable housing. The rapporteur, Raquel Rolnik, is to tour the city for the next three days with housing advocates and city officials to “hear the voices of those who are suffering on the ground,” she said."

Maybe next the UN can investigate gas prices in Georgia!
Home prices in Honolulu!!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Friday football picks (and other stuff)

First, let's get to the football picks.
Last week I was only 3-7-1. I'm 43-42-1 for the season.
Time to improve!

ALABAMA 14.5 over Tennessee. PICK: VOLUNTEERS. Not to win; but to keep it close. Did you see the Crimson Tide offense struggle last week against South Carolina? Might just happen again.

CINCINNATI 18 over Louisville. PICK: BEARCATS. That Cincy offense will roll at home over the defense-challenged Cardinals.

Florida 23 over MISSISSIPPI STATE. PICK: BULLDOGS. When will Vegas keep giving the Gators these ridiculous spreads to cover? They're having a hard time doing it--their defense struggles a bit against the run, and Tebow and that offense, partly due to injuries, have struggled to execute at times, too. Mississippi State should have beaten LSU at home earlier this year. Tomorrow, they'll have a good shot at keeping this one close.

Georgia Tech 5.5 over VIRGINIA. PICK: YELLOW JACKETS. Yes, Virginia has improved after a horrible start, and has won 3 in a row. But the Ramblin' Wreck has improved too, and that option offense is hard to stop.

LSU 7.5 over Auburn. PICK: LSU. Auburn's lost 2 in a row and you have the sense they're reeling a bit. Meanwhile Les Miles and his team know that with only one loss, they're not excluded from championship talk.

MICHIGAN STATE pick'em vs Iowa. PICK: HAWKEYES. I'm not convinced that MSU knows how to win against really good teams. And Iowa, with wins this year at Penn State and at Wisconsin, is looking like a really good team.

NORTHWESTERN 6 over Indiana. PICK: WILDCATS. Northwestern still has a good chance to be bowl-eligible; Indiana always seem to struggle defensively on the road.

NOTRE DAME 7.5 over Boston College. PICK: EAGLES. Not necessarily to win; but to keep it very, very close---partly because ND has shown this year, in their many close games, that they too often play to the level of their opponent, and because ND's defense continues to struggle.

Oklahoma 7.5 over KANSAS. PICK: JAYHAWKS. I don't know who's going to win this game, but I see it as a close one; it's at Kansas, Oklahoma's bound to have a letdown after losing both Sam Bradford and the game to Texas last week, and Todd Reesing of Kansas is a QB who can move a team and score points---though in their loss to Colorado, they showed again their defensive weaknesses.

Penn State 4.5 over MICHIGAN. PICK: NITTANY LIONS. Tate Forcier has struggled recently at QB, and there's some uncertainty there. He'll come out of it eventually, but for right now it's a problem. The Wolverine defense has struggled in many phases, including against the run, and you know Penn State can run it.

USC 20.5 over Oregon State. PICK: TROJANS. They'll be on a roll after the big win on the road against Notre Dame; Matt Barclay should have lots of confidence.

TCU 2.5 over BYU. PICK: HORNED FROGS. This is in Provo, and BYU is a solid team. But TCU has been pointing for this game, they don't make a lot of mistakes, and that defense can dominate. And good defense wins championships.

TEXAS TECH 21.5 over Texas A&M. PICK: RED RAIDERS. It doesn't matter who Mike Leach plays at QB; they score. And did you see how that defense is coming on last week at Nebraska? Meanwhile, the Aggies laid a huge egg in giving up 59 points last week--to Kansas State of all people.

Last week I was 6-8 (but was only literally a handful of points from being something like 9-5; ugh!). I'm 47-42-1 for the season.

CAROLINA 7 over Buffalo. PICK: PANTHERS. That Buffalo offensive line is ravaged by injuries; they wouldn't have been close to the Jets save for all of Sanchez's INTs. Meanwhile Carolina is coming on, spurred on by DeAngelo Williams.

CINCINNATI 1 over Chicago. PICK: BEARS. Houston last week exposed the Bengals' D--they got Steve Slaton and co. isolated in space on bubble screens and let 'em run. Look for the Bears to do the same with Hester and Forte; and that Bears' defense remains tough.

DALLAS 4 over Atlanta. PICK: FALCONS. Dallas has won 3 games this year, all against sub .500 teams. When they've played a good team, they've lost. News flash: Atlanta is a good team, and the Cowboys will have to show me they can get the job done against a solid squad.

Green Bay 9 over CLEVELAND. PICK: BROWNS. Yes, the Browns have struggled; but they're at home, and 9 points is a lot of points for a Packer team that still gives up too many sacks, and can be prone to letdowns.

HOUSTON 3 over San Francisco. PICK: TEXANS. That San Fran offense continues to struggle. And Matt Schaub and Andre Johnson are showing they can do it against any defense.

Indianapolis 13 over ST. LOUIS. PICK: RAMS. Not to win; but to keep it closer than 13. I worry that Indy will be a bit rusty coming off the bye, and that Stephen Jackson will gain some yards.

New England 14.5 over Tampa Bay (in London). PICK: PATRIOTS. I just can't see the Bucs keeping this one close, what with a rookie QB and with Tom Brady, Randy Moss, and Wes Welker starting to click.

New Orleans 6 over MIAMI. PICK: SAINTS. I just don't think Miami can slow down that Saints offense, even with the Wildcat offense trying to play keep-away.

NY GIANTS 7 over Arizona. PICK: CARDINALS. To at least keep this one close--New Orleans exposed that Giants secondary last week; look for Kurt Warner to do the same.

NY Jets 6 over Oakland. PICK: JETS. I guess the Eagles badly overlooked the Raiders and got real careless. I don't think the Jets will do the same--they really need the win.

PITTSBURGH 4.5 over Minnesota. PICK: STEELERS. The Vikings have barely survived a couple of real scares; eventually their luck will run out, especially in Pittsburgh, where Ben Roethlisberger will exploit their secondary and Troy Polamalu will give Brett Favre fits.

San Diego 4.5 over KANSAS CITY. PICK: CHARGERS. Because the Chargers can and will score; and while San Diego's defense has issues, I don't think KC's pathetic offense can exploit them.

Philadelphia 7 over WASHINGTON. PICK: EAGLES. I just can't believe the Eagles will play as badly this week as they did last; they have too much talent and this is a division game. The Redskins offense has been pathetic, and there's no evidence that Jim Zorn or Sherm Lewis or whoever appears next on the Redskins' insane merry-go-round knows how to fix it.


No, and it now seems clear that even the Obama White House knows that Republican Bob McDonnell is about to win in Virginia. How do we know? The White House is already blaming Deeds and his campaign for the expected defeat.
Always a good sign.
Meanwhile, the latest New Jersey SurveyUSA poll has Republican Chris Christie maintaining a slight lead in the governor's race there.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Thursday's throwdowns

Press secretary Robert Gibbs feels the need to hit back at former VP Cheney:
"White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs fired back Thursday at the latest criticisms from Dick Cheney, and suggested the Bush administration did not send U.S. troops into foreign conflicts responsibly. "What Vice President Cheney calls 'dithering,' President Obama calls his solemn responsibility to the men and women in uniform and to the American public," Gibbs said. "I think we've all seen what happens when someone doesn't take that responsibility seriously." Gibbs' comments come a day after the former vice president issued a blistering a wide-ranging critique of the Obama administration's foreign policy, saying Obama appears "afraid to make a decision" when it comes to troop levels in Afghanistan, and the president's indecision is "hurt[ing] our allies and emboldening our adversaries..."I think it is a curious comment," Gibbs also said, "I think it is pretty safe to say that the vice president was for seven years not focused on Afghanistan. Even more curious given the fact that an increase in troops sat on desks in this White House including the vice president's for more than eight months - a resource request filled by President Obama in March."

Two points: 1] What's curious is that Gibbs blames the Obama administration's present delay in making a decision on the Bush administration. Funny--military men who've taken great pains to assess the situation, such as Gen. McChrystal, don't seem to believe past administration actions are important now. 2] Back in 1966, when Richard Nixon was starting to gear up to run for president in 1968 against (he assumed) Lyndon Johnson, Johnson one day at a press conference blasted Nixon for Nixon's recent criticisms of him. Nixon and his team was delighted. "They HIT us," exulted Nixon press man Pat Buchanan. "They really hit us!" Nixon was pleased, because Johnson's need to hit back showed that Nixon was getting to him--his attacks were deemed effective enough to merit a response.

The same thing may be happening here. Cheney should be glad Gibbs hit back, no matter how misinformed his words were. Cheney's having an effect. Conservatives should be glad.

Once again, he lets it slip when speaking to a group of Democrat donors:
"In New York, [President Obama] said, “Democrats are an opinionated bunch. You know, the other side, they just kinda sometimes do what they’re told. Democrats, y’all thinkin’ for yourselves.” Last year, in San Francisco, he said of Middle Americans, “It’s not surprising . . . they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them . . .”

It's a real pattern. And what it tells us is that Mr. Obama believes some--perhaps many--of the hard left's talking points; and that, deep down, he's pretty liberal himself, and a hard-edged partisan. This shouldn't surprise us. Thomas Jefferson could be a brilliant thinker, and enjoyed botany, architecture, and fine wine. But he was deeply, deeply partisan and resentful when it came to his Federalist opponents. Franklin D. Roosevelt loved good company, had the capacity to inspire, and could be remarkably cheerful. But few went after Republicans harder than he did. There were a few conservatives last year who decided to support Obama; they thought he was different and not really such a liberal. The evidence has been building for some time that they were sadly, sadly wrong.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Wednesday's wash

Guess who's making salary decisions for those companies:
"The Obama administration plans to order companies that received huge government bailouts last year to sharply cut the compensation of their highest paid executives, according to a person familiar with the decision. The seven companies that received the most assistance will have to cut the annual salaries of their 25 highest-paid executive by an average of about 90 percent from last year, said the person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because it has not been announced....The seven companies are: Bank of America Corp., American International Group Inc., Citigroup Inc., General Motors, GMAC, Chrysler and Chrysler Financial."

When the auto bailouts were announced, the president said repeatedly that he didn't want to "run" GM or Chrysler.
Well, he can say that all he wants. But guess what--if you're deciding how much those companies' executives are being paid, then you're running those companies. Conservatives should pound away on points like this--they go both to the immense new powers being grabbed by this administration, and to its inability to be straight with all of us.

Guess what else the administration's little spat with Fox News revealed?:
"Then, those enterprising little ferrets at Fox News dug up some old video of Dunn from a January conference in the Dominican Republic, where she talked about Obama campaign media strategy...."One of the reasons we did so many of the David Plouffe videos was not just for our supporters, but also because it was a way for us to get our message out without having to actually talk to reporters," she said (emphasis added). "We just put that out there and made them write what Plouffe had said as opposed to Plouffe doing an interview with a reporter. So it was very much we controlled it as opposed to the press controlled it." Right. Because when you are running on "transparency" and more to the point, "accountability," it's just a pesky time-waster having to actually talk to reporters, about policy and positions and whatnot. Better to just issue a video press release and refuse their quarrelsome little entreaties! They should be grateful for that much!"

Basically they still show Republican McDonnell leading comfortably in Virginia, Republican Christie barely ahead or maybe tied with Corzine in New Jersey, and all over the map on the generic congressional vote for 2010 (ABC has Dems with a 12 pt lead, but Rasmussen has the GOP with a 5 point advantage).
Again, I predict Christie will beat Corzine in New Jersey. Corzine's negatives are very, very high, and consistent. And I question ABC's poll findings--I read today that it claims that Republican Party affiliation in this country is down to 20%. I don't buy that for a second. Republican candidates, both this year and in early polls concerning next year's races, are doing too well.

By the way, here's some more info on the drop in President Obama's popularity:
"President Obama's job approval numbers dropped approximately nine percentage points between his second...... and third quarters in office, according to Gallup. Gallup: "In fact, the 9-point drop in the most recent quarter is the largest Gallup has ever measured for an elected president between the second and third quarters of his term, dating back to 1953. One president who was not elected to his first term -- Harry Truman -- had a 13-point drop between his second and third quarters in office in 1945 and 1946."

You know, Lyndon Johnson wouldn't have been surprised at this. He told his staff, not long after his landslide victory over Barry Goldwater in 1964, that his poll numbers would soon be going nowhere but down, that he and his administration would be losing thousands of supporters every day. Because that's the nature of the beast--no politician can keep high poll numbers indefinitely. That was why, LBJ said,, they had to move fast and achieve big things quickly.
Has Obama lost his window of opportunity???

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Tuesday's trackings

Sarah Palin will do an interview on "Oprah":
"Sarah Palin will sit down with Oprah Winfrey the day before her new memoir hits bookstores, Harpo announced Tuesday. The former Alaska governor will make the appearance on Oprah on November 16 to talk about her highly anticipated tell-all, "Going Rogue: An American Life."

It's a good venue for Palin. She can show more of who she really is. And if Oprah tries to come out in full attack mode, it will be she who will look bad--not Palin.

Obama gives a nod to states rights, liberty, and toning down the endless war on drugs:
"In an apparent nod to states' rights, the Obama administration on Monday said federal drug agents won't go after pot-smoking patients and growers in states like Michigan that allow marijuana use for medicinal purposes.The net effect of the hands-off policy, according to Greg Francisco, director of the group Michigan Medical Marijuana Association, will be negligible."The practical effect is very little," the Paw Paw, Mich., resident said. "Most people were already flying below the radar of federal authorities because they've been in compliance with state law," he added."

Well, I'm glad they were below the radar--and I'm glad that the Obama administration won't change that. Fundamental: if an adult makes the choice to use marijuana for medical reasons and it's helping him or her, conservatives should be all for it. It's called liberty.

Simply put, there are a ton of dangers with nationalized health care. See Great Britain for examples, as NR Online showed today:
"The United Kingdom continues to provide vivid warnings about the dangers of centralized health-care planning — a real possibility under Obamacare. Within the last few years, the U.K.’s notorious rationing board, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), urged hospitals, nursing homes, and hospices to follow an end-of-life protocol known as the Liverpool Care Pathway. The Pathway’s guidelines instruct doctors to put patients thought to be near death into a drug-induced coma, after which all food and fluids, as well as medical treatments such as antibiotics, are withdrawn until death.The problem with such a protocol is that no matter how well motivated — and undoubtedly, the Pathway’s creators had good intentions — follow-the-dots medical protocols often lead to patients’ being treated as members of a category rather than as individuals. At that point, nuance often goes out the door, and mistakes, neglect, and even oppression frequently follow.That seems to be precisely what has happened with the Pathway as it has been applied in hospitals, nursing homes, and hospices throughout the U.K. Angry family members are beginning to come forward, charging that their loved ones have been sedated and had food and water withdrawn — whether their symptoms warranted these measures or not. Indeed, some have alleged that their deceased relatives would have lived but for having been put on the Pathway to death."

Yet more reason to be against a single-payer, one-size-fits-all system. Individuals have to have the right to opt out if they're not happy.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Monday's musings...

NFL DIARY: The Colts had a bye this week. The Detroit Lions, meanwhile, who admittedly have a lot of injuries, still were up to their old tricks again yesterday, getting blasted by Green Bay in Lambeau 26-0, getting outgained in yardage 3 to 1, converting not a single 3rd down...etc etc etc. Jim Schwartz still has a long, long way to go. It's hard to change the losing culture of a franchise, when that culture has been around so, so long. Mr. Schwartz is getting a lesson in that this year. Unfortunately us Lions fans are well aware of it.
Speaking of the NFL, today I'm wondering: why on earth doesn't Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder show some mercy, get it over with, and fire soon-to-be-ex-head-coach Jim Zorn already:
"With a pained expression, Washington Redskins coach Zorn announced Monday that the front office "strongly suggested" that he yield his play-calling duties to a consultant hired only two weeks ago. While he didn't say he was given an ultimatum, Zorn said he would comply with the request "because I want to stay here and win."

Gallup has President Obama's job approval numbers down this month, to 51%.
That's down about 5 points in the past month, and is even more interesting because Gallup has pretty consistently had Obama's approval in the high 50s. But not right now. Yesterday on TV one of the yakkers I saw was suggesting that the 2010 elections won't be like those of 1994 and the big GOP victory that year because Obama's polling numbers are significantly higher than Bill Clinton's of '94.
But if Obama's numbers fall, his defenders won't have that talking point to fall back on.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Friday football picks (and other stuff)

First, let's look at other news...later will come the picks.


"Given that we’re spending billions of stimulus dollars to rebuild our highways, it makes sense to think about what we’ll be driving on them. For years to come, most of what we drive will be powered, at least in part, by diesel fuel or gasoline. To fuel that driving, we need access to oil. The less use we make of our own reserves, the more we will have to import, which leads to a number of harmful consequences. That means we need to drill here and drill now."

Note this paragraph especially:
"Those who oppose domestic drilling are motivated primarily by environmental considerations, but many of the countries we’re forced to import from have few if any environmental-protection laws, and those that do exist often go unenforced. In effect, American environmentalists are preventing responsible development here at home while supporting irresponsible development overseas."

Ah, the unintended consequences of from go-gooder environmentalist acts. Glad she recognizes that. Ms. Palin ain't going away...

You know, what's remarkable about the latest attacks on Rush, as NR notes today, is not merely that he's being attacked by the usual suspects. That's par for the course and nearly a daily occurrence. No, what's unreal here is that the attacks are driven by OBVIOUS lies--and those recycling them won't admit it:
"Specifically, a rash of manufactured quotes attributed to Limbaugh was forwarded to the usual media suspects — CNN, MSNBC — which then incorporated these falsehoods into their reporting without substantiation. Which is to say, they have done collectively what Dan Rather did individually: allow themselves to be duped by phony documents. These quotes included such absurdities as Rush’s praising slavery and the assassin of Martin Luther King Jr. These are not quotes taken out of context; they are quotes manufactured out of whole cloth. To attribute them to Rush is to lie — viciously. With the notable exception of CNN’s Anderson Cooper, almost none of the major media figures who relied upon these fictions in their reporting have acknowledged that they are false. Confronted with evidence that the quotes are false, and challenged to produce audio or other documentation of them, media figures insisted that it was up to Rush to prove he had never said these things. There is a good reason Rush has built one of the largest audiences in broadcast by mocking the “drive-by media.”

Some on the left are really becoming unhinged.

Last week I was only 8-12; I'm 40-35-2 for the year. Time to improve:

ALABAMA 17 over South Carolina. PICK: CRIMSON TIDE. That defense keeps the Tide rolling.

AUBURN 13.5 over Kentucky. PICK: TIGERS. Auburn's offense is far too dynamic for Kentucky's porous defense.

FLORIDA 25 over Arkansas. PICK: RAZORBACKS. Not to win; but to keep it closer. I'm not convinced Tebow and that offense are clicking on all cylinders yet. And the Hogs looked mighty tough last week; they've got confidence, and a QB with a big arm in Ryan Mallett.

Kansas 9.5 over COLORADO. PICK: JAYHAWKS. Colorado won't be able to slow down Todd Riesing.

MICHIGAN STATE 13.5 over Northwestern. PICK: WILDCATS. Not to win, but to keep it close. The Spartans have a history of having a hard time dealing with prosperity, not to mention sometimes playing down to the level of their competition.

Navy 8.5 over SMU. PICK: MIDSHIPMEN. That option offense is rolling; SMU's defense is suspect in any case, and they haven't had long to prepare.

NEBRASKA 10.5 over Texas Tech. PICK: RED RAIDERS. They'll at least keep it close, and maybe win outright. It doesn't matter who Mike Leach puts in at QB (and it may be that Taylor Potts is still too dinged up to play). His backup QB rang up 66 pts last week. Look for Tech to score and keep this one tight.

Ohio State 13.5 over PURDUE. PICK: BUCKEYES. OSU will squash another Big 10 never-was-a-contender. But can they ever beat one of the big boys?

TCU 22.5 over Colorado State. PICK: HORNED FROGS. Finally TCU will get to play in good weather, on a fast track. Look for the Frogs to pound CSU with its ground game.

Texas 3 over Oklahoma. PICK: LONGHORNS. The Horns have been pointing to this game all season. I'm not convinced Bradford and the OU offense are where they want to be after the injuries etc. Colt McCoy meanwhile is turned up and will undoubtedly hit Jordan Shipley for at least one big play. It won't be a blowout at all, but look for the Horns to prevail.

Virginia Tech 3 over GEORGIA TECH. PICK: HOKIES. That defense is just too tough.

I was 7-7 again last week; I'm 41-34-1 for the season. Time to get off the .500 mark!

ATLANTA 3.5 over Chicago. PICK: FALCONS. They're on a roll, tough at home...and the Bears and Cutler aren't a great road team.

Carolina 3.5 over TAMPA BAY. PICK: PANTHERS. Tampa Bay to continue to suffer along with a rookie QB.

CINCINNATI 5 over Houston. PICK: BENGALS. Maybe Marvin Lewis has finally taught these guys how to win. Even better: their defense is much improved.

GREEN BAY 13.5 over Detroit. PICK: PACKERS. Probably no Stafford and no Calvin Johnson for the Lions, and they haven't won, or played well, in Packerland since 1991. Even more important: their secondary stinks. Aaron Rodgers can't wait.

JACKSONVILLE 9.5 over St. Louis. PICK: JAGUARS. Even coming off their incredibly poor performance in Seattle, you have to go with the Jags--for the Rams are even worse.

MINNESOTA 3 over Baltimore. PICK: VIKINGS. Brett Favre to school another young QB at home. Having Adrian Peterson and a tough defense helps.

NEW ENGLAND 9.5 over Tennessee. PICK: PATRIOTS. It's hard to remember the Patriots ever, in the Brady era, under-performing in a game like this--at home, against a team in trouble and turmoil whom they should beat.

NEW ORLEANS 3 over NY Giants. PICK: SAINTS. I like the Saints, at home, and now with a decent defense and running game.

NY JETS 9.5 over Buffalo. PICK: JETS. If Buffalo can't score against Cleveland at home, they'll really have trouble against Rex Ryan's defense--which will want to make up for Monday night's letdown.

Philadelphia 14 over OAKLAND. PICK: EAGLES. The Raiders, especially offensively, are just bad.

PITTSBURGH 14 over Cleveland. PICK: STEELERS. Cleveland offensively is just bad.

SEATTLE 3 over Arizona. PICK: CARDINALS. Kurt Warner and all those weapons seem to be improving, and they'll get a big win on the road.

WASHINGTON 6.5 over Kansas City. PICK: REDSKINS. The Chiefs offensively struggle so much that the Redskins here have a chance to get well--if only temporarily.

SAN DIEGO 3.5 over Denver. PICK: CHARGERS. The Broncos have a better defense, but offensively they lack explosiveness. This week that will finally cost them, against a good Chargers team at home.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Thursday's throwdowns

Regarding economic news today, we see this bit of positive news:
"New jobless claims dropped to the lowest level since January and the prices of many household goods stayed low last month, positive signs of stability for the fledgling economic recovery."
But there's also this:
"The number of households caught up in the foreclosure crisis rose more than 5 percent from summer to fall as a federal effort to assist struggling borrowers was overwhelmed by a flood of defaults among people who lost their jobs."

The piece goes on to note that while many believe the recession is over, our unemployment rate isn't expected to peak until next year. Happy recovery, everyone!
And by the way, at the White House they think things are just dandy and that the "stimulus" is working...despite being confronted by evidence it, well, isn't:
"The Associated Press is touting an estimate posted on the federal government’s website that $16 billion in stimulus contract spending has created or saved 30,000 jobs. So using the White House’s own numbers, this comes to $533,000 per job saved or created. Instead of expressing embarrassment at a policy of spending $533,000 per job — about ten times the median income — the AP quotes White House economic advisor Jared Bernstein, stating that while it is early, “the early indications are quite positive.” Despite these “positive” indications, the unemployment rate has surged to nearly 10%, despite an earlier report by Bernstein predicting that unemployment would peak at 8% with a stimulus bill."

It looks like some of the agitators are going to succeed in keeping him out of any purchase of the St. Louis Rams. That's an outrage. But at least one African-American writer today is not afraid to tell the truth. He doesn't like Limbaugh (too bad for him), but...:
"...[Limbaugh] is not the reason there are more black men in prison than in college. We are.
Our issues did not germinate in a vacuum, but I believe the best way to get out of our socioeconomical malaise is to spend less time looking at what white people like Limbaugh are supposedly doing to us and more time looking at what we're definitely doing to ourselves. More time charting a new course based on personal responsibility, not victimhood and the retelling of stories, because let me tell you, some of those stories have been touched up so many times it's hard to know what's true anyway."

Why are liberals so frustrated these days with President Obama? Charles Krauthammer yesterday summed it up well:
"He has the Left. The Left has nowhere to go. They are never going to have a president more to the left than Obama, and they know it. So if you have to choose between the constituency that you have in your pocket and one that you could lose, namely, the Blue Dog Democrats — if you start a fight on the Defense of Marriage Act or if you start a fight in the middle of a war on “don't ask, don't tell,” or if you start a fight on health care where you insist on the public option knowing that you might lose the whole Senate on that — Well, it's obvious which way he is going to go, and that's the way he has gone…."

Obama wants and needs health care reform to pass. Krauthammer argues that if he gets that, he'll become much stronger politically and then might believe he is powerful enough to move to the left on some issues. Me, I'm not so sure. Obama will still be looking to 2012, to his re-election. He'll still feel the need to keep the center, in order to ensure a 2012 victory. The left may remain disappointed for some time...

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Wednesday's wash

In the congressional races for 2010, keep an eye on Indiana's 2nd District. That seat is currently held by Democratic Rep. Joe Donnelly, a relatively conservative Democrat who will be hard to beat no matter what. But the Republicans need to recruit good candidates and make the Democrats work for every seat and spend every resource possible--and the National Republican Congressional Campaign Committee is on the road to doing just that in Indiana's 2nd, as they appear to have recruited a great campaigner and good conservative, Indiana State Representative Jackie Walorski, to run against Donnelly next year.
That's one to watch.

I see in recent days that lots of news stories tout "experts" who claim the recession is over and the recovery has begun.
Well, don't tell that to people in Michigan--there, the unemployment rate has crept up again, to 15.3%. I have this feeling there are lots of folks out there who are sick of hearing pro-Obama experts seeking to help the president by declaring the recession over and done with. They might still be sick of it in 2010, by the way.

Thomas Sowell today reminds us the price we may have to pay to reduce the number of the "uninsured":
"The magic number du jour is the number of Americans without health insurance. Apparently getting more people insured is another “good thing” — which is to say, it is something whose costs are not to be weighed against the benefits, or whose costs are to be finessed aside with optimistic projections or a claim that these costs can be covered by eliminating “waste, fraud, and abuse.”In real life, people weigh one thing against another. But in politics, one declares one thing to be imperative, so the issue then becomes how we do it. In real life, all sorts of desirable things are not done, either because other desirable things would have to be sacrificed or because the dangers incurred in achieving the desired objective are worse than the problem we want to solve.Almost never are the dangers of having uninsured people weighed against the dangers of having government bureaucrats overruling doctors and deciding whether money would be better spent saving the life of an elderly person or paying for an abortion for some teenager.The crowning irony is that the problems caused by insurance companies’ refusing to pay for certain medications or treatments are to be solved by giving government bureaucrats that same power..."
Read the whole thing. Remember--there are plenty of younger, healthy people who CHOOSE, with knowledge, with their eyes wide open, to go without health insurance. Conservatives need to keep pointing out to people that we need to have very, very good reasons to deny persons that freedom--and that we haven't heard such reasons yet.

Two pieces of news today: first, two different polls show conservative Republican Pat Toomey continuing to run pretty well against incumbent (and now a Democrat) Senator Arlen Specter.
Meanwhile the New Jersey governor's race now appears to be a dead heat between Christie and Corzine. But remember, every poll shows Corzine's approval/disapproval numbers to be very bad for him--nearly 60% of New Jerseyans disapprove of him. That always comes back to bite the incumbent in the end; undecideds in that environment almost always break big for the challenger. Look for Republican Chris Christie to still have a great chance to win that race.
Polls concerning both races found here.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Tuesday's trackings

Liberal "Republican" Senator Olympia Snowe caves--she'll vote for the Baucus reform measure, and hand Democrats a victory:
"The Maine senator kept virtually all of Washington guessing about how she would vote until she announced it late in the Senate Finance Committee debate Tuesday. She told her colleagues she has misgivings about the bill, but "when history calls, history calls."

What courage. Nothing like passing the buck. She's not making this decision, see--rather, "history" is supposedly demanding it of her. If she truly had misgivings about this bill, and they aren't addressed, then just waving her hands, blowing her concerns off and suggesting "history" made her do it is truly craven. It should remind conservatives again of just why so-called "moderate" Republicans are at times such a cancer in this party.
Meanwhile, don't give up hope yet, conservatives--the left is yet to unite around this bill:
"WASHINGTON — A top labor lobbyist says about 30 unions will run a full-page ad in newspapers Wednesday announcing their opposition to the Senate Finance Committee's health overhaul bill....The legislative director of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, Chuck Loveless, says unions are unhappy that the legislation lacks a publicly run insurance plan and would tax insurers that provide expensive coverage."

Even Democrats are now questioning whether Creigh Deeds, the Dem candidate for governor of Virginia, has what it takes to win his race against Bob McDonnell. And when they're saying that publicly and leaking such thoughts anonymously to reporters at this point in the campaign, they know the answer to their question is--nope.

Even very hard-line, partisan leftist commentators think the president is being "whiny" in going after the FNC:
"An administration that won the White House with an almost always on-message campaign and generally friendly coverage from old and new media is now frustrated by its inability to control the debate and get the coverage it wants."

Read the whole thing.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Monday's musings

"That's pretty amazing, winning the Nobel Peace Prize," Jay Leno saidFriday night of President Barack Obama's latest accolade. "Ironically,his biggest accomplishment as president so far ... winning the NobelPeace Prize."

Actually the original headline on Yahoo for the above story was "Late Night Comedians Turn on Obama." Wow--so they're finally beginning to poke fun at the powerful. Isn't that what they pride themselves on doing? The question should be: what took them so long???

Once again, all is bliss in Indyland--the Colts blast the Titans, 31-9. Obviously Peyton Manning is playing well. But it's the Colts' defense that has stood out--really holding down the Titans and star RB Chris Johnson, limiting the Titans to field goals after turnovers. getting sacks. Shouldn't the Colts be seen as one of the dominant teams in football right now?
As for the Lions, well--too many mistakes, and losses can't be acceptable, but at least they hung in and played tough against the defending champ Steelers, losing only 28-20.

"Attacking the news media is a time-honored White House tactic but to an unusual degree, the Obama administration has narrowed its sights to one specific organization, the Fox News Channel, calling it, in essence, part of the political opposition. “We’re going to treat them the way we would treat an opponent,” said Anita Dunn, the White House communications director, in a telephone interview on Sunday. “As they are undertaking a war against Barack Obama and the White House, we don’t need to pretend that this is the way that legitimate news organizations behave.”

Funny--I thought liberals loved the idea of journalists holding the powerful accountable, of media people challenging the comfortable. And I especially thought Obama liberals loved diversity. But not when it comes to the news media, I guess. Conservatives should pound away on this--Obama liberals want the media to challenge the guys in power and they want thousand voices of "diversity" doing it--but only if the guy in power is a Republican.

Now he's trying to block Rush Limbaugh from buying a piece of the St. Louis Rams:
"The Rev. Al Sharpton wants the National Football League to blockconservative radio host Rush Limbaugh from bidding on the St. LouisRams. Sharpton sent a letter to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell on Monday. Hesaid Limbaugh has been divisive and "anti-NFL" in some of hiscomments."

Well, first of all, the above is simply a lie. Limbaugh loves the National Football League--during football season, he often talks about the previous week's games and his favorite teams, he goes to games himself--that's promoting the NFL, not being anti-NFL. But most importantly, the NFL needs to tell Al Sharpton in no uncertain terms to take a hike. Everybody knows his opposition to Limbaugh is purely political in nature, and the league surely doesn't want to start vetoing possible team ownership purely based on the prospective owner's political views. That has no place being anywhere connected to the game. I'm sure Sharpton would love it if liberal millionaire George Soros bought an NFL team. Rush Limbaugh has that same right.

Senate Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid continues to trail, significantly, his possible Republican opponents in the 2010 Nevada senate matchup.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Friday's football picks (and other stuff)

Last week I was 9-5-1. So far for the year I'm 32-23-2. Let's keep it going!

Michigan State 4 over ILLINOIS. PICK: SPARTANS. Illinois has looked horrible lately. MSU meanwhile should have gained a lot of confidence with last week's win, and they have a solid coach in Mark D'Antonio to keep them focused.

VIRGINIA TECH 13.5 over Boston College. PICK: HOKIES. Va Tech is tough at home. And look for a young BC team to have a bit of a letdown after a big win over the Seminoles at home last week.

VIRGINIA 7 over Indiana. PICK: HOOSIERS. I still think this IU team has potential, and they still have a lot to play for (for example, to become bowl-eligible). And this remains a Cavalier bunch that lost to William and Mary.

MINNESOTA 3.5 over Purdue. PICK: GOLDEN GOPHERS. Purdue's defense can't stop anybody; and the Boilers have been a bad road team as well.

PITTSBURGH 7 over UConn. PICK: PANTHERS. Despite some injuries, the Panthers have too much talent.

Alabama 5 over MISSISSIPPI. PICK: CRIMSON TIDE. Because that defense is just too tough. And Nick Saban's team over the last year or two has been good in these SEC games vs teams they should beat.

MISSISSIPPI STATE 1.5 over Houston. PICK: COUGARS. I know--how can you pick a team that just lost to UTEP. But--this is also still a team that's beaten Texas Tech and Oklahoma State, and can really move the ball offensively. They had a horrible letdown last week. I'm guessing they'll be a lot more focused this week.

OREGON STATE pick'em vs Stanford. PICK: CARDINAL. Stanford has Jim Harbaugh, who's given them toughness; and an excellent back in Toby Gearhart.

TENNESSEE 1.5 over Georgia. PICK: BULLDOGS. Georgia probably should have beaten LSU last week. Meanwhile, this is a Tennessee team that's lost--at home--to both UCLA and Auburn. Look for them to lose at home again.

TEXAS TECH 16 over Kansas State. PICK: RED RAIDERS. That Tech offense is getting it going.

TEXAS 32.5 over Colorado. PICK: LONGHORNS. That's a lot of points. But consider this: the Buffaloes earlier this year gave up over 50 Toledo.

FLORIDA STATE 3 over Georgia Tech. PICK: YELLOW JACKETS. This is an FSU team that has been horribly inconsistent. But I sense we have here a Georgia Tech team that's coming on--in the last two weeks they've beaten North Carolina and Mississippi State, and looked good doing it.

OHIO STATE 16 over Wisconsin. PICK: BADGERS. Hmmm. 16 points? Against an unbeaten Wisconsin team that has momentum and just got done winning at Minnesota? That's just too many points against what I see as still a bit of an inconsistent Ohio State offense.

Oregon 3.5 over UCLA. PICK: BRUINS (upset special). This is a UCLA team that's shown itself capable of playing well, both at home and in tough environments (see their win over Tennessee). Now they're at home, and I suspect the Ducks might overlook them a bit.

Auburn 2.5 over ARKANSAS. PICK: TIGERS. Auburn is a hot team, probably feeding on being overlooked by the national media despite being undefeated. They can score. Arkansas meanwhile has a hard time stopping people, and makes too many mistakes.

OKLAHOMA 25.5 over Baylor. PICK: BEARS. Not to win; but to keep it closer than 25. It still seems questionable as to whether Bradford will play...even if he does, he could easily be rusty...and Baylor's not a bad team.

Navy 12 over RICE. PICK: OWLS. Again, not to win, but to keep it close. One gets the sense that Navy isn't quite hitting on all cylinders yet, especially with its option offense. And Rice can score.

TCU 10 over AIR FORCE. PICK: HORNED FROGS. Look for that TCU defense to keep swarming; and I suspect the Frogs' offense will get going, too, particularly its running game against the undersized Falcons D.

Florida 7.5 over LSU. PICK: TIGERS (upset special). You just have a feeling. LSU is at home in a big game; the Bayou will be rocking. They have a history of big upsets there. Tebow is questionable; even if he plays, will he make it through the entire game? The Tigers just beat Georgia on the road; one gets the sense they're coming on. It all points to another crazy, close game in Cajun country.

IOWA 8 over Michigan. PICK: WOLVERINES. Again, not necessarily to win. But I suspect Rich Rod's been tinkering with the Michigan running game, to make it better; and Brandon Minor is much healthier this week for the Wolverines. That will help. Tate Forcier can make plays. Iowa's offense is less-than-dynamic. The Iowa defense will likely help secure a Hawkeye win, in the end. But in a very close game.

I was 7-7 last week; I'm 34-27-1 for the year so far. Let's keep it going...

Minnesota 10 over St. Louis. PICK: VIKINGS. It's just hard to see the Rams, with their QB injury issues, with their inability to move the ball consistently, being able to hang with the Vikes.

Dallas 8.5 over KANSAS CITY. PICK: CHIEFS. Not to win; but to keep this one close. And with Tony Romo struggling and the dymanic Felix Jones out, it's frankly hard to see the Cowboys blowing anybody out.

CAROLINA 3.5 over Washington. PICK: PANTHERS. Carolina's just had a bye week, to get healthy and re-tool; meanwhile, the struggling Redskins barely beat the woeful home.

PHILADELPHIA 14.5 over Tampa Bay. PICK: EAGLES. Donovan McNabb is back. So is Tampa's rookie QB Josh Johnson, which is not good news for the Bucs.

NY GIANTS 15.5 over Oakland. PICK: GIANTS. I don't care if it's Eli Manning starting or David Carr for the Giants; the Raiders have one of the more anemic offenses we've seen in some time. Look for the Giants to hold them, easily, to under 10 points.

BUFFALO 6 over Cleveland. PICK: BILLS. Cleveland is not a good road team; the Bills should be able to get well again at home.

BALTIMEORE 8.5 over Cincinnati. PICK: RAVENS. It's a tough pick; Cincy is an improving team. But...that was a mighty struggle the Bengals had last week on the road in Cleveland, and those kind of mistakes will kill you in Baltimore.

Pittsburgh 10.5 over DETROIT. PICK: STEELERS. The Lions haven't shown that they can really hang with a good team yet; as the Steelers showed last Sunday night, they're still a good team.

SAN FRANCISCO 2.5 over Atlanta. PICK: 49ERS. Because they're at home, and I really like that defense.

New England 3 over DENVER. PICK: PATRIOTS. You get the sense that New England is starting to get its groove back; and it's hard to pick Kyle Orton over Tom Brady.

ARIZONA 5.5 over Houston. PICK: CARDINALS. Both teams have defensive issues; look for the Cardinals to outscore 'em.

SEATTLE pick'em vs Jacksonville. PICK: SEAHAWKS. Because they're at home, Matt Hasselbeck is healthy again and will play, and Jacksonville is an inconsistent bunch, especially on the road.

Indianapolis 3.5 over TENNESSEE. PICK: COLTS. This will be a tough game, with the 0-4 Titans desperately trying to save their season, and undoubtedly playing like it. But the Tennessee secondary is plagued by injuries, their front 4 isn't what it used to be without Albert Haynesworth, Kerry Collins has come back down to earth, and Peyton Manning can and will exploit your every weakness.

NY Jets 1.5 over MIAMI. PICK: JETS. Because Rex Ryan is too smart and his defense too good to allow rookie QB Chad Henne and the Dolphins just run the wildcat all night and gain yards. They'll shut that down, force the young QB to throw and make some mistakes, and Mark Sanchez will manage the game and guide the Jets to a win.



Barack Obama wins the Miss Congeniality Award..., sorry, the Nobel Peace Prize. Of course, it's supposed to be for achievements, and he doesn't have any yet.
So one has to conclude now that the award either means nothing, or it's simply a worldwide popularity contest.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Thursday's throwdowns

They're starting to divide over the war in Afghanistan:
"The eye roll said it all. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid emerged from the White House Tuesday with broad, bicameral smiles — until Reid put his arm around Pelosi to announce that “everyone” would support “whatever” Afghanistan policy the president produces. Pelosi doesn’t agree with that — not at all — and the TV cameras captured the California Democrat rolling her eyes and slightly recoiling from Reid’s grasp as he spoke. Back at the Capitol, Pelosi made it clear to staff that she was angry about Reid's unilateral offer of unequivocal support, a person familiar with the situation said."

Pelosi denies the story, but don't buy her denial.
We've seen this kind of split among Democrats before. Remember Lyndon Johnson's administration, and the war in Vietnam? See the battles between Johnson and eventual war opponent J. William Fulbright. Or Hubert Humphrey vs Eugene McCarthy. The Vietnam war divided the Democratic Party right down the middle in the late 1960s. Will Afghanistan do the same?

The most recent Pew poll asks: do you favor or oppose the most recent health care reform proposals currently being discussed in Congress? Response: 34$ in favor; 47% oppose.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Wednesday's wash

As many of you undoubtedly know, Dave is in some hot water these days--and there's a new development today:
"The National Organization for Women has sharply criticized comedian David Letterman, accusing him of promoting a hostile, uncomfortable work environment. "The latest Letterman controversy sheds new light on the widespread objectification of women in the workplace," NOW said in a statement Tuesday. "Most women can attest to the fact that many workplaces are plagued with inappropriate behavior by men in power." The "Late Show With David Letterman" host admitted last week on his CBS program that he had sex with unnamed employees and had testified about those liaisons before a New York grand jury as part of an alleged extortion attempt."

Well, only his employees can really tell us if the work environment there is "hostile", and I haven't heard any of them claim it to be so. But what this all makes me think about is this: doesn't this make it rather difficult for Mr. Letterman to balance out his jokes??? What I mean is: clearly he leans to the liberal side in his joke-making. Whenever I hear his monologues, I rarely hear him skewering President Obama. And even now, with the Republicans out of power for months, he still aims a great deal of fire at Bush, Cheney, Limbaugh, and Palin. But--he could always balance that out with a few Bill Clinton affair/sex jokes. But how will Dave do that now? Ridiculing Bill Clinton for his affairs will be kinda tough for a guy who's now admitted to doing the same kinds of things himself. Letterman may have to hire some extra joke writers...

For the Tigers, in the end after yesterday's bitter loss to the Twins, there's only sadness. But the loss was a microcosm of the season. Bob Wojnowski sums it up perfectly:

Victor Davis Hanson today summed up the case well:
"Afghanistan is a messy war, but so far it has been conducted with a minimum loss of American life while achieving some important goals. We can argue about current strategies, fault what’s been done in the past, deplore the length of the war, lament its cost, or blame each other for its inconclusiveness, but the facts remain that we removed the Taliban, weakened al-Qaeda in the region, fostered a consensual government in the most unlikely of places, and helped to prevent another catastrophic attack on our nation originating from that part of the world — and did all this with a degree of skill that is reflected in losses that by historical standards are quite moderate.After the initial invasion, the Afghan front was largely inactive for years. U.S. annual fatalities from 2001 through 2007 (12, 49, 48, 52, 99, 98, 117) averaged about 68. In comparison, the murder total in Chicago for 2007 was 509."

Read the whole thing.

Here's the latest polling news on the generic ballot--that is, if the 2010 elections were held right now, for candidates of which party would you vote? Democrats usually have a substantial lead here. But right now, they don't--Gallup shows it at Dems 46, Republicans 44...good news for the GOP.

We saw these kinds of signs in 1994, folks.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Tuesday's trackings

This is what I noticed throughout the game this past Saturday--this team has got to get the run game going:
"Michigan (4-1, 1-1 Big Ten) gained only 28 yards on the ground against Michigan State after entering the game as the Big Ten’s leading rushing team. And the Wolverines’ opponent Saturday, Iowa, hasn’t allowed a rushing touchdown this season. The unbeaten Hawkeyes (5-0, 1-0 Big Ten) are giving up only 122.2 rushing yards per game."

Historically, Big Ten teams that win...are able to run the ball. Can Michigan do that this week against Iowa? What they might have to do: pass first. Establish the pass. Then the run game will open up.

Rich Lowry today sums up well how Obama has actually been a boon to conservatism:
"In nine months, he has breathed life into the Republican party, boosted pro-lifers, tarnished the reputation of regulation, bolstered traditional values, increased the public’s desire for immigration restriction, and shifted independent voters rightward. If only RNC chairman Michael Steele were so deadly effective."

People voted for Obama last year because they wanted change. But they weren't sure exactly what that "change" should look like. Obama and his advisers immediately assumed people wanted a new New Deal, that a liberal moment had arrived. But that doesn't appear to be true, as the polling data Lowry cites elsewhere in the article shows. Read the whole piece. And think about this: this same kind of thing happened to Bill Clinton--liberal overreaching, electoral defeat (1994). Clinton then saved himself by moving to the right. What will Obama do???

Monday, October 5, 2009

Monday's musings

So the Obama administration says leaving Afghanistan is not on the table.
That's nice to know. The problem however is that the president even felt the need to state this at all. It should be assumed and understood by everybody from the get-go. Were our allies worried? Did Obama fear that our enemies thought we would leave?

By the way, as to what we should do on Afghanistan: it's simple. President Obama wanted Gen. McChrystal's evaluation of the situation. He's received it. McChrystal says: more troops. And if we don't send in more troops, and especially if we reduce our involvement there and signal we're on the way out of Afghanistan, that will give terrorists around the globe just the encouragement they need. Send in the troops, Mr. President.

Well...for Detroit Tiger fans, all you can say is: they played poorly for most of the weekend, now their star slugger has off-the-field issues, but thanks to Justin Verlander and yesterday's win, they still have a chance.
For Detroit Lions fans, all you can say is: if the Lions continue to revert back to their old ways--as they did yesterday in getting blasted by the Bears--in most of their games, they'll have no chance.
For University of Michigan football fans, all you can say is: yes, it's a tough loss, you hate to lose to your rival MSU, and for much of the game Michigan didn't play well; but at least you know that with Tate Forcier, you always have a chance. There's a lot of hope for the future.
For Chicago Cubs fans, all you can say is: they lose their final game of the season to Arizona, 5-2, they wind up with only 83 wins (down 14 from last year), and so the only chance they seek is the chance to forget this season. Question: is their core group solid enough to give them a chance to contend next year?
For Texas Rangers fans, all you can say is: yes, they lost their final game of the season, 4-3 to Seattle, and finished 8-15. But at one point they were 19 games over .500 and they still finished with the 4th best record in the AL. This team has a chance to be good, real good, next year. But continued improvement isn't automatic...
But, saving the best for last, the Indianapolis Colts, who blasted Seattle 34-17 yesterday, have a be real good. Peyton Manning is playing perhaps as well as he ever has.

In Virginia, Republican candidate for governor McDonnell is back up by 11, according to SurveyUSA.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Friday football picks

Last week: 6-8. I'm 23-18-1 for the season.

Pitt 7 over LOUISVILLE. PICK: PANTHERS. They'll bounce back after their tough loss last week, and score a lot of points. Louisville's defense is suspect.

Alabama 15.5 over KENTUCKY. PICK: CRIMSON TIDE. See for example Kentucky's poor effort last week at home vs Florida.

Florida State 4 over BOSTON COLLEGE. PICK: EAGLES. Florida State is very inconsistent; BC is coming off a good win last week.

GEORGIA 3 over LSU. PICK: BULLDOGS. LSU has barely been escaping in recent weeks against mediocre competition; now they play Georgia, which is battle-tested and improving, on the road.

Georgia Tech 6 over MISSISSIPPI STATE. PICK: YELLOW JACKETS. Because Mississippi State is coming off that tough loss to LSU, and there's the danger of letdown. And that Georgia Tech offense is tough to prepare for.

MICHIGAN STATE 3 over Michigan. PICK: WOLVERINES. Yes, we all know about Michigan's defensive problems. But how about those of the Spartans? The last 3 weeks they've given up 29 points to Central Michigan, 33 to Notre Dame, and 38 to Wisconsin. Michigan can and will outscore 'em.

MINNESOTA 2.5 over Wisconsin. PICK: GOLDEN GOPHERS. I like their defense. And they're at home.

NAVY 3 over Air Force. PICK: MIDSHIPMEN. They have good athletes at Navy. And they're at home.

NOTRE DAME 12.5 over Washington. PICK: FIGHTING IRISH. The Irish are still mopping their brow after that close shave against Purdue. But they survived, and both Jimmy Clausen and Armando Allen are in improved health. And they're at home.

Ohio State 18 over INDIANA. PICK: HOOSIERS (upset special). Against Michigan, IU showed they've got some athletes and can run that offense pretty well. And I don't see OSU's offense clicking that well yet. 18 points is too much.

Oklahoma 7 over MIAMI. PICK: HURRICANES. No, Miami's not a world-beater; they showed that last week. But they're at home, and there will be no driving rainstorm a la last week. They still have good athletes. And the Sooners still will be without Sam Bradford.

Penn State 7 over ILLINOIS. PICK: NITTANY LIONS. They'll bounce back. The Illini continue to struggle.

Southern Cal 5 over CALIFORNIA. PICK: TROJANS. I think Cal was exposed last week; and USC knows it must win to retain BCS hopes.

STANFORD 5 over UCLA. PICK: CARDINAL. Toby Gearhart is one tough runner. Stanford plays well at home.

TENNESSEE 2 over Auburn. PICK: TIGERS. Auburn's done nothing but win and pile up points so far this year. I'm amazed they're the underdog in this game, given Tennessee's struggles.

I was 9-7 last week; I'm 27-20-1 so far this season.

Buffalo 2 over MIAMI. PICK: BILLS. Because despite their struggles, Buffalo is set at QB with Trent Edwards; meanwhile Miami has lost Chad Pennington, probably for the year.

CHICAGO 10 over Detroit. PICK: LIONS. Not to win; but to keep it close. The Bears' offense continues to struggle a bit; meanwhile the Lions' O-line is improving.

Cincinnat 5.5 over CLEVELAND. PICK: BENGALS. This one makes me a bit nervous, given that it's a road game for Cincy. But the Browns' offense has been putrid, and the Bengals won at Green Bay, remember. The victory over the Steelers should give the Bengals big momentum.

Dallas 3 over DENVER. PICK: BRONCOS. They're at home; the Broncos' running game is improving. And I'm not sure Dallas' offens is there yet; despite the win Monday night, Tony Romo and co. only put up 13 points against Carolina.

HOUSTON 9 over Oakland. PICK: TEXANS. The Raiders and JaMarcus Russell have struggled so much...while Matt Schaub and the Texans have shown they can score (while the Raiders can't).

INDIANAPOLIS 10.5 over Seattle. PICK: COLTS. They appear to be rolling, while the Seahawks have a lot of injury issues.

NEW ENGLAND 2 over Baltimore. PICK: RAVENS. The Ravens and Joe Flacco seem to have their offense really rolling, and of course their defense remains more than capable. The Patriots and Tom Brady meanwhile are improving, but...the timing etc just isn't quite there yet. Go with the hot team.

NEW ORLEANS 7 over NY Jets. PICK: SAINTS. The Saints have covered every week. Meanwhile Rex Ryan's defense hasn't seen an offense like this one yet. Look for Mark Sanchez to finally make a few mistakes.

NY Giants 8.5 over KANSAS CITY. PICK: GIANTS. The Chiefs and Matt Cassel are still a ways off; meanwhile the Giants showed last week that they play well in games they should win.

PITTSBURGH 6.5 over San Diego. PICK: CHARGERS. LaDainian Tomlinson should be back; and while it's very possible that the Steelers will win this game, look for it to be very tight, probably just a field goal difference. Ben Roethlisberger keeps the Steelers in every game. But the Steeler D isn't forcing turnovers--and that allows their opponents to stay in games.

SAN FRANCISCO 9.5 over St. Louis. PICK: 49ERS. That defense should shut the Rams down.

Tennessee 3 over JACKSONVILLE. PICK: TITANS. I just can't see Tennessee starting 0-4.

WASHINGTON 7 over Tampa Bay. PICK: REDSKINS. Because Tampa Bay appears to be in sad shape, and are now rushing in a very young, untested QB.

MINNESOTA 3 over Green Bay. PICK: VIKINGS. A battle between two good teams, with lots of hype and emotion. But, at home, I don't think the hype will get to Brett Favre or Adrian Peterson; they're used to it.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Thursday's throwdowns

If Republicans say things that she and other Democrats judge as "harsh rhetoric", they demand apologies and recantations. But not for their own:
"House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says anyone using harsh rhetoric to raise fears about health care reform should apologize and get on with writing policy, but said there's no reason to single out a Florida Democrat who said Republicans want sick Americans to "die quickly." "If anybody's going to apologize, everybody should apologize," she said when asked Thursday about Rep. Alan Grayson's comments on the House floor earlier this week. Pelosi's response reflects what Democratic aides have said privately since Grayson's remarks sparked an uproar: that Republicans have routinely said with impunity that Democrats want to "pull the plug on grandma" or create "death panels" to decide who deserves care and who doesn't."

Pointing fingers at others to obscure what you or your friends did is something little kids do. Democrats need to get off the playground.

So the noted author Sam Tanenhaus has written on the supposed death of conservatism, and naturally many establishment liberals agree with him...and one thing they say over and over is this:
"One puzzling feature of American politics is that the people who call themselves conservatives seldom want to conserve anything. The modern conservative movement promotes radical transformation while ignoring classical conservative ideas — for example, Edmund Burke’s respect for established institutions and customs, for continuity with tradition and for incremental change."

Hmph. Of course, the logical endpoint of this would have to be, simply, if conservatives accepted and adopted that critique, the conservation of whatever is. Which is no philosophy at all. Frank Meyer exposed this falsehood years ago. A pity that our liberal friends are unfamiliar with it.
Though it is not at all surprising to see them wishing that conservatives would seek to "conserve" liberal triumphs. And, speaking of conservatism and liberalism...

Well, let's look at views on abortion in this country. They may be changing:
"For most of the last two decades, a clear majority of Americans has supported the right to abortion. A new poll, though, suggests that support for abortion appears to have declined, with the public almost evenly divided over the issue. The apparent shift, which contradicts some other recent polls, has occurred in just the last year. In 2008, a poll conducted by the Pew Research Center found that those in favor of keeping abortion legal outnumbered opponents by 54 to 40 percent. The new poll, also conducted by Pew researchers, and released on Thursday, showed that the gap had narrowed: 47 percent of those surveyed said abortion should be legal in all or most cases, and 45 percent said it should be illegal in all or most cases — a difference within the poll’s margin of sampling error."

And, concerning a likely 2010 Senate race in Pennsylvania, a Quinnipiac poll has conservative Republican Pat Toomey leading Arlen Specter by 1 point. Wow!

BASEBALL DIARY: the Tigers move closer to the AL Central title last night, beating Minnesota 7-2. Bob Wojnowski in the Detroit News has it exactly right--it's a team of pluggers and persistence. Magglio Ordonez is the prime example--he's struggled all year, but he's coming on now and had a key 3-run double last night. Good for him for sticking with it. But there's still work left to do for the Tigers...