Monthly Archives: September 2008

Looking Back At The AL’s Best & Worst Moves

In this post here, I listed what I thought was each American League team’s best and worst offseason move. Now that the season is just about over, I figured it was about time to look at how each of them turned out.

Baltimore Orioles
Best Move: Trading Miguel Tejada to Houston. Visa and steroid problems non-withstanding, Baltimore needed to start rebuilding and bringing in a handful of decent prospects for a guy past his prime isn’t too bad.
Worst Move: Doing nothing else. Bedard still hasn’t been moved and if the Cubs had offered me two young arms for Brian Roberts, I’d have done it. Just ship all your guys off for prospects wait

Tejada had a solid season for the Astros, and the haul of prospects they brought in contributed in their own ways. My original post was written on February 11, and the Erik Bedard trade hadn’t gone down yet. That obviously was their best move by far, as Adam Jones is a great defensive centerfielder and maturing as an offensive force. George Sherrill arguably could have been the MVP of the All-Star Game and they got this haul for a guy who pitched 81 innings this year.

Boston Red Sox
Best Move: NOT trading for Johan Santana. They already had a World Series caliber rotation, and if the Yankees weren’t in for him, there was no need to ship off a Jacoby Ellsbury or Jon Lester just to add $157MM.
Worst Move: I don’t think they have one. Everything they’ve done is pretty much smart baseball. Even when everyone’s least favorite loudmouth found out his shoulder sucked, they’re still the favorites for the World Series.

Jon Lester ended up going 16-6 with a 3.21 ERA in easily the toughest division in baseball and Jacoby Ellsbury leads the league in stolen bases. Santana’s been fantastic for the Mets, but he’s making $18 million more than Ellsbury and Lester combined.

New York Yankees
Best Move: Re-signing A-Rod. The Yankees needed Alex Rodriguez and Alex Rodriguez needed the Yankees. $275MM will most likely keep the best player in the Bronx for the rest of his career.
Worst Move: Not addressing their bullpen issue. With Joba Chamberlain looking to start and the only significant addition being LaTroy Hawkins, getting the ball from the starters to Rivera is still looking to be decided. Given, any number of the young arms could emerge as another Joba, but it probably isn’t something the Yankees are too confident in counting on.

A-Rod missed 20 games or so with a bum hamstring early in the season, but he still put up a .300-35-100 season on a surprisingly offense-less team. Their “worst” move turned out to be a blessing in disguise, as the Yankees discovered some gems within their own farm system. Names like Brian Bruney, Phil Coke, Edwar Ramirez, Jose Veras, Dave Robertson, Dan Giese and Al Aceves all turned out to be viable options for the Yankees. The addition of Damaso Marte at the deadline further strengthened a pen that looks to be pretty good in 2009.

Tampa Bay Rays
Best Move: Actually doing something. They started the offseason by dropping the “Devil” from their name and then spent some money locking up their young talent. They also used their extra outfielder to grab one of Minnesota’s extra young starter.
Worst Move: Signing Troy Percival. He’s probably not $11MM better than anything they could pull out of a loaded farm system. Maybe it’ll help a little, but the dude’s tossed 40 innings since 2005.

That “extra starter” was Matt Garza and he turned in a fine year for the division champion Rays. The “young talent” the locked up included 3B Evan Longoria, who should win Rookie of the Year. The tinkering they did proved to be just what they needed. Percival anchored the most improved bullpen when he was healthy, but he only managed 44 innings with a 4.63 ERA.

Toronto Blue Jays
Best Move: Trading Glaus for Rolen. Rolen may have the longer and larger contract and no bat, but he’ll immediately help an already impressive pitching staff.
Worst Move: If there was a year that someone other than New York or Boston could win the division since the mid-90s, it would be this year. So what does Toronto do? Stockpile average-to-useless middle infielders like Marco Scutaro, David Eckstein, Russ Adams and Joe Inglett

.260-11-50 isn’t that impressive of a line for Rolen, and he didn’t hold up too well either in Canada, but it was a trade that had to be done. So it ended up being Tampa Bay that took advantage of New York and Boston’s down years.

Chicago White Sox
Best Move: Obtaining Carlos Quentin? The whole Brian Anderson experiment failed and Ryan Sweeney proved to be nothing as well so Quentin’s as good a move as any.
Worst Move: Thinking they’re a contender this year. They re-signed Juan Uribe then traded an average arm for Orlando Cabrera. They traded three prospects for Nick Swisher. And they’ll still finish third at best in their division

Quentin certainly was their best move. He was a leading candidate for AL MVP before going down for the season. And although I got their best move right, I either underestimated them, or overestimated their division. They’re currently a half-game out of first with a game (or two) to play.

Cleveland Indians
Best Move: Signing Betancourt. He’s been extremely reliable and consistent and $5.4MM isn’t bad for two more reliable years.
Worst Move: Not adding to their offense. I’m probably talking about Jason Bay. They’re weak at the outfield corners and even a Jason Bay down year is an upgrade. He’s easily worth Cliff Lee and Kelly Shoppach

Never again will I be fooled into thinking that relief pitchers not named Mariano Rivera are worth high-priced, multi-year deals. Never again will I be fooled into thinking Jason Bay is worth a .261-21-55 backup catcher and the impending AL Cy Young.

Detroit Tigers
Best Move: Obtaining Miguel Cabrera from the Marlins. Lots of teams talk about making a big move, but never do. The Tigers actually did. Cabrera gives them arguably the best offense in the game. Now if only Zumaya could stay healthy…
Worst Move: Extending Dontrelle Willis. That 5.17 ERA isn’t going to look good once it gets through the AL exchange rate. I’d have waited until after this year to talk about an extension.

Finally, I got one perfect. Miguel Cabrera is one of the only Tigers not to blame for their hugely disappointing season, and Dontrelle Willis is probably one of the biggest reasons. How about these numbers: 0-2, 10.61 with a 32:13 walk to strikeout ration in 18.2 innings. And they’ve got that for two more years.

Kansas City Royals
Best Move: Moving their April 10 game from 1:00PM to 8:10PM. Now I can go.
Worst Move: Letting Arizona steal Billy Buckner from them for a middle infielder they have no room for.

Three Yankees hit home runs while Andy Pettitte, Joba Chamberlain and Mariano Rivera led the Yankees to a 6-1 win on April 10. Only relevant part of the Royals season.

Minnesota Twins
Best Move: Getting Delmon Young from Tampa Bay. The Twins had extra pitching and the Rays had extra outfielders. Very even swap and beneficial for both teams.
Worst Move: Well .. other than the Johan Debacle .. signing Adam Everett. He’s just a good-glove, no-bat shortstop. But they already had Nick Punto…

Young has had a very nice season for the Twins and the Johan deal turned out pretty well for them. True, they ended up with Carlos Gomez and Phil Humber over Ellsbury and Lester, but they’re in position to win the AL Central tomorrow. Adam Everett came and went. Pointless move.

Anaheim Angels
Best Move: Trading Orlando Cabrera. They’ve got a bunch of young shortstop prospects that are probably better than Cabrera. Getting a durable arm is just a plus.
Worst Move: Torri Hunter, easily. Along with GMJ2, they’re paying $30MM for centerfield through 2010. And now the Angels have 6 outfielders capable of starting

Orlando Cabrera’s been a mess in Chicago and Jon Garland won 14 games in nearly 200 innings for the Angels. Torii Hunter had a decent season, but they’ve got him for four more seasons and he’s not getting any better. But they put up the game’s best records so they can’t be too upset.

Oakland Athletics
Best Move: Gobbling up everyone’s prospects. Some from the Braves for Kotsay, a bunch from Arizona for Haren and more from the White Sox for Swisher. And they still might deal Blanton.
Worst Move: Not trading Ellis and Johnson. They traded everyone else, and they want to rebuild. These guys don’t belong anymore

They played well for a while, but eventually faded and were stuck with some older guys. They released Johnson after failing to trade him when his value was decent and we stuck with Ellis all year. Haren had a nice season for Arizona, but they traded Swisher just in time.

Seattle Mariners
Best Move: Finish the Bedard deal already. I’ll tell you then.
Worst Move: Carlos Silva. Seattle is going to pay him like a #2 starter and he’s probably more like a #5. Safeco helps flyball pitchers. Silva isn’t one. Not even lose.

I’ll tell you this now, no move they made was good. I’m even tempted to say that the Bedard trade was a worse move than signing Carlos Silva. And Silva went 4-15 with a 6.48 ERA. Another blow to Seattle? They win and Washington loses on the last day of the season so Washington gets the first overall pick in the 2009 draft. Seattle is just glad that 2008 is over.

Texas Rangers
Best move: Stockpiling one-year contracts. They won’t compete, but they’ll stay respectable until that farm system starts paying dividends.
Worst Move: Hanging onto Hank Blalock. Chris Davis is quickly approaching. Move Blalock now for a prospect or two. San Francisco or Philly would give up a decent prospect for this guy

One of those one-year deals was Milton Bradley. They finished second in a division that many pegged them to finish in the cellar.

My CFB Top 10 – 09/28/08

Wow, what a weekend. Nobody knew that three of the top four teams would fall this past weekend, two to unranked opponents and two at home. USC, UGA and Florida all fall out of my top ten, because of embarrassing losses. I’ll address each loss afterwards, but here is the new Top 10, dominated by the Big 12.

1. Oklahoma Sooners (4-0)
They faced their first true test against TCU and lowered the boom on them. They’ll probably have to get their running game going as they head into a pretty tough Big 12 schedule. But if Sam Bradford continues playing like he has, they could throw it every time and be fine.

2. Missouri Tigers (4-0)
Traveling to Nebraska will be a tough test for Mizzou, who hasn’t won there since 1978 when the Huskers were the second ranked team in the country. The receivers have had two weeks to practice securing the football and Chase Daniel will look to avenge a 34-20 loss in Lincoln two years ago in which he threw two picks.

3. Alabama Crimson Tide (5-0)
They would have been my two if they had finished out the Georgia game as impressively as they started it. But a 31-0 halftime lead became way too unsettling in a game where Georgia was clearly overmatched. Nick Saban’s not a coach to tolerate late-game letups, so I assume he’ll have that fixed by the time they get Kentucky next week.

4. Texas Longhorns (4-0)
The Longhorns have won three of their four games this season by a score of 52-10. That probably won’t continue as four of their next five games are against ranked teams, three of them ranked in the top 10, but this squad is certainly capable of putting big numbers up on the scoreboard.

5. LSU Tigers (4-0)
Either Mississippi State is better than everyone thinks, or LSU and Auburn aren’t quite as good as everyone thinks they are. LSU won another ugly SEC game and in that conference, that’s all a team needs to do.

6. Penn State Lions (5-0)
They finally were tested by Illinois and managed to put them away late. Four of their next five games are on the road and that stretch will determine the pecking order in the Big 10. With Wisconsin going down in Ann Arbor, the Big 10 probably goes through Penn State.

7. Texas Tech Red Raiders (4-0)
It was a great time to have a bye week as they move up because teams ahead of them loss. They don’t have Missouri on the schedule this year, so they have a chance to prove that they belong in the same class as Texas and Oklahoma.

8. Brigham Young Cougars (4-0)
The only way to keep this team from winning is to schedule them for a bye week. They’ll continue to cruise with their only remaining foreseeable test it their last game against Utah. This team will put up lopsided victories, but they’re more than likely another Hawai’i than an elite college football team.

9. South Florida Bulls (5-0)
They knocked around NC State to move into the Top 10. If you couldn’t tell, I’m a believer in Strength of Schedule, something the Bulls don’t really have.

10. Auburn Tigers (4-1)
They didn’t lose to an unranked opponent (Florida, USC) or get completely manhandled by a top 10 team (Ohio State, UGA) so they’re here completely by default.

*** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** ***

Oregon State 27, USC 21
USC is pretty much guaranteed to always have the most talent in the country because they’re USC. But all that talent means nothing if the players think they can waltz into a road game assuming they can win on talent alone. Maybe this team will take this as a wake up call, but I kinda doubt it. I think they’ll lose again sometime this season. Oregon State controlled every facet in this game.

Alabama 41, UGA 30
If not for the ignored block in the back on Georgia’s punt return, this game is even worse for the Black-Eyed Black Out. Knowshon Moreno disappeared and that supposedly tenacious defense let Alabama run circles around them. UGA has amassed 53 penalties (for 437 yards) in their five games this year and haven’t had less than 70 yards in penalties in any game this year. You can get past these penalties against teams like GA Southern and Central Michigan, but other SEC powerhouses will take advantage of these mistakes and Alabama did just that. You can say referees are biased against UGA, but that’s not true. Mark Richt says it’s because UGA is playing hard, but I just think they’re playing stupid. They’re still a very good team, but I’m not sure they’re Championship caliber (SEC or National) just yet.

Ole Miss 31, Florida 30
Florida is a mixture of UGA and USC. They have some of the most talent in the country and are a highly penalized team (22 for 217 yards in four games). They let Ole Miss come into the Swamp and push them around. Up by 10 at halftime, it was Ole Miss coming out after the break to put up 17 unanswered in the third quarter. People say Tim Tebow’s numbers are down because of additional playmakers. But against Ole Miss, Percy Harvin had 61% of Florida’s rushing and receiving yards (82 rush, 186 receiving). Where are those other playmakers? Some of that talent is going to have to start executing rather than coasting by on talent alone if they want to make a run at another national championship.

We The Living

For the past few months I’ve been working to bring We The Living to campus to provide a free concert for the students on our campus. It was a lot of back and forth planning, but the band arrived on campus yesterday afternoon, and after a few hours of touring the campus, sampling the dining hall and soundchecking, they went on around 8PM last night.

We The Living is an upstart acoustic band based out of Los Angeles and swung by Mizzou on a tour of the midwest. They played in Lawrence the night before and are in Cincinnati tonight. They’re fairly similar to bands like Lifehouse and Coldplay.

Due to the last-minute finalizing of some details, our advertising for the show was rather sparse. We papered the residence halls, facebooked the crap out of the event and handed stuff out on campus, but we really only had a few days to advertise the show. So I wasn’t expecting a huge crowd to be on hand for the show.

But eight o’clock rolled around and the bands lights came on and there were well over 100 people packed into the Bingham Courtyard for the show. Over the course of the hour or so they played, that number swelled to over 150 maybe close to 200 people that were lined up on the overhead walkways. Maybe they knew about it previously or maybe they just heard the music as they walked back to their residence halls.

But the show was a complete success for both RHA and for the band. After the show they stuck around for a few hours, selling shirts, hoodies and albums and signing autographs and taking pictures with fans. By the time they packed up and headed out for Ohio, I had begun preliminary discussions with them about coming back in February for RHA week. They were really good, and all four of the guys were very polite and nice.

As for RHA week, it looks to be shaping up to be a pretty impressive display of Residential Government power.

Monday – Presidential & Vice Presidential Debates
Tuesday – Open
Wednesday – Possible We The Living & Comedy Wars Pairing
Thursday – Mizzou Iron Chef 2009
Friday – Presidential & Vice Presidential Elections
Saturday – 2009 RHA Inaugural Ball

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Alicia & I play their instruments!

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Alicia with the band. She liked to hug them.

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Bobby and me with the band. My pants got ripped in all the excitement!

I Cried

I’ve spent all day watching Yankee tributes and coverage of the final game at the greatest sporting venue in America. It’s the present day Coliseum, a cathedral of sporting events. It is the mecca of sports venues, easily the most hallowed ground in sports. Soon, they’ll be knocking down the Stadium itself, but no one will ever be able to bury the memories.

Yankee Stadium is more than simply a baseball field surrounded by 50,000+ fans. It’s a place, that I visited only a handful of times, but I feel as if I’ve grown up there just as much as I have at home. So many memories from my childhood and young adult life involve Yankee Stadium, and the events that transpired within its walls.

As part of the pre-game ceremonies, the Yankees brought out former players and legends. Many of these players mean little more than a history book or a grainy video clip to me. Names like Mickey Mantle, Thurman Munson, Bobby Murcer, Ron Guidry and Whitey Ford are players from my father’s time, not my own. I’ve read about these legendary Yankee greats in books, but I never saw them play in person.

Even though I arrived too late to appreciate these great players in their careers, they too have become a part of my life. I teared up as Bobby Murcer’s family took centerfield, and as Thurman Munson’s son settled in next to Yogi Berra and Elston Howard’s daughter behind home plate. ESPN came back from commercial break with a shot of David Mantle, son of the immortal Mick. He looks so much like his father that I had to remind myself that Mickey passed away over 12 years ago.

These men are a part of millions of Yankee memories, but few of mine. My memories were made with Bernie Williams, Tino Martinez, Paul O’Neill, Scott Brosius and David Cone. One of my all time favorites, Bernie Williams, parted less than pleasantly with the Yankees after the 2006 season and had refused to come back to the Stadium since. He returned tonight for the first time and received the largest ovation of any of the Yankees.

1994 was the year I first began to understand the mystique of the Yankees. I was seven and the Yankees were good. The days of the great Don Mattingly were winding down, and the run that would feature guys like Wade Boggs, Paul O’Neill and Bernie Williams was just beginning. The strike that cut that season short frustrated me at first, but all it really ended up doing was making me that much more excited for the start of the 1995 season.

1995 saw a few certain players make their Yankee debuts. David Cone (who would go on to throw a perfect game for the Yankees) went 9-2 in his first season with the Yankees, Andy Pettitte went 12-9 in his rookie season and John Wetteland came to the Yankees to be their closer. But, three Yankees made their debuts in 1995 that would go on to become three of the most beloved Yankees in the upcoming Yankee dynasty.

SS Derek Jeter
C Jorge Posada
RP Mariano Rivera

Those three would quickly become more than just players on my favorite team, they became my friends. Like countless other young Yankee fans, I wore Jeter’s number 2 all throughout my amateur baseball career. Jeter and the Yankees’ success became my success and I spent countless nights in bed with the AM/FM radio and headphones I used to track the Yankee score. Other players came and went but those three have been constants since the beginnings of my Yankee life.

My most vivid memory came in 1996 on October 26. It was a Saturday night and Game 6 of the World Series extended past my bedtime. But as the ninth inning rolled around with the Yankees up 3-1, dad woke me up to watch the last inning. We sat through three singles and a run before Mark Lemke popped a ball high off towards the stands by the Braves dugout. As Charlie Hayes gloved the ball, dad and I hopped around nearly as excited as Hayes himself.

We did this three of the next four years, and again in 2001. The 2001 World Series was more than baseball. What the Yankees did on their home field lifted New York and New Yorkers up from one of the most tragic days in our country’s history.

As a Yankee fan, players come and go. We fall in love with some and chase others rudely out of town. But the one thing that has always been here is Yankee Stadium. It’s hosted baseball games, meaningless ones, four All-Star Games and Championship games. It’s seen football teams play to scoreless ties, hosted boxing matches and three different popes. Just about every possible event imaginable has occurred at Yankee Stadium.

Saying good bye is always tough, and just because what you’re saying goodbye to isn’t a person, doesn’t make it any easier. Yankee Stadium was the House that became a Home. Not just for Yankee players and fans that attended games there, but for any Yankee fan that grew up with the Stadium. The Yankees may very well miss the playoffs in the final season of a Stadium that is more accustomed to playoff games than any other.

It was a House that became my home, a team that became my family and a game that became my life. And as Yankee Stadium began to close, I cried.

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1923 – 1927 – 1928 – 1932 – 1936 – 1937 – 1938 – 1939 – 1941 – 1943 – 1947 – 1949 – 1950 – 1951 – 1952 – 1953 – 1956 – 1958 – 1961 – 1962 – 1977 – 1978 – 1996 – 1998 – 1999 – 2000

85 YEARS .. 26 CHAMPIONSHIPS .. COUNTLESS MEMORIES .. ONE STADIUM .. NEW YORK

My CFB Top 10 – 9/19/08

For those of you not brave enough or informed enough to comprehend my political notes, be glad the college football is back. Other than USC, nine of my top ten teams come from either the SEC (5) or the Big 12 (4). The Pac-10 might not have anyone other than USC in my top 25, that’s how bad they are this year. If USC loses to anyone in their conference, they don’t deserve to play for the national championship.

1) USC Trojans
Even though Ohio State has been and still is incredibly overrated, beating them so thoroughly is still impressive. Their road to the National Championship game has no major road blocks left. They play only one ranked team between now and December, and that’s a home game against Oregon, and the Ducks seems to go though as many quarterbacks as they do uniforms.

2) Oklahoma Sooners
One of two teams that have scored at least 52 points in each of their first three games. With a sophomore quarterback that seems to get better every week and a schedule that sees every tough opponent come to Norman, OU seems poised to waltz into the Big 12 Championship game.

3) Missouri Tigers
The second team to score at least 52 points in each game, and the nation’s leading scoring offense at nearly 58 points a game. With a defense that is getting healthy for tough road games at Texas and Nebraska, the Tigers hope to get another chance at Oklahoma after the Sooners beat the Tigers twice to kill any national titles hopes Mizzou had.

4) Florida Gators
After two wins over Hawaii and Miami, this week’s game at Tennessee will give people a more accurate view of which team Florida is. The team that dominated Hawaii or the one that led Miami only 9-3 before putting the Canes away with 17 fourth quarter points.

5) Georgia Bulldogs
I dropped UGA down to five because I believe that the four teams above them would have scored more than one touchdown against an unranked South Carolina team. Arizona State shouldn’t give the Dawgs much trouble, although they’re a better club than GA Southern and Central Michigan.

6) Texas Longhorns
For now. Hurricane Ike forced them to postpone their game against Arkansas, further toughening their midseason schedule. Facing Oklahoma and Missouri in back to back weeks is about as tough of a draw as anyone can get in college football.

7) LSU Tigers
They avoided losing to Appalachian State and beat up on North Texas, but now the fun begins. They get UGA and Florida from the East this year, and they’ll need a quarterback to step up to return to the SEC Championship game for the third time in the past four years.

8 ) Alabama Crimson Tide
Manhandled then Top-10 ACC power Clemson in the first week of the season then dominated lower-tier competition n Tulane and Western Kentucky. Saban’s top recruiting classes are beginning to pay off for Alabama.

9) Texas Tech Red Raiders
Their new emphasis on defense will be tested as they enter conference play next week, but the offense looks just as good as it did last year.

10) Auburn Tigers
I wasn’t thrilled about putting a team that managed three points off Mississippi State in the top 10, but I’m more wary about putting any team from the Big 10 (Wisconsin) here in their place. So Auburn it was, but if the way they played against MSU was any indicator, they’re going to have some trouble with the good SEC teams.

Just Missed
Wisconsin, South Florida, BYU, Ohio State

A Tale of Two Interviews

Charlie Gibson of ABC has interviewed Barack Obama and Sarah Palin in the past few months. Both, you may have heard are trying to get themselves to Washington.

I watched Mr. Gibson’s interview with Senator Obama and I watched his interview with Governor Palin. And I was stunned by the differences between the interviews. I compiled the questions he asked each candidate for you. So take a look at what Obama was asked about compared to what Sarah Palin had to answer.

Here’s what Barack Obama had to answer in his interview with Charlie Gibson.

How does it feel to break a glass ceiling?
How does it feel to win?
How does your family feel about your winning breaking a glass ceiling?
Who will be your Vice President?
Should you choose Hillary Clinton as Vice President?
Will you accept public finance?
What issues is your campaign about?
Will you visit Iraq?
Will you debate McCain at a town hall?
What did you think of your competitor’s [at the time, Hillary Clinton] speech?

Now compare that to the questions Sarah Palin faced the other day.

Do you have enough qualifications for the job you’re seeking?
Specifically have you visited foreign countries and met foreign leaders?
Aren’t you conceited to be seeking this high level job?
Specific questions about foreign policy
1. Territorial integrity of Georgia
2. Allowing Georgia and Ukraine to be members of NATO
3. NATO treaty
4. Iranian nuclear threat
5. What to do if Israel attacks Iran
6. Al Qaeda motivations
7. Attacking terrorists harbored by Pakistan

Is America fighting a holy war?

The difference between the question sets is blatant and unacceptable for a respected media source. Add in that ABC edited out parts of Palin’s interview and you’ve got a completely worthless piece of journalism.

Part of the reason that I am so hard on Barack Obama is because he gets pretty much a free pass from every media outlet. How does knowing how he feels after winning help voters decide if he’s fit to run a country? (He’s not, by the way)? Instead of asking him if he’d visit Iraq, they should have asked him if he’d visit our wounded troops. He probably wouldn’t have said, “No, I won’t due to my complete disdain for anything dealing with the military” but he would have stumbled over himself trying to come up with something other reason.

I understand that the media is biased and 95% of it is actively looking to promote Barack Obama and trash John McCain, and more recently, Sarah Palin. If you bother to click on the link above and read the unedited transcript, which highlights what crucial parts of Palin’s interview that was cut, you’ll see that ABC edits its material almost as manipulatively as that horse’s rear, Michael Moore.

I’m certain that in my life, I have said the following words:

DEMOCRAT
VOTE
I

However, I have never said them in the following order

I
VOTE
DEMOCRAT

But had Charlie Gibson interviewed me for ABC, it probably would have seemed that I had.

The Experience Factor

Sarah Palin is still a little green when it comes to political experience. As soon as McCain tabbed Palin to be his number two, the Democrats began their attacks on her experience. And after a week, they’ve begun to comically reach for stuff, and have even resorted to making up completely unfounded stories. The Democrats unpreparedness show that not only was Palin an unexpected VP choice, but also one that scares the Democrats and their war machine.

They started their “foreign policy inexperience” early and are trying to cast her as “not as conservative” as she claims to be. Why is she less conservative than she claims? Because her husband and oldest son are registered independent voters. To Democrats that are incapable of independent thought, this implies that Sarah Palin must not be as conservative as she claims. No mention of her thoroughly conservative past, the party that claims to be for women and gender equality are basically claiming that Sarah Palin should be influenced by her husband and grown son.

When she was pregnant with her fifth child, Palin was attending a conference in Texas. Her water broke, but instead of heading to a hospital in Texas, she gave her speech and flew home without asking for her doctor’s recommendation. When the Democrats got their grubby little hands on this nugget of news, they claimed this action proved Palin had low family values and wasn’t “concerned about the life of an unborn child.” Remind me again which party advocates the outright murder of millions of unborn children each year. The Democrats continue to reach and are obviously scared of McCain’s pick.

When Palin was picked as McCain’s VP, I was sure that her relative inexperience would be ignored by the Democrats due to obvious reasons. I find it not only surprising but completely hypocritical for anyone who calls themselves Democratic to attack the Republican VP on her inexperience when considering the Democrat Presidential candidate’s absolute inexperience.

If I’m the Democrats, I want to avoid this argument at all costs. I keep hearing that Palin’s perceived foreign policy inexperience will be a “heartbeat” away from the Presidency. That’s one of those phrases that Democrat voters learn and then refuse to let go of no matter how juvenile and stupid it is. Every VP is a heartbeat away from the Presidency. Not a new concept guys.

Here’s my take on it. Democrats have a problem with Palin’s foreign policy inexperience potentially being President should McCain die. If Obama is elected President the heartbeat WILL be the President. Obama’s foreign policy experience is made up of a quick trip to Pakistan when he was in college and two trips to the Middle East since joining the Senate, one of which was that pointless rock tour to Germany.

If those pointless travels are considered to be sufficient foreign policy experience then Palin has just about equaled Obama as she has a trip to Iraq under her belt. But Palin also is the governor of Alaska and deals with foreign governments and companies due to Alaska’s standing in importing and exporting oil.

If the Democrats want to open up the inexperience can of worms, that’s fine. That will enable the Republicans open to highlight Obama’s lack of experience in just about everything. People are telling me that by picking Palin, McCain negated the inexperience argument, but instead, they just made Obama more susceptible to the same attack.

Before McCain chose Palin, the Obama campaign avoided the experience like the plague. Then Obama chose Joe Biden and everything was fine. Biden’s experience and wisdom would give America the “National Security leadership that we need,” according to Bubba Clinton. But that’s complete horsesqueeze because as President, Obama will be making the tough international decisions, not Joe Biden. If you had nominated Biden for President, it’s not an issue, but you didn’t. You nominated a junior Senator without adequate experience.

I’ll address Palin’s Executive experience again here, because she’s still the only candidate with any. While Obama has been campaigning for President basically since he joined the Senate, Palin has been very successfully handling her Executive responsibilities as a state Governor.

No matter what my Democratic acquaintances say, Palin’s addition to the fray does not help any experience issues out of play. It has, in fact, intensified and made Barack Obama a loser whose experience is made up of a speech at the last DNC and three years of claiming to be in the US Senate while running for President.

Then there’s Palin, the Republican VP nominee who has been running a city and then a state while Barack Obama ran a campaign. She reformed a corrupt state government, reduced taxes and state spending, dealt with foreign entities and corrected Alaska’s energy needs all while having a baby and raising a family. Sounds like my kind of woman.

If the Democrats want to debate about experience, Republicans like me couldn’t be happier to oblige your needs. Because no matter how you look at it, John McCain’s military experience making executive decisions as a commander, his long resume of public service that have sent him to every corner of the world dealing with foreign leaders combined with the hands on executive experience of Sarah Palin makes her and McCain the slate with real experience, or any experience for that matter, that we need to lead our country.

Obama Speaks

Did he speak? I hardly noticed as John McCain announced his VP choice only a few short hours after Obama finished filling the minds of his empty-headed worshippers with misleading statements and empty promises.

Because so many people have become tired of the Bush administration, Obama and his campaign people are focused on presenting John McCain as another George W. Bush. Obama used the line about McCain voting with Bush 90% of the time. Saying that is effective because the people listening don’t know anything about politics. Let’s think about that line for a minute. Does George W. Bush have a vote in the Senate. Not to my knowledge, and my knowledge is pretty vast. So how does one measure how many times John McCain voted “with” George Bush? I guess you could look at how often a certain Senator votes with the President’s particular party, but a huge majority of Senate votes are unanimous. Which means that Obama is also voting with George Bush most of the time. Just because John McCain supports a bill commending a high school marching band doesn’t mean that his ideology is identical to Bush’s. But it works because Obama supporters are incapable of independent thought.

  • McCain led the battle to restrict interrogation techniques of terror suspects and to ban torture.
  • McCain opposed the Bush tax cuts when they passed.
  • McCain urged the Iraq surge, something Bush rejected for years before finally realizing that the surge was a brilliant idea.
  • McCain supports FDA regulation of tobacco, a position most Republican senators oppose.
  • McCain and Lieberman’s energy bill, is a plan for energy independence and continued development of alternate sources.

These are only the main places where John McCain doesn’t equal George Bush. But again, your typical Democratic voter won’t realize any of this because all they care about is taking candidate’s at face value.

If elected President, Obama will raise the crap out of taxes for small businessmen and women. But during his speech he said

I will eliminate capital gains taxes for the small businesses and start-ups that will create the high-wage, high-tech jobs of tomorrow.

Now, to a Democrat that makes it seem like Obama doesn’t plan to raise taxes on businessmen and women at all. But remember the independent thought, or lack thereof available in the people he’s speaking to.

Small businesses rarely pay these capital gains that Obama wants to eliminate, but they do pay income taxes, and those are the taxes Obama will raise. And then Obama will complain when these business owners can no longer afford to employ the minimum-wage workers for their businesses and they end up blaming the business owners when the blame belongs solely with Obama.

Obama then went on to claim that McCain and his people weren’t planning “one penny” of tax relief for over 100 million American people. That sounds like a great attack on McCain if you’re listening to the speech and rather uneducated, which most of his supporters are.

Educated Republicans know all too well about the tax breakdowns in our country. We know that bottom half of income earners in America pay just about 3% of all individual income taxes. The bottom 40% pays zero percent of those collected taxes. If we estimate the population of the US to be about 300 million, that equates to 120 million Americans having no federal income tax responsibility at all. But Obama continues to bleat that McCain is offering no tax relief for these people. Relief from what???

Another long-standing Democratic ideology that Barack Obama is buying into and pushing is that people with high incomes have not earned anything, rather, everything they have has been given to them. Obama tells his idiot audience that the Republicans want to give more and more to those with the most and hope the prosperity will trickle down to the rest. Because Democrats believe that everything rich people have was given to them, they see no wrong in taking it all back to even the playing field, a la communism. Just because Democrats don’t work hard for what they have, they can’t understand that Republicans do. Obama flat-out said that we’ll raise taxes not to increase government revenues, but to make things “fair.” What’s fair is letting people keep what they EARNED , and not giving it to people that are too lazy and stupid to help themselves.

Democrats use the phrase “give back” like it’s going out of style. Charity by successful people isn’t appreciated as one individual giving selflessly what they have earned to someone who has less. To Democrats, it’s just them giving back some of the things that were given to them. Accomplishment and the concept of earning have no place in the Democratic Party.

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about why I’m voting for John McCain and since then, I’ve only solidified my position listening to McCain and now Sarah Palin explain their goals for America. I challenged anyone to tell me why they planned on voting for Barack Obama based on his qualifications and actual candidate policies. No one has been able to do that, although I wasn’t really expecting anyone to be able to.

2008 NFL Predictions

AFC EAST
1. New England Patriots (12-4)
Tom Brady leads a spectacular cast of characters to another division title. They won’t go 16-0, but the may win the Super Bowl, and I think that’s the scenario they’d rather have. They lost a few key guys from the secondary, but ultimately they have enough firepower and depth to win.

2. New York Jets (10-6)*
Much of the focus is on Brett Favre, and he will without a doubt improve this team, but the improvements made on defense (Kris Jenkins, Calvin Pace) and on the O-Line (Damien Woody, Alan Faneca) will dictate the success of the Jets this year. If Thomas Jones can re-emerge as a serious threat on the ground, that makes Brett Favre’s transition all the more easier.

T3. Miami Dolphins (8-8)
The Big Tuna wins, it’s as easy as that. Miami managed one solitary win last year, but with a steady hand under center (enter, Chad Pennington) and a return from Ronnie Brown, they’ll be much more consistent on offense and have enough defense to keep them around .500 in 2008.

T3. Buffalo Bills (8-8)
They start off with a soft schedule, but it gets considerably harder over the course of the season. They’re still a couple of pieces and a couple of years away from making any serious noise. They’ll find out if they’ve got a QB for the future in Edwards, or if they’ll need to start looking through the draft for a new one.

AFC NORTH
1. Pittsburgh Steelers (11-5)
The Steelers probably won’t be as good as their 11-5 will say they are, but when you play in the AFC North, you can pad your record if you’re just a pretty good football team. I’m thinking Pittsburgh will sweep their divisional games (6-0) and split their remaining ten games. Not great, but they may win a playoff game at home.

2. Cleveland Browns (8-8)
For the second year in a row, they’ll fall short of a playoff berth. I doubt Derek Anderson is as good as he showed last season, and the Browns may wet their feet with a little bit of Brady Quinn sometime this season. Ultimately, they’re a mediocre club in a mediocre division.

3. Baltimore Ravens (7-9)
Joe Flacco or Troy Smith? The Ravens look to struggle breaking in a new quarterback in an offense that is overshadowed by a dominant defense. Quoth the Raven, Growing pains.

4. Cincinnati Bengals (3-13)
If you’re from Ohio, stick to college football this year. Who knows? Maybe someone will change their last name to a pair of Spanish numbers.

AFC SOUTH
1. Indianapolis Colts (12-4)
Even coming off knee surgery, I still don’t bet against Peyton Manning. He’s a great passer with a ton of targets to throw to. Bob Sanders anchors a defense that should do enough to keep the Colts in ballgames.

2. Tennessee Titans (11-5)*
I think Vince Young finally puts it together this year. He had some success his rookie season but struggled a little last year. He doesn’t have great weapons to work with, but with running backs LenDale White and rookie Chris Johnson (suuurious speed) they’ll be okay.

3. Jacksonville Jaguars (8-8)
They had a pretty magical run last year, and those typically don’t happen multiple years in a row. They’ll fall off a little playing in a tough division.

4. Houston Texans (6-10)
They’d win the NFC West!

AFC WEST
1. San Diego Chargers (10-6)
Again, some of the best talent in the NFL, but a lack of discipline and focus, as well as the vulnerability to the big play hurts this team. They’ll win a soft division, but not much else.

2. Denver Broncos (9-7)
Jay Cutler will keep improving, but the defense just isn’t there to match.

3. Kansas City Chiefs (4-12)
Only the presence of the Raiders prevent KC from finishing in the basement of this division.

4. Oakland Raiders (2-14)
Al Davis needs to go.

NFC EAST
1. New York Giants (13-3)
Fresh off the biggest Super Bowl upset in history, too many people are writing this team off. Their O-Line is very good and often overlooked. Brandon Jacobs is a beast of a back and Eli Manning seems to come into his own, whatever that means. They just might be the most underrated reigning champs.

2. Dallas Cowboys (12-4)*
Tony Romo gunslings the Cowboys back to the playoffs again, and might even win a playoff game this time around. They’re stacked with talent on both sides of the ball.

3. Washington Redskins (9-7)*
I generally don’t like guys from the U (University of Miami), but Clinton Portis rubs me the right way.

4. Philadelphia Eagles (7-9)
This makes me happy because I hate Donovan McNabb more than any other NFL player.

NFC NORTH
1. Chicago Bears (8-8)
De facto champion, and they’ll win it on a tie-breaker of some sort. At least they didn’t go with Rex Gross, man.

2. Green Bay Packers (8-8)
Sure, they’re worse off without Brett Favre, but most teams would be. Aaron Rodgers will probably have a tough go at Lambeau.

3. Minnesota Vikings (6-10)
All-Day Peterson can’t carry the ball all day. I still think they need some sort of better option than Tavaris Jackson or Gus Frerotte.

4. Detroit Lions (1-15)
Teh sux.

NFC SOUTH
1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (10-6)
Jeff Garcia scrambles his way out of trouble on a weekly basis and Ronde Barber will cause enough havoc in the secondary to get this Bucs team to the playoffs.

2. Carolina Panthers (9-7)
They’ll probably lose at least once while Steve Smith is sitting, and that’ll end up costing them the playoffs.

3. Atlanta Falcons (7-9)
Matt Ryan will be a good NFL quarterback. But probably not this year. The addition of Mike Turner from SD should turn out to be a pleasant surprise if he gets his carries.

4. New Orleans Saints (7-9)
No defense, no playoffs. Drew Brees will continue to make his (birth)mark on the league’s passing leaderboards, and Reggie Bush will take a punt back for a score every once and a while, but not much else going on down there.

NFC WEST
1. Arizona Cardinals (9-7)
Because someone has to win this division.

2. Seattle Seahawks (7-9)
The weird green color got old real quick.

3. San Francisco 49ers (4-12)
Maybe they’ll hit gold with Mike Martz and JT O’Sullivan, but I thought Shaun Hill played pretty well at the end of last year to keep his job. I guess not.

4. St. Louis Rams (2-14)
The Greatest Show on Turf will probably still be around this year, except it’ll be wearing the uniform of whatever team the Rams are playing that week.

2008 Labor Day Weekend

THURSDAY: I turned 21 years old.

FRIDAY: We celebrated my 21st birthday at Flat Branch Brewery downtown. My good friend Justin Ginter drove all the way in from St. Louis to help me celebrate and I much appreciate that.

SATURDAY: Tanner and I drove into St. Louis at 10 in the morning in preparation for the Arch Rivalry game. We went to the Apple Store to see if their geniuses could fix the wireless on his laptop. We killed some time at his dad’s house talking about this and that. Then we hopped onto Metro (St. Louis’ version of MARTA) and rode into the city for the game. We got there early and stayed late. We got to see the pre-game show put on by both marching bands. Illinois had a great band. Missouri, not so much. Here’s a nice example of Marching Mizzou’s ability to dress lines.

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Ouch. The Illinois band marched circles (and squares and I’s and stars and outlines of the US) around our band. Mizzou’s band is a lot of playing and standing. They even used about 35 Golden Girls in their second song to distract everyone from the fact that they didn’t move once.

Other than the bands though, there was a very good college football game between two ranked teams. Missouri got the ball first and marched methodically down the field and Derrick Washington went over the goal line for a 7-0 lead. After two Illinois punts, a Mizzou fumble and failed fourth down, Illinois got a touchdown pass and kicked the extra point attempt into Mizzou’s frontline. Illinois’ receiver didn’t get even one foot inbounds, but because of the new rules, the officials ruled he would have come down inbounds.

Jeff Wolfert started his season with a 51-yard field goal and then Chase Daniel handed the ball to Illinois’ defensive lineman who walked into the endzone for a 13-10 Illini lead. So Illinois had 13 points without a single offensive player getting a foot in the endzone. Maclin brought the ensuing kickoff back 99 yards and Washington went in from 40 yards out on the next possession. Daniel hit Coffman for 17 yards just before halftime.

Illinois got a touchdown on their second possession of the second half, but Mizzou got touchdown passes to Tommy Saunders and led by 25. Then Illinois got long touchdown passes on each of their next two drives before Sean Weatherspoon picked off Juice Williams and brought it back for a score. Illinois got a touchdown after time expired to make the game closer than it really was.

Mizzou’s offense looked really good against a ranked defense, and their defense looked pretty good in the first half, but ended up letting Juice Williams, more of an annoying scrambler than a feared passer, throw for over 450 yards and five scores. Three Illini receivers had 92 yards receiving or more, and four went for 50 or more. The secondary was repeatedly beaten and beaten badly on occasion. William Moore didn’t seem to be the impact player we’ve come to expect.

The offense on the other hand was in midseason form. Derrick Washington averaged nearly 7 yards a carry while racking up 130 yards and two scores. Jimmy Jackson averaged almost 10 yards a carry. Tommy Saunders caught two touchdowns, Jared Perry went for 94 yards and Chase Coffman hurdled Illinois cornerback Dere Hicks to 130 yards and a touchdown. Jeremy Maclin was held in check on offense (33 yards) but racked up 201 return yards, including a 99-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.

The biggest question mark, the O-line looked decent. Derrick Washington and Jackson looked to be running both sides effectively and Chase Daniel wasn’t pressured too much. Stryker Sulak had three sacks and Weatherspoon picked off Williams twice. Wasn’t an overly pretty win, but they won. And Mizzou opened their season against a ranked team. It usually takes them a few weeks to really start firing on every cylinder. And they’ll have plenty of time to practice with SE Missouri State, Buffalo and Nevada. Nice.

SUNDAY: Tanner, Alicia and I enjoyed a Waffle House breakfast before heading out into the unbearable heat to TR Hughes Field, for the John McCain rally. A bunch of local republicans spoke (Matt Blunt, Jim Talent, Talent’s wife, Kenny Hulshof, Blaine Luetkemeyer) before the Straight Talk Express pulled into the stadium and unloaded the A-Team Republicans. Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney spoke briefly before giving way to John McCain himself and his newly selected running-mate, Sarah Palin. I discussed the choice of Palin earlier and I like it even more than I did then. Hearing her speak in person convinced me that she was the right choice. She was honest, real and convincing.

The two arguments being used by Democrats in the past few days are of McCain’s age (only 8 years older than Joe Biden) and Palin’s inexperience. But that’s it. Much like their own Presidential nominee, they provide no true substance to their argument. Let me address the experience argument.

Sarah Palin’s experience includes being a City Councilwoman from 1992-1996, the Mayor of Wasilla from 1996-2006 and most recently, the governor of Alaska since 2006.

Barack Obama, on the other hand, served on the Illinois Senate from 1997-2004 and has served as a US Senator since 2005, being ranked as the most liberal Senator by the National Journal.

It’s hilarious how liberals are flocking to knock Palin’s experience, or lack thereof. Yet she is the only Presidential or Vice Presidential candidate with any Executive experience. Not only has she had Executive experience, she’s embraced it and excelled. Palin’s executive experience trumps Barack Obama’s six years of legislative experience – much of which was spent off the Senate floor. She succeeded in being a leader. Democrats also say her experience is worthless because she’s from Alaska.

Really? Seriously, Democrats?

I spend several hours each year driving through Illinois on my way to and from school. And I’ll be honest. I hate it. It smells like ass, the speed limit on the interstates is lower than anywhere else I’ve driven, and there’s nothing there. I’ve also been to Alaska, and it is probably my favorite state. It’s gorgeous and the people are friendly and regularly bathe.

Palin is a proven leader and reformer. Maybe not for as long as the other people John McCain should have chosen, but she is the quality to other’s quantity. Sarah Palin has a track-record of paying attention to what her constituents want and working hard to make Alaska a better place. Sarah Palin cares about her city, her state and her country.

Barack Obama is a proven panderer and self-interest lapdog. He’s a charismatic orator, but is lost without a teleprompter. He cannot think for himself and everything he does is out to make his life easier. He’s immature and juvenile, like much of his party members. Even though Hillary Clinton would have been a better VP pick than Biden, and united the party like he’s always talking about, Obama is too worried about petty problems and his own interests to care about what can help the country.

The difference between Obama’s experience and Palin’s experience is negligible. A Presidential/VP slate should complement each other (like McCain and Palin) not be the same person with an age and racial difference(Obama and Biden).

And if I have a question about domestic drilling in ANWR, which candidate should I ask? Obama, who’s probably never set foot there, or Palin, who chaired the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission from 2003 to 2004?

Or, if I want to make sure that Washington is filled with ethical and trustworthy people, do I turn to Palin, who purged the appointments made by the Murkowski administration of people that eventually pleaded guilty to conspiring with a oil services company to channel money into Frank Murkowski’s re-election campaign, or Mr. Obama who calls an America-hating pastor “like a member of my family”, another similar pastor his “spiritual adviser and/or guide” or associated closely with people like Tony Rezko (currently facing federal charges of attempted extortion, money laundering, and fraud), or Sam Graham-Felsen, a paid Obama staffer under fire for his reputed Marxist sympathies.

The truth is, Palin, while relatively new to the political scene, is infinitely more qualified to serve America and help make it a better place. A Democrat friend said to me the other day that he was voting for Obama because he “related to” Obama and could see himself sitting down and having a beer with Obama. Here’s a newsflash, beer-drinking is not going to be high on the to-do list of the POTUS.

Blaine Luetkemeyer had some great material Sunday afternoon and made some great points. The only new thing Obama and Biden have proposed is inflating your car tires to save energy. Deep. And as for Barack Obama’s nomination being one of historical proportions, don’t kid Mr. Blaine Luetkemeyer. The Democratic Party has been nominating extreme liberals for years. Obama is no different.

Barack Obama is a pandering lapdog incapable of independent thought that thinks the individual achievement and success of certain Americans should be punished and used to reward those that have refused to help themselves. And I just can’t understand how anyone could support a candidate with that kind of mindset. And I’m still getting around to addressing Obama’s acceptance speech. If you think that was inspiring and touching, think again.