Sunday, December 21, 2008
My guess is today is not that day. Drew Brees may find the path to 5,000+ yards more difficult, if for whatever reason, the way the NFL is. Detroit's secondary may show up for once. Or something resembling a secondary will show up, I should say. The Saints are 1-6 on the road this year. The Lions? 0-7 at home. Go figure.
The final home game of the year for Detroit is also the final blacked out game of the year for Detroit. This one goes to New Orleans.
Tuesday, December 09, 2008
Sunday, December 07, 2008
Sports columnists near and around Detroit have all singled out this game against Minnesota being the last chance the Lions have at avoiding infamy. If you look at the rest of the schedule, they have two more games at Indianapolis, home against New Orleans, and at Green Bay in that order. All four teams are in the hunt for a playoff spot, but Indianapolis is the only bonafide contender for a Superbowl.
I have a problem with the sportswriters and the analysts on this one. Why is it only this game appears to be the last shot Detroit has at infamy. Adrian Peterson has blown it up against Detroit in the three games he's played against them. The star running back for Minnesota has never rushed less than 100 yards against Detroit, and even the last game where he ran for 111, he was still a major reason why they came out on top.
And what about Green Bay? The rub on Detroit is that they haven't won at Lambeau Field since 1991. I'd remind people however, the in the last four years, the Lions have been very close to beating Green Bay, in so much as leading in the 2nd half in 2004, and 2005, and they were only down 8 points when they lost in 2006. Brett Favre isn't there anymore. Green Bay isn't what it used to be. Not that Aaron Rodgers won't bring the Packers back to contention, it just isn't this year.
Bottom line: the real best shot at avoiding the ugly 0-16 is against the Packers, not the Vikings. As for tomorrow, I'm taking Minnesota. The Viking don't have Daunte Culpepper on their team.
Wednesday, December 03, 2008
Canada just voted seven weeks ago to elect a new Parliament, err, House of Commons. Stephen Harper, the Conservative Prime Minister, and his party had won a second straight minority government (where the party with the most seats in the House of Commons fails to attain an absolute majority), this time with more seats.
When the Conservative Finance Minister Jim Flaherty presented his economic update on Thursday, the three opposition parties' leaders met to mete out a coalition government that would replace the Harper Government. On Monday, the three leaders formally announced they would consolidate their power to unseat Harper and the Conservatives and establish a coalition that would last eighteen months.
The three leaders of the opposition parties are Stephane Dion of the Liberal Party, Jack Layon of the New Democratic Party (NDP), and Gilles Duceppe of the Bloc Quebecois. The Liberals and NDP are leftist parties, with the NDP being further to the left than the "Grits." The Bloc is a Quebec sovereigntist party that sends members to Parliament to vote in the interests of Quebec, a province that has twice attempted to declare secession from Canada.
(From L-R: Jack Layton, Stephane Dion, and Gilles Duceppe. Courtesy cbc.ca/news)
The showdown is expected to come next week, when Canadian Governal General Michaelle Jean returns to Rideau Hall and the House of Commons is expected to vote down the budget, which in Canadian politics speak means the House has no confidence in the government. If Harper and the Conservatives fail a no-confidence vote, he will go to the GG and ask her to dissolve parliament and call for an election.
Jean could, before Harper presents his budget, prorogue the House, which would call for them to adjourn until the end of January. If she does not exercise that power, Dion could ask Jean if he may form a coalition government with NDP members occupying 25% of his cabinet. He would continue to have the support of the separatist Bloc until no later than June 30, 2011.
So, if I may chime in as an American with an understanding of Canadian politics, Stephane Dion wants to form a majority government, with a party of fringe leftists on one side, and separatists who want to leave Canada on the other side. Bear in mind, Dion just led his party to its worst defeat in the House of Commons; the Liberals now only have seventy seven seats. On top of that, Dion announced he's resigning, which means if they form a new government, the incoming PM won't have a mandate to govern with.
Let us remember how well the last coalition government worked. When the NDP formed a coalition with the ruling Liberal Party under Paul Martin in 2005, it lasted less than six months before the NDP opted to topple the Martin regime.
And then you want to add separatists to your government? Separatists, who don't even identify as Canadians and would leave if only they could muster up enough votes to actually win a secession vote?
No, this is a shit storm waiting to happen.
The GG should just opt to dissolve Parliament now and call for an election. It looks like a cheap power grab and should enable Harper to successfully win a majority government. So what if Canadians don't want another election. Get out and do it.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
On Sunday, Head Coach Jeff Fisher announced that Kerry Collins will remain the starter and Vince Young's future with the team depends on how well Collins plays. Kerry Collins??? Yeesh. All this time I thought he was washed out.
The outcome to me is not in doubt. The Titans will prevail. The real question is what quarter will the Lions collapse in this one. The first? Second? Fourth? It always comes down to pressure once the game is on. They have never been able to turn it on. Last week against Tampa Bay, the Buccaneers never seemed to be desperate, even after being down 17 in the first quarter. Nobody respects this team. Period.
Lions will fall to 0-12. Let us pray Dallas and Cleveland continue to spiral.
Sunday, November 16, 2008
For those of you who don't know, here's a history of Drew Henson from 1997 to today. His senior year of high school was my senior year in 1997-1998. He was a highly-touted two-sport athlete from Brighton, MI, where he excelled in football and baseball. In 1998, he went to Michigan to play both sports for the Wolverines. His first two years he backed up Tom Brady, even though he played sparingly his freshmen and sophomore years.
In 2000, he led the Wolverines to a share of the Big Ten title and was expected to be a Heisman finalist in 2001, and then a for-sure, 1st Round pick in the NFL Draft in 2002. Did I mention he was a two-sport athlete? Apparently he excelled in baseball at Michigan, too.
So well that in fact, New York Yankees owner (and Ohio State man) George Steinbrenner offered him a multi-million dollar contract with the Yankees in a "take it or leave it" fashion in early 2001. Henson's choice was simple: either take the money, play pro baseball, and forget about football, or risk a good chance you'll never see that kind of money again. He opted to sign with New York for the money.
Apparently, his choice didn't quite pan out. Henson played some pro, but it turns out he couldn't hit a Major League curve ball. His lifetime batting average: .111 (1-for-9). By 2004, he had given up on baseball and looked to football again.
In 2003, the Houston Texans drafted him in the 6th round with the intent to trade him if he were to opt for the NFL. The Dallas Cowboys traded a 3rd round pick in 2004 for the rights to Henson and the most playing time he saw was either in the preseason or when he was allocated to the NFL Europe. His first career start came on Thanksgiving Day, where he played the first half until being pulled after going 4-for-12 with a TD and a pick.
Unfortunately for Henson, despite his success in the NFL Europe, Coach Bill Parcells soured on Henson and by 2006, he was no longer the future of the organization. Instead, Parcells opted for Tony Romo. Meanwhile, Tom Brady, whom Henson competed with at Michigan, had all but replaced Jesus as God's favorite son in New England (and Earth). After two years with Minnesota on the team and practice squad, Henson had been all but out of football by 2007.
2008 came around and the Detroit Lions needed an extra QB while Drew Stanton mended his injuries. Henson played the final game of the preseason, was cut, and then signed to the practice squad. After Jon Kitna was placed on IR after Week 3, Henson was elevated to the roster, the No. 3 man on the depth chart. Another injury to QB Dan Orlovsky, and the Lions signed free agent Daunte Culpepper. Because Orlovsky is avoiding IR, Henson was cut earlier this week and re-signed to the practice squad.
Henson was interviewed by Charean Williams who quotes him as feeling good about himself right now. "I feel better than I ever have in a long time." says Henson. He thinks he still has a shot at making a career in the NFL, and I for one, hope he gets another chance to play as a full-time starter.
But you'd be amazed at the amount of hate and negativity that just emanates from Lions fans, Wolverine fans, and just sports fans in general in Michigan. After reading the article, I scrolled down to the bottom of the page to see what comments had been left. And wouldn't you know, you'd think the article was about fucking Hitler, something. Here's some of the quotes I picked up on:
"Henson had it all set up to fully realize his potential at UM in his senior year, but he blew it by kowtowing to George Steinbrenner's demands (and money). There is no way he will ever fulfill that potential now."
"Happy to be cut and never considered as a viable QB. Good feeling to have if you're a non-competitive person. Good call by the Lions to cut him."
"Here's another 'loser' the Lions camp out on to 'rob' a potentially good rookie kid of some valuable NFL Pro time! Face it, to go and dig up a Henson that was tossed out of football like a used rubber...tire, is again why the Lions are where they're at in the NFL.CELLAR! Who makes these decissions like Henson? You have Culpepper and Henson...rejects from the NFL (Kitna isn't to far off)....and they won't play the kid Stanton in fear of embarassment?"
"Thanks for the memories Drew, especially throwing that critical pick against MSU when they beat your $^%&!"
I'm guessing maybe the last quote was by an MSU fan. But is Drew Henson really a "loser?" Can people not be thankful for the good things he did while at Michigan? It seems as though once they pass through the college ranks and into the pro threshold that if you somehow don't wind up a Pro-Bowl caliber athlete that you're a loser and this huge disgrace.
What I really think people need to put into perspective is this: Drew Henson, as an individual, was an incredibly gifted athlete. A gift that was that was so rare, he was able to play in two different professional sports.
Did it ever occur to anyone when he picked baseball that maybe, just maybe, he liked baseball more than football? I don't know if he did and I don't know what he thinks. I do know that if I were 20 and someone dropped over $10 million at my front door, I'd have taken it.
Some say he cost himself a chance at more money if he stayed at Michigan one more year. Well, what if he was injured to the point he couldn't have a career in the NFL, or MLB? Do the names Jason White and Eric Crouch come to mind? I don't have stats in front of me, but I'm willing to bet the injuries from a long-term career in pro football are more common, more wide ranging, more severe, and retirees are just plain more miserable than former baseball players.
Either way, I wish football had panned out for Drew Henson. I'm sure he does too, although he could feel the same way about baseball, if not more so. He has yet to write the final chapter of his football journey, and maybe if he turns out to be another Rich Gannon, he could have more chapters to write some day.
Otherwise, don't waste your time wallowing in contempt and hate for Drew. If he's a loser, then how many millions did you make by moaning on some newspaper's comment section about him?
Sunday, November 09, 2008
If the Lions have a chance of avoiding infamy, they may have found a break in what's expected to be a much tougher second half. But, today is the first game for Daunte Culpepper. Even though Coach Rod Marinelli has done all he can to keep the media in the dark (it's the first good job he's done in a long, long time), I expect Daunte Culpepper will be lining up behind center today. Coincidentally, Dominic Raiola, the starting center for Detroit, is out. The 104 consecutive game streak ends today due to a broken right hand.
But the ink isn't even dry on Culpepper's new contract, and he's already playing. Some say he's a has been, others think he's got something left to prove. I say his signing all amounts to nothing more than a distraction from giving the young players a serious evaluation heading into 2009.
Bottom line, Detroit has never shown that even when games are close, that they are capable of finishing the job. In the end, Jacksonville prevails, 17 - 10.
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
But I am truly sad. I have been a backer of John McCain since 2000. For eight long years, I've been steadfast in my support for McCain, never wavering once. Even on his positions such as gay marriage and abortion, I have stuck by the Senator in tough times. I drove all the way up north in January to cast my ballot in futility, knowing this state would probably go for Mitt Romney in the GOP Primary.
For whatever reason, I logged into my facebook account tonight to check people's status, and found all but a handful were elated for the victory of Barack Obama. I thought about posting something to counter their joy, but what would it have done? Make me look like the villain, no doubt. Besides, everyone goes through life with at least one of their McGoverns or Goldwaters. Tonight, McCain is my Goldwater.
As I drove down to Frenchie's in Ypsilanti to watch the returns with some political science professors of mine, I was fortunate enough to sit with Dr. Richard Stahler-Sholk, my Comparative Politics prof. I had asked him if this time around he voted strategically and he said he did because "we needed to get the Republicans out of there." He was an avowed Ralph Nader supporter back in 2000 and 2004, but it didn't surprise me that this time around he wouldn't take any chances.
It was unfortunate that I couldn't follow the election this time around like I had last time, despite my enthusiasm for McCain. I am no longer in college, and I don't interact with poli sci people on a regular basis like I did just two years ago. The turnout at Frenchie's was depressingly low, just as it was in 2004. In 2000, before I was a regular face in the Political Science Department at EMU, I went to the election party at the Tower Inn, and watched with everyone as the election returns came in. That night helped propel me to concentrate my studies more in Political Science than history, as I felt the poli sci profs were more interesting and students had a better sense of humor.
In one month I lose my cat and McCain loses his bid for the White House. Both are devastating, yet, I saw both coming. The shock may have been quelled by that fact. But the depression will ruminate for a little longer until probably after January once Obama is sworn in. In the meantime, I'll be reliving this day when the Electoral College meets to elect Obama, and then when the House and Senate certify the results. All culminates in 75 days when Obama is sworn in as president on January 21.
I listen to McCain exit the campaign with grace tonight. He thanked his family, his fellow supporters, and Sarah Palin. He reminded us as candidates have before, what a tremendous burden the campaign is on their families. He urged all his supporters to get behind President-elect Obama and left it at that. I'm left thinking the good guys fought the good fight, and once again, lost.
I can't help but think, after all this, that all pundits and activists owe McCain a collective apology for all the stupid articles and books written about him and once and for all repudiate comments that compare him to Bush. It's only the right thing to do, which is why I'm not counting on them to do it.
Sunday, November 02, 2008
For Senate, I voted for Scotty Boman, the Libertarian. Bart Stupak got my vote to return to Washington an eighth time, another vote went to a Republican for the State House because I can't see Andy Neumann contributing anything in what would be an automatic lame duck term for him, and the rest were Republican as well, except for a particular County Road Commissioner, another Dem.
I can't help but think that George W. Bush is once again the reason John McCain could not ascend to the presidency.
I'm going to be depressed after November 4, I'm sure of it.
Needless to say, nothing's changed this week. Once again, Kyle Orton will carve up the Lions for 250+ yards, 2 TDs, maybe an interception, but a passer rating hoovering around 100 - he's due for an off day after three other clinics he's put on against the Leos.
Interesting note: the Lions have signed Daunte Culpepper, a washed-out QB who all but retired this year. I can't see him being anything but a distraction, and where does this leave Drew Henson? Back to the practice squad? All I know is Orlovsky is gone after this season.
I know how bad everyone wants Drew Stanton to play, but really, Offensive Coordinator Jim Colletto is right, they shouldn't "embarass" him in his first start. Especially since Detroit can't stop the pass rush, and can't put together a decent drive to save their lives, let alone at a critical moment in the game. Colletto was dead on, despite Rod Marinelli's claim it was a "poor choice of words." Why humiliate him by surrounding him with no protection, no running game, and a play-caller who can't call plays?
Final score: Bears 34, Lions 23. The game will be over by the 4th quarter, I think. And as usual, Marinelli will stick to his talking points, even as his methods are about as useful as an anchor for a drowning person. It's 0-8, and time to starting thinking about NFL ignominy, made all the more sadder by the fact that they might not even bear this alone if Cincinnati can't win a game.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
So as it goes, I'm going to make my predictions for this year's elections:
-Barack Obama will be elected President.
-The Republicans will lose 20 seats in the House of Representatives. They will lose five seats in the Senate.
-Senator Carl Levin will win easily over challenger Jack Hoogendyk by at least a 65%-35% margin.
-All incumbents up for re-election for the US House in Michigan will retain their seats, except for Tim Walberg. I predict Mark Schauer will win the seat for the 7th district.
-In Lansing, the Democrats will retain their lead and increase its size. I don't know how much; I can only guess that it's more troubling for the State GOP which has been hemorrhaging for years now.
The Republicans are going to take the fall for the faltering economy, the unpopular war in Iraq, and the continuing rise in health care costs, just to name the three most important issues.
I don't see any break for the party, either state or national, until 2010. It's my guess Republicans will have to retool and rebuild for the future. What will be interesting this year will be the surprise victory of one or two Republicans who may be elected to the Senate or a Governorship. For some reason, it's candidates like those who tend to play a larger role in the national spotlight in years to come (like Obama did when the GOP won all over the board in 2004).
Sunday, October 19, 2008
-Kitna on IR: he's done in Detroit. He will not come back next year as a back up to Orlovsky or Stanton.
-Orlovsky's future in Detroit: If Orlovsky doesn't win soon, he will not be re-signed. If he does play well, I'd sign him to a 1-year tender.
-Stanton will play despite my objections at some point toward the end of the season. Look to Week 11 or 12 as the season begins to further unravel.
-Martin Mayhew's trade of Roy Williams to Dallas for a 1st, 3rd, and 6th round pick was nothing short of a miracle. Could you imagine what Floyd Reese could do with this team in three years if he gets to be the next GM with two 1st rounders and a pair of 3rd rounders? We'd be playoff bound by 2011. In fact, the next GM should make that a promise. Or quit.
-I cannot figure out what it is analysts see in Matt Schaub. I don't hate the guy, but I don't get how he magically appears in Houston as a replacement to David Carr.
Prediction: Houston is on a 2-game winning streak after today. Houston 23, Detroit 6.
Sunday, October 12, 2008
Thursday, October 09, 2008
Today Offensive Coordinator Jim Colletto is failing to put together an offensive strategy that will allow the Lions to score enough to stay in the game, keep the defense off the field, and make it look as though Detroit has NFL-caliber players.
Today Defensive Coordinator Joe Barry will be unable to prepare the defense against Adrian Peterson and former Lions Quarterback Gus Frerotte. The strategy will be just to hand it off to Peterson because the Lions front seven will be overwhelmed by a team that has slightly above-average talent. Once Detroit figures by the 4th quarter to put eleven men in the box, then the Vikings will open it up. By then, Peterson will be out of the game with another astonishing 200+ yards rushing for the day.
Also today, Rod Marinelli will be exercising futility by "pounding the rock," because he simply is not good enough to coach at this level. This team will once again fail to score until after Minnesota has scored at least two touchdowns (and I'm being generous here - I really think it's three and a field goal). Marinelli will exercise futility because everyone has gotten off the boat and no one believes in the Tampa Two or whatever it is Colletto calls that "offense" of his.
Final prediction: Detroit 10, Minnesota 41. The Lions go 0-5.
It was 1999, and on the eve of training camp, Barry Sanders announced he was retiring. The future Hall of Famer gave no warning that he was going to quit football despite quietly making his feelings known about then-head coach Bobby Ross and General Manager Joe Schmidt and how he felt they were not committed to putting together a winning organization. Sanders was expected that year to break Walter Payton's all-time rushing record and still would have had a few solid years of playing left in him after that.
Nonetheless, the team played on, and unexpectedly, the Lions found themselves 8-4 heading into December. Their second-year Quarterback Charlie Batch had been hampered by a swollen thumb that did not want to heal and that left Coach Ross with the decision to play Frerotte when the team was 6-4. Frerotte won two games and failed to win another the rest of the season.
Even though the Lions stumbled into the playoffs going 8-8 and then losing to Washington in the first round, Frerotte played well, despite the Lions' diminished capacity to run the football.
“Barry Sanders just retired, and nobody expected us to do well,” Frerotte said. “We still had crowds in there, and the place still loves the Lions. Detroit loves the Lions, and they still get people to come to games. The (Silverdome) got loud when I was there. We were able to do some good things despite not having Barry.
“It’s hard to believe that with the money the Fords have put into it and everything that things haven’t turned around for the Lions.” - Gus Frerotte quoted by Nic Cotsonika, a Lions' beat writer for the Detroit Free Press.
I remember thinking back then it was a bad idea to let him go. The following season, Frerotte went to Denver and the Lions signed Stoney Case to back up Charlie Batch. Despite improving to 9-7, Detroit did not make the playoffs and that led to a disastrous eight-year reign of Matt Millen as President of my team.
Sidenote: 1999 was the same year the Lions did something to annoy me that most people probably would just soon blow off as unimportant: they moved the TV numbers from the sleeves to the shoulders. For some reason, I just hate it. You won't notice it today given the more pronounced changes to the team uniforms (black piping and black alternate jerseys). But maybe it's all for the best.
Wednesday, October 08, 2008
Mark Schauer is an improbable candidate. In 2002, he beat Mickey Mortimer by a substantial margin in a race in which Mortimer should have won. He is no doubt, a formidable opponent to anyone and will be a rising star in the state Democratic Party for years to come if and when he wins in November.
Tim Walberg is just an ineffective representative, he's an embarrassment to the state. He has publicly stated that "...in many places, Iraq is as safe and cared for as Detroit." Or was it, "There was clear connections in Iraq to Saddam Hussein to what went on on 9/11" that's even more depressing.
I want John McCain to win the presidency. I'd like Republicans to be what they used to be, a party that was more libertarian in the mold of Barry Goldwater. But I'm not willing to give money to a party that puts people like Tim Walberg in charge of making decisions that affect people's lives.
November 4: Vote Mark Schauer to Congress, 7th District!
While you're at it, check out this great blog, Walberg Watch, which has been covering Tim Walberg for the better part of two years now (if not more). The content is top-notch and has information you can use.
Monday, October 06, 2008
District 1 - Rep. Bart Stupak (D - Menominee) faces challenger State Representative Tom Casperson (R - Escanaba). I'm actually voting in this one and I will vote to re-elect Stupak. Stupak is the first Democrat I've ever voted for, and despite the fact that we're virtually polar opposites politically (Democrat, pro-life, opposes partial privatization of Social Security, and is pro-abstinence sex education), Casperson offers little. Casperson pushed for a state constitutional amendment to protect hunter's rights. Absolute overkill. I'm all for hunting, but Michigan needs clout now more than ever in Washington, and Stupak will be elected to his 8th term if he wins in November.
District 2 - Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R - Holland) v. Fred Johnson (D - Holland). Hoekstra chaired the House Intelligence Committee before Republicans lost the House in 2006. He will remain the Ranking Member if he wins and has valuable insight in the War on Terror. I pick Hoekstra.
District 3 - Rep. Vernon Ehlers (R - Grand Rapids) v. Henry Sanchez (D - Saranac). Ehlers was voted in in a by-election in 1993, and is a nuclear physicist, which makes his qualities unique when compared to most members of the House. Ehlers is also a moderate who frequently votes against the radical right of the Republican Party and opposes a missile defense shield, which he says cannot work. The Grand Rapids area is well-served by Vern Ehlers.
District 4 - Rep. Dave Camp (R - Midland) v. Andrew Concannon (D - Saginaw). Camp is not very impressive, but neither is Concannon. Camp does not have many notable accomplishments while serving in the House, but if the GOP is to ever regain control of that chamber, his seniority would move him up the ranks; all the more to increase this state's clout. Dave Camp should be re-elected unless the Democrats can find a worthy candidate to replace him.
District 5 - Rep. Dale Kildee (D - Flint) faces Matt Sawicki (R - Bay City), a school teacher in Bangor Township. Kildee is a moderate Democrat, most notably pro-life. He is also heavily connected to the unions in the Flint area. Sawicki offers little more than boilerplate Republican talking points. Kildee should win easily, but I don't have much of a taste for him politically. No endorsement here.
District 6 - Rep. Fred Upton (R - St. Joseph), a moderate Republican from the west side of the state takes on Don Cooney (D - Kalamazoo). Upton has supported candidates I've supported, so I'd like to think that we're on similar thought waves. Sending Upton back to Congress looks good for Republicans.
District 7 - Rep. Tim Walberg (R - Tipton) is fighting for his political life against State Sen. Mark Schauer (D - Battle Creek). Walberg was a sixteen-year State Representative who had little to show for all his time there, despite being a chair of the Appropriations Committee. He is as divisive as they come, and an absolute firebrand. He continually supports the wrongheaded policies of the Bush administration including the War in Iraq, supporting a constitutional ban on gay marriage, and is vehemently pro-life.
In 2004, Walberg lost a six-way race to Dr. Joe Schwarz, coming in third. Walberg and five other conservatives split their vote and allowed Schwarz (who is pro-choice, opposes a constitutional ban on gay marriage, and supports embryonic stem cell research) to win with 28% of the vote in the GOP Primary. Walberg refused to endorse Schwarz after he won, reneging on a promise beforehand to endorse whoever won the race.
In 2006, Walberg knew his chances against Schwarz favored him and with the help of the Club for Growth, managed to trash Schwarz thanks to heaping contributions from CfG's backers. Walberg won 53% of the vote in the 2006 GOP Primary, but barely beat out Sharon Renier in a contest where the Republican should have won easily. Had Schwarz been in that race, he would have won easily over Renier as he did in 2004.
Mark Schauer, on the other hand, should not be this viable, given the GOP-tilt of the district. But given the national sentiment towards Republicans, Schauer stands likely to upset the incumbent. He defeated State Representative Mickey Mortimer decisively in 2002 for his State Senate seat, thanks in large part, to the moderate/Democratic vote in Battle Creek that year, as well as Mortimer taking the election for granted.
Libertarian Ken Proctor is running for the fourth consecutive time. Proctor is so insane, he would be literally off the charts if insanity could be measured. On abortion, he supports what are called "embryonic transfers," which would turn women into human heffers for bringing the unborn to term. I understand the need to sometimes find a third way, or a middle ground on such a divisive issue. This is not what I would hope for.
This one's a bit personal for me. I worked on the Schwarz campaigns in 2004 and 2006. Walberg is not a trustworthy individual and uses poor judgment. He doesn't believe in evolution and opposes gay marriage. He made headlines in early 2007 for saying the situation in Iraq is as safe as Detroit. I was hoping Dr. Schwarz would have challenged him for the seat again, but Schwarz had too many things on his plate to consider running again.
Walberg is an absolute embarassment to the state and the 7th District must purge themselves of this atrocious legislator. Voters should back Mark Schauer as a means to make amends for the sins of 2006, and Joe Schwarz should run again in 2010.
District 8 - Rep. Mike Rogers (R - Brighton) takes on Robert Alexander (D - East Lansing). Rogers narrowly won his House seat in 2000 over State Sen. Dianne Byrum (D - Onondaga), but is poised to win again.
Bob Alexander is an interesting candidate. He has served in the Peace Corps, has an M.A. in teaching from Wayne State, taught in the Ypsilanti/Willow Run schools, and even substituted for Lansing schools while teaching at Davenport University. Alexander has been an advocate for humanitarian causes such as nursing care and providing other medical services. He served as a policy analyst for the State Energy Program and Medical Services and currently runs a consulting firm for business management, Alexander Consulting LLC. His latest accomplishments include extending health care coverage to over 16,000 Ingham County residents and leading a local petition drive pushing for a near-30% increase in the state minimum wage.
Had Alexander more name recognition, this race would be more interesting. But Rogers is one of the perennial "rising stars" of a state party that is in tatters. I don't know if he is a climber or a camper, but the more he stays put, the more he becomes a camper. I think Rogers serves 8th district well and should be re-elected without much problem, but a challenger like Alexander shall provide him the extra incentive to perform at a higher level when in DC.
District 9 - Rep. Joe Knollenberg (R - Bloomfield Hills) takes on perennial candidate Gary Peters (D - Bloomfield Hills). Knollenberg has staved off several challengers in the last few years, and that is a good thing, because after the 7th District, this is the only competitive district in the state and currently the 2nd hottest race in the state. Knollenberg gets consistent returns of the low to mid 50s in the past few general elections.
Gary Peters, on the other hand, hasn't won anything since being re-elected to the State Senate in 1998. He did, however, manage to pass a law banning any new wells in the state unless it's an emergency, and banning the possession of body armor by convicted felons. Peters is well-rounded in the areas of public policy, and has taught at Wayne State and Central Michigan. He also served as the State Lottery Commission Chair under Gov. Jennifer Granholm until 2007.
Currently, he is involved in a controversy at CMU. The school hired him as the Robert and Marjorie Griffin endowed Chairman in American Government, a privately-funded position which requires him to teach while making $85,000 annually for three years. In 2007, he announced he would challenge Knollenberg for his Congressional seat. Critics contend running for Congress diminishes his capacity to focus on teaching his students about Michigan politics. He may also run into conflict of interest issues if and when he has to discuss Joe Knollenberg. Dennis Lennox, who was president of the Young Americans for Freedom Chapter at CMU, was banned by the school from videotaping Peters on campus. The school also prohibited the passing out of anti-Peters handbills on campus. Both cases have been challenged by the American Civil Liberties Union.
The short and sweet of it: Knollenberg has at least done enough to show that he is worthy of retaining his seat, despite Peters' impressive credentials. Unfortunately for Peters, he is on a current losing streak, having lost a nomination for Governor, a race for Attorney General, and is about to continue it in November.
District 10 - Rep. Candace Miller (R - Harrison Township) v. Robert Denison (D - Shelby Township). Miller, who like Mike Rogers, is a perennial rising star in the state GOP. However, she is quite risk-averse, and won't test the waters for any office outside of her current one. This one goes to Miller, but she ought to consider another run at statewide office.
District 11 - Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (R - Livonia) faces Joseph Larkin (D - Livonia), a private attorney. Neither spark excitement, but McCotter's experience in state and federal government gives him an edge over Larkin.
District 12 - Rep. Sander Levin (D - Royal Oak) v. Bert Copple (R - Center Line). The Levin name has proven to be unbeatable, even though he couldn't unseate then-Gov. Bill Milliken in the 1970s. Levin has been surpassed by younger brother Carl, who now sits in the US Senate since 1979. He will win, but this isn't suprising. No endorsement here.
District 13 - Rep. Carolyn Cheeks-Kilpatrick (D - Detroit) v. Edward J. Gubics (R - Wyandotte). Kilpatrick already faced her challengers, Mary Waters and Martha Scott back in the Democratic Primary, and barely made it out alive, politically. Despite being ineffective as a legislator, Kilpatrick's district is ovewhelmingly Democratic. She'll get at least 80% of the vote. No matter what Gubics stands for, he is merely token opposition. No endorsement here.
District 14 - Rep. John Conyers (D - Detroit) faces no Republican challenger. Only a Green and Libertarian candidate emerged, but Conyers will be re-elected to his 23rd term, making him still the second longest serving member of the House after...
District 15 - Rep. John Dingell (D - Dearborn). Yes, Dingell is the longest serving member of the US House, having past the 50-year mark in October 2005. He is well storied and continues to play a pivotal role for the Democrats in the House. He faces John Lynch (R - Ypsilanti), who will not be a factor. As the Dean of the House of Representatives, Dingell has represented southeastern Michigan for more than a half century. Every session of Congress, he puts forth legislation to create nationalized health insurance, an issue his father, John Dingell Sr., championed. The two longest serving members of the House have districts that buttress one another. Dingell is more statesman like while Conyers is a left-wing firebrand, most notably questioning the legitimacy of the Bush presidency and pushing for reparations for slavery. Despite both of their popularity back in that part of the state, I'm inclined to not endorse either one, since I'm just not that impressed with someone getting re-elected again and again. Both districts are carved to keep their seats safe, and I'm just not of the ideological ilk that are those two districts.
The score: Eight Republicans, Two Democrats, and Five refusals to endorse anyone.
Next: US Senate.
Sunday, October 05, 2008
In 2005, led by rookie QB Kyle Orton, the Bears dominated Detroit in both games, despite the fact that both games were won by Chicago's defense, the Tampa Two. Neither Joey Harrington nor Jeff Garcia could pull off a victory against this rookie.
Come 2006, Rod Marinelli's first season as Head Coach, the Lions were once again swept by the Bears. Nothing of note, except maybe that this was the season Chicago went on to lose in SuperBowl XLI against *yawn* the Colts.
Last year, the upstart Lions started the season 6-2, including having swept the Bears. A 34-point fourth quarter scoring effort in Detroit broke a record, while an upset at Soldier Field made victory that much more sweet.
Today: I pick Chicago over Detroit. Coming off a bye, the Lions have spoken about opening up the offense. Which means they may add passing to their attack, apparently. The Chicago defense, a defense that is the same as Detroit's (only theirs works), will dominate Detroit's offense, despite not having DT Tommie Harris.
On the other side of the ball, the biggest story will be Running Back Kevin Jones returning to Detroit after wrongfully being cut in the offseason. He won't say it, but Jones wants to run all over the Detroit D. I hope he does, but he'll be splitting carries with rookie RB Matt Forte.
To me, this defined the ineptitude of the Marinelli era. You had two RBs, Jones and Tatum Bell. Bell played five games and was benched for the remainder of the year after demaning a trade. Jones came in off a lisfranc injury and outplayed all other RBs on the roster when Mike Martz wanted to run the ball. But Jones gets hurt again, and goes on IR two years in a row. What does Detroit do? Cut Jones, re-sign Bell, and then watch as Bell founders in preseason while Jones goes to Chicago. Bell ends up being cut, while Jones is doing fine in Chicago after signing a one-year tender for the Bears.
Okay, I've gone with the Bears. Final score:
Chicago 24, Detroit 10.
The Lions go 0-4, and the calls for Drew Stanton to play grow louder. Stanton is not ready. I repeat, NOT READY. If anything, give Orlovsky a start or two. He can't be any worse, and you might as well see what you have in him in case Stanton doesn't pan out. And all losses for the remainder of the season must be added to Matt Millen's tally.
Thursday, October 02, 2008
In her latest article, Riley attacks Palin for botching an answer put forth to her by first, a voter, and then followed up by questions in another interview with Katie Couric as she sat next to her running mate, Sen. John McCain. This and other criticisms culminate in a thesis that Palin's run for the Vice Presidency will set women back decades in the struggle for equality.
Really? Take these lines:
Palin should consider history. Women have worked hard to get ahead in America -- in industry and politics. Women have made great strides that include Sen. Hillary Clinton's campaign. Clinton didn't win, but she showed what was possible with the right candidate.
Do you really think the next time a woman runs for public office, that an opponents is going to use the "Palin ditz reel" against her? That would be absolute suicide for any male candidate running against a female opponent to use Palin and extrapolate her so-called "ditziness" to all women running for office. Can you imagine the backlash? No, because no candidate, not even the most vile chauvinist in the nation is stupid enough to do that. The National Organization for Women's switchboard would short-circuit from the number of calls and complaints about any idiot who would do such a thing, and they would raise money hand over fist in an effort to destroy the female candidate's opponent.
Furthermore, setting women back decades? A little harsh, don't you think? It's not like Geraldine Ferraro set women back when she ran as Walter Mondale's Vice President in 1984. Women have achieved breakthroughs in so many places and on so many levels, that this will not hinder any further progress via a loss or victory in November.
All this really shows is the (unwarranted) hatred many liberal columnists have towards John McCain seething through their word processors.
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
I don't check out my facebook profile that much. I'm so bad at managing my page, that I know the last time I updated my profile. January 2006. Having just read through it, it's pretty much all out of date. Especially the part where it says I "hate kids." I've never actually hated them, but enough people have read that and took it to be true. Apparently, reading the very next sentence to save yourself aggravation was too much to ask. It says "Rhetorically speaking, of course."
But every now and then I check up on my profile, only to find out it has changed. And every change seems to be followed up with outrage by its users. Petitions (a frequent exercise in futility and stupidity by 'facebookers') against the changes never work, despite the millions who join these groups.
They hated the newsfeed because it was invasive of others' privacy, but no one seems to remember they put up and take down such information voluntarily. Admittedly, it's creepy, but then again, I don't post details of my personal life I don't want others knowing on the internet.
Now everyone hates the new facebook. I like the old one, but I don't invest time on these social networking sites to care whether or not it gets changed. I just don't use it enough.
The other thing that gets on my nerves about this is that everyone seems to be joining meaningless groups and organizations that really don't do anything. "1 Million Strong for Obama," for example. First, in a nation that has over 110 million people, 1 million isn't anything. It's expendable.
I could just delete my profile, never to use it again. Besides, I'm really not interested in looking at your profile, let alone mine. Me thinks the only reason I haven't updated it in so long extends from the fact that I had planned to update it again, once I got a real job. But sadly, that may never happen. But at least I'll have a glimpse of what I was thinking about, back in late 2005/early 2006.
- I saw the debate between Obama and McCain last week. McCain may have won on his knowledge of the issues. But pundits are giving the win to Obama because, well, they don't really know. They're idiots.
- I don't go on facebook much, but right now, most of my friends seem to want Obama. I'm beginning to harbor contemptuous feelings towards the stupid things they say about McCain.
- Screw the bailout. We don't have $700 billion to spend. It's short-sided and has negative long-term implications. What lesson do we as a whole learn if every bad decision we make will be backed up by the American taxpayer? Let them sink so that the children of today can see their parents' failures and not make the same choices they did. You'll thank me for this, someday.
- Matt Millen was fired. Wow. And Kwame's gone. At least one poll indicates Detroit is looking up after Kilpatrick left town. Why?
- Matt Millen's firing lifts a huge weight off many a Lions' fans chest. Even though nothing will come of this season now that he is gone, at least now we can go back to the drawing board and hire a President/GM who can devise a plan that will build a foundation for success years down the road. Too much of Millen's problems were the fact that he had no faith in any system, changed coaches too often, and drafted for positions you cannot build a team around, like Wide Receiver.
- Joey Harrington was cut from Atlanta. Then signed by the Saints. Then cut less than a week later. Poor man. Detroit, get over him. He's gone.
- I'm moving to Wixom in a few days. This is good news for me, financially.
Saturday, September 20, 2008
Martz can shut the naysayers up two ways. First, run the ball 50 times. The D-Line hasn't shown anything yet (despite Cory Redding having shown some of the promise from two years ago). Then he can put it back in his detractors' faces about never running the ball. Or, two, he could have a passing game that actually works, thereby vindicating his "system."
Enough about Martz. How about that J.T. O'Sullivan guy? So far, he's produced some fine statistics. This year, his QB rating is over 93. Even in backup duty last year, he didn't show much for being the 2nd string.
I believe San Francisco takes this 28-17, sending Detroit 0-3 into the Bye week.
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Monday, September 15, 2008
To be sure, Obama did set a new record, besting his previous $55 million in February. Many attribute this surge in donations due to John McCain's VP pick Sarah Palin.
But what people fail to realize is the fact that McCain, who opted for public financing while Obama did not, is expected to take in $84 million in public dollars after September 1. The McCain camp also disclosed that they have raised $47 million in August heading into the Republican convention.
On top of that, the Republican National Committee has consistently exceeded expectations in fundraising, while the Democratic Party has consistently missed their targets. Together, McCain and the Republican Party hope to amass $300 million for the general election through September and October. Combined, McCain and the Republicans have $194 million at their disposal.
All this leads to one conclusion: Team McCain has finally gotten the momentum on their side, right at the time they needed it most.
Thursday, September 11, 2008
My prediction: Aaron Rodgers is to Brett Favre what Frank Reich was to Jim Kelly. Green Bay 20, Detroit 14.
Saturday, September 06, 2008
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I do believe that this team is one year away from making the playoffs. I really do. But I also think that this team will finish with a record worse than last year. Well, 6-10 isn't that much worse than 7-9. But they'll be in better position to draft higher in April and will make an actual run in 2009. To me, the weakness is in the defensive line. Chuck Darby is only a stopgap measure replacing Shaun Rogers. They had to get rid of Rogers, but Darby won't be as effective when Rogers wanted to play. Maybe more consistent, but not dominating defensive tackle Rogers was when he brought his A game. I also question how well the defensive ends opposite Dewayne White will play. White is solid, but can Jared Devries or Akaika Alama-Francis step in and be dominant.
What irony: Rod Marinelli, a defensive line specialist, his pet position, is no better off in his third year with the team in terms of the D-line unit. Come April, I hope they go for a DE or a DT.
Friday, September 05, 2008
What did she do to deserve this?
McCain's acceptance speech: rather underwhelming. The pundits point out he offered no new policies, and instead, simply rehashed typical Republican policies. Points to Obama-Biden, who will use this to reinforce their claim that McCain is running for Bush's third term. I did however see for the first time tonight, McCain truly open up about his Viet Nam experiences in a way that came off humbling. He didn't mention the part where after he was forced into "confessing" to various war crimes (like bombing a school), that he had tried in vane to commit suicide. Maybe that would have been too deep to take for the electorate.
Sarah Palin: it seems as though her acceptance speech outshown the Presidential nominee. It's as if to say the only reason conservative activists are getting excited about the ticket is because it's more Palin than McCain.
Sidenote: if Palin's detractors are going to criticize her supposed lack of experience as a Mayor and Governor, the Democrats have no reason to throw tantrums over her deflecting that criticism into Senator Obama's community organizing experience. There is nothing wrong with getting involved with the community years back when Obama did and worked to make a difference in people's lives. But don't tell me that the work Palin did and does doesn't qualify as experience. Being a mayor is no part-time job; there are many things at stake, even in a small town like Wasilla, Alaska. It also means setting actual policies that affect people's lives, networking and conferencing with other municipalities for regional cooperation in order to meet challenges with greater resources, making decisions, and being held accountable for them. I say if one's community organizing is their sacred cow, then one's actual executive experience (which she has more than both of her rivals on the opposing ticket) should only be left to reasonable criticism about her preferences in policy.
Second sidenote: Unless you have definitive, and I mean D-E-F-I-N-I-T-I-V-E proof that Trig, the 4-month-old baby with Down's Syndrome is not Sarah Palin's and is in fact her oldest daughter Bristol's, then either put up or shut up. It's one thing to criticize a policy about abstinence sex ed (which I do not support), but to use alleged "proof" like a slight bump in Bristol's stomach, and a not-so-visible bump in Sarah Palin's stomach is not enough to throw around meaningless accusations. If she were to have faked a pregnancy for the sake of concealing that Bristol is in her 2nd pregnancy, this would have required a fantastic amount of talent to silence dozens of people in to not saying anything. No nurses, doctors, aides, staffers, disgruntled relatives, no nothing. If it's true, Sarah Palin will pay a price for her lying and covering up. But the burden of proof rests upon the accuser, not the accused.
Rudy Giuliani: a team player? Definitely hitting back hard at Obama Wednesday night.
I didn't get to see much of the convention, what with working two full-time jobs. I don't think the GOP had as good a convention as the Democrats. They needed a good convention for McCain to get a solid bounce out of it. I think he'll get a bounce, but I don't know how much. It's been my assessment that McCain needs two things to win the general election: a good convention, and an even better showing in the debates. At this point, it's all up to the debates next month.
Thursday, September 04, 2008
Since EMU plays Michigan State this weekend, I think it's pretty obvious to me and everyone else the outcome. What isn't is whether or not I'm a true Green and White supporter. I'm certainly not a die-hard fan of EMU football, but I wouldn't say I'm for them losing all the time.
Face it, EMU cannot be a competitive program year in and year out. With Michigan, Michigan State, and Notre Dame constantly fishing this large and rich pool of athletic talent, Mid American Conference schools are left with whatever the national programs threw back. EMU has yet to put together a football program in all the time I've been there and since left that can draw large sell out crowds at Rynearson Stadium. They don't have the money, the recruiters, nor the lore of a school like Michigan or Notre Dame.
Even John at SpartyMSU is predicting a blowout victory for the Spartans. He admits on his blog what I've been saying over at EMU Talk. This game is basically a tune-up against EMU.
Because, in the end, it's all about money. Money for EMU, and investing in your freshmen and sophomore talent for MSU to cash in next year.
Sunday, August 31, 2008
Running backs - What the hell is Rod Marinelli thinking? He cuts Kevin Jones, their best half back and re-sign Tatum Bell? Bell showed nothing in the preseason, and nothing last year. Aveion Cason is only good for returns and has otherwise shown nothing carrying the ball. Brian Calhoun is on IR for the third year in a row. But they cut Jones? So we're down to only two running backs this year? Jerome Felton, who is the full back, will technically be the third running back, but he's a rookie, and will make a great full back.
Tight Ends - See first sentence of running backs. Five tight ends? Dan Campbell's short-term future is in question, but he's the best of them. Michael Gaines adds depth. Casey Fitzsimmons can pass catch and can be used as the fifth receiver (see more below). John Owens and Sean McHugh don't add much value except for Owens' run-blocking.
Wide Receivers - Millen has drafted four in the first round since 2003. Charles Rogers and Mike Williams are gone. Roy Williams has always been solid, but he gets criticized for taking plays off. I don't think so. Calvin Johnson is the real deal when he's healthy. Let's keep him that way. Mike Furrey will never have another season like 2006, but he's great on the outside. Shawn McDonald is the best in the slot position.
Offensive Line - The left side is settled with Jeff Backus (tackle), Edwin Mulitalo (guard), and Dominic Raiola (center). The right side? Not so much. I expect Stephen Peterman to be the guard, and the tackle can go either way right now with George Foster and 1st Round pick Gosder Cherilus. They will split time until Gosder cuts down on his mistakes.
Defensive Line - Eleven players? What the hell is Marinelli thinking? I used to think he was just a one-dimensional coach when he was hired in. I rarely heard his input on anything else besides the D-line. Maybe it was because of Martz's offensive "genius." Cory Redding is the highest paid and most underwhelming DT. Chuck Darby is no Shaun Rogers, and I don't know what the season will hold for him as the other starting DT. Shaun Cody as a 2nd Round pick in 2005 has yet to live up to being that high a draft pick (Hint: STAY AWAY FROM USC IN THE DRAFT). The DEs will be Jared Devries and DeWayne White. White's been solid, and Devries is a workhorse. Alama-Francis must keep pushing Devries until he's ready to be the full-time starter.
Linebackers - Ernie Sims is easily the weak side. Paris Lenon will play middle until Jordon Dizon is ready. Until then, Alex Lewis is the strong side LB. Once Dizon is in, Lewis is out and Lenon slides over to strong.. Got it? Good.
Cornerbacks - Leigh Bodden and Brian Kelly will start. Travis Fisher is not good enough to be a starter, but good enough to be the nickel back. The rest? I don't really know for sure.
Safeties - Daniel Bullocks should start a Free Safety, and let Gerald Alexander and Dwight Smith fight it out for Strong Safety. For now, it's Smith until Alexander beats him out.
Kicker/Punter - Jason Hanson and Nick Harris respectively. A no-brainer.
Returner - Because Cason's on IR and DeVale Ellis was cut, Furrey and McDonald will split duties. Don't get excited.
Coaches - What the hell is Rod Marinelli thinking? If they want to run the ball more, why keep only two half backs? Why get rid of Kevin Jones? He played well. This made no sense.
I'm beginning to understand the Tampa Two better. But without Shaun Rogers, when he showed up, how much better will they be?
My prediction: 6-10, third in the NFC North.
So he was right about being opposed to the war. So was I. Should I be President? And why go and select Joe Biden as a running mate if you're against our being involved in Iraq. Biden voted to give authorization to go into Iraq. He tells us as he accepts his nomination for the Vice Presidency that Obama had the insight, the insight about not going into Iraq. Well, why didn't the Senator with 30+years of experience in the Senate not have the insight? Same reason John Kerry voted to give Bush the authorization to remove Saddam Hussein? Could it be he and Kerry wanted to be on the right side of history when the drumbeat for war was favorable to the public? Could it be that both he and Kerry tailored their message so that they gave the permission to go ahead and attack Iraq, while at the same time, if things went sour, they could separate themselves from George W. Bush?
The other thing about Biden is that he seems to like having it both ways. He's a statesman in the Senate. He's a rabid partisan in the Senate. All he is to me is a part-time statesman, and full-time grandstander. He has a terrific plan for an Iraqi political resolution - divide it into three regions among Sunnis, Shi'ites, and Kurds, and then develop a plan to divvy up oil revenues. But it's the grandstanding on the Judiciary Committee that I take most exception with. His constant badgering and belaboring about then-Supreme Court nominees John Roberts and Samuel Alito on abortion.
That's all for now. More random posts coming.