Sunday, October 31, 2010

Staying Home on Tuesday

I won't be voting this year. And I'm pretty contempt with that. After just getting off the phone with one of my political science professors, he seemed disappointed in my decision, but if I could explain the merits in a way he could understand, I felt even more okay about it.

I just can't support the Republicans. I cannot vote for them, and I cannot give my support to third party organizations like the Libertarians, or the Greens. Ideologically, I align with the libertarian ideology probably 85-90% of the time, or 95% if I can better articulate the nuance. Once I even threw away my vote by giving it to a Green running for governor.

But the past few years, I've seen what appears to be an irreversible turn for the worse in the Republican and Libertarian parties. Both are bombarded by Tea Party fanatics, people who treat opposition to tax hikes like they're commandments, the intellectually lazy, overly populist, anti-gay, birthers, and peppered with some truthers.

I was going to work for Andrew "Rocky" Raczkowski, an Oakland County Republican looking to unseat first-term Rep. Gary Peters. I wanted to get back in the game after quitting midway in the 2006 Primary and not doing anything in 2008. Apparently Rocky made some campaign-speak he gave a wink and a nod to the racist anti-Obama crowd by saying indirectly he wasn't a US citizen. Rocky is an officer in the US Army Reserve and has served the nation honorably in Somalia, but what he did was way too over the line for me. He tried saying he didn't believe Obama was a legit president without directly saying it, giving himself an outlet in case he'd have to backpedal to the media. So upon hearing that, I opted to not associate myself with him.

But Republicans have simply lost their minds. This Tea Party isn't necessarily a movement based on race, hatred of Obama, fear of socialism, or a clandestine strategy on the part of fascists bent on consolidating power in the hands of a few - it is like any other movement in the nation's history. A political movement that is organized by a small number of wealthy individuals and was somehow able to capture the imagination of an angry portion of the electorate seeking an outlet for that fomenting rage.

However, this Tea Party is what's given us people like Joe Miller in Alaska and Christine O'Donnell in Connecticut. The Republicans in their respective states had intelligent and articulate moderate conservatives who had broader appeal in Lisa Murkowski and Mike Castle. By doing this, the Tea Partiers have in fact cost the GOP the Senate.

I'm no Democrat. I hold a lot of right-leaning and a lot of left-leaning views. I'm pro-gun, pro-vouchers, flat income tax, abolishing the National Endowment for the Arts, partial privatization of Social Security, and I support right-to-work laws. But I'm also pro-choice, for gay marriage and giving couples the right to adopt, legalizing marijuana, and I'm for reducing the defense budget.

It came down to character. By and large, I probably agree more with Sharron Angle than Harry Reid, but Angle has too many character defects to be trusted as a US Senator.

Just goes to show, sometimes you have to separate character from the issues a person takes.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Juan Williams and Reflexiveness of Media

I heard former NPR analyst Juan Williams was fired last week over comments he made on The O'Reilly Factor where he said he gets nervous when he sees a person in Muslim garb on an airplane. The comment was the last straw in a tug of war between Williams and NPR, who had been at odds over his dual role as a Fox Contributor.

Apparently for some time, the top brass at NPR had been unhappy about Williams' work at Fox News Channel, leading them to one point ask the network to stop using his NPR ID when he appeared on such shows as The Factor in 2009. NPR Ombudsman Alicia Shepard stated "Williams tends to speak one way on NPR and another on Fox," after Williams made the quip, "Michelle Obama, you know, she's got this Stokley Carmichael-in-a-designer-dress thing going. If she starts talking, as Mary Katherine is suggesting, her instinct is to start with this blame America, you know, I'm the victim. If that stuff starts coming out, people will go bananas and she'll go from being the new Jackie O to being something of an albatross."

I don't know exactly what NPR was getting at by denouncing some of his comments; his politics had been known for sometime, now. He had written op-ed columns for several other publications, including The New Republic, Time, Fortune, and the Washington Post, so it wasn't like he had somehow managed to conceal his views until last week.

Even if his comments were that offensive (remember, he did later qualify his remarks stating it was wrong to have those kinds of thoughts later on in the interview), certainly they weren't as incendiary as Nina Totenberg's comments about there being "retributive justice" if former Senator Jesse Helms had gotten AIDS. Last anyone checked, Totenberg still has a job there, and a quick glance at her biography shows anyone her allegiances.

The way I see it, Williams' point about getting nervous when he sees Muslims in Muslim garb is offensive, but it's an honest admission of character flaw. But the offensiveness is minimized if you put his entire interview with O'Reilly into context. He said having those kinds of thoughts are wrong. He is saying that you can't extrapolate the acts of 19 hijackers on 9/11 to all Muslims.

(I still have a bone to pick somewhat with his comments since he seems to also rehash the idea that extremism and terrorist sympathies aren't widespread among the Islamic world - but another time, another day.)

I don't feel sorry for Williams. He has since losing his job at NPR 1) received an outpouring of support within the media and from liberals and conservatives alike, and 2) was offered a $2 million contract with Fox News for the next three years. His new contract will put him on firm financial ground even if he doesn't work for the next ten years after his contract is up.

(I still hate the fact that the news networks always do this - make such a hoopla over getting a new personality and paying him/her loads of cash. Or giving a current personality a contract extension and a generous raise. Thank you for rubbing this kind of stuff in our faces, media. Have you seen the latest unemployment figures?)

Williams' new status at Fox will certainly raise his profile at the network. We'll probably be seeing him a lot more (err, people who watch Fox will - I don't watch TV). Having Williams there also raises Fox's credibility ever so slightly, given that Williams has a center-left take on things; I generally find him to be quite intuitive as he offers worthwhile commentary.

NPR, in the meantime will and should take a hit. Why did Williams' comments all of a sudden matter? Was it to please its liberal base of listeners? I listen to NPR and I won't stop because of this. It'll just remind me that NPR, too, can't pretend that it is somehow above the nonsense of the MSM all the time.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

This Moment In Suck Has Been Brought To You By Dylan Ratigan

The other night I was thumbing through the Huffington Post's website. Jumping from page to page, I came across one particular story, Dylan Ratigan Blasts Bill O'Reilly, 'War on Islam' on Morning Joe. Ratigan, an MSNBC anchor and host of the Dylan Ratigan Show, criticized Fox News' Bill O'Reilly for comments he made on ABC's The View Thursday, saying he opposed the "Ground Zero Mosque" because we were attacked by Muslims, or "Muslims killed us on 9/11."

O'Reilly's much publicized appearance on the View was controversial and memorable because at one point, co-hosts Joy Behar and Whoopi Goldberg were so upset with O'Reilly that they both stormed off the stage. It made for good TV. O'Reilly was chastised moments later by host Barbara Walters (after she chided Goldberg and Behar for leaving) saying that you can't condemn an entire religion for the acts of a few hijackers.

The next day, in typical MSNBC fashion, all the talk was about what somebody on or from Fox News said, because they can't report news themselves, they have to rehash what was said on Fox because Fox apparently puts a daily beatdown to MSNBC in the ratings everyday. I'm not a Fox defender; I don't watch TV to begin with, but Fox is an entertainment channel, solely, not a news organization.

MSNBC figured this out a few years ago and copied Fox's style. They gave us Keith Olbermann, a poor man's O'Reilly, and then followed up with Rachael Maddow and Ed Schultz, the former who intentionally distorts quotes of Republican politicians, and the latter who's too ignorant to understand simple things like rounding errors. MSNBC is Fox for liberals. They have a primetime lineup that hews to the Democratic base, and a tiny cadre of token conservatives, in mirror opposite to Fox's anchors and their "Fox News liberals."

Friday morning was a typical day at MSNBC. They spent their day watching Fox News or its personalities on other networks the day before and reported what they were doing. Dylan Ratigan was a guest panelist on the show Morning Joe, hosted by token conservative Joe Scarborough (who is MSNBC's Alan Colmes). Scarborough wasn't on, and that left Willie Geist to host the show.

After they aired the clip, Norah O'Donnell was first asked her thoughts and she said she supported the women walking off the stage (Goldberg and Behar) because they felt they were being "bullied" by O'Reilly. Yes, never mind the fact that Behar and Goldberg were Obama slappies in 2008 who feathered then-Sen. Barack Obama with softball questions, while they grilled Sen. John McCain during the presidential election.

Even though I don't watch The View, you can read enough newspapers and blogs to know that the show is slanted with a left-leaning bias. Their token conservative panelist is Elizabeth Hasselbeck, who's really a lightweight compared to the bombastic Behar and Goldberg. They do their fair share of "bullying." It's their show, it's their right. But O'Donnell apparently failed to grasp that notion when someone of equal bombast (O'Reilly) gave them a taste of their own medicine.

Ratigan came on next, and in usual politically correct form, pretended like every other idiot who thinks Islam isn't a violent religion and had this to say:

"We are not at war with Islam, we are not at war with Muslims, Iraq, Iran, it's nonsense! They hold up signs, 'I hate America.' Have you seen the signs we hold up? The only people that have ever funded a terrorist attack from that part of the world on us...was this Wahabi sect. And it is an extraordinary failure of our politicians and our media and anybody else who has an opportunity to communicate information to fail o make that distinction, because to fail to make that distinction is to risk a scale of conflict and a scale of disenfranchisement and alienation on this planet that may be convenient for TV ratings and votes, but is an abomination for the human beings that will populate this planet and it's a lie."

First of all, what got everyone's blood boiling was hearing O'Reilly say we weren't attacked (killed) by Muslims on 9/11. In an act of pure stupidity, Whoopi Goldberg immediately denied that, like instead we were attacked by some occultist sect. What O'Reilly said was 100% true, the 19 hijackers were all Muslims. Sunni Muslims. Muslims killed on 9/11 - there is no way around it.

Muslims attacked the country on 9/11. They attacked the USS Cole in September 2000. They attacked the American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998. They blew up the Khobar Towers in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia in 1996, and the OPM-SANG headquarters in 1995. My father and four other Americans were murdered in that attack.

Does Dylan Ratigan or Whoopi Goldberg want us to think differently? These were murders, and the victims were murdered in the name of Islam. It's completely absurd on their part to hear someone say "Muslims killed us" and assume that they're applying the murder label to all Muslims. It's even more dangerous to assume that Islam is somehow not at war with us.

Al Qaeda isn't a fringe group. It is a multinational terror network. The reason it has or had as now is the fact that it had millions of sympathizers and supporters in that part of the world. 9/11 wasn't the work of a small Wahhabi sect in Saudi Arabia as Ratigan would like all of us to think.

I can only guess the motives as to why some people are still willing to live in denial of Islam's purpose. It's not about peace. It cannot be progressive. If people weren't so afraid of being accused of bigotry, it wouldn't be as difficult to call it like it is.

And on that note, today's date is October 17. It's Jim and Marilyn's 46th anniversary. It's too sad I can't be with them to celebrate or even give them a phone call.

Ratigan's timing couldn't be worse.

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Monday, October 11, 2010

Why Does Abortion Find Its Way In Here?

At about 49:29 of the Gubernatorial debate, both candidates were asked their positions on abortion, gay marriage, and affirmative action. The latter two, gay marriage and affirmative action, have been addressed by the voters in 2004 and 2006 respectively and both were outlawed.

My problem is with abortion, no matter where you stand on the issue (I being pro-choice), it doesn't matter in the context of a state office race. The Governor of Michigan cannot outlaw abortion. The only way abortion can be outlawed is either by the US Supreme Court overturning the ruling in Roe v. Wade or the country enacting a constitutional amendment that bans the procedure.

Our state has far too many issues to deal with. A distressed economy, a budget that is cobbled together on an annual basis using accounting gimmicks, an education system that is short on cash and long on uncertainty, a leadership vacuum in Lansing created by term limitations.

Rick Snyder's pro-life stance means nothing to me. Virg Bernero's support for a woman's right to choose means the same. Both can tinker in very small ways to restrict access or expand it, but the fact of the matter is, the issue will not be resolved in four years by either candidate - even if they wanted to.

We voted to ban gay marriage, because so far, the citizens of Michigan still have the right to do so. I'm not sure putting the rights of individuals up before a popular vote and having their fate decided by people's retrograde values is even remotely ethical, but it was done.

When we voted to ban affirmative action, I felt a little more sympathetic to those pushing the issue, but I voted no because I believe it would hurt the prospects of kids growing up in Northern Michigan and finding their way into one of the state's 15 public universities, among others.

Abortion will be never be outlawed in this country because of how impossible it is to undo Roe. Even as conservative as the Roberts' Court is, even they don't want to touch the issue because they don't want to break precedent, otherwise known as stare decisis (let the decision stand).

The other way, which is even more impossible, is to amend the US Constitution. That means 2/3 of both the US House and Senate would have to pass the measure. Then it would have to be ratified by 3/4 of the states.

Given that most polls show the country evenly divided on the issue, there is no way the pro-life movement will ever muster up enough support to ban the procedure.

And Rick and Virg will have even bigger issues on their plate come January.

The Michigan Gubernatorial Debate

Oh my god. This debate was not a debate. It was embarrassing. I don't think I can vote.

Rick Snyder, the Republican candidate, could not provide specifics. He spoke through the entire debate saying "we need to do this," "we need to do that," and "this is how we measure this."

Virgil Bernero, the Democrat, was worse. Some will say he won the debate because he attacked Snyder for allegedly moving business to China. His facts are disputable, a very generous term. If your facts are out of line with reality, doesn't the opponent technically win by default?

Snyder's novice political qualities are shown in full light. Bernero showed he's nothing more than an overly aggressive loudmouth who "writes checks his ass can't cash."

This will be the only debate, and it should be. No one will watch a 2nd or 3rd debate, and no one watches debates between the other candidates for statewide office. How good would they be for the public? At best, it'd be out there on TV for an hour and then in cyberspace.

It's to Snyder's advantage not to have another debate. It'd be like 1998 all over again when the Democrats nominated someone even more obnoxious and even less qualified to be governor: Geoffrey Fieger. Why should then-Gov. John Engler have chosen to debate him? It would have been a circus. Fieger compared Engler to Stalin and Hitler, his ads made your skin crawl, and the state was humming along fine.

It seems like people have already made up their mind at this point. Methinks I'm staying home.


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Sunday, October 10, 2010

It Just Feels Oh-So-Good

The Lions have finally won their first game of the season after blowing out the St. Louis Rams 44-6. After starting the season 0-4 and losing three very close games, the Lions did everything right on both sides of the ball.

The first quarter ended with the Lions and Rams tied at 3-3. Then in the second quarter the Lions blew it wide open. A 105-yard kick return for a TD from Stefan Logan turned a lead into a snowball effect as the Lions scored two more touchdowns before halftime, taking a 24-6 lead.

St. Louis, led by the No. 1 overall pick Sam Bradford, had nothing in the second half as the Rams continued their collapse. The 44-6 victory is the Lions' largest margin since 1995, and their first blowout victory since they beat the Denver Broncos in 2007, 44-7. The win over the Broncos was also the last time fans in the Detroit market watched the team win on TV. The following year the Lions went 0-16, and in 2009, both victories came at home, while the game was blacked out.

The Lions were still without starting QB Matthew Stafford, who looks probably like he's set to return in Week 8 against the Washington Redskins on Halloween. Backup QB Shaun Hill threw 21 of 32 passing, for 227 yards and 3 TDs. It's the best he's looked all year and for the first time, I had confidence in our 2nd stringer.

By the end of the game, the Lions' D took over as Bradford threw two interceptions, one to Ndamukong Suh, the picked right after Bradford in last April's draft, and Alfonso Smith, a newly acquired DB from Denver, who ran it in for a TD.

The Lions, despite having won their only game of the year so far have actually outscored all their opponents combined, 126-112. What makes this victory extra sweet is that they made up for the one difference that has kept them away from winning in three other close losses: they were in the game for all four quarters. Instead of disappearing for a quarter or more, the Lions were in it the entire way.

It's scary to think that had they been firing on all cylinders like this all year, this team could actually be 4-1 right now.

On Tap: Rams at Lions - & What About U-M/MSU?

I'm predicting my Lions will get their first victory of the season today. I know that Sam Bradford, the Rams' rookie QB has played well the last two weeks, but he's a rookie, and like every rookie, they won't develop consistency right away.

Bradford and Lions' QB Matt Stafford will be forever linked as the two Number One picks of their respective drafts (Stafford in 2009 and Bradford in 2010). They will always be compared to one another. Hopefully it'll be a Brady/Manning (with Stafford being more Brady) comparison, and not, say a Manning/Leaf or even Bledsoe/Mirer comparison.

As far as this game goes, both teams are evenly matched on both sides of the ball. Bradford has a better offensive line and RB Steven Jackson is a stud. But he doesn't have much for a receiving corps.

The Lions will again be without Stafford and they are starting Shaun Hill. Hill has put up some decent fantasy numbers, but he'll have to do a good job of managing the offense.

Detroit's single biggest problem in games this year has been the disappearance of the offense for a quarter, or quarter and a half. They need to control the ball, make some plays, and keep the defense off the field for as much as possible. You can't rely on letting the other team build a huge lead, and take their foot off the gas in the second half.

The Lions will have rookie RB Jahvid Best, although it's anyone's guess how good he'll be today. Also returning is TE Tony Scheffler, who has seen tremendous production since coming to Detroit. If Shaun Hill isn't going to manage the game, then the Lions just need to be in 2-minute offense form the entire game. It seems that's the only way they're able to move the ball and score.

I'm guessing the score will be Lions 24, Rams 21.


On a side note, I did not see the game yesterday between Michigan and Michigan State. Apparently the game ended in the second quarter as Michigan apparently did nothing the rest of the way, blowing a 10-7 lead and turning it into a 31-10 deficit in the second half.

The papers are saying Denard Robinson looked human, ONLY running for 86 yards. 86 yards? I know that's his lowest total running yardage of the year, but Jesus, that's a lot for Michael Vick, pre-2007. His other less than impressive statistics - 17 of 29 passing for 215 yards, 1 TD, and 3 picks. Two of those picks were in the end zone.

Is it safe to anoint Michigan State QB Kirk Cousins the best in the state? I think so.

Michigan, I root for you above Michigan State. But after losing three in a row, how does it feel to be "Little Brother?"

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Maybe One Day "Close" Will Count for the Lions, Too

There's an old saying, "close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades." Maybe the Lions should be spotted a 3-6 point handicap.

I sat through a typical game today. 1 - they lost. 2 - they disappeared for about a quarter and a half, just like they did against Chicago and Philadelphia. 3- just like the three games before, they came oh-so close to pulling off another upset victory, a sure sign of a team that is better, but still not good enough.

This 0-4 team isn't like the 2008 debacle. More like the 2001 debacle. If you'll remember, that team started the season losing its first 11 games before winning an upset over the Minnesota Vikings at home. Many of those games comprised of the Lions losing the game by less than two possessions. The 2008 version had the Lions out of the game by the first or early second quarter most of the time.

They had six penalties for 57 yards in the first 20 minutes of the game. Gosder Cherilus returned to form with two penalties in the second half. Stephen Peterman maintained his streak of at least one penalty per game, making it No. 4 today. Most surprising of all, Jeff Backus didn't make the one dumb play needed to put the game out of reach for Detroit.

RB Jahvid Best failed to score a touchdown in the game for the first time in his career. His rushing numbers at least through the first six carries were respectable (26 yards), but Offensive Coordinator Scott Linehan simply didn't employ the running game enough to facilitate his game plan. Whatever that was.

I saw some bright spots, however. First, the secondary, as weak as that corps is, made some HUGE interceptions. I expected Aaron Rodgers to have the kind of game where he'd throw 350 yards, 3 TDs, and 2 INTs (due to throwing the ball on every down), but the secondary gave the Lions' life after the team made so many mistakes. It would've been 3 INTs, if not for the first one being overruled on account of a defensive penalty.

Calvin Johnson played the first half. Well, the second half, too, but he amassed six catches for 86 yards, and 2 TDs in the first half. He brought the Lions back to life at the end of the 2nd quarter with his TD catch, making the score 21-14. It's only significant because Detroit got the ball back in the 3rd quarter.

But Detroit started the 2nd half the way they played through much of the first half. Lifeless. But Brandon Pettigrew amassed nine catches for 84 yards. Unfortunately, his two drops in the 2nd half proved more damaging to Detroit than his nine receptions did to Green Bay.

Still, with over six minutes left in the 4th, the Lions were, only down by 2 points after a series of turnovers and Jason Hanson field goals. All it would've taken was one drive and the Lions would have the lead, either by FG or TD. But the Lions fell 4 yards short, and opted to punt instead of kick a 54-yard FG. Hanson missed a 55-yarder at the end of the 1st half. The miss wasn't even close. But he later hit a 52-yard FG and a 49-yard FG with plenty of clearance. The kind of clearance he would've needed to make the 55-yarder.

Still, the Lions punted. Green Bay held the ball for the rest of the game, taking away any more opportunities for Detroit. The Packers fell apart, only to put it all back together with their last chance.

Shaun Hill, despite my view of him as only a game manager, again put up 300+ yards in the loss. He also threw multiple interceptions. But he did have one Denard Robinson like play, breaking loose and running up the middle for a 40-yard gain that allowed the Lions to come within two points of the Packers.

I suspect he'll start against the Rams, and that Matt Stafford will return to the lineup come Week 8 after the Bye Week. If that's the case, Shaun Hill should be given one more shot, and if he can't beat the Rams, why not take one last look at Drew Stanton before sending him off? The season's lost, and you won't get much more out of Hill than what you've already gotten.

Be that as it may, no matter how much closer the Lions have gotten to victory against three of the first four teams they played (5 points, then 3, then 2), losing is losing. Expectations change in football and the other sports I don't give a damn about. When you come into the game expected to lose by 14-17 points and come within striking distance of winning it at the very end, it shouldn't raise morale.

Yes, they should be 3-1 after four games, but they're still bottom dwellers. And that sucks.

By the way, I was kind of stoked to check my twitter account (which blows up my phone because I follow people who 'tweet' such useless crap), and saw Tom Kowalski respond to a question of mine. Check it out here.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

One Ugly Human Being

Sometimes somebody makes you sick to be an American. Meet Andrew Shirvell.

Last week, I saw Anderson Cooper cover a story about someone so bizarre I could not believe my ears and eyes when I learned that one of our state's Assistant Attorneys General, Andrew Shirvell, apparently kept a blog he maintained, which existed solely as an attack blog on the President of the Michigan Student Association, Chris Armstrong.

This started when Chris Armstrong ran for President of the Michigan Student Association last spring. Armstrong won, becoming the first openly gay MSA President. Shirvell started his blog after the Alliance Defense Fund put out a notice about Armstrong advancing a "radical homosexual agenda." Shirvell had apparently posted numerous blog entries attacking Armstrong and his friends/allies, accusing him of being a racist, a Nazi, and photo shopping pictures of Armstrong next to a gay pride flag with a swastika encircled in the middle of the flag, and the word "Resign" scrawled across Armstrong's face.


Shirvell further went on to show up at rallies with offensive signs linking Armstrong to the KKK and even once showed up at his house with a video camera.

Cooper picked up on this story and interviewed Shirvell on his show, AC360 on Tuesday evening.

The first thing I noticed was just how scary it was this kid could be so unfazed by what he was doing. It never seems to occur to him that he, as a state official who represents the State of Michigan in court cases can somehow find it appropriate to attack not a state or federal official, but a student at a public university.

Chris Armstrong is 21 years old. He is the student body representative to the University of Michigan governance. He is not some influential public official. God knows, he probably makes no more than $300 a week (I haven't looked; and I don't care) at his job. Armstrong is elected to a 1-year term. Most likely he won't run again.

Shirvell maintains that this is a political campaign he's waging. He argues that Armstrong is pushing a "radical homosexual agenda" at the University of Michigan.

Please, no gays in Ann Arbor is like there being no rice in China.

Ann Arbor and the University of Michigan are one of the gay-friendliest communities in the world. The fact that only now in 2010, Armstrong is the first openly gay President only means that it's only about goddamn time. And maybe it's time for Shirvell to join us in the 21st century.

Unfortunately (or maybe it is fortunate), Shirvell's blog is no longer open to the public. Deleting the whole thing might have been better. I did view it on Wednesday, and while not shocked, I was a bit annoyed at the way he referenced phrases such as "gay rights" or "homosexuals" in quotations.

This is pure bigotry, plain and simple. No matter how hard he tries to disguise it, he fails. The fact that he is still allowed to represent my state in the courtroom is disturbing. Attorney General Mike Cox has maintained that while Shirvell's actions are offensive, they are done on his own time, and he has otherwise performed acceptably as a state attorney. Shirvell worked on his reelection campaign in 2006.

Cox recently lost a close race for Michigan Governor in the GOP Primary. He has since then gone back to his duties as AG. Observers have speculated the only reason Shirvell still has a job is simply Cox's way of repaying him for his loyalty. Cox does have a religious, values voters political base to consider. After all, we have not heard the last of Mike Cox in Michigan politics, I think.

I think Shirvell has not only done himself harm, but he apparently hurt his other cause even more simply by speaking his mind. Ever since Shirvell's interview, support for Chris Armstrong has skyrocketed. Thanks to our Asst. AG, Armstrong is probably more popular than ever, free to push his agenda, one of which is gender-neutral housing, which Shirvell says is a "radical redefinition of gender roles."

Even our ever-popular Governor, Jennifer Granholm couldn't resist the chance to take a swipe at Cox, saying if she were still Attorney General, he would've been fired already. Thanks, Gov, but every public statement you make from hear on out should an include an apology for the way you've run the state for the last eight years. Nice try scoring political points, but it's too little, too late, ma'am.

Maybe there is a silver lining to this cloud. Shirvell has recently taken paid sick leave, and when he comes back, he will be facing a disciplinary hearing. It isn't specific, what the hearing will be about, but what else could it be, really?

On Tap: Lions at Packers

The 0-3 Lions head into Green Bay to face the 2-1 Packers at Lambeau Field, a place they haven't won at since 1991. I remember watching the tail end of that game as Barry Sanders was given a carry or two before the game was over.

Even more amazing might be that I actually remember the first game of the current losing streak. Played sometime in late November/early December, Lambeau was covered in snow, and Green Bay managed to go up 28-0 or 35-0. I don't remember the exact score, other than Green Bay having more points. What I do remember is watching Rodney Peete getting pulled early as Wayne Fontes apparently gave up on the game (and the season), and the team got a look at Andre Ware for the remainder of the year.

If the Lions lose tomorrow, the streak goes to 20 games. Chances are, they will. The Lions losing will maintain three unfavorable streaks: a losing streak of 8 games, a road losing streak of 21 games (3 away from tying the old record set back in 2003 by guess who - the Lions), and the 20 games at Lambeau.

Green Bay, despite their loss to the Bears, and the Bears' current record, is the strongest team in the NFC North. I still think the division is the Packers' to lose at this point. So is this game.

Aaron Rodgers will probably emerge this season as one of the Top 5 QBs in the game. Green Bay is otherwise, one of the teams who are pretty strong everywhere - except the O-Line. I expect this to change in the coming years as their 1st Round pick - Brian Bulaga emerges as a solid left tackle, and they use the draft to replace aging interior O-lineman.

Detroit is still without QB Matthew Stafford, who continues to recover from a shoulder injury suffered in Week 1 just before halftime against the Bears. It remains possible he will play the following week at home against the St. Louis Rams, but the Lions ought to put the future of the team and their franchise QB ahead of winning a single game, lest they risk losing Stafford for the entire year.

At this point, I've seen enough of Shaun Hill to realize he's a permanent backup, and on a more capable team like New England or Indianapolis. If Stafford is ready to return in Week 8, a week after the Bye, I don't see why the Lions don't give Drew Stanton one more shot and play him against the Rams or Giants.


As far as the game goes, for Detroit to win, once again it will come down to what the front 4 on the D-line can do. The Green Bay O-line is probably the weakest in the division, and that may put pressure on Rodgers, who is otherwise mobile and has a good arm. RB Ryan Grant is lost for the year, so that leaves it up to the receiving corps with WRs Donald Driver, Greg Jennings (Western Michigan), and TE Jermichael Finley to attack the Lions' weak secondary.

The Lions' offense will have their hands full as Green Bay is loaded on defense with B.J. Raji at DT, Nick Barnett as OLB, and Charles Woodson (Michigan) in the secondary. There's an old adage, 75% of the Earth is covered in water. The rest is covered by Charles Woodson.

The Packers will give the Lions' offense fits, especially since the only viable weapon the Lions have at WR is Calvin Johnson (Nate Burleson is out with a sprained ankle). The Lions have seen production out of their TEs, Brandon Pettigrew and Tony Scheffler. RB Kevin Smith is back and will split time with the probably Offensive Rookie of the Year, Jahvid Best.

Final Score:
Detroit 21
Green Bay 31