Friday, June 28, 2013

Obamacare's looming train wreck

Why is Obamacare on a looming train wreck?

Four reasons -

Young people don't need it and thus won't get it.

It has cost controls - and cost controls never work.

Resultant taxes and government meddling - aka regulations - never work, either.

It sets up exchanges (subsidies for people to buy the insurance) that simply can't work.

It creates demand where there simply is no supply.

'Carbon Pollution' and Wealth Redistribution

'Carbon Pollution' has never existed, but it's not the point of Obama's ridiculous EPA proposal - stealing money is the point.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Asking NFL 2013 Questions

It's early summer but that only means NFL training camps are about five weeks away, and the preview magazines are out with their prognostications. So presented below is a list of NFL 2013 questions and my take on answers -


WHY ARE THE DENVER BRONCOS PICKED TO MAKE THE SUPERBOWL? - Over and over I'm seeing previews picking the Broncos to make the Superbowl - and by beating the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship Game to boot. I'm baffled, because the Patriots are the better of the two teams and Tom Brady is the superior quarterback to Peyton Manning. Manning's pattern of regular-season mastery and playoff collapse repeated itself in 2012 just the same as it's done for all but one playoff season in his career - and it was the eighth time in twelve playoff runs that Manning failed to win even one game - while Tom Brady broke a tie with Joe Montana for most career playoff wins in 2012. Moreover, the rap that Manning's throwing strength deteriorates in cold weather turned out to be true.


CAN THE RAVENS MAKE THE PLAYOFFS? - A championship team basically blew itself up after winning the Superbowl and a rumor is that part of the veteran exodus was alienation of veteran players by coach John Harbaugh, but given the program Ozzie Newsome and company have built in Baltimore the Ravens should not be terribly worried going into 2013. The recent history of Superbowl winners, though, isn't favorable - none have returned in consecutive years since New England 2003-4, and defending Superbowl champs have won exactly one playoff game (New England over Jacksonville in 2005) in the last eight seasons. There also remain questions about Joe Flacco, who despite his often-petulent protestations of elite quarterback status continues to show too much inconsistency - he had a good half in the Superbowl, not a good game.


WHY DID THE PATRIOTS JETTISON WES WELKER? - Simple - they'd gone as far as they could go with him, and for all his volume stats he's a one-trick pony - the ultimate slot receiver. He depended on others to be the focal point of the Patriots offense (Randy Moss, Rob Gronkowski, briefly Deion Branch), and when he had to be the focal point the Patriots struggled. The myth is pushed that his replacement, Danny Amendola, can't stay on the field. The fact is Amedola's injuries have been quite serious, not the kind of knicks that fell true soft players (such as Sammy Morris, who never stayed on the field with the Patriots).


WHY DID THE PATRIOTS SIGN TIM TEBOW? - Because Josh McDaniels, showing he wields a powerful influence on personnel decisions in Foxboro, isn't letting go of the guy he drafted when in Denver in 2010. No one else had any interest in Tebow after he was cut by the Jets. The idea that Tebow was brought in as a utility player is nonsensical; he's a quarterback with seemingly insuperable weaknesses in football IQ, throwing mechanics, and general ability to secure the ball. The Patriots showed the league how to beat Tebow in December 2011, and the result is Tebow lost four of his last five starts as a quarterback; and when the Jets signed him they saw for themselves his hopelessness as a player; their hope of using him for multiple positions was a stupid fantasy from Day One, because he can't handle that.

The notion remains in some minds that Tebow could sit for a few years and learn from Tom Brady and Bill Belichick - call it The Myth Of The Next Steve Young, a myth already seen with the likes of Kordell Stewart and Michael Vick. Steve Young showed he could play even in his rawness with the late-1980s 49ers; nowhere has Tim Tebow showed anything close to that. If he stays in Foxboro I can't see any scenario beyond the next Damon Huard - scout team quarterback extraordinaire.


WHY IS REX RYAN STILL A HEAD COACH? - Really because no one else is available right now. The collapse of the NY Jets has been held as a referendum on the incompetence of Mark Sanchez and the Jets front office, but it's worse than that - Rex Ryan created a cancerous football culture that held ego and talent above team, where image was more important than creating a disciplined culture. It divided the locker room when he was in Baltimore - it's curious few noticed the Ravens going out of their way not to hire Ryan when they fired Brian Billick - and clearly it's done the same in New York.


WILL MIAMI AND BUFFALO EVER BE RELEVENT AGAIN? - Miami certainly looks to be improving now, with a quarterback in Ryan Tannehill who actually looks capable of the NFL. Buffalo is harder to gauge given the wholesale blowup of the front office and coaching staff. Doug Marrone, though, looks to bring in some fresh ideas to a club in dire need of fresh idceas.


IS PITTSBURGH IN TROUBLE? - The Steelers have regressed the last season-plus beginning with the playoff loss to Tim Tebow that may have been the worst gameplan for a playoff game ever seen. Adding Todd Haley didn't work in 2012 and despite stories that Ben Roethlisberger is "embracing" Haley's offense, Haley's record as a coach looks poor. 2013 may be a third-place season for the Steelers.


IS THE AFC SOUTH A TWO-TEAM RACE? - Right now it is, but Houston and Indianapolis showcased serious weaknesses - Houston's inability to handle quality teams at the end, and terrible turnover and overall points differentials for the Colts. The Texans don't look any better now than they did after getting smacked in the playoffs, and Andrew Luck is the real deal but also vulnerable to a sophmore slump. Jacksonville is in long-term rebuild, while Tennessee has added to shore up their O-line and overall defense - two shocking weaknesses in 2012 after a solid 2011 for both. Tennessee needs Jake Locker to step up after a very rough 2012 where he missed six games with shoulder injury and was radically hot and cold yet showed enough to think he can become a winner.


CAN ANYONE HANDLE DENVER IN THE AFC WEST? - Mostly no. The one team that might remains San Diego; Philip Rivers has been radically uneven the last three seasons but overall is too good not to contend. Kansas City has Andy Reid but we need to see the Chiefs in action first before we can say whether they're improving or not. Oakland, meanwhile, is stuck in the same rut Al Davis put it in, and his heir apparent looks like the slob in the movies rather than any kind of competent owner.


WHY IS TONY ROMO STILL IN THE LEAGUE? - Because Jerry Jones has the same incompetence level as a GM as the late Mr. Davis; his team-building efforts have been consistent failures and the Cowboys have been a consistently mediocre or worse team since their last Superbowl. Tony Romo is seen as a good quarterback even though by any objective measure he isn't - he plays Brett Favre football, which means chuck it upfield, reading defenses be damned. Romo's work ethic got called out by Jerry Jones, but there is no reason to think anything will be different for a guy who's been a starter now entering his eighth season - a guy who signed on in 2003 and got passed over by at least three quarterbacks before he was thrown in during 2006.


ARE THE NY GIANTS ANYTHING? - Not really. They somehow won two Superbowls under Tom Coughlin, and don't have another playoff win in that span; they've missed the playoffs three of the last five seasons, and the pattern has always held - they race out of the gate fast, then collapse in the second half of the season. In 2012 they lost yet again to the Eagles even as the Andy Reid era was collapsing in ruins.


WILL THE REDSKINS GO TO THE NEXT LEVEL? - No. People have grossly overrated Mike Shanahan as a coach and team builder; after John Elway retired Shanahan's teams have won one playoff game; his personnel judgement has been a little shaky, as he went with the idiotic Jay Cutler even when Cutler showed himself to have nothing beyond volume stats going for him. Robert Griffin III looks to be the real deal, but that depends on whether he elevates his quarterbacking - and also on whether Shanahan actually gets things right.


ARE THE PACKERS A PAPER TIGER? - Hell yes. Aaron Rodgers is held as an elite quarterback, yet no one seems to notice his inability to lead a comeback. When the Packers can't race out to a big lead, or they fall behind, they have invariably failed - the infamous loss to Seattle last year was not the Packers getting robbed, it was the Packers getting exposed as front-running phonies. And it isn't just Rodgers - the much-praised defense with Clay Matthews et al always falters against some kind of quality team (New York in 2011, San Francisco 2012).


WILL CHRISTIAN PONDER SURPRISE? - Yes. People have downed his 2012 season, ignoring that he improved as the season went on and outdueled Aaron Rodgers in the season finale.


WILL THE LIONS REBOUND? - Yes, because they have the real deal in terms of a roster in general and key positions such as quarterback in particular. Turnover differential was the killer in 2012.


WILL THE SAINTS REBOUND IN 2013? - Yes, but the NFC South has now become a deep division with the still-potent Falcons, a Tampa Bay Bucs squad with huge potential, and an improving Carolina Panthers squad. It's more than plausible the last-place team in this division could finish 8-8 or even 9-7, reminiscent of 2008.


IS CAM NEWTON READY TO TAKE THE NEXT STEP? - His maturity issues hurt in the first half of 2012, but he was playing better football than the Falcons Matt Ryan at the season's end. That bodes well for 2012.


IS MATT RYAN A ONE-SHOT WONDER? - Yes.  The Falcons remain potent but his playoff performances remain bad enough not to take him seriously as a Superbowl contender.


HOW DEEP IS THE NFC WEST? - Deep enough to possibly send three teams to the playoffs. The 49ers and Seahawks have become elite teams while the Rams were 2-1-1 against both last year and should be even better in Jeff Fisher's second season.


WILL THERE BE NFL TEAMS IN LOS ANGELES AND LONDON? - No. Despite stories that a London NFL franchise is something like a done deal, the logistics of stationing an NFL team in London simply don't work between timezones, the cost of shuttling equipment to and from London, and whether players even want to be there, plus there really isn't much beyond a niche audience in London for the NFL. LA is even worse as far as fan indifference goes, and California's thoroughly screwed-up economics will only hurt efforts to build a new stadium.

And so it goes as we count down to 2013 training camps.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The Obamacare Costs Con

Obamacare was sold as a used car con, and the costs are coming in, in addition to illustrating the refusal of Democrats to admit being wrong.

Release Osama Bin Laden’s Files on Taliban

Osama Bin Laden’s Files on Taliban have not been released by the Obama administration. The Guardian in the UK writes what may be the reason why - "The news (within the Bin Laden files) will undermine hopes of a negotiated peace in Afghanistan."

Monday, June 03, 2013

Off To Pocono

The Winston Cup cars head north from Dover to Pocono, and do so with a season that is turning more bizarre. The Mason-Dixon 400 turned out to be the strangest finish in awhile after Jimmie Johnson was blackflagged for jumping the restart and Tony Stewart got the win after passing Juan Montoya - that Montoya was anywhere near the lead at all by itself is bizarre given the collapse of his Winston Cup career.

The win for Stewart was a shocker because of the reality his team isn't very good now; that he tried to bite a reporter's head off at Dover for asking about rumors of personnel changes in his team comes across as petulant and lacking credibility - something is going on for the rumors to be circulating at all. 

Something is also going on with Toyota.   Once again the Camry fleet has the opportunity to wrest control of the series from Chevrolet and the Toyotas continue blowing it.   Toyota teams need to start questioning whether the company over-centralized the engine program because the issue of engine failures is disturbingly frequent across the fleet.   

Martin Truex's engine failure illustrates this, though his run also showed the lack of killer instinct that has permeated his entire career.

Denny Hamlin meanwhile is on a pole binge of late, though he sounded pessimistic for Pocono because the place was repaved recently and "it's a whole new track" now - "We're not the best anymore at that track," he said.    That he ran as well as he did at Dover so soon after coming back was certainly encouraging.

Then there is the Penske Racing saga.   Brad Keselowski's postrace problems at Dover continue a trend where a fundamental shift in power within the organization appears to have occurred.   Keselowski now looks like yesterday's news and Joey Logano appears to be the #1 there.  

The larger issue of Ford is also a story, as the Ford fleet looks much weaker than usual now.  Within the Roush organization has come the story that Matt Kenseth's departure has left a leadership void, and it looks to be getting worse.

They all will resume the season at Pocono, and while one shouldn't hold much optimism for the Generation Six racecar, the season has had enough nutty stuff happen that a track that has seen a good share of surprises may produce another.