Monday, September 28, 2015

Bacha Bazi and the Afghan Drawdown

A look at recent incidents where US soldiers stopped Arab child rape in Afghanistan.

"....we were working primarily with the Afghan National Army - an organization dominated by northeners and non-Pashtuns and, by Afghan standards, a more professional outfit than the local police units that became more critical to the success of the US drawdown beginning in 2011. Though the Afghan Army had its problems, including corruption and surely sexual assault as well, lost in the discussion this week is a fine but important distinction: The crisis of systematic child rape primarily involves Pashtuns who have joined the police or government-backed militias in the eastern and southern parts of the country during the period when Americans have been focused on their own departure.
"....the grim news is suppressed by midlevel commanders working to put a positive spin on the progress of the drawdown."

The Putin Doctrine in Action

Vlad The Impaler makes Red Russia a predator state again.

Week Three - More This And That

The NFL hit Week Three and with footballs flying all around, a fascinating tidbit came from Mike Florio, who said that increased injuries, particularly to quarterbacks and notably in the wake of injuries to Tony Romo and Ben Roethlisberger, may prompt the NFL to increase practice time alloted to teams, this after curtailing it to get the 2011 CBA done and also to lessen the workload for players, ostensibly to prepare them for an eventual expansion of the season to 18 games. After four seasons, the results have been mixed; what I've noticed is it seems to take three weeks or more for teams to get into proper rhythm, and increased practices can only help toughen up players and also better establish team rhythm.

With that, Week Three had some more crackerjack games.   A look at what went down -

Wunna these days, Tennessee, wunna these days......! - The Titans are for real, even tough they're presently 1-2.   Marcus Mariota has given them a fight they didn't have in 2014, and it showed in the 35-33 Colts win; the Titans fell behind 14-0 after a Mariota pick-six, then Mariota erased that gap with 27 unanswered points before Andrew Luck erupted with three touchdown drives.   Mariota then came back from that and scored in the final minute; the two-point try failed and the ensuing onside kick also failed.

Curiously the Titans didn't try a 50-plus yard field goal after Mariota was sacked at the Colts 34 in the fourth quarter while still up 27-14; in hindsight they could have used the possible extra three points.   The Titans have now lost eight straight to the Colts, and five of them were the kind of winnable one-score losses that will bug the hell out of anyone.

The Steelers win the game and may lose the season - Michael Vick is not what he once was, and without Ben Roethlisberger the Steelers may be in serious trouble, especially with a pending date with a Ravens team that's now in must-win mode, and which beat the Steelers the last time they traveled to Pittsburgh.

The Falcons may be better than we thought - Erasing a 14-point gap on three separate occasions, the Falcons posted one of the wildest wins so far this year, 39-28.   Brandon Weeden was effective in the first half but the second half was beyond anyone for the Cowboys.   It showed they're not as good as they (or anyone else) thought they were.   The Falcons meanwhile haven't yet proven they're as good as people think they are, but at least they're showing something to that direction.

For Eagles and Jets, some things never change - The Eagles have never lost to the NY Jets, ever.   That streak continued as the Eagles erupted to 24 points in the first half.  Ryan Fitzpatrick did show some fight in clawing back with 17 points but three INTs are what he ultimately is.

Chargers aren't putting up enough fight anymore - Two road losses to teams that aren't as good as you show you're not a contender anymore.  The Chargers have long been criticized for underachievement and they're just confirming the criticism.

The Lions have become irrelevant again - The Lions have never done well against quality opponents and Matthew Stafford didn't rise to the occasion against a transitioning Broncos team on Sunday night.   Matthew Stafford, presently 3-33 (0-18 on the road) against quality opponents, may go down as the most talented quarterback who ultimately didn't do anything.  He has three signature wins - 2009's comeback against the Browns, 2013's comeback against the Cowboys, and 2014's comeback against the Falcons.   And those are wins anyone should be proud of.   Yet he still has not done it against truly quality foes like Peyton Manning teams.

Jameis Winston's rough beginning - Rookie seasons are filled with roughness, but Winston's subpar completion percentage against a banged-up Houston team still warrants some criticism.   In two of his first three games he hasn't reached 50% completion and has three picks to four touchdowns.  Can he improve?  I still say he can, but he has to start improving.

Colin Kaepernick in trouble - We knew the Cardinals are good now with Carson Palmer back, but to pick off Colin Kaepernick four times is a bad sign for the quarterback who has come under more intense scrutiny after his poor 2014 season and after showing real improvement in the first game of the season.   He faces the Packers next week and if he struggles again the Niners need to reconsider him.

The Bengals now own the Ravens - One of the best finishes of the year erupted at M&T Bank Stadium as the Ravens came back from down 14-0, the lead changed four times in the fourth quarter - and Andy Dalton still bombed the Ravens to submission in a game that featured a combined total of 122 rushing yards.   The Bengals are now 19-20 all-time against the Ravens and Andy Dalton has now won five of the last six meetings - and the one loss (in 2013) saw Dalton complete a tip-drill touchdown to force overtime.

Wrecks Ryan tears up Miami - When it isn't the Patriots Rex Ryan seems invincible, and he bombed the Dolphins in Miami 41-14.   Ryan Tannehill threw three picks, indicating why he'll never be anything beyond an 8-8 or 9-7 quarterback.   This rivalry, though, is very tight - this was Rex Ryan's sixth win in thirteen meetings with the Dolphins to date, and five of Miami's wins over Ryan were road wins for the Dolphins.

Are the Raiders for real? - Derek Carr is starting to make believers.   The win over the Ravens was huge, and with another win, this one over the Browns, the Raiders schedule takes a turn for the better with coming dates against the Bears, the Steelers (the Raiders have dominated that rivalry recently, Roethlisberger or no Roethlisberger), the Jets, two dates with the Chiefs, and two dates with a suddenly-uncertain Chargers squad.

Because they had to play this game...... - The Patriots refused to look past the Jaguars; they took them seriously and made certain to bury them.   Tom Brady thus found 400 touchdowns - and has more Superbowls than the three quarterbacks (Marino, Favre, and Manning) combined.

Packers prove they're not what the hype says they are - On Monday Night Football, when up 38-14 over an obviously overmatched Chiefs team, the Packers didn't finish them off; instead the Chiefs scored two touchdowns and got the ball back in the final minute.   Aaron Rodgers again showed the fourth quarter is his weakest while Alex Smith showed some fight we haven't seen out of him in awhile.   It all added up to a 38-28 Packers win, a win but one that exposes some weakness in the much-hyped Packer juggernaut.

So it goes as we await Week Four.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Parody Of Activism

The Green Inferno spoofs the Occupy thugs

Pope Francis Can't Help The Poor

Pope Francis talks a lot about helping the poor - and shows zero understanding of reality in doing so.

No To Phamaceutical Price Controls

Democrats more and more are advocating price controls on prescription pharmaceuticals, oblivious to the fact price controls create shortages and rip off everyone. Politicians forever have zero understanding of real economics, but some doctors clearly don't, either - they need to leave it alone because price issues solve themselves via the market, capitalization, and technological improvement.

Update December 29, 2015 The pharmaceutical industry's opposition to patent reform should be resisted  because patents are an often-dubious money scam.

The 'Sharing Economy' and Other Media Lies

The disconnection of Silicon Valley and the media from the real world.

Obama Allies With Persian Mass-Murderer

Our Iranian Interlocutor

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Federal Failure

A look at why the government can't work. See also this look at the Labor Department.

Obama Blames Others For His Syria Failures

Obama blames others for his failures, as shown by David Petraeus in recent testimony about Syria.

UPDATE February 2016:Obama floats rumors again of changing its Syrian strategy as it piously claims there is no military solution - except as usual the facts show there is.

The Poisonous Obama Years

A look at the thoroughness of Obama corruption and dishonesty regarding defeating the Islamic enemy.

Stop Wasting Time About Income Inequality

Because it's nothing but a fiction of those who advocate government meddling in the economy, as shown by the census Bureau's measurement disproving the "rich are getting richer" myth.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Would a Muslim President Be Good on Gay Marriage?

Liberals rush to defend Islam, the most terroristic religion in the world, because they want to score propaganda points. Ben Carson came under fire for calling out Islam - here is what he got right.

Ray Mabus Can’t Handle the Truth

Ray Mabus Can’t Handle that women can't handle combat.

Media Falsity And Muslims

The media refuses to be honest about Muslims when they criticize Republican candidates.

The Chart On Market Capitalism

This chart shows how market capitalism works - and continues to work.

Soviet Russia On The March Again

Barack Obama and Liveshot Kerry want to appease the enemy - the fact is Vlad The Impaler is the enemy and the real solution is to defeat the enemy.

Monday, September 21, 2015

The Myth Of Employer Benefits

This is a look at employers being mandated to provide benefits to workers - and how it cannot escape the reality that making companies spend more money than they objectively should is not to anyone's benefit. See also this piece debunking a piece by venture capitalist Nick Hanauer and union chief David Rolf opposing the "gig" economy.

Classic NASCAR - 1973 Talladega 500

The 1973 Talladega 500, a wildly competitive race - but also a tragedy-marred event.

Classic NASCAR - 1980 World 600

The 1980 World 600, a seven-hour epic with a spectacular fight to the win by Benny Parsons and Darrell Waltrip.

Classic NASCAR - 1976 Permatex 300

We post this link to the 1976 Permatex 300 NASCAR Sportsman race at Daytona.

NFL Week Two - Order And Chaos Restored

For the second week of the NFL's 2015 season it was restoration of order in some circles and restoration of chaos in others.   A look at both -

The Chiefs still are not ready for prime time - The immediate cause of Kansas City's 31-24 collapse to the Broncos is Jamal Charles and his bookend fumbles, especially the pick-up six scored by the Broncos barely seconds after their tying touchdown.    But longer term this game showed that Alex Smith can never get it done; his red zone INT was the most graphic recent example that Smith needs to be replaced; whenever the next sureshot quarterback prospect shows up in the draft, the Chiefs need to go get him.

The Broncos thus survived a bit of a scare from Peyton Manning after his terrible throwing in Week One; they seemed to let him go back to his old offense and the result was three touchdowns and touch throws; the arm strength remains an issue to keep an eye on down the road, but there's obviously been an adjustment.  

The Colts aren't, either - Andew Luck is now 2-8 against AFC East teams; his last win over an AFC East team was against Buffalo in 2012, a Bills team led by Ryan Fitzpatrick, thus making the Jets' win Monday Night all the more ironic.   Of Luck's 36 wins (counting playoffs) 16 of them have come against the AFC South, but that division isn't as weak now as it was before, especially with the Titans and what appears to be the keeper in Marcus Mariota, the first of three straight division games for a Colts team that's clearly in disarray.

Patriots manhandle Sexy Rexy in a wild one - The week was dominated by trash talk from the Buffalo Bills and Rex Ryan, while Aaron Williams was especially angry in pregame trash talk and then with three personal fouls during the game, then got his comeuppance in a scary incident trying to stop a Julian Edelman touchdown; he hit face first and was taken in an ambulance for a neck injury; he was released Sunday night.   Tom Brady meanwhile demonstrated how to beat defense - with fast throws; the Bills couldn't particularly stop Brady despite scoring 19 fourth-quarter points and thus making it a 40-32 game from a 37-13 Patriots lead.

If you thought you'd already seen close high-scoring Patriots-Bills games recently, it's because you have - 38-30 Patriots win in 2010 in Randy Moss' final Foxboro game (with his final two touchdowns) with the Patriots; 2011's 34-31 Bills comeback win, their first over the Patriots in fifteen games; 2011's 49-21 Patriots comeback win; 2012's two games, first New England's 52-28 comeback in Buffalo after trailing 21-7 in the third, then New England's 37-31 win in Foxboro on a late Ryan Fitzpatrick INT; even 2014's 37-22 Patriots win in Buffalo was a taut game, the Pegula family's first home game after assuming ownership of the team from the Ralph Wilson estate. 

The plethora of Bills penalties demonstrate anew the sloppy approach of Rex Ryan to football and why Ryan will never be anything beyond what he is as a coach - his anger about Dion Lewis was especially illustrative as he dismissively reinterated that "I don't know who he is, just run the ball," as though stopping the run - this as the Patriots put up 507 yards, 466 of them in the air - was some kind of accomplishment.  

Also noteworthy is the Patriots were one of three teams - Pittsburgh and Arizona were the others - to break 40 points scored on this day.

Don't overestimate Tony Romo or Jay Cutler's absences - The reality remains both are stiffs as quarterbacks.  Jimmy Clausen wasn't anything worth a damn for the Panthers under John Fox in 2010, but after all these years of Jay Cutler, a change for the Bears has been overdue.   The same is true of Tony Romo and the Cowboys; when Jon Kitna had to take over for injured Romo in 2010, the Cowboys wound up salvaging a respectable season.

Winston and Mariota, game two - Marcus Mariota came back to earth with a 28-14 Browns win over the Titans, the first win for Johnny Fumbles - aka Manziel.   Manziel's undisciplined style of quarterbacking was still in evidence (he completed only eight passes and most of them were just desperation bombs that connected), and Mariota gave the Titans real fight in trying to come back from down 21-0, so long term the Titans are in a lot better shape with their quarterback than the Browns are.  

Meanwhile Jameis Winston got his first win in a 26-19 Bucs win at New Orleans; the collapse of the Saints can no longer be denied, and suddenly Sean Payton and Drew Brees no longer look like a credible pairing.   Winston's rebound from a dismal first game is encouraging especially in getting a Bucs win over a Saints team that had won six straight over the Bucs. 

Bill O'Brien still has a problem  Ryan Mallett showed some good form for the Houston Texans but in the end he didn't get it done in a Panthers 24-17 win, and Bill O'Brien will have to get a lot more out of whoever his starter is to get something going in an AFC South that has started upside down.

Speaking of upside down, there's the AFC North - The Bengals beat the Chargers, a bit of a surprise after San Diego's spectacular comeback win over the Lions, but also common for the Bengals of recent in the regular season; the Bengals are thus 2-0.   The Steelers rebounded to 1-1 by a 43-18 massacre of the Niners, while the Browns got to 1-1 as well.   The shocker here is the 0-2 Ravens, losers in a wild 37-33 game at the Oakland Raiders.  That the Raiders are actually getting better should be understood; that they're not good enough yet that winning is the norm is also obvious, which makes Baltimore's loss all the more disturbing.

Yet another Giant collapse - for the Eagles as well - The Giants are a clown show, that's obvious now.   They have now lost two straight games in which they blew two-touchdown leads, and losing to an overrated Falcons team is all the more galling.   The Giants thus fall to 0-2, but a fellow cellar dweller in the NFC East is the Eagles, whose explosive offense of the preseason didn't show up in Philly's home opener.   Despite losing Tony Romo the Cowboys manhandled the Eagles and now Chip Kelly looks not like a future champion but like a coach in serious trouble.  

The Lions still can't beat good teams on the road - The Vikings staged their own rebound by downing the Lions 26-16, a game that illustrated a galling historical failure for Matthew Stafford - he entered 2015 0-18 lifetime in road games against quality opponents and now has an 0-2 start to this season.

Other reality checks - The Rams crashed and burned against the Deadskins and thus fell to 1-1, one of fourteen teams at 1-1 (curiously, nine of them are AFC teams while six of nine 0-2 teams are NFC teams); the Panthers are 2-0 but need to score more, having scored just 44 points in the first two games; the Seahawks are definitely not the same anymore after their first loss to the overrated Packers since December 2009.

So it goes as we count down to Week Three.

Bush and Rubio Pave the Way on Corporate Tax Reform

A look at two credible ideas on corporate tax reform.

On National Security, Trump Strikes Out Again

On National Security, Trump Strikes Out Again

Obama’s Intel Scandal

Obama has been caught cooking the intelligence books to justify his appeasement of Islamo-Arab imperialism - the problem is he's already done it before, during his first term.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Obama Surrenders To Red Russia In Syria

Obama surrenders to Vlad The Impaler of Russia and lets Russia enter the war for the Middle East. So what is Red Russia up to? Aiding a long-standing client state and adding conquests - and Obama insists on appeasing the enemy.

Don't Feed The Bern

Bermie Sanders has no place in society, especially when he lies about the founding of the US. He wants to "feed the Bern." The Bern, though, costs $18 trillion at least, this despite the Washington Post's disingenuous defense of Sanders' economics, refuted here.

Marines Prove Women Can't Handle Combat

.Obama's Navy Secretary Slanders them

NFL 2015 Week One Observations

The 2015 season is underway and Week One offered up some surprises, which seems characteristic of the opening week of the NFL season.  Some observations -

While the Patriots keep winning, the Steelers (and the league) make excuses - The story of the Patriots' 28-21 win over the Steelers - their tenth in their last fifteen meetings - was Pittsburgh's protest about its coaching radios fuzzing up - the NBC telecast made it out to be the result of Patriots jamming and Mike Tomlin all but openly asserted such in his postgame presser.  The league somewhat belatedly acknowledged the radio fuzzing was nothing untoward (this after several rival coaches stated flatly it wasn't the result of any jamming), though it led to an uncharacteristic slam of his critics by Belichick in his Friday conference call.   It reflects what radio personality Glen Ordway has called an agenda by the league - to punish the Patriots by constantly portraying them in an evil light.  

The Jets get a big win thanks to the incompetence of Johnny Fumbles - Now we know that Johnny Manziel will never amount to anything in the NFL.   There were five Browns turnovers in all and Manziel fumbled twice and also threw a pick - it showcases Manziel's undisciplined approach to the game and the twelve penalties further shows the Browns do not play smart football, they try to win with athleticism and nastiness. 

Andrew Luck continues to fail against the AFC East - The Bills hadn't beaten the Colts in a real game since 1998 (Buffalo's 1999 and 2009 wins were against Colts teams resting for the playoffs).  This time around they got a solid performance from Tyrod Taylor to go with 147 rushing yards, this despite 113 yards of penalties (again, a sign of undisciplined play).  Andrew Luck is now 2-7 lifetime against AFC East teams - his only wins were against the Bills and Dolphins in 2012; his previous game against Rex Ryan was a 35-9 NY Jets win.  

Right now Tennessee owns the AFC South - Marcus Mariota won't get it this easy down the road, but his 42-14 evisceration of the Bucs is what good quarterbacks do to bad teams as he became the first rookie with four touchdowns in his first game since Fran Tarkenton crushed the Bears (in a game he didn't even start) 37-13.    It leaves the Titans as the only AFC South team with a win. 

Houston was expected to be a contender in 2015 but getting pummeled 27-20 by the Chiefs was bad enough; benching his erstwhile starter leaves Bill O'Brien with a bigger problem next week against a 1-0 Panthers team.  And while JJ Watt was in evidence, nobody else on that Texans defense could be found.

Right now Cincinnati owns the AFC North - We knew Pittsburgh and Baltimore would lose given they were facing teams that own them, and we had a feeling the Browns wouldn't show up - they of course didn't - so the Bengals shouldn't necessarily feel all that high right now, especially given their next opponent -

Philip Rivers redeems himself - Rivers overcame two INTs (one of them a Grover Quin pick six) and a 21-3 Lions lead to explode the San Diego Chargers to a 33-28 win; 404 yards and two touchdowns wiped out Matthew Stafford's day and leaves him still with a poor road record against quality opponents. 

Red flags for the Broncos - Peyton Manning beat the Ravens again - what else is new?  But the poor quality of his throws and needing Aqib Talib to win his latest feud with Steve Smith don't bode well for Peyton; needing to rely on the defense to win is not the formula for success - to where I'm tempted to predict Brock Osweiler will see some significant action this season.

Why didn't the Seahawks run Marshawn Lynch at the end of the Superbowl?  That's why - 4th and 1 and Lynch was stopped by the Rams for only their fourth win against the Seahawks since beating them in the 2004 playoffs.   Also getting questioned is the onside kick at the start of overtime, but overall this hame indicates the Rams are starting to get something going and the NFC West, and it was Game Of The Week

Despite the loss, the Eagles will be a force - What does a Pyrrhic victory look like?   In 2012 the Falcons hosted the Seahawks in the NFC Divisional Playoffs and blew a 27-7 lead; Matt Ryan drove the Falcons down for the winning field goal, but the damage was done - the Falcons blew a 17-0 lead in the NFC Championship Game and lost to the Niners.  Since then the Falcons have been a bottom-ten outfit.   Well it happened again as the Falcons raced to a 20-3 lead, blew that lead, clawed out a 26-24 lead, then needed a missed Cody Parkey FGA and a tip-drill interception to win a game they really had no right to win.   The way the Eagles rallied from a terrible start is what makes title contenders.

The Niners are supposed to be a mess, right? - Suddenly the NFC West looks like a four-way fight, as Colin Kaepernick showed a striking level of improvement in his decision-making in leading the Niners to an embarrassing rout of the Vikings, a team that has appeared to be on the rise.   Sustaining all of that remains to be seen, but this is a much better start than was reasonable to expect from a Niners team that looked on the ropes well before training camp started.

So it goes for Week One and Week Two awaits.

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

ESPN Continues The Smear Of The Patriots

ESPN and also Sports Illustrated released pieces today rehashing long-discredited accusations of cheating by the New England Patriots, this in the wake of Roger Goodell's complete discrediting at the hands of Judge Richard Berman.   Goodel's discrediting by Berman showed how unfit for his office he is for it showcased his megalomania and complete ignorance of the game over which this ex-PR flack for the league office presides.

The ESPN and SI pieces rehash the mythology of cheating allegations made against the Patriots - that the Patriots stole playsheets and rigged transmitters in opponent locker rooms etc. - never mind that the security details of visiting teams control those areas, not the Patriots, and that Spygate was not about any violation of NFL rules, it was about the dishonesty and ignorance of Roger Goodell. It is noteworthy that the only real source for ESPN's story (it cites unnamed sources - and I will call out ESPN that these unnamed sources were made up by the writers) is long-discredited former assistant Matt Walsh, who was fired by the Patriots and was exposed as not credible by the league when it turned to him for what it thought would be a smoking gun of Patriots cheating - and merely got more sideline videotapes.   Walsh does not give information in good faith.

The piece's conclusion rehashes the excuses about the Brady verdict - "It didn't matter that Berman only ruled on whether the league had followed the Collective Bargaining Agreement, not on Brady's guilt or innocence."   False - Berman got the league to admit it never had any evidence against the Patriots - all it had were inferences from text messages, inferences that were never relevant to anything.  In short Berman proved Brady (and by extension the Patriots) were innocent.  "It didn't matter that the Patriots had accepted the league's punishment in May."   Again false - Goodell lied to Bob Kraft in May (and lied to and about Tom Brady from the beginning) and it showed in Kraft's training camp presser where he admitted being wrong in trusting the league.   The reason for the lying stems from Goodell's fundamental dishonesty, shown ironically in an overlooked angle - the effort to pry away trade secrets.

The ESPN piece has earned more notoriety for questions about a 2008 statement from ex-Rams coach Mike Martz.   Among the allegations made against the Patriots is they were able to key on Rams back Marshall Faulk in the Superbowl XXXVI win.  What the piece ignores is the real reason the Patriots are winners - the Rams were about trying to beat toughness, thoroughness, and situational football with athleticism and talent - and it failed. The reality is the Rams thought they were innovative and creative and they were not; they relied on athleticism, not smart play; if anything the Rams may have been tipping their own plays the way they leaned on Marshall Faulk. What Belichick did was expose that football is not about athleticism - and also that Tom Brady is the superior quarterback.

The simple fact is there never was any cheating by the Patriots.    The facts have long proven this.   The league needs to face that other teams need to define their game up, stop dumbing it down and stop punishing success. 

Monday, September 07, 2015

The Good And Bad Of The Throwback Southern 500

NASCAR returned the Bojangles Southern 500 to Labor Day weekend and the return brought out a full-scale wave of nostalgia from the prerace to the telecast and also the MRN call, and it showed in the obviously stout crowd.   Darlington lost the Rebel 500 because of declining attendances but that region clearly would not let Darlington go, and with the Southern 500 on labor Day weekend again one can sense a defiant gratitude in fans in that area.

We take a look at the good and the bad of this Throwback Southern 500 -

The Good - The reverence paid to racing's past was pretty obvious from the start of the weekend as Rex White, Junior Johnson, Bobby Allison, Cale Yarborough, and Ned Jarrett were among the sport's legends getting the spotlight.    Given how life works, it added poignancy that Buddy Baker is no longer with us and David Pearson is still recovering from a stroke, though I am mildly irked that short shrift seemed to be paid to the late Harry Hyde and also Tim Richmond, both 1986 Southern 500 champs - would it have been too much to ask that Chase Elliott's #25 be painted in Folgers red?   

The nostalgia extended to the telecast and some of the neat throwback graphics as well as the return of Ken Squier and Ned Jarrett; MRN's throwback music intros were also a great touch.

The ultimate throwback was in the varied color schemes, especially such obscure schemes as the #11 sporting First National City Travelers Checks white on yellow, the 1978 scheme for Cale Yarborough here sported by Denny Hamlin's JGR #11.   The early-80s Valvoline colors for Dale Junior, the Mello Yello #42 for Kyle Larson, and Richard Petty's retro-1972 STP colors were also standout schemes.

It showed that NASCAR should be doing this retro effort more often, notably at Talladega in October.   

The Bad - Darlington in its heyday - and the heyday of Richard, David, Cale, the Allisons, Parsons, Baker, Waltrip, Elliott, Earnhardt, and Tim Richmond -  was hard to pass on, and NASCAR's low downforce setup and softer tires worked as well as one could objectively expect - that is, the combination didn't make for better racing.   What won the race for Carl Edwards was what has won almost all the time during the sport's Dead Lane Era - a fast pitstop effectively locked Edwards into the lead because once the green flew the leader was immune thanks to aeropush.    Some of the pursuit between Brad Keselowski, who looked unpassable all night, and Kevin Harvick did get skittish as Harvick got alongside twice, but it showed both how tough Darlington is and also how bad a combo low downforce and this tire package is that Harvick tried twice and that was it - any thoughts of a 1979 Waltrip-Petty epic or even a 1980 Earnhardt-Pearson showdown went out the window. 

Now I say this yet also note lower downforce is a better combo for Darlington.   That the 5&5 Rule ultimately doesn't work is true enough, but for Darlington one can actually make a case that the cars are better off looser than on other tracks; the same can be said for Kentucky after the race there.    The issue remains making the cars stable enough and making dirty air want to aid in passing instead of impede it.  

That Rusty Wallace kept trying to sell this low downforce package on the MRN call I found a little irksome.   That we've heard drivers who say they prefer this package is true enough, but looking at the big picture it isn't cut-and-dried; on the contrary we've had more than enough evidence to say the low downforce package isn't effective overall.   Again it appears it can work on certain tracks; most others there has been precious little evidence in its defense.

The Postscript - Talk about fall from grace - Chevrolet has been usurped from 2015's crown by Joe Gibbs Toyotas and Penske Fords, which once again monopolized the top finishers.   The top Chevys were Kevin Harvick and Kurt Busch, who survived a spinout and salvaged a top-ten; the same was true of Kyle Busch.   What makes the fall of Chevrolet all the more graphic is the decline of Hendrick Motorsports, which has - astonishingly - been routed by its biggest customer team in Stewart-Haas Racing.   One has to wonder what the factory dynamic has become with Chevy; that a customer team has routed Hendrick is by no stretch a negative for the sport, though the rumored switch of Martin Truex's #78 to Toyota reflects poorly on the Bowtie Brigade's myopia toward competitive depth.

Speaking of factory dynamics Ford's collapse was again illustrated by how much better Aric Almirola's #43 is compared to the Roush brigade, though neither organization has the muscle of the Penske squad.  

There was another less flattering display of retro in this Southern 500 - in 1977 Janet Guthrie wrecked; well, 38 years later Danica Patrick wrecked.  

So it was for the Southern 500 of 2015.   Throwback celebration was something to behold, and a good burst of positivity to the sport.

Thursday, September 03, 2015

A Reminder About John Tomase

ESPN a week or so back had to apologize for an on-air assertion that the Patriots were caught illegally videotaping the St. Louis Rams walkthrough before Superbowl XXXVI.   That this assertion is still being made showcases the dishonesty of discussion about the Patriots.   One needs a reminder about the falsity of the story, made up by former Boston Herald writer John Tomase.

Solyndra And The Myth Of Green Energy

Solyndra was a solar company heavily backed by the Obama administration and its irrational push for green energy. A new report shows how corrupt it was.

Workers Don't Do Better In Unions

A permanent reality of economics is unions don't make workers better.

Brady Wins Appeal

The transcript of Judge Richard Berman's vacation of the NFL's suspension of Tom Brady.

Wednesday, September 02, 2015