Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Hillary's Benghazi Deceit

The report on Hillary Milhous Clinton's Benghazi failures showcases how she and the Obama administration did nothing but lie (and continue to lie) about letting the enemy get away with aggression.


Clinton claimed it was a spontaneous outburst from the crowd to an anti-Islamist video. "That's not what she was saying in private." She told Egypt's Prime Minister "(it) had nothing to do with the film. It was a planned attack."


It is how Democrats handle international aggression - they run from it and lie about it, even when threatened when they perjure themselves.

The "Civil Rights" Sham

The Supreme Court made a mistake endorsing racial preferences for students at the U of Texas.

NASCAR Entering The Firecracker 400

NASCAR ended the first half of the 2016 season with a surprising result at Sears Point and now it enters the second half across the country back at Daytona. 





Tony Stewart's win was unexpected given he hadn't won in three years and frankly looked like a driver with one foot out the racecar for good.   But like Jeff Gordon in 2015 he goes out with at least one win.  

Stewart's win will be the headline story entering the Firecracker 400 weekend and the sport as usual has a number of issues to look at for this race as well as some bottom lines established in a season considered pivotal in some circles with the rule changes made to bolster sagging popularity.

A look at the varied angles entering Daytona -



Will the rain actually stay away this time? - the Firecracker weekend has been plagued with rain two straight seasons now.


Stewart-Haas gathers momentum against Hendrick, JGR, and Penske - Since Martin Truex exterminated the competition at Charlotte, SHR has won two of the last three races, a surprising development with the switchover to Ford for 2017.   Speaking of Ford, SHR's future nameplate allies Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano have combined for three wins to go with two Hendrick wins, both by Jimmie Johnson.

This leaves JGR's Toyotas with seven wins and the Barney Vissar #78 with the Charlotte win, though the rule changes at Charlotte curiously have seen a bit of a slip for JGR ensue. 

And with those four, it's left nothing for anyone else.  Kyle Larson turned heads with three top-fives and 103 laps led in Ganassi's #42 Chevrolet, but is 20th in points despite finishing in the top-15 more frequently in recent races.    That's been it as far as any kind of darkhorse.  RCR, Roush, and Petty are going nowhere and the season shows no evidence any darkhorse will emerge. 



The Five Best races this year prove NASCAR's low downforce package can't be called a success -
The five best races this year in chronological order - The Nextera Truck 250 at Daytona, the ARCA General Tire 200 at Talladega, the Toyota Truck 250 at Kansas, the Indianapolis 500, the Rattlesnake Truck 400k at Texas.   In all the battle for the lead was huge, at times unusually physical.  Daytona's Truck 250 saw its most competitive running (26 official lead changes) since 2002.  The ARCA Talladega 200-miler was almost a continuous sidedraft war for the lead.  The Indianapolis 500 exploded to 54 lead changes, the fifth straight 500 to hit 34 and above and the second in four years to break 50.  The Trucks at Kansas and Texas were side-by-side for the lead for prolonged stretches, and Kansas in particular was a physical race where the leaders crashed on the final lap. 

For good measure Indy Lights at the Brickyard saw a spirited fight for the lead in the Freedom 100 and ended in a photo finish, this for racecars running at speeds much closer to what NASCAR runs there than what Indycars hit.   And ARCA's Daytona 200 was a calm race but also saw a surprising and spirited 13-lap sidedraft fight for first.

And the common denominator to all of these races - the racecars are secure to the racetrack; they do not have more power than what the track can handle relative to how much grip the cars have; they have enough tire to race hard on without having to "catch" the car. 

NASCAR has promoted the hell out of its low downforce package and in the last month has worked on the undersides of the racecars to attack chassis "skew" and reduce downforce more.   And it hasn't worked.   Driver praise of the feel of the racecars tries to obscure the obvious - the racing just isn't there.   The one memorable Cup race so far was Dover, thanks to a surprisingly forgiving tire, one that evoked memory of the bias-ply days when the drivers had more tire footprint and teams didn't need "skew" or excessive camber and all the other tricks for grip necessitated by a radial tire that refuses to be forgiving. 

The upshot is also that since the finish of the 2015 Daytona 500 the racing at the plate tracks hasn't been as good as it should be, either.   The 500 this year was lethargic until Kevin Harvick blasted Denny Hamlin into the lead on the final lap.   The Winston 500 was better, but it was too hard to pass and too hard to push-draft there as well.   The Xfinity series at both tracks likewise was less than competitive by Daytona-Talladega standards.

It all shows NASCAR - yet again - has it wrong.


With 200 MPH the cars are not staying on the ground - Talladega saw three cars get off the ground and a lot of gnashing ensued about it, with seemingly no one noticing this is happening with the speeds over 200 MPH again.   People are still spooked over Austin Dillon's crash at the Firecracker - at about 3 in the morning - and they should be; so why is NASCAR letting the cars reach 200 again?  Haven't we seen that 190 is enough?


The most competitive NASCAR series is the Truck Series - And the Truck Series is seeing the emergence of a new star in William Byron.  Driving for Kyle Busch, Byron started slowly with mediocre or worse efforts at Daytona and Atlanta, then exploded after a third at Martinsville to seize the Toyota Truck 250 at Kansas - 






NASCAR's newest rising star - William Byron

Following Kansas Byron stormed to wins at Texas and Iowa and has led 299 laps so far.  


Meanwhile another Kyle Busch Toyota broke through at Gateway in Christopher Bell, who started the year bending over backwards at Daytona and has been curiously erratic between one win and four other top-tens amid two wrecks and one engine failure.






Christopher Bell's star-crossed season started with a bang at Daytona.


The series has also seen old pros Johnny Sauter in Maury Gallagher's Chevrolet and Matt Crafton in the Duke Thorson/Curb Motorsports Toyota grab victories; for Crafton the season has been doubly bittersweet after the fire that gutted the primary Thorsport race shop in mid-season.


The Xfinity Series trudges on - Bled dry by nearly two decades of Cup driver pillaging of its purses, the former Busch Series nonetheless this year saw two surprises - Daniel Suarez's shocking upset of Kyle Busch at the Michigan 250 and Sam Hornish's win at Iowa.  Returning to JGR on an emergency basis, Hornish cleaned house at Iowa for his first Xfinity win since 2014 at this same track.  

Hornish's win was one of a surprising five by non-Cup drivers in the Xfinity series this year.  Erik Jones has two wins so far while Elliott Sadler in the mess of Talladega in April has the win Brennan Poole was supposed to have.   Other than that it's more Cup more of the time.






And for Funny Comedy Gags, consider John Wes Townley and Spencer Gallagher's imitation of a hockey game at Gateway. 


So it goes entering the Firecracker 400 weekend.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Premature 2016 NFL Preview

With the release of varied NFL Preview magazines and six weeks to go before training camps begin it's not a bad thing to speculate on where the varied teams in the National Football League may go season-wise, so we present for whatever it is worth a speculative look at the coming 2016 season -

First is needed a correction to Clark Judge in his introduction to the Lindy's Sports Pro Football 2016 Preview where he pushes the myth that defense wins championships and cites the 2013 Seahawks and 2015 Broncos as evidence and claims the league's top-ranked defense is 12-2 in Superbowls. "It's not a coincidence, it's a trend."

No Mr. Judge, it's a myth.

The Seahawks in 2013 had a superior playoff quarterback in Russell Wilson and defeated Peyton Manning in a playoff game - that is not a coincidence, that is the trend - the norm. Peyton Manning was the weakest playoff quarterback since Dan Marino and his twelfth playoff loss typified the fact he was in over his head in playoff football - it was the playoff wins that were the aberration, despite eventually reaching fourteen playoff wins; the nine one-and-outs in the playoffs (five of them with a first-round bye) were what defined Peyton Manning's career.

The 2015 Broncos defense's only challenge was from quality quarterbacks, and in the playoffs they beat a shaky Steelers team exposed as such by barely escaping the inept Bengals, then the Broncos escaped themselves after their defense was speared in the heart for the tying touchdown by Brady and the Patriots.   When the Superbowl arrived Peyton played as bad as advertised - Cam Newton of the Panthers played worse, not because of the Broncos overrated defense but because the fact of being in the Superbowl suddenly caught up to Newton as it had Dan Marino, Jim Kelly, Stan Humphries, Neil O'Donnell, Kerry Collins, Rich Gannon, Matt Hasselback, and all the other incompetent Superbowl quarterbacks before.  

And with salary cap problems illustrated by a public contract fight with Von Miller, the Broncos enter 2016 shakier than one might expect a defending champ. 

So we look at the thirty-two teams of the league entering 2016:



NATIONAL FOOTBALL CONFERENCE:

NFC EAST:








Dallas Cowboys
- Tony Romo is back and so are Dez Bryant and Orlando Scandrick, and Dallas drafted much-hyped back Zeke Elliott. The problem is Tony Romo is Tony Romo, a doltish volume stats whore who plays like Brett Favre - freelance it, huck the ball with arm strength, and hope someone goes and gets it. Favreball didn't produce in the playoffs a whole lot and Tony Romo's version of Favreball has never worked. People look at the 2014 Cowboys and how well they ran the ball - it didn't make any difference in the end. In no-huddle-type offenses the Cowboys are usually good, but they've never sustained anything. Jason Garrett remains Jerry Jones' bobo rather than an actual credible coach.

New York Giants - They have a new coach in Ben McAdoo but they also have Steve Spagnuolo as defensive coordinator and his return added nothing to a weak Giants defense, while Eli Manning put up highlight reel scores with Odell Beckham to go with 35 overall touchdowns and just fourteen INTs, but it never translated to impressive success and Beckham proved a weak-minded brat in his fight with Josh Norman in the Panthers game. The Giants keep losing a plethora of players to injuries and remain a non-contender for the playoffs until they can prove otherwise.

Philadelphia Eagles - The Eagles abandoned the Chip Kelly experiment and drafted Carson Wentz to redshirt for 2016. Sam Bradford gets another shot after team-highs for completions and percentage but enters the season after a head-shaking holdout during OTAs. The Eagles won three of their last five games so they enter 2016 with some momentum, but Bradford can spoil that if he doesn't grow the heck up.

Washington Redskins - Not ready for prime time division champs nonetheless saw a legitimate program take root under Jay Gruden and Kirk Cousins. They worked to shore up the defense but that's a wait-and-see prospect. The focus is on Cousins to improve his 29 touchdowns and 4,100-plus yards and deliver more than nine wins. Clearly for the first time in the Dan Snyder Deadskins era there appears to be a credible program in place.


NFC NORTH:



 





Chicago Bears
- John Fox has a history of marked improvement in his teams in his second year as coach. The issue remains Jay Cutler, the long-standing flop with a big arm and worthless volume stats; though he showed some improvement in 2015 he didn't make the Bears winners at just 6-10; four of their six wins came against losing teams, but a shocking win in Green Bay adds some luster going forward.

Detroit Lions - How important is coaching? The Titans fired their coach and opened their new coach's stay with their biggest comeback win in terms of morale-boost in years; the Colts finally got through to Andrew Luck to start playing smarter football; the Lions fired Joe Lombardi after losing six of their first seven games and under Jim Bob Cooter as coordinator the Lions won six of their last eight games beginning with a shocker of a win in Green Bay. While it would be wrong to say the Lions have been good against quality opponents - Matthew Stafford remains abysmal against good teams - his improved play does augur well for 2016. Jim Caldwell has long been dismissed as a cypher; he may surprise people in 2016.

Green Bay Packers - It is striking how much weight is put in some analyses to missing Jordy Nelson as an excuse for the Packers' 10-6 season and playoff loss at Arizona. The reality remains Aaron Rodgers is considered a great quarterback and the fact is he's overrated. He did win twice in games where he trailed by more than one score, but in the end he couldn't lead comebacks even when he led a comeback, as in Arizona where an absurd desperation heave tied the game only for Carson Palmer to kill the Packers in three overtime plays. It's been more of the same for the Packers from Day One of the Rodgers era so the playoffs look like a realistic goal but advancing anywhere in them doesn't look realistic.

Minnesota Viings - People will look at Adrian Peterson spanking opposing defenses and ignore that Teddy Bridgewater put up efficient quarterbacking efforts, Jerick McKinnon had more Yards Per Carry than Peterson - 5.2 YPC to Peterson's 4.5 - and Bridgewater may be allowed more aggression in his passing game, this atop his 4.4 YPC as a runner. His passer rating needs to improve. There is reason for optimism for the Vikings as they enter a new stadium.



NFC SOUTH:


 



Atlanta Falcons
- Matt Ryan is not the answer. That's clear now in his 18-30 record the last three seasons and just one forgettable playoff win in four tries. The Falcons worked to improve line play but the reality remains Ryan has never been the franchise-defining quarterback he was supposed to be. The best quarterback in Falcons history remains Chris Chandler; Matt Ryan cannot compete with Chandler's 1998 "Dirty Birds" season, or Michael Vick's tumultuous time with the Falcons that produced two legit playoff runs. So the Falcons need to start working on a replacement for Ryan, someone who can actually handle high-pressure football and in beating good teams.

Carolina Panthers - Why did the Panthers lose the Superbowl to a worthless opponent? Because Cam Newton was overwhelmed by the fact of being in the Superbowl once the game actually started. That's actually grounds for optimism because it follows the path of Newton's NFL career - after a shaky period in 2012 he rebounded the second half of that season; after a bad playoff loss he learned from mistakes and began winning playoff games in 2014. The Panthers have taken over an NFC South that had not had consecutive champions since it started in 2002.

New Orleans Saints - People point to a defense that was gashed for 45 touchdowns in 2015. That certainly is an area of need and the Saints strove to address it, but offensively they put up yards but not as many points as one would expect of this offense (eighth in scoring, hardly bad but less than impressive for this team). Home field is no advantage here (just 9-7 the last two years) and the Saints got slighted by Roger Goodell when he pointedly rejected their Superbowl host bid in favor of cities building new stadiums (and when's that gravy train finally going to end?) Drew Brees is still good, but his inability to elevate the Saints beyond back-to-back 7-9 seasons should be somewhat disconcerting.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers - The Bucs fired Lovie Smith and their new quarterback goes into his sophomore year with Dick Koetter as coach. Jameis Winston proved himself someone to take seriously in 2015 and now comes the next step he must take. Defensively they didn't stop other teams from scoring but surprisingly did hold their own in yardage allowed. Losing their last four games in 2015 with three of them against teams made irrelevant to the season before December was a bad finish.



NFC WEST:




Arizona Cardinals
- They won a playoff game and did so in spectacular fashion with Carson Palmer - this is unprecedented for Palmer in a career that began with his redshirt 2003 with the Bengals and then started for real in 2004. Bruce Arians has made the Cardinals something unprecedented in their history - a genuine threat for the biggest prize. Palmer is a passer with over 4,600 yards last year, and lost in that shuffle is the Cards got some productive rushing between ex-Titan Chris Johnson and newcomer David Johnson. The Carolina massacre in the NFC Title Game remains fresh on their minds.

Los Angeles Rams - With stories now emerging that the league itself wasn't sure LA wanted a team (see ATHLON SPORTS' NFL Preview for a good write-up on that front), it makes the ripoff of St. Louis all the more head-shaking and the fact of LA having a team the city's laughable sports history has proven it doesn't want makes the Rams' 2016 season all the more problematic. The decision to trade with the Titans for the top draft pick - Jeff Fisher negotiating with his old team in the draft is the definition of irony - got the Rams Jared Goff. Goff better produce - Nick Foles and Case Keenum offer no serious threat beyond not being rookies - for a Rams team that's had to go through four seasons of rebuilding; they've won just enough for Fisher to hang on so far. The running game revolves around Todd Gurley so far, but Tavon Austin actually had better YPC - an eye-popping 8.3 to Gurley's still-strong 4.8 with four ground scores - and caught 473 yards and five touchdowns worth of aerial offense. One also wonders if Kenny Britt will recapture the spectacle of his best moments of 2009 and 2010 with the Titans - his nineteen yards per reception in 2015 needs to produce more than just three touchdowns.

San Francisco 49ers - Proof that football and sex go together is word that ex-Niners coach Jim Harbaugh and his wife will welcome another child into their lives - it's a humorous comment on the state of the Niners that their ex-coach is having more fun than they are. The Niners enter training camp after an ugly dispute between them and Colin Kaepernick and indication Blaine Gabbert, mid-season replacement for Kaepernick, will be the starter. It's a restart for ex-Eagle Chip Kelly, fired after a frustrating 2015 in Philly that followed two productive seasons. He'll have plenty to work on, including who Gabbert or whoever will throw the ball to, with unknown Quinton Patton going from third receiver and one touchdown to possible starter. Getting back to any kind of decent status looks to be a mountain.

Seattle Seahawks - Starting 4-5 and proving to everyone why they threw on goal-to-go against the Patriots when Marshawn Lynch (again) failed to convert a short-yardage first down in overtime at the Rams had everyone wondering if the Seahawks had shot their bolt. Instead Russell Wilson added volume stats to his quarterbacking effectiveness in a shootout loss to the Cardinals and a shootout win over the Steelers; the Hawks put up at least thirty points in seven of their last eight regular-season games and Wilson led a game comeback effort at Carolina in the playoffs.



AMERICAN FOOTBALL CONFERENCE:
AFC EAST:






Buffalo Bills
- More of the same from the Ryan brothers. "We're so wonderful" is the gist of what they say, and Sexy Rexy's players, as always happens with "player coaches", responded by becoming lazier, to where Sammy Watkins came out and said there is a lack of discipline in the locker room.   Tyrod Taylor showed some fight in going 8-6 as starter but wasn't all that impressive in the pocket; the Bills lost four of their last eight games and the only quality opponents they beat in that span were the Jets (twice) and the Texans.

Miami Dolphins - Ryan Tannehill has gotten new linemen, new receivers, new running backs, and new coaches, and he's never been anything beyond mediocre. Adam Gase was brought in because of his work with Jay Cutler, with no one seeming to notice Cutler never won with Gase. Signing Ndamuking Suh didn't make the Dolphins better defensively and signing Bills malcontent Mario Williams doesn't look like a smart move either.

New England Patriots - Always the Patriots. Twelve wins a season is a given; reaching the AFC Title Game has become a given. A lot of people are assuming Tom Brady will in fact miss the first four games of 2016 due to Goodell's personal vendetta, ignoring the court injunction Brady will certainly get while his suit against Goodell continues. Brady has more people to throw to in Chris Hogan, Nate Washington, and Martellus Bennett. Washington is underrated good, showing true playmaking power with the Titans. Dion Lewis' return gives the Patriots' high-speed small-ball attack a weapon it missed after his injury. Brady has to work with them and commit to working with them, as the AFC Title Game showed anew the need for Brady to stop leaning on Edelman, Gronkowski, and Amendola to move the offense.

New York Jets - Ryan Fitzpatrick did something stunning in 2015 in making the Jets a good team and also a more professional locker room, but he failed when it mattered most and has been mouthing off for a contract beyond his objective football value, this even without Muhammad Wilkerson mouthing off as well. It leaves the Jets in yet another pickle as they enter the 20th anniversary of the darkest period in their history, the 1-15 season of 1996, and with this anniversary showing infinitely greater promise.





AFC NORTH:

Baltimore Ravens -
Now what?  The Bengals collapsed to 5-11 in 2015 and Joe Flacco looked shaky when he was healthy, with just fourteen touchdowns and twelve INTs.   Defensively the Ravens weren't much either, allowing forty touchdowns between the air and the ground.   Their front office long ago earned a reputation for solid team building but they're in unfamiliar territory now - the last time they faced a serious rebuild they changed coaches and quarterbacks and surged to five straight playoff runs; now they still have John Harbaugh and Flacco; in the draft they looked to shore up the O-line with Ronnie Stanley and the subsequent release of Eugene Monroe.


Cincinnati Bengals - The Bengals say Andy Dalton is their starter, but AJ McCarron showed something in the playoffs that Dalton has proven he doesn't have - the poise and clutch ability for playoff football.   If there isn't a quarterback controversy in the Bengals organization then their ought to be.   Dalton has proven himself and then some in the regular season; he's also proven he can't handle playoff football.    Hard to imagine but sixteen years ago the Bengals were mocked around the league for incompetent front office work and a seeming refusal to work harder to win.   That the Bengals have become a team with the juice to go far in the playoffs makes their lack of playoff success under Marvin Lewis all the more galling.   The division does not look up to upending the Bengals in 2016.


Cleveland Browns - Moneyball guru Paul DePodesta has arrived with the Browns and if nothing else the Browns should be commended for trying something completely out of the box for football - trying to apply the often-bizarre statistical analyses that were credited with revolutionizing baseball with the Oakland Athletics.   With just 28 wins this decade the Browns' problems are in the "where do you want to start?" category.   Quarterback has been THE issue and they enter 2016 with the Johnny Manziel mistake acknowledged and Johnny Freelance fired.  Josh McCown is nothing to be confident in going forward; the Browns are hoping Hue Jackson can begin the process - with the pressure increased after the Cavaliers stunned the sports world and gave Cleveland its first major league sports title (and second pro sports title overall after the Lake Erie Monsters won the American Hockey League Calder Cup Trophy days before LeBron James' comeback triumph) since the Browns shot down Johnny Unitas and the Colts in 1964.


Pittsburgh Steelers - Have the Steelers gone into long-term decline with Ben Roethlisberger?  They've won 21 games the last two seasons but just one playoff game and that was a gag-job by the Bengals rather than a win the Steelers could feel good about.   Roethlisberger is the clear starter but a curiosity is Landry Jones, who showed some moxie in spot duty in 2015, his highlight coming in the Raiders game.   An issue has been coach Mike Tomlin's seeming inflexibility in what defense to run, and though 11th in the league in fewest points allowed the Steelers weren't impressive in turnover differential.  






AFC SOUTH:  
Houston Texans -
They won seven of their last nine games and won the division, then were pummeled in the playoffs.   So they went out and got Brock Osweiler from the Broncos.  Now Bill O'Brien, considered a quarterback guru for his work with Tom Brady, has to make Osweiler into the winner he was for five of his seven games in Denver instead of the faltering first-timer benched in the Broncos' panic-attack at the end of the season.   Defensively the Texans appear to be going somewhere under ex-Patriot coordinator Romeo Crennel.


Indianapolis Colts - A quiet quarterback controversy developed there last year as the scuttlebutt has it higher-ups in the Colts had their eyes opened by Matt Hasselback's duty as starter with injury to Andrew Luck; Luck was reckless with the ball and wanted to throw deeper while Hasselback ran a more controlled offense, going 5-3 to Luck's 2-5.   For 2016 the focus will be on Luck, and whether 2015 was a sign of decline, especially as the Colts have another coordinator in his headset.   The Colts' tradition of being gashed on defense continued with some 6,000 yards allowed and one doesn't feel confident that will change.


Jacksonville Jaguars - The Jaguars quietly have built a team that looks to become a breakout surprise in 2016.   Offensive line play has been an issue with 2013 draft pick Luke Joeckel, and the Jags hope they've upgraded at the line; they certainly have a quarterback in Blake Bortles who is proving he can become a winner.   The next step is often the hardest, though, with expectations now higher here.  


Tennessee Titans - Marcus Mariota only won three games in his rookie year but his overall play was more than enough to feel confident the Titans after stop-and-start seasons 2011-13 and the Ken Whisenhunt fiasco can now get something positive going.   The Titans under their new GM Jon Robinson went rush-heavy between DeMarco Murray's acquisition from the Eagles and the drafting of Heisman winner Derrick Henry - more than a few railbirds noted the Titans franchise's success with Heisman running backs in Earl Campbell and Eddie George.   Getting the O-line better has been a curiously chronic problem.  The Titans say they want to rush the ball more but while passing attacks have opening up running games "ground and pound" won't work for success; it will be Mariota who determines how far the Titans go.



AFC WEST





Denver Broncos -  The Broncos bluffed their way to a Superbowl and now are stuck with Mark Sanchez, and even without the Buttfumble Sanchez proved with the Eagles that he is not a competent quarterback, this to go with a burgeoning contract spat with Von Miller.   The Broncos did upgrade their O-line with ex-Seahawk Russell Okong, and he may be needed more if Sanchez as expected flames out and rookie Paxton Lynch becomes a starter.    The Broncos look more like the mess that went 6-10 in 1999, the last time the Broncos were defending champs.


Kansas City Chiefs - Alex Smith and the Chiefs just keep on keeping on, winning eleven straight after losing five straight, and this includes the first playoff win for the Chiefs since 1993 - and it was fitting that playoff win came at Houston, where Joe Montana authored Kansas City's last playoff win.   The O-line has been a constant shuffle but the Chiefs' running game by committee looks to be working.  Getting more fire out of Smith remains the key going forward.


Oakland Raiders - That Mark Davis looks to have one foot out the door to Las Vegas is head-spinning given Vegas' dismal nature for hosting pro sports - their only football connection was the Arena League's Vegas Gladiators, now in Cleveland, while the Motor Speedway only draws decently for NASCAR.   The Raiders certainly have a roster that can now go places after a very promising 7-9 with superb effort by Derek Carr.   What should also be obvious is Jack Del Rio can coach and he looks to be the fit the Raiders have lacked for over a decade.   One can go radical and pick them to challenge Kansas City for the division.


San Diego Chargers - Stuck in neutral, the Chargers had a dismal 2015 and Philip Rivers no longer looks to be the answer, this atop an attempt to move to LA that never looked serious, and with a tax vote in November for a new stadium, as though the Chargers can't upgrade Qualcomm Stadium instead (the same is true of the Raiders, who have $500 million for a Vegas stadium that's better used for upgrading what they presently have).   With all that, Rivers does not look to lead a comeback, and neither does Mike McCoy, who has guided the Chargers downward and downward.    They're supposed to be better than 4-12, but realistically they don't look like they are.



With all that, the clock counts toward training camps and preseason.

Democratic Incompetence At The State Department

What always happens when Democrats are given command of the battlestar that is US security policy? They blow themselves up, and in Syria they want to blow themselves up more as Liveshot Kerry's little bitches run amok.

VA Incompetence Again

"All statements from Barack Obama come with an expiration date. All of them." This as the Veterans Administration - that Obama years ago claimed would be fixed after the resignation of the dishonest Eric Shinseki - is caught lying about its conduct yet again.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

The Success Of Scott Walker

Wisconsin now has five years of evidence that Scott Walker's labor reforms work.

The Foolishness of Occupational Licensing

Needing a license to do a job serves no purpose.

Obamacare's Bribery

The government is bribing state regulators to mandate price controls on insurance companies in order to enforce Obamacare.

The Social Stupidity of 2016

Barack Obama created social unrest, and here we see its varied forms.

Iran Creating War In Iraq

A look at how Iran is creating another war in Iraq.

Assimilation And Muslims

Claims that Muslims are not assimilating into US society appear to be inaccurate. Even with that the extremism chronic to Islam insists on indoctrinating its children to become mass murderers.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Whose Side Is He On?

Barack Obama continues to demonstrate he is not on the side of civilization. His Justice Department proved it further by refusing to be honest about Omar Mateen's Islamic ideology, a dishonesty that has been chronic in his administration.

Also worth looking at is how the Fort Hood massacre by Islamics was handled compared to Orlando.

Civics And Terrorism

R. Emmitt Tyrrell asks a good question about preventing another Orlando slaughter - why do we not teach civics?

Where Medical Breakthroughs Come From

They come not from planning but from hindsight.

Russia And Hillary's Email

The Russians broke into Hillary Milhous Clinton's email, and the fact they did (looking for blackmail items for later use) yet the Democratic Party (and Washington Post) treat the breach benignly shows the incompetence of the Democratic Party toward security.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Hillary The Phony Leader

The Washington Post authored a June 14 piece claiming Hillary Milhous Clinton is insulated from attacks on her foreign policy credibility because of "her hawkishness."

Problem is she isn't any kind of competent leader - she is part of the Obama administration that threw away US victory in Iraq (she helped facilitate US withdrawal from Iraq instead of prevent Obama from making such a retreat) and the larger Middle East and thus bequeathed present Islamo-Arab aggression.

'Minnesota Men' on Trial

'Minnesota Men' Guilty


"(In Minneapolis) When the first group of 'Minnesota men' was charged with conspiring to join ISIS in April 2015, it made front pages across the country. By the time the case went to court last month, however, the national media were almost nowhere to be found. Having attended the three-week-long trial daily, I can confidently say reporters should have paid a visit before the jury returned guilty verdicts June 3 against the three conspirators who contested the charges against them.

"I had to take in the evidence with my own eyes and ears to understand the gravity of the case against the Minnesota men, as media reports impassively referred to the Somali-American would-be terrorists. That evidence—overwhelming, devastating, shocking—was newsworthy. In his closing argument, one defense attorney professed that his client may have gotten into a situation over his head. But given the facts of the case—and the statements of those who protested that it went to trial at all—we might be in further over our heads than those convicted."

The Rolling Stones - 2120 South Michigan Avenue - Live On BBC






Brilliant instrumental, this one from 1964-ish.

Orlando And Dishonesty About Diversity

Thomas Sowell showcases the dishonesty about "diversity" that exists amid the rhetoric about the Islamic massacre of the Orlando nightclub.

2016 Rattlesnake Truck 400 - Texas Thriller






The Truck Series squared off at Texas Motor Speedway and witnessed one of the best battles for the lead of the year.

Remembering Gordie Howe



Remembering Gordie Howe, who played until he was 52 and is known from the Detroit Red Wings and the Hartford Whalers.

The Rich Are The Ones Who Pay

From November 2014 is this CBO study showing how the rich pay what amounts to everyone's taxes. BTW remember "income inequality?" We don't, either.

The piece got updated in June 2016.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Still In Denial About Islam

Islam is a religion of hate and Christianity and Judaism are not, period, even as Anderson Cooper and the NY Times strive to make Christianity the enemy in the Orlando massacre. It is also an enemy that cannot be defeated by quarter-measures.

Democratic Appeasement Again

From the NY Post:

"Here again, and horribly, we have an unmistakable indication that Obama finds it astonishingly easy to divorce himself from a reality he doesn't like."


This is in response to Obama's repellent attempt to blame "us" for the Islamic shooter who slaughtered fifty people in an Orlando nightclub - "We" are to blame, not Islamic terrorism, for the Orlando slaughter.  

Donald Trump responded by suggesting Obama sympathizes with the enemy - which will earn him scorn because, like Obama, liberals in general make is easy to divorce themselves from reality they can't handle.   Sympathizing with the enemy has been a Democratic staple from pro-Stalinism and appeasement of Axis aggression until said aggression actually launched war against the US directly, resumed with sympathy for the Soviet/Red Chinese-backed North Vietnamese invasion of Indochina, accelerated with Soviet Russia's war of aggression in Central America, and continuing with liberal denial that Al Qaida was backed by Iraq.

The Democratic Party has been the party of helping the enemy forever, and Obama's mealy-mouthed response shows it again.

A roundup of pieces on this disaster -

Obama's continuing myopia about "domestic" and Islamic terrorism.

The gun control hoax and the rise of Islamic attacks under Obama.

How Daesh uses technology to recruit societal losers.

What the US is not doing and what it needs to do.

More stupidity, first from people refusing to understand the real enemy, and then from Planned Parenthood via the offshoot PP Black Community.

Obama comes up small yet again.

The Charm And Silliness Of SVU

Law And Order: Special Victims Unit will enter its eighteenth season on television in September 2016, an accomplishment extremely rare in television annals but also a testimony to the show's power and draw. Begun in 1999 as a spinoff of the Law And Order series, SVU is a fictionalized account of the unit of the New York Police Department that investigates sexually-based incidents; the scripts are tautly presented and tend to be loosely based on real-life incidents, a la the grandfather of all police television dramas, Dragnet.

The series has been a career-defining role for its flagship stars and especially for its last remaining original star. Christopher Meloni and Mariska Hargitay were the show's flagship stars alongside Richard Belzer (as the perpeutally-cynical Detective John Munch) and Dann Florek (as Captain Donald Cragen); in the series' second season they were joined by Tracy Lauren "Ice-T" Marrow portraying former narcotics detective Odafin Tutuola. Meloni, a native of Washington DC, had kicked around Hollywood circles beginning in 1984 before first achieving notoriety in the late-1990s prison series Oz, where he played bisexual psychopath Chris Keller in thirty-eight episodes. It was during his run on Oz that he signed on to the nascent SVU series as flawed, emotional, and always dedicated Detective Elliott Stabler, and two co-stars from Oz would interact with Meloni in SVU in the forms of J.K. Simmons and Bradley Darryl "B.D." Wong; like Meloni, Wong had been kicking around the acting business since the early 1980s.

The primary draw of the series, though, lay in the interplay with Mariska Hargitay's driven and emotional Detective Olivia Benson, a role that is not only a career-defining one for Hargitay but in a sense a life-defining role. Like Meloni and Wong, Hargitay had kicked around Hollywood since the early 1980s; among her early roles was in the 1984 film Ghoulies, a film otherwise notable for the presence of Michael Des Bares, aka international terrorist Murdoc from the MacGyver series.

Unlike Meloni, however, Hargitay was known apart from her acting skills, as the daughter of 1950s and '60s bombshell Jayne Mansfield and also Hungarian defector and bodybuilder Miklos "Mickey" Hargitay, a fact casting directors used against her in a scenario strikingly akin to The Brady 6. Apart from all that, though, has been Hargitay's work with the Joyful Heart Foundation, which works to help sexual assault and child abuse victims; in recent years Mariska achieved a notable success when New York City was able to seize several billion dollars from banks caught funding Iranian-based terrorists and at least some of that money has gone to updating police rape kits - a move credited in media to Mariska's work and the kind of stranger-than-fiction idea that would make a good SVU episode; she also hotfooted it to DC in the wake of the Orlando massacre for a meeting with violence survivors, and the Orlando slaughter gave her work an extra relevance.

The show is first to last a taut, tense, often uncomfortable crime drama with twists worthy of The Twilight Zone. But as in life a sense of humor has developed and the show's inevitable cliches have become noticed and source of good-natured humor. Thirty-three such bits of humor are compiled here and for fans of SVU they are a source of great hilarity - among the cliches that may open some eyes is how often Elliott Stabler would be told to stay away from a case by his boss, Captain Donald Cragen, yet would break into the suspect's house anyway.

The list is worth some expansion -




Father's Day -   SVU's list of notable guest stars is quite long, but no guest star stole the show more than Mickey Hargitay himself, here playing a man with his granddaughter (McKenzie Malone) who witnesses the appearance of a badly injured perp.   Though Mickey appears in only the prologue (and is referenced in the submain credits) the viewer, knowing who he is, remembers him throughout this episode.  





The Unbearable Lightness Of Being SVU -  The 1988 film The Unbearable Lightness Of Being is best known for the lovemaking between Daniel Day-Lewis and either Juliette Binoche or Lena Olin, and at times SVU has flirted (intended pun) with that territory.   Sexual tension between the characters has long been a favored subplot of the series; longtime producer and writer Neal Baer admitted to reading fan sites and acknowledging sexual tension between Olivia Benson and Assistant District Attorney Alexandra Cabot (Stephanie March).

The real sexual tension, though, has been around Elliott Stabler and Olivia Benson. A running subplot has been the Internal Affairs division of the NYPD going after both, at one point questioning Captain Cragen as to whether, for lack of a better term, they are too chummy with each other.

Stabler of course is married - and overall happily so, as seen above.   But he also lets his heart take over in the episode "Underbelly" while partnered with Dani Beck (Connie Nielsen); alone in a parking lot the two start kissing; if this episode was ever novelized (a la Stirling Silliphant's novelization of his teleplay PEARL) Elliott and Dani's kissing would swell into full procreation.

Quite a few fans wanted Elliott and Olivia's relationship to reach that level of heat, but the closest they've come to that has been in the episode "Wildlife" - presented below in a fan-mixed video with a Celine Dion song in the background - 








Batman: SVU - A humorous number of analogies with the Batman mythos have popped into the series.   B.D. Wong went from SVU to playing Doctor Hugo Strange in Gotham while Michael Emerson played sadistic art teacher Allan Shaye in the episode "Ritual" and also The Joker in Batman: The Dark Knight Returns.   The episode "Bound" features a scene where ADA Casey Novak (Diane Neal) must interrupt a card game by the city's judges, a scene unintentionally reminiscent of "Almost Got 'im" from the Batman Animated Series.

Indeed, here is what was going on inside Casey Novak's head at the judges' card game -



Not the robot theory again, Casey Novak

The Batman connection even extends to the above-mentioned McKenzie Malone - aka McKenzie "Don't Call Me Matches" Malone, and her nickname Sunshine - Terry McGuiness' mocking nickname of the villain Blight in Batman Beyond.





Back in 1966 two-year-old Mariska was told by Merv Griffin to get her own show.

She did.    And sorry the dog hates you, Merv.



Okay, so this German dude and this Hungarian chick walk into a bar..... -





Hey it worked, didn't it??

Although as one can see here, apparently August Miklos wasn't impressed with the show at the time of his arrival.






Funny Football Gags: 
Luv Ya Blue

Speaking of football - we remember the Happy Hargitay-Hermanns at the Cowboys-NY Giants game in 2015, an obvious retort to the Cowboys for signing Greg Hardy and his domestic-violence history - the Happy Hargitay-Hermanns became good luck charms as the Giants ended a five-game losing streak to the Cowboys.



Wunna these days Langan, wunna these days, POW! Right in the kisser!

Easily the most charming subplot of the show is the interaction of Olivia Benson with lawyer Trevor Langan, played by Mariska's real-life husband Peter Hermann - note on above; he lived in Germany until he was ten but was born in NYC.   Interaction between the two is infrequent; the funniest - albeit in an inadvertent way - is from the 2009 episode "Perverted."   The jail scene is of course done straight, and being the pros they are Peter and Mariska pull off the tension with aplomb  - yet the viewer can't help but smile.

Post-Stabler a running subplot is Olivia's adoption of a child named Noah (who even has his own Twitter page @BabyDoeBenson) and Trevor Langan gets mixed up in that in "Surrendering Noah" - Peter and Mariska and the adoption of a child can be called the autobiographical portion of this show - and with hints from Hargitay of a love triangle in the series' 18th season the Noah angle screams for the hansome Trevor to get mixed up there too - the ultimate in-joke for the series.


We close this humorous take on a serious show by kissing this post good night.




POSTSCRIPT:
I knew there would be more - start with Diane Neal's killer curlers.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Officials: Orlando Shooter Pledged to ISIS

The killer in Orlando was - yep - an Islamo-Arab imperialist:


Federal officials are telling members of Congress the man who killed at least 50 people at a Florida nightclub may have pledged allegiance to ISIS. Omar Mateen, the 29-year-old U.S.-born citizen who opened fire at a gay nightclub in Orlando early Sunday morning, was reportedly on the radar of U.S. law enforcement officials.
Florida senator Bill Nelson said at a press briefing Sunday that intelligence officials told him there was some connection between Mateen and ISIS, the terrorist organization.


Senator Nelson says officials have indicated there is some connection to ISIS with this shooting.

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Millennials Harmed By Obama's Social Security Foolishness

Social Security is a bankrupt pyramid scheme and millennials are going to find this out thanks to - yes, him again - Obama.

A History Lesson On The Spanish Civil War

The myth of the Spanish Civil war of 1936-39 was challenged by George Orwell in his biographical account of his time there - Homage To Catalonia - and more recently in Paul Johnson's book MODERN TIMES: The World From The Twenties To The Eighties (updated in 1991 and its title changed accordingly). Also worth reading is this account of William Herrick, who served as a US volunteer against Francisco Franco's uprising and who broke with the laughably misnamed Abraham Lincoln Brigade because of the fact it was a Soviet tool.

Cash For Health Care

The idea of paying cash for health care is now becoming an accepted norm for doctors - because it's working.

Monday, June 06, 2016

Fixing Regulatory Overreach

Rollback isn't necessarily the best option because the money for adhering to government meddling is in many cases already gone.

It’s Hillary Clinton's Server

Hillary Milhous Clinton's email crime continues


"The State Department inspector general’s conclusion that Hillary Clinton violated federal records law should come as no surprise to anyone familiar with the controversy. The IG report, released in late May, is devastating to Clinton's constantly shifting defenses of her misconduct. And while the inspector general does not opine on the legality of her home-brewed email server under federal criminal law, the report outlines the factual predicate for criminal prosecution."

"Clinton's defense had long been that her email set-up was allowed by the State Department. But the inspector general found no evidence that the Secretary requested or obtained guidance or approval to conduct official business via a personal email account on her private server. And had she sought that approval, it would have been denied. The department's diplomatic security and information resource management offices did not—and would not—approve her exclusive reliance on a personal email account to conduct Department business, because of the restrictions in the [department's policy manual] and the security risks in doing so."

Thursday, June 02, 2016

Sweden's Muslim Savages Problem

People who attack Trump for savaging Muslims need a reality check - Sweden now has more men than women, because of a liberal immigration policy that refused to hold Muslim men - notoriously violent toward women - accountable.

Obama Sucks Up To Vietnam's Genocidist

Barack Obama's sick love of the enemy showed again in his recent Vietnam trip.

NY Times Fraudulence On Diversity

The NY Times' phoniness about "diversity" shows again as it jumps into the pool.

The Reality Of Walls

Immigration requires accountability - and the reality of walls illustrates this timeless fact.

Obama's Failed Theory On Terrorism

Obama treats enemy aggression as business-as-usual.

"Not only is this theory remarkably callous, it is challenged by the shoddy results of the President's approach to terrorism."

Obama's theory on terrorism isn't the only failure - his pinprick approach to having to fight it has also failed.