Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Redacted Tonight Unplugged


I'm going to share this.

We need some different discourse politically. I am sick of Trump, sick of him making headlines, and frankly, sick of me reacting to those headlines. 

Having mentioned before that I want to take a break from talking at length about Trump and the nonsense that he and his loyal followers are bringing to the country, it seemed like a good idea to add something from Lee Camp. 

Camp has been a powerful voice revealing some serious insights and truths, at a time when we really need it.

And so, I thought I might start to add some videos and discussions featuring Camp, beginning with this one. Take a look, and feel free to tell me what you think!


Donald Trump Resorts Back to Name-Calling - This Time a Member of Trump's Own Administration

More news on the Trump front, of course. 

What is it now?

Well, he apparently has gotten very angry at arguably the one man who showed any real stability in his administration, John Kelly.

Yes, that's right. The one guy who seems a bit more thoughtful and composed, and you know that shit does not fly with this President. Kelly was brought in to try and bring some stability to this White House, but Trump, almost as a rule, makes a point of being unpredictable and, frankly, unstable. So, you had to know that there was going to be a conflict.

It was just a matter of time, really.

The split seemed to begin when Kelly was answering questions about Trump's wall between the U.S.-Mexico border. Kelly had suggested that Trump's talk and promises regarding the wall during the Presidential campaign were "uninformed," and that a wall spanning the entire border just was not feasible.

As if to back up his claims, Kelly told FOX News that the President "has evolved in the way he looks at things."

Of course, that kind of thing does not fly with the man currently holding the Office of the President. He has never been able to admit to being wrong with anything, at anytime. And so naturally, he resorted to what he does second best, right after scamming people to get what he wants, and that is name-calling, like a child in the school yard. He referred to Kelly, a member of his own team, as a "nut job."

This is a political ally, mind you. One that Trump picked himself (supposedly). Here, specifically, is what Trump said to a friend, according to Vanity Fair:

"I’ve got another nut job here who thinks he’s running things.”

Very presidential, huh?

Then, as if all of that were not clear enough, Trump set out tweets a few days ago, just to prove that he had not changed his mind one iota. Here they are:

 The Wall is the Wall, it has never changed or evolved from the first day I conceived of it. Parts will be, of necessity, see through and it was never intended to be built in areas where there is natural protection such as mountains, wastelands or tough rivers or water.....  6:15 AM - Jan 18, 2018

....The Wall will be paid for, directly or indirectly, or through longer term reimbursement, by Mexico, which has a ridiculous $71 billion dollar trade surplus with the U.S. The $20 billion dollar Wall is “peanuts” compared to what Mexico makes from the U.S. NAFTA is a bad joke!  6:25 AM - Jan 18, 2018

So, there you go. Yet more White House drama, from the ultimate drama queen. Trump has that unbelievable ability of making drama like teenage girls, except without their level of maturity. Mind you, this is a 70+ year old man we are talking about!

I have to say, that even though it is already more than three weeks into this new year, I think that I will make more of a point of talking less about President Trump, and the idiocy that goes on at the White House with that clown in office. It does me no good, stresses me the hell out, and really, who needs that? It's not exactly like people are pounding down on my door, asking me to talk more about Trump. Hell, even though most people I know are not Trump fans, there are an alarming number of people that I know who actually are enthusiastic fans of Trump. It seems that I have lost a friendship or two over it, and if that is the case, frankly, so be it. 

But it is aggravating me to keep talking about the lunacy, and it both frustrates and angers me to see as many enthusiastic supporters as there are who are all in favor of the continued circus act. Plus, Trump thrives on publicity, always wants to be front and center on everyone's mind, and not only wants, but seems to need the constant attention. Sometimes, it seems that it does not matter to him whether or not that attention is good or not, so long as he is getting the attention that he apparently needs. And since this man embodies so much of the worst traits of the nation, and since so many of these negative things in this country also require ratings, I sometimes (well, often) feel like I am falling right into that trap, and giving these clowns more of what they need, in some small way, and it feels sickening. 


Donald Trump Called John Kelly a 'Nut Job' and Ivanka is Now Searching For His Replacement, Report Claims by Ryan Sit ,Newsweek•January 22, 2018:



RIP, Naomi Parker Fraley

We


We lost a historical figure this past weekend. Naomi Parker Fraley, the inspiration for that famous flexing female worker known as "Rosie the Riveter," which motivated women and men alike during America's involvement in World War II, died in Longview, Washington, this past Saturday. She was 96 years old.

She was born on August 21, 1921 in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Fraley had been a waitress in California when she began work at the Naval Air Station in Alameda, and eventually became one of the first women  and was among the first women to work at the machine shop in the following the attack of Pearl Harbor by the Japanese, and subsequent American involvement in World War II.

In 1942, she posed for a touring photographer at the Naval Air Station, wearing what would become the iconic red-and-white polka-dot bandana. This picture made it's way to the newspapers, and became the inspiration for the now famous poster by J. Howard Miller.

We lost yet another prominent face of the Greatest Generation, the World War II generation. She will be missed.





Naomi Parker Fraley, the Real-Life Rosie the Riveter, Dies at 96 by Karen Mizoguchi, January 22, 2018:


Monday, January 22, 2018

The Pats Are Back in the Big Game, So Get Ready For Brady Versus Montana Arguments Again

11. Joe Montana








Well, the New England Patriots have made it back to the Super Bowl. And that means that they have another shot at history. This will be the 10th Super Bowl appearance for the Patriots in that franchise's history, which puts them, at least temporarily, well ahead of the three other teams that are tied for the second most of all time (the Broncos, the Steelers, and the Cowboys, with eight appearances each).

History can be made once again. If the Patriots win, they will tie the Steelers for the most Super Bowl wins of any franchise, with six. If they lose, they will then make a different  kind of history, matching the Broncos record of five losses overall in the big game. And who knows what kind of history could be made on the field, what kind of story lines could come out of this? After all, the Eagles are going for their first ever Vince Lombardi Trophy, which may very well be exciting. But who could forget how the Pats came back from 10 points down in the fourth quarter three years ago against Seattle, and hung on to win following that improbably, and highly controversial, 2nd and 1 decision by Seattle's Pete Carroll? Even more memorable was the Patriots epic comeback from 28-3 against Atlanta to force the first overtime game in Super Bowl history, which culminated in their completing the comeback and pulling off the huge win!

Those are some of the story lines, of course. There are others, with certain individuals involved. Bill Belichick could become the first NFL head coach to win a sixth Super Bowl title, and he already holds the record of five wins, and eight appearances overall.

And, of course, Tom Brady has made it to yet another Super Bowl, a record eighth appearance - now far more than any other quarterback in history. If he wins, he will earn his sixth ring, which will again put him well ahead of anyone else in history. The next closest would be four, held by two other men - Terry Bradshaw and Joe Montana. Bradshaw was a solid quarterback, but most people recognize that the strength of the Steelers teams that he played for was the defense. But the strength of the 49ers teams that Montana played on was their offense, which was, of course, orchestrated by Montana himself. That means that Montana was widely considered the greatest of all time (GOAT) until just recently, when Brady first matched him three years ago, and then surpassed him in terms of most Super Bowl rings won of all time. 

There are still some people who would suggest that Montana is the better quarterback, but with yesterday's win, Brady now has led teams to the big game literally twice as much as Montana did. If he ends up winning - especially if he wins the MVP award once again - then he will have far surpassed Montana in that category, as well, which would likely mean that the debate would be over for everyone except the most hardened and stubborn Montana loyalists. 

Still, it is an interesting debate, one that always seems to make it to debates around this time of the year, every time that Brady and the Patriots, specifically, reach the big game (which is often). 

So, now that they are back there again, I will republish the blog entry that I posted on the subject last year, which itself was not the first time that I visited this topic.

Without further ado, here are the previous blog entries on this debate that I wrote about here:


The Brady Versus Montana Argument Now Heating Up 

(originally published on February 9, 2017)

A couple of years ago, I wrote a blog entry about the debate that was then heating up, questioning who was the greatest quarterback of all time, Tom Brady or Joe Montana.

Now, in the light of the most unbelievable Super Bowl ever, this debate has heated up once again, and more people than ever before seem to be coming around to view Tom Brady as the greatest quarterback ever, or the Greatest Of All Time (GOAT).

So, in response to yet another unbelievable game and championship comeback - the most dramatic one yet! - it seemed like a good idea to enter this debate again myself here, as well as to republish that original blog entry from a couple of years ago.

Here's the argument that Montana fans are making to defend their position: Joe Montana is untouchable when it comes to the Super Bowl. Nobody handled the intensity and the enormity of the game better, especially in the clutch.

Now, here are the facts, when it comes to Super Bowls. Tom Brady has played in seven of them, and compiled a record of 5-2. Montana played in four of them, compiling a record of 4-0. Brady threw 15 touchdowns, with five interceptions in those games, while Montana threw an incredible 11 touchdowns with zero interceptions. Brady completed 67 percent of his passes in an era that was more friendly to quarterbacks, while Montana completed 68 percent of his passes in the biggest game. Tom Brady's overall quarterback rating in those Super Bowl appearances was 95.3, while Montana's cumulative rating was an off the charts 127.8. And some will point out that the Patriots won their five Super Bowl under Brady by a total margin of 19 points, not including the 7 points you would have to subtract if you include the two losses to the Giants. These critics will point out that Montana's 49ers won their four Super Bowls by a total combined margin of 76 points.

If you look at those statistics, then Montana's Super Bowl history indeed has some decisive advantages over that of Brady. I think it is fair to say that Montana was better on average in his Super Bowl appearances than Brady was in his. If you look at just the Super Bowls, you would have to say that Montana seemed to rise to the occasion in the Super Bowl particularly than Brady did.

That said, here are some counter arguments. The most obvious one is this: Brady won more Super Bowls. He just earned his fifth Super Bowl championship ring. In order to earn this, he orchestrated one of the greatest comeback victories in NFL history, and he did it in the biggest game, no less! He has shown incredible poise and leadership at those clutch moments when the game is riding on how he handles it, and he handled it well against the Rams, the Panthers, the Eagles, the Seahawks, and the Falcons.

So, the Super Bowl argument could go either way, really. The next important level would be playoffs, so let's take a look at how each man fared there. Brady played in 34 postseason games and won 25 of them (both records), throwing for 9,094 yards and 63 touchdowns, with 31 interceptions in the process (so far). Brady led his team in 10 game-winning drives in those games. Montana played in 23 postseason games, winning 16 of them, and he threw for 5,772 yards, with 45 touchdowns and 21 interceptions in those games. Brady's passer rating in the playoffs was 89.0, while Montana's was 956. Montana had five game-winning drives in the playoffs.

In the regular season, Brady boasts a record of 183-52, while Montana has a 117-47 record. Brady has thrown for 61,582 yards and 456 career touchdowns, with 152 interceptions. Montana has thrown for 40,551 yards and 273 touchdowns, with 139 interceptions. Brady's career completion percentage in the regular season is 63.8, while Montana's is 63.2. Brady's career passer rating in the regular season is 97.2, while Montana's is 92.3. Brady had 48 game-winning drives, while Montana had 33.

Now, let's look at what the teams accomplished while at the helm for their respective teams. Tom Brady has been on the Patriots since he was drafted in the sixth round of the 2000 draft, and became the starting quarterback for the Patriots in 2001, remaining the starter for every season with the exception of the 2008 season, when he was injured for the season in week one. Joe Montana was drafted by the 49ers in the third round of the 1979 draft, and became the starting quarterback for the San Francisco midway into the 1980 season. Brady led the Patriots to the playoffs 14 times, and they winning the division title during each of those playoff appearances. Montana led the 49ers to the playoffs nine times, with eight division titles, and he led the Chiefs to the playoffs twice, with one division title. Once in the playoffs, Brady's Patriots reached the divisional round of the playoffs 13 times. Montana reached at least the divisional round of the playoffs eight times with the 49ers, and once with Kansas City (he lost the Wildcard Game twice - once with San Francisco, and once with Kansas City). Brady was quarterback for 11 AFC title game appearances, compiling a 7-4 record in those games. Montana was quarterback for 6 NFC title games as well as an AFC title game with Kansas City, compiling a 4-3 record in those games. And, as already mentioned, Brady won five titles in seven Super Bowl appearances, while Montana won all four of his appearances.

Many people will argue that the 49ers faced better teams. Yes, this is true, but the 49ers also had better teams. Remember, they played before the age of the salary cap and free agency which has brought about greater parity than ever before. Montana had Jerry Rice, the greatest wide receiver of all time. They had John Taylor as their second best wide receiver, and that's a pretty damn solid set of wide receivers already! They also had guys like Brent Jones, Dwight Clark, and some other players who really stood out. They had Roger Craig and Tom Rathman. They had a serious offensive line protecting that backfield offensive talent, too! And, of course, let us not forget the underrated defense. They were underrated at the time, and most people seem to have forgotten just how tough and physical that defense was! They had Charles Haley, who is the only other player to have won five Super Bowl rings. They had Michael Carter, who won an Olympic silver medal. They had Ronnie Lott and Eric Young in the secondary. Indeed, that was an incredible team! San Francisco had a great team all around.

And while the Patriots did not compete against teams that were on the level that the 49ers had to face (think of the Giants, Washington, or Chicago, who were among the big bullies of the time that the 49ers had to get through to reach the Super Bowl), Tom Brady and the Patriots did face the best teams of their era. The whole dynasty began with an improbable Super Bowl run that ended with a victory over the juggernaut St. Louis Rams, who were on the verge of emerging as a dynasty themselves. That Rams team of the late 1990's and early 2000's is still considered one of the best offensive teams in NFL history, but their legacy was obviously compromised when they were prohibitive favorites against New England, but still lost. The Atlanta Falcons this year were on that caliber of offense, and once again, the New England Patriots managed to beat such a team on the biggest stage of all, and with that incredible comeback, to boot! Plus, the Pats beat the best defensive team (and probably best team of the era) in the Seattle Seahawks just two years ago. Granted, the Seahawks have dropped a couple of rungs down the ladder, but that may have been in large part due to what New England managed to do to them in that Super Bowl. They just never seemed quite the same since.

Also, let us not forget that this is the era of parity in the NFL, due to free agency and the salary cap. That means that it is difficult to retain the talent on a team, especially a good team. As a result, these Brady-era Patriots did not have the kind of talent around them that the Montana-era 49ers enjoyed. Certainly not consistently. There were some big names on the Patriots during some of those championships. Randy Moss was there for one of the Super Bowls, although that was the one where the undefeated Pats lost the Super Bowl.

Really, let's face it: there just is no way to know for sure. The two played in very different eras. They never faced each other, because Montana retired after the 1994 season, while Brady only entered the NFL in 2000, when the salary cap and free agency had changed the face of the league completely. Not only could those Montana-era San Francisco 49ers not face the Brady-era New England Patriots, but it would be different criteria. The only way that we could know for sure is if Montana was on these New England Patriots facing the obstacles of parity, and/or Brady was on those San Francisco 49ers teams with Jerry Rice and that talented 49ers team, while facing teams like the '85 Bears or the '86 and '90 New York Giants. Obviously, that is not going to happen.

To my mind's eye, most likely the best way to tell is based on championship success, and indeed, you can make an argument that Montana was a more clutch performer once in the Super Bowl than Brady is or has been. However, they are both great, and you cannot take away Brady's record five Super Bowl rings as quarterback.



I used the following article, as well as Pro Football Reference, for the statistics that I used above (see the links to both below):


Who Is the GOAT? Joe Montana Versus Tom Brady | NBC Bay Area by Brendan Webber, February 6, 2017:


Pro Football Reference:



Note: I originally published this piece a couple of years ago, before Tom Brady and the Patriots even beat the Seahawks in that Super Bowl stunner, which will forever be remembered for the 2nd and 1 that wound up being intercepted. Just thought it would be interesting to republish it, in the light of yet another Super Bowl triumph by Brady's Patriots, and in an even more shocking manner than that Seattle game two years ago.


Brady Versus Montana

(originally published on February 1, 2015

The debate has raged these last few weeks like never before: will Tom Brady attain the same elite status as a quarterback as Joe Montana if the Patriots manage to win this Super Bowl?

Or, will his legacy be forever diminished because he would then be 4-2 in Super Bowls, and not 4-0, or better?

Ultimately, that is the unanswerable question. Unless, of course, Brady were to win both this Super Bowl, and follow it up with another title next season, as the Patriots begin to reach for a status that no team has ever gotten: consecutive "Team of the Decade" honors.

Even then, however, I get the feeling that some will always detract from Brady, because of "Deflate Gate", and because of the taping scandal, and because he lost Super Bowls, particularly the one in the undefeated season, and because he is accused of being a smug pretty boy that is generally not likable, and because he played in an era that favored quarterbacks and offenses more than when Montana played the game, and because he allegedly had a better supporting cast around him, and because Belichick is a genius, and Brady would not have succeeded to the degree that he did without him.

The point is this: you can pretty much craft these arguments as you like them, to support your point.

If I were to say, for example, that Brady's regular season statistics exceed, and perhaps even far exceed, those of Montana, than supporters of Montana will inevitably argue that it is unfair to make that comparison, because the league is more geared for offenses, and particularly for quarterbacks now, than it was in the past.

There are always arguments for undermining the accomplishments of more recent players - and that is particularly true when those players are members of the New England Patriots.

On the one hand, I think that this author, Killion, makes some valid points.

But one thing which I disagree with is what he considers his checkmate point: Brady's record in Super Bowls versus Montana's record in Super Bowls.

Montana, of course, was 4-0 in Super Bowls. Brady is 3-2, with it pending on the outcome of this coming Super Bowl.

But Killion states that, even if Brady wins this Super Bowl, his imperfect record in the Super Bowl disqualifies him as the "best quarterback ever" because, according to Killion, Montana was the better quarterback in the biggest game.

I understand his point. But playoffs, I think we can agree, are pretty important games as well. And Brady won in his Championship Games more frequently than Montana did. That means that, in that regard, he is actually the more accomplished quarterback in terms of Super Bowl appearances and, if he wins, he would logically be the more accomplished quarterback. Unless, of course, you want to credit Joe Montana's losses in the championship games, since they possibly saved him from suffering any losses in the big game. It does not make sense to make that argument, but that is what you are essentially arguing when you look only at the Super Bowls.

Ultimately, however, each quarterback played their position as well as you could realistically ask while they were playing. Montana went from 1979 until 1994, with two teams. He won four Super Bowls with the 49ers, and played in an AFC Championship Game with the Chiefs. Brady has, so far, played his entire career with the New England Patriots, although his father predicted that he would have trouble from them within a few years, when they look for a younger quarterback. His legacy is still being written, and a major chapter will be written this Sunday. Either his winning in the big games shows diversity and elasticity with a win in his late-thirties, to go with the three titles that came in his twenties. Or, he loses another Super Bowl, and people begin to wonder why he and the Patriots cannot win anymore on the biggest stage.

I think it is safe to assume that Montana would be still considered the greatest quarterback when it comes to Super Bowls, at the very least. He always seems to have found ways to step up and stand out on the biggest stage, having won three Super Bowl MVP awards. He has thrown 11 touchdown passes, with no interceptions, in those four big games, and his overall rating in them was off the charts. Brady, when it comes strictly to Super Bowl play, simply cannot compare.

Yet, let us also not forget that there is a little bit of luck involved in some of these things. For example, Montana's finest moment in Super Bowl history came at the very end of XXIII, during the famous, game-winning drive against the Bengals. But moments before he hit John Taylor in the end zone for the championship winning score, he threw the ball right to Chauncy Billups of the Bengals, who could not quite hang onto it for what would have been an interception that iced the game. That surely would have affected how history viewed "Joe Cool", I would think. Similarly, Brady almost won the two Super Bowls against the Giants, and if not for a couple of miracle plays by the Giants offense, the Patriots could very well be 5-0, and not 3-2, during the Brady era, which would have made a world of difference as to how he is perceived, as well.

No matter what your stance on who the better quarterback is, however, I think it is fair to say that both of them were great - among the very best of all time! Most people like Joe Montana, and I never met anyone who disliked him. In fact, even though I hated, and still hate, the 49ers, I always liked Jo Montana, as well as Jerry Rice and Bill Walsh. Not entirely sure why, but there you go.

As for the Patriots, I understand why some people hate the Patriots, and perhaps particularly Brady and Belicheck. However, they are such an accomplished team in an age of free agency and parity that usually does not allow for enduring success, that you simply have to give them their accolades. They certainly rank among the greatest of all time.

But let us see what happens in the game later today, before we put Brady up there at the very top just yet.



Even if he wins 4th ring, Brady’s no Montana published by Killion, January 26, 2015:







As for "Deflate Gate", here was something that I thought was interesting: Boomer Esiason took exception to Richard Sherman's criticisms of the league, and how he felt that nobody on the Patriots was going to get punished, because Roger Goodell has warm personal relations with Patriots owner Robert Kraft. 



Here is some of what Esiason said:



"Should the NFL fine Richard Sherman for attacking the commissioner and the integrity of the league?" Esaison asked. "If I were the commissioner, I would. You can't have a player, who's one of the best players at his position and who has an open microphone and will continue to have an open microphone all this week, questioning your authority and your integrity.



"Richard Sherman seems to forget that Roger Goodell also works for his owner, Paul Allen ... and has many times sat down with Paul Allen, privately, in a friendly situation.



"So Richard Sherman fired a shot across the bow of the commissioner. Now, it's going to be up to the commissioner and the NFL to act accordingly. I think a heavy-duty fine is in order. Let's see if the commissioner has the guts to levy it," Esiason said.


Quotes taken from:

'Deflategate': Richard Sherman should be fined, Boomer Esiason says By AUSTIN KNOBLAUCH, January 27, 2015:

www.latimes.com/sports/sportsnow/la-sp-sn-deflategate-richard-sherman-boomer-esaison-punish-20150127-story.html







Few more articles on or related to Tom Brady:

Brett Favre: Tom Brady is the best QB in the league by In Depth Videos 1:39 mins

http://sports.yahoo.com/video/brett-favre-tom-brady-best-110000921.html



Tom Brady's 2008 knee injury gave perspective he needed ... on losing Eric Edholm By Eric Edholm 1 hour ago Shutdown Corner, January 27, 2015:


http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nfl-shutdown-corner/tom-brady-s-2008-knee-injury-gave-perspective-he-needed-----on-losing-221456915.html


Top 20 Postseason Touchdown Leaders

http://sports.yahoo.com/photos/top-20-postseason-touchdown-leaders-1422471571-slideshow/




Thought I would throw this in: prediction of the Super Bowl winner after 50,000 runs.



Simulator runs Super Bowl matchup 50,000 times, and winner is ... Kristian Dyer of Shutdown Corner, January 27, 2015:

http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nfl-shutdown-corner/simulator-runs-super-bowl-matchup-50-000-times--and-winner-is-----022252004.html

Sunday, January 21, 2018

NFL - AFC & NFC Conference Championship Game Reviews

AFC and  NFC Championship Games  - Sunday, Jan. 21, 2017  








AFC Championship Game



Jacksonville Jaguars (12-6) at New England Patriots (14-3)

Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, Mass., 3:05 p.m. EasternM on CBS Network






Jacksonville Jaguars  




vs.




New England Patriots



New England Patriots 24, Jacksonville Jaguars 20 - For quite a while, it not only seemed like Jax was capable of pulling off a major upset up in Foxboro, but that they were actually going to do it. It seemed like the Jaguars were dominating through the first three quarters, as they were beating the Patriots to the point at every point when things really mattered. The Jaguars opened the fourth quarter with a 20-10 lead, and at that point, even though you knew New England had overcome larger odds and deficits, and with less time, it was entirely believable that the flat line would just continue like this until time expired on their chances. But of course, the Patriots did not become a world class team by simply allowing such circumstances to get the better of them, to defeat them. You kind of had to know that New England would rally, would answer. They have the heart of champions, and they would respond in some way, make the game close, and give themselves a chance. And sure enough, that's exactly what they did. The Jaguars were shut out in the fourth quarter, their dangerous offense suddenly stalling and growing incapable of getting anything done. And the Patriots offense suddenly roared to life, with the Jaguars previously dominant defense suddenly looking worn out and unable to stop New England anymore when it counted the most. The end result might not have been what most football fans wanted or were desperately hoping for, of course, but it underscored exactly why the Patriots have been able to just keep winning and winning and going farther, breaking records like they do with incredible accomplishments, like what they did today. Brady stepped up. New England's defense stepped up. The team did just enough to get in front, and then held off any potential rally by the Jaguars to secure yet another Super Bowl appearance. It will be the Patriots 10th Super Bowl appearance as a franchise, but more specifically, it will be their eighth appearance in the big game during the Belichick-Brady era. No other head coach has ever reached the Super Bowl so many times, and no other quarterback ever led his team to eight Super Bowls. During the NFC Championship Game, former Cowboys great Troy Aikman was mentioning the Patriots succees, suggesting it was almost comical. Indeed, it is virtually ridiculous, how successful these guys have been, and more often than not, it has come in the form of games like these, when someone really tests this team and pushes them to the brink, backing them into a corner, only to have the Pats come roaring back when it counts the most, and doing just enough to win. They did it again today, and now have yet another chance at winning another Super Bowl title.  My pick: Accurate



















NFC Championship Game

Philadelphia Eagles  vs. Minnesota Vikings (14-3) AT Philadelphia Eagles (14-3)
Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, 6:40 p.m. Eastern on Fox Network



Minnesota Vikings 




vs. 



Philadelphia Eagles



Philadelphia Eagles 38, Minnesota Vikings 7 - This game did not go anywhere near the way I thought it would. It looked like it was at first, when Minnesota flew down the field on their first offensive possession, and looked brilliant in so doing. It was capped by a beautiful touchdown when Keenum hit Kyle Rudolph for a 25-yard touchdown. The Vikings celebrated with an imitation of the winter sport, curling, and they enjoyed a 7-0 lead, looking like they were picking up right where they left off last weekend. They forced Philly to punt on the Eagles drive, and then, there was a penalty against the Eagles on the kickoff return, putting the Vikings in decent field position. Things seemed to be getting off to a very good start at that point, and it felt like the Vikings might be able to expand on their lead and start applying real pressure to the Eagles, perhaps even dictating the tempo of the early part of the game. But then, things spiraled downhill quickly. Keenum threw a pick six that allowed the Eagles to tie it later in the first quarter, and that seemed to burst Minnesota's bubble. From that point onward, it was all Philly. The Eagles took over, particularly starting in the second quarter. By the time they took a 14-7 lead, I was starting to get drowsy from the food, and drifted off. I woke up just before the half, with the Eagles just expanding their lead to 24-7. Any realistic hopes that the Vikings had at a comeback basically evaporated when the Eagles scored a touchdown in the opening drive of the second half, when they scored yet another touchdown for a 31-7 lead. In the end, they just dismantled the Vikings, who were plagued with numerous turnovers, and were victims of the absolutely brilliant level of play by Philly quarterback Nick Foles, who might have enjoyed a career best in the most important game of his career. Foles completed 26 of 33 passes for 352 yards and three touchdowns.completed 28 of 48 passes for 271 yards, including that early touchdown. But there were two interceptions, including that pick six that seemed to alter the momentum in this game completely.  Just an impressive and dominant win by the Eagles behind quarterback Foles, and an incredible defense, and another flat performance by the Vikings, who always seem to end up choking at some point or other in the playoffs, no matter how promising they look earlier in the season. My pick: Wildly Inaccurate!

Saturday, January 20, 2018

One Year of the Trump Presidency, the United States is Weaker & More Hated Around the World

“When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men in a society, over the course of time they create for themselves a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it.” 



~ Frédéric Bastiat





“Trump personifies everything the rest of the world despises about America: casual racism, crass materialism, relentless self-aggrandizement, vulgarity on an epic scale. He is the Ugly American in excelsis.” 

~ Paul Thomas of the New Zealand Herald, "The greatest threat to America? Republicans" published on July 17, 2015




“It's not how a president should speak,” Mr. Biden tweeted. “It's not how a president should behave. Most of all, it's not what a president should believe.

~ Joe Biden (in a recent tweet about Donald Trump)







“Oh, are you happy you voted for me. You are so lucky that I gave you that privilege.”


~ Donald Trump, January, 2018


It feels like it has been longer than merely one year, at least politically.

And yet, today only marks the one year anniversary of Trump officially becoming the nation's President.

Now usually, an anniversary conjures up images of something to celebrate, although I would hardly think that this qualifies. For his supporters, Trump apparently seems like a Godsend. For the rest of us, he is a long and enduring nightmare, the very embodiment of the very worst that Americans have to offer, there loudly announcing himself in front of the entire world.

The thing is, the rest of the world seems to see him for what he is. So why can't enough Americans see him for what he is? Why did this man ever have a realistic chance at being President?

Unfortunately, now enough people saw through this clown to prevent him from taking office. That means he's everyone's problem now, and so are those who voted him in, and continue to feel that he is some sort of savior, of genius, despite the mountain of evidence pointing to quite the contrary. 

What is there to say about that time period?

It has been a time of insanity. For sober Americans with any ounce of objectivity, and a knowledge of the dangers of narcissism on a personal and national level, this has been a period of disaster after disaster. The news headlines have been merciless and relentless for the past year now. It seems that not two or three days pass without Trump making some sort of horrible headlines, with someone in the White House, or on FOX, or in the Republican-dominated Congress, or someone else, trying to rationalize his embarrassing and often disgraceful behavior.

How much damage can one man do in one year? Well, Trump made it easier for big polluters to dump in our waters, loosening regulations on that front. He made offshore drilling easier for major corporations, as well, and took away a lot of protected land from the America's National Park, so that once again, a few private citizens or corporations can benefit. He tried to bring coal back, although not surprisingly, he found out that is a lot easier to make promises than to keep them - not that he has ever seemed to mind that. And, of course, he embarrassed the United States by announcing that he would be withdrawing the nation from the Paris Climate Accord, making us stand alone as the only nation to be opposed to it on the grounds that we do not believe enough in climate change to recognize it as a problem, much less do anything about it.

And that was just the environment. The whole world watched, and condemned Trump's environmental policies, which sometimes seemed outright to make a point of making the nation dirties and less healthy. Yet, there were so many other areas where Trump and his administration proved embarrassing. Pope Francis looked positively sick after meeting Trump, judging from the pictures that were published of the two of them after the meeting. Within days of that, several European heads of state, including Angela Merkel, the head of the leading European Union nation, publicly announced that they could no longer view the United States as a reliable ally following their own meetings with the man. Mexico's leader announced that he had cancelled a scheduled meeting at the White House, and Mexico also made trade deals with other nations that are widely viewed as a message that they, too, were sick of Trump and trying to work around the United States, which has been seen increasingly as an obstacle to peace and cooperation.

Through all of that, China has been stepping up in a big way, and generally positioning itself to step into leadership roles that Trump and his administration are essentially giving up for their country. Much of the world has also expressed alarm at the blatant instability and arrogance of the administration, and particularly of Trump himself. After all, this was a man who went before the United Nations, and threatened to wipe another country off the map, and right around International Peace Day no less! This is a man who seems incapable of understanding the significance of defusing tensions around the world, and instead, has to show that he has more power at his disposal, and claims that he is willing and able to use it. I doubt that North Korea's race to get nuclear weapons that could reach American shores would have been quite as relentless had someone else - almost anyone else - been elected to the White House.

Despite Trump's own claims to being a "very stable genius," he has often very publicly displayed his astonishing levels of ignorance, such as when he addressed a meeting of African leaders, and praised the healthcare system of a non-existent African nation. Then, of course, there was the whole "shithole nations" comment, which obviously, the affected countries - African nations, Haiti, and El Salvador - took strong exception to. He then asked why there could not be more immigrants from nations like Norway. But Norwegians enjoy a higher standard of living than Americans. Their education system ranks higher, and they have universal, affordable healthcare, something that we here in the United States do not. They do not have massive numbers of people, numbering in the tens of millions,. behind bars, like we do, because they do not have the for-profit prison system that Americans have. Childcare is more affordable there. They believe in climate change, and their policies reflect that reality. The minimum wage is much higher, and they enjoy a lot more vacation time. In short, there would be very little incentive for Norwegians to migrate to the United States, when they enjoy so many more real-life advantages than Americans have.

Of course, all of that is stuff that has some serious relevance to foreign policy. On the domestic front, Trump has been at least as bad.

Last month, he and the Republican Congress passed a tax bill (many called it, rightly, a "tax scam") that very predictably benefited the wealthiest Americans and corporations, of course. And also not surprisingly, he lied about it, claiming that he was going to lose money on the deal (he won't, obviously). Even some Republican senators, like Marco Rubio, expressed some reserves and/or later regrets that this bill went way too far towards benefiting the most privileged Americans, at the expense of everyone else. After all, someone has to pay for it.

Of course, there have been the episodes with his blatant racism and sexism. He campaigned by claiming that Mexicans were drug dealers, rapists and criminals, and by equating Islam with terrorism. He clearly has not problem with seeing women as sex objects, because he himself has proved this time and time again. Then, of course, he stood by when Nazis were marching on American streets and inciting violence, and claimed that there were some good people among them. And, of course, there was that recent "shithole nations" comment when he referred to countries that were predominately black and Hispanic. He and his team denied racism time and time again, but it does not take much effort to connect the dots, and recognize that the reality of his racism is far more severe than what he claims it is.

Then, there is the lying. The relentless stream of lies and, at best, half-truths, from this administration, which seems to go on all fronts. Anytime that Trump is criticized, he dismisses the source as "fake news," and even labeled the media as an "enemy of the people." Meanwhile, nobody has even approached this man in terms of either the sheer number of lies put forth, or the magnitude of the lies themselves. He promised that he would divorce himself from his businesses, then never did it, and has used the office he now holds for personal profit. He claimed that he would release his tax returns, but he never did. He promised he would make Mexico pay for the wall, but obviously he would never be able to make them do that. He promised he would save the coal industry, but obviously he would not be able to do that. He promised to be the greatest job creating President in American history, but has shown little ability to be that. He promised to work for middle class Americans, yet his first act as President was to make home ownership more difficult and costly for them, and then passed that tax bill that will hurt the middle class in the not too distant future. He promised not to play golf, but has spent pretty much almost every weekend in sunny Florida playing golf, including this weekend as I write this, in the midst of the government shutdown that he claimed his leadership and deal-making abilities would be able to avoid. He demonstrably lied about the size of his election win, and lied about the size of the crowd at his inauguration. He constantly lies about his own popularity, at every opportunity. He lies about his own efficiency, claiming to have passed more bills than any President since Truman, while in fact, he passed the fewest of all Presidents since then.

And those are just a few of his lies! In fact, his lies are simply way too numerous, and too serious, for me to get to here. Frankly, you would need a team of people to be able to identify and dissect all of this man's seemingly countless lies, and the number of lies just keeps growing daily!

Finally, there is the instability factor. He may refer to himself as a "very stable genius," but he has looked like anything but stable or a genius. The White House has looked like a revolving door place of employment. There have been more firings and resignations than any other presidency during that first year in office. There have been more serious charges, as well as criminal indictments, as well. And, of course, there are the seemingly countless ridiculous tweets, which even his political allies consider a liability.

So, with all of that, what do Americans now think of their beloved leader?

Well, according to a Marist poll, a majority of Americans - 53 percent - feel that Trump has failed during his first year in office.

Recently, Panama has tried to get rid of Trump's name on hotels down there. Like it or not, this is what the world thinks of the United States under President Trump. He and his silly supporters can paint it any way they want to. But the United States is already paying a price, and is losing it's leadership status the world over. China keeps stepping in where American leadership used to be strong, and several European leaders have stated outright that they no longer see the United States as a reliable partner. Mexico and other Latin American nations are making a point of finalizing trade deals with other nations. And of course, African nations have watched Trump praise the healthcare system of a non-existent African country, and then refer to them as "shithole nations."

And yet, you better believe that Trump fans are unwittingly cheering America's decline every step of the way. Trump represents the worst that America offers, and that is why he is so hated, here and all around the world.

Fake President!

“We’re going to win. We’re going to win so much. We’re going to win at trade, we’re going to win at the border. We’re going to win so much, you’re going to be so sick and tired of winning, you’re going to come to me and go ‘Please, please, we can’t win anymore.’ You’ve heard this one. You’ll say ‘Please, Mr. President, we beg you sir, we don’t want to win anymore. It’s too much. It’s not fair to everybody else. And I’m going to say ‘I’m sorry, but we’re going to keep winning, winning, winning, We’re going to make America great again.”

 - Donald Trump

Sick of all that winning yet?

If this is "winning," then yes, I sure am sick of it!





These are the articles that I used, and which feel especially relevant, when reviewing Trump's first year in office. Please take a look at these articles:


Trump is doing more to divide the country than unite it, poll says by Laura Santhanam,  Politics, Jan 18, 2018:







World's confidence in US leadership under Trump at new low, poll find by Julian Borger in Washington  18 Jan 2018:


Friday, January 19, 2018

Examining Trump's Rise on the Eve of the One Year Anniversary of his Presidency

Tomorrow will officially mark one year since Trump first took office.

During that time, he has accomplished little, but taken credit for everything good, while verbally divorcing himself from everything bad.

The nation has grown more polarized than I have ever seen it, and the entire world sometimes seems to be laughing at Americans.

Yet, his staunch supporters - and they seem to hover around 30 percent of the population or so - feel that he has shown strength, and is well on the way to doing what he promised, to "Make America Great Again (MAGA)."

I have debated a few of his supporters, and not surprisingly, found the experience both infuriating and counterproductive. When people want to believe in their own facts, and label anything that disagrees with their political viewpoint as "fake news," then it makes it impossible to argue with them, frankly.

Since Trump's candidacy grew more serious and more threatening as he got closer to power, I found myself wondering what it is that people see in such a man. Seriously, most of us have known about him since at least the 1980's, and you could just tell, by looking at his face and demeanor back then, that he was a lowlife. My girlfriend was new to this country and did not speak or understand English, but she instinctively took a disliking to him, just on his body language alone. This is a very rich, privileged man, and he was born into that wealth. Yet, he looks like the most miserable and truly unhappy of men. 

You might think that it was for a good reason, until you hear the man talk. As soon as he opens his mouth, he just spews endless bullshit. It's just lies and bleeding narcissism, a constant call for attention to himself and confirmation for how great he thinks he is. Who else in the history of the world makes such a point of putting his own name up high above city skylines, so that it can be seen from many miles away, and lit up at night? 

It reminded me of one line from the movie 'The Dead Zone," when a rich businessman is entertaining the slimy politician that Johnny Smith is about to meet, and realize just how much of a threat he actually is. The fictional politician there is Greg Stillson, and he was all smiles. But when he leaves, the politician turned on the television and blasted Stillson in front of Smith, who is surprised, because the two had seemed so chummy. But the businessman said that he just wanted to keep up appearances in case Stillson won, and then warned that he was seriously dangerous, before asking, "Can't people see through this turkey?"

Well, Trump is quite similar to Greg Stillson. A man with an ability to please those select large audiences who are taken by him, by his bravado.

Yet, most people have the good sense to see through this turkey. Most Americans were opposed to him before and right through the election that got him into the White House, and even more Americans stand opposed to him now. Which makes you wonder, how in the hell did this guy succeed, and scam his way into the Oval Office. I mean, seriously, he is obviously a very skilled and cunning con artist, yes. But what is it that people saw in him to make them believe?

Surely, I was not alone in wondering what it was exactly that people saw in this man, right? 

Well, there is an article out that, I think, might go some distance towards answering that question. And really, perhaps not surprisingly, it is rather obvious. Read this:

His lack of specificity about how he would accomplish these goals is less relevant than his self-assured, convincing rhetoric. He urges his audiences to “trust him,” promises he is “really smart” and flexes his prophetic muscles (like when he claims to have predicted the 9/11 attacks). 

Trump’s self-congratulating rhetoric makes him appear to be the epitome of hubris, which, according to research, is often the least attractive quality of a potential leader. However, Trump is so consistent in his hubris that it appears authentic: his greatness is America’s greatness.

Indeed, the author of this piece, Jennifer Mercieca, is able to brilliantly diagnose just how Trump's rhetoric works, and why it seems to move so many millions of people, who simply accept his claims to superior wisdom and abilities, largely by Trump's own subtle nod to their own common sense, which means that ego is stoking ego in each case.

It also explains why his supporters "get" Trump, and why they get so damn angry and feel so slighted, and even threatened, by those of us who look at this man and hear him talk, and dismiss him - with perfectly good reason, I might add - as an uninformed ignoramus almost comically unqualified for the high office that he hopes to get elected into.

Unfortunately, it worked, and he now holds the office that he is actually uniquely unqualified for, because of his narcissism, his ignorance, and his arrogance.

Please read this article, because it sheds light on Donald Trump, and what made him so appealing to so many, to the point that he was able to win the White House.


The rhetorical brilliance of Trump the demagogue by Jennifer Mercieca, 


https://theconversation.com/the-rhetorical-brilliance-of-trump-the-demagogue-51984