20 December 2009
I wonder if anyone else remembers when securing a bowl bid served as validation of a successful season. Am I the only one who still believes that if this nonsensical post-season arrangement will continue to exist, that at least it should be limited to fewer teams? A large number of this year’s bowl participants never even made a cameo appearance in any of the three most widely cited top 25 opinion polls. Since the expansion of the regular season to twelve games, teams with the same number of losses as wins annually qualify for bowl games. Some of those teams plus others with 7-5 records only achieved that modicum a success by defeating team from the Division 1-AA level.
The driving force behind the overstuffed schedule of irrelevant match-ups is conferences’ overblown views of their members. Conferences with automatic bids to Bowl Series Championship games delusionally believe that their fifth and sixth place teams deserve to play an extra game, usually against another distant also-ran from another major conference. Also pushing for the inflation of the bowl glut, the five non-automatic qualifying conferences are equally culpable. These five groups of defectors from Division 1-AA, remnants of formerly relevant conferences and long-time independents clamor for any nationally televised games, even their second and third place members. Sadly, in this era when even last place in children’s competitions merits a trophy, the once highly prized bowl game berth has degenerated into a de facto thirteenth game for more than half of teams in the top echelon of NCAA football.
Previous generations of fans of bowl-bound teams relished trips to bowls to touristic locations. People escaped wintry doldrums to ring in New Year’s Day in warm locales suited to entertaining visitors. Currently, the absurd array of bowl games includes such curiously undesirable destinations such as Boise, Detroit and Shreveport. Compounding this line-up of inappropriate vacation spots, a bowl game has been scheduled for Yankee Stadium after the 2010 season. What purpose would this serve other than to lure even more loud and tipsy spectators to pack Times Square further past the point of overflowing?
As the situation exists now, bowl games serve much less of a financial boon to either to bowls sites or participants. In some cases, universities actually lose money by sending their teams to post-season play. After the costs of transporting the players, coaches, support staff, marching band and university officials then paying for all those to stay at the location of the game for at least three days, little to none of the bowl payout remains. For fans of perennial top 25 programs, spending hundreds of dollars to travel and watch their underperforming teams play a glorified exhibition match before New Year’s Day often fails to motivate them to part with their money. Therefore, bowl committees deduct the value of hundreds, frequently thousands, of unsold tickets allotted to universities from the sum given to them for participating in the game.
Unfortunately, for the devotees of followers of the most popular amateur sport in the United States, we will have to settle for yet another year with three weeks of inconsequential contests concluded by one game purported to crown the national champion.
COPYRIGHT BY CHARLES KASTRIOT, DECEMBER 2009
09 December 2009
American Football Conference
East Division: New England has stumbled the past two weeks but still leads the division by one game over the Jets and Dolphins. The Patriots split the meetings with both contenders so their game at Buffalo will weigh heavily when the tie-breakers are applied. A loss to the Bills would give Miami the tie-breaking advantage over New England. The Jets could easily make up ground versus the putrid Buccaneers, injury-riddled Falcons then probably complacent Colts. This race looks to go down to the final game of the regular season.
North Division: Only four losses to close out the regular season would prevent Cincinnati from wrapping up the division. The Bengals swept their divisional games so just one win will secure the division. However, they cannot become lackadaisical if they want to beat out the winner of the AFC West for the second seed and a first round bye.
South Division: The only remaining question here is “How hard will the Colts pursue a perfect season?” Indianapolis has already claimed the divisional crown. Merely by splitting their final four games, the Colts can earn home-field advantage for the playoffs. Due to the Jaguars 6-2 conference record, they remain in the thick of wild-card contention.
West Division: San Diego resuscitated its season with infusions of AFC creampuffs during an impressive seven game winning streak. The Chargers will step up in class in the next two weeks versus playoff contenders. Denver only trails by one game with these two having split their match-ups. The Broncos absolutely must win their remaining divisional games at home to have a shot at wresting the AFC West away from San Diego.
National Football Conference
Eastern Division: This division has provided down-to-the-wire finishes on an annual basis for several years. This year projects as yet another exciting conclusion. The Giants trail by one game but hold the tie-breaking advantage over the Cowboys; a win at home versus the Eagles is vital to keep pace while avoiding conceding the tie-breaker to Philadelphia. The Eagles currently holds the tie-breaker factoring in NFC games which might end up settling the deadlock. Dallas already has two divisional losses, both to the Giants, so the Cowboys must win their final four games, especially those two NFC East games to avoid falling behind the Giants.
Minnesota sits on the cusp of securing the division. Thanks to their sweep of Green Bay, the Vikings need only to win half of their scheduled matches to grab the divisional title and a first round bye. Minnesota has to hope that New Orleans stumbles twice in order to sneak into position for home-field advantage.
Southern Division: New Orleans has already wrapped up the NFC South. The Saints can even afford to throw in one clunker yet still receive the top seed in the NFC playoffs. One of the least successful franchises in NFL history has a realistic chance to become only the second team to finish 16-0. Atlanta and Carolina will require Herculean efforts along with some assistance from other teams to limp into the playoffs.
Western Division: Just like last season, Arizona is not playing in a consistently aesthetic fashion. However, the Cardinals will secure the division by splitting their remaining games. The Forty-Niners have teased their fans dreaming of a return to the glory years of the 80s and 90s. Unfortunately for them, San Francisco must win out and hope for Arizona to choke.
In an effort to determine the strength of conferences in relation to each other, I have devised a formula to calculate objectively how they rate. I have reviewed the non-conference match-ups of the eleven Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly known as Division 1-A) conferences' members.
The formula consists of teams contributing points toward their conference's totals with each win against other teams outside their own conference. Teams receive no credit for defeating members of the Football Championship Subdivision (formerly known as Division 1-AA). However, conferences' members are penalized for losing to FCS/Division 1-AA teams. Wins on the road or at neutral sites carry more value than wins at home. Conferences earn bonus points if their members defeated other conferences' overall champions or divisional champions. The score of 1.000 is the highest possible score for a conference whose members played all of their non-conference games at home; in this case, the conference won all of them, beating only FBS opponents, none of whom won their conference or divisional championships.
After plugging in all of the numbers into my top secret formula, here are the results:
CONFERENCE NUMBER OF NON-CONFERENCE GAMES SCORE
Southeastern: 48 .891
Big East: 40 .788
Pacific Ten: 30 .617
Big Twelve: 48 .578
Big Ten: 44 .574
Mountain West: 36 .535
Atlantic Coast: 48 .521
Western Athletic: 38 .434
Conference USA: 48 .250
Mid-American: 52 .231
Sun Belt: 36 .083
The Atlantic Coast Conference had monumental victories. Virginia Tech's wins over the Big Twelve Northern Division champion Nebraska and Conference USA's champion East Carolina earned some respect for the ACC. Additionally, North Carolina also defeated ECU. Boston College defeated the Mid-American Conference champion, Central Michigan.
On the flip side, the ACC suffered several embarrassing losses. Virginia lost to William & Mary and Duke lost to Richmond; both of those winning teams play at the FCS level. The ACC struggled mightily, 2-5, versus the SEC. The only two wins occurred against the only two SEC teams who finished with losing records. The fact that both teams in the ACC title game lost to SEC teams finishing 7-5 further tarnished the ACC's image. Finally, BC dropped a game to the imploded program in South Bend, Indiana.
The Southeastern Conference piled up notable wins yet could have easily earned a higher score. Florida and Arkansas rolled over Troy, the Sun Belt champion. Georgia’s win at Georgia Tech combined with South Carolina defeating Clemson bolstered the SEC's claim to superiority over the conference derisively regarded as "a basketball conference". Also, Tennessee beat Ohio, the Eastern Division winner of the Mid-American Conference. Had nine of the members played FBS instead of FCS opponents, including Mississippi beating two formerly labeled Division 1-AA programs, then the SEC's point total could have easily exceeded 0.9, even if not all of those games were wins for the SEC.
The Big Ten continued its cherished tradition of inviting Mid-American Conference members to serve as punching bags. Prior to starting intra-conference games or just filling in open dates later in the year, the Big 10 bullied the MAC in eleven of the thirteen head-to-head contests.
The Pacific Ten responded positively following last season's embarrassing regular season record of 1-6 versus the Mountain West Conference. This year, the PAC 10 won all three games against the MWC. Fans might wonder if the smaller number of match-up between these two conferences contributed to the reversal. However, the PAC 10 appears more balanced and improved than in 2008.
For those higher rated conferences, take pride in your rankings. As for the rest, redemption can always occur in winning bowl games.
COPYRIGHT BY CHARLES KASTRIOT DECEMBER 2009
12 November 2009
AFC East: New England is starting to re-assert itself as the perennial favorite to win the division in this decade. The Patriots have the opportunity to challenge seriously for a first round playoff bye with a game versus the Colts. Miami might seem to have fallen far behind the Patriots for the divisional title. However, the Dolphins 3-1 record within the division still gives them a chance to catch the Patriots.
AFC North: Surprising Cincinnati and reliable Pittsburgh are currently tied for first place. This is a bit deceptive since the Bengals have won the first four divisional games, including a victory over the Steelers. Meanwhile, the Steelers only have one win in the division. This week’s match-up between these two will go a long way toward deciding which one will earn the divisional title. The other one will likely be stuck taking the long and hard road through the wild card route.
AFC South: As the Colts are wont to due, they have bolted out of the starting gate to an undefeated tally so far. The rest of the division already has four or more losses each. One question is whether or not Indianapolis can defeat New England to challenge the Patriots’ 16-0 mark from two seasons ago. Another question is whether or not Indy wastes yet another outstanding start by falling short of the Super Bowl.
AFC West: Denver has cooled down a bit after starting 6-0. The Broncos still hold a one game lead over San Diego thanks to the Broncos’ victory over the Chargers in the sixth week of the season. The Chargers have a shot to even the score in two weeks. The Raiders and Chiefs will battle to avoid the basement of the division.
NFC East: With the Cowboys most recent victory at Philadelphia, they have nudged ahead of the Eagles. These two will face each other in the regular season finale to see which one secures the division title while the other settles for a wild card berth. The Giants have imploded after a 5-0 start. Washington’s management and fans are already debating over the replacement for head coach Jim Zorn.
NFC North: Minnesota is thoroughly plundering the NFC. The Vikings should sail easily through the rest of their schedule with a three game divisional lead which includes a sweep of Green Bay. The only possibility of running aground would be losing both games to the Bears later in the season in addition to dropping one more game. That would allow Chicago to tighten the race, assuming the Bears can start an eight game winning streak. Green Bay and Chicago will have to ratchet up their performances if they want to compete for playoff berths.
NFC South: New Orleans is sprinting away from the rest of the division like a thoroughbred versus a trio of mules. The Saints are on pace to wrap up the division by the end of November. Not only are they undefeated with a three game lead over the closest rival, but they also have a victory over Atlanta and over Carolina. The Saints are competing with Minnesota for the top playoff seed but the Saints control their own destiny for that goal.
NFC West: Arizona appears to have regained some of its momentum from last year’s post-season. San Francisco has crashed and burned in a four game losing streak. The Forty-Niners’ glimmer of hope is their 3-0 divisional record. Also, San Francisco only trails Arizona by two games with eight left to play.
04 November 2009
The widely predicted a showdown between Texas and the winner of the Southeastern Conference Championship between Alabama and Florida remains probable though not guaranteed. The Longhorns have proved themselves in a league of their own when compared to the rest of the Big Twelve. The top three teams still have to avoid the possible pitfalls in a regular season-ending grudge matches against in-state rivals. Alabama is the only one of the three who will play a team in the Top 25 before the conference championship game. Such a seemingly pre-ordained national title game has not been foreseen so clearly since 2004.
The other extreme is a huge controversy if one or more of the following occurs:
-Texas stumbles in November or is upset by whichever decrepit squad emerges from the mire of the Northern Division of the Big Twelve.
-Neither Alabama nor Florida finish undefeated or, even more unsettling, neither one wins the Southeastern Conference. Although no one seems to consider this possibility, LSU could upset Alabama this Saturday then remember to bring its offense to a rematch against Florida in Atlanta. If that happens, LSU will possibly rise to the Top Two.
-Both Texas Christian and Boise State conclude the regular season as undefeated and find themselves among the Top 5 in the polls, if not higher. Could both expect bids to BCS bowls? Would either finish high enough to play for the national title?
-The only undefeated teams from BCS conferences are Iowa and Cincinnati. Would the lack of respect for their conferences curtail their number of votes, leaving them out of the BCS title game?
Half of this possibility seems tantalizing close to fruition. Would an undefeated Iowa team settling for the Rose Bowl instead of a shot at the national title light a fire under the Big Ten to support a playoff? The obstinacy of the Big Ten in its preference to send its champion to Pasadena on New Year’s Day instead of a multi-team playoff could dearly cost the Hawkeyes.
Here a look at this season’s prominent overachievers so far:
1. Iowa: Kirk Ferentz has recaptured his highly successful formula which he possessed earlier in this decade. The Hawkeyes are in the driver’s seat to win the Big Ten, and with some help, sneak into the BCS title game.
2. Texas Christian: The Frogs have leaped over Boise State in the BCS standings. TCU is well positioned to try to prove that Utah is not the only Mountain West Conference team capable of winning a BCS bowl.
3. Temple: This perennially atrocious program has its first winning season in nearly twenty years. One of the bowls with a tie-in to the Mid-American Conference might invite the Owls. Their hope is that residents of Philadelphia might actually be interested enough to watch a Temple football game for once in their lives.
In contrast, the following are the year’s most notable chokers:
1. Mississippi: The Rebels have crashed hard from their pre-season Top Ten loft. Ole Miss was mathematically eliminated from contention for the SEC Western Division before the start of November. The best case scenario is qualifying for a third-rate, pre- New Year's Day bowl game.
2. Southern California: The huge crashing sound reverberating across the country on Halloween night resulted from the huge number of media and fair-weather fans leaping from the Trojan bandwagon. The decade of domination on the Left Coast by the Trojans is nearly at its end. Will the team and fans throw in the towel already knowing they will not play in a BCS bowl for the first time since 2001?
3. Oklahoma: The season-opening loss to BYU foreshadowed a disappointing year for the Sooners. The only consolation available is sweeping the games in November and an invitation to the Cotton Bowl, assuming their fans still care enough to journey back Dallas for a third time this season.
COPYRIGHT NOVEMBER 2009 BY CHARLES KASTRIOT
09 October 2009
The Nobel Committee certainly has never shown a propensity to hand out the award to someone for simply being elected to the American presidency. Only three other American presidents have received the award; none of them earned it during the first year of their administration. In 1919, Woodrow Wilson received the prize for breaking his promise to keep the United States out of the First World War. Theodore Roosevelt secured the award in 1906 for convincing Japan to stop further routing the decrepit and inept armed forces of czarist Russia. In 2002, Carter took home the acknowledgement more than twenty years after leaving the Oval Office. Apparently, the committee believed his four years of emasculating the American armed forces and intelligence agencies did not suffice. He needed to perform two decades' worth of denigrating later occupants of the White House in their efforts to combat Communist, Fascist and Jihadist forces around the world. Notably, presidents such as Ronald Reagan’s and Franklin Roosevelt’s efforts to lead the United States to victory over the Soviet Union and the Axis Powers respectively were never acknowledged by an award from this committee.
The committee may have decided that Obama's nascent efforts to undermine free enterprise and help facilitate the destruction of the Free World's notion of representative democracy have merited the award for him. In the past twenty years, others have been rewarded for merely trying in these endeavors. Renowned Marxist, Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachyov received the award as a payment for attempting to delay for as long as possible the inevitable implosion of the Soviet Union in 1990. The 1994 Peace Prize went to Yasir Arafat for a lifetime of overseeing bombings, hijackings and other contributions to the International Jihad. In 2001, Kofi Anan and the United Nations secured the prize for successfully swindling billions of dollars from the Free World to provide a forum for Marxist, Islamic and other totalitarians nations to criticize capitalism, representative democracy and freedom in general. In 2005, Mohamad Elbaradei and his International Atomic Energy Agency won the endowment for paying lip service to halting Iran's efforts to develop a nuclear weapons while foot-dragging long enough for the Islamic regime to continue their program. Former vice-president, Al Gore Jr., took home the accolade in 2007 by touting alarmist predictions of gloom and demanding that the free and technologically advanced societies of the world slow down their economies in order for authoritarian countries to seem less backwards. Granted, the committee nominated Obama less than a month after he was inaugurated. Therefore, one must assume that the committee chose the winner based on potential for furtherance of the statists' goals.
So what has Obama accomplished to deserve this prize? He has curried favor with Islamists and their useful idiots around the world by ordering a halt to effective interrogation of jihadis and the closing of the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay. He announced that he will soon remove most of the American armed forces in Iraq thus, allowing jihadis an easier possibility of toppling the elected government and replace it with an Islamic regime. Much to the delight of statists envious of American prosperity, he has seized considerable federal governmental control over two of the three largest American automobile manufacturers in addition to several of the nation's largest banks. He has won the approval of such prominent dictators such as Venezuela's Hugo Chavez, Libya's Muamar Kadaffy and Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinewhackjob.
In conclusion, this decision foreshadows more lurching toward socialism and more dhimmitude for the United States of America. Obama had the influence of Saul Alinsky and Bill Ayers plus his indoctrination in an Indonesian madrassa motivating his decisions. After this announcement, he has to prove to the Nobel Committee that he deserves their confidence and will govern up to their authoritarian standards.
COPYRIGHT BY CHARLES KASTRIOT OCTOBER 2009
06 October 2009
American Football Conference, Eastern Division: Before the quarterback Mark Sanchez finally played like a rookie, Jets' fans were dreaming of a "Subway Super Bowl" against their cross-town nemeses. Regardless of that loss, the Jets still hold a slight advantage over New England, thanks to their win in the second week. As of it appears now, both team are headed to the playoffs.
American Football Conference, Northern Division:No clear front-runner has emerged yet. Baltimore and Cincinnati are tied at 3-1, followed by 2-2 Pittsburgh. One has to wonder if the Bengals can sustain early-season success in view of recent years of failure. Also, are the Steelers simply feeling lingering effects of a Super Bowl hangover and will recover in time to compete for the divisional title? Will the Ravens' offense play consistently enough to support their continuance of defensive domination? This muddled picture needs more time to clarify.
American Football Conference, Southern Division: At first glance, Indianapolis appears to be Boise State and the rest of the division is imitating the rest of the Western Athletic Conference. Granted the Colts are bolting to the head of the AFC, yet Jacksonville is still within striking distance, thanks to its 2-1 record in divisional games. If the Colts stumble down the stretch while Jaguars go on a winning streak, the match-up between these two on the seventeenth of December could decide the divisional title. The Titans' 10-0 start in 2008 seems like ancient history considering their 0-4 start.
American Football Conference, Western Division:At this point, Denver would have to totally collapse to not win the division. Both Oakland and Kansas City are testing their fans' patience and season ticket holders' sanity with their continued putrid performances; neither seems ready to improve on recent years of ineptitude.
National Football Conference, Eastern Division: New York is out front early in this race. Assuming the Giants can avoid choking at home versus Oakland, the Week Six showdown with undefeated New Orleans would likely give the winner the tie-breaker for one of the top two playoff seeds. Philadelphia is danger of losing ground during Donovan McNabb's injury. We will find out if their gamble on Michael Vick or their drafting of Kevin Kolb will pay off for the Eagles. Fortunately for the Eagles, they have easily winnable games in the next two weeks. The Cowboys and Redskins can still sneak back into the race since they are only two games behind the Giants. However, they are both plagued by meddlesome owners and harsh scrutiny of their huge and impatient fan bases.
National Football Conference, Northern Division: Minnesota appears to be on the verge of pulling away from the pack despite only one game ahead of the second-place Bears. Two wins within the division already further their cause. However, Chicago and Green Bay have the talent to make this a photo-finish. I suspect this race will be tight with the division not wrapped up until the last week of the season.
National Football Conference, Southern Division: After only four weeks, half of this division is already looking forward to the draft. New Orleans and Atlanta will duke it out for the title. New Orleans' offense revved in high gear in the first two games as it has since Drew Brees arrived in 2006. The reason behind their 4-0 start is found in the defense which no longer acts as a brake on their momentum. Surprisingly, the Saints' defense allowed no points in Buffalo and outscored their offensive unit versus the Jets. The Falcons find themselves a game and a half behind the Saints but do have one advantage over the Saints at this point: a win within the division.
National Football Conference, Western Division: The Forty-Niners have awakened the fans in San Francisco from their decade-long nightmare of irrelevance. Arizona is slipping back to its perennial loser status after last season’s miraculous run to the Super Bowl. Seattle's performances have appeared nearly as ugly as the fluorescent green jerseys that the Seahawks wore versus Chicago. Saint Louis should petition the Canadian Football League for membership then let the Grey Cup winner take the Rams' place in this division. San Francisco will win the NFC West by default.
Of course, the projections are subject to change due to injuries to and arrests of players.
02 October 2009
Southern California decided to perform its annual half-hearted effort leading to a loss in a road game versus an unranked Pacific Ten opponent early this year. That way, USC gave the talking heads at ABC and ESPN more weeks to gush fawningly over the Trojans after routs of the rest of conference. All which is left for the Trojans to accomplish is to finish plowing through the Pacific Ten then run circles around the snail-like adversary from the Big Ten.
Ohio State perpetuated its reputation for crumbling in non-conference games versus non-BCS opponents. The Buckeyes' reputation for folding under the national spotlight has been slightly exacerbated by three consecutive losses in BCS bowls and a 0-4 mark against the Southeastern Conference. In fairness to Ohio State, the Buckeyes have won eleven of the nineteen games with BCS non-conference opponents in the first nine years and one month of the 2000s. They also hold a four win and two loss record against the Big Twelve and a 4-3 tally against the Pacific Ten since 2000.
The media love to mention "BCS Busters" as candidates to upset the template of the national championship game. They relish the potential controversy of someone other than members of the conferences with automatic bids advancing to the BCS title game. Some of these "flies in the ointment", Utah and BYU, have already failed to maintain momentum after upsetting a ranked major conference member in the first week. The advocates for chaos need not fear for lack of Cinderellas. Houston remains undefeated after two wins over Big Twelve members while Boise State has improved on its pre-season top twenty ranking and snuck into the fifth position in the polls.
The Michigan bandwagon has returned with plenty of vacant seats. A sizeable number of riders have bailed out over the past two seasons. Losing the season-opener to Appalachian State two years ago followed by last year's 3-9 mark tarnished the winged helmets in many eyes. The widely predicted shift of power in the Great Lakes State seems to have only been an outlier of 2008. The cross-state nemesis, Michigan State, has stumbled embarrassingly to start the season. Last minute losses to Central Michigan and Notre Dame then an inept performance at Wisconsin bode a heartbreaking backslide for the Spartans. This Saturday's intra-state grudge match serves as the crossroads for both teams. A Spartan victory could start a reclamation of a season with the possibility of a Big Ten title. A Michigan win would further legitimize the return to the status of "Big Three" status for the Wolverines.
11 September 2009
1. Oregon's season hopes suffered a major blow. On the bright side, the University of Oregon still has LeGarette Blount, the perfect cornerstone to build a varsity boxing squad.
2. Oklahoma fans' agony of losing Sam Bradford for weeks and, quite possibly, its hopes for a return to the national championship game is compounded by the higher ranking of and impressive season-opening win by that team from Stillwater to which Sooners love to condescend.
3. If the Detroit Lions manage to halt their seventeen game losing streak against the Saints on Sunday, the flood of tears from New Orleanians will make Hurricane Katrina appear as a light drizzle. The memories of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers ending their streak of twenty-six consecutive losses will flood the memories of the long-suffering Saints' fans.
4. What high-profile NFL player will sustain a season-ending injury during the opening weekend?
5. How many games will Terrell Owens play before publicly insulting Trent Edwards, questioning his coaches decisions and generally wearing out his welcome in Buffalo? My guess is less than two months.
COPYRIGHT BY CHARLES KASTRIOT SEPTEMBER 2009
09 August 2009
Honestly, does anyone still cling to the antiquated notion that professional football players need four meaningless games in order to prepare themselves for the regular season slate of sixteen? Teams engage in mini-camps throughout the off-season. Plus, players voluntarily participate in drills with teammates during the spring and summer before the official opening of training camps. The days when most, if not all, players showed up to training camp in mid-summer noticeably overweight, stiff or, in any other way, indifferent of any football related matter since their teams' final game of the previous season have gone the way of the phonograph and black/white televisions.
Granted, most fans enjoy watching the first and possibly the second exhibition games. Those two provide an opportunity to view rookies selected in the draft and new additions to the team acquired via free agency or off-season trades. Few fans have access to the scrimmages conducted during training camp so the first exhibition game remains the initial viewing of the newcomers in their new uniforms. However, the novelty soon dissipates in the knowledge that any outstanding performances must be weighed against the half-hearted level of effort of veterans in the games and the irrelevancy of the final scores. The only drama for those fans who watch the final two exhibition games lies in the holding of their collective breath in hope that none of the starting players of his/her teams sustain any injuries preventing them from playing the the games that actually count in the standings.
Therefore, this writer proposes the elimination of the last two exhibition games. Undoubtedly, the owners and others who benefit financially from the staging of these meaningless contests will object. After all, NFL teams charge hefty prices for tickets to these glorified scrimmages which season-ticket holders cannot avoid since these exhibition games are included in their season ticket packages. Those who make their living based on attendance at the games such as vendors, employees at parking lots and others would hate to see two of their ten opportunities for sales to vanish. Obviously, some recompense must be offered to assuage the pain of withdrawal.
The solution will prevent the loss of revenue by those with a stake in upholding the number of games played at an NFL venue yet give the fans more of what they deserve: games that count in the standings. The final two exhibition games should be replaced with two more regular season non-conference games. Just as college football teams typically play two or more non-conference opponents at the start of a season, the NFL would benefit by such a structure of scheduling. The number of games a team would host would not change so there would be no loss of revenue. Fans would not feel cheated by paying to see as many inconsequential games as they do currently.
To further bolster the appeal of these two additional non-conference games, each team would have a list of annual opponents that would spark much interest among the fans to see the teams play every season despite not being in the same conference. Several match-ups of teams in the same state or otherwise within close proximity to each other stand out as obviously interesting contests. The high level of anticipation would exist regardless of the records of the teams entering the contests. Opponents in the same media markets such the Jets and the Giants in addition to the Raiders and the Forty-Niners would provide an outlet for the antipathy between both sets of fans on the field during a relevant game of the regular season. Intrastate matches such the Cowboys versus the Texans, the Buccaneers versus the Dolphins, the Redskins versus the Ravens, the Eagles versus the Steelers and the Rams versus the Chiefs certainly hold more allure in a regular season game even though these teams often play their in-state counterpart in exhibition contests. Even annual meetings between teams of states bordering each other like the Colts versus the Bears, the Lions versus the Browns, the Chargers versus the Cardinals and the Falcons versus the Jaguars could develop into heated rivalries with a traditional early season date against each other.
An extra financial benefit of scheduling these games with teams within a close distance of each other should appeal to owners as well as fans. The shorter distance between the city of visiting team and the home team's stadium will reduce travel costs. For some of these proposed annual contests, the visiting team could easily take buses to their opponent's stadium. A person does not need a Ph.D. in economics or management to realize the tremendous savings in the substitution of one or two short bus trips for several dozen adults instead of flying across timezones for a handful of trivial exhibition games. Also, visiting fans will be more likely to attend games if they can drive to the opponents' stadium and return home the day of the game.
So when will Commissioner Roger Goodell and the owners of NFL franchises adjust to the current situation and abolish some of its needless games in favor of some that will draw much more attention from the fans? Hopefully, the change will occur sooner than the decades that passed before the NFL acknowledged the utility of the two-point conversion and implemented it.
COPYRIGHT BY CHARLES KASTRIOT AUGUST 2009
31 July 2009
The never-ending drama surrounding the death of Michael Jackson needs to cease. He passed away unexpectedly more than three weeks ago yet still remains far too prominent among media coverage. Despite the devotion of his blindly enamored fanatics, his superficial impact on the world does not merit the overindulgence of attention accorded to his life’s accomplishments, his funeral, the custody of his children and the division of his estate.
His cult of personality has ballooned to an absurd level, way out of proportion to his contemporary relevance or to human history. Statements crediting him with breakthroughs in the arena of civil rights resonate as curious hyperbole at best. As a role model for black Americans, particularly black males born since the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Jackson left much to be desired. Granted, he transferred his success as a pre-teen pop star with his four brothers into a solo singing career. However, he chose to undergo multiple cosmetic surgeries over the course of his adulthood to obscure and eventually remove his distinctively black facial features. In the final few years of his life, Jackson resembled an alabaster and androgynous freak more suited to the day-time tawdry talkshows.
Further undermining the de facto sainthood accorded to Michael Jackson are the rumors and confirmed reports of his creepy interaction with children. Obviously, Jackson suffered from the deprivation of a healthy childhood. Due to his parents’ hard-driving exhortations to pinnacles of fame and fortune in the music industry, many of the joys of adolesence eluded Jackson. Evidently, he thought that by creating a fantasy-inspired home appropriately named “Neverland” that he could recreate the youth which he was denied. Nevertheless, any man who actively seeks the company of pre-teen boys who are not related to him stands out as strange. Jackson’s overt catering to preteen boys eerily resembles behavior employed by child molesters to lure in their prey. Regardless of whether he desired sexual exploitation of his young male companions or simply and selfishly wanted the typical boyhood experiences that he was denied, he rightfully deserved the scorn and condemnation that he received for his bizarre behavior.
Granted, Jackson’s albums rank as some of the highest selling of all-time. However, overblown statements labeling him as the greatest singer or musician or entertainer of all time need a strong case of tempering with historical perspective without the emotional tumult following his recent death. He never mastered any musical instrument; his ability to read and compose music has not been substantiated. Sadly, his legions of adorers mistake his effeminate voice, flashy gyrations and self-fondling for musical perfection.
What will cure the American, indeed, world’s obsession with this death of one man and its endless, overdramatized aftermath? Should we hope for the addition of another pet to the Obama White House? Will it necessitate O.J. Simpson's involvement in more felonious activities? Does another bubble-headed, bleached blonde, third-rate actress have to die unexpectedly? Perhaps, only the unexpected death of another washed-up pop star that also peaked in the 1980s will halt the gluttony of paparazzi's obsession with Jackson’s passing. So, will you help us out of this misery, Madonna?
COPYRIGHT BY CHARLES KASTRIOT JULY 2009
20 May 2009
The U.S. House of Representatives has passed the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009. The bill awaits widely expected passage by the Senate. President Obama's signature on the bill transforming it into law appears to be a foregone conclusion.
This bill perpetuates the Orwellian campaign against lines of thinking deemed punishable by the thought police. Despite the doublespeak about the value of freedom of speech and the right to hold unpopular opinions from the proponents of this bill, its provisions will be implemented as a weapon to punish those with politically incorrect viewpoints. These include, but are not limited to, opposition to legalization of homosexual marriage, normalization of homosexuality in general, support for at least some legal restrictions on abortion, opposition to racial quotas and preferences and criticism of Islam. The more politically incorrect traits someone possesses (Caucasian race, male gender, Christian faith, European ancestry or heterosexual preference), the more grounds for accusation of "hate" will become available for the thought police.
The purpose of this law will manifest itself whenever a member of a politically correct group such as "sexual minorities" and "persons of color" has been involved with a violent incident with a non-member of these groups. The non-member will face a ten year prison sentence or possibly a life sentence. The prosecutors need only persuade a jury that the non-member was possibly thinking about the "privileged" person's actual or perceived membership in one or more classifications prior to or while engaging in seemingly illegal acts. The incidents of playing the "race card" will skyrocket, along with open appeals for sympathy based solely on the perennial claims to victim status among sexual deviants. We will be told to overlook the fact that the "sexual minority" member or "person of color" may have instigated a violent confrontation. Additionally, the shock and outrage of crimes committed against politically favored minorities remarkably will be absent if the true perpetrators of the crimes turns out to be members of the same classification or at least another politically correct minority.
One might ask what is the purpose of this proposed law. It would allow federal money and other forms of assistance to be sent to state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies. This aid would only be available if someone is accused of committing a crime against someone who is "different" as long as the "difference" has been consecrated by the thought police. Someone targeted based on his preference for engaging in anal intercourse can demand prosecution based on this law. However, someone attacked because of his preference for eating meat does not have such an option. A group of thugs who attacked a man for wearing a mini-skirt and cosmetics faces additional punishment for doing so; the same group of thugs who attacked a man for wearing a military uniform does not risk more punishment for their choice of target. This subjective legal protection for behaviors like sodomy and cross-dressing but not consumption of meat or service in the armed forces proves that some minorities are more equal than others.
28 April 2009
His tenuous loyalty to the Republican Party has been as glaring as the midday sun in the Sahara Desert. Former President George W. Bush should have steered clear of this eventual turncoat. Instead, Bush foolishly played the role of a team player to campaign publicly for Specter in 2004 despite strong criticism from within his ranks for doing so. Disproving the myth that elephants possess a strong capacity for remembering, the Republicans foolishly chose Specter as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee in 2005. Did they think that he needed a forum to add more verbs to the American lexicon in addition to his contribution to the creation of the term "bork"? In response to his successful re-election, Specter showed his ingratitude by warning that any of Bush's judicial nominees who did not spout the pro-abortion mantra would be subject to filibusters to prevent confirmation. With RINOs like Specter in key positions of power, why did the Democrats worry so much about regaining the majority in Congress?
So what served as Specter's response to growing criticism from conservatives and his attempt to curry favor with his constituents? He implied that his home-state's Philadelphia Eagles lost the thirty-ninth Super Bowl due to forbidden video recording by their opponents, the New England Patriots, in the game. Such phony pandering on a diversionary topic revealed this Ivy Leaguer's contemptuous condescension toward those he purported to represent.
Time will tell what fallout will result from this bombshell that Arlen Specter has ignited. His treachery may have consolidated the Democrats stranglehold on power in Washington. Assuming that Al Franken's lackeys have successfully stuffed enough questionable ballots in the appropriate boxes, the Republicans will no longer be able to resort to filibusters. If the failed talk show host can dupe the members of the Minnesota Supreme Court into confirming his ascension to the Senate, no roadblock will lay in the path to the Proletarian Paradise.
As for the Republican Party, what has it lost in this incident? The defection of a long-time member carries a modicum of embarrassment, at least on a superficial level. Such decisions can rattle the confidence of party loyalists. Feelings of despair and resignation to further desertions in the future may result. However, when someone exploits a moment of weakness of his comrades for his own self-aggrandizement and personal gain, one must question the true value of that traitor. Specter's departure frees the Republicans to support Representative Pat Toomey, an unblushing proponent of capitalism, in next year's senatorial election. At least the Republican voters of Pennsylvania will not be forced to debate loyalty to their party versus fidelity to their principles while standing in the voting booths next year.
The talking heads' ridiculous pronouncements of the collapse of the Republican Party betray their willful ignorance of recent American political events. Did the Democrat Party fall into a continuous downward spiral in 1994 when it lost control of both the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate for the first time in four decades? Did the Democrat Party decline into irrelevance after Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell and Representative Billy Tauzin switched from Democrat to Republican in 1995? Did the Democrats shrink into a merely regional party in 2003 after the Republicans had won a majority of the seats in the Senate after already holding the White House and House of Representatives for the first time since 1953? Was the death knell pronounced for the Democrats in 2004 when Tom Daschle, the Senate Minority Leader at the time, lost his re-election bid? The announcements of the downfall of the Republican Party betray the fantasies of those that utter them rather than objective prognostication.
21 April 2009
Obama strode into the Summit of the Americas with the self-assurance of an actor on the red carpet of the Oscars, anticipating his impending plethora of awards and plaudits from the Academy. Apart from an opus of Ameriphobic rubbish from Hugo Chavez, a deceitful diatribe from Daniel Ortega and some empty rhetoric about political prisoners from Raul Castro, Obama left empty-handed. In fact, he lost the few remaining strands of his cloak of invincibility by his attendance. The phony Messiah revealed more glaringly his unwillingness to the defend the honor of the country that elected him. Additionally, his incapability of speaking without a script showed as he could only offer anemic responses to Ortega's "Blame the U.S.A. for Everything Wrong in Central America" speech. Even Obama's conversations with the Marxist leader of Venezuela resulted from Chavez slyly orchestrations to bolster his amount of time in front of the cameras, not Obama's efforts to take charge of the agenda of the Summit of the Americas and actually accomplish something of note.
At the recent United Nations' Summit on Racism, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad once again displayed his Islamic brand of lunacy. He reinforced his previously expressed delusions about the historical reality of the Nazis' efforts at genocide directed at the elimination of Jews. He blamed the U.S. and Western Europe for "occupying" a country referred to as "Palestine", which never existed prior to its invention as a part of a plot to deny the existence of Israel. Some people have suggested that Ahmadinejad only needs to see videos and photographs of the death camps; others have proposed his meeting with survivors. Clearly, this Islamist has fully stepped through the looking-glass so any view of reality would become so distorted beyond all recognition. So what could Obama utter that would enlighten this Jew-hating snake? Such a task would prove Herculean, even for the Messiah and his magical teleprompter.
While Obama' administration continues to exceed the ineptitude of the Carter Administration, his devotees continue to hope for change. They spin his every word and deed as obviously successful then point to the next opportunity to awe the enemies of liberty. Much like other adherents of Stalin, Mao and other demagogues, paradise lies always just around the corner, if only the lackeys continue to believe and submit to the party's agenda. Unfortunately, the pervasive Ameriphobia and threatening jihad will not cease by their warm and fuzzy fantasies.
17 April 2009
On Keith Olbermann's show, Janeane Garofalo accused the protesters of "racism" because they demonstrated anti-Obamania yet she failed to indicate what was racist about their signs, statements, chants and so forth. One can only assume that she meant that any negativity directed toward Obama by Whites is inherently racist. Such an attitude shows her narrow-mindedness and cerebral atrophy. That explains her erroneous description of herself as an "actor". Is she betraying gender identity issues?
The clip of Susan Roesgen proselytizing to the protesters has widely circulated throughout the Internet. She bared her Obamania while attempting to argue with protesters in Chicago. At least she exposed less of herself on this occasion.
When she was at WDSU, New Orleans' NBC affiliate, in the 1990s, she was covering the parades on Fat Tuesday. One of her breasts was exposed through her costume while she was on camera. She may have bought into the urban legend that all women exhibit themselves during Carnival. She was so mortified that she left the day-long broadcast, ahead of public ridicule of her meager mammary.
Anderson Cooper, on his show, 360, stated, "It's hard to talk when you're teabagging" with the air of master of such activity. The glee on his face could have been viewed unaided from the moon. Finally, Cooper had the opportunity to discuss a hobby without outing himself publicly. Perhaps, in the future, Cooper will find another occasion to spout his insider's double entendres if another group of protesters uses fudge as a prop.
Keith Olbermann further justified his Outstanding TV Journalism Segment award from a homosexual alliance against criticism in March of this year. His proudly displayed his knowledge of teabagging, interspersing references to the practice throughout his rants. Considering Olbermann's apparent lack of testicles since he never invites any guests who disagree with him, one must assume that he has been on the receiving end in order to have acquired his plethora of expertise.
Rachel Maddow could not contain her revulsion at the whole topic of teabagging. Maybe she was simply upset about missing a women's softball league game in order to cover a bunch of capitalist-oriented protesters. She gave every indication that she would have preferred to slip into her finest flannel shirt and sandals then partake in some bearded clams. Sadly, she finds herself in that annual lull between the end of the NCAA women's basketball tournament and the season opener of the WNBA.
As much as the Lefties denigrated the Tea Parties, they fear the rise of an activist movement among Conservatives allied with Libertarians. The continued decline of the American economy and the rise of socialism touted by the Obama Administration and Democratically-controlled Congress will lead to change. However, it will not consist of the type demanded by Obamaniacs. Numerous heated Congressional races will occur, especially if entrenched incumbents receive credible challengers next year. By then, the American people will have discovered if these tea parties were only a one-time fad.
07 April 2009
The egregious display of kowtowing to the leader of particularly oppressive Islamic regime served as the most visible sign of Obama's latest endeavor. Obama's tour of Europe and the Middle East evidently comprise part of his challenge of former President Jimmy Carter's world record in the category of denigrating the United States in the most locations across the world. Granted, Obama has not quite reach Nobel Peace Prize standards for backstabbing. Nevertheless, he is on the verge of shattering this mark following his whirlwind tour of Ameriphobic strongholds.
Obama secured some halal points with Islamists and their useful idiots in Europe. Obama apologized for the U.S.A's toppling of a fascist regime in Iraq. He lamented the detainment of jihadis involved in violent attacks on Americans and others. His expressions of guilt for American supremacy in military and financial matters soothed the egos of Mohamadans and Marxists alike. His obfuscation of the inherent Islamic underpinning of terrorism yielded smiles of willful denial of reality. His intention to yield to their demands, no matter how detrimental to American security or economy, earned for him numerous rounds of applause and glowing media coverage.
Obama did let some scoring opportunities slip through his grasp. He failed to decry American influence with proliferation of fast-food restaurants around the world. He could have at least thrown rock through a window of a McDonald's location; Euro-trash tradition mandates this custom whenever a meeting involving financial matters occurs. He did not beg their pardon for their adolescents' obsession with music, films and television series written and produced by Americans. His omission of regret for the continued American indifference toward soccer stands out as another missed chance to add to the ledger of pusillanimity. His teleprompter will have to shoulder the blame for those since his cult of personality insists that he never commits any errors.
Since Obama needs another display of cravenness to solidify his grasp on the title of "Most Dhimmified Lackey of the Year", an obvious option has presented itself. The Somali jihadis engaging in piracy off the east coast of Africa could certainly use a bailout. The global economic recession has curtailed the number of ships loaded with goods for them to plunder. Of course, they would demand a Sharia-compliant, interest-free loan that would be eventually forgiven without ever paying back a penny.
This price to pay to please the Islamic Bloc will continue to grow expediently. In this case, it is the dignity and self-respect of the United States of America.
02 April 2009
Whenever a publicly announced conference involving economic matters takes place, Marxists eagerly gravitate to it like flies to freshly deposited feces. This meeting of the G20 was no exception. Socialists, Stalinists, Maoists, Leninists, Trotskyites, Liberation Theologists and the other sects of Marxists set aside their dogmatic differences for a brief interlude of obstructing traffic, smashing windows, screeching obscenities and additional forms of barbarism. They demanded "economic justice", a Newspeak term meaning "stealing from productive members of society without facing criminal prosecution". They decried "fascism", which they define as "refusal to continue to give them government-subsidized housing, free food allocations and checks for refusing to work". These groups claimed a right to even more money from the remaining productive citizens. This additional financial support will allow these professional leeches to continue their self-designated "important" tasks like destroying storefronts of McDonald's, Starbucks and other successful enterprises while complaining that greedy capitalists refuse to hire them.
Additionally, Islamists made their regular public expositions among the crowds. Their denouncements included the recurring targets of their rage: democracy, freedom of speech, Christianity, Israel, the Free World's defense of itself against jihadist attacks, women not hiding themselves under oppressively suffocating clothing and other un-Mohamadan concepts. They boasted about the impending end of the United Kingdom and its replacement by the new Caliphate. Then, they retired to their homes in the land that they vehemently condemn instead of returning to the Third World hellholes where their ideology reigns supreme.
Among the multitudes of sluggards engaging in mayhem in London, self-proclaimed anarchists appeared. The fact that those who claim to hate governmental regulations and societal limitations partnered with the groups of totalitarianists like Marxists and Islamists reeks of self-serving hypocrisy. Perhaps, the anarchists needed a few more hands to assist them in denying others the freedom to engage in legal commerce and walk the streets without being threatened or assaulted. How else are they supposed to demonstrate their desire for liberty?
Eventually, the accumulated mass of these parasites on the backs of the industrious people within British society will exceed their weight-bearing capacity. Then Atlas will shrug. The whole world will feel these tremors. At that point, will the other nations of the world heed the warning signs?
23 March 2009
First of all, the appeal of the underdog comes to the forefront. How is it that thousands of fans attending the games and millions watching them on television become enamored with lowly seeded teams from relatively unknown programs? Invariably, perhaps instinctively, those not affiliated with the higher seeded squad openly cheer for the underdog, the level of support inversely commensurate with how far down in the seedings the underdog is located. Does this appeal find its roots in the era when Americans were a fledgling yet disrespected country facing dominant and disdaining super-powers? Can this phenomenon be traced to a Judeo-Christian influence of the tale of the protagonist, a perceived hopelessly overmatched David versus the antagonist, an overwhelming favorite Goliath? Is this a manifestation of class warfare leading to antipathy toward the perceived pomposity of perennial powers? Attendees at these venues and public locations where the games can be viewed will commonly hear statements along the lines of this: "I can't stand Blueblood University with its fifteen thousand seat arena and millions of dollars in apparel sales. I hope Podunk State beats those arrogant (expletive)s!"
Secondly, March Madness has morphed into an excuse to dabble in gambling. Bracket pools among co-workers have developed into a tradition on par with the nondescript "holiday" party in December or monthly birthday cakes for employees. People who would only ever enter a casino to partake in the buffets eagerly fill out bracket sheets, even if they rarely, if ever, watch college basketball games during the regular season. Uninterested for most of the season, some Americans suddenly develop an affinity for teams based on curious qualities as "cute mascot", "pretty color scheme" or "location in a loved or detested state".
Additionally, Americans love drama filled immediacy and pressure. The "win or leave" format of the tournament heightens the tension among the players, coaches and fans. The NCAA Tournament can be contrasted with the National Basketball Association's seven games playoff series in which a prohibitively favored team can sleepwalk through three games yet still manage to win the series to advance to the next round. The collegiate squads possess no such luxury. A highly acclaimed team might be unable to focus on a match played at the hour when the players typically have breakfast or are asleep. A dominant, towering center could spend a significant portion of the game on the bench after an early accumulation of fouls. A leading scorer with consistent accuracy might fall into an inexplicable slump. A team of outstanding free throw shooters can fire nothing but bricks and air-balls. With such occurrences, teams with less experience, depth, height and accuracy can and do pull off upsets. These allow the underdogs to advance while the higher seeds ponder what went awry.
Foreigners have frequently stated words to the effect that what Americans do best is overdo everything. The arrangement of the NCAA Tournament lends itself to that stereotype. For the initial days of the tournament, on Thursday and Friday, four sites host four games each. The gluttony of games commences at midday, local time of the venue, and concludes at or near midnight. Even the second round, with half the number of games, extends from noon to well into prime time viewing hours in most of the country. After a respite of three days, concurrent double-headers take place in the evenings of the following Thursday and Friday. Nation-wide twin billings on the next two days determine the Final Four. Of course, a five day lag until the next round happens to allow time for another time-honored American tradition: media overexposure of the participants.
The Madness concludes with one team hoisting a trophy after proving itself as the undisputed national champions. Considering the widespread interest in this playoff among the American people, one might contemplate another mystery: Why is there no similar resolution to the Division 1-A college football season?
06 March 2009
In contrast, a different person has true executive, possibly dictatorial powers. This official assumed office typically by plebiscite although inheritance or violent usurping have occurred and still do in some areas. This leader is considered the head of government, also known as the de facto leader. Just as role can be divided between nominal and effectual leaders, such arrangements exist among those in charge of political parties and movements.
Can someone not holding a political office and has never done so actually dominate a major political party? Perhaps, if this person hosts a talk-show with millions of loyal fans. Additionally, this host/hostess, an opinionated millionaire who openly expresses political opinions and preferences, contributes financially large sums of cash. This celebrity of enormous fame regularly spouts socio-political opinions on the air and invites guests who parrot them. Therefore, the people of the United States of America might rightfully conclude that a media mogul serves as the true leader of one of its two major parties. With that said, the chatter about Oprah Winfrey and her grasp on the reins of power within the Democratic Party should inevitably dissipate.
Media coverage of last week's Conservative Political Action Conference has spawned an overblown controversy regarding who is the leader of the Republican Party.
On this subject, an important distinction must be stated. Michael Steele has been chosen as the de jure leader of the Republican Party. Who is the de facto head of the Republican Party seems less obvious. With the absence of any clearly influential and prominent Republican politician in Congress, the debate will rage among those touting various Senators, members of the House of Representatives, governors and others who have held one or more of those positions in the past in addition to Steele's supporters.
Rush Limbaugh has been widely regarded as the leader of the conservative movement for more than a decade. That role does not necessarily coincide with directing the Republican Party. Although a definitive standard for determining the undisputed chief of conservatism does not exist, Limbaugh has maintained a high-profile among the right-wing of American politics for nearly twenty years. Granted, he has detractors within the various factions on the right; some questioning his consistency and commitment over various positions taken on issues in the past. However, no one since the passing of William F. Buckley has continually and persistently championed conservatism as Rush Limbaugh has done.
Only time will tell if Steele will claim Limbaugh's title or if Limbaugh will continue to hold , in the minds of many, the rank that Steele nominally possesses.
02 March 2009
This woman in question received the moniker Pythia after being chosen as the priestess of the Oracle at Delphi. Although numerous women filled the role of the Pythia over the course of several centuries, the all of them conformed to a template before assuming the role. If one delves into the backgrounds of both the Pythia and Ann Coulter, the similarities manifest themselves. The Pythia grew up in a rustic village in Greece; Miss Coulter was raised in a bucolic suburban town in Connecticut. The Pythia adhered to the cult of Apollo, an influential sect in her nation; Miss Coulter practices evangelical Protestant Christianity, a prominent denomination in her country. The priestess dwelled in the warm and humid climate along the slope of Mount Parnassus, overlooking the Pleistos Valley in Greece; the pundit resides in a tropical area, along the Atlantic coast of Florida. A requirement to remain a virgin prohibited the Pythia from being married; inability to choose among exceedingly high number of lovelorn suitors or fear of devastating them by choosing a groom appears to explain her single status. The priestess' pronouncements were motivated by emissions of noxious gases such as methane, ethylene and hydrogen sulphide; the pundit's statements often occur after emissions from obnoxious gasbags such as MSNBC, ABC, NBC, CBS, New York, Times and Washington Post. The priestess uttered mysterious and troublesome predictions that confounded her elite recipients into asking for interpretation by priests; the pundit declares sarcastic and biting observations that affront her elitist targets into seeking consolation from their psychotherapists. If one believes in reincarnation, pondering the possibility that Ann Coulter previously toiled in ancient Greece as prophetess does not seem as totally implausible.
The influence of the Pythia has been established and recorded for posterity's sake. Ann Coulter's contemporary celebrity looms prominently and has grown steadily for more than fifteen years. Whether Ann Coulter's legacy will endure as long as that of the priestess of the Oracle at Delphi remains to be determined.
25 February 2009
Over the course of the meeting, members bestowed statuettes on fellow participants. These golden effigies entitle the bearers to some time in front of an open microphone. Some speakers used their minutes to proselytize to the audience the wonders of Scientology, Buddhism or paganism. Others engaged in monologues bitterly bashing or grotesquely gushing over prominent politicians or recent elections. Rumors persist that these glittery anthropomorphic speaking invitations previously carried a different significance yet it seems that has been lost to history.
As usual, some recipients of the statuettes delivered noticeable speeches. One man brilliantly performed an impression of a spoiled brat indignant over the result of a ballot initiative in California. The speaker stopped just short of childishly screaming "Do over!" even though the issue on the ballot had been seemingly decided by two separate plebiscites approving of the initiative. He whined, "We've got to have equal rights for everyone." Of course, his performance recalled his portrayals of a useful idiot cavorting with dictators of Marxist regimes. Surely, the viewers laughed hysterically at the irony of someone demanding presumed unprecedented rights for some in one state yet singing the praises of autocrats that routinely deny widely recognized rights in other countries. He extols ideals of rights while spurning the right of a majority to decide democratically a resolution. His performance was so convincing that one must wonder if he realizes the inherent contradiction of his statements.
Mysteriously, one man received a speaking permit yet he did not attend. He had, in fact, fatally overdosed on prescription medication several months ago. Nevertheless, some members of his family accepted the invitation to speak on his behalf. They did not deliver a sanctimonious sermon or an effusive effort at conversion, an obvious violation of the organization's mandates. The actual hardware will be given to his toddler-aged daughter. Whether she will eventually receive a chance to perform a condescending and self-aggrandizing monologue at a future conference has not been determined at this time.
18 February 2009
What could Obama do that would destroy or even diminish the euphoria among his throngs of worshipers? These are not simply people who voted for him or actively supported his campaign. These are the dervishes that chant his name and slogans at the slightest provocation as one would expect from members of a religious cult. Sporting buttons featuring Obama's face on their lapels, they evangelize the message of "Change" with myopic zeal but no precise definition of how and what that term includes. These types ostentatiously display portraits of him created in the socialist-realist style whether on clothing or on artwork. These images and the fierce pride in their display eerily resembles the obsession of iconography in totalitarian regimes. This mania recalls such practices as the mandatory hanging of a photograph of Saddam Hussein in a prominent area of every Iraqi home during the Ba'athist regime, the substitution of any traditional greeting for "Heil Hitler in Nazi Germany or the universal attribution of any positive event in the Soviet Union to the existence of "Comrade Stalin".
Two obvious perils of this obsession exist. First, the increased usurping of more economic and social freedom will be ignored by his sycophants or labeled as some sort of politically incorrect "ism", thus summarily dismissed. Secondly, when increased seizure of financial control and personal liberty inevitably leads to sufficient suffering to awaken his devotees to the harsh reality, the glaring light of what their messiah has wrought will induce psychological breakdowns or disillusionment with any semblance of freedom or government which result in the pursuit of reckless extremes of anarchy or totalitarianism. These results will reveal the danger of merely pursuing change when intelligent improvement is needed.
11 February 2009
Although the deal with NFL's Saints and NBA's Hornets were signed during the governorship of Murphy "Mike" Foster, it now falls to Louisiana's Governor Bobby Jindal to handle to dilemma. Jindal is considered one of the rising stars among Republican office holders. He is facing a situation that will test his commitment to fiscal conservatism. His unequivocal statements about the dire fiscal situation of the state would not square with multi-million dollar remunerations to a franchise worth 937 million dollars in the case of the Saints (http://www.forbes.com/2008/09/10/nfl-team-valuations-biz-sports-nfl08_cz_kb_mo_0910nfl_land.html) or to the Hornets worth 285 million dollars (http://www.forbes.com/lists/2008/32/nba08_New-Orleans-Hornets_328959.html). He must weigh the loss of potential sales and income tax revenues from the presence of the two teams against the withdrawal of cash from the state coffers. Additionally, he must decide whom would he would rather alienate and risk losing their votes for his re-election: fiscal conservatives as opposed to die-hard fans of the Saints or the Hornets.
This situation demonstrates the folly of subsidizing any private business with taxpayers' money. The state's residents would rightfully howl in protest of this funding of entities whose most prominent employees receive a minimum 310,000 dollars annually as NFL rookies or 457,588 dollars for NBA rookies. The owner of the Saints, Tom Benson, has been subtly threatening for several years to relocate the team before Hurricane Katrina. The owners of the Hornets have already shown willingness to uproot their franchise as evidenced by their move to New Orleans from Charlotte. These and far too many professional franchises prefer to demand outside funding instead of generating more of their own profits then threaten to bolt elsewhere until a ransom is received.
As for a solution, Jindal and the legislature should pursue alternatives to a simple transfer of state funds to the sports franchises. Reductions of taxes that adversely impact the two teams' finances should receive consideration. These cuts could be on sales taxes on items sold at the teams' venues. The absurdly high prices on food and other items could be lowered enough by eliminating the sales taxes to entice more fans to purchase these items, thus driving up profits. Finally, Jindal must not cave into threats of relocation. These franchises are unlikely to find any other city willing to accept them and their hefty demands for public funding, especially now.
10 February 2009
Due to his victory in November, Obama claimed a mandate for change as he sees fit. To further bolster this claim, his supporters point to the increase in the Democratic majorities in both chambers of Congress. Democrats have no need to beseech Republicans in the Senate. The numbers reveal the reality of the balance of power. Even if eight Democratic senators defect and oppose this legislation, the administration still has the winning card, a vice presidential casting of the tie-breaking vote, up its collective sleeve.
So what is the true purpose of attempts to lure some Republicans on board this ship? It will cruise up Pennsylvania Avenue whether or not the minority party helps unfurl the sails or tries to drop the anchor. No flimsy "spirit of bipartisanship" argument will not pass the "smell test". Politicians who reach the lofty status of membership in Congress or the Presidency have not achieved such powerful positions by gratuitously helping their opponents without some quid pro quo or ulterior motive in mind.
Since the Republicans find themselves in a debilitated minority status, only one explanation for the Democrats' efforts in seduction would make sense. Republican support for the bill, even if only a token gesture by those labeled as "RINOs" (Republicans In Name Only) would give Obama and his party some reassurance. Those Republican votes would be deployed as cover when the economy further collapses following passage of the pork-laden package. Republicans' efforts to blame the anticipated continual economic decline on this bill would face a counterattacking salvo of "Republicans supported the bill too!" if any of their membership voted in favor of it. Even though those retorts would lack credibility since the bill was not Republican-originated nor widely favored among their members, that will not dissuade Democrats and their allies from screaming that refrain early and often.
If the Republicans have any hope of changing the current power distribution in the mid-term elections, they must differentiate themselves from Democrats. Unanimity in dissension, even if ultimately futile, will not go unnoticed by fiscal conservatives. Craven catering to further expansion of socialist welfare agenda would merely convince past supporters of Republicans that George Wallace was right: "There's not a dime's worth of difference between the Democrat and Republican Parties."
06 February 2009
Now this deranged woman has more than doubled the number of lives depending on her. The American taxpayers, especially those in California, will end up paying for this woman's selfish irresponsibility. She possesses neither employment, a husband nor a Kennedy-sized trust fund. Therefore, the plethora of socialist governmental programs disguised as altruism will prop up her egotistical irresponsibility.
"She loves children, she is very good with children, but obviously she overdid herself," Angela Suleman, the grandmother of the octuplets said. Nadya Suleman overdid herself?! A women who has scheduled visual, dental, gynecological, psychiatric, chiropractic and proctological appointments in the same day has "overdone" herself. What did this woman has done qualifies as deliberate and criminal child abuse, or at least, neglect. Her mother's statement has already secured the title "Understatement of the Year 2009".
Incredibly, this idiot was working as a psychiatric technician in a hospital until less than a year ago. One can only hope that her psychosis was not contagious and not transmitted to the patients at this hospital. She should have inquired into any psychological aid available, not the reproductive services, of her employer.
If any positive effect results from this situation, it would include stricter laws restricting artificial insemination. Preferably, an outright ban on the practice deserves to be enacted. This procedure abets women, homosexual or heterosexual, who deliberately want to deprive children of fathers. That practice harms children and society in general. Just one consequence of this behavior is the majority of prisoners in the USA grew up in homes without their fathers. The satisfaction of their misandrist whims has turned into a burden and affliction that society must no longer tolerate.
To paraphrase Gloria Steinem's favorite saying, Nadya Suleman needs children like a fish needs a bicycle.
31 January 2009
The two week respite between the National Football League’s two conference championship games has been traditionally inundated with the incessant rehashing of player profiles, predictions and previews of halftime, pre- and post-game entertainment. In the past, some other incidents have been splashed on the media’s coverage, redirecting the flow of the stream of national consciousness in an unexpected direction. This week, the rising tide of media coverage that will eventually culminate in the 43rd Super Bowl in
PETA has recently diversified its portfolio of offensiveness and annoyances to the rest of the country. This novelty ranges beyond the group’s frequent dousing of fur-wearers with red paint and protesting the use of rats in medical tests beneficial to humans. This group’s most recent act of provocation resembles a video that belongs on an “adults’ only” pay-per-view production or in a peep show booth catering to “niche pornography”. Mercifully, NBC, the network broadcasting this year’s game, declined to air PETA’s latest publicity stunt.
Amid the images of scantily clad female models, the statement “Studies show vegetarians have better sex” flashes across the screen. “Sex with whom or what?”, one must ask, based on the images in the commercial. Of course, no mention of which studies support such a provocative yet vaguely stated conclusion appears. Who has time to clutter up an ad with pertinent information? Citing these supposed studies would reduce the amount of time allotted for the models to disrobe before licking vegetables and rubbing them against their bodies.
Interestingly, PETA rails against exploitation of animals. However, the organization showed no reservations regarding exploitation of women or appropriate behavior for a traditionally family-oriented broadcast. This decision betrays PETA’s priority of pushing vegetarianism over exposing an expected audience of tens of millions, including children, to lewd images. Unfortunately, PETA’s ethics only extend to creatures who lack the intelligence to understand or appreciate the group’s misplaced zoophilia.