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Thoughts on Events the Week of November 11

Posted in Uncategorized by EloiSVM42 on November 20, 2019

Turkey: While many government officials were trying to preserve our democratic institutions, President Trump was feting Turkish authoritarian Yip-Yap Erdogan and all but French kissed him in public. In return, Yip-Yap thanked Trump for letting him murder our Kurdish allies.

Mad Hatter Hawk John Bolton said he could not see a reason Trump would help Yip-Yap. But there is an obvious reason: Russia told Trump to. Of course, there is the possibility that Trump was just confused and thought Yip-Yap was the “turkey king” and not the president of a country and hoped to charm him out of a free one for his Thanksgiving dinner.

Guilty on all counts: Another of Trump’s lying buddies, Roger Stone, is going to prison for doing a whole lot of lying to people you may not lie to. Lying is one of the things Trump and Stone have in common, which may be why they have hung together for so long. Stone will now go to jail for a long time or be pardoned, which I am not expecting, because it will look so bad. But if Stone isn’t pardoned, perhaps he may try to shave something off his sentence by telling the truth to the people you may not lie to for a change.

Marie Yovanovich: President Trump smeared this former ambassador to Ukraine before she was recalled for doing her job too well and getting in the way of his attempt to bribe and corrupt Ukrainian president Zelensky. As Yovanovich was testifying about this before Congress, Trump smeared her again in real time, which sent his Republican ass kissers into stunned, gulping silence. I am pretty sure it is impeachable.

Trump apparently considers his power over ambassadors to be absolute. He said he has the “absolute right” to appoint them. That’s not true. He has the absolute right to nominate them, but the Senate must approve them, so the right to appoint them, absolute or otherwise, doesn’t really exist with him. Somebody please give the man a copy of the Constitution.

Freedom of Speech: In a similar misunderstanding of the Constitution, Trump says he has freedom of speech like everyone else. Well, he is right about this. Setting aside the responsibility a president may have to use his speech wisely, Trump does have freedom of speech just like everyone else. But the freedom of speech is not absolute. Just ask Oliver Wendall Holmes. There are certain things one cannot do with that freedom, such as cry “Fire!” in a crowded theater, or intimidate witnesses, which Trump surely did when he smeared Yovanovich as she was testifying. (Maybe there’s a copy of the Constitution in the prison library.)

Was Barr genuflecting, or what?: To close out this sorry weekly saga, Attorney General William Barr got down on his knees for Trump again and told an audience that the Democrat’s impeachment inquiry undermines “voter intent.” This laughable statement fails on many levels, including the fact that Clinton got north of three million more votes than Trump in the presidential election. That is undermined “voter intent.” Poor choice of words, there, Barr.

Worst State: I’m giving it to Kansas this week and again because Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is from there, was previously an elected official from there, and Kansas should be ashamed of itself. Pompeo has been a disgrace to the State Department, to the extent he has been present at all. He has done little or nothing to fulfill his responsibilities there, because he has committed himself to doing Trump’s bidding and to hell with his department.

Thoughts on Football the week of November 11

Posted in Uncategorized by EloiSVM42 on November 20, 2019

I watch the Cleveland Browns because Baker Mayfield is their young, Heisman Trophy winning quarterback. I thought they could beat the Pittsburgh Steelers, and on one level they did, but on another level they lost big time, because during the last eight seconds of the game,  Myles Garrett #95, the Browns’ best defensive player, committed perhaps the most egregious foul in NFL history. I’ve never seen anything quite like it, though close.

Garrett tore the helmet off Pittsburgh quarterback Mason Rudolph and hit him in the head with it. This is a serious NFL no-no, dangerous, and bad press for the NFL, which is something you don’t want to be the subject of with the front office. The NFL fined both teams a quarter of a million dollars immediately for letting such a thing happen, and suspended Garrett indefinitely. In the end, three players were ejected and suspended for different periods of time. Bear in mind that when a player is suspended, he doesn’t get paid for whatever games he misses, whatever his contract.

(Rudolph is not a completely blameless party. He was pretty aggressive with Garrett after what I thought was a clean tackle – about the only thing “clean” that happened. – but there’s a vas deferens between what Rudolph did and what Garrett did.)

Basically, the NFL told Garrett, “Don’t call us, we’ll call you to let you know when you can come back into the league, but it’s not going to be anytime soon, and certainly not in 2019.” So, just as they were getting on a roll, the Browns lost their best defensive player for the season and probably into the next, and another player or two for a game or two. Not helpful for a team that needs all the help it can get.

As I see it, Garrett is going to be hearing from the NFL office, if and when they are ready to talk to him, he could hear from the police and possibly the district attorney, he could hear from Rudolph’s lawyer regarding a civil suit for assault, and worst of all, all three suspended players are going to hear from their wives (I don’t know if they are even married) about how they pissed away various sized fortunes the wives were planning to spend on a manicure and a new house. It’s not going to be pretty, and they, especially Garrett, deserve it richly.

It’s worth noting that the Browns were already the most penalized team in the NFL by a margin. They have no discipline, which is due to inexcusably bad coaching. Freddie Kitchens has no business being a head coach, and his being hired shows inadequacy throughout the entire organization.

What then to think about my beloved University of Oklahoma Sooners after their dramatic come from behind victory over undefeated Baylor? Not much, I’m sorry to say. Same old, same old. Championship caliber offense, capable of winning any game, a Junior Varsity defense, capable of losing any game, an inexplicable loss to some woefully inferior opponent each season, a Heisman Trophy level quarterback who can do amazing things and could win the trophy and go first in the draft. Frankly, I’m sick to death of it. The previous two seasons, the Sooners were able to get into the playoffs with this mix, but I’m not sure it will happen this year. There may be too many teams ahead of them.

All that said, it was a remarkable, record setting come from behind victory on the road against an undefeated team with OU’s best receiver on the bench with a concussion. It was a tale of two halves. The first when the wheels came off the Sooner Schooner metaphorically, and the second Hurts couldn’t watch. He turned his back to the field. A coach or friend put his hand on Hurts’ shoulder and gave it a squeeze to let him know that the kick was good. After the game, Hurts was interviewed and even then, his demeanor was the same. He told the sideline interviewer that he dug his team into a deep hole and couldn’t let them see him lose his cool so he could get them out. When asked what now, he said he was going to enjoy the win for 24 hours and then get ready for the next game. And he did! Right after the interview, he ran to the end zone laughing and shouting and shaking hands with fans and having a good time. Today, I’m thinking he’s preparing hard for next week’s game. He deserves the Heisman. Wouldn’t that be something? Three in a row for OU.

Should OU play Baylor for the Big XII Championship, I will not worry about that game at all. We beat them at home, there’s no way Hurts is going to have such a disastrous start again, and by then, we will have Cee Dee Lamb back. Baylor, or anyone else we play, will be toast.

Iowa State beat Texas in a close game. Ordinarily, I wouldn’t pay much attention to this game, but a widow lady neighbor went to Iowa State and I feel a little sorry for her that ISU has played hard this year only to lose four close games, including to Oklahoma, so I was happy for her. Texas seems to have taken a step back this year, much of it due to injuries, I think. But their quarterback, Sam Ehlinger, who came into the season an early Heisman candidate, and about whom I worried, seems to be having a down year.

The Dallas Cowboys beat the Detroit Lions on the road, as they should have since the Lions’ starting quarterback, Matthew Stafford, was out of the game. The Lions played the Cowboys just like Minnesota did: stop Zeke Elliott and take their chances with this rest. This week, Dak Prescott stepped up and met that challenge. He played very well.

I don’t know what this win means, except the Philadelphia Eagles lost to the New England Patriots (never bet against Tom Brady), so Dallas is a game up on them in their division, but they’re not out of the woods yet. The only way the Cowboys can get to the playoffs is by winning the division (they don’t have a chance as a wild card team), so they may make it now, but they have some tough games ahead. We’ll see.

Thoughts about Football the week of November 4

Posted in Uncategorized by EloiSVM42 on November 16, 2019

Wake up little Susie: The Dallas Cowboys played well enough to win but didn’t. The Minnesota Vikings played well enough to win and did. What was the difference? Well, it would have helped if Dallas had shown up for the first quarter instead of sleeping through it, as they seem to do in almost every game. Their first two possessions were anemic. If I remember correctly, each comprised one first down and then a three and out. On the Vikings’ possessions following each of those, they went through the Cowboys’ defense like fecal matter through the proverbial holiday fowl, with the result Dallas was down 14-0 before they answered the alarm. But that wasn’t the whole story. The Cowboys, when they woke, clawed back into the game. 

Sudden thought: Perhaps the Cowboys’ habitual slow starts occur because the coach’s pre-game pep talk puts the players to sleep. Garrett is a singularly uninspiring coach.

The Vikings had the right game plan: stop Zeke Elliot at all costs and take their chances with the rest. It was a smart plan, and it worked. Elliot had fewer than 45 yards. The Cowboys had the intelligent response, too. When they couldn’t get Zeke going against a loaded box, they passed heavily. Dak Prescott threw for more than 300 yards, and his receivers played well. Dallas’ defense played well overall, I thought, but needed to play better. Minnesota did well against them on the road.

With all that said, Dallas had a good chance to win the game at the end and completely blew it. With about a minute to go and Dallas at first and goal, the wunderkind offensive coordinator ran Zeke two times without result, which begs the question: if the run isn’t working and the pass is, why run instead of pass? Answer: the wunderkind, is a mediocre coaching mind, just like his head coach, else why would he be working there. (On the last desperate Dallas down, Dak through a pass that was doomed before it left his hand.)

We must infer that Dallas is, in fact, the middle of the pack team we all hoped it wouldn’t be this season but were afraid it would. This will continue until Jerry Jones swallows his gigantic ego and, if it doesn’t choke him to death, hire a competent coach and let him coach.

I had drafted a whole lot of good stuff about my beloved Oklahoma Sooners’ pathetic play against Iowa State, and some other games, but I deleted it accidentally, and I was too busy (read lazy) to redraft it.

Thoughts on Events the Week of November 4

Posted in Uncategorized by EloiSVM42 on November 11, 2019

Elections: Moscow Mitch woke up Wednesday morning with a Democratic governor in his blood red home state. What, he must be wondering, are the implications of what happened to an unpopular Republican candidate even in Kentucky, and what that might portend for other Republican politicians in other red states, even himself? Moscow Mitch wants to hang onto the Republican majority in the Senate, and suddenly that majority may be more at risk that he thought. It will be interesting to see in what direction he will go from here.

Will he rush to confirm as many more unqualified judges as he can before it’s too late? Or, will he decide maybe it’s time to sit down with Democrats and try to get something done that voters, beyond the red neck, ignorant, xenophobic, bigoted bozos who follow Trump blindly, might appreciate? My guess is he’s in too deep to change course now. Plus, he’s a prick.

That said about Moscow Mitch, it may not be the same for some other Republican Senators. We might see a course correction by some vulnerable ones, such as Collins or Murkowski or Gardner. Frankly, I think it is too late for them. Memories are not that short, and they have all made some odious votes in genuflection to Trump. (I am particularly hopeful we’ll have seen the last of Collins after 2020. She talks like a moderate but ultimately always votes like a right-wing nut.)

What I’m more curious to see is if some other Republican Senators are in for an unpleasant surprise. I’m feeling a little giddy over this week’s election results. I’ll come down to earth soon enough. But still, I can’t help wondering: What would, say, John Cornyn like to do after public service?

Gordon Sondland: suddenly realized, after reading other witnesses’ testimony, that he is in deep prosecutorial doo doo for lying to Congress under oath, a crime for which he could go to jail and for which Democrats would prosecute him in a heartbeat, and that he cannot buy his way out of for a million dollars. Suddenly, his memory was “refreshed” and he changed his testimony to the truth, which now corroborates what many other witnesses have testified to, namely that Trump was extorting Ukrainian president Zelensky for personal political profit and contrary to our national interest.

This is precisely why prosecutors – and in this case Democrats on House committees – take testimony individually and privately first, so that witnesses will not know what other witnesses have said and thus cannot coordinate their lies, which increases their incentive to tell the truth. For as we have seen, Trump supporters without such incentives will lie like rugs.

On a deliciously related matter, President Trump denounced Democrats for planning to hold public hearings this coming week. Seems like only yesterday that Trump’s Congressional ass kissers were denouncing Democrats for holding their initial hearings in closed session, demanding public ones. (As a matter of fact, it was only yesterday.) Which type of hearings are they complaining about, public or private? Republicans may be forgiven for wondering what the hell is going on and what they should do or say about it. They may also be ridiculed for their lying, hypocrisy and mendacity.

Tinkle: There’s a sweet fairytale that every time a bell rings, an angel gets its wings. In a like manner, I suspect that every time Trump speaks vulgar, contemptuous smears about people in public – scum, enemy of the people, corrupt, fake news, Pocahontas, jerks, low life, etc. – a suburban female voter decides to vote for a Democrat next time.

Republicans put Ohio Republican Representative Jim Jordan on House Intelligence Committee: They did this because Jordan is a particularly fierce defender of President Trump, even more so than current Committeeman Devin Nunes, who, while also a fierce defender of Trump in the face of the indefensible, is a moron.

By delicious coincidence, this change in the Republican members on the committee occurred the same week that a second person – a college wrestling referee – said he reported sexual misconduct involving a former doctor for Ohio State’s wrestling program to Jordan when Jordan was an assistant wrestling coach at Ohio State. Jordan took no action and the abuse continued. (OSU acknowledges the abuse occurred, and a lawsuit is underway.)

This explains why Jordan is such a supporter of Trump. They have something in common; Both are down with sexual misconduct. And, it’s understandable why Trump would want such a kindred spirit defending him. So, to help cover for Trump in the House Intelligence Committee’s impeachment inquiry, the Republicans are supplementing the moron with an outhouse rat.

The worst state: Well, it can’t be Oklahoma this week, because they announced they released almost 500 prisoners who were incarcerated for petty crimes, which would get you jailed in Oklahoma, especially if you are a minority, but no more. Oklahoma has reduced many such crimes to below misdemeanors, which means others won’t be jailed for them as well. With the second highest incarceration rate per capita among states, Oklahoma still has a long way to go to crawl out of the middle ages, but they are working on it.

Besides, South Carolina Senator Lindsay Graham’s odious behavior overwhelmed all other bad behavior in any other worst state this week, when he announced that he will not even read the transcripts of witnesses in the House impeachment inquiry. This is determined ignorance, which is the worst kind. I certainly don’t expect Graham to vote for impeachment of Trump. The president’s ass tastes too sweet and that’s where his lips are permanently placed. Still, I’m surprised he would admit that. It puts his mendacity on display vividly. South Carolina, you get the cup, because, well, you deserve it for electing this horse part.

Football Thoughts the Week of October 28

Posted in Sports - football, mostly by EloiSVM42 on November 6, 2019

I watched the Arizona Cardinals v San Francisco 49ers game. The 49ers are excellent this season, but surprisingly, Arizona gave them a good game, before losing 23-20. I say surprisingly, because the Cardinals are a truly terrible team, but they played hard and sometimes well, in this game.

Though there is controversy about it, which there shouldn’t be, the Cardinals have their quarterback in Kyler Murray, if they can keep him alive. But he won’t be for long if they don’t get a line to protect him. Murray had defenders in his face on almost every play almost before he could take the snap. The Cardinal offensive line is, how do I say this delicately? Porous? Nonexistent? Stinks on ice? That’s it.

The Cardinals play with no discipline whatsoever, which is a coaching problem. I had the sound turned down, so I can’t be positively sure of this, but I think they had two series where every play resulted in a penalty – holding or false start. It was like that movie Groundhog’s Day. Run a play, get a penalty, move back, start over.

On this night, the head coach coached the Cardinals out of a possible win with poor calls, including calling time out just as his defense stopped a 4th and goal attempt. This gave the 49ers another chance, which they cashed in for a touchdown. The Cardinals, sorry as they are, deserve better. Kingsbury is not an NFL caliber coach. Hell, he wasn’t even a good college level coach, and here he is coaching the Cardinals, who, until they get a new coach and an offensive line, among other things, isn’t going to be NFL caliber either.

Apropos of nothing, the worst NFL game I ever saw was between the Cardinals and the 49ers several years ago. It was unimaginably bad play by both teams.

The Cleveland Browns in their loss to the Denver Broncos, in a game they might have won, were almost a mirror image of the Cardinals, except that Baker Mayfield isn’t playing as well as Murray right now. He’s being even more poorly coached. The head coach and offensive coordinator for Cleveland are a worse combination than the Cardinals’ comparable duo. They both should go at the end of the season, but now would be better, before they ruin their quarterback. Kitchens was a disastrous decision, which speaks to the caliber of the of the entire organization. The offensive line could be replaced with cardboard cutouts and do as well. Mayfield has two outstanding receivers. He should pass to one of the other of them on every passing play. Forget the other receivers. Put the ball in the hands of your best players. Cleveland has good offensive players, but their head coach hasn’t a clue how to use them.

I am sick to death of my Dallas Cowboys. It’s hard to pull for such a bunch of underachievers. They have loads of talent, but sometimes play like bums. They let the woeful New York Giants hang around until the last quarter before pulling away, which is not only dangerous, but inexcusable for a team as good as Dallas, on paper. And their loss to the New York Jets earlier was even worse. How could this team play like that and somebody not get fired? Bill Belichick would have fired some of them at halftime.

I am beginning to think that those who consider Dak Prescott a middle of the pack NFL quarterback may be right, though I have rated him in the top third or even higher in the past. He had a lot of errant throws in the Giants game, and his three most successful passes in terms of yards and points were all thrown low and had to be scooped up near the ground by the receivers. (Dak did have one perfectly place ball to Amari Cooper that which went for a touchdown, which is what is likely to happen when you hit a good receiver in stride.)

This is all to do with coaching. The Cowboys don’t have any. And it goes deeper than just the head coach, though it starts there. Any competent head coach would clean out the cupboard. They’re all contaminated from working in that unprofessional environment. I wouldn’t keep a single one of them.

The deterioration of refereeing is even worse than I have been saying previously. Judging by the Cowboys game, the refs can’t even tell the difference between false starts and encroachment anymore. Worse, against Dallas, #71 started three fights and the refs flagged a Cowboy after each one.

One more rant and then I’m done. I think there should be a third passing category in addition to complete or incomplete, which is Drops, as when a quarterback gets the ball to a catchable place and the receiver doesn’t come up with it. I’m sure coaches consider drops when they evaluate receivers. We should too.

Thoughts on Events the Week of October 28

Posted in Uncategorized by EloiSVM42 on November 5, 2019

Impeachment Inquiry Rules Vote: Please don’t be so naïve as to think that the House vote to proceed with its Impeachment inquiry and establish rules under which the inquiry will be conducted will change anything, least of all that Republicans will now be satisfied. They will never be satisfied! They are not interested in truth or process; they are interested in obscuring the facts, which are odious. Republicans are all in with Trump, and they are going to follow him no matter what the facts, no matter what the evidence, no matter how Constitutionally important the issue. They can’t stop. They’re in too deep. May it ruin every damn one of them.

Republicans complained that there was no “formal” vote to proceed with an impeachment inquiry, though one is not required. Then they complained that the hearings were being held in secret and they were being shut out, though the investigating committees had numerous Republican House members who were present and participated. (You may note that none of these Republican members who were participating corrected their Republican colleagues on this point.)

So, Democrats took a formal vote, and agreed to hold public hearings (something they were always going to do anyway), so now Republicans are crying “it’s too late” because the initial hearing were held in private, though not only do the rules permit this, but this is exactly how things were done with the Nixon Impeachment inquiry, for good an sufficient reasons. Besides, the Democrats are going to publish the transcripts (about which more next week), which Republicans may come to regret they demanded.

The hypocrisy is astounding, but unsurprising. If it weren’t so sad and disgusting, it would be funny to hear what politicians (of both parties) are saying today compared to what they were saying during the Nixon and Clinton impeachment inquiries. But hypocrisy is so common among politicians that we have come to expect and accept it. We shouldn’t.

Lt. Colonel Alexander Vindman: sat in on the infamous phone call between President Trump and Ukrainian President Zelensky and gave some testimony about it damaging to the president. Since the testimony was unimpeachable, Trump’s allies, which include Fox News personnel, immediately defended Trump by attacking Vindman’s character, loyalty, politics and patriotism. Perhaps not a good idea to attack the loyalty and patriotism of an active duty military officer. Some people were put off by it.

To cite an example of how vile this defense of Trump (read smear campaign) has become, some Fox News bozo opined it is suspicious that Vindman speaks Ukrainian. Since Vindman was born in the Ukraine and his parents are/were Ukrainian, it shouldn’t be that suspicious that he speaks the language. Much more important, Vindman is the top Ukrainian expert on the National Security Council staff. You’d be excused for thinking it is a good thing that the top Ukrainian expert at the NSC would be able to speak Ukrainian, as it could come in handy. I think if I were president, I’d want my Ukrainian expert to speak Ukrainian, but that’s just me.

John Yoo (who I wasn’t aware could even show his face in public after his disgusting service to President Dubbya) hinted on Fox News that Vindman’s speaking Ukrainian might suggest espionage. These people are truly nuts, stupid, and despicable.

World’s Serious: I don’t do baseball, whose one virtue to me is that nothing will happen on the field to interrupt my conversation with friends in the stands. However, I watched a little bit of most of the World Series games this year, the first WS games I have watched in a decade, and I have two observations.

First, baseball is not immune to the problem of poor refereeing from which football is suffering. In Game 6, the umpires made an egregiously bad call at first base that, whatever the rule, defied common sense. After the obviously irrational call, the referees held a conversation lasting several minutes, and placed a telephone conference call with New York, though the play is unreviewable. Who hires these bozos? As I’ve told football fans, you can’t rely on referees for good judgement. You must keep it simple for them. This cock-up, as with many in football, is due to a poor rule combined with poor judgement.

Ironically, baseball is one sport where replay technology might help the game in an important way, if kept within limits. I’m not sure of this, but I think that holograph technology, focused on the strike zone at the front of the plate, might be able to call balls and strikes correctly every time. We see lots of questionable ball and strike calls, which would make me wonder what the umpire is doing back there, if I cared, which I don’t. But balls and strikes are important to get right I suppose, if you are a fan.

Second, and I had to learn this, all the games were won by the visiting team. This was a WS record at six games and the seventh was the same. Also, I got the impression that the Astros won the first six innings in all the games, but the Nationals won innings 7 through 9 in four of them, thus winning the Series.

Religion: Joe Biden was denied communion at a church in North Carolina, because the priest didn’t like some of his political positions. Stories like this strengthen my distain for organized religion, and for North Carolina, come to think of it. We’ve got to stop believing fairy tales, upon which all religions are based.

Who’s the moron? You’re the moron:  Wonkette says Ron Johnson is the stupidest Republican in the Senate. Not so. It’s James Inhof of Oklahoma. Johnson is just the most meanspirited jerk. Inhof is just plain stupid, Louis Gohmert caliber stupid.

 The Worst State: Kansas gets the cup again this week because Mike Pompeo again this week. Pompeo knows damn well that it was Russia, not Ukraine, that tampered with our election. He was briefed on it when he was CIA Director, and testified to that effect before a senate committee. That was then, this is now. Now that he is Trump’s Secretary of State, his liver lips are attached to Trump’s ass so tight he can only mumble his completely different tune. I wonder if the Senate will call him on his testimony 180. Since Moscow Mitch runs the senate, I wouldn’t hold my breath. Pompeo is a pig part. Kansas may deserve him, but we deserve better, and so does the State Department.

Football thoughts 101 – #1

Posted in Sports - football, mostly by EloiSVM42 on October 31, 2019

The refereeing of NFL games has been terrible this season (as it has been for a while), so bad it threatens the integrity of the game and the possible loss of fan support. I know it, you know it, every football fan knows it.

There are just too many penalties, and it takes too long to adjudicate them. If you have so many penalties, it is a strong indication that there are too many rules, or the rules are too complicated.  Stoppages for review are far too numerous and can run longer than a full-length movie. They destroy the flow of the game.

Fortunately for the NFL, I know why this is happening and how to fix it, both of which I will explain below.

The primary responsibility lies with the Competition Committee, for creating too many rules that require judgement and then putting their interpretation into the hands of referees whose judgement has been frayed by instant replay, because the refs know they don’t have to be right because they are being monitored, and they don’t care as much as they used to, because they resent being monitored. The monitors don’t like it much either, which is one reason why they rarely overturn calls. The other is that the refs usually get it right.

Here are some solutions:

First, eliminate instant replay. Refs get most calls right anyway. Add up the refs’ calls that are unchallenged, those challenges that are confirmed or let “stand,” and you will see that replays take up an enormous amount of time for a very tiny number of plays. Besides, if refs know there is no instant replay official watching over their shoulder, they will be even more diligent in their calls.

I know instant replay reviews are popular with some, and I’m going to be called a Luddite for suggesting they be dropped, but the technology needn’t be applied just because it exists. These replays slow the game and are unnecessary. Some sports, like baseball, may be a game of inches, but football is a game of yards. Obsessing too much over an inch is a waste of time.

That said, and to show I’m not completely dismissive of instant replay technology, there should be one official watching who has the authority to stop the game for an egregiously bad call. To qualify as egregious, a call would have to be like the one that screwed the Saints out of the Super Bowl last year. That one should have been overturned if the Commissioner had to call down to the field himself. The fact that it wasn’t shows just how bad the current protocol is.

Second, the NFL is obsessed with protecting players from concussion. (Actually, that’s BS. With the exception of some quarterbacks, the NFL doesn’t give a damn about players’ concussions; it cares about its image, or it would have addressed this issue long ago.) So, every time there is a hit to the head, the game is stopped, and time comes to a numbing halt while refs consider the factual, philosophical, political and religious implications of the penalty. And the worst of it is that despite all this, the rule is irregularly applied, creating the impression, and the fact of injustice.

I care about concussions, but also about keeping the game flowing. Therefore, the NFL should change the game to be played below the neck. No interpretation; above the neck or below. Any hit above the neck is a penalty, and the offending player is ejected. No reviews, no wasted time.

Third, eliminate kick-off and punt returns. By this I mean, any kick-off that is not into the end zone must be fair caught and the ball placed on the 25-yard line or where it is caught, whichever is closer to midfield. Punts must be fair caught if not kicked or allowed to roll into the end zone and placed where they are caught, or on the 25-yard line if they go into the end zone.

I know, I know. This will eliminate some exciting run backs, but let’s face it, there is a block in the back penalty on almost every kick. It’s more likely the ball will be moved back nearer your own goal line than returned for a touchdown, and these ubiquitous penalties hinder the game. Statistically, teams are a lot better off if they just take the fair catch, and the game will be speeded up. The NFL has been trying to discourage runbacks with middling rule changes. Let’s go all the way.

Frankly, I’m surprised coaches haven’t obviated this problem themselves. If I were a coach, I would tell every player on every punt to stand still and let the receiver fair catch the ball. And, I would tell receivers never to run a ball out of the end zone, and for every blocker not to do so. The odds favor it.

Next game you watch, use a stopwatch and estimate how much time would be saved if these rules were enacted. You will be amazed.

Thoughts on Events the Week of October 21

Posted in Uncategorized by EloiSVM42 on October 29, 2019

Baghdadi is dead: blew himself up when cornered by some of our special forces types. Good riddance to bad rubbish. He was a horribly warped and substandard human being. (He took three of his children to Allah with him when he blew up.)

Baghdadi has been holed up for five years, afraid to come out and wearing a suicide belt, anticipating this inevitable moment, I suppose. Can’t have been much fun for him. Good.

That said, in those circumstances, I suspect he has not been as much in control of, or even in contact with, ISIS as once he was. I wouldn’t expect this raid to have much practical impact on the terrorist group. Nevertheless, I’m glad to see him dead. Well done, troops.

Emoluments clause(s): President Trump railed against the “phony emoluments clause.” In fact, there are two of them – one prohibiting acceptance of gifts from domestic sources, and one prohibiting acceptance of gifts from foreign ones (I think the founding fathers worried about the latter more). Both, which Trump has violated incessantly, are clearly set out in our Constitution. Hard to argue they’re phony.

If I were in charge, I would require Presidents to take a course and pass a test on the Constitution before being inaugurated. It’s not a high bar to get over. Any high school student should be able to pass it. Someone please hand Trump a copy. I have one he may borrow.

Attorneys General and Prison: Last week, I wrote that one AG had gone to prison in my lifetime and one or two more should have. The one who did was John Mitchell, Nixon’s AG, who was sent to prison for 19 months for crimes he committed during Watergate.

An AG who should have gone to prison, but didn’t is Ed Meese, over the Wedtech fraud scandal. Meese was up to his armpits in it, was implicated but never indicted, though more than 20 others involved in the scandal went to prison. Reagan helped Meese run out the clock.

The curtain falls, time passes, and President Trump gives this horse part the Medal of Freedom, debasing the award, as he does everything he touches. Meese is typical of the type of person Trump can relate to, by which I mean crooked as a dog’s hind leg.

 exception to my general position that we should get out of the Middle East, except diplomatically, as completely as it is possible to get:

I no longer give a rodent’s rectum who governs Iraq, Syria or Afghanistan. By “who governs,” and my indifference to it, I include disreputable groups such as ISIS, the, Taliban, al-Qaeda and Fox News. They’re equally odious. In fact, some citizens of several Middle East countries seem perfectly happy to be governed by such crazies, well except for Fox News. Not that crazy.

I don’t understand why we are quarreling with Iran, which at present, inconceivably, has a better government than we do. (Actually, I do understand. It’s because our president is a fool). And I think Saudi Arabia should be governed by anyone except who it is, but it’s not our call. (One day, the members of the House of Saud will be killed and eaten by its citizens, and I won’t miss a single one of them.) Egypt already has its oppressive, authoritarian, military strongman, which is why Trump leaves them alone, I suppose. That’s OK with me. They had their chance at responsible governance and blew it, not unlike Russia.

What’s most important about this region is that it is engaged in multiple, simultaneous civil and religious wars and there is nothing we can do to influence them, nor should we be trying.

Moreover, these groups and countries are so hateful of one another, that if we get out of the way, they will spend the rest of my lifetime fighting one another, not bothering us. The only reason they hate us now is because we are there, and I don’t blame them. We treat Islam like we are on a crusade, circa 1095 AD. We should have learned better by now.

The Colorado Wall: President Trump misspoke and said he was building his wall to keep immigrants out along Colorado’s border, which state is not on our border with Mexico. It was a minor misstatement, but it says so much about Trump that he could not, cannot, admit to a mistake, no matter how obvious and innocent. Instead, he concocted a rationale so lame as to be an embarrassment to us all.

Football: After the OU debacle, I vowed not to watch any more football this weekend, but I couldn’t help myself. I watched the New England Patriots v Cleveland Browns game, and I have some advice for the Browns’ owner. Fire everybody!

Fire the entire coaching staff. (What were you thinking hiring Kitchens as head coach, a job he’s never had for reasons?) Fire the General Manager, especially if it is yourself. Hire a competent GM, give him or her plenipotentiary authority, and get the hell out of the way.

This team is utterly without discipline, and you simply cannot win like that in the NFL. Kitchens can’t coach a team to line up to take a hike. Admittedly, the Browns were playing the Pats, the most disciplined team in football, so the comparison was particularly glaring in the circumstances, but the Browns always play without discipline regardless of their opponent. We’ve all watched them enough to see that.

The Worst State Cup: Texas Senator John Cornyn made a strong case for his home state this week, by excusing Trump publicly and repeatedly for all his crimes and misdemeanors, but the cup goes to Arizona, my own personal state, because…

Notorious anti-immigrant wingnut Jennifer Harrison, an Arizonan, was arrested for “taking the identity of another,” a Class 4 felony, a charge that Wonkette points out is, ironically, most often used against undocumented immigrants who get jobs using others’ Social Security numbers.  You gotta love the poetic justice in Harrison’s charge.

But Harrison had a good reason. She allegedly stole someone’s hotel points because she just had to attend the Aftershock Festival in Sacramento. I hope and expect it is Harrison who will have the aftershock.

Football the Week of October 21

Posted in Uncategorized by EloiSVM42 on October 26, 2019

With a nod to My Cousin Vinnie, “What a fucking nightmare!” My beloved Oklahoma Sooners were thoroughly beaten by Kansas State 48-41, in a game OU was favored to win by three touchdowns and a field goal. And the game wasn’t nearly that close. OU had to score 18 points in the fourth quarter just to reach this embarrassing final score.

For the last several years, OU’s seasons have been characterized by three things:

  • A national championship caliber offense
  • An inexplicable loss to a woefully inferior opponent
  • A truly horrible defense, arguably the worst in college football

This has been true of teams coached by Bob Stoops and Lincoln Riley.

As the season began, it looked like things might be different this time. Jalen Hurts, OU’s quarterback transfer from Alabama, had numbers superior even to Murray and Mayfield through the first seven games. And the defense seemed much improved under new defensive coordinator Alex Grinch.

In this game, the offense was good (it scored 41 points, after all), but not great. There were many, many mistakes. The defense was unimaginably bad, again. It turned in a performance that would have made the awful defenses of the previous five years blush. KSU ran through the OU defense like fecal matter through the proverbial holiday fowl. And the kicking game added to the catastrophe with disastrous play in every phase.

When Riley hired Grinch, I was a little skeptical. His record, most recently at Ohio State, was good but not spectacular. But as this season unfolded, it was obvious that Grinch had the defense playing much better than it had in years. I was delighted and decided I had been wrong to worry about Grinch. He seemed to be doing great. Now I must step back and reevaluate. How could this defense be so unprepared?

And special teams, usually reliable enough to be taken for granted, couldn’t do anything right this game. Couldn’t punt, couldn’t catch, couldn’t kick-off, couldn’t hold onto the ball, couldn’t do anything.

So, we are back here again, back to the same old same old: squandering a Heisman caliber quarterback and a national leading offense on a miserable defense, and a failure to get up for an inferior foe. I thought this year was going to be different.

The Dallas Cowboys have a bye week, and I am so disgusted with football this week, I don’t plan to watch any more games, so this is it for my football blog.

Football the Week of October 14

Posted in Uncategorized by EloiSVM42 on October 24, 2019

With a nod to Barry Switzer, my beloved Oklahoma Sooners “hung a half a hundred” on West Virginia, 52-14. The offense was terrific, and the defense is playing better and better. Jalen Hurts was near perfect. He only had one incomplete pass and it was a drop. I’m thinking his Heisman odds will improve.

Talk about a hangover. A week after losing to OU, the Texas Longhorns almost lost to the Kansas Jayhawks, pulling it out at the gun, 50-48 with a strong defensive performance. Just kidding. I don’t see how Texas can maintain its #15 ranking after this humiliating victory, but some experts say they will, for who will jump them? Few teams distinguished themselves this week and some fell to earth.

A note or two about Kansas, a historically hapless football program. (Kansas gets its revenge during basketball season. Rock chalk Jayhawk.) They have a new coach – Les Miles – who may improve their football fortunes. Not that Miles is a great coach, but he is about the luckiest I have ever seen. He is the Ronald Reagan of coaching. But clearly Miles has Kansas playing better than in many years.

Even a blind hog finds an acorn now and then, and even a poor program wins an occasional game (see immediately below). I was in the stands in Norman in the 70s when Kansas upset OU. Barry Switzer’s Wishbone offense had 11 fumbles that day and lost nine of them.

It was Switzer’s first loss in about 33 games, if I remember correctly. (He also had one tie.) Switzer tried to warn us this would happen one day. He said logically that, “Each time we win, we are that much closer to losing.” Many OU fans chose not to believe him until that day. They were critical of his record 32-1-1. What Chinamen!

Illinois, a Big 10 bottom feeder, upset #6 Wisconsin. (Is it just me, or does the Big 10 seem to be made up ultimately of Ohio State and a lot of pretenders? It’s not just me. Nate Silver’s “FiveThirtyEight” calls the Big 10 the Big Slog, and they have data.)

Though he had a good game, this loss thrusts a dagger into the heart of Jonathan Taylor’s Heisman hopes, I expect.

On the Serengeti, if a cheetah sees a gazelle with a broken leg, it passes on the quarry because it’s too easy prey and moves on to a healthier animal. Just kidding. There is no mercy in Nature. Quite the contrary. The cheetah goes for the wounded gazelle first.

It’s the same with the NFL. Teams have injuries, but they get no mercy from opponents. The Philadelphia Eagles are banged up, and the Dallas Cowboys went straight for their jugular and took them down by just shy of four touchdowns, 37-10.

It would have been inconceivable for Dallas to lose this game, because the Eagles fumbled near their own goal line on their first two possessions and Dallas was up two touchdowns almost from the get-go.

The Cowboys played well and with spirit. Zeke got 112 yards rushing. Dallas got many of its injured players back for this game; the Eagles did not. Most important of these returners, I would argue, was Amari Cooper, who is an uncoverable deep threat when healthy. He is the classic #1 receiver. Tyrone Smith returned to the crucial left tackle position, but he is not yet 100%.

Quarterback Dak Prescott played very well in this game. He passed well, he ran well, and most important, made good decisions. He clearly outplayed Carson Wentz, who is, in my view, not nearly as good as Prescott but is vastly higher paid. It’s not my money, so it’s easy for me to say, but if I were Jerry Jones, I would sign Dak before the price goes higher or Dak wanders off at the end of the season.

The Cowboys have a bye next week, so the press (and I) will have to give the coaching staff a pass for a couple of weeks, maybe longer. Philadelphia looked not only beaten down physically, but emotionally as well. I think Dallas now has good odds to win the NFL East. The question then becomes can Dallas go meaningfully farther in the playoffs? They haven’t been able for years. All the playoff teams will be good ones, and I still doubt this coaching staff.

There was a slight divergence between the two teams – Cleveland and Arizona – I have been following. The Browns lost to the Seattle Seahawks 32-28 (no shame in that). Baker Mayfield was not happy with the officiating and was fined for comments about it. I agree with Baker, but I wasn’t fined. Emboldened, I’ll have more to say about NFL officiating soon.

The Arizona Cardinals won again. That’s three wins so far this season, the same total as the whole season last year. Both teams have a lot of work to do, but at least they have quarterbacks.

Comingling football and politics, it’s tempting to want to compare Jerry Jones and President Trump. They both have egos with a gland problem. Both rush to the camera when they should be running the other way, and both get in their own way a lot. There the comparisons end. In contrast, Jerry Jones is a real businessman.