Thursday, November 25, 2004
Happy Turkey Day!
We already know that Detroit played like turkeys in getting thrashed by Peyton Manning and pals this morning. Dull-as and Chicago are in progress now. Hope your holiday feast is a good one.
Glenn 8-D 2:17:00 PM
Sunday, November 21, 2004
Oh, so close...
Green Bay just spoiled what was shaping up to be a sensational week for me. (Not that it wasn't a good week overall.) The Texans played well for three quarters and then went blubbery in the fourth, which you can't do against the Packers and hope to win. Pending Monday's game, I'm looking at a 13-3 or 14-2 weekend, which it has been many moons since I last did that. I'll give the official recap after the Patsies and Chiefs settle things at Arrowhead Stadium.
Glenn 8-D 8:53:00 PM
Last Political Thoughts, and Speaking of An Organazation In Shambles... How About Those 49ers?
Yep, I think I earned at least a draw on the political matters. I hope the Democrats took notice that I did better than they did. I don't believe that the Dems lost this election due to a conspiracy (although I think 2000 was a little more muddled). All I can say is there is a great divide in this country between red and blue, and a lot of anger on the side of blue (including Junior Bro) over the results.
Speaking of lackluster organizations. How about those 49ers? The Niners were blown out by Trampled Bay, a team that they blew out just last year. The 49ers seem to have shown up with three different personalities on game day this year:
1) Don't show up for the first half, then come roaring back in the second half only to fall short at the end (other than that game against the Cardinals).
2) Play great coming out of the gate, but then don't show up for the second half, and lose going away.
3) Don't show up the whole game and get blown out (as they did in Tampa Bay and Seattle).
When the 49ers have a chance of winning near the end, they almost always turn the ball over. Usually, that entails a Tim Rattay interception returned for a touchdown, which has happend four or five times so far this year. I haven't seen the stats, but I believe the 49ers offense has generated more touchdowns for the opposition than they have scored for themselves in the last several games.
The 49ers now give the appearance of having given up. Either that, or they are severely overmatched (which is at least true in part). It's not suprising that you give up a lot of points when your cornerbacks are guys you found rummaging through the trash outside Candlestick Park before the game. What is somewhat suprising is just how awful the 49ers offense looks. Granted, there are injuries to the offensive line, but playcalling has been very vanilla. The 49ers would have nothing to lose by trying a fake punt or a flea-flicker every once in a while.
Next weeks game against Miami may determine who takes the first pick in the draft and the coveted Blooper Bowl trophy. It's a far cry from the glory days of 1984!
Junior Bro 6:04:00 PM
Monday, November 15, 2004
We'll just call it a political split
...with no clear winner. Yep, we could go on forever debating the merits of politics and politicians, but I think we'll have to agree to disagree on this one. Of one thing you can be sure, and that is the political pendulum in this country is constantly swinging. It's pulled pretty far to the right at the moment -- may still be heading that way. It has been far to the left at other times and will undoubtedly head that direction again. The Founding Fathers were wise men when they wrote the Constitution. They didn't get it perfect, but it's better than what most of the rest of the world has. I think we're too hung up on labels these days -- Dems, Reps, whatevers -- and miss the fact that most of the "mainstream" politicians are pretty much white bread. They come at the status quo from different angles, but it's still status quo. You'd need more than a Ralph Nader or a Ross Perot to really shake things up, because our system of government doesn't make it easy. Checks and balances, you know.
The Democrats as a party on a national level are in a shambles right now. There's no getting around that. The Republicans have known shambles for a lot longer (in recent history). In California they are still in a shambles. Look at how soundly Barbara Boxer thumped Bill Jones in the Senate race. Jones was a weak candidate who ran a lousy campaign, but I don't hear him screaming about how Boxer stole the election or rigged the voting machines. We've been hearing that a lot from the Kerry backers the past two weeks. What frosts me is the whining and conspiracy theories (on both sides) that you routinely hear now. It overshadows the truth of our political system, which is that it works. And I do trust in the voters, even when my candidates lose. Nixon wasn't a great person, regardless of his politics. His legacy endures 30 years later in that we've lost trust in our leaders to do the right thing, and I think that's sad. Even for Clinton's personal flaws, I think he still had the good of the country at heart -- as he envisioned it. Same for the two Bushes, Reagan, Carter and Ford. I'm afraid that I don't buy into the conspiracies that administrations are basically corrupt and occasionally do good. If that were true, our government would have collapsed long ago.
I also don't give my praise of GWB lightly. He had to earn my vote in 2000, when I nearly voted for Gore. My decision to defect from the Dems came after that election as a direct result of all the hanky panky with the courts and the allegations of voter fraud, which have never been proven. The disgruntled Dems talked about how voters had been disenfranchised, when they failed to consider there were voters for the other side who stood to be disenfranchised as well if the election results were unjustly overturned. And for the past four years all we've heard is "Bush stole the election," "Bush is stupid," "Bush knew about 9/11 before it happened," "Bush is a warmonger," "Bush invaded Iraq for oil..." I paid $2.25 a gallon for gas last week, show me the freaking cheap oil that was supposed to flow like water out of Iraq! These folks need to get a life and stop dwelling on conspiracy theories. Until the Dems face the harsh reality that their current message is being rejected by the electorate they won't regain power. But the party as a whole isn't stupid. Eventually someone worth their salt will "get it" and step forward to take the reins. When that day comes, I will take a serious look at them again, but not until then.
I'm tired of writing these screeds, too. Can we go back to football?
Glenn 8-D 9:02:00 PM
Sunday, November 14, 2004
More Political Rant
I think the Senior Bro and I are going to have to start a political blog. It's clear that we have totally opposite views on the subject and could have some lively political debate. That being said, I have to return political fire because Senior Bro's previous political post made me want to puke!
I will give the Senior Bro this, the Democrats are a seriously flawed political party. Any time you have a losing record, you need to reformulate your game plan. The Democrats alternate between trying to be Republicans or swinging way too far to the left, usually on consecutive days. The biggest problem with the party is they are constantly on the defensive. The Republican party is particularly good at mean-spirited attacks, and frankly, fear-mongering. The Republicans are much better at sticking to their guns, even on controversial issues like abortion and gun control. Democrats are much better at compromising, a necessary trait to have in the political arena, but it makes them appear weak and indecisive at times.
That being said, I think a Democratic administration would have far fewer flaws than the administration now occupying the White House. I will take a few minutes to respond to some of the Senior Bro's specific comments:
I don't have faith in the voters to do the right thing, mainly because a high percentage of voters are voting on faith. A significant portion of the voters sighted "Moral Issues" as the issue which was most important. They put it ahead of terrorism, the economy and jobs, the war in Iraq, crime, and the budget deficit. The problem with moral issues are who's moral issues we are trying to enforce.
What are these moral issues? Gay marriage appears to be a major one. The issue was on the ballot in several swing states. The fact is, gay marriage is only supported by a small fringe of Democrats on the far left, but the fear-mongering Republicans led the voters to believe that electing Democrats would lead to gay weddings on every street corner. Kerry never supported the idea of gay marriage, but voters ignored that, and even though they disagreed with many of Bush's policies voted for him anyway.
I don't have blind faith that the voters will simply do the right thing. Voters elected Richard Nixon...twice! Voters in this country have also elected duds like Herbert Hoover, Millard Fillmore, and James Buchanan to name a few. It is possible for the voters to make serious mistakes, even at crucial times in are history (Buchanan is a particularly good example).
The invasion of Afghanistan had to be done. We were attacked by Osama Bin Laden and the Taliban were harboring him in that country. This is my one and only compliment toward the Bush administration. He took decisive action toward a clear and present danger. However, he never finished the job. Bush said he wanted Osama dead or alive, but then diverted his attention to Iraq.
The invasion of Iraq did removal a brutal dictator, but we were really just cleaning up a mess that was created by the Reagan administration during the 1980's. We provided Saddam Hussein with the very biological and chemical weapons which he used (gasp!) against Iran and later against the Kurds. Osama Bin Laden emerged at nearly the same time, trained in Afghanistan by the CIA to fight the Soviets. He learned quickly, using his expertise to train the terrorists who attacked us.
These are two examples of the shortsightedness of American policies. Reagan won the Cold War, but there were dubious decisions made in the process, and the first Bush administration, Clinton administration, and W have been left to clean up the mess.
The simple explanation for 9/11 is that our country was attacked by religious fanatics who hate America. While that may be true, it's important to understand why they hate America. 9/11 is a direct result of the first gulf war, which I won't debate the merits of here. However, it resulted in the U.S. creating permanent bases in the "Holy Land," a place that many in the Middle East feel we don't belong. In fact, we would not be there at all if there were no oil reserves. Another point of contention is our arming the Israeli government with weapons that have been used for years to slaughter the Palestinians.
If we spent more money for research of alternative fuel sources, something which Bush and his oil cronies aren't likely to support, the Middle East would lose its strategic importance entirely, and we could leave them to wallow in their own oily goo.
Saddam Hussein did not attack us. The terrorists who attacked us were not from Iraq, nor were they trained there. Saddam Hussein was an evil dictator, but the world is full of evil dictators. Kim Jong Il of North Korea, for example. He actually has weapons of mass destruction, yet we do nothing. The embargo and no fly zones in Iraq were working. The UN arms inspectors had reentered the country to continue their work. Yet, we decided to invade anyway, and to our great shock, found no weapons of mass destruction, a fact that the UN could have verified without firing a shot. The argument could be made that we went in to Iraq to remove Saddam, to fight terrorism, or to liberate the Iraqi people, but the real truth is we invaded Iraq for one reason and one reason only...THE OIL!
We have also sent ourselves down a slippery slope. Senior bro sites Syria and Iran as countries who are educating their kids to hate America, so do we invade these countries next? If we are out to remove all the evil dictators of the world, do we go after countries in Africa, South America, and Asia next? Are we not in the process of brainwashing our own children to hate Arabs just as they are teaching their children to hate us? The American media is just as guilty of brainwashing, as all news sources in this country are run by just a handful of large corporations, with their own agendas.
Maybe the views of people in the Middle East are a thousand years out of date, but is it up to the US to dictate who's views are the correct ones? We cannot simply impose our own set of moral (Christian?) values on the rest of the world. Our policies are revealing that there is a great deal of Christian hatred of Islam built into our system of government and our policy making decisions. It is up to Arabs to change things from within, not for the US to change things through force. The democracies in Iraq and Afghanistan are American imposed, and I have serious doubts about their survival once the American military presence finally pulls out. The struggles in Iraq are subtle hints to this impending chaos. The situation in Iraq has created a breeding ground for potential future terrorists, something that the secular Hussein government did not necessarily encourage. We have also increased the animosity of all Arabs who felt we didn't belong in the Holy Land after the first gulf war.
Ultimately, history will judge W on the long term success of his two wars, without which, he would be a dismal failure as president. I hope that history will judge him well, as that will mean we have avoided future terrorist attacks. However, I don't think that will be the case. We have angered a large group of people. I think the terrorists will attack again, exploiting some weakness that we have not even thought of.
I am grateful that much of Bush's domestic agenda hasn't been implemented. However, the part that was, his tax cut, is disastrous. Once again, it is shortsighted. The average Joe Six Pack gets a few extra dollars in his pocket while are national debt skyrockets. Somewhere down the line, we're going to have to pay the piper. Right now huge chunks of the federal budget are taken up as interest payments on the debt. We could be using that money to overhaul social security, launch universal health care coverage, or to invest in alternative fuel research. We could also have significantly lower taxes if we eliminated the debt and didn't have that expenditure on our books. Instead, it will be Ben's generation, and the grandchildren and great-grandchildren of Senior and Junior Bro who will be the ones to suffer. If Bush succeeds in making his tax cuts permanent, it will make the problem that much worse. It is wrong to spend beyond one's means.
Senior Bro mentions Clinton and our eight years of prosperity, pandering to special interests, and anti-American rhetoric all in the same paragraph. The Republicans have their own special interest groups which they pander to: huge corporations, the gun lobby, the Christian religious right, so you can pick your poison. Clinton was obviously not a moral man, and his actions were foolish given the ruthlessness of the Gingrich Republicans. The fact is, JFK did things in the White House which were just as bad, but it was an era which separated public and personal life. The media has completely obliterated this dividing line. The Republicans had an old-fashioned, mean-spirited witch hunt, with Bill Clinton as their victim. They went from potential scandal to potential scandal, finding no wrongdoing and wasting taxpayer time and money, until they could finally find something that would stick. I don't think there was anything more mean-spirited or anti-American than what the Republicans did to try to bring Clinton down.
Since when is an opposing point of view un-American? Perhaps I'll be reported to the Committee on un-American Activities for writing this... oh, that's right, that went out with the 1950's. It was the position of most Democrats that they supported the troops, but opposed the war. By Senior
Bro's logic, the protesters of the Vietnam War were also un-American. Sounds like the arguments of Richard Nixon to me. What I think both sides in this debate seem to forget, is that both sides want what's best for the country, but have extremely different views on what actions are the correct ones. It is extremely simplistic and dead wrong to call the other side "un-American" simply because they don't agree with you. Even if John Kerry was elected, he wouldn't have been able to pull out the troops. We are now in a situation where we can't get out of for at least a decade without creating complete chaos.
Senior Bro also mentions the tearing down of our country's religious and cultural roots. Who's religious and cultural roots are being torn down? Those of the deep south? It seems like we are still fighting the Civil War. This has always been a Christian nation, and people have and will always be allowed to practice Christianity. However, there is also separation between church and state. Religion should not be imposed by a governmental body. People should be free to practice any religion they choose, and those who are not religious should not have religion imposed on them in public. As for culture, there is this thing called the great melting pot. Culturally diverse people are constantly arriving in this country, and over two or three generations, will blend into the whole. Our cultural roots are constantly evolving, based on the influx of are immigrant population. I for one would like the melting pot to work a little faster, but have resigned myself to the fact that it will work eventually.
As far as higher taxes for health care go, it is easy to simply think of oneself. However, a healthcare system for poorer Americans would mean less trips to the emergency room. This would in turn result in lower medical costs for the hospitals in question, and those lower costs would be passed on to the rest of us. (Call it the trickle up economy.)
The greatest period in American history? I will let Bush's current record speak for itself: a ballooning deficit, a weak economy, a war in Iraq with no end in sight, and no long-term solutions. Not to mention that this country is more polarized than it has ever been. For that, I blame not only Bush himself, but the American media. The media encourages conflict and confrontation, because that is what sells. The politicians merely feed into that frenzy, playing for the camera. This country needs less mean-spirited name-calling and grandstanding. What both political parties need is a willingness to compromise and work constructively for the betterment of our country as a whole.
And now, back to football............
Junior Bro 9:28:00 PM
Tuesday, November 09, 2004
Week 9 thoughts
So now we have no more undefeated teams in the NawFuL. The over ego-fied Eagles got thrashed -- make that Thrashed with a capital T -- at the hands of the Steelers on Sunday. So, because Pittsburgh also beat previously unbeaten New England, does that mean the Steelers are now considered the top-ranked team in the league? To anyone entertaining that thought, I say "Puhshaw!" The Steelers played their hearts out for the home crowd to beat the teams everyone in the NawFuL wanted to knock off, but the test is yet to come. How will they measure up against the league's doormats as they make the final push for the playoffs? I am betting that the Steelers' choker reputation will rear up, oh, say around the first or second round of the playoffs, when someone like the Patriots beats them roundly as payback. Don't book those Stupor Bore tickets just yet, Pittsburgh fans.
Week 9 was rife with losers, not the least of whom was Dave Wannstedt who is on the way out the door as coach of the Dull-fins. I don't think too many will be sad to see him go after the fish choked away victory against the inept and previously streaking Cardinals, who had managed to lose 17 straight on the road before Sunday. (The fact that the loss cost me a shot at gaining another couple games on the Junior Bro has absolutely nothing to do with my enthusiastic sendoff for the Wannster... nooooo. Not me. I'm not bitter. Just gonna brush it off and be happy with a break-even weekend. Yeah. Right. So you all know me too well by now. See-ya, Wannster.)
And how about those mighty Raiders knocking off last year's NFC chumps... er, champs! It only took them a last-second field goal to pull it out against a pathetic 1-6 team, but at least they finally have a road win to their... er... credit.
Glenn 8-D 12:47:00 AM
Sunday, November 07, 2004
The fifth quarter on election stuff
(I had meant to add this as a comment to Sean's post, but Blogger isn't cooperating, so here it is as a separate post....)
True, this is about as much of a political blog as JFK is believable as a football player, but I'll respond anyhoo...
I have great faith in the American voters to do the right thing, and to pick the leaders we need at pivotal moments in our history, and there is no question in my mind that this is the most critical time our nation has faced in a couple of generations. Say what you will about fear-mongering, but the threat posed to our way of life by terrorism is very real and cannot be ignored. 9/11 should have been a huge wake-up call to every person in this country. It isn't our way to choose war over peace, which is why there is such outcry over what is happening now in the Middle East, but let me ask you -- can we afford to have nations like Iraq and Iran and Syria running around educating whole generations of kids to hate Westerners? As long as people like Saddam Hussein are in power and practioners of religious hatred cling to the tenets of a philosophy that has been out of step with the rest of the world for at least a thousand years, we will not be safe.
Am I worried about a terrorist attack on my little hometown of Oakley, California? Not particularly. But I am very worried for New York, and Washington, D.C., Miami, Seattle, Chicago, Dallas, San Francisco (and not just because their football teams stink, but I digress)... We can't afford to not be vigilant, and what I see in President Bush is someone who understands this and is doing something about it. We may not agree with all of it -- there are parts I don't particularly agree with -- but the end result will be a spread of democracy in the Third World, which ultimately benefits everyone.
I believe that history will treat Bush more favorably than he has been treated in his first four years in office. There is much of his domestic agenda that hasn't been achieved, but perhaps now with less obstruction from Congress there will be progress on such things as Social Security and tax reform.
I almost have to laugh that I am here now defending a Republican president, because 20 years ago I could have been the one writing your rant. I voted for Walter Mondale and Michael Dukakis in the age of Reaganism. I was no less devastated when their campaigns went down in flames. I thought how shortsighted America was, and that the voters had assured our path to mutual destruction. In hindsight I am glad neither of my candidates won. Our country is still here and stronger for the political course that was set during those years. The Cold War is over. The Soviet Union is history. Interest rates are at historic lows. I don't know what kind of nation we would be now if the Democrats had been in power for the past 20 years.
Bill Clinton presided over 8 years of great prosperity, but his legacy will forever be tarnished by the shame his actions brought on the office of the presidency. It's shenanigans like that, the race-baiting, the pandering to special interests such as the gays and unions and minorities, the tearing down of our country's religious and cultural roots, and the mean-spirited anti-American rhetoric that keep me from supporting the Democrats. Frankly, I am ashamed that I ever carried a card for the party.
John Kerry would have taken this country back 30 years. He would have had us believe that we were fighting the Vietnam War all over again. And he would have pulled our troops out of Iraq in shame and defeat, further emboldening our enemies to launch future attacks on our homeland. I am not a wealthy person by any sense of the word, but Kerry would have raised my taxes directly and those of my employer, which would have been passed along to me indirectly in the form of smaller raises. He would have promoted a government subsidized health care system in which middle class families like mine would have been forced to pay for the health needs of millions of people who are presently uninsured. I could go on, but I don't suspect it will change anyone's personal reasons for why they supported the guy. It really doesn't matter now anyway fortunately.
I didn't intend my response to your rant to become a rant, but it saddens me to hear so much derision from the political left of the so-called failed policies and lies of the Bush administration when the opposite is true. We are living in one of the greatest periods of American history. Tuesday's election simply reaffirmed that.
Glenn 8-D 1:29:00 PM
The Monday streak is on the line again
It used to be that I lamented our Monday night splits because I routinely lost them. However, at this point in the season, I am on a two-game roll. I am counting on Minnesota tomorrow to extend the streak to three, which is no gimme against Peyton Manning and the Colts. I worry that my luck bank may be severely overdrawn.
Four splits this week... fingers crossed.
Glenn 8-D 10:17:00 AM
Saturday, November 06, 2004
Redskins Predictor Fails
If the Redskins win the week before the election, the incumbent stays in power; if they lose, the challenger gets elected.
This predictor held up for over sixty years until last week, when the Redskins lost, but Bush defeated Kerry for the presidency.
I am terribly concerned of the path this nation is taking. Not just because my candidate lost. I am afraid of the shortsightedness and fear-mongering of this administration, and the shortsightedness of those who voted for him...
...but I digress. I know this is not a political blog, but I just had to vent. My own shortsightedness has put me another game behind Senior Bro. I seem to be digging myself a hole that I'm not sure I'll be able to climb out of given this crazy season.
Jerry Rice visits the 49ers tomorrow. The question is will he play? The other question is, will he catch a pass? One last question is, how badly will the 49ers be slaughtered by the Seahawks tomorrow???
Junior Bro 9:35:00 PM