Saturday, September 29, 2007


No Newt

The former speaker of the House makes it official: He's not running for president this time around.

Coming so soon after his $30 million trial balloon, one must speculate that early returns were not overwhelming. It seems odd that he wouldn't have known ahead of time that there was a conflict between running a non-profit like "American Solutions" and opening up a presidential exploratory committee.

Or perhaps he's even more convinced that things are bleak for anything with the "R"-brand next year.

Regardless, it looks like the GOP field is set, like it or not.

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Friday, September 28, 2007


Open Thread

Heading down to Annapolis this weekend for St. John's College Homecoming/ridiculous drunken debauchery alumni association activities, so in addition to all the catch-up posts and comedic promotions, the Open Thread goes up early this week.

Chat away!

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Weekend Diversions

If you're passing up on the last weekend of the baseball season (as the Mets seemingly have already), here are a few things to keep you busy and stimulate your mind.

Here a couple of good essays:

Former SEC speechwriter Matthew Rees reflects on the stock market crash of '87 and what, if any, lessons might be gleaned today.

And, in a story with 50 years breadth, David Margolick examines the Little Rock Nine in 1957. A marvelous read. You can also check out a slide-show of the young girls' experience.

And if you want to listen to some political stuff, you can do that too:

Newt Gingrich seems to be showing a bit more leg on the idea of a 2008 run. Captain's Quarters blogmeister Ed Morrissey gets Newt to size up his competitors, the Republican Party and the unveiling of his "American solutions." The interview begins at around the 14:40 mark. Oh, Newt had an op-ed on similar matters in last Sunday's NY Post (usual full-disclosure rules apply to any items on my former boss).

UPDATE: Ed Morrissey assess Newt's plans for next year -- and beyond.

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The Patriot Way

Last Sunday's NFL Countdown on ESPN had a feature on how problem-child wide receiver Randy Moss had become, in QB Tom Brady's characterization, a "role model" on the New England Patriots.

The cheap shot, of course, that came to mind was, "Well, sure he's a role model. On a team with a head coach who helps break up his assistant's marriage and has a quarterback who dumps his pregnant actress girlfriend to hook up with a hot supermodel. Oh, and yes, this is a team involved in what may be one of the biggest cheating scandals in NFL history. In that sense, I guess Moss is a role model."

Anyway, I decided against using the joke...until I read Gregg Easterbrook's
disturbing column on how the NFL is "handling" the taping scandal (i.e "helping participate in a cover-up"). Yes, the piece is as much of an indictment of the NFL as it is the Pats, but since Easterbrook couldn't get an answer to the question of whether there was evidence that the Patriots could have cheated in their Super Bowl wins, I'm fine with throwing the flagrant foul.

So there!

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Pigskin Pick'em - NFL Week 4 Picks

As Shakespeare might have said: "Cry bacon! And let slip the pigs of war!"

Ok, I took a few liberties with that, but here are my picks (in red) anyway:

Houston Texans at Atlanta Falcons: The Matt Schaub Bowl, otherwise known as Schaub returns to Atlanta to show the Falcons why they were horrendously stupid for trading him and keeping Mike "Dog-fryer" Vick.
New York Jets at Buffalo Bills: Welcome to the NFL, Trent Edwards.
Baltimore Ravens at Cleveland Browns: Take the Brownies to pull an upset in a surprisingly close game.
St. Louis Rams at Dallas Cowboys: No Steven Jackson. No Orlando Pace. No win for the Lambs.
Chicago Bears at Detroit Lions: With Brian Griese in for Rex Grossman, the Bears look like a much better team. Griese's flaw has always been choking in the clutch, but the Bears should be able to get far enough ahead of the Lions to avoid that possibility.
Oakland Raiders at Miami Dolphins: Thanks for the
victory guaranty, Joey Porter! I was worried the Raiders might take this game lightly, but not anymore.
Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings: Two teams moving in opposite directions.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Carolina Panthers: If QB David Carr plays, and wins, he deserves to be the full time starting quarterback for the Panthers. But I wouldn't bet on it.
Seattle Seahawks at San Francisco 49ers: The 49ers will be happy to be returning to the NFC this week, after their drubbing by the Steelers last week. Pity the poor Seahawks.
Pittsburgh Steelers at Arizona Cardinals: Speaking of pity, that's a good plan for dealing with Cardinal fans this weekend.
Denver Broncos at Indianapolis Colts: When they are at home, you have to pick the Colts against almost any team.
Kansas City Chiefs at San Diego Chargers: You would be hard pressed to find two worse coaches with two better teams in any game this week.
Philadelphia Eagles at New York Giants: The Eagles might have a letdown after last week's win.
New England Patriots at Cincinnati Bengals: The game of the week, only because it should be a lot of fun to watch. I would hate to have to go up against the Patriots without a defense. The Patriots defense will be the difference in this shootout.

Pigskin Pick'em Rules:
1. Pick the straight-up winners of all this weeks NFL games (excluding any Thursday games). Picks will be accepted in the comments section of the following websites:
Politics and Pigskins, Ragged Thots, and American Legends. All picks must be posted by 1 pm Eastern Time on Sunday, or by the kickoff of the first NFL Saturday game on weeks when that happens.
2. The winner gets...bragging rights! (you weren't expecting money, were you?)
3. And new for this year: I will be keeping a running tally for the season, so the person who gets the most picks correct for the whole season, including the playoffs, gets...even BIGGER bragging rights! (and still no money)


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Thursday, September 27, 2007


Pigskin Pick'em - NFL Week 3 Results

Sorry this is late folks. But the winner for week 3 is (followed by the rest of us losers):

Robert A. George - 12
bl - 10
David Stefanini - 8
Bill Barker - 8
Dave O'Leary - 8
FunkyPundit - 8
J. Mark English - 7
EdMcGon - 7
SoloD - 7

And the year to date standings (with weeks won in parentheses):

David Stefanini(1) - 28
J. Mark English(1) - 24
EdMcGon - 24
Robert A. George(1) - 23
Bill Barker - 21
Dave O'Leary - 16
bl - 10
FunkyPundit - 8
Mike - 8
SoloD - 7
Rigel - 5

I will have this week's picks up either tonight or tomorrow, so hurry back and play!


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Wednesday, September 26, 2007


Striking Out

So, General Motors and the United Auto Workers have come to a tentative agreement.

Given that obligations on benefits (as opposed to wages) are the anchor around the neck of the U.S. automotive industry, the fact that the union agreed to take responsibility for worker health care is something of a "win" for GM.

However, a couple days ago, Slate's Daniel Gross asked an important question on the strike:
Who cares?:
What if the biggest industrial union struck the biggest American automaker—and nobody noticed? That's what happened this morning, as the United Auto Workers launched a national strike against General Motors. They are talking about it—a little—on CNBC, but the strike is vying for airtime with a dozen other stories. And General Motors' stock barely budged on the day.
I hate to use a cliche, but the phrase "rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic" comes to mind.

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Monday, September 24, 2007


Honoring Marcel Marceau



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Reporters Can Be So Funny...

No, I mean, intentionally funny! Journalists of all types can be seen trying out their comedic talents in New York next week. Your humble host will be among them once again!

So, if you're in New York next Wednesday, Oct. 3 and want to check out some good, relatively clean comedic fun, come by Gotham Comedy Club! Proceeds go to charity. Call 212-367-9000 for reservations.

It's all part of the New York Underground Comedy Festival. I will also be participating in the "Harlem Renaissance Show" next Sunday, September 30, 8:30, also at Gotham.


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