Archive for September, 2011

A new feature

Each week I will give my own rewards and punishments based on the performances of teams and individuals this NFL season. The categories will be Best Game, Worst Game, Best Team Performance, Worst Team Performance, Offensive Hero, Offensive Zero, Defensive Hero and Defensive Zero.

I’ll start now with Week 1.

Best Game:

I thought about Jets 27, Cowboys 24, but I give the nod to the Thursday Night opener: Packers 42, Saints 34. Not because of the point explosion. But because each team made plays at some points in the game from each part of the team. The QBs were sharp, neither one threw a pick. The Packers goal line defense came up big twice. Darren Sproles proved to be a valuable pickup for the Saints. There was only one turnover, and that was early.

Worst Game:

There really weren’t any horrible games, but if I have to pick one, I’d go with 49ers 33, Seahawks 17. San Francisco in the 2nd quarter penetrated Seattle territory 3 times and only came away with field goals. Some of those field goals came after a turnover gave them a short field. Early in the 4th Quarter they finally made a field goal after two false penalties backed them up 10 yards. And that was after they were stopped at the 1. Seattle’s special teams broke down in the 4th Quarter, allowing Ted Ginn to score a kickoff return and then just moments later on a punt.

Best Team Performance:

Baltimore Ravens. They were solid in all phases of the game. Ray Rice was a beast. Flacco played decently. The defense was dominant, stopping the Steelers twice in the red zone with Ed Reed interceptions. They even surprised the Steelers for a two-point conversion by Sam Koch, the punter who also holds for placekicks. To use an oft-repeated cliche, the Ravens made a statement.

Worst Team Performance:

With the 35-7 drubbing at the hands of the Ravens, it’s tempting to give this to the Steelers. But I’m giving it this week to the Kansas City Chiefs, who looked like they were still in the lockout in their 41-7 beatdown at the hands of the Buffalo Bills. The Bills who had all of 4 wins last year and didn’t have a lot of people picking them as a darkhorse. And it happened at Arrowhead Stadium. The pounding was so bad many Chiefs fans headed for the exits late in the 3rd Quarter. They sleepwalked on both sides of the ball.

Offensive Hero:

Aaron Rodgers – Packers quarterback. Fresh off of his Super Bowl MVP performance, Rodgers completed 27 of 35 passes for 312 yards and 3 TDs. Drew Brees had 107 more passing yards and like Rodgers had 3 TDs and no picks, but Rodgers set the tone.

Offensive Zero:

Donovan McNabb. In his Vikings debut, he was 7 of 15 for 39 yards. He had a TD pass, but that was set up by a long run from Adrian Peterson. His first pass was tipped and picked off, a play that set up San Diego’s first touchdown. He had the lowest passer rating for Week 1 at 47.9.

Defensive Hero:

Ed Reed. The Ravens safety twice ended Steeler drives with interceptions in the red zone, showing what he does best – play centerfield. He, as much as anybody, never allowed Pittsburgh to get back in the game.

Defensive Zero:

There were a lot of offensive fireworks, so this one is hard. I’m giving this weeks punishment to a whole team: the Cleveland Browns defense. Leading 17-13 late in the 4th Quarter, the Browns were caught asleep at the wheel – still huddled up, when the Bengals snapped the ball and Bruce Gradkowski – the Bengals backup QB, hit rookie A.J. Green for a 41-yard TD. Then, needing a stop, the defense got blown off the line of scrimmage, allowing Cedric Benson to scamper 40 yards for a TD to put the game away. A complete meltdown by the Browns defense at the most critical moments.

Is there any low to which some people will not stoop?

Cheering the possible deaths of people because they don’t have health insurance. This clip speaks for itself.

Herman Cain can bite me

Republican politicians have several times used the September 11 World Trade Center attacks as a political weapon. This particular ad, though, by Herman Cain, takes the cake. He uses video footage of the tragedy and cobbles them together in a short snuff film in the form of a political ad.

Cain has virtually no shot to win, but he is guilty of perpetuating a really bad meme. Another example of turning a horrible, unspeakable crime and tragedy into a brand name. Another example of 9/11 (TM).

This a few years later remains the most prescient thing said about how 9/11 has been used:

Alan Grayson really disappointed me the other day, and so did many progressives

In his short stint as a Congressman from Florida’s 8th Congressional District, Grayson was one of my favorites. Particularly when he gave his speech on the House floor about the apparent Republican plan for health care reform, which he described as “Don’t get sick. And if you do get sick, die quickly”. The speech ruffled a lot of Republican feathers, but I thought then he told it exactly like it was.

That was commonplace for Alan Grayson, to make sharp, cutting, no-holds-barred criticisms of right-wing politicians and their stances. He has a “shock jock” quality to him that is enjoyable. Shock jocks often push the envelope but sometimes they go over the line and need to be reeled back in. The other day Grayson did just that.

He did so by posting a diary in Daily Kos titled “I Told Newt He Looks Fat”. He went into detail about his alleged exchange with the former Speaker of the House in that diary. He said

So Gingrich came to the Floor of the House a year ago. I went nowhere near him. I just don’t like the smell of sulfur. But another member, whom I like very much, told me that she wanted to introduce me. I said, “no, that’s OK, thanks anyway. I really don’t know what to say to him.” But she insisted.

She introduced me to Newt.

I said to him, “you look like you’ve gained a lot of weight.”

Newt stared at me.

I said, “I remember you being much slimmer back in the 1990’s. When you were relevant.”

Newt scowled at me, and walked away. Good comeback, Newt. By the way, Newt Gingrich scowls just the way you would expect Newt Gingrich to scowl.

Come on, Alan! Please!! And shame on the 269 folks who “tipped” the diary (meaning they clicked ‘recommend’ in the “tip jar” – you probably have to read Daily Kos a few times to understand). The diary, and many of the comments, show how grossly hypocritical all of us can be. There’s a little of it in all of us, but when it’s that brazen, it should be pointed out.

Over a year ago talk show host Laura Ingraham delivered a cheap shot towards Meghan McCain, mocking her weight. Many of us roundly condemned the comments, and rightfully so. I have little doubt that many of the folks who did so are the same ones who participated in the revelry about Grayson’s comments. Not all of us did, though. Those of us who expressed our dismay, however, were greeted with calls to “lighten up” or “we don’t need you to be our moral police”.

STOP!! JUST STOP!!!

I like it when fellow progressives use strong, maybe even harsh language, about the things politicians do. I said the things politicians do. Their own personal demons, such as their weight, should be off limits. All kinds of people struggle in many untold ways – physical, emotional and psychological, with their weight. It has nothing to do with what a politician does, with the policies they propose and the actions they take. It doesn’t matter that Newt Gingrich has done a lot of despicable things and has himself been judgmental towards many people, including his sister Candace. Two wrongs don’t make a right. To imply that it does is to commit the tu quoque fallacy.

I had just one thing to say on Daily Kos about this sorry diary:

“Lighten up” is the siren song of the irresponsible.

We don’t need to lighten up. Grayson and the rest of you who rec’d this need to stop making fun of someone for his weight. Remember when Laura Ingraham took potshots at Megan McCain for her weight? So many of us were all over Ingrahahm for it, and rightfully so.

Mr. Grayson you are good at what you do but this is uncalled for.

Come on, fellow progressives. We’re better than that.