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2011 MLB Playoff Predictions

Friday, September 30, 2011



Rumor has it there will be a new World Series Champion this year; I'm unsure all the precincts are yet counted, however.  I'm just saying if Orlando Cabrera suddenly gets his veteran leadership gravy all over whatever golf course he's presumably going to spend next week playing, don't be surprised if the Giants sneak into the playoffs.  Maybe through a Redemption Island like scenario where we battle it out against the Sox and Russell Hantz's nephew.


(Hey, Russell's Nephew, it's me, God.  You know that one girl is trying to tempt you with her yabbos, right?  It's Day 7 and she's still flashing those dirty, firm milkdaddies all across the island.  Are you on an island this year?  It's hard to keep up.  Hey, I've been DVR'ing Simon's new show, I think maybe these music competitions jumped the shark with last year's Idol.  So, Russell's Nephew, what are you going as for Halloween this year...)

I'm picking the Phillies.  They were baseball's best team with a hundred three win pythag.  If they were to win the Series, those 103 wins put them in the top 30 greatest World Champs of all time.

I'll say they beat the Yankees; the only result from the AL which would surprise is Detroit winning the pennant given their sub-90 pythag.  There have been 106 World Series winners - 95 of them have had 90+ win pythags.  Significantly, in case you wondered what impact the Wild Card has had, a disproportionate number of those sub 90 pythag World Series winners have been in recent years:

1996 Yankees (88)
1997 Marlins (88)
2003 Marlins (88)
2000 Yankees (85)
2006 Cardinals (82)

About half of every sub 90 pythag WS champions come from the past 15 years; it's a hidden legacy of the Wild Card, the mediocre World Champion.

With that said, it still seems error to pick a sub-90 team if you're picking - and that would eliminate Detroit/St Louis/Arizona.  The Yankees are the only other 100 win pythag team in the postseason, so I'll pick them.  But the AL is a dart throw.

I'm rooting for Tampa.  I'm rooting for Tampa/Milwaukee, to be more specific.

AL:

Yanks v. Tigers
-Yanks had a dozen game pythag advantage, that's too much to turn down.  If you're just popping in for the postseason - New York's best players this year weren't names like ARod/Teixeira/Jeter; instead, the most valuable Yankee position players were Granderson/Cano/Gardner.  But those famous guys are still around too, and still good players (except for The Late Derek Jeter, who hit replacement level this season and is now officially just another guy).  Sabathia was third on my AL Cy Young ballot, and Robertson/Rivera may have been the two best relief pitchers in the American League this season.

Detroit's not a one man team - but Verlander's pretty solidly the AL Cy Young winner and should get MVP support (second on my ballot).  Alex Avila was baseball's best catcher this season; Miguel Cabrera had an OPS+ over 180.  Heck, Doug Fister probably gives the Tigers pitching advantages in games 1 and 2. Further, the Yankees primary skill is they hit lefties - and Detroit's going to throw out one right hander after another. I recognize I'm picking NYY to win the pennant, but if the Tigers knock them off in 5, that wouldn't surprise. Yanks in 5.

Ex-Giants alert - Brad Penny is the Tigers fifth starter.

Texas v. Tampa
-Rangers have a 7 win pythag advantage, that's a little closer, but I'll go Texas.  I'm rooting for Tampa, and I'd guess they get some momentum action by the public, but I'll still pick the Rangers.  Did you know how bad Reid Brignac was this year?  His OPS+ was 29.  29!  Here was his slash: .193/.227/.221.  Holy cats.  Longoria's the best third baseman in baseball; had he not been injured he'd be in the MVP discussion.  Tampa doesn't have many bats - there's Longoria and Zobrist and then a bunch of guys, particularly if Joyce sits as part of the platoon.  The arms carry them - Shields/Hellickson/Price all had good seasons.  And they've decided to go with the rookie Moore in Game One; guts are another reason I enjoy Tampa. The Rangers are back, they've added Beltre and Napoli to their core of bats, and that carries them, as the starters are slight after Wilson.

Rangers have better bats.  Rays have better starters. Rangers have a better pen and both teams have really good gloves.

I'll take Texas in 5.

Ex-Giants alert.  Yorvit Torrealba catches, Brett Tomko and Merkin Valdez logged some bullpen time this season.

Yanks v. Texas.
As mentioned, I'll take New York.  No results would shock, if it's mid October and the Tigers have won the AL pennant, even that wouldn't shock, but the only team which would surprise would be Detroit.  Either Texas or Tampa has a good path to the pennant, and I'm rooting for the Rays to win the whole thing.

NL:
Arizona v. Milwaukee
-Brewers have a tiny 2 game pythag advantage;  I'll take Milwaukee in 4; Braun was 2nd on my NL MVP ballot, and as he helped me to my fantasy win (co-win; I finished in a 3 way tie in my NL League) I can't say I didn't see it coming.  Fielder's a premium bat, and Hart and Weeks can also punch the ball.  Milwaukee's got a lot of outs in the bottom of their lineup.  Marcum/Wolf were both better than Gallardo/Greinke this season and in a short series, the Brewers have a pretty healthy rotation+pen advantage here. Arizona kicked our ass this year.  Other than Upton/Montero, I'm not sure they have the bats to go too far.  Parra and Young are really good outfield gloves, Arizona has a substantially better defense than the Brewers.   Kennedy had a terrific year; his high win total will get him more Cy consideration that he warrants probably.

Ex Giants alert - One time prospect Cody Ransom had a crucial hit to help propel the Snakes in overtaking us.

Phillies v. StLouis
-Phillies are the best team in baseball, 15 games above the Cards.  I'll take them to sweep.  The Phils position players aren't who they've been previously - Howard, Utley, Rollins - none having the kind of year that made them famous.  But the Pence trade worked and Victorino had an all star caliber season.  Obviously, it's the starting pitching that makes his a hundred win team.  Halladay got my NL Cy Young vote; Lee finished third, and Hamels wouldn't be far behind.  They'll roll those 3 guys out with Oswalt behind and look to run through the playoffs.  I'll say they do. The Cards have bats - Pujols/Berkman/Holliday (health permitting, he's out game one) are the three biggest bats in the Series but they don't have the arms or gloves to stay with the Phils. The Phillies are healthier really than at any point this season. Phillies in 3

Ex-Giants alert - John Bowker logged some plate appearances with the Phillies this season.

Phils v. Brewers
-I'll take the Phillies to sweep them too.

It's a Phils/Yankes series.  I'll take Philly in 5.  I'll take the Phillies in any WS matchup.

2011 College Football Picks, Week 5

Thursday, September 29, 2011

I've had two straight weeks over .500.  For the season I'm 23-26-1.

Rutgers +1.5 Syracuse (win)
Navy -3.5 Air Force(loss)
TTech -6.5 Kansas(win)
Ohio U -16.5 Kent(loss)
Idaho +16.5 Virginia(win)
Kansas St. +3.5 Baylor(win)
Ark St. v. WKy Under 53(win)
La Tech -4.5 Hawaii(loss)
LaTech v. Hawaii Under 61(loss)
Utah -9.5 Wash(loss)
FIU -3.5 Duke(loss)
NMex St. -1 NMex(win)
Wisconsin -10 Nebraska(win)
NDame -11.5 Purdue(win)
Fresno St. -3.5 Miss(loss)

8-7
31-33-1

Wrapping it Up - the 2011 San Francisco Giants

The Giants season has ended.  So, now its time to incorporate the results into the historical record.

Welcome to history - the 2011 San Francisco Giants!

I've ranked every SF Giants team in history by pythagorean record here.  The 2011 Giants went 80-82, making it the 35th best San Francisco team ever, right between the other two 80-82 teams, 1997 and 1983.

I've compiled a list of every SF Giants season by WARP(now using Clay Davenport version, which should correspond more accurately with the previous work) and WAR (Baseball reference).  You can get to all of that here.

Here's the 2011 team

C Posey 1.6/1.3
1B Huff 1/-.6
2B Sanchez .5/.7
SS Fontenot .6/.3
3B Sandoval 5.9/5.9
LF Ross 1.7/-.1
CF Torres .5/.7
RF Schierholtz 1.3/.8
OF Beltran 2.1/1
P Lincecum 5.6/3.6
   Cain 4.8/3.6
   Bumgarner 4/2.3
   Vogelsong 4.8/3.4
Cl Wilson 2/.5
    Casilla 1.5/1.3
    Romo 1.8/1.8
    Lopez 1.6/1.1

If you add the numbers together and divide by two, that's a pretty good snapshot of for how many wins above a readily available replacementeach player is responsible.  Sandoval was easily the Giants best position player in '11 - in fact, he was the best third baseman in baseball in 2011.  The Giants top 4 starters all had good seasons; they were the next 4 most valuable Giants after Sandoval in 2011.

Sandoval's season was the best for a Giants third baseman since Matt Williams in 1993.

I'd like to say Huff's season, giving us virtually nothing was historically bad - but it's not.  Since Will Clark left after the 1993 season, the Giants have gotten nothing from first base in the following years:

1994 - Benzinger
1996 - Carreon
1998 - Snow
2001 - Snow
2002 - Snow
2005 - Snow (JT Snow was not a good baseball player.)
2006 - Hillenbrand
2007 - Klesko
2008 - Bowker
2009 - Ishikawa

Huff lost all of his value from a year ago, when he had the best season for a Giants first baseman since '89.

Except for third base and right field, we got a production decline at every position in 2011.

Cain and Lincecum both continue to climb up the All Time San Francisco Giants list - which you can find here. Cain is the 14th and Lincecum the 15th most valuable San Francisco Giant ever, they are the 4th and 5th most valuable SFG pitchers ever.  Cain has one more year and Lincecum two more years remaining on their deals, I think.  My longstanding assumption is we're able to keep one of them.

I Pick Every NFL Game in 2011 - Week 4

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

My season record thusfar is 29-17-2 against the spread; 34-14 straight up.  I haven't gone back in to make any changes after my initial posts thusfar; but going forward my schedule requires that I make these picks Wednesdays - so it might be that I reconsider a couple of games Fridays. Edit - I did.

Dallas -1 Detroit(loss/loss)
NO -7 Jax(win/win)
Wash over StL(win/win)
Tenn +1 Cle(win/win)
Bills -3.5 Bengals(loss/loss)
KC +1.5 Minn(win/win)
Chi -6.5 Carol(loss/win)
Pit +4 Hou (Houston wins game)(loss/win)
Sea +4.5 Atl(Falcons win game)(win/win)
Ariz +1.5 NYG(loss/loss)
Philly -6.5 Niners(loss/loss)
SD -7 Mia(win/win)
Den +13 GB (GB wins game, that's my suicide winner)(loss/win)
Oak +4.5 NE (Patriots win game)(loss/win)
NYJ +3.5 Balt (Ravens win game)(loss/win)
Indy +10 TB (Tampa wins game)(win/win)

ATS: 7-9, 36-26-2
SU: 12-4, 46-18

The Top 5 MLB Players at Each Position, end of 2011 ed.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Before the season, I offered a view as to the 10 best baseball players at each position.

The season's now over.  Here were the top five players at each position through a combination of WARP(Clay Davenport version) and WAR (Baseball-reference version).

Catchers
1. Alex Avila
2. Miguel Montero
3. Mike Napoli
4. Yadier Molina
5. Matt Wieters

First Basemen
1. Adrian Gonzalez
2. Joey Votto
3. Miguel Cabrera
4. Albert Pujols
5. Prince Fielder

Second Basemen
1. Ian Kinsler
2. Dustin Pedroia
3. Ben Zobrist
4. Robinson Cano
5. Brandon Phillips

Shortstops
1. Troy Tulowitzki
2. Jose Reyes (come to San Francisco, Jose Reyes)
3. Jhonny Peralta
4. Erick Aybar
5. JJ Hardy

Third Basemen
1. Pablo Sandoval
2. Evan Longoria
3. Adrian Beltre
4. Alberto Callaspo
5. Aramis Ramirez

Left Field
1. Ryan Braun
2. Alex Gordon
3. Matt Holliday
4. Josh Hamilton
5. Gerardo Parra

Center Field
1. Matt Kemp
2. Jacoby Ellsbury
3. Andrew McCutcheon
4. Curtis Granderson
5. Shane Victorino

Right Field
1. Jose Bautista
2. Mike Stanton
3. Justin Upton
4. Hunter Pence
5. Carlos Beltran (if Reyes comes, my guess is Beltran stays)

Starting Pitchers
1. Justin Verlander
2. Clayton Kershaw
3. Roy Halladay
4. Cliff Lee
5. CC Sabathia

Relievers
1. David Robertson
2. Jonny Venters
3. Eric O'Flaherty
4. Mariano Rivera
5. Tyler Clippard

2011 MLB Award Ballot

Still to come, my top 10 players at each position for 2011, and my 2011 post season predictions.

I'll also update my all time San Francisco Giants posts to reflect the 2011 season, and I've got a rework of my 200 greatest major league baseball players of all time to begin rolling out.  Offseason doesn't end baseball talk here at Basically Gherkins.

NL MVP: 1. Matt Kemp
                2. Ryan Braun
                3. Roy Halladay

NL Cy Young: 1. Roy Halladay
                       2. Clayton Kershaw
                       3. Cliff Lee

AL MVP: 1. Jose Bautista
                2. Justin Verlander
                3. Jacoby Ellsbury

AL Cy Young: 1. Justin Verlander
                       2. Jared Weaver
                       3. CC Sabathia

Athlete of the Month, September 2011

Monday, September 26, 2011



Cliff Lee.  Runners-up: Novak Djokovic, Ryan Braun, Evan Longoria

August, and the link to the rest of the year, is here.

Here are the 9 current nominees for Athlete of the Year, 2011.  3 to go.

Nick Fairley
Aaron Rodgers
Kemba Walker
Danielle Adams
Dirk Nowitzki
Rory McIlroy

Novak Djokovic
Justin Verlander
Cliff Lee

The Weekly Tendown September 18-24 2011

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Dear Internet:



Here was my Larry David moment.

I gave my final exams this week; at the end of my Government exam Wednesday afternoon, with approximately 3 students left, a middle aged (meaning, he and I are probably the same age) African-American student with whom I have no particular familiarity other than he has taken a couple of my courses approached the front with his completed exam in hand.

When students approach to turn in their finals, my policy is to let them lead whatever dance we're going to do.

Yes, I have a policy for even the most mundane of professional interactions.  That's how I get down.

Some students want to thank me for the course; I reply by thanking them for their effort.

Some students want to tell me they'll see me next quarter for a different course; I reply that I'll look forward to it.

Some students want to quickly hand me the paper and run out of the room; I say thank you and let them flee to freedom.

Some want to shake hands.  So we do that.

Now, as this particular student approached, I reached out my left hand (I'm right handed) partially in a stretch, as I was (and am, always am) tired, partially to take the exam from him.

He didn't read the stretch that way however.  He read it as my initiating a 1970s style soul shake as if, looking at him, I saw Freddie Boom Boom Washington.



It was awkward. Awkward because I did not expect it; awkward because it was with my left hand; awkward  because my opportunities for that specific type of contact are limited these days to my monthly breakfasts with Oscar Gamble.



Moreover, my clear sense was the student was of the belief that I had initiated the shake; it wasn't just that a black man wanted to say goodbye to me in an unaccustomed way; it was that - I believe in his head, I was choosing, really out of nowhere, to inject some type of racially tinted gesture into the end of our professional transaction.  And this is significantly worse than the "I'm cool, right" nod that white men will often do to black men in passing, a nod that you never know the propriety of - is the nod a discriminatory head movement; am I segregating my casual interactions?  It was that - but it was endless, seemingly minutes of a convoluted handshake, and my growing sense that the student thought this was my idea.

The following morning, my last student in another exam was a different middle aged African American man.

As he approached, I quickly stuck out my right hand for a firm handshake.  One pump and we're on our way.  

I think I was looking for a make good; I think I was saying "hey black guys; I didn't lead that soul shake - I was the bottom - I was the bottom; I shake everyone's hand the same way - I'm an equal opportunity handshaker!  I didn't lead that soul shake!"

Keep in mind, no one saw either of the two handshakes.  And that these were two different guys.

Today's my 41st birthday.  Each year more awkward than the previous.

Here's Tendown 95.

1. The Great Emancipator?  
Here's a photograph I took of a magazine cover yesterday.



Here's Cris Collinsworth.



I'm willing to say right now that Cris Collinsworth is the reincarnation of our 16th President.

Consider the following:

It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open one's mouth and remove all doubt.

"Look how Manning tells his center it's time to snap in all this noise...he just taps him on the hind-end there..


And in the end it is not the years in your life that count, it's the life in your years.

It was just one of those playground lollipoppers.

I defy anyone to spot a difference.


2. No Pun Intended
What's the analogue to "no pun intended"?

No pun intended is a phrase that, almost always, is used to mean exactly the opposite of what it says.

It's not like the word ironic, which is very often used incorrectly.  People mean "that's an unfortunate coincidence" instead of "this is the opposite of what one would expect would happen in this situation."

But "no pun intended" is almost always used to mean "hey, I just made a pun, please note my pun; if you consider the thing I just said, there was some type of wordplay."

The phrase no pun intended is almost always used ironically.  It almost always means "pun intended."

3. That Dude Died A Week Ago



On my way to work this week, I saw a car with a Memorial Decal, you know, like you see.

The date of death was the end of August.  Not the very end, but in the high 20s.  That means it was about 3 weeks from the day the guy died to my seeing the decal on the car.  And it was a young death, someone in his twenties, so it wasn't like the way news organizations will have obits ready for people who might reasonably die

So - at what point did the owner of the car get that decal?  Driving home from the hospital?  It had to be a helluva quick turnaround time.  People grieve in their own way; the car decal just seems to me a curious choice to make in the immediate reaches of young death.

4. Incognito
Did you know there are a disproportionate number of people who marry others who share their first initials?

Did you know a disproportionate number of people get divorced in their fourth year of marriage?

The reasons for a number of decisions that seem, on an individual level, to be matters of choice (whether one commits a crime, ones career) actually are related to brain function.

I've become increasingly interested in neuroscience; a particularly accessible account of the way your internal hardware impacts your choices is David Eagleman's Incognito, which I read this week and would recommend.

I'd also recommend Zooey Deschanel's New Girl, which may have been the best of all the sitcoms from this week, and easily the best pilot I've seen so far this season.

And a couple of sports pieces, this oral history of the Leonard/Hagler fight; probably my favorite sporting event not featuring one of my teams (professional wrestling excluded for purposes of that discussion) and Joe Posnanski's look at Bill James, whose early 80s work was the crucial piece in the paradigmatic shift in understanding baseball about which the book and now film Moneyball is centered and Taylor Branch, explaining that college sports is a plantation.

I wrote this week.  My all time 45 Man NFL roster is here; this week's NFL picks (I've been rolling) are here; my college picks from Saturday were here; and the latest chapter in my wrestling Counterfactual is here.

5. The Goldilocks Fallacy



I had dinner with my mother and my Ladygal last night.  We each had hamburgers.

My Ladygal ordered hers medium well, the way she does; my mother medium rare.

I ordered third - so I picked medium.  I Goldilocksed the order.

Hard not to - now had I picked second or first, I may have made a different choice - but we have a drive to uncritical moderation that I'm going to call the Goldilocks Fallacy.  The next time you or someone you know is tempted to say "well, the right answer is somewhere in the middle" not based on evidence that the middle is the superior resting place for this particular argument - but instead on some magical power given to moderation - that's the Goldilocks Fallacy.

Some say global warming is real - but then I hear it's not.  Probably they're both lying a little bit.

Some say the way out of our economic condition is government spending to stimulate demand.  Others say we need austere measures which will spur job growth.  Probably the truth is somewhere in the middle.

That guy says 1+1=2, but that guy says it's 6.  I guess that means it's 4.

Goldilocks Fallacy.

6. Class Warfare
As perhaps you noted, Obama taking my "tax millionaires" proposal got him fired upon with charges of class warfare this week.

Bill O'Reilly said if his taxes went up - he might have to quit.

I assume that's a threat of some type.

If you can think of a single millionaire who would quit if his marginal income tax rate went from 35 to 39% who would actually be missed by society, you let me know.

Elizabeth Warren, hopefully the next US Senator from Massachusetts, responded here, talking about government the way i do with my students, even the ones with whom I share awkward handshakes.


You built a factory out there? Good for you. But I want to be clear. You moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for. You hired workers the rest of us paid to educate. You were safe in your factory because of police-forces and fire-forces that the rest of us paid for. You didn’t have to worry that marauding bands would come and seize everything at your factory — and hire someone to protect against this — because of the work the rest of us did.
“Now look, you built a factory and it turned into something terrific, or a great idea. God bless — keep a big hunk of it. But part of the underlying social contract is, you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along.”
Last week, in my discussion about the self professed libertarian ethos of Northwood University, I facetiously mentioned that I assume it doesn't accept student loans, given its belief that people rise and fall of their own merits, independent of government intrusion.  Like the school I work for, Northwood does not have a business absent those loans, the evidence for which is here.  That's always a point I look to draw in class, particularly when there's a discussion about drug testing those getting government assistance; college students are ready to drug test someone getting food stamps or even unemployment assistance.  They're less ready for a random drug test for someone getting a student loan.  And I'm guessing the future captains of industry educated at Northwood would be unlikely to support drug testing for defense contractors or professional sports owners who have taxpayer built arenas.  I wonder if the executives at Northwood, whose salaries and stock options depend on the flow of those federally guaranteed loan dollars, would support their own random drug tests.
The piece you should read this week about class warfare is here, by Richard Wolff.

Since the end of the Great Depression - and especially since the 1970s - the class warfare waged by business and its allies (most conservatives in both parties) was successful. For example, at the end of World War II, for every dollar Washington raised in taxes on individuals, it raised $1.50 in taxes on business profits. In contrast, today, for every dollar Washington gets in taxes on individuals, it gets 25 cents in taxes on business. Business and its allies successfully shifted most of its federal tax burden onto individuals.
Over the same period, the tax rates on the richest Americans fell from 91 percent in the 1950s and 1960s, and 70 percent in the 1970s to the current low rate of 35 percent. The richest Americans won that spectacular tax cut. Middle- and lower-income Americans won no such cuts, while paying a higher proportion of their income for Social Security that the rich were required to do.
In plain English, the last 50 years saw a massive shift of the burden of federal taxation from business to individuals and from rich individuals to everyone else. Class war policies, yes, but a war that victimized the vast majority of working Americans.

7. If You Cut Taxes, Will Unemployment Fall?
No.  From Colbert:
And taking a broader view.
In 1964, federal taxation as a share of the economy stood at 17.5 percent, while unemployment was at 5.2 percent.


Tax levels rose sharply, to 19.7 percent of the economy in 1969, while unemployment fell steadily, to 3.5 percent.


In 1981, President Ronald Reagan again slashed taxes. Taxation fell from 19.6 percent of the economy that year to 17.4 percent in 1983. The unemployment rate, however, rose over that period, from 7.6 percent to 9.6 percent. By 1989, taxation had drifted upward again, to 18.3 percent of the economy, but unemployment had fallen to 5.3 percent.


When President Bill Clinton raised taxes in 1993, the unemployment rate dropped, from 6.9 to 6.1 percent, and kept falling each of the next seven years. When President Bush cut taxes in 2001, the unemployment rate rose, from 4.7 to 5.8 percent.


Stop listening to right ring math.  They think 1+1=6.

8. The Best Moment From the Emmy Awards





9. Eliminated.


Here is, not ironically as the productive end of my team's season often arrives right around this time of the year, the headline I woke up to the morning of my 41st birthday:


             For Giants, season hits its darkest moment


Don't listen when they tell you it was injuries.  It was roster construction.  We got career years from Torres and Huff last season at leadoff and cleanup and pretended they'd happen again.  They didn't and we kept running them (especially Huff) out long after it was clear they were who they were.

Our World Series win was terrific.  But it's a fluke.  Our way of thinking of roster construction is as pre-Moneyball as one will find in MLB, and we have failed (not just didn't win the World Series, but failed) far more often than not under that strategy.  If the trade is we won the World Series and are now stuck picking up each season's version of Orlando Cabrera based on what he did 8 years before - I guess that's the trade, but if I were in the ownership group, 2011 would be the last season for Sabean and Bochy.

10. Thanks.
 

That's all for this time.  I'll be back next time.  If there is a next time...

Your pal,

Jim

2011 College Football Picks, Week 4

Thursday, September 22, 2011

I had my first week just nudging over .500 in Week 3, but for the season remain 17-22-1

Michigan -10.5 SD St.(win)
Pitt +7.5 ND(win)
Georgia -9.5 Ole Miss(win)
Maryland -8.5 Temple(loss)
Ball St. +4 Army(win)
ECarolina -14 UAB(loss)
Ohio St. -16.5 Colorado St.(win)
VTech -20.5 Marshall(loss)
Oklahoma St. v. Texas A&M under 69.5(win)
Oregon v. Arizona under 65.5(loss)

6-4
23-26-1

I Pick Every NFL Game in 2011 - Week 3

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

I'm killing it.  Past performance is not necessarily predictive of future success.

Against the spread: 21-9-2.  Straight up: 22-10.

Bengals -3 Niners(loss/loss)
Bills +8.5 NE (NE wins)(win/loss)
Houston+4 NO (NO wins)(loss/win)
Browns -3 Miami(loss/win)
Titans -6.5 Denver(loss/win)
Minn +3.5 Det (Lions win)(win/win)
Jags +3.5 Panthers (Panthers win)(loss/win)
KC +14.5 SD (SD wins, that's my suicide pick)(win/win)
NYJ -3 Oak(loss/loss)
Ravens -4 StL(win/win)
Tampa -1.5 Atlanta(win/win)
Seattle +3.5 Arizona(win/win)
Bears +3.5 Packers (GB wins)(loss/win)
Steelers -10.5 Colts (loss/win)
NYG +7.5 Philly (Eagles win)(win/loss)
Wash +6.5 Dallas (Dallas wins) (win/win)

ATS: 8-8  29-17-2
SU: 12-4  34-14

All Time NFL 45 Man Roster

Monday, September 19, 2011

Part of a series.  Previous post is here.

QB Joe Montana
      Peyton Manning
      Dan Marino
RB - Emmitt Smith
RB- Walter Payton
        Jim Brown
        Barry Sanders
WR - Jerry Rice
WR-  Randy Moss
         Marvin Harrison
         Terrell Owens
TE-  Tony Gonzalez
        Shannon Sharpe
C Jim Otto
G Gene Upshaw
G John Hannah
T Anthony Munoz
T Ron Yary
   OL Mike Webster
   OL Bruce Matthews
   OL Art Shell

DE Reggie White
DT Joe Greene
DE Bruce Smith
      DL Alan Page
      DL Carl Eller
      DL Merlin Olsen
      DL Bob Lilly
OLB Lawrence Taylor
ILB Ray Lewis
ILB Jack Lambert
OLB Junior Seau
       LB Jack Ham
       LB Joe Schmidt
       LB Bill George
CB Rod Woodson
S Ronnie Lott
S Ed Reed
CB Deion Sanders
      DB Mel Blount
      DB Night Train Lane
      DB Darrell Green
      DB Ronde Barber
PK Morten Andersen
P Ray Guy

QB - There's a good case to be made for Manning, Marino, Elway, Favre, and Unitas all to be ranked first.  If you order those six really in any way I'm unlikely to throw punches.  That's probably not true when Manning retires; assuming an injury doesn't dramatically speed his decline, Peyton Manning retires as the greatest quarterback in NFL history. Edit: That's how you know I wrote this piece in the offseason.

RB - I don't know if there's a good case that the four backs aren't the four best backs of all time; there's a noticeable step down to get to the next group.  Among the starters, Brown/Sanders are the best ever per game, but I'll take the career value for Smith/Payton to make them the starters.

WR - Hard after Jerry, who should be first by acclamation. The Moss/Owens movement makes their value hard to sufficiently appreciate.  Berry/Irvin/Largent, all with just one team, are in the next group.

TE - Newsome/Gates/Winslow/Mackey might be the next 4 for an AFC dominated position.

OL - That is an AFC heavy line.  Tingelhoff/Slater could replace Webster/Shell were you inclined.

DL - If you do any sort of advanced metric NFL study, what you're always struck by is how good those Vikings teams were.  That the Minnesota Vikings, in existence now for 50 years, have never won a title is a statistical anomaly

OLB - The softest inclusion in that starting linebacker group is Lambert - I'm willing to say Ray Lewis is now the greatest linebacker of all time.  Singletary/Nitschke/Hendricks could all take that last backup spot.

DB - Seau and Woodson are probably the players of the most recent vintage whose inclusion at the very top of the all time list would most surprise.  And Barber - Ronde Barber=super underappreciated by a mass public.

I'd welcome debate.  It's a challenging roster to put together.  I'm trying not to rely on previous conceptions of who the best football players were.  I think the one guy here who I am insufficiently scrutinizing is Guy.

The Weekly Tendown September 11-17 2011

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Dear Internet:

One of the reasons I like this format is it serves as a marker of time; I like that, theoretically as long as the rivers of electricity flow, one could find this piece and know that the week of September 11-17, 2011 was the week where Scarlett Johansson's phone got hacked and Larry Merchant threatened Floyd Mayweather.  This is my gift to future generations of Tendown scholars.  No need to thank me.

Here's Tendown 94.

1. The Craziest, Most Fact Free Thing You'll Ever Hear a US Senator Say.
There was much wingnut from the Republicans this week, but the item that perhaps you missed came from Rand Paul.

                         The rich are getting richer, but the poor are getting richer even faster.

The right's easier to take when they tell the truth, as Paul's father Ron did at the debate.  If you're uninsured and die, that's sort of just how it goes.  That's right wing health care.  Society has winners and losers and often the losers just die.  You're more likely to die from poverty than homicide.

But the idea that a country that has 46 million people under the poverty line (the poverty line's like 10 grand in income for a single person, and 21 grand for a family of four; the next time you read some right winger say "hey, $250,000 bucks a year isn't that much money"; remember that the poverty line is 21 grand for a family of four) and in which the mass of Americans is falling a little bit further behind every quarter (other than the elderly, and the right is trying its hardest to add them to that statistic also) has a US Senator say the poor are getting rich is gobsmackingly stupid.


 I've sort of liked what we've called the "tea party" movement - because it sometimes allows the real right wing to show its reptilian face.  Tell me "I don't like the minimum wage because if no one is willing to pay you five bucks an hour for what you do, then that's just how life is".  I don't agree with you and I think you're a bad person, but you're not lying to me.  But don't tell me it would be better for poor people to do away with a wage floor.  Tell me "I don't like social security, if you made so little money in your life that you don't have enough saved when you are no longer in the work force, then that's just how life is."  Don't tell me it would be better for the elderly if we didn't have social security.  Don't tell me we have the best health care system in the world.  Tell me "if you're uninsured and can't afford to go to the doctor, then you die and that's how it is." You know, like Ron Paul's campaign manager.

I'm not on your side.  I dislike you.  I believe you are a bad person.

But you're not lying to me.

The left, I think, is honest (the left, not Democrats).  There is a tradeoff that each society makes; if we're going to have a safety net, the revenue for that has to be raised.  If you want health care for all, top notch public education, and an infrastructure that isn't in disrepair, that requires a high top marginal tax rate. There wouldn't be billionaires in the society that I'd advocate.  Strong protection for unions, living wage laws, significant penalties for environmental infractions and consumer fraud, and a court system widely open for plaintiffs will reduce corporate profits.

I prefer that society.  It strikes me it creates a higher quality of life for a greater quantity of people than the one we currently have and significantly greater than the one the right wing advocates.  If you'd prefer to advocate an "every man for himself" society consisting of tramps and billionaires, then okay.  These are not new debates.  They're fine to have.  I'm willing to say the society I prefer isn't as good for rich people as the one you prefer.  But don't tell me the one you prefer is actually better for the poor.  You can't be taken seriously.

2. Does Obama Read Tendown?
So - veteran Tendown readers - here's a quiz.

In two words, the economic proposal advocated by Jividen would be:

_____________        _________________________

The answer, as you've read multiple times in this space is "tax millionaires."  I generally do a poor job speaking in sound bites, not too many things I've ever said would make for a snappy bumper sticker, but were I running for office, that would be the core of my economic message.

Tomorrow, Obama's announcing the following sure to never pass tax proposal.

President Obama on Monday will call for a new minimum tax rate for individuals making more than $1 million a year to ensure that they pay at least the same percentage of their earnings as middle-income taxpayers, according to administration officials. 


You're welcome, America.

3. For Two More Weeks - The World Champion San Francisco Giants
There are 10 games left in the season at the time of this writing.  The Giants are 5 back.  The very most optimistic evaluation of our playoff chances is 3%.  But we have won 7 straight and sliced 4 and a half games off the lead since I waved the white flag two Sundays ago.  If we take another game off the lead today, then its worth a flicker of optimism.  For right now, that we fired our owner this week is the more significant story.

There are also, not coincidentally, 10 games left in the fantasy baseball season - right now, it looks like I'll win my NL only league to continue my championship streak.

In the offseason, you'll get a reworking of my Top 200 baseball players of all time, perhaps an extension of my look at the worst baseball players ever (I'm also considering a look at the worst presidents ever, the gimmick being each president would be on the list) and I'll plug this year's Giants season into my various all time Giants tracking posts.  Right now, for example, we are on pace for a .500 pythagorean season (a significant upgrade from our ranking most of the year, largely due to Beltran hitting almost .500 this month) that would place the 2011 team about the 30th best SFGiants team of all time.

4. What About Posts Already Written?
3 more posts in my look at the all time 45 man rosters for every NFL team; my week 2 NFL picks; my week 3 college football picks; and my Emmy Award picks; all went up this week.

5. This Week in Bachmann
Pick your favorite Michele Bachmann moment from the week:
A. Wall St. Reform is killing the banking industry.
B. The HPV vaccine causes retardation.
Or - a sneaky C.
C. Rick Perry mandated the vaccine be given in Texas because of crony capitalism.

If Michele Bachmann would like to open the door to her fellow Republicans passing legislation that serves their corporate masters, that would be a welcome discussion. For example, the hundreds of millions spent by the insurance industry to fight health care reform.

6. I Live On Tea Party Drive
There's a small stretch of Military Trail in West Palm Beach that you'd find largely unremarkable if you were to drive it.  It's a couple of minutes away from my job and its where my Ladygal used to live. The local Spearmint Rhino is there.  A Popeyes Chicken.  A big and tall clothing store.  And two schools.

Northwood University, which lists as its primary core value:


Core Values Statement

We believe in:
  • the advantages of an entrepreneurial, free-enterprise society.
And here's the "Northwood Idea"

We believe that competitive, productive effort can overcome obstacles, solve problems, and achieve goals; that human beings can make a difference in the world in which they live; that political and economic freedom are of paramount importance in releasing creativity and productivity; that sacrifice--savings--is a necessary prerequisite to progress; that equality of opportunity based on contribution and inequality of reward using the same criteria are not only appropriate, but the necessary conditions; in a system not forced into conformity with some master plan; that it is the differences among us that make us interesting and useful to each other; in the freedom to fail. We must be free to bear the positive and negative consequences of our actions; that in a competitive system, all who participate benefit from it; we dedicate ourselves to the elimination of artificial barriers to equal opportunity for all human beings....


We practice a healthy skepticism of large and powerful government because we think history has clearly demonstrated that such structures move rapidly from being of the people toward being over the people, and freedom is lost in the balance.

Does Ayn Rand have a college?  Yup.  It's on Military Trail in West Palm Beach.  I assume among those "artificial barriers" that should be eliminated are Social Security and the minimum wage.  After all, they are reducing one's "freedom" to die in poverty or without access to health care.

I'll assume, based on their "practice" of skepticism of government that Northwood accepts no federally guaranteed student loan money.

Almost exactly across the street a new private high school has just opened up - it's owned by one of the Koch Brothers.

From 9th grade to graduate school - a generation of right wingers can be raised, all without ever having to leave a couple of mile stretch of Military Trail in south Florida.

7. Will Anyone Try to Take Away Their Right to Vote
Northwood's professed skepticism to "large and powerful government" also must mean an opposition to the range of right wing legislation to suppress voter turnout.

Legislation, incidentally, partially funded by the Koch Brothers.


All told, a dozen states have approved new obstacles to voting. Kansas and Alabama now require would-be voters to provide proof of citizenship before registering. Florida and Texas made it harder for groups like the League of Women Voters to register new voters. Maine repealed Election Day voter registration, which had been on the books since 1973. Five states – Florida, Georgia, Ohio, Tennessee and West Virginia – cut short their early voting periods. Florida and Iowa barred all ex-felons from the polls, disenfranchising thousands of previously eligible voters. And six states controlled by Republican governors and legislatures – Alabama, Kansas, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin – will require voters to produce a government-issued ID before casting ballots. More than 10 percent of U.S. citizens lack such identification, and the numbers are even higher among constituencies that traditionally lean Democratic – including 18 percent of young voters and 25 percent of African-Americans.


Taken together, such measures could significantly dampen the Democratic turnout next year – perhaps enough to shift the outcome in favor of the GOP. "One of the most pervasive political movements going on outside Washington today is the disciplined, passionate, determined effort of Republican governors and legislators to keep most of you from voting next time," Bill Clinton told a group of student activists in July. "Why is all of this going on? This is not rocket science. They are trying to make the 2012 electorate look more like the 2010 electorate than the 2008 electorate" – a reference to the dominance of the Tea Party last year, compared to the millions of students and minorities who turned out for Obama. "There has never been in my lifetime, since we got rid of the poll tax and all the Jim Crow burdens on voting, the determined effort to limit the franchise that we see today."


You now need a valid photo ID to vote in Wisconsin; you can pay 28 dollars to get one at the DMV.

Or - you can get one there for free.  But official policy is to keep that a secret.


The Madison Capital Times today posts a memo from a Wisconsin Department of Transportation executive directing employees not to offer the ID for free:
While you should certainly help customers who come in asking for a free ID to check the appropriate box, you should refrain from offering the free version to customers who do not ask for it.

An employee at a state agency sent an email disdainful of this policy:

REMEMBER TO TELL ANYONE YOU KNOW!! ANYONE!! EVEN IF THEY DON'T NEED THE FREE ID, THEY MAY KNOW SOMEONE THAT DOES!! SO TELL EVERYONE YOU KNOW!!"

And he got fired.

Government can be tyrannical.  True story.  I assume the students at Northwood will be informed.

8. A Comparison You Knew Was Coming.
Rosa Parks = Joe Barry Carroll





The story is here.

The nexus between the 85'-86' Golden St. Warriors and civil rights activism doesn't end there.

Sleepy Floyd is currently a regional vice-chairman of Code Pink.  Lester the Molester Conner is the spokesperson for the National Council of La Raza, and, in a curious twist, Purvis Short was one of the four little girls murdered in the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in Birmingham in 1963.



9. Moratorium!
Don't ever again say that Madonna constantly "reinvents herself."

I can't take it anymore.  Madonna was once a young woman who dressed provocatively, sang pop songs, and banged Jose Canseco.  Now she is a skinny old lady.  That's how it goes.  Joe DiMaggio once had a 56 game hit streak.  Now he is dead. He did not reinvent himself.  He died.  Madonna will die too one day.  And in her obit, I guarantee you, will be some variation of "constantly reinvented herself".

They've been saying it for two decades.  It's time to stop.  Say anything else you want about Madonna.  Anything at all.  I will not complain.  But moratorium on her being "reinvented."

10. Toilet is Fixed!
View IMG00044.jpg in slide show

There are two toilets in my house.  But for the past few days, only one has worked.

Today, it was fixed.  It was fixed by someone who lives in my house who isn't me.

If you've seen my Ladygal, you know that she is considerably more attractive than I am.  You'd assume she'd be dating a hockey player.  Like Mike Modano for example.



But not only that - she knows how to fix a toilet.  Which, if you know me, you know I do not.  Anyone who has any encounter with me almost certainly is left with the marrow level understanding that I'm a guy who does not know how to fix a toilet.

Several years ago now, I was enrolled on a dating site.  My profile did not say "single white man seeks hockey player girlfriend quality woman who knows how to fix a toilet" but that, in fact, is what I wanted.

That's all for this time.  I'll be back next time, if there is a next time...

Your pal,

Jim

All Time AFC 45 Man Roster

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Part of a series.  Previous post is here.

QB Peyton Manning
      Dan Marino
      Johnny Unitas
RB Jim Brown
RB Ladainian Tomlinson
      Marcus Allen
      Thurman Thomas
WR Marvin Harrison
WR Ray Berry
       Tim Brown
       Andre Reed
TE Tony Gonzalez
      Shannon Sharpe
C Jim Otto
G Gene Upshaw
G John Hannah
T Anthony Munoz
T Art Shell
   OL Mike Webster
   OL Bruce Matthews
   OL Jim Parker

DE Bruce Smith
DT Joe Greene
DE Gino Marchetti
      DL Buck Buchanan
      DL Jason Taylor
      DL Howie Long
      DL LC Greenwood
OLB Junior Seau
ILB Ray Lewis
ILB Jack Lambert
OLB Jack Ham
      LB Ted Hendricks
      LB Bobby Bell
      LB Derrick Thomas
CB Rod Woodson
S Ed Reed
S Donnie Shell
CB Mel Blount
      DB Willie Brown
      DB Mike Haynes
      DB Ken Riley
      DB Johnny Robinson
PK Adam Vinatieri
P Ray Guy

2011 Emmy Award Predictions

Friday, September 16, 2011

I enjoy television.  I enjoy award shows.  Occasionally, I am successful in making predictions about the outcome of television award shows.

The Emmys are Sunday.

Drama: Mad Men
-That would be 4 straight, a significant number.  Boardwalk would be the only other possibility.  Mad Men should win; there is no Breaking Bad in the eligibility period, and there isn't another show in their neighborhood.

Actor: Hamm
-Hamm's never won, Cranston has a hammerlock on the award, but again, no Breaking Bad this year.  The only other possibility is Buscemi.  You may recall I hit both Boardwalk/Buscemi at the Globes.

Actress: Margulies
-She was supposed to win last year, but Sedgwick slipped in and grabbed it away; I'd really strongly prefer Moss, Britton or Enos.

Supporting: Slattery, Martindale
-Actor is a full jump ball; if either Goggins (my preference) or Cumming won, that would not surprise.  You'd take the field over Martindale, but not any of her competitors specifically.

Comedy: Modern Family
-I don't see a circumstance where it doesn't win; Top end 30 Rock remains all by itself qualitatively, Parks is probably the most consistently good week to week.

Actor: Carrell
-Like Hamm, Carrell's never won; like Hamm, he absolutely deserves to win.  There's not another contender.

Actress: Linney
-If you wanted a crazy long odd investment, take Plimpton.  My vote would be Poehler.

Supporting: Burrell/Lynch
-I did give you Stonestreet last year; this year it's Burrell who gets through.  Lynch is easy here.

Reality Comp: Top Chef
-Top Chef ended Race's run last year, I'll say it continues one of its own.  It would get my vote, I think, given that Survivor isn't nominated.

Variety Series: Daily Show
-A lock.

Movie: Mildred Pierce
Actor: Ramirez
Actress: Winslet
Supporting: Pearce/Wood

2011 College Football Picks, Week 3

I'm 9-15-1 thusfar.  But it's a scrappy 9-15-1.  15 games on the docket this week.  See if you can detect my sly strategy.

UConn -4 Iowa St.(loss)
CMichigan +7.5 WMichigan(loss)
WVirginia v. Maryland - Under 58(loss)
Clemson v. Auburn - Under 61(loss)
GTech -15 Kansas(win)
Florida -9.5 Tennessee(win)
Washington v. Nebraska - Under 55 (loss)
Northwestern -6 Army (loss)
Houston v. LA Tech - Under 70.5(win)
Idaho v. Texas A&M - Under 60.5(win)
Arizona St. v Illinois - Under 57 (win)
Arkansas v. Troy - Under 66.5(win)
Ohio St. +2.5 Miami(loss)
Stanford -9.5 Arizona(win)
Tulane +13.5 UAB (win)

8-7
17-22-1

I Pick Every NFL Game in 2011 - Week 2

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Last week's 10-5-1 ATS is here.  Straight Up was 10-6.

Saints -6.5 Bears (win/win)
Lions -9 Chiefs (win/win)
Jets -9 Jags (win/win)
Raiders +3.5 Bills (Bills win)(win/win)
Cards +4 Skins (win/loss)
Ravens -6 Titans(loss/loss)
Seattle +14.5 Steelers (Steelers win, that's my straight up suicide)(loss/win)
Panthers +10 GB (GB wins)(win/win)
Vikes -3 Bucs(loss/loss)
Browns -2.5 Colts(win/win)
Dallas -3 Niners (push/win)
Texans -3 Dolphins(win/win)
Patriots -7 SD(win/win)
Bengals +4 Broncos(Denver wins)(win/win)
Eagles -2.5 Falcons(loss/loss)
NYG -6 Rams (win/win)

Not for nothin', I'm killing it.
This week was 11-4-1 against the spread. I'm 21-9-2 ATS for the season. 
12-4 straight up, 22-10 for the season.

All Time AFC South 45 Man Roster

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Part of a series.  Previous post is here.

QB Peyton Manning
      Johnny Unitas
      Warren Moon
RB Edgerrin James
RB Lenny Moore
      Fred Taylor
      Eddie George
WR Marvin Harrison
WR Ray Berry
       Jimmy Smith
       Andre Johnson
TE John Mackey
     Dallas Clark
C Jeff Saturday
G Bruce Matthews
G Mike Munchak
T Jim Parker
T Tarik Glenn
   OL Brad Hopkins
   OL Tony Boselli
   OL Bob Vogel

DE Gino Marchetti
DT Ray Childress
DT Art Donovan
DE Elvin Bethea
      DL John Henderson
      DL Fred Miller
      DL Dwight Freeney
OLB Robert Brazille
MLB Mike Curtis
OLB Keith Bulluck
     LB Don Shinnick
     LB Duane Bickett
     LB Bill Pellington
     LB Al Smith
CB Bobby Boyd
S Jerry Logan
S Rick Volk
CB Eugene Daniel
      DB Rashean Mathis
      DB Cris Dishman
      DB Marcus Robertson
      DB Blaine Bishop
PK Mike Vanderjagt
P Craig Hentrich

All Time Oilers/Titans 53 Man Roster

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Part of a series.  Previous post is here. Updated through 2015 season.



QB Warren Moon
       Steve McNair
       Dan Pastorini
RB Eddie George
RB Earl Campbell
     Chris Johnson
     Lorenzo White
     Hoyle Granger
WR Drew Hill
WR Ken Burrough
       Ernest Givins
       Derrick Mason
       Haywood Jeffires
TE Frank Wycheck
      Alvin Reed
C Carl Mauck
G Bruce Matthews
G Mike Munchak
T Brad Hopkins
T Michael Roos
   OL Benji Olsen
   OL David Stewart
   OL Walt Suggs
   OL Ed Fisher
 

DE Elvin Bethea
DT Ray Childress
DL Jurrell Casey
DT Curley Culp
DE Jevon Kearse
     DL Pat Holmes
     DL Curley Culp
     DL Albert Haynesworth
     DL Don Floyd
     DL Kyle Vanden Bosch
OLB Robert Brazille
MLB Gregg Bingham
OLB Keith Bulluck
      LB Al Smith
      LB Eddie Robinson
     LB Ted Washington
     LB George Webster
     LB Doug Cline
     LB Joe Bowden
CB Cris Dishman
S Marcus Robertson
S Blaine Bishop
CB Zeke Moore
     DB Michael Griffin
     DB Mike Reinfeldt
     DB Samari Rolle
     DB Ken Houston
     DB Tony Banfield
PK Al Del Greco
P Jim Norton

All Time Houston Texans 53 Man Roster

Monday, September 12, 2011

Part of a series.  Previous post is here. Updated through end of 2016 season.



QB Matt Schaub
      David Carr
      Sage Rosenfels
RB Arian Foster
RB Steve Slaton
      Ron Dayne
      Ben Tate
WR Andre Johnson
WR DeAndre Hopkins
       Kevin Walter
       Jabar Gaffney
       Jacoby Jones
TE Owen Daniels
      TE Joel Dreessen
C Chris Myers
G Zach Wiegert
G Chester Pitts
T Duane Brown
T Eric Winston
   OL Zach Wiegert
   OL Steve McKinney
   OL Mike Brisiel
   OL Wade Smith
 
DE JJ Watt
DT Gary Walker
DE Mario Williams
      DE Antonio Smith
      DT Shaun Cody
      DL Seth Payne
      DL Amobi Okoye
      DL Connor Barwin
      DL Jared Crick
OLB Whitney Mercilus
ILB Brian Cushing
ILB DeMeco Ryans
OLB Jamie Sharper
     LB Brooks Reed
     LB Jay Foreman
     LB Kailee Wong
     LB Morlon Greenwood
     LB Zach Diles
CB Johnathan Joseph
S Marcus Coleman
S CC Brown
CB Kareem Jackson
     DB Dunta Robinson
     DB Aaron Glenn
     DB Glover Quin
     DB Danieal Manning
     DB Demarcus Faggin
PK Kris Brown
P Shane Lechler

The Weekly Tendown September 4-10 2011

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Dear Internet:

How long until there's a movement to replace Labor Day with Job Creator Day?

The right wing argument is what - when we cut taxes on corporations, they will create jobs.  Put more money in the hands of the job creators - and that will equal more jobs.


Or not.

There was a debate this week.  Here's what none of the Republican candidates for President said or would ever say about Labor Day.

Labor is prior to and independent of capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration.


They wouldn't say it because they don't believe it.  They wouldn't say it because to say it would get one labeled a radical, dangerous Marxist.  Obama's labeled a radical, dangerous Marxist, and he wouldn't say it.

Labor is the superior of capital.


What would Fox News have said about that this week?  Anti-American?  Not respectful of 9-11?  Not sufficiently deferential of the job creators who are the real heroes of the economy?  How they'd sneer on Fox&Friends had Obama begun his jobs speech by saying labor is the superior of capital.  They'd say never before in American history had we heard such destructive rhetoric designed to subvert the American economy.  Only someone with a deep seated hatred of the United States would say such a thing.

Labor is the superior of capital.


Do you know who said it?  The President who said it to Congress? The goddamn Marxist we put in the White House who said labor is the superior of capital?


Here's Tendown 93.

1. Hey, It's 9-11.  Time for the Airing of the Grievances.
My thoughts on the tenth anniversary of 9-11?  Here's Greenwald.


We are now enduring a parade of wistful, contemplative, self-regarding pundit-meditations on The Meaning of 9/11 Ten Years Later or, far worse, self-righteous moralizing screeds about the nature of "evil" from war zealots with oceans of blood on their unrepentant hands (if I could impose one media rule, it would be that following every column or TV segment featuring American political commentators dramatically unloading their Where-I-Was-on-9/11-and-how-I-felt tales, there would be similar recollections offered from parents in the Muslim world talking about how their children died from the pre-9/11 acts of the U.S. and its client states or from post-9/11 American bombs, drones, checkpoint shootings and night raids:  just for the sake of "balance," which media outlets claim to crave).  Notwithstanding this somber, collective 9/11 anniversary ritual descending upon us, the reality is that the nation's political and media elite learned no lessons from that attack. 
The mere utterance of the word Terrorism (which now means little more than: violence or extremism by Muslims in opposition to American or Israeli actions and interests) is -- at least for America's political and media class -- as potent in justifying wars, civil liberties assaults, and massive military spending as it was in the immediate aftermath of 9/11.  And worship of the American military and all that it does -- and a corresponding taboo on speaking ill of it except for tactical critiques (it would be better if they purchased this other weapon system or fought this war a bit differently) -- is the closest thing America has to a national religion.
2. The Other 9-11.
And here's Chomsky

Suppose, for example, that the attack had gone as far as bombing the White House, killing the president, imposing a brutal military dictatorship that killed thousands and tortured tens of thousands while establishing an international terror center that helped impose similar torture-and-terror states elsewhere and carried out an international assassination campaign; and as an extra fillip, brought in a team of economists -- call them “the Kandahar boys” -- who quickly drove the economy into one of the worst depressions in its history. That, plainly, would have been a lot worse than 9/11.
Unfortunately, it is not a thought experiment. It happened. The only inaccuracy in this brief account is that the numbers should be multiplied by 25 to yield per capita equivalents, the appropriate measure. I am, of course, referring to what in Latin America is often called “the first 9/11”: September 11, 1973, when the U.S. succeeded in its intensive efforts to overthrow the democratic government of Salvador Allende in Chile with a military coup that placed General Pinochet’s brutal regime in office. The goal, in the words of the Nixon administration, was to kill the “virus” that might encourage all those “foreigners [who] are out to screw us” to take over their own resources and in other ways to pursue an intolerable policy of independent development. In the background was the conclusion of the National Security Council that, if the US could not control Latin America, it could not expect “to achieve a successful order elsewhere in the world.”
3. There's Someone Whose Name Was Missing Today

Back in 2004, had you thought about the NFL opening its season on 9-11-11, you would have bet your 401K (back when you still had one) that it would include a league wide tribute to Pat Tillman, at least a patch worn by every player in the league.

Not so much.  Here's Zirin.

In all the scurrying to make sure “9/11 NFL Sunday” is a day to remember, one name is strikingly absent from the press release trumpeting the day’s events: Pat Tillman. After 9/11, Tillman took the extraordinary step of leaving the NFL to join the Army Rangers. His experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan pushed him to question the official rational for the “Global War on Terror.” He read antiwar authors. He told friends that he felt the war in Iraq was “f—in’ illegal.” Then he died at the hands of his fellow Rangers in an instance of what was deemed “friendly fire.” The Pentagon and the Bush administration hid this reality from Pat Tillman’s family. The NFL, for its part, inaugurated a USO center at Bagram Airfield in Pat Tillman’s name without hinting at the complicated realities of either Tillman’s service or his betrayal at the hands of those he trusted. The NFL’s failure to highlight Tillman in this Sunday’s 9/11 tributes is in some ways a relief, but it also reads like an act of cowardice. His story is a polarizing one that Roger Goodell wants to avoid on this day of “unity.”

4. We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more than 8,000 people.
That's Ike from 1953.  He, in a way that American Presidents subsequent have been afraid to do, put the cost of military spending in terms of opportunities lost.  In an America where we now say we need to pay for hurricane relief by cutting safety net programs, that's probably an overdue conversation.  

Here's the opportunity cost of the last decade of American war.


– Provide 63.3 Million Scholarships For University Students Every Year For Ten Years
– Give 58.9 Million Children Low-Income Health Care Every Year For Ten Years
– Give 23.6 Million People Access To Low-Income Healthcare Every Year For Ten Years
– Provide 20.68 Million Students With Pell Grants Worth $5,500 Every Year For Ten Years
– Provide 15.12 Million Head Start Slots For Children Every Year For Ten Years
– Provide Veterans Administration Care For 14.7 Million Military Veterans Every Year For Ten Years
– Hire 2.01 Million Firefighters Every Year For Ten Years
– Hire 1.76 Million Elementary School Teachers Every Year For Ten Years
– Hire 1.73 Million Police Officers Every Year For Ten Years
– Retrofit 69.4 Million Households For Wind Power Every Year For Ten Years
– Retrofit 26 Million Households For Solar Photovoltaic Energy Every Year For Ten Years

5. 10 Years Ago, Bill O'Reilly Said This:





Okay, that's not what he said.  But he did say this:

Remember, the people of any country are ultimately responsible for the government they have.

He was talking about why we should go start bombing Middle Eastern countries.  But as a principle, it's a curious analysis for a conservative to make about 9-11.  

And 10 years ago, Robert McFarlane said this.

"Our principled defense of individual freedom and our reluctance to intervene in the affairs of states harboring terrorists makes us an easy target"


That's Robert McFarlane.  The guy who sold weapons to Iran.  Our reluctance to intervene in the affairs of states harboring terrorists.  Gotta admire the balls on that dude.    

6. And one more.  The American Public Weighs In.

We like Muslims less in September of 2011 than we did in October of 2001.  The power of years of right wing drumbeat in evidence:

In October 2001, just weeks after the 9/11 attacks, an ABC News poll showed that a plurality of Americans (47%) had a favorable opinion of Islam, while 39% had an unfavorable response. Over the subsequent years, when the same question was asked, the favorable number declined. In the current poll, only a third (33%) had a generally favorable opinion, while six in ten had an unfavorable 
opinion.

And half of us still think Iraq was somehow involved in 9-11 and really did have WMD:

Support for the decision to go to war is highly correlated with beliefs held by substantial and undiminishing minorities that Iraq was providing support to al Qaeda (46%) and either had a WMD program or actual WMDs (47%).


What did O'Reilly say?  We are ultimately responsible for the government we have.  

7. The Difference Between Social Security and a Ponzi Scheme
In a second, I'll recap my posting week like I do - I've posted something every day in run up to the beginning of the NFL season.

Shorthand - I want the Niners to go 0-16.  The shortest distance between us and a Super Bowl is Andrew Luck.

Why mention that here?  

Because I'd like you play Counterfactual 2008 with me.

Had McCain won - is the leading Republican contender for the Presidency calling Social Security a ponzi scheme?

And would the Democrats say that Social Security is on the table?

Standard Democratic argument as to why you should vote for them is based on practicality - we're not as bad as they are, these are the two choices, do what's smart.

I don't know if, metaphorically speaking, there's a Super Bowl coming for American progressives.  But I'm not sure the shortest distance to it isn't a Rick Perry Presidency.  And that's as close to 0-16 as we are going to come.

Anyway, here's the difference between Social Security and a Ponzi scheme:

And there's this.



  • Nine out of ten individuals age 65 and older receive Social Security benefits.







  • Social Security benefits represent about 41% of the income of the elderly.







  • Among elderly Social Security beneficiaries, 54% of married couples and 73% of unmarried persons receive 50% or more of their income from Social Security.







  • Among elderly Social Security beneficiaries, 22% of married couples and about 43% of unmarried persons rely on Social Security for 90% or more of their income.







  • About 91 percent of workers age 21-64 in covered employment in 2009 and their families have protection in the event of a long-term disability.











  • Just over 1 in 4 of today’s 20 year-olds will become disabled before reaching age 67.










  • 67% of the private sector workforce has no long-term disability insurance











  • About one in eight of today’s 20 year-olds will die before reaching age 67.





  • About 97% of persons aged 20-49 who worked in covered employment in 2009 have survivors insurance protection for their young children and the surviving spouse caring for the children.










  • An estimated 157 million workers, 94% of all workers, are covered under Social Security.





    • 50% of the workforce has no private pension coverage.
    • 31% of the workforce has no savings set aside specifically for retirement.
    Or, I mean, it's a ponzi scheme.  One or the other.  

    8. Did We Turn Down a Deal for Roy Halladay?


    As it turns out, yes.  The Jays offered the Giants Halladay for 3 pitching prospects, all of whom washed out, in 2003.

    And why is Jeremy Affeldt out for the season?

    He sliced open his hand making hamburgers.

    World Champion Giants?  Yeah, I don't know anything about that.  This stuff.  This is the kind of stuff that makes perfect sense to me.

    If you missed any of them - I wrote every day this week.  My fantasy football top 100 is here. My list of the 100 best players in the NFL is here.  My predictions for the 2011 season are here.  Note that they came out when Peyton Manning was supposed to only miss the first couple of games of the season.  I, however, wrote the following:

    -If you can find a book taking Colts action, look to play the under. Let me be the first person to offer the following "Remember how the Spurs got Duncan" scenario.  Manning misses the season.  The Colts go 3-13 and get the top pick.  I've already written the sign "If the Colts Get Luck, We Riot."

    My Week One picks are here. My unsuccessful attempt to pick college football games was here. And I resumed my look at each NFL franchise's all time roster, which will continue this coming week, here.

    9. She Used to Bang Test


    Stacy Keibler used to date Ric Flair's kid David.  Now, Clooney. Clearly, she won the breakup.  Leaving a locker room filled with Jannettys and giving hopes to Kelly Kellys everywhere.

    I watched 10 four star matches this week.  Some of which you can find at my 2011 Match of the Year post here.


    Ricochet/Generico v Strong/Shelley  4 stars July PWG 
    Yuji v. Suwama 4 ¾ All Japan June
    Ibushi v Taguchi 4 ½ New Japan June
    Yuji v Tanahashi 4 New Japan June
    Go v Akiyama 4 ¾ NOAH August
    Go v. Suguira 5 stars NOAH July
    Kotaro/Aoki v. Kenta/Kanemaru NOAH July 4 1/2
    Kotaro/Aoki v. Kenta/Kanemaru NOAH August 4 3/4
    Davey v. Edwards ROH June 4 3/4 
    Kotaro v. Kanemaru July NOAH 4

    10. My Advice to Adam.  Big Brother Spoiler Alert


    If you either (1) don't care about Big Brother (US version) or (2) do care about Big Brother and don't want the results of the second leg of the final HOH competition (it took place yesterday, the next CBS broadcast is Wednesday's finale) I have nothing else for you this week.  

    So - if anyone's left.

    Spoiler alert...

    .....

    .....

    .....

    Okay.  

    Porsche won the second leg; so she and Rachel head to the third leg - and it looks like they would each take the other to the final two regardless of which wins that leg.  Meaning - Adam would be out.

    He recognizes this.

    So - to Adam, who I call Big Brother Louis CK, I offer the following advice.

    Approach the two women differently.

    1. Porsche needs to be strong armed.  It requires that you reduce the chance of being friendly with her post-show, but you want to squeeze Porsche until she pops.  

    If Porsche takes Rachel - she cannot win.  Not, "gosh, I'm the deciding vote, it's gonna be tough."

    But "if you and Rachel are sitting in the final two, you will lose."

    Because you tell her that, obviously, Rachel has Brendon/Jeff/Jordan in her pocket - meaning she just needs one more to guarantee a win.  And you aren't undecided about your vote - you are going to vote for Rachel.  You need to promise Porsche that you will vote for Rachel to win that money.  Your mind is made up - she has played a better game.

    So - Porsche can sit next to Rachel and absolutely, 100% guarantee she loses the game - or she can sit next to you, able to argue to the jury that she beat you and Rachel head to head in the final HOH, and take her shot.

    That's her choice.  

    2. Rachel needs to be flattered.  You started down this road last night, saying if you got to the final two you''d tell the jury you don't deserve to win.  That's a good start.  Rachel can count the jury votes as well as you - what you need to do is tell her there's something even bigger than winning the game in front of her  - it's being acclaimed as maybe the greatest player in BB history.

    You tell Rachel that you will make her argument to the jury for her - in fact, you should be writing it now to give it to her Monday.  Tell her that if Porsche is sitting next to her, she risks losing - Porsche has two guaranteed votes, a real possibility of a third with Shelly, and maybe a 4th with you.

    But next to you - she wins 7-0.  You will tell that group they are not real BB players if they pick you.  They would be dishonoring the game by picking you.  They need to put their personal feelings aside - and this is where you remind Rachel that there are 3 people in that jury who really, really, dislike her in a way that might cause them to vote for Porsche over her - and do what's good for the game.

    You tell Rachel that your speech to the jury will get Dani to vote to give Rachel half a million dollars.

    She can take Porsche and take her chances.  Or - she can take you and possibly leave Wednesday as the greatest BB player who ever lived.

    That's it.

    I'm not of the mind that Adam's played a bad game - BB is a really hard game to win, Evil Dick's game won, but so did Jordan's.  Adam's a floater and that worked for him.  Rachel's Rachel and that worked for her.  When Kalia hectored Adam "make a big move" - she was wrong.  He didn't need to make a big move then.

    But now - now he can't be go with the current nice guy who watches 90210 Adam.  He needs to pressure Porsche and absolutely flat lie to Rachel.  His one argument to make to the jury is that he was able to talk his way into the final two.  If he can maneuver his way into one of those seats - and then reveal, completely, how he did it - that he made one of these two arguments and somehow, it worked, then maybe he slips into the money.

    I'd guess he won't.  I'd guess its Rachel and Porsche and Rachel wins - and that's an unsatisfying, but fair result.  I'd vote for her too.  

    But there's a path for Adam.  A twisty path, but one nonetheless.

    That's all for this time.  I'll be back next time.  If there is a next time...

    Your pal,

    Jim

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