Sunday, April 29, 2012
I didn't have AJ Jenkins in my Top 100. If he has a better NFL career than Coby Fleener I invite Trent Baalke to criticize me in the most embarrassing of fashion. But to my eye, this pick was error.
I was cool with the Oregon back in the second. I was cool with trading out of the third.
That's where the draft ended for me; I had a pretty intense out of town job interview that resulted in my going full draft blackout until Saturday, when I watched the first three rounds. Right after I finish this, I watch 4-7. I didn't even get to put up my NBA Playoffs prediction post before the games started, but my boldest pick was a devastating knee injury to Derrick Rose. Someone will let me know how that turns out.
124 is here. This is Tendown 125
1. Take Tuesday Off
Tuesday is May 1; the Occupy movement is having a general strike. You can go here to see links to various activities planned across the country. We don't have strikes anymore. This is from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
One of the reasons the corporate class keeps draining money from education and social services and fights so desperately to keep health care from being treated as a public good is that it maintains our dependency on our jobs - and one of the consequences of a host of decisions enlarging corporate control over our lives (like permitting random drug and lie detector tests, for example) is we believe in the all powerful nature of our bosses. We do what we're told. We are employed at-will, without pensions, for increased hours at flatlined wages, and are fed a constant diet that any action that might minimize the impact of that all pervasive, all powerful corporate control over our lives is fundamentally anti-American. You cannot live in the United States in the 21st century without being slapped in the face by the truth - every single message by the right wing serves the end of the plutocracy. Conservatism is an ideology whose function is to make your life worse. That seems excessive, it is not. The older I get, the more of the world I'm exposed to, the uglier - the more duplicitous, the more authoritarian, the more vicious, the more nakedly designed to pick your pocket I recognize conservatives to be. I do not view the right with good humor. They lie to you from cradle to grave.
2. Religious Offender Registry
I don't have any interest in how many sex offenders live in my neighborhood.
But - the next place to which I move, I'd really like some listing of how many of my neighbors are likely to come to my door to attempt to engage with me in some discussion about Jesus. I also have a neighbor with a flagpole, up which he hoists both a New York Giants and a Philadelphia Eagles flag, usually depending upon which of them won that week. This is offensive to me and I don't want to live near people like that.
3. 20 Years Ago Next Month...Er, Two Months Ago.
For the past couple of months, periodically its popped into my head that I was coming up on having graduated from college 20 years ago. I haven't had a lot of time to bathe in how old that makes me, but whenever I've considered it I've very quickly shuddered at how May, 2012 was just around the corner.
Except, here's the thing. I graduated a term early, in February of 1992. Meaning more than 20 years ago. It came and went and I missed it. I will not, however, miss turning 500 months old, which is now only a few weeks away.
4. 10 Television Shows Canceled After One Episode
I watched Quarterlife.
5. The Economic Recovery
Did you know the economy had recovered?
It's true. And 93% of the gains have been captured by the top 1%
6. Voter Suppression
The right has spent the past couple of years passing laws to limit voting.
-8 states passed voter ID laws in 2011. One in 4 African-Americans do not have government issued photo ID.
-5 states passed laws to reduce early or absentee voting, African-Americans disproportionately take advantage of early and absentee voting.
-6 states passed laws to restrict voter registration drives; African-Americans are twice as likely to register to vote through registration drives as white voters.
-Of the five states with the highest rate of voter turnout in 2008 - all of them introduced legislation to make it harder to vote.
That's the right wing.
7. Wage Theft.
60% of low wage employees are ripped off every week - by their employers.
8. The Piece You Have to Read This Week.
From the Atlantic - about the military industrial complex.
9. What Do You Suppose is the "One Mission in Life" for Liberals?
Apparently, to abort children. I'd better get to work.
10. Don Draper=Howard Johnson's
You know, not a destination, but a tacky stop you make on the way to a destination.
We walked into 1966 wondering how long Don would keep Megan around, after this week, it's clear it's the other way around.
And watch Girls - its second episode was outrageously good.
That's all for this time. I'll be back next time. If there is a next time....
Wednesday, April 25, 2012
That's all I got. Enjoy the draft.
Tuesday, April 24, 2012
That was my list - here's the NFL Network's list.
10. Cam Newton (That's stupid.)
9. Marcus Allen
8. Earl Campbell (behind both Walkers, Herschel and Doak, of guys not making my list).
7. Tim Tebow (I assume Jason White is number 6. Plunkett's not going to make their list.)
6. Tony Dorsett
5. Charles Woodson
4. Paul Hornung
3. OJ Simpson
2. Roger Staubach
1. Barry Sanders
Monday, April 23, 2012
Runners-up: Bubba Watson, Matt Kemp, Philip Humber
That's four months down.
4 months down. 8 to go. Who will be 2012 Athlete of the Year?
Sunday, April 22, 2012
There's room to raise some revenue.
Tendown 123 is here. This is 124.
1. We're going to do a little Giants Talk today.
We've been on the SI cover 11 times. Which, since we had the two best players in the history of the National League and hold both the single season and career home run records doesn't seem like a lot. Here are all of them.
I like our club; 1-4 looks like it can hit; when we release Huff and put Belt in the lineup every day hitting 5th, that will further extend the lineup. If we get a platoon partner for Nate, that further extends the lineup. And our pitching staff looks competitive with any in the league. This week, Matt Cain threw two 9 inning starts and allowed 4 baserunners total. No pitcher had done that since Woody Fryman in '66.
3. On the Other Hand.
Last year, our ace allowed 8 first inning runs all season. This year - 9.
Here's Rob Neyer, sounding the alarm about Lincecum.
4. Thanks, Brian.
Like Beck and Nen before him, it sort of looks like Brian Wilson closed games until his arm fell off.
Here's a tribute.
In case you haven't seen it in awhile.
6. And now, some politics.
The most conservative Supreme Court in history? It's our current Court. And more here.
7. 70% of Americans are Communists.
The plan to tax millionaires favored by me and 70% of the rest of the country didn't survive a Republican filibuster this week. Robert Reich's support for the plan got him called a communist by O'Reilly.
8. From Inside the NRA Convention:
The full piece is here.
And there was a professional Second Amendment extremist named Stephen Burke. An Endowment Life Member of the NRA and an attorney from Springfield, Massachusetts, Burke specializes in getting guns into the hands of ex-cons whose licenses have been revoked or downgraded for criminal activity.
Burke is a loud and boastful retired lance corporal who displays a photo of himself with NRA Executive Vice President & CEO Wayne LaPierre on his professional website. The only thing he abhors more than gun control is silence. When a conversation about former New York Governor George Pataki's pro-gun record entered a lull, he asked the group what sounded like an American history riddle or piece of trivia: "What do Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy, and Barack Obama have in common?"
The collective intelligence of the minibus was stumped. After a few beats, he delivered the answer: "Nothing. Yet."
9. I Watch Graps.
I'm all the way up to Wrestlemania weekend in getting through the graps backlog. I'll watch both ROH and DGUSA shows next. Here are the 4 star matches I saw this week:
TNA: April: Kurt Angle v. Jeff Hardy 4
That NOAH match goes into the Match of the Year race; in fact, it's the best match I've seen this year. Yes, that's Super Crazy in 2012. And he killed it.
10. 10 More Years Added to His Sentence.
I don't think Mel Gibson's getting out of celebrity jail any time soon.
That's all for this time. I'll be back next time. If there is a next time...
Friday, April 20, 2012
I've been crunching away on draft prep for a couple of weeks. Here's my board. I'll insert breaks to suggest tiers.
1. Andrew Luck QB
2. Trent Richardson RB
3. Robert Griffin III QB
4. Matt Kalil T
5. Morris Claiborne CB
6. David DeCastro G
7 Justin Blackmon WR
8. Luke Kuechly ILB
9. Melvin Ingram DE
10. Michael Brockers DT
11. Quinton Coples DE
12. Coby Fleener TE
13. Dre Kirkpatrick CB
14. Fletcher Cox DT
15. Mark Barron S
16. Riley Reiff T
17. Michael Floyd WR
18. Cordy Glenn G
19. Ryan Tannehill QB
20. Courtney Upshaw DE
21. Dont'a Hightower ILB
22. Dontari Poe DT
23. Stephon Gilmore CB
24. Kendall Wright WR
25. Nick Perry DE
26. Jonathan Martin T
27. Peter Konz C
28. Whitney Mercilus DE
29. Shea McClellin OLB
30. Andre Branch DE
31. Jerel Worthy DT
32. Janoris Jenkins CB
33. Mike Adams T
34. Demario Davis OLB
35. Stephen Hill WR
36. Harrison Smith S
37. Amini Silatolu G
38. Chandler Jones DE
39. Kendall Reyes DT
40. Rueben Randle WR
41. Kevin Zeitler G
42. Dwayne Allen TE
43. Devon Still DT
44. Lamar Miller RB
45. Brandon Thompson DT
46. Brandon Weeden QB
47. Jeff Allen T
48. Ronnell Lewis OLB
49. Zach Brown OLB
50. Mychal Kendricks OLB
51. Vinny Curry DE
52. Alameda Ta'Amu DT
53. Doug Martin RB
54. David Wilson RB
55. Alshon Jeffery WR
56. Jared Crick DT
57. Bobby Massie T
58. Josh Robinson CB
59. Brock Osweiler QB
60. Orson Charles TE
61. Brandon Brooks G
62. Trumaine Johnson CB
63. Brian Quick WR
64. Brandon Boykin CB
65. LaMichael James RB
66. Mitchell Schwartz T
67. Kirk Cousins QB
68. Chris Polk RB
69. Nick Foles QB
70. Kelechi Osemele T
71. Zebrie Sanders T
72. Alonzo Dennard CB(until last night when he got arrested for a fight with a cop)
73. Isaiah Pead RB
74. Joe Adams WR
75. Jayron Hosley CB
76. Billy Winn DT
77. Tyrone Crawford DE
78. Josh Norman CB
79. George Iloka S
80. Sean Spence OLB
81. Antonio Allen S
82. Bruce Irvin OLB
83. Ben Jones C
84. Nigel Bradham OLB
85. Brandon Taylor S
86. Demario Davis OLB
87. Chase Minnifield CB
88. Jamell Fleming CB
89. Ryan Broyles WR
90. Juron Criner WR
91. Lucas Nix G
92. Casey Hayward CB
93. Olivier Vernon DE
94. Bernard Pierce RB
95. Nick Toon WR
96. Marvin McNutt WR
97. Cam Johnson DE
98. Mike Martin DT
99. Jarius Wright WR
100. Terrell Manning OLB
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
NFL Network is about to begin its countdown of the hundred best players in the league for the upcoming season; I added my own list a year ago, but didn't rank them, instead just listing the top 100.
Largely, I'm doing the same here, cross-position ranking in super hard, so the only delineation I'm making is between upper 50 and lower 50. Between now and September, it's likely I make some changes, and once the NFL Network list is announced, I'll add it below.(The NFL Network Countdown is underway, if you want those numbers they're at the bottom of the post)
The only weird, largely unwarranted thing I do here is have a member of each team in the top hundred.
So - here, unranked, is my bottom 50.
And here - my 50 Best Players in the NFL, 2012:
#100 Chris Johnson(in my bottom 50, I'd have him a little higher)
#99 Ryan Kalil (in my top 50, so I'd have him solidly higher)
#98 Willis McGahee (my list is intentionally light on backs, McGahee had a helluva year and would be close to my top 100, say top 125)
#97 Donald Penn (I like Penn, he was on my list until the final edit, I have my guy Staley on the list instead, but I'd get a switch)
#96 D'Quell Jackson (in my bottom 50)
#95 Tim Tebow (here comes the run of backup quarterbacks with career completion percentages under 50%)
#94 Marshawn Lynch (like McGahee, a really good 2011 would, for me, place Lynch in the top 125 for 2012, but not the top 100)
#93 Courtland Finnegan(like Penn, one of my very, very last cuts, if you think that Woodson's age or Hall's injury should kick him from the list, a Finnegan replacement wouldn't bother me)
#92 John Kuhn (uh, no, it would be like picking a kicker)
#91 Tony Romo (sure, in my bottom 50, I'd have him higher than this)
#90 Hakeem Nicks (and this is right about where I'd have him, maybe in the bottom ten slots)
#89 Dwight Freeney(no higher than this; Freeney made my list because I wanted a player from every team, but right now he'd be right at the bottom of the top 100 if that)
#88 Michael Turner(he's just barely in my top 100, he really made it at the end when I decided I didn't have enough backs)
#87 London Fletcher (absolutely, if anything, he's a little low)
#86 Darren Sproles (on my list and right about here makes sense)
#85 Navorro Bowman (in my top 50, so I'd have him solidly higher; he might have been the best linebacker in football last year)
#84 Chris Long( I went back and forth between he and Road Warrior Animal's kid, finally choosing the linebacker, but I could see it going the other way)
#83 Fred Jackson (I'd have him right about here)
#82 Joe Thomas (I'd have him a tick lower, but like Jackson, he's in my bottom 50)
#81 Vince Wilfork (in my bottom fifty, I'd have him maybe a tick higher)
#80 Jordy Nelson (in my bottom fifty, this is good)
#79 Nnamdi Asomugha (in my bottom 50, this is good)
#78 Derrick Johnson (in my top 50, so I'd have him higher; maybe in the 30s)
#77 AJ Green (in my bottom 50, this is a little high)
#76 Carl Nicks (in my top 50, I'd have him right around DJohnson)
#75 Jason Witten (I had my guy VD in this spot, it is 2012 after all, but I wouldn't stand on the table in protest, although this is too high)
#74 Joe Flacco (in my bottom 50, this is a little high, I might flip he and Romo)
#73 Johnathan Joseph (in my top 50)
#72 Lance Briggs (in my bottom 50, this makes sense)
#71 DeSean Jackson (nope; I have Victor Cruz in my bottom 50 instead)
#70 Michael Vick(in my top 50)
#69 Carlos Rogers (in my bottom 50, I'd have him lower than this until demonstrating he's not a one year wonder)
#68 Elvis Dumervill (in my bottom 50, this is about right)
#67 Joe Staley (this is the 49er section apparently; I have him in the bottom fifty, but he'd be lower on my list)
#66 Earl Thomas(in my top 50, I'd bump him up about 20 slots)
#65 Roddy White (wasn't on my list but should have been, just an oversight and now I'm editing him in)
#64 Logan Mankins(in my bottom 50, this makes sense)
#63 Lamar Woodley (did not make my list - unlike White it wasnt an oversight, but it was an error in judgment, he should be in ahead of David Harris and I'll make that change)
#62 Justin Tuck (in my top 50, he'd be 20 spots higher on my list)
#61 Phillip Rivers (in my top 50, he'd be 25 spots higher on my list)
#60 Darren McFadden (not on my list; health is a skill)
#59 Jake Long (in my bottom 50, he'd be lower on my list than this)
#58 Jonathan Vilma (not on my list, their poll clearly done before the suspension)
#57 Trent Cole (not on my list, he'd be right on the outside for me)
#56 Greg Jennings (in my top 50, he'd be just on the other side of the 50 line)
#55 Patrick Peterson (in my top 50, he'd be in my top 20, if its a year from now and he does 2011 again, he's in my top ten)
#54 Brian Cushing (in my top 50, he'd be just on the other side of the line)
#53 Tony Gonzalez (the greatest TE ever and he's a reasonable choice, but he's not on my list because he's a million years old)
#52 Von Miller (in my top 50, he'd be about ten spots higher)
#51 Brian Urlacher (in my bottom 50, he'd be about 30 spots lower at this point in his career for me)
#50 Peyton Manning (in my bottom 50, just super hard to evaluate, for obvious reasons; I might put him at #51)
#49 Maurkice Pouncey (in my bottom 50, he's be 40 spots lower on my list)
#48 Devin Hester (not on my list, not that close)
#47 Mike Wallace (in my bottom 50, he'd be 30 spots lower)
#46 Champ Bailey (not on my list, he turns 34 this year, like Tony Gonzalez I don't think he's a top 100 player anymore in 2012)
#45 Vonta Leach (no, no specialists, no - it's the top 100 football players in the league)
#44 Jason Babin (in my top 50, here makes sense, but I might like him a tick higher)
#43 Vernon Davis (in my bottom 50, he'd be 40 spots lower)
#42 Jason Peters (my list was post injury, so he's not there)
#41 Matthew Stafford (in my top 50, he wouldn't be higher than this)
#40 Cam Newton (in my top 50, I'd have him right at 50)
#39 Victor Cruz (in my bottom 50, the players are a little bit captive to one year wonders; I thought I was overly weighing them)
#38 Ndamukong Suh (didn't make my list on the final edit, he's a little more noise than production)
#37 Stephen Jackson (in my top 50, he'd be lower than this)
#36 Charles Woodson(in my bottom 50, he's 36 this year, but he has been great as a Packer, the best half dozen years of his career have been his first three and his last three)
#35 Steve Smith(in my top 50, he'd be lower than this)
#34 Tamba Hali(in my bottom 50)
#33 Matt Forte(not on my list - you know who else's list Forte wouldn't be on? The Bears)
#32 Jahri Evans (in my top 50 and here sounds good)
#31 Eli Manning(in my top 50, I'd have him a tick lower)
#30 Ben Roethlisberger (in my top 50, I'd have him a tick lower)
#29 James Harrison (in my bottom 50, he's 34, I don't know that he's this player anymore)
#28 Frank Gore (not in my top 100; I'm a Niner fan, Gore's a timeshare going forward)
#27 Clay Matthews (in my top 50, I'd have him a tiny bit higher)
#26 Julius Peppers (in my bottom 50, right next to Harrison)
#25 Arian Foster (in my top 50, he'd be lower on my list)
#24 Jason Pierre Paul (in my top 50, this seems about right)
#23 Wes Welker (in my top 50, he'd be higher on my list, he's a top 15 player)
#22 Ray Rice (in my top 50, he'd be a little lower)
#21 Rob Gronkowski (in my top 50, he'd be lower)
#20 Ray Lewis(at 37 years old, Lewis is in my bottom 50 for 2012)
#19 Troy Polamalu(in my top 50, given injuries, this is high)
#18 LeSean McCoy (in my bottom 50, I have the backs significantly lower than do the players)
#17 Justin Smith (he should be in the top 10)
#16 Ed Reed(in my top 50, but 34 year old Ed Reed shouldn't be this high)
#15 Andre Johnson(yeah, this is good)
#14 Jimmy Graham (in my top 50, this is too high)
#13 Jared Allen (yeah, in my top 10, he'd be next to Smith)
#12 MJD (this is about right; I'll say he's 10th)
#11 Terrell Suggs (on my list at about this spot too - but not anymore)
#10 Patrick Willis (I'll say he should be 4th; lets say Smith is 8, Allen is 6, Willis is 4)
#9 Haloti Ngata(I'll say he should be 7th)
#8 Adrian Peterson (the players heard he blew out his knee, right? In my bottom 50)
#7 Larry Fitzgerald (in my top 50, but I think he'd be next to Andre Johnson somewhere in the second ten, right with Welker)
#6 DeMarcus Ware (in my top 50, but he's not a top ten player)
#5 Darrelle Revis(I'll say 3rd)
#4 Tom Brady (I'll say second)
#3 Calvin Johnson(I'll say 6th)
#2 Drew Brees (I'll say 9th)
#1 Aaron Rodgers (I concur.)
Sunday, April 15, 2012
Tuesday, April 10, 2012
Here are the best draft picks ever from spots 1-32 in the NFL Draft. As you watch the picks go by, here's the established ceiling for each slot.
Okay, I'll go to 100. I love me some draft.
Sunday, April 8, 2012
Easter Sunday means our annual tradition - a tradition unlike any other - it's Easterdown!
121 is here. This is 122.
1. Religion's Demand for Obedience
The most important epistemological shift in western history (and in our individual lives) is one from knowledge based on authority to an understanding of the world based on reason. In almost every course I teach I reference the Enlightenment, humanity grabbing for itself the ability to find truth.
Who we (the collective we, all of us, you me and all of our dead brothers in the struggle) took that power from was religion, and the fight continues in 2012.
Religion is very much a holdover from the dark ages of the past, and the world's holy books still enshrine the ancient demands for us to bow down and obey the (conveniently unseen and absent) gods, and more importantly, the human beings who claim the right to act as their representatives. It's no surprise, then, that the most fervent advocates of religion in the modern world are also the most deeply inculcated with this mindset of command and obedience.
2. Hedges on Christian Fascism
Chris Hedges, with a Masters in Divinity from Harvard, writes this.
All debates with the Christian Right are useless. We cannot reach this movement. It does not want a dialogue. It cares nothing for rational thought and discussion. It is not mollified because John Kerry prays or Jimmy Carter teaches Sunday School. These naive attempts to reach out to a movement bent on our destruction, to prove to them that we too have “values,” would be humorous if the stakes were not so deadly. They hate us. They hate the liberal, enlightened world formed by the Constitution. Our opinions do not count.
This movement will not stop until we are ruled by Biblical Law, an authoritarian church intrudes in every aspect of our life, women stay at home and rear children, gays agree to be cured, abortion is considered murder, the press and the schools promote “positive” Christian values, the federal government is gutted, war becomes our primary form of communication with the rest of the world and recalcitrant non-believers see their flesh eviscerated at the sound of the Messiah's voice.
The spark that could set it ablaze may be lying in the hands of an Islamic terrorist cell, in the hands of the ideological twins of the Christian Right. Another catastrophic terrorist attack could be our Reichstag fire, the excuse used to begin the accelerated dismantling of our open society. The ideology of the Christian Right is not one of love and compassion, the central theme of Christ's message, but of violence and hatred. It has a strong appeal to many in our society, but it is also aided by our complacency. Let us not stand at the open city gates waiting passively and meekly for the barbarians. They are coming. They are slouching rudely towards Bethlehem . Let us, if nothing else, begin to call them by their name.
3. A Panel Discussion
The United States as Christian Nation.
4. Biblical Support for Slavery
It's reasonable to offer, as many Christians do, that the Bible is an ancient book not to be taken literally.
But those who call homosexuality an abomination based on literal interpretation of scripture have a requirement to explain why they don't similarly argue (at least not anymore) that slavery is also sanctioned by God.
6. The Book You Should Buy
The Good News Club: The Christian Right's Stealth Assault on America's Children.
Only 3 1/2 years ago, I would have found such a state of affairs hard to imagine. My awakening came when an after-school group called the Good News Club set up shop offering “Bible study” in my daughter’s public elementary school in Santa Barbara, California. It rapidly became clear that the group’s aim was to convert young children and use them to spread its fundamentalist version of Christianity. The club wanted to be in the school to foster the impression among children that its religion was endorsed by the school.
The club was part of a larger organization known as the Child Evangelism Fellowship. Founded more than 70 years ago, the CEF had only a small presence in public schools until 2001, when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the exclusion of such clubs from after-school programs represented a violation of their free-speech rights. This legal armor has given them an advantage over regular clubs that offer sports or crafts, because school administrators are now legally compelled to grant access. In 2010, there were 3,439 Good News Club groups, almost all in public K-6 schools around the country.
Among the clubs’ teachings: There is only one “right” way to live, and that is to believe in Jesus; anyone who fails to conform will go to hell. The activists I met who work with the CEF have an especially restrictive view of who qualifies as a Christian. Among the “unchurched,” they include most Catholics, U.S. Episcopalians, United Methodists, liberal Congregationalists and Presbyterians, as well as Mormons—anyone who doesn’t meet their understanding of “Bible-believing” Christianity.
7. David Barton Lies
David Barton, professional Christian liar, has a new book about Jefferson. Here's a two hour debunking.
8. Where's Fox News On This?
As you know, there's a terrible war on Christians in the United States. Only a matter of time before saying Merry Christmas is made illegal, probably as a provision in Obamacare. Christian expression is always getting punished.
Like in Ohio, where a student was prohibited from wearing a t-shirt to high school.
9. If You've Gotten This Far
The greatest piece in Deadspin history.
10. Who Has a New Album?
Rony F'n Seikaly
The Great Chinaglia.
That's all for this time. I'll be back next time. If there is a next time...