Sunday, October 29, 2006

Denny Green watch.

Rumors have been swirling amongst NFL pundits that Arizona Cardinals head coach Dennis Green will be fired if his club loses to the Packers today at Green Bay.

Since blowing a 20-point lead at home against the Chicago Bears two weeks ago, Green and Co. have been in meltdown mode. Denny enacted his usual scapegoat tactics by firing offensive coordinator Keith Rowen after the Bears debacle. The Cards offense responded by scoring a mere nine points the next week against a pathetic Oakland Raiders club.

So with coach Green’s job potentially at stake, how have the Cardinals (1-6 going into today's game) responded today? They had a grand total of 20 yards of offense when Green Bay went up 14-0 early in the second quarter. I guess the Cards haven’t exactly emulated the “Win one for the Gipper” thought process.

UPDATE at 1:15 pm: The Packers have just made it 21-0. Ah but the Cardinals are hanging tough. They’ve almost double their offensive yardage since my initial post. They’re at 39 total yards!

UPDATE at 1:27 pm: The Cards complete an impressive 14 play, 84-yard drive with an Edgerrin James 1-yard touchdown run. It's now 21-7. A potential job-saving drive? We shall see!

UPDATE at 1:55 pm: After a nice finish to the first half, the Cardinals have had an inauspicious beginning to the second half. The defense is positively sieve-like against the Packers running game. Green Bay's opening drive of the third quarter is culminated with a Brett Favre 1-yard TD scamper giving the Pack a 28-7 lead.

UPDATE at 3:06 pm: Final score: Green Bay Packers 31, Arizona Cardinals 14.

If this is Dennis Green's last game as Arizona head coach, what irony that would be. Green's final game in December 2001 as Minnesota Vikings head man? Also in Green Bay, where his Vikes squad lost, 24-13.

UPDATE at 10:07 am, Monday, October 30: Arizona sports columnist calls for Green's head.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

1987 Twins lose a record then a player.

Last night the St Louis Cardinals won the 2006 World Series, 4 games to 1. With that victory, the Cards also achieved the dubious distinction of being the champions with the fewest regular season wins. Their 83 victories usurped the previous low of 85 set by my favorite squad, the Minnesota Twins, back in 1987.

So on a night when I was waxing nostalgic about my club’s first ever world championship, I was surprised to learn a member of that team has just died.

Former major league pitcher Joe Niekro, Houston's career victory leader, died Friday, Astros president Tal Smith said. He was 61.

The two-time 20-game winner suffered a brain aneurysm Thursday and was taken to South Florida Baptist Hospital in nearby Plant City, where he lived. He later was transferred to St. Joseph's Hospital, where he died.

Niekro won a franchise-best 144 games in 11 seasons with the Houston Astros from 1975 to 1985, when he was traded to the New York Yankees. He was an All-Star in 1979, when he went 21-11 with a 3.00 ERA and followed up with a 20-12 record in 1980.

He beat the Dodgers in a one-game playoff that clinched Houston's first postseason berth in 1980. Seven years later, in his 21st season, he finally appeared in the World Series with the Minnesota Twins.

Niekro finished 221-204 with a 3.59 ERA, including 144-116 with a 3.22 ERA for the Astros.

Despite a long, successful career in the major leagues, Niekro will probably best be remembered for his getting caught with sand paper and an emery board while pitching for the Twins at Anaheim in an August 1987 game.

When the opposing Angels players complained about Niekro’s pitches having some unusual movement, home plate umpire (and St Paul native) Tim Tschida asked to see Niekro’s glove. As Niekro disgustedly tossed his glove to Tschida, it appeared he attempted to hide something in his back pocket. I will never forget the scene of four umpires surrounding Niekro on the pitcher’s mound as he emptied his pockets. As he emptied out his right pocket he threw his hands up like he had nothing. All of a sudden an emery board is seen flying threw the air with umpire Steve Palermo watching its flight the entire way. It was alleged that Niekro was scuffing the baseballs with that emery board and was subsequently ejected from that game and later given a suspension.

Niekro is survived by his brother, Hall of Fame pitcher Phil Niekro, as well as son Lance, currently a first baseman for the San Francisco Giants.


Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Fear and Loathing in liberal land.

On Tuesday evening, Arianna Huffington was the latest to opine on the CBS Evening News segment “Free Speech.” Huffington charged the GOP with using “fear mongering” during recent election seasons.

Ever since 9/11, "be afraid" has been their No. 1 talking point. They sold us on invading Iraq with warnings from Condoleezza Rice that the "smoking gun might be a mushroom cloud" and dire predictions from Bush and Cheney about all the ways Saddam could rain death and destruction on us. And it's remarkable how the terror rhetoric always seems to hit Red just before elections.

Well, in case you haven’t noticed Ari we did lose hundreds of Americans to terror attacks all across the world even before 9/11/01.

-1992-93: The “Black Hawk Down” incident in Mogadishu, Somalia where eighteen Americans were killed, 73 wounded. It has been argued that this particular conflict emboldened Al-Qaeda since the United States did not retaliate.

-1993: The first attack on the World Trade Center in New York. Six deaths, over 1000 injuries.

-1996: The Khobar Towers bombing in Saudi Arabia. Nineteen killed, approximately 200 injured.

-1998: US Embassy bombings. 257 killed, over 4,000 injured.

-2000: USS Cole bombing in Yemen. Seventeen killed, 39 injured.

Given that history lesson, I proclaim the fear mongering charge as absurd on its face. We should look at the “terror rhetoric” as a stern reminder of an enemy who readily exists and will stop at nothing to destroy our way of life. That said, why shouldn’t we support those who actually consider national security a top priority?

Now, you want examples of fear mongering? Let us look left.

-Actor Michael J. Fox decides to insert himself in the Senate race in the state of Missouri. Fox, who has Parkinson’s disease and supports stem-cell research, spoke in a TV ad on behalf of Democratic challenger Claire McCaskill. In the ad, Fox does not even attempt to hide the symptoms of his disease. He went on to say that he believes stem-cell research could bring help in curing Parkinson’s and emphasizes that McCaskill "shares my hope for cures." On the other hand, according to Fox, incumbent Republican Senator Jim Talent is against such research and "even wanted to criminalize the science that gives us a chance for hope."

Of course, there’s no clarification. Talent opposes embryonic stem-cell research, believing that left over embryos are indeed living organisms and should not be desecrated.

You want to talk about instilling fear, Ari? How about a shameless TV ad implying that a vote for Senator Talent is a vote for elongating the suffering of Parkinson’s victims?

-What about the flat-out deceitful TV spot offered up by Patty Wetterling, Democratic candidate in Minnesota’s 6th Congressional district?

In a despicable exploitation of the Rep. Mark Foley scandal, Wetterling, a prominent children’s rights advocate, broadcast an ad which said “Congressional leaders have admitted to covering up the predatory behavior of a Congressman (Foley) who used the internet to molest children.” A bald-face lie! Admissions to a cover-up NEVER occurred.

The ad continued:

"For over a year, they knowingly ignored the welfare of children to protect their own power. For 17 years, Patty Wetterling has fought for tougher penalties against those who harm children. That's why she's demanding a criminal investigation and the immediate expulsion of any congressman involved in this crime and coverup."

The message here is clear: If you don’t support Patty Wetterling you are putting children in harm’s way.

Meanwhile, Huffington concluded her appearance on CBS with this:

To quote FDR, "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself." And those who use it for their own political purposes.

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

UPDATE: Babs Streisand piles on with "fear mongering" charge.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Look, up in the sky!!!

I thought I would share some video footage of my standing on the Egret Blvd overpass. I decided to promote Mark Kennedy’s US Senate candidacy to the commuters on Hwy 10 West in Coon Rapids.

In the scant few minutes I was in the area, there were no obscene gestures. That’s got to count for something!

Sunday, October 22, 2006

No campaign fatigue here.

With Election Day a mere 2 ½ weeks away, the campaigning heated up Saturday on what was a rather brisk morning.

My wife & I pitched in on behalf of our good friend Derek Brigham in his quest for a seat in the Minnesota Senate, representing District 45. From about Noon until 2:30 pm we covered several blocks in the Crystal area handing out literature.

In the evening we adjourned to the palatial Brigham estate in Plymouth for some socializing amongst campaign volunteers, other members of the Minnesota Organization of Bloggers and some prominent Republican political candidates.

Congressman Mark Kennedy (pictured above, left) made an appearance in an effort to mobilize the base. In his run for US Senate he has consistently trailed opponent Amy Klobuchar in the polls. However, it should be noted that Kennedy was also behind in most of his 2000 campaign for the US House. He ended up winning that race by a mere 155 votes in Congressional District 6. Kennedy joked “It’s a good thing I come from a large Irish family.” The point hit home, however. Every vote will be crucial in what promises to be a historic election season.
As the evening was about to come to a close, Alan Fine (pictured above) made an appearance. The GOP candidate for the 5th Congressional District is an all-around genuine person despite the hatchet job done on him, courtesy of the Minneapolis Red Star Tribune. While I have felt for some time that Fine had no shot in a district which has voted DFL for decades, it now appears there is a ray of hope. Not surprisingly, the 5th CD constituents are becoming increasingly concerned with DFLer Keith Ellison’s past, prompting many to consider Independent candidate Tammy Lee. If this becomes a legitimate three-way contest, Fine would only need 35-40% of the vote to claim victory.

With the campaigning heading into the home stretch, look for yours truly on the Egret Blvd overpass in Coon Rapids if you travel Hwy 10 West on your daily commute home from work. You just might see a large “Mark Kennedy for US Senate” sign.

Saturday on the campaign trail.

Debbie Kennedy (left) with her husband, Mark, who happens to be running for US Senate.

A photo-op with Mrs. Kennedy. My wife (right) and our good friend Nancy (a/k/a "Lassie" on Freedom Dogs) with Debbie Kennedy.

Friday, October 20, 2006

The Fall Classic.

The St Louis Cardinals advanced to the World Series last evening with a 3-1, Game 7 victory over the New York Mets in the NLCS.

Game 1 of the Series is Saturday with the Detroit Tigers hosting the Cards.

With a record of 83-78, St Louis will advance to the Fall Classic with the second fewest regular season wins of any World Series participant in history. Only the ’73 Mets, with an 82-79 record, had fewer victories. The Mets lost the 1973 World Series to the Oakland Athletics, meaning my beloved 1987 Minnesota Twins have the distinction of being the world champions with the least number of regular season victories with 85.

Therefore, I am picking the Tigers to win the 2006 World Series so my Twins’ record will remain intact. Well, that and I think the Tigers are the better club.

Tigers win in six games.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Strib Follies.

I don’t subscribe to the Minneapolis Star Tribune but the company where I work indeed does.

Seeing the actual hard copy newspaper, as opposed to the online version, helps me visualize how the Strib prioritizes their news.

Check out the stories in this morning’s edition:

Michele Bachmann, who is running for the US House of Representatives, confesses her strong Christian faith at a local church where the pastor states his support for her candidacy. As a result, the IRS looks to investigate Living Word Christian Center to be sure they aren’t violating their tax-exempt status. According to the Strib, that is front page news.

Meanwhile a staffer on the campaign of Patty Wetterling, Bachmann’s opponent, was fired Tuesday due to his unethical attempts to gain access to the Bachmann campaign strategy. Certainly that’s big news, right? Nah. Page B2 of the Metro Local Twin Cites & Region section seemed to suffice.

How about the man convicted in the drunken-driving crash which killed Timberwolves player Malik Sealy back in 2000? Souksangouane Phengsene was pulled over this past weekend with a blood alcohol level of 0.21, more than twice the legal limit. Phengsene was only two years removed from the end of the prison sentence he served for killing Sealy. Conveniently left out of that story (buried on page B5 of that same Twin Cities & Region section, by the way) is the fact that Hennepin County attorney (and current Democratic candidate for the US Senate) Amy Klobuchar sought the four-year jail term for Phengsene. Ah, but I guess that’s not relevant to the story.

I have to admit I’m just a novice. I don’t read the newspaper enough to decipher what’s important news and what is merely fluff.

Can anyone help me out here?

Reports of Michele Bachmann's demise....

Despite his oh so obvious liberal leanings, Star Tribune columnist Nick Coleman is a regular read for me. I would even go so far as to say I have enjoyed some of his musings. Unfortunately, his worthwhile efforts are all too often overshadowed by his condescension, belligerence and flat out ignorance.

Mr. Coleman manages to indulge in all three characteristics with his latest offering.

Weirdest. Election. Ever.

And there are still three weeks of campaigning to go.

More evidence that the country is off its rocker comes with news that a Twin Cities pastor named Mac Hammond has endorsed congressional candidate Michele Bachmann from the same TV stage he uses to promise salvation to the faithful and worldly riches, too.

First offering from Nick: Condescension.

As if there is something wrong with worldly riches.

Jesus himself said in John 10:9-10 “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

Hammond calls himself a businessman and presides over the Living Word Christian Center in Brooklyn Park. I haven't heard him preach, but I know people who love his upbeat Bible-based message that the Lord wants us all to be "winners" and that he will help us find earthly success while we await our heavenly reward.

Hammond calls his program "The Winner's Way" (poor people, I'm afraid, are not just losers, but sinners, too).

Now Mr. Coleman throws in a small dash of belligerence.

Genesis 1:26-27 says “Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground."

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.

I would venture a guess that the Almighty hardly considers Himself a loser. Therefore, all humans (rich or poor) would definitely be considered winners all around. When God gives of his only son so that we may not perish but have eternal life, it appears we’ve already won. It’s now our choice whether or not we live in the abundance He desires us to have.

(Hammond) also sells books and videos about the Rapture and the soon-to-come end of the world. Bottom line: We better hurry up and find worldly success, because time is running out. For all of us. Including Michele Bachmann.

Uh, define worldly success there, Nick. Bachmann had a prestigious career as a tax litigation attorney and her husband has been quite successful in his own independent business. By the world’s standards, they epitomize success. In your view, I suppose a position of power (i.e. member of Congress) is merely another way to augment her worldly success. Yeah, I guess it’s totally out of the realm of possibility that Bachmann is running for Congress to … oh, I don’t know….faithfully and passionately serve the people in the 6th CD.

Time may be really short for Bachmann: There are just 20 days to the election, and polls show the conservative Republican falling behind Patty Wetterling, a DFLer, in the race for the Sixth Congressional District seat.

You mean that poll in your newspaper? Yeah, that’s credible.

I'll miss her.

Bachmann is rich material, and is known for her controversial stance on outlawing gay marriage and her role in organizing pray-ins at the State Capitol. She once held hands in a prayer circle around the desk of an openly gay state senator. She was also caught spying on a Capitol gay rights rally while squatting behind a bush.

Maybe the bush spoke.

Well, if you can determine that is Michele Bachmann in that photo of the aforementioned “gay rights rally” then you should be able to read the license plate number on that gray pick-up near said bush.

Bachmann gave Christian "testimonies" at services in Hammond's church last weekend, discussing her faith and revealing that Jesus "called" her to run for Congress. This falls into the category of personal belief and merits no comment, or judgment, from anyone else, least of all me. Everyone has their beliefs. But here's where it gets troublesome:

Rev. Hammond, urging his flock to vote (registration materials were on hand in the lobby), strongly endorsed Bachmann's candidacy, saying he intended to vote for her. He says he was only expressing his personal opinion, but to do so in church may have been a violation of IRS rules against churches making political endorsements (a complaint has been filed with the IRS).

Bachmann is running for Congress, the legislative branch of government. This is a position designed to make laws. Romans 13:1 says “Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.”

You said it yourself, Nick. Everyone has their beliefs. Wouldn’t it behoove Rev. Hammond to support a candidate who he believes would operate under the purview of God’s authority?

Besides, I don't recall a complaint being filed after a certain Democratic candidate for President spoke at a Baptist church in October 2004. In fact, Rev. Gaston E. Smith of Friendship Missionary Baptist Church in Miami endorsed Kerry, saying, "To bring our country out of despair, despondency and disgust, God has a John Kerry."

Here's what I think: 1) If Rev. Mac says Bachmann is part of the Winner's Way, and, 2) She says the Lord has called her to Congress, and, 3) I hope to find success in this life before the Rapture comes, well, then, 4) I better not take any chances.

I have begun to think the end really is near, by the way. And not just the end of the election. Something is up. For one thing, the battle over whether it would be wise to preserve the separation of church and state is over. The church won.

Bachmann's supporters sometimes literally have thumped Bibles on the heads of secular citizens inside the Capitol. (Such an indignity was visited in 2004 on Sue Rockne, the well-known women's rights activist, who died last year.) And Bachmann has been among the leaders of the religious right in her party who have tried for years to break down the church-and-state barrier. Their campaign has been so successful that maybe Rev. Hammond thought the battle was over.

"I don't want any more letters about 'Church and politics don't mix,' " Hammond scolded his congregation after Bachmann spoke, almost daring anyone to object. "If [a belief in separation of church and state] is your opinion, then you need to get saved."

There you have it.

If you are a believer in separation of church and state, you will find yourself in the burning pit. Pretty simple.

Ah, the favorite liberal myth: Separation of church and state, something they believe is in the Constitution. With that, Coleman has completed the trifecta with his ignorance.

What the Constitution in fact says is that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”

Churches cannot mandate the way members of a congregation will vote. And that is certainly not what Rev. Hammond was advocating. At the same time, the vast majority of Christians believe strongly in the sanctity of life. I am quite certain they would appreciate in knowing the caliber of people they are sending to Washington to make laws.

Oh, and the religion has already been established at Living Word: It’s called “Christianity.” And the government had nothing to do with that establishment.

A lot of us need saving, then. And we better get at it, because the end is near. The election is Nov. 7, and not everyone will wake up the next day on "Winner's Way."

Some will wake up losers.

I hate to break it to you, Nick. My salvation is not predicated on who wins elections.

Is yours?

Monday, October 16, 2006

Patriot Radio Rally.

My wife and I were privileged to be able to attend the Town Hall rally last evening, sponsored by AM 1280 The Patriot.

National radio host Hugh Hewitt was the moderator for this event.

The lineup of speakers featured Senator Norm Coleman as well as other prominent Republicans looking to represent Minnesota in Congress.

-Alan Fine, republican candidate in the 5th Congressional District. Fine’s particular race has drawn national attention due to the prospects of his opponent, democrat Keith Ellison, becoming the first Muslim elected to the U.S. Congress. Ellison himself has been under tremendous scrutiny due to his ties to the Nation of Islam as well as some anti-Semitic statements he allegedly has made. Ellison is so controversial that even the Star and Sickle Tribune must be nervous. So apprehensive is the Strib that they went ahead and totally misrepresented events surrounding an 11-year old domestic dispute between Fine and his former wife. While they aren’t crazy about Ellison, I guess the Star Trib wants to make this race a “lesser of two evils” decision. While I admire Fine and his convictions he would bring to Washington, a set of those wind-up chattering teeth could run as a Democrat in the 5th and still receive a majority vote. To say Fine has an uphill battle would be an understatement.

-Michele Bachmann, republican candidate in the 6th Congressional District. By far the most impassioned speech given last night was delivered by Bachmann. Her race against Democrat Patty Wetterling has also drawn national publicity, in part because of Wetterling’s shameless exploitation (and flat out lying) in regards to the Mark Foley scandal. Nonetheless, Bachmann has continued to run her campaign with the same conviction and enthusiasm which has made her one of the more high-profile local politicians. While other Republicans in national races have distanced themselves from President Bush, Bachmann has graciously welcomed his efforts to boost her election prospects. Her passionate stance on family issues has made her a favorite amongst true conservatives.

-Mark Kennedy, republican candidate for the U.S. Senate. Fresh of his “Meet The Press” debate with democrat challenger Amy Klobuchar, Kennedy assured the audience that the polls showing him 21 points behind were absolutely false. While he made no bones about the fact that he is indeed trailing (maybe by 8 or 9 points), Kennedy made a plea to us in the base to mobilize our efforts these next three weeks because he is actually within striking distance. With Republicans having a scant 55 to 44 majority in the Senate, a pick-up here of a Democratic held seat (Senator Mark “Evacuatin’” Dayton is vacating his position) would all but ensure the GOP maintaining a majority. Besides, as Kennedy has so eloquently stated, you don’t change Washington politics by sending another lawyer. However, D.C could use at least one CPA, which Kennedy happens to be.

How critical is it to have the majority in the US Senate? When Senator Coleman was elected in 2002, he became, at the time, the 51st Republican senator. That allowed a judge by the name of John Roberts to receive an up-or-down vote on an appointment to a Federal appeals court. As we all know, Judge Roberts is now known as Chief Justice Roberts, Supreme Court of the United States. Now, with five of the nine justices over 70 years of age, there will be an opportunity to re-shape the Supreme Court for many years to come. I know I’m not thrilled at the prospects of Senator Pat Leahy (D-VT) heading up the judiciary committee should the Democrats wrest control of the Senate.

And the House of Representatives? How about Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and House Majority Leader John Murtha?

Need I say more?

Hewitt then wrapped up the evening with an insightful 30-minute monologue concluded by a Q&A session.

Captain Ed Morrissey live-blogged this portion of the event.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

NFL Week 6: Taking the week off.

Like the Minnesota Vikings, I am taking a bye week. Therefore, I will not be doing my bit of picking NFL games against the point spread.

Perhaps it will be a week-to-week inspiration when I will select a few intriguing games.

But no prognostications this week.

Try to cope!

Last week: 5-7-2

Overall: 32-39-3

Sunday, October 08, 2006

NFL Week 5.

As always, the following picks against the point spread are not to be used as a basis for a cash wager.

Titans (+18 ½) at Colts: The question here isn’t whether the Colts will win. Rather, will the Colts cover the point spread….by the end of the 1st quarter?
Pick: Colts

Redskins (+4 ½) at Giants: Through four weeks, I have as many sacks as Giants All-Pro DE Michael Strahan.
Pick: Redskins

Lions (+6 ½) at Vikings: My teenaged nephews, Nathan and Aaron, feel they could be the right side of the Viking offensive line and the Vikes would still beat the Lions. “Take Minnesota and the points, Uncle Brad.”
Pick: Vikings

Buccaneers (+6) at Saints: To avoid Buccaneers owner Malcolm Glazer, coach Jon Gruden has been using the service entrance upon arriving at Bucs headquarters.
Pick: Saints

Rams (-3) at Packers: This weeks Packers injury report: Brett Favre (mild concussion, pinched nerve in neck, sore shoulder, ringing in the ears) is probable.
Pick: Rams

Dolphins (+9 ½) at Patriots: After Dolphins RB Ronnie Brown failed in his attempt last week to complete a pass on a 2-point conversion, coach Nick Saban has suspended use of gadget plays. And here I was looking forward to QB Daunte Culpepper’s attempt at a drop-kick.
Pick: Dolphins

Bills (+10 ½) at Bears: This week’s tongue twister: Poor Peerless Price pounded persistently and profusely.
Pick: Bills

Browns (+8) at Panthers: Panthers DE Julius Peppers to re-live his basketball days by swatting footballs out of the air. Panthers win, Browns cover. Pick: Browns

Jets (+7) at Jaguars: At 6’6” and 238 lbs, Jags WR Matt Jones could double as a bouncer for unruly fans at home games.
Pick: Jaguars

Chiefs (-3 ½) at Cardinals: Cards rookie QB Matt Leinart will be making his first career start. The words “rookie quarterback” to a defensive lineman are the equivalent to a bell ringing within earshot of Pavlov’s dog.
Pick: Chiefs

Raiders (+3 ½) at 49ers: Samuel Goldwyn once said “If I could drop dead right now, I'd be the happiest man alive.” He must have been a 49ers fan.
Pick: 49ers

Cowboys (+2 ½) at Eagles: Cowboys WR Terrell Owens returns to Philly for the first time since his exile from the Eagles. I equate that to my Uncle Frank returning to a family gathering for the first time since everyone found out he was dating his nephew’s ex-wife (True story, by the way).
Pick: Eagles

Steelers (+3 ½) at Chargers: With the Chargers planning on wearing the “throwback” powder-blue jerseys on Sunday, Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger would like to go old school as well. He plans on donning the Terry Bradshaw hair piece.
Pick: Steelers

Ravens (+4) at Broncos: This week, Denver LB Nate Webster helped the Broncos' offense prepare for the Ravens by doing his best Ray Lewis impression. In the same mode, Broncos coach Mike Shanahan imitated trademark Brian Billick arrogance.
Pick: Broncos

Last Week: 7-7-0

Overall: 27-32-1

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Sports shorts.

-If you have any discretionary income, you might want to head to Vegas. Once there, put a few bucks on the 2007 Texas Rangers winning the World Series.

Buck Showalter, the Rangers manager for the past four seasons, was fired yesterday. Showalter was also dismissed in his two previous managerial stints. He was let go by the New York Yankees after the 1995 season. The Yanks, led by manager Joe Torre, went on to win the World Series in 1996. Showalter was also fired by the Arizona Diamondbacks after the 2000 campaign. You guessed it, the Diamondbacks would go on to win it all in 2001.

-I know of at least one NFL team which is rooting for the Minnesota Twins to come back from a 2-0 deficit in the American League Division Series. Ironically, it is not the hometown Vikings. Sunday’s tilt at the Metrodome against the Detroit Lions would be bumped to Monday night if the Twins force a Game 5 against Oakland. Actually, it would be the Washington Redskins waving homer hankies these days. The Skins’ last two Super Bowl championships came after the regular seasons of 1987 and 1991. Those two years also marked the occurrences of the Twins claiming their two World Series titles.

"Culture of Death" is alive and well.

After 15-year-old Danny Rohrbough was killed in the Columbine High School shooting 7 ½ years ago, he was fondly remembered at his memorial service.

"You know, he might have lived," Grace Presbyterian Church pastor Dwight R. Blackstock told the crowd of more than 1,500 that overflowed the sanctuary and fellowship room and spread to folding chairs outside. "He might have lived if he'd have made a little different choice.

"Yet he chose to stay there and hold the door for others so that they might go out before him and make their way to safety. They made it and Danny didn't."

Blackstock said the 15-year-old's heroic act, "in the last few moments of his life on this Earth, was the kind of thing Jesus holds up as an example to us all. Jesus said, 'Greater love has no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.'

"That's what Danny did."

Rohrbough was one of the first killed in the rampage, and the boy in the green shirt crumpled on the pavement was the first sure sign of the seriousness of the shooting to a nation watching live television.

On Monday evening Danny’s father, Brian, was asked to be a guest commentator on the CBS Evening News segment “Free Speech.” Mr. Rohrbough spoke frankly of the moral bankruptcy that is occurring in America.

This country is in a moral free-fall. For over two generations, the public school system has taught in a moral vacuum, expelling God from the school and from the government, replacing him with evolution, where the strong kill the weak, without moral consequences and life has no inherent value.

We teach there are no absolutes, no right or wrong. And I assure you the murder of innocent children is always wrong, including by abortion. Abortion has diminished the value of children.

Suicide has become an acceptable action and has further emboldened these criminals. And we are seeing an epidemic increase in murder-suicide attacks on our children.

Sadly, our schools are not safe. In fact, we now witness that within our schools. Our children have become a target of terrorists from within the United States.

Needless to say, this sent the radical left wingers into absolute frothing-at-mouth hysterics. This is the part I find most curious and borderline amusing. Many in this same crowd chastised those of us who dared take exception to Cindy Sheehan’s anti-American rhetoric after losing her son, Casey, in the Iraq war.

Ever since that tragic event in her life, Mrs. Sheehan has made it her life’s work to continually slander the Bush administration and the United States. From calling the murderous Iraqi insurgents “Freedom Fighters” to saying she would prefer to live under the Hugo Chavez regime as opposed to the George W. Bush presidency, Sheehan herself has created a firestorm of controversy. Yet, according to Maureen Dowd of the New York Times, we don’t dare criticize Mrs. Sheehan because “the moral authority of parents who bury children killed in Iraq is absolute."

There continues to be a debate over whether or not the Iraq war is a just conflict. I would venture to say that many Americans believe it is an unjust war resulting in their perspective that every life lost is a senseless death. While I reject that premise, for the sake of argument I will grant it here.

Can anyone think of a more senseless death than an innocent 15-year-old boy getting shot by two misguided youths? Danny Rohrbough could not even begin to fathom that his decision to attend school one morning would result in his demise. On the other hand, Casey Sheehan had to know that his enlistment in the military could very well result in him seeing combat, possibly resulting in his death.

Upon hearing the absolute frenzy caused by Brian Rohrbough’s comments, I get the feeling he doesn’t have the same “absolute moral authority” that has been granted Cindy Sheehan.

There’s a connection here. Sheehan seems to support the Iraqi insurgency. It is these insurgents who have a tendency to strap explosive devices to infants in an effort to wipe out their opponents. Meanwhile, the folks who are most likely to defend Sheehan’s pro-insurgency stance assuredly took exception to Mr. Rohrbough’s view on abortion.

Once again, the culture of death has made its members known.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Hey, Detroit Tigers fans: I Feel Your Pain!

As a fan of all the pro sports teams in Minnesota, I feel the pain of the Detroit Tigers devotees.

The Tigers were in first place since May and had a double digit lead in the American League Central for most of the Summer. It started to whittle away when Detroit, after a scorching 76-36 start, began to come back to the pack. Injuries to second baseman Placido Polanco and rookie phenom pitcher Justin Verlander seemed to stymie their momentum. Their once insurmountable lead vanished resulting in a tie with the Minnesota Twins going into the final game of the season. However, all it would take would be a win over the lowly Kansas City Royals and the Tigers would be the 2006 AL Central division champs. This is the same Royals team that had lost 15 of 18 contests to the Tigers in ’06.

Detroit had a nice 6-0 lead early in the game. However, as the game progressed, the pesky Royals chipped away at the lead, eventually forcing extra innings. With the score tied at 8 in the bottom of the 11th inning, the Tigers had the bases loaded and only one out and Brandon Inge at the plate. A medium deep fly ball would be all that it would take to push across the winning run. After missing a walk-off grand slam by mere feet, Inge struck out. With two out, Curtis Granderson when down on strikes as well. The Royals took advantage of the Tigers’ missed opportunities to push across two runs in the 12th to win 10-8.

The Tigers four-month stranglehold on the division had dissipated on the very last day of the regular season.

Rewind to the 2003 NFL season.

My favorite squad, the Minnesota Vikings, started the ’03 campaign with a 6-0 record. However, a slump in mid-season saw the Vikes’ once-comfortable lead in the NFC North division dwindle to just a game or two.

Nonetheless, with a 9-6 record going into the final game of the regular season, the Vikings merely needed to defeat a pathetic Arizona Cardinals team to clinch the division and a spot in the playoffs. The Vikes had a comfy 17-6 lead in the fourth quarter.

The Cards scored a late touchdown to make it 17-12.

No worries. Just recover the onside kick, fall on the ball and it’s off to the playoffs.

Inexplicably, Arizona recovers the onside kick.

The Cardinals are driving toward the goal line with less than a minute to go when Vikings rookie sensation Kevin Williams sacks Cards QB Josh McCown. Arizona then scrambles to run one final play. They get the snap off in time. McCown manages to elude the Vikings pass rush and roll to his right. With no time on the clock he fires toward the far right side of the end zone. Someone named Nathan Poole manages to snag the ball despite two Vikings defenders nearby.

Vikes lose 18-17.

A division they lead literally every second of the season was lost. Worse yet, the Green Bay Packers snatched a playoff birth as a result while the Vikings stayed home for the 2003 post season.

I remember the absolute sick feeling I had after that game, Tigers fans. I know what you’re going through.

However, take solace in this: Your club at least has itself a berth in the playoffs.