Red state , blue state ….

Red state, blue state ….

So here we are at a historical moment in the nation’s history , as Donald Trump upset the status quo to become the nation’s forty-fifth President (elect) having easily defeated Hillary Clinton for the highest political office in the land. The surprise concerning the result, did not only come from the fact Clinton’s campaign was no lethargic, but also failed to appeal and gain widespread support across the nation. From my own standpoint, having to choose between the lesser of two evils, when the candidates involved . have been described as two of the most despised candidates in the nation’s history, has played a large part in the divisiveness seen during the entire Presidential campaign. Now that this is all over, the nation can now seek to heal the wounds , but I guess , the losers having seen their candidate so handily defeated, will now begin to question what and why things went so badly.

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In the world of sports the fallout has already began in the world of baseball . Having won a memorable World Series , the Chicago Cubs will now seek to bolster their roster, while also rewarding a number of their players who played a part in the team’s success during the regular and postseason. Cubs’ manager Joe Maddon and his managerial staff are to be commended on a spectacular season. Who knew that the ball-club’s one hundred and eight-year old curse would come to such an emotional end ? World Series MVP and veteran player Ben Zobrist exemplified the Chicago Cubs’ never-say die attitude throughout the postseason. Maddon may well have caused palpitations among the Chicago fans with some of his game decisions , but the fact they panned out and the team was victorious in defeating the Cleveland Indians says a great deal about the ingenuity of the manager and the faith of the front office in Joe Maddon’s abilities.

While the Chicago Cubs are still riding high, another baseball’s revered franchises now seems to be returning to ways of old. The New York Yankees after a disastrous season seem to be intent on making a big splash during this off-season , with general manager Brian Cashman possibly willing to spend as much as $100 million or more to acquire key players he believes will be of benefit to the team . There is no denying the Yankees’ weakness was their pitching , with only Masahiro Tanaka proving his worth among the starting pitchers . The relievers on the roster were barely average and clearly the many needs of the Yankees during the off-season go way beyond just pitching. New York’s offense was very inconsistent and many of their high-priced offensive players showed a lack of real productivity when it mattered most. I don’t believe Cashman will be given the go-ahead to spend capriciously, but I do believe Hank Steinbrenner and Hal Steinbrenner will see it as only fitting the ball-club seeks to be as competitive in the market as many of their big-market rivals such as the Los Angeles Dodgers whose payroll for the upcoming season is likely to remain above $200 million .

Teams are now looking to shed players who will be placed on the free agent market which is likely to cause something of a major frenzy. Many of baseball’s biggest and most prominent agents will be seeking to get the best possible deal for their respective clients. Rumors are also flying around, with the Detroit Tigers possibly being among the biggest sellers , seeking to off-load two of their biggest stars , Justin Verlander and Miguel Cabrera . The thought of GM Al Avila considering such a move is unlikely to sit well with the Tigers’ fans, but I do get the feeling team owner Michael Ilitch has become dissatisfied with the lack of postseason success . If he is pressing the front office executives and managerial staff to make these bold moves , I do not believe it will sit well with the fans of the Detroit Tigers. The ball-club’s failure at the highest levels of the game has more to do with the lack of consistency needed rather than blaming the players.

This past season Detroit’s failure came from their not being competitive in a number of tight games and manager Brad Ausmus’ questionable decision-making during several vital games. The failure to win the AL Central and even gain a postseason berth laid with the managerial staff more than anything else. Should both Miguel Cabrera and Justin Verlander be traded , both players will come at a very high price , given their respective market-value.

Like any other previous MLB off-season there will continue to be a frenzy within the market, with teams scurrying to get the best players available. Will your team be one of those profiting from these transactions ?

Should there be cause for concern at this stage of the NBA season ? Unless you happen to be the Philadelphia 76ers , you might as well say it’s business as usual . Not much has changed since the end of last season and the beginning of this season with the Sixers still looking lamentable in just about every facet of the game. Only the New Orleans Pelicans (0-8) currently have a worst record than the 76ers at this stage of the season. With both teams yet to record a victory, it will be interesting to see which the duo will be the first to join the rest of the league’s twenty-eight teams to have recorded a win. Brett Brown head coach of the Philadelphia 76ers will have his team in action on Wednesday night when they face the Indiana Pacers in a game being played at Bankers Life Fieldhouse Arena in Indiana , Indianapolis .

The New Orleans Pelicans will not be in action until Thursday 10th November when they tip-off against the Boston Celtics in a road game against their Eastern Conference opponents .

Since his abrupt and somewhat unexpected departure from the Miami Heat , it is has been rumored the relationship between Dwyane Wade and Heat President Pat Riley had become very animated , with few cordial words being exchanged between the duo. Considering the ongoing PR nightmare concerning Miami’s decision to jettison Chris Bosh , one has to wonder if there’s any truth to the fractured relationship between Riley and the three players , who have been instrumental in bringing the Miami Heat their last two NBA titles. Coincidence or conspiracy , it does seem strange within the space of two years , LeBron James , Bosh and Wade are no longer part of the Miami Heat playing roster . Financial hardships notwithstanding, I find it extremely hard to fathom the incompetence shown by Pat Riley and there being no apparent input or formal statement coming from team owner Micky Arison .

As of the 9th November the Miami Heat posted a record of 2-4 , placing the franchise near the bottom of the East Conference. In their last game the Miami Heat fell to the Oklahoma City Thunder in a twelve-point loss on the road , losing 97-85 , with Russell Westbrook continuing his amazing season . On Thursday , Dwyane Wade with his teammates on the Chicago Bulls will visit the American Airlines Arena in Miami , Florida , for Wade’s first game at the venue , since signing with the Bulls as a free agent during the off-season. Wade will be looking to inflict even more pain on his former team , while placing the Chicago Bulls to be in a very good position at this early stage of the NBA season , which is still in its infancy . The game will be seen as either vindication for the release of Dwyane Wade should he play poorly and the Chicago Bulls lose the contest, but should Chicago be victorious , then there are likely to be questions asked of Pat Riley , the coaching staff of Erik Spoelstra and the entire front office . Wade remains one of the Heat’s most beloved and popular players in franchise history .

At point will the fans of the New York Knicks realize Phil Jackson and the entire front office are selling them a bill of goods with no value ? This Jeff Hornacek coached team has become an embarrassment so early in the season , that it is not unreasonable to believe the Knicks are likely to be a sub .500 team at the end of this regular season .

Jeff Hornacek has a team which remains inconsistent at home as well as on the road and there appears to be no real signs of change in terms of their play . Acquiring both Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah was meant to provide the team with a great deal more competitiveness on both ends of the floor . In their last game the New York Knicks were tested in their fourteen-point victory over the Brooklyn Nets , previously to which, they fell to the Utah Jazz , 114-109 , with both games being played at Madison Square Garden , in New York City, New York . Next up for the Knicks will be a game against the Boston Celtics , a match-up likely to test both of these Eastern Conference teams.

The Western Conference has always been considered to be the better of the NBA’s two conferences. Teams there tend to be far superior to their Eastern counterparts. I also believe there happens to be far more talented players within the West , altogether and that is even with the four-time League MVP LeBron James’ heralded exploits over the course of his career . Two games currently separate the top-five teams within the Western Conference , with the Los Angeles Clippers (7-1) leading the way with the best record among them all . Clippers’ head coach Doc Rivers has seen his team rise to the occasion with the play of Blake Griffin and Chris Paul being one of the primary reasons why the franchise has been so successful up to this point of the regular season.

Doc Rivers will see his team in action when the Los Angeles Clippers will be in action on Friday night when they face the Oklahoma City Thunder . It will be one of the top games being played on the night .

It came as no real surprise when Luke Walton was named as the head coach to succeed Byron Scott , after Scott’s dismissal by the front office . Walton was the lead assistant to Steve Kerr , head coach of the Golden State Warriors , whose record-breaking season in 2015 came to an abrupt end in the NBA Finals and their series’ loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers . The Los Angeles Lakers have gotten off to an inauspicious start to their regular season schedule. While the fans may well be expecting wins , Luke Walton simply seeks a steady improvement from his players and their willingness to accommodate his strategies.

The heady days are now long gone where the Los Angles Lakers were perennial contenders or winning back-to-back titles . Kobe Bryant’s retirement after an astonishing career with the Lakers , has become a precursor to a new chapter in the franchise’s history. With the Buss family still the primary owners of the club, it will be interesting to see how they herald in this new beginning. Their have placed their faith in the acumen of Luke Walton, his coaching staff to lead and the players will now have to respond . Whether or not the fans will have the patience to endure what is hoped be to the learning process of the playing staff and its growth, remains to be seen .

It is not yet clear who should be seen as the vocal and team leader of this Los Angeles Lakers’ playing staff , but all signs seem to pointing in the direction of Lou Williams . The veteran presence of Luol Deng should provide some leadership , but I believe it will take a great deal more than just Deng’s leadership to ensure any type of real success . Williams and his teammates were in action on Thursday night when they faced the Sacramento Kings and made a spirited comeback for a decisive victory over their conference rivals in the West. Luke Walton had to be pleased by what he witnessed from his team and their performance . It bodes well for the Los Angeles Lakers’ next game when they tip-off against the New Orleans Pelicans at the Smoothie Center in New Orleans , Louisiana on Saturday , 12th November , 2016 .

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The divisiveness and rancor seen from this political season , as evidenced with the Congressional and Presidential election , hasn’t yet spilled over into the world of sports , but there is an underlying element in the behavior of the personalities involved. At times it can be and lead to “ win at at any cost” and then in the aftermath, you seek to clean up the mess , though not necessarily in the best way possible .

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Tophatal ………… 2016/11/09

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Things that make you go Huh ?

Things that make you go Huh ?

Well, as the election cycle gets into full swing with the Presidential and Vice Presidential Debates the world cannot escape the incompetence now being shown by GOP nominee Donald Trump . As his misogynistic rants continue, so too do the depths of his infamy. Not content with having admitted to making several derogatory remarks about a female political activist , Trump would also go on to state he tried to elicit sex from several females, groping them improperly without their consent. With the second of the two Presidential Debates taking place on Sunday night, Trump having issued a less than contrite apology would then parade four females who were said to be victims of the unwanted sexual advances of former President Bill Clinton . The Republican nominee in seeking to distance himself from his latest meas-culpa , tried to suggest Bill Clinton’s behavior as President was less than honorable when it came to his sexual indiscretions. Less I am mistaken , there is no difference Donald Trump’s actions and that of the politician he now claims to be a sexual deviant. Unfortunately, for the American public as well as the electorate, they now have to choose between two candidates who happen to represent all that is wrong with the current political climate within the country.

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Away from the political arena, the sports’ world is in the midst of one of the most important periods of the calendar year. Baseball has begun its postseason and we have seen the demise of the New York Mets and the Baltimore Orioles . Two teams thought to be capable of winning the World Series this year , but clearly, neither of these teams were capable of being there for the long haul . The surprise performers of this postseason might well be the Toronto Blue Jays , who have booked themselves a berth in the ALCS and where they will await the winner of the series between the Boston Red Sox and Cleveland Indians . Boston faces an Indians’ team firing on all cylinders, looking to secure their own path to the ALCS and will do their utmost close out the series with an emphatic game-three victory . That game will take place on Monday evening

We are now just fifteen-days away from the beginning of the NBA regular season schedule. The Cleveland Cavaliers will be looking to defend the title they won last season under somewhat controversial circumstances. Anyone who believes the ejection of Draymond Green did not play a part in the outcome of the NBA Finals between the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers might well have been watching another series altogether. Both teams have been in action during the NBA preseason schedule , looking to resume from they left off from last season . A bold move was made by the Golden State Warriors as they acquired multi-time scoring champion and former League MVP and All Star , Kevin Durant . His joining the Warriors , adds a potent offensive talent and will likely add another twenty-five points per game to Golden State’s already astonishing scoring average based upon last season’s statistics . The core depth of the roster might just be the best in the entire NBA and I do believe they will be team to beat this upcoming season in spite of the Cleveland Cavaliers being the reigning NBA champions.

Draymond Green , Kevin Durant , Steph Curry , Klay Thompson and the rest of this Steve Kerr coached team will certainly be looking to avenge last year’s postseason display . Curry has missed a couple of games during the preseason , as he sits out those contest due to a medical issue . I have no doubt the Warriors are the team to beat within the Western Conference and are certainly more than justified as the prohibitive favorites for the NBA title. The team will next be on court when they are due to face the Denver Nuggets on Friday night. That contest will be followed by two back-to-back road games against the Los Angeles Lakers on the 15th and 19th October respectively. Golden State’s regular season will begin on the 25th October when they face the San Antonio Spurs in their season home opener , a game which will likely be very competitive if last season’s contests are anything to go by.

LeBron James continues be the best player of his generation and most certainly he has lived up to the hype, ever since being taken as the number one overall draft pick in the 2003 NBA Draft . LeBron continues to chase basketball immortality , as he seeks to emulate the achievements of his idol Michael Jordan . Whether or not he is able to surpass those achievements remains to be seen, but I do believe he will be considered among the top-fifteen players in NBA history by the time he chooses to end his career in the league . With an unbeaten streak to start the preseason , LeBron James and his teammates will be looking to remain dominant within the Central Division of the Eastern Conference , as was the case last season . James led the Cavaliers in all of the relevant offensive categories and was similarly impressive , as a defensive stalwart for the team. This upcoming season, I believe the Cleveland Cavaliers are quite capable of surpassing last season’s win total and quite possibly notch a sixty-win mark for only the second time in franchise history . This will all begin in earnest when the Cavaliers open up their regular season schedule against the New York Knicks at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland,Ohio on the 25th October , the official opening night of the NBA season. Last season the games between these two teams were very lopsided , with the Cavaliers having an easy time in getting the better of their Eastern Conference counterparts. On paper, the Knicks’ roster are likely to be better than the team of last season , given the moves made by the front office during the off-season. The addition of Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah should bolster the effectiveness of the New York Knicks , but I continue to have my doubts over the coaching ability of their newly installed head coach Jeff Hornacek !

Five games into the NFL season and we are already beginning to see the shakeout of the pretenders from the real contenders and nowhere has this been more evident than with the complete ineptitude shown by the Miami Dolphins (1-4) . Other than the hapless Cleveland Browns (0-5) , whose five-game win-less streak has become a real embarrassment . Perhaps no other team in h the NFL has become more of a joke than the Dolphins. The team’s quarterback Ryan Tannehill continues to show a lack of ability , leadership and and the prerequisite skill-set needed to win games when they matter the most. Defensively , as well as from an offensive standpoint , Miami continues to be in a dire situation, leading me to believe head coach Adam Gase could very well become the first coaching casualty of this NFL season !

The Miami Dolphins’ lack of effort seen in their 33-17 loss suffered at the hands of the Tennessee Titans was painful to watch , even more so, when you witness the sacking of Ryan Tannehill several times during the game . Tannehill was slow to read the Titans’ defense and I must say , he gave me the impression , his knowledge of the game is less than average , never-mind his entire performance in the contest ! Titans’ quarterback Marcus Mariota came away looking every bit the passer taken second overall by the Tennessee Titans in the 2015 NFL Draft . Where the Miami Dolphins now go from here is open to great deal of conjecture and speculation . In week six the Dolphins will face a tough task at home when they play the always dangerous Pittsburgh Steelers (4-1) .

You might not like it , but they are for real, the Alabama (Crimson Tide) remain the team to beat in College Football . At 6-0 , they are making things look extremely easy on so many levels . In week six Alabama took apart Arkansas (Razorbacks) by the score of 49-30 , barely breaking sweat along the way . With the victory the Crimson Tide will remain at the top of the polls and they are clearly the favorites among the top-ranked teams in the nation for the national title .

One of the highlights of the weekend ,. was the always volatile rivalry between Florida State (Seminoles) and the Miami (Hurricanes ) . This game did not fail to disappoint , as both teams were locked in a constant battle of wills , which in the end , came down to defense on the part of the Seminoles. In week seven Miami will go on to play North Carolina (Tar Heels) on Saturday afternoon , while Florida State will host Wake Forest .

Nick Saban , head coach of Alabama will be preparing his team for their game against Tennessee (Volunteers) , in a contest which should bring out the best in both teams .

Michael Bisping may not be the most high-profiled name within the UFC , but having won the UFC Middleweight Title the champion is now trying to cement his legacy within the sport. A well-respected veteran , Bisping’s dethroning of former champion Luke Rockhold , has been the defining moment of his career so far. However, at UFC 204 , Michael Bisping made his first defense of the title by facing fellow countryman Dan Henderson of England. The champion > retained his title with a unanimous decision on all three scorecards of the judges. Effective striking was the key to the victory and it now remains to be seen if a lucrative bout can now be arranged for Michael Bisping , with him taking on the number one contender for the Middleweight Title. UFC President Dana White is said to be leaning towards a possible match-up between Michael Bisping and UFC legend Anderson Silva , the most successful Middleweight fighter in UFC history. Chris Weidman , a former champion , currently ranked in the top-ten , is known to be frantically lobbying White , with a view to becoming Bisping’s next challenger. Either way , for the Englishman , this is the chance he has been waiting for , for a very long time .

It is by far in way the most popular sport in the world with , where the names of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are known all over the world and are considered to be the best two players in the world . Soccer is the art form whereas, NFL football remains gladiatorial in nature , with the fans yearning more for the bruising tackles , the crunching of bones and relatively little finesse being shown by the players within the NFL . Soccer for its part , has the skill-set and excitement one could wish for , but at the same time even when the games are not high-scoring the games can be very exciting. The English Premiership League (EPL) is considered the best professional soccer league in the world and where several of the top teams are among the best on the planet.

Last season , the Premiership was provided with one of the biggest surprises in its history , when Leicester City won the league title for the very first time in its history. This season as the defending champions this team will have its work cut out , seeking to make a successful defense of their title. Mid-table and struggling to keep pace with the league leaders , this Leicester City team has suddenly found they are no longer the hunters , but they have become the prey . In their last Premiership encounter Leicester faced Southampton in a contest which ended in a scoreless draw (0-0). Next up for The Toffees as they are more commonly know by their fans will be Premiership game against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in London on the 15th October , 2016 .

With Leicester City’s rise to prominence , along came fame and fortune for the team’s best player Jamie Vardy , has now become the face of Leicester City as well as , one of the most well-known players in the entire Premiership (EPL). If Vardy can continue to show the consistency seen over the past two seasons with the team , then there is no reason to believe his teammates will not follow his lead.

The most successful club in English soccer history is Manchester United and having changed managers this past season , a new chapter begins and there are great expectation under the team’s new manager Jose Mourinho . The new manager with the blessing of the Board of Directors have spent millions of dollars acquiring new players to form a competitive squad . This season United will have to be at their very best if they are to challenge their rivals within the Premiership . Jose Mourinho and his players will be on the field this weekend when they play Liverpool , in what will be one of the best games on the schedule .

Though it’s still early days yet with regard to the schedule , there is still a long way to go in the Premiership season and the games to be played. Teams will strive to be competitive as the season progresses and I believe it will all come down to the consistency shown by the clubs .


With all of the political intrigue and stupidity recently shown by Donald Trump, has it caused to be disinterested in the upcoming election ? Also as baseball , football and basketball makes their impressions upon us , which of these sporting events will now have your undivided attention ?

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Tophatal ………… 2016/10/10

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A higher standard of what ? More bullshit and then some ? …

A higher standard of what ? More bullshit and then some ? …

.Nothing good can now be obtained from the indifference and lack of consistency being shown by the NFL hierarchy and several of their franchises as they come under persistent attack from the media and women’s groups alike , for their lack of dealing with the issue of domestic violence and spousal abuse. Take into account this has been an ongoing situation , which the league and union (NFLPA) have failed to discuss in spite of repeated incidents involving a number of the league’s players. Commissioner Roger Goodell has remained steadfast in his opinion the league is doing enough to deal with this acute issue , having brought in several women to recommend and in working with former FBI Director Louis Freeh to come up with a credible plan to deal with the matter and further deflect the continued criticism the league has received from almost every corner of the public’s attention and view.

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Unfortunately , this is all too little , too late , when the NFL itself has repeatedly failed to punish players for their egregious behavior , while apathetic fans are calling for the matter to be dealt with purely by the justice system. In large part the US Justice System has far too often failed the victims of such crimes , especially in the numerous cases of sexual assault , where far too often , it has been left for a State Attorney General’s Office to obtain a plea deal from a defendant simply to obtain a guilty plea without having to go to trial , or when there is a judicial case , more often than not , the leniency of sentences applied to such crimes , do lead many to wonder how is justice being served ? Anger management classes and the chance the league itself will actually welcome you back , after having beaten a spouse does make this issue seem to meaningless, when it comes to the case of domestic violence.

These cases have now been highlighted by the incidents surrounding Ray Rice of the Baltimore Ravens who is now taking legal advice about whether or not he can appeal his indefinite suspension by the NFL. The player will be provided a lawyer by the union , as is customary in such cases, where a player seeks to appeal a suspension . The Minnesota Vikings’ running back Adrian Peterson now finds himself in the midst of a firestorm after his being charged with child abuse charges and his lawyer , Rusty Hardin now seeking to quell the latest allegations that this was not the first such incident of Peterson abusing a child . Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton (Rep- MN) has called on the Vikings to suspend the player pending the outcome of the investigation now being conducted in the state of Texas by the state’s Department of Child Welfare working in conjunction with the Texas State Attorney General’s Office . Minnesota Vikings’ owners, Zygi and Mark Wilf reinstated Peterson , having conferred with the team’s Chief Legal Counsel , but have stated the matter remains under review pending the outcome of the investigation ongoing in the state of Texas.

Greg Hardy of the Carolina Panthers having been charged with domestic violence was still allowed to take part in the Panthers’ most recent game , albeit , head coach Ron Rivera stated he felt the player warranted still being a member of the team. It is clear the league hierarchy have not given teams any indication as to how they should treat such matters and there seems to be no consistency in terms of how the league treats these incidents . To further heighten the ongoing absurdity , Jed Yorke and Trent Baalke of the San Francisco 49ers have seen fit to have Ray McDonald on the team’s roster even after the player recently acknowledged in a press interview with members of the local press in San Francisco , he had in fact been involved in an argument with his pregnant fiancée, where he is said to have physically assaulted her. Whatever else might be needed for the Niners to take some form of action after his admittance, has to leave everyone in a state of bewilderment about the sheer absurdity in the reasoning of Yorke and Baalke . I would suffice to say , the league itself has to be wondering when and where the next incident will come from, to further blacken the eye and image of the league , while apathetic fans continue to gesticulate and make prognosis as to what is still said to right about the NFL.

In trying to now justify the NFL’s stance would be in a similar vein of suggesting the Congress has been prudent in how they have dealt with the economy and pieces of cumbersome legislation passed which has left the country still in a quagmire. The Federal Reserve for all of its prudent gauging of the economy, has created a false premise under which on a daily they are selling billions of dollars in Treasury Bonds, merely to keep the government and the economy afloat while suggesting the country itself is on an even keel. Nothing could be further from the truth , as now being witnessed in the jobs’ marketplace . Federal Reserve Chairperson Janet Yellen has to sleepwalk us through the subterfuge her agency creates . The league , likewise , has created its own charade of being able to deal with its own underlying issues , when in fact it is lacking credibility , leadership and where the owners are simply looking for their lapdog , Roger Goodell to steer a course , where the only thing that matters are rising revenues , profits and to take one or two knocks to its image, while what they deem to be an image makeover is nothing more than window dressing.

Week two in the NFL brought about some highs and lows . The Seattle Seahawks were quickly brought back down to earth , suffering their first regular season loss and loss of any kind since December , 2013 . Last season’s Superbowl champions seemed almost invincible in their week one victory over the Green Bay Packers , but somehow the Philip Rivers’ led San Diego Chargers got the better of Richard Sherman and his teammates. Sherman for his part, had little to say after the team’s loss , which might suggest his bravado has been quelled for the moment. How the Seahawks recover from the defeat will tell us a great deal about the team and whether or not there is still justification for them to be viewed as a legitimate candidate to make a successful defense of their title. Seattle will play host to the Denver Broncos this upcoming Sunday in a rematch of their Superbowl duel with the AFC West based franchise.

Far be it for me to suggest , but when a head coach makes the statement , ” we need to get and play better ” . I feel it is very much a warning sign , things are very much in danger of getting worse , with the likelihood the coach’s job might be in danger ! Dennis Allen of the Oakland Raiders has seen his team get off to an 0-2 start and there seem to be no signs of life from anyone of the roster. There were great hopes that they had a player in Derek Carr capable of leading the Raiders as the franchise’s starting quarterback , but the being placed into the lion’s den as a rookie has shown that the player still has a great deal to learn , with the alternatives at the position being exceedingly thin. Veteran quarterback Matt Schaub is certainly not the answer with his best years now in a rear view mirror , rather than being ahead of him.

The Raiders’ two opening season losses have been by margins of five and sixteen points and with the team’s defense being among the worst in the NFL. If those defensive issues cannot be addressed by Dennis Allen and his coaching staff , the possibility of the Raiders being remotely competitive within their division will not be a reality at all. Never mind the fact the head coach’s position is likely to be in jeopardy. Oakland will need to find some semblance of life if they are to avoid going 0-3 through the first three games of their schedule. Dennis Allen will take the Raiders on the road in week three , where his team will face the New England Patriots (1-1) in an all AFC clash at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro’ Massachusetts ,.

Terry Pegula seems destined to become new owner of the Buffalo Bills, who are surprisingly are off to a 2-0 start within the NFL , with the team responding to Doug Marrone’s apparent coaching philosophy for this season. Whether or not these changes have come about by way of the draft or through free agent acquisitions. There now seems to be a new resolve about the team and the organization in general. Buffalo leads the AFC East , though it is still early in the season, the Bills will seek to make further inroads into the year when they play their next scheduled game , a match-up against match-up against the San Diego Charges on Sunday afternoon at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park , New York,.

A home win for the Bills would push their record to 3-0 and place them with a very good lead within the division. It would certainly place pressure on the New England Patriots , reigning divisional champions whose own regular season start has been underwhelming even with taking into account their lopsided victory over the Minnesota Vikings in week two. What this might now suggest about the Patriots will be put to the test for Bill Belichick and his players over the course of this season . For Tom Brady , as he approaches the twilight of his career , it has to be said the quarterback remains as hungry as ever for another postseason appearance with a Superbowl victory being the ultimate goal , for the three-time winning Superbowl player. New England’s contest against the Oakland Raiders will give more of an idea as whether not this team is capable of making another postseason ,for which many NFL prognosticators believe the Patriots are once again capable of achieving.

The Carolina Panthers are the only unbeaten team in the NFC South , both the New Orleans Saints and Tampa Bay Buccaneers are not looking anything like serious contenders within the division. I have long-held the contention that neither the Saints or Buccaneers can play consistently and both defenses on the pair of teams in question are at best , average , if not worse . Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons continue to disappoint , even if they are now 1-1 within the division. Mike Smith’s job is likely to be on the line this season if the Falcons fail to compete , a divisional title or a playoff berth has to be the goal for the team . Anything short of those goals and team owner Arthur Blank is likely to make the call for the firing of Smith along with several members of the coaching staff . GM Thom Dimitroff may well find his job will also be in jeopardy if Atlanta fails , as he and Smith have been the primary architects of the current roster through the draft and most recent free agent acquisitions .

With Cam Newton being sidelined in week one , the Panthers won convincingly and then followed up with an emphatic victory over the vastly overrated Detroit Lions . From my own perspective , I believe with the disastrous starts by the New Orleans Saints and Tampa Bay Buccaneers they will be hard pressed to make a real battle of the division and the NFC overall. In week three Carolina will take on the Pittsburgh Steelers , while the Falcons will play hosts o the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New Orleans will entertain the beleaguered Minnesota Vikings .

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This NFL season has been nothing short of ridiculous with the audacity of the league hierarchy as led by Roger Goodell and their belief by simply making a number late proactive moves the adverse publicity can be turned around. Having hired Louis Freeh to oversee an investigation and seeking advice from number of women’s groups has been nothing short of idiotic on the part of the NFL. Goodell and the owners have simply lost sight of the mere fact they have done little to truly address prior bad acts of the players , as well as dealing with numerous issues which have affected the league over the years. Do you believe the NFL can recover from the adverse publicity it is now receiving and has the league done enough to deflect the negativity it is now engulfed in ?

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Picture and slideshow details below .
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(1) Roger Goodell , beleaguered NFL Commissioner , who has s to deal with the news that two major corporate endorsers are disatisfied with the league’s recent handling several scandals which has engulfed the nation’s most beloved pastime . Billion dollar commercial behemoths McDonalds and Inbev SA (makers of Budweierser Beer and several other global brands) have been extremely critical of the NFL’s handling of the Ray Rice affair and other recent headline making news deemed negative for the NFL. AP Photo / Paul Cross …

(2) Prime Vikings owners Mark Wilf ,left and Zygi Wilf see fans lining a second-floor railing Monday in the Minnesota Capitol. Having won the state legislature’s approval for new stadium the franchise now find itself beset by the episode now surrounding the guilt or innocence of Adrian Peterson and allegations of child abuse. Both Mark and Zygi Wilf have made the decision to have Peterson sit out the Vikings’ regular season schedule pending the outcome of an ongoing investigation of the allegations . The player is being represented by famed Texas attorney Rusty Hardin . Getty Images / Peter Marsh …

(3) Carolina Panthers’ defensive end Greg Hardy , who has been charged with domestic abuse and violence , and is now awaiting trial on the charges . The player meanwhile has to deal with negative publicity surrounding his actions as well as the criticism aimed at the Panthers’ franchise. AP Photo / Carol Harris ….

(4) Dennis Allen head coach of the Oakland Raiders is off to another disastrous season with his team playing haphazard football and lying at the bottom of the AFC West division. AP Photo/ Paul McGregor ….

(5) Terry Pegula , the new owner owner of the Buffalo Bills and also owner of the NHL’s Buffalo Sabres . UPI / Tim Matthews ….

(6) Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ head coach Lovie Smith watches as the team’s quarterback Josh McCown makes a pass during a team practice session. The Buccaneers are win-less and struggling to make sense of their season under their new head coach. Tampa Bay Times / all rights reserved ….

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The what if premise and what could or would, actually happen …

The what if premise and what could or would, actually happen …

By tophatal ………..

A friend and I, were recently discussing the state of the economy and as we know, figures normally offered up by so many of the federal agencies ( Commerce Department) tend to overstate , rather than giving a truly exact figure. Done more so to impress , more than anything else, while the politicians themselves ,seek to take credit for initiatives that they believe , they originally set into motion. Given that, individuals, such as House members Paul Ryan, Senator Rand Paul , Senator Mitch McConnell , John Boehner , Sen Charles E Schumer , Sen Robert Menendez , Harry Reid, Sen Ted Cruz and Pete Olsen , show a propensity for never-ending stupidity , as it relates to economic matters and that , they tend to now work under the premise of what ifs . I wonder, how they might feel , if the public were allowed to use the same premise, by suggesting, what if the US Congress were actually paid on performances by way of productivity and legislative measures passed , that actually prove to be of benefit , by actually truly creating growth in the economy ?

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Slideshow .

Far too many idiots , are under the mistaken belief, that the private sector alone can be the biggest producers of jobs and investment within the economy . Consider the following, US companies are now sitting on a cash-pile of over $3.26 trillion ($3,260,000,000,000) , representing over 20% of the nation’s GDP (gross domestic product) , yet , when pressed to broach this subject, about why these corporations are not investing in jobs , infrastructure , much less capital investments , those who espouse a “conservative” opinion , are hard pressed to offer up a concise answer about the reasons why these companies are not investing. They may well point to the buoyancy of the stock market , with their being voluminous activity , by way either major business takeovers or increased profits , but that in of-itself, is not always considered to be a real indicator of a vibrant economy . Apathy on the part of the electorate and the very fact, that the members of the US Congress are not always clear speaking, when addressing the nuances and vagaries of macroeconomics , much less any type of governmental policy, be it, domestic or foreign, in nature. If you were informed, that for every dollar spent within the US economy, forty cents of that, was derived from government spending , one wonders how that might be addressed by those who seek to have massive reduction of spending without being able to suggest where they believe cuts should be made , other than to social welfare programs ?

Unfortunately, the country also possesses a leader , who has become something of a “dead weight” , not only in terms of a policy stance , but the indication is now here, to show that Barack Obama, flits from each issue, like a bee pollinating a flower , while in the hope, that the pollination will be a real success. His initiatives have been very much like that, without him being readily willing to admit to any failure during his tenure . With the mid-term elections now less than six months away , the nation is about to be “sold a bill of goods” , with each side pointing to the danger of electing or re-electing an opponent. It’s pretty much safe to say, no matter who gets elected or reelected , things are unlikely to change , as the status quo within both legislative chambers is likely to remain the same. The only thing, that actually separates a “Liberal” from a Conservative “ , just happens to be the depth of their deceit and corruptible practices . Altruism, simply goes out the door, once these officials have been elected to both chambers of the congress !

The NFL’s not so quiet off-season, has led to a stream of player movement , with veterans well as second and third year players, now finding a new home to display their skill-set. Granted, the contracts are not as steep, but , there have been cases, where some players have remained with their teams, having signed a contract extension . The Chicago Bears having rid themselves of Julius Peppers , somehow then saw fit to offer their veteran quarterback , Jay Cutler a seven-year $126 million contract , therein making Cutler the highest paid player in the NFL. Now take into account, that Jay Cutler’s playoff record has been far from stellar . In two playoff appearances, during the Bears 2010 playoff run , the player bears a 1-1 record, for which those performances, can best be described as being downright mediocre. GM Phil Emery and the Bears’ front office , were either of the opinion, that they can rally behind Cutler, with regard to the franchise’s future , with his being their best option to lead them to their goal of a Superbowl victory. Or they may well have felt that the player might well have been inclined to seek a trade ,with their being growing disillusionment among the fans of his not being able to lead the team deep into the postseason. A necessary trait that is desired, with any quarterback, seeking to lead a team to a Superbowl victory and Cutler, is no different from any of his peers within the game today.

The Chicago Bears, were far from convincing in 2013, having finished the season with an 8-8 record within the NFC North under head coach Marc Trestman . Many of their travails, stemmed from the inconsistency of the offense and their lackadaisical approach on defense . Yet, for those who remain stoic believers in Jay Cutler’s skill-set , I would suggest that at this stage of the eight year veteran’s career in the NFL, they begin to review the premise that he is indeed one of the better quarterbacks in the league.

Trestman I believe, will be able to correct the issues concerning his team, but with the off-season moves made by the organization, make the necessary room available via cap space available, to lure free agents and at the same time, be in preparation for the upcoming NFL Draft. Chicago’s wants, are likely to encompass the need for a pass rusher, and one or two , defensive linemen. Yet, at the end of the day, that is by no means a certainty of where Marc Trestman, the coaching staff and front office are likely to discuss their primary focus in terms of the team’s requirements.

Last season’s dismal performance in the Superbowl , still looms large over not only Peyton Manning , but also over the remaining cast of teammates, still on the roster . The Broncos’ lopsided loss to the rampaging Seattle Seahawks, led by sophomore quarterback Russell Wilson , sent a somber reminder that just because, you are viewed as one of the all-time greats , it does not make you invincible . The fact that the two combatants in last season’s NFL finale, were deemed to be the two best teams , not solely based on their records alone , but also statistically, in terms of defense and offense. What the viewing fans were subjected to, via the live television broadcast , with tens of millions watching nationally and estimated 1.3 billion watching worldwide , might well have been the biggest ” black eye “ that the NFL has suffered in recent years , if it was the intention of the league hierarchy to sell that particular game as branded product” . If anything, it was simply an eyesore of unquantifiable magnitude . Suffice to say, Manning may well have given one of his worst postseason performances ever, but the action served up by his teammates was equally inept in terms of measure and substance . John Fox and his coaching staff may well need to look at the team’s secondary and assess the numerous areas, where they allowed the Seahawks tear through many of their flaws , warts and all.

The 2014 NFL season may well provide the fans of the league, the very last chance, to see the best both Peyton Manning and Tom Brady, as they make one more tilt at adding to their respective postseason and Superbowl legacies . I do believe, that they are both capable of taking their teams back to the postseason, but the question remains, will they each, have enough in the tank, to actually get the job done ?

It does not pain me to say this, but there is a great deal of bull#hit, to be found within the blogging world , especially when it comes to the area of sports, and the very fact that many of the opinions being put down, are either half-baked, without merit or any common sense whatsoever ! With the recent acquisitions of wide receiver Eric Decker and running back Chris Johnson, one blogging contributor tried to suggest that overnight the New York Jets would immediately become a credible favorite to win the AFC East , because of the offensive firepower provided by both players. Now while I believe both Decker and Johnson, to be very good players at their respective positions, but I think that the contributor simply overlooked the fact about the Jets’ quarterback just happened to be last season. Anyone of the belief , that rookie Geno Smith had a very good year and was among the best of the rookie quarterbacks who saw action during 2013 , must be sadly mistaken, if they were under the impression that the AFC East signal caller was among the best of the rookies in question . Learning from one’s mistakes, actually shows signs of growth, but there was none to be seen from Smith over the course of the season.

Rex Ryan as head coach of the New York Jets, went through a tumultuous season in 2013, bedeviled by the fact, he had to deal with the issues of Mark Sanchez, .who has since departed from the Jets’ organization . Ryan failed to curtailed the exuberance and lack of understanding by his incumbent starting quarterback , and it was clear that beyond his own future being in jeopardy, along with that of his entire coaching staff , in particular quarterbacks’ coach David Lee , whose obvious tutelage of Smith left a great deal to be desired. How this all could be overlooked by the blogger who was seeking to show that the Jets’ quarterback was growing stature , leads me to believe that he simply lacked an original idea , much less the intelligence to see the obvious. Smith may have had a great college career, being among the very best, during his final year at West Virginia (Mountaineers) . But that in of-itself, has not been enough to remotely suggest that there is likely to be an improvement in his play during this upcoming season.

It would be fair to suggest, that since their appearance in the Superbowl in 2003 , with Bill Callahan , then as the head coach of the Oakland Raiders . In the aftermath of that loss, to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, things have simply spiraled out of control for the once venerable and well-respected franchise. The coaching turnovers instigated by then owner Al Davis , his later death, with the passing of ownership to his son, Mark Davis . Yet, things continue to be as mediocre as it has ever been on all fronts , within the front office , to the personnel decisions being as it relates the draft and their ongoing acquisitions. The era of Carson Palmer, came and went without anyone actually noticing a damn thing ! As to the belief that All Pro Defensive player Nnamdi Asomugha was to be that game-changer that Raiders’ fans claimed him to be, well, let us just say, that Asmougha’s retirement from the game after something of a lackluster career, can only be highlighted by the fact, he is now married to one of Hollywood’s hottest actresses , in Kerry Washington.

In 2013, Raiders’ head coach Dennis Allen struggled to get his team playing with any measure of competitiveness , never-mind, that within the AFC West , with the now resurgent Kansas City Chiefs , San Diego Chargers to go alongside the dominant Denver Broncos made things all the more difficult within the division , for the beleaguered franchise. Defensively, the Raiders were nonplussed, performing with the modicum of mediocrity, one would come to expect of a franchise that has become one of the “major laughing stocks” of the NFL over the past decade . Not to be left out of the equation, was the absurdity of seeing the Raiders’ offense in motion. Coming off, a 4-12 season , it is easy to understand why the Oakland Raiders have continued to struggle over the past decade . There has been no form of leadership on the roster or from anyone on the coaching staff , along with the hyperbole over players such as Darren McFadden , Terrelle Pryor , Marcel Reese , Denarius Moore, Jeron Mastrud , Jason Hunter, LaMarr Houston , Nick Roach , Tracy Porter , Mike Jenkins and veteran Charles Woodson , whose best years are now behind him, that his best view , would come by use of rear view mirror !

For the hyperbole surrounding Terrelle Pryor, during his collegiate career at Ohio State (Buckeyes) , under the now disgraced former head coach , Jim Tressel . There is no denying the fact , that while the player is immensely talented , his lack of maturity and integrity , sullied his reputation and chance of being a high draft pick , had he declared for the NFL Draft under the usual circumstances. Instead , the quarterback was taken in the 2011 NFL Supplemental Draft by the Oakland Raiders , with the thought that he would hone his craft , become a productive player in the NFL . If nothing else, there have been glimpses of brilliance from the player , but rarely anything, to really suggest that he is capable of leading a team at the highest level. Now after merely two years in the league, Raiders’ GM Reggie McKenzie and team owner Mark Davis, have made the decision that the Terrelle Pryor reign in Oakland , must now come to an immediate end. Pryor for his part, has landed on his feet, having been picked up by Pete Carroll and the Seattle Seahawks, where in all likelihood, Pryor is likely to be the third on the team’s depth chart behind Russell Wilson and Tarvaris Jackson . One cannot help but wonder, about what might have been, had Terrelle Pryor simply shown the promise seen at the collegiate level during his time with the Buckeyes. Instead, another overrated quarterback, falls by the wayside , though not yet on the scrap-heap , littered with passers, we have seen come and go over the past ten years within the NFL.

There has been a great deal written , in the lead-up the NFL Draft, as to whom , the prospective number one overall draft pick is likely to be. Now to my mind, in spite of the prestige that comes with such a choice for the team, said to be privileged with making that decision. The choice itself, does have its pratfalls, because a great deal , is not only made of that decision, but also of the financial outlay that is likely to be costly for a franchise, albeit, that there is now a rookie salary scale, now in place within the NFL , unlike from earlier years , past. In 2007, JaMarcus Russell , then the number one pick by the Oakland Raiders in the draft of that year , was afforded a rookie contract, that was nothing short of astonishing , as Al Davis made the decision to give the former LSU Tigers’ quarterback, a six-year $61 million deal , with $32 million in guaranteed money . Russell’s career began in a bluster and simply fizzled during the later years , with his offering nothing of substance during his stay in the NFL . Once again, the Raiders go out on a flier , taking a high risk player , without obtaining anything tangible in return, for the fruits of their labor. Due diligence and intelligence, is not something that is likely to be found in abundance within the Raiders’ organization and certainly not during the latter years of Al Davis’ reign or during that of his son , working with Reggie McKenzie.

The agents for Johnny Manziel , Jadeveon Clowney , Blake Bortles , Greg Robinson and Khalil Mack , are likely to be working frantically, to have their client be viewed as that desired number one pick , as well as being, the type of player, that a franchise can build around. Rarely, is that the case, with a number one pick in the NFL Draft, but there is always the exception to the rule. A case can be made that, Eli Manning in 2004 and Andrew Luck in 2012 , were the last two number one picks in the NFL Draft who can be looked upon as being picks, that have paid off hugely in terms of the dividends returned for their respective teams in the past eight years . Though this past season , Eli Manning and the New York Giants were an immense disappointment within the NFC East and the conference in its entirety . The thought, that the front office is now said to be considering demoting their two-time Superbowl winning quarterback and their drafting his heir-apparent, does seem nonsensical , when you consider the woes of the team were not solely Manning’s alone .

Nine years after the fallout, from Eli Manning’s refusal to go the San Diego Chargers, it does seem somewhat fortuitous , how the paths of Manning and Philip Rivers have remained intertwined , for right and wrong reasons, but one could also point to the fact, that their paths have also been exemplary , in terms of the success attained and the productivity of their respective careers .

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Picture gallery .

What do you expect to see during this off-season in the lead-up to the NFL Draft and do you believe that a number one pick is a likely guarantee of success for an NFL franchise ? Your thoughts on this and anything else you believe to be relevant to the topic, as you see fit?

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Picture and slideshow gallery details below .

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(1) From left to right , Congress members , Sen Lamar Alexander , Eric Cantor , House Majority Leader , John Boehner , Sen Charles Schumer , Nancy Pelosi and Sen Harry Reid . Bilateral agreements now seem to be a thing of the past in Congress, but most certainly, a photo opportunity can never be missed by the members of the House and Senate . Getty Images North America/ Phil Thatcher …..

(2) Two of the NFL’s leading pass rushers and defensive linemen , left Julius Peppers , formerly of the Chicago Bears and now a member of the Green Bay Packers . Pictured with Peppers is Jared Allen (69) , whose departure from the Minnesota Vikings to remain in the NFC North , having signed with the Bears. The rivalry between these two players will continue as both seek to climb up the ladder , as each seeks to make a dent in the active sacks’ mark , where the all-time record is held by Hall of Famer …. Bruce Smith with 200 sacks . AP Photo/ Kevin Freeman ….

(3) Chicago Bears’ quarterback Jay Cutler (6) is seen here on the sidelines during a game played against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia , Pennsylvania on the 22nd December , 2013. Also pictured is head coach Marc Trestman , whose team would suffer their biggest loss of the season , suffering a humiliating 54-11 defeat at the hands of the Chip Kelly coached Eagles. AP Photo / Phil Matthews …

(4) Russell Wilson (3) of the Seattle Seahawks is congratulated by his opposite number , Peyton Manning (18) of the Denver Broncos, after the Seahawks’ surprisingly easy triumph in defeating the Broncos 48-3 in Superbowl 48 played at the MetLife Stadium , in East Rutherford , New Jersey on the 2nd February , 2014 ., Manning had one his worst postseason performances of his illustrious NFL career. A shakeup has already began within the Broncos’ roster, with a number of notable departures during the off-season , led by Eric Decker and Champ Bailey , both seasoned veterans with the franchise. AP Photo / Chris Hall ……

(5) New York Jets’ quarterback Geno Smith is seen here with head coach Rex Ryan after the two celebrate a home victory during 2013 in a a game played at MetLife Stadium , in East Rutherford, New Jersey,. The player was somewhat unflattering with his displays , during the season , blowing hot and cold , where there was a preponderance throw interceptions at the most inopportune of moments , while leading the team to rather sub-par record within the AFC East . Excuses are now being made for the rookie quarterback , although he was said to be one of the most efficient passers entering the NFL Draft last season. Somehow that all seemed to be lost on his proponents, who continue to show their apathy . Smith’s play rarely improved during the latter half of the season , leading the franchise to now acquiring veteran Michael Vick as his backup for the upcoming season. Getty Images / Tom Clarke …..

(6) Terrelle Pryor (2) of the Oakland Raiders is seen here being congratulated by head coach Dennis Allen after a ninety-yard . twelve-play drive during the game played against the Pittsburgh Steelers at the O Coliseum in Oakland , California , last season . Pryor was traded by the franchise , having acquired Matt Schaub as a free agent during the off-season . Allen was said to be openly critical of Pryor’s agent, Jerome Stanley , who criticized the organization, for what he believes to be the mistreatment of his client, by the Oakland Raiders . Terrelle Pryor and Stanley , have since parted ways, without their said to being any acrimony between the player and his former agent. AP Photo / Rusty Shaw ……….

(7) Eli Manning (10) of the New York Giants and Philip Rivers (17) of the San Diego Chargers will be forever be joined at the hips after the events that were unfurled during the 2004 NFL Draft , after Manning and his father , Archie Manning refused to join the Chargers . After the hostilities wore off , Manning would join the Giants with Rivers ending up in San Diego. How different things might have been , had the Giants’ quarterback plied his trade in California , remains a bone of continued speculation , with the player having led the franchise to their two most recent Superbowl victories , both over the New England Patriots . AP/REUTERS/ Anthony Shaffer ………….

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A horse by any other name is still a horse and the New York Yankees will still remain the New York Yankees as an organization who remain bereft of creativity …

A horse by any other name is still a horse and the New York Yankees will still remain the New York Yankees as an organization who remain bereft of creativity …

It would appear that with the death of their patriarch George Steinbrenner , his offspring led by Hank , Hal Steinbrenner , Jessica Steinbrenner and Jennifer Steinbrenner-Swindahl as the current owners of baseball’s most venerable and successful franchise are intent on carrying as progeny’s, with the premise that they are willing to spend as they seek further success , but in their own right. As we know over the past decade , when all else fails , when this organization has not been able to develop talent from within its system in several years . It has been left to GM Brian Cashman ,once given the “go ahead” , to simply pry open the vault and overspend on talent . In aftermath of an unsuccessful season in 2013, in which we saw the team flounder for the majority of their schedule, as aging players CC Sabathia , Hiroki Kuroda , Derek Jeter , Alex Rodriguez, Curtis Granderson and Andy Pettite were either unproductive , ailing with injuries or in the case of Rodriguez, simply seeking to make excuses for his own misdeeds as he continues to blame the league hierarchy for seeking to drive him out of baseball.

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Slideshow gallery .

Now while it would be true to suggest, that the New York Yankees are the franchise who simply sets the ratings for the national viewership of for baseball and attendance as well adjudging the value and profitability of the league’s thirty teams . It would be fair to say, that in terms of overall success in the past six years, but for their lone triumph in 2009 , the intervening years between that World Series’ victory and the franchise’s last 2000 , have been somewhat lean as to the lofty expectations of the New York Yankees’ organization overall. At the start of the 2013 season , Hal Steinbrennner’s intent was to reduce the team’s payroll to below $200 million , in order to avert having to pay the MLB “luxury tax” that has repeatedly penalized high-spending salaried teams within the game . Given the fact that in 2013 , only the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers were the only team meeting the criteria of having to be taxed . It does beg the question , whose assistance is this all being provided for , when the league itself does not choose to monitor how these monies are utilized by the beneficiaries of the Dodgers and Yankee’ largess ? Bear in mind , also , Bud Selig when pressed to explain the disparities, in the fact that New York was burdened with a surcharge of almost $40 million , whereas the Dodgers paid only $9.355 million when their payroll commitment to their entire personnel was merely $12 million less than the New York based franchise. The MLB Commissioner, was unable to explain the reason behind the disparity , as well as lacking the knowledge and expertise concerning the alleged benefits of the scheme.

Over the years, team owners such as Bob Nutting , Lew Wolff , Jeffrey Loria and Drayton McLane have simply used this charade as a way to line their own pockets , while pleading poverty on their franchises’ behalf . And for anyone seeking to also state that within the game of baseball , a form of parity is the closest thing that the “four major professional team sports” now have . I would ask you to look at the participants of this past postseason and then adjudge the teams’ payrolls and then explain how it is that 25% of baseball’s $3.125 billion payroll commitment was tied up in the salary commitment of the Dodgers , Detroit Tigers and others who made up the MLB postseason fare ?

There is no denying that for Joe Girardi and his staff , this past season was a nightmare beyond the injury issues of the team. An inconsistent offense as well as pitching led to numerous team woes beyond the lack of overall leadership , with Derek Jeter being missed from the lineup for the majority of the Yankees’ regular season games this past season , because of a re-occurrence to an old and persistent injury . From my own perspective, Jeter’s career is now on the wane and rarely are we able to simply see the flashes of brilliance , that once made him one of the best players and short-stops within the game . If anything, what is now sorely missed on this roster, are the intangibles he brought to the team as well as his leadership abilities. The same cannot be said of anyone currently playing on this team and therein now lies of the greatest flaws for the New York Yankees moving forward.

If the New York Yankees are to contend with a resurgent Boston Red Sox team that is likely to get better in 2014 rather than regressing . The same can be said of a Baltimore Orioles’ franchise, that came so close , but simply for the lack of dearth of pitching and offense , saw the latter half of their season implode. The retirements of Andy Pettite and Mariano Rivera leaves the pitching lineup with a great deal of uncertainty, as well as to who is now best capable to fit the closers’ role for the rotation. . The salaries of CC Sabathia , Mark Teixiera , Alex Rodriguez , Curtis Granderson , Alfonso Soriano and Veron Wells is one thing to bear when the organization is said to be doing well competitively and from a financial standpoint . However, this past season , more than any other time in recent memory this organization, has now become no longer impervious to genuine criticism into every aspect of its conduct on and off the field of play , but also the image , that has been permeated by lingering doubts as to the capability of the Steinbrenner family , in running what is essentially a multi-billion dollar business empire . The handling of the fallout of the Alex Rodriguez ‘ scandal’ .. , and the lack leadership shown by Brian Cashman , Hal Steinbrenner and Hank Steinbrenner in questioning the sound legal advice availed to them by Lonn A Trost , Chief Legal Counsel & SVP , has me now even questioning the rationale of many of the decisions now being made within the front office of the organization .

As I alluded to earlier, Hal Steinbrenner sought reduce the Yankees’ payroll substantially below $200 million for this past season . Yet, in a flurry of early and mid-season madness, some thirty-eight million dollars, were added to the payroll, when they sought to acquire both Vernon Wells and Alfonso Soriano . Now, while both players contributed to the team over the course of the season . One could hardly say that those contributions amounted to what would be deemed in any way, tangible success . Injury prone, Mark Teixeira , Curtis Granderson , Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez accounted for almost forty per-cent of the Yankees’ offense in 2012 , but with the injuries and age came the fall-off in a once prodigious offense.

With the Boston Red Sox seeking to build upon their success in 2013 , having won the World Series with a rather lopsided win over the St Louis Cardinals . GM Ben Cherington and the managerial staff headed by John Farrell sought to bolster this roster during this off-season . A number of players obviously would become superfluous to the team’s needs , as so often is the case. One of the more highly praised free agents this off-season by way of a productive bat , would be Jacoby Ellsbury of the Boston Red Sox . In what undoubtedly will come as a surprise to many of the die-hard Red Sox fans, been the player agreeing to a reported six-year $153 million deal with the New York Yankees . Now while I believe Ellsbury to be a very good player , and a great clubhouse leader , the very fact that in recent years he has become more of a health risk , leads me to be of the opinion that the risks do outweigh the advantages of such a deal . The likelihood is that Ellsbury is being brought into replace Curtis Granderson whose statistics were down from last season , as well as the outfielder’s recent own health concerns , also has me wondering what are the actual advantages of this deal in the first . Brian Cashman is merely moving once piece of a mismatched jigsaw puzzle , for another piece, that is very much similar in kind .

Having re-signed Hiroki Kuroda, the Yankees’ projected pitching rotation will be steeped in mediocrity . CC Sabathia and Kuroda may well be seen as the best one two punch that New York can assemble , but beyond that, there would be very little for an opponent to be fearful of .

The resignation of Jim Leyland from the Detroit Tigers after their free-fall in the postseason, leads me to believe that the manager felt that he could no longer take this ball-club farther than he already had. GM Dave Dombrowski and team owner Michael Ilitch tried to have their longstanding coach change his mind . Leyland’s wishes were respected and the Tigers have moved on, with the hiring of Brad Ausmus to succeed the venerable manager. With Ausmus’ hire has come the upheaval within the roster , with the departures of Prince Fielder and Doug Fister . And it does not appear that these deals are to be the last of the transactions that are likely to be made as Dave Dombrowski seeks to reshape this roster into a more competitive unit . The remainder of Fielder’s ludicrous contract will now be absorbed by the Texas Rangers whose lean years have continued , even in spite of two recent back to back ALCS pennant wins and World Series’ appearances that were doomed , because of the incompetency shown by the Rangers’ teams in each of the postseason finales in question.

The emphasis of this Detroit Tigers roster, now appears to be built around Miguel Cabrera , the reigning two-time AL MVP , pitchers Justin Verlander , Rick Porcello , Anibel Sanchez and Max Scherzer . With Brad Ausmus now succeeding Jim Leyland as the manager of what is likely to be a newly revamped Tigers lineup , a great deal is being asked of Leyland’s successor to emulate the success achieved and in leading this franchise forward. Dave Dombrowski will also have to deal with, the issue of a new contract for Max Scherzer , the AL Cy Young winner in 2013 and the American League’s most successful pitcher in terms of wins . It is debatable if the general manager will seek to make the pitcher the highest-paid pitcher on the Tigers’ roster, by offering him a multi-year deal .

The window of opportunity will always remain open for the Detroit Tigers , as long as Miguel Cabrera and Justin Verlander remain the centerpieces of this team and the pieces are in place around them . Anything short of that, and the future for the franchise would appear to be bleak.

It is extremely difficult to see how anyone can stand behind and continue to support the Houston Astros after two consecutive seasons of having exceeded one hundred losses in each of the past two years . Call it either the poor management style of Bo Porter and his staff or the fact that the teams in 2012 and 2013 have absolutely mediocre on all fronts . . Astros’ owner Jim Crane may well have been induced into overpaying for a franchise purely based on the marketing and revenue potential of the Houston area market place and the fact , that as part of the $775 million paid to purchase the franchise from Drayton McLane was deemed to be a bargain .

Two years on from that deal and the franchise apart from having amongst the lowest attendance in Major League Baseball , is now staving off financial worries as well as seeking in an injunction the US Federal Bankruptcy Courts to stop their broadcast partners CSN SportsNet Houston (CSN) from filing for bankruptcy reorganization (Chapter 11). Any such move, for the franchise would create financial embarrassment for not only Crane but for the entire Astros’ organization moving forward and for baseball , itself. Considering, the MLB hierarchy and their ongoing incompetence , as they are led by Bud Selig . All roads now appear to point to an uneasy journey ahead for the AL West ball-club. The MLB Commissioner was found wanting, in his now surreptitious handling of the Los Angeles Dodgers’ sale from the previous owner Frank McCourt , whose own mismanagement of the franchise has been well chronicled . Add in the fact that , a number team owners were widely convinced that Selig acted improperly during the proceedings, in trying dissuade the bankruptcy judge from accepting any other offer , than the bid submitted by Guggenheim Partners Inc and their wholly owned property Guggenheim Baseball Properties LLC .

With the Houston Astros having a vested interest in CSN Houston as a stakeholder in the cable broadcast outlet , that is also owned in part by Comcast Inc , parent company of NBC /Universal . The question that has to be asked, is how can a regional cable and sports’ broadcast outlet that is often seen as a financial windfall for a professional sports’ franchise be so mismanaged and mis-ran , to the extent , that one party simply wants to relinquish its holdings , while the other seeks to force their partner to carry on writing a blank check , and simply getting nothing tangible in return ? Clearly, Jim Crane and Jeff Luhnow are forcing this issue, as represented by their legal counsel in the US Federal Courts .

As to the ongoing competitiveness of the Houston Astros and this upcoming season . I am not so sure that we are not likely to see the franchise pull off a third consecutive season of losing in excess of one hundred games There has been nothing to suggest that the team is likely to improve , in spite of what are said to be great off-season moves and Jim Crane’s explicit wish to raise the payroll from $65 million in 2013 to over $80 million in 2014.

If there could be one word, to describe the Miami Marlins last season , along with their inept record and continued failings . It would have to be “failure” . On so many levels, this organization continues to be mismanaged , from the front office on down , never mind the fact manager Mike Redmond was thrown in at the deep end , without so much as a life jacket , yet was expected to somehow pull of a miracle and make this team competitive . Well, Redmond was able to achieve neither , in spite of the lone accolade of organization having seen their rookie pitcher , Jose Fernandez pick up the 2013 NL Rookie of the Year Honors . Team owner , Jeffrey Loria continues to play fast and loose with the truth, as to his dealings with the city of Miami as well as the Miami Dade County government and what was entailed in the franchise acquiring its ballpark and the fact the city of Miami residents will be left on the hook for the $575 million in costs for the paltry 35,000 seated venue . The public has yet to be ,made aware of the US Justice Department’s investigation of the city and their actions that led to the approval of the financing for the barely attended venue for Marlins’ games since its inauguration in 2012.

Miami City Mayor Tomas Regalado and many of his subordinates have remained tight-lipped , concerning any allegations of graft, with certain high-ranking city officials having accepted monetary gifts in order to approve the finance bill , that availed the baseball franchise its new venue. Bud Selig for his part , whose influence was ongoing , met with Loria behind the scenes to check the ongoing progress of deliberations, that were said to be taking place between Jeffrey Loria , Larry Beinfest , Michael Hill and David Samson in their continued meetings with both governmental agencies at the time . Somehow in the midst of this all, the commissioner also found time to disparage Florida’s only other professional Major League Baseball franchise , the Tampa Bay Rays , by questioning the integrity of the ownership group led by Stuart Sternberg and the club’s apparent unwillingness to obtain a new stadium . No assistance of any kind , has been provided by the commissioner to the Rays, in their continued endeavors for a new ballpark , and the franchise’s own fans being the continued imbeciles that they are, have never had the temerity to question Bud Selig’s motives in assisting the Marlins , but failing to come to the aid of the Tampa Bay Rays. The Rays’ fans are not as knowledgeable as they make themselves out to be , but they are extremely apathetic , most definitely , as can be seen in their wavering support of the franchise and continued excuses when it comes to the continued low attendance figures at Tropicana Field , in St Petersburg, Florida .

The Miami Marlins coming off their 62-100 season within the NL East , only the Houston Astros bore a worst record in the entire league last season . Personally, having once been an ardent supporter of the franchise before complete abandoning them in 2011 , after the contempt ongoing deceit of the ownership group , that was also abetted by Bud Selig and his hierarchy cohorts . There is really nothing admirable that can be said about the South Florida franchise and the continued incompetence being shown not only its upper management but also by the league in its entirety. As to the ongoing idiocy, and what appears to be the love-fest , with the adoption of instant replay being introduced within the game of baseball . Considering, the lack decisiveness being shown by the teams , players , union , owners and front office executives in dealing with issues , such as, rampant steroid use and the financial disparities that still continue within the game . I doubt , that , this upcoming season within baseball, will be any different from the previous seasons of controversy , excesses of the players in terms of their personal conduct or the ongoing incompetency of Bud Selig and his leadership style , whatever that might be !

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Picture gallery .

Chime in with your thoughts on the points raised within this piece and anything else that you feel that is pertinent to the subject matter .

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(1) Members of the Steinbrenner family pose for photographers following a ceremony dedicating a monument to the late Yankees principal owner George Steinbrenner before the Yankees baseball game against the Tampa Bay Rays on September 20, 2010 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. Seen are (L-R) Jennifer Steinbrenner Swindal, Jessica Steinbrenner, George’s widow Joan Steinbrenner, Hal Steinbrenner and Hank Steinbrenner. Source:Pool/Getty Images North America ….

(2) Members of the Steinbrenner family, (L-R) Hal Steinbrenner, and Jessica Steinbrenner pass by their father’s monument following as another member of the family places a rose beside the newly unveiled plaque, at a ceremony dedicating the monument to the late Yankees principal owner George Steinbrenner before the Yankees baseball game against the Tampa Bay Rays on September 20, 2010 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. Source: Pool/ Getty Images North America ….

(3) Jacoby Ellsbury of the Boston Red Sox , seen here during a game played at Fenway Park in Boston , Massachusetts,. The player having become a free agent this off-season, signed a reputed six-year $153 million deal to play for the New York Yankees . Ellsbury, age 30, has been plagued by injuries in recent seasons , but his agent Scott Boras believes his client will be a productive player and provide the clubhouse leadership needed by the franchise . It begs the question, will Jacoby Ellsbury now become the heir-apparent to Derek Jeter as perhaps the new captain of the team ? AP Photo / Jae C Hong ….

(4) Executive Vice President and General Manager of the Boston Red Sox, Ben Cherington (R), introduces John Farrell as the new manager, the 46th manager in the club’s 112-year history , on October 23, 2012 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. In his first season as manager of the ball-club Farrell would lead the Red Sox to their third World Series title in the past nine years and the franchise’s eighth overall in their history. Getty Images/ Jared Wickerham …..

Detroit Tigers’ general manager Dave Dombrowski , left is seen here with the team’s new manager Brad Ausmus . The new skipper succeeds Jim Leyland whose resignation was reluctantly accepted by the organization this off-season. Players such as Miguel Cabrera , Justin Verlander , Rick Porcello and Max Scherzer thanked the outgoing manager for his contributions to the Tigers , as well for the relationships founded and also, in making them better players . AP Photo / Tony Jackson ….

(6) Houston Astros’ owner Jim Crane ,left, is seen here alongside the team’s manager Bo Porter . Two years into his reign and Porter has led to the franchise to back to back 100 losses in each of the last two seasons. With now lowered attendance having moved from the NL Central to the AL West in 2013 , the organization apart from being uncompetitive , is now having severe financial difficulties, which Crane and GM Jeff Luhnow are denying, in spite of their civil suit against CSN Houston , the regional cable sports’ broadcast outlet that the ball-club has a stake in . Getty Images / Paul Stevens ….

(7) Florida Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria, left, and team president David Samson walk through the lobby of the hotel hosting Major League Baseball’s winter meetings in Dallas , Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2011. AP Photo/LM Otero ….

(8) Bud Selig is seen here alongside fellow MLB hierarchy executive , Joe Torre SVP & Head of Baseball Operations for Major League Baseball . All signs seems to be pointing to either Rob Manfred or Bob Dupuy succeeding the outgoing commissioner in February 2014 , rather than the popular choice of Torre, himself . Courtesy of ESPN and MLB Properties Inc ….
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tophatal ………

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MLB news

MLB transactions (December) and for November

2013 MLB postseason

2013 MLB World Series

MLB final regular season standings (divisional) and wildcard standings

This week in MLB history

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A coalition of the weak and the stupid !

A coalition of the weak and the stupid !

I may well have missed something in light of the recent statements made by Secretary of State John Kerry that he and the President, Barack Obama believe that Syria poses an imminent threat of stability to the Middle East well as its own citizens there in the country , after evidence was found that President Bashar al Assad`s forces, have been using chemical weapons against the civilian population, as well as opposition forces in the uprising that has been ongoing in the country for the past two years. The evidence was clear for all to see, but somehow , it has taken the snail`s pace activity of the US government and its rather asinine intelligent efforts, and some two years to coming to this conclusion, as to the gross criminality in the behavior of Al Assad`s military ? It should really come as no surprise, considering the US`s continued inactivity, while there was ongoing mass genocide taking place in the Darfur region of Sudan , as the West chose to close its eyes, while such atrocities were taking place .

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During, a decade-long era of ceaseless violence, America literally stood by and did absolutely nothing, simply because that region bore no strategic importance to the United States. Yet, given the lack of a cohesive foreign policy and the dogma that encompasses the country`s full understanding of the global threats, beyond what it deems to be Al Qaeda and the Taliban. It is becoming increasingly clear, that this administration like previous administrations before is simply devoid of expertise where it is needed most when it comes to the Middle East .

It now seems that Kerry`s formal statement is meant to be a warning to the Syrian government that the United States and its allies will not tolerate the actions of the Syrian military , the inner workings of Bashar al Assad`s crack squad of covert operatives and its continued use of chemical weapons, in order to suppress what is now in essence, civil war taking place in the country . `We will no longer tolerate ` ? Two years of bloodshed, and the estimated loss of some 80,000 lives and the US will not tolerate Syria using chemical weapons. Over one million lives were lost in Darfur, from the genocide taking place there, as President Omar al-Bashir used to The Janjaweed (Men on Horseback), Sudanese Army to bring terror and terrorize and as part of his ethnic cleansing , in killing Christians, as well those in opposition to his rule of the country of Sudan . Omar al-Bashir was once described by former President George W Bush , as a man of conviction and of deep faith. Somehow, I get the feeling that when the former US President made that statement, he may not have been completely cognizant of what was going on in the region at the time. Albeit, that the statement came after a meeting between the two heads of state , while Bush was in office, during his second term.

This country can now ill afford to enter into a third military conflict in just over a decade , under the pretext of a humanitarian effort, when the real truth is like his predecessor , for Barack Obama , the strategic reality here is simply a matter of the West and its allies creating an even bigger imprint in the Middle East and perhaps gaining access to Syria`s oil reserves . The lessons to be learned from the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq have not been heeded, in spite of the loss of over 5,000 lives and in excess of some 240,000 military services members wounded, at the cost of over $1.77 trillion (cumulative).

President Barack Obama , along with John Kerry , Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel , General Martin Dempsey JCOS, NSA Director Gen Keith B Alexander will now have to strategize as what militaristic options are viable. With UK Prime David Cameron having issued a public statement in the House of Commons that Britain is prepared to act unilaterally to protect the Syrian people from the wanton intent of the country`s dictator to suppress their democratic freedoms. Ad nausea, it now looks as if Cameron is also now prepared to follow in the footsteps of a former predecessor Tony Blair , as he marched locked in footstep with George W Bush, as he declared military action against Iraq, under the premise of following UN article 1441 , which did not give full military action for the invasion of that country in 2003. The resolution simply called for, use of military force should Saddam Hussein pose an imminent threat in the region, in particular to Israel and many of the West`s allies in the Middle East. At this juncture, it now begs the question , to whom does Bashir al Assad now pose a threat to, other than his own people ? Any type of joint action, sanctioned by the UN or not , is likely to be met with a great deal of opposition by the American public as well as the population of Britain. No matter how closely tied the two countries are said to be , the explanations now being offered up by Barack Obama and David Cameron will not be enough to drown out the likely antiwar sentiment that is likely to be heard from those opposing military intervention or quite possibly all-out war in Syria.

It certainly will be interesting to see which countries are likely offer a broad-based support of America and Britain , as both will undoubtedly seek a resolution from the UN Security Council and the likely input that will be made by known Syrian supporters on the Council , China and Russia , who are both permanent seated members of that particular council. . Russia remains Syria`s largest armaments` supplier as well as having oil drilling rights in the country through a number Russian based petroleum companies . The Middle Eastern nation is also one of Russia`s largest trading partners in the Arab world. So it should not come as a surprise , were the Russian to seek to veto any vote taken by the Security Council for a preemptive strike to be taken by a coalition force. Russian President Vladimir Putin has now become a thorn in the side of any perceived bilateral relationship between the United States and Russia. And with the growing reluctance by the Russian nation to expel NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden , it would be indeed correct to say that the relationship between the two nations is now close to an all-time low. Any chance that Vladimir Putin obtains to further embarrass his American counterpart is seen as a plus by the Russian President.

One of the more unappealing parts of the UN Security Council , remains the very fact, that once any two permanent member seeks to veto any action to be taken , everything becomes null and void . China`s own position may well be, now more closely tied to the other three permanent members of the UNSEC. Chinese President Xi Jinping has become market oriented with regard to his economy, which is now the world`s second largest, with an estimated $ 9.6 trillion GDP, but it should be noted that the Chinese nation is the largest holder of US sovereign debt ($2.455 trillion). What may well now take place within the United Nations will be predicated upon the cases that will be made by the US ambassador Samantha Power and UK ambassador / Philip Parham , UN ambassadors to that international body , if the argument is not laid out by either David Cameron or Barack Obama , personally , at the UN headquarters in New York City.

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The geopolitical issues are not unfounded , when one considers how any such action is likely to be viewed in the Arab world along with the possible economic costs , in terms rising gas prices , as well as possible terrorist reprisals by entities favoring Islamic fundamentalism. One has to wonder if either David Cameron or Barack Obama have seriously thought over the implication of their actions and the likely outcome . Should Bashir al-Assad be overthrown and toppled, then, who will the West seek replace him with ? Lessons, to be learned, indeed . Your thoughts on this all ?

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(1) President Barack Obama ,left, and Secretary of State John Kerry are seen here disembarking from Air Force One. Kerry now seeks to make the case that the US should intervene in Syria after the alleged use of chemical weapons by the Syrian military against the civilian population in the Middle Eastern Country. AP Photo/ Mark Shaw ….

(2) President Bashir al- Assad of Syria , who succeeded his father Hafeez al Assad upon his death, to lead the country. The incumbent leader, denies claims now being made in the West that chemical weapons have been used by the Syrian armed forces against the civilian population as well as against the Syrian opposition in what is seen as a popular uprising against the Baathist led ruling party in Syria. The country`s only publicly known ally in the outside world would appear to be Russia , who also happens to be one of Syria`s main trading partners, as well the country`s biggest military armaments` supplier . AFP/ REUTERS/ Paul Ross …

(3) Sudanese President Omar al Bashir seen here on an official to visit Beijing China . Although the country as now been split into entities with the Muslim led North and the Christian based South. There still remains a great deal of friction between the two countries . The Sudanese leader is looked upon in the West as a war criminal , but neither the European Court or International Court , or UN Court on Human Rights have seen fit to bring charges against al Bashir. AFP/ Getty Images/ Frank Mitchell …

(4) David Cameron , left , is seen here with Barack Obama at the White House . The two leaders are seeking a UN resolution that will grant them the grounds to launch a preemptive strike against Syria . Also being sought would be a `no fly zone ` throughout the greater part of the country , as well as over the nation`s capital of Damascus. REUTERS ……….

(5) Vladimir Putin greets his Chinese counterpart President Xi Jinping . The two leaders could very well now be at odds, as how best to deal with the current issue in Syria . Both China and Russia have a great deal to lose , with both countries having heavily invested in the country . Adam Ross / The Guardian UK …..

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tophatal …………. 08/29/2013

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The world`s leading petroleum exporters ….. (source of information US Energy Information Agency)

Dumbing it down for the fans ……….

Dumbing it down for the fans ….

By Tophatal

Well to save himself from further embarrassment , Lance Armstrong agreed to what is being called an in-depth interview , by none other than Oprah Winfrey , on her, self –titled broadcast network OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network). The two-night event, encompassing four hours is meant to be hard-hitting. Far be it for me to suggest , but Winfrey hasn’t conducted a hard-hitting in-depth news’ story or interview in decades , much less conducted an interview that will have the nation riveted . Granted , the bye product of this story will be Armstrong seeking the nation’s empathy, much of that to my mind is totally undeserving , but somehow this idiocy will continue as the lowly ranked and viewer starved cable outlet will be seeking a ratings’ bonanza from this all. Oh , Tom Cruise , jumping down on a sofa declaring his undying love for Katie Holmes , his former ex-wife , to whom he was married to , for a mere four years is not riveting television , unless , you just happen to be enamored with the Hollywood actor . .Oh yeah , those are the stories, that a dumbed down nation will truly appreciate . I think not, unless of course you just happen to be anally retentive.

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Armstrong used his notoriety to raise tens of millions of dollars for cancer research and to aid victims in need , from this debilitating disease . But herein lies , my question , this ungrateful asshole hasn’t the God-given fucking intelligence to consider that as a cancer survivor himself , he would then resort placing steroids and other illicit substances within his system ? So for all the bold-faced idiots out there, still pitying this dumb ass ! Can you explain Armstrong’s motives , other than it not being about the financial reward ? With an estimated $100 million fortune, the now disgraced athlete in the ensuing months , could now find himself as a defendant in several upcoming lawsuits , and deservedly so ! Was it , really worth it ?

Thursday night was a bile inducing piece of idiocy , self-indulgent and that had no merits, in terms of journalistic integrity! As for Oprah, her ratings’ challenged network will continue to suffer, unless the programming content is greatly improved.

Microsoft billionaire, Chairman, Steve Ballmer , and his erstwhile fellow. Washington State native, Chris Hansen , co-founder of venture capital firm , Vanguard Capital Inc , have agreed in principle to purchase the beleaguered Sacramento Kings’ franchise . The presumed sale price will be somewhere between $300 million to $375 million for the loss making concern. The city of Sacramento led by its mayor , Kevin Johnson , has sought some compromise from the Kings’ ownership group , led by Joe and Gavin Maloof have essentially duped the municipality and its residents , that it had been their intent to remain in the city , playing the aging Sleep Train Arena , in downtown Sacramento .

This once proud franchise , in recent years has become anathema , starved of real support ,with fans seemingly apathetic to the woes of this team. Head coach, Keith Smart , along with his coaching staff have been entrusted in guiding the Kings back to former glories past . It is hard to say where this team now goes from here, as the common feeling is , the sale of the Kings would be in the best interest of the Kings , long and short-term , rather than the continued neglect and lack of real authoritative leadership coming from anyone within the organization , on or off the basketball court. At 15-23 this team is on a two game win streak but yet that might not be enough to simply get through this current drama as there is a continued distrust of the Maloofs.

The irony in all of this , as the city yearns the return of an NBA franchise within their locale , I am not so sure that the fans in Sacramento are truly appreciative of Kings being within their midst . Clearly , there has to be some apoplexy , because if they were diehard fans of this team , then they would be turning out in droves to support this NBA franchise wholeheartedly. Instead , it has been continued bitching and whining about the city council being ready to spend tens of millions of in public funds , for the rebuilding of new state of the art venue . The infrastructure of the municipality remains a mess , yet the fans who are support of this project are seemingly showing, a great deal of short-sightedness . I guess when you reside on the West Coast, and the political leadership is about as uninspiring as a Sarah Palin speech, on any given subject matter! Apathy is definitely in the house !

I don’t know if it is appropriate to lambast Notre Dame’s Manti Te`o any further , after the football team’s embarrassing loss in the BCS national title game . The young man has now set his sights on a career in the NFL , and no doubt he will be drafted in the first round of the upcoming NFL Draft . That being said , with the latest web of deceit , and what appears to be a considerable amount of continuous falsehoods by Te`o , this story of an imaginary girlfriend whom me apparently met online , is now getting weirder by the second . To complicate things even further , Notre Dame’s AD , Jack Swarbrick has openly come out having issued a statement in support of the 2012 runner-up in the Heisman Trophy voting . Good God , how lucky are we, that Te’o didn’t capture enough votes to win the most prestigious collegiate award in College Football ? My advice for Manti Te`o , at present , before you can put on your big boy pants , how about actually trying to have a real live relationship with a female that is physically in your presence ?

So let me get this straight , the still financially impoverished New York Mets , while seeking to improve their roster , after last season’s debacle , have sought to go about spending money like a drunken maritime sailor on furlough ? The signing of David Wright to a seven-year deal , financially irresponsible to say the very least , seems to be a sign that Mets’ GM , Sandy Alderson will continue with the inane stupidity shown by his predecessor Omar Minaya . If the signing of Wright was not to be viewed as an act of desperation , then how should any Mets’ fan view the front office’s acquisition of former Giants’ closer, Brian Wilson ? The player spent the entire 2012 season on the disabled list with the San Francisco Giants , as they triumphed in winning their second World Series in the past five years.

Now there is no denying that at his very best Wilson can be an overpowering and dominant closer , but the very best those traits were last seen from the player in 2010 , when he led all closers within the game in terms of saves , while the San Francisco Giants were triumphant in winning baseball’s biggest prize. It is hard to envisage Brian Wilson regaining that sort form this season for the New York Mets, on a team that will be hard pressed to compete within the NL East . Coming off “Tommy John “ surgery has never been easy , and it is extremely rare for a player having undergone that medical procedure to completely regain that form . It is a really big gamble , on the part of Sandy Alderson, manager, Terry Collins , and the manager’s coaching staff in taking a chance on the player . How this will all play out , is dependent upon the resilience shown by the team over the course of their season.

The New York Mets will begin their regular season schedule with a three game set beginning on the 1st April , 2013, when they play host to the San Diego Padres at Citi-Field, in Flushing , New York . A season of hope lies ahead for the Mets’ fans , one they no doubt hope , will end in some form of measured success .

The NFL postseason is now down to the conference championship games , with what are now arguably the four best teams in the league, based not upon divisional standing but the play of these teams over the course of the entire regular season schedule and their respective postseason forays . Franchises, that were expected to contend , fell by the wayside like leaves descendingg during “ The Fall “ . And the players thought to be leaders on their teams , were simply nowhere to be seen . What can one say, about those teams considered to pre and early season contenders ? Well , it was enough to suggest that “Black Monday” was a damning indictment of the coaches who failed miserably and who were subsequently relieved of their duties by the front office executives and owners of those beleaguered teams. Andy Reid , perhaps the biggest of the names to fall , has found himself in a position to succeed Romeo Crennel , as the new head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs .

Reid’s former team , the Philadelphia Eagles , found a way to induce Chip Kelly to leave Oregon ( Ducks) , a program he built into a perennial powerhouse within College Football . From my own perspective , I believe Kelly’s departure had more to do with the fact that the NCAA’s ongoing investigation of Oregon , had not yet concluded , but with ever wide-ranging culture of rumors fomenting , as to the scurrilous deceit and wrongdoings , all of which has happened during Kelly’s tenure. It simply made sense for the coach to make a quick departure rather than being subject to questioning by the NCAA’s Infractions’ Committee , as to his actions and those of his players, and the lack of accountability from the program’s compliance officers and the lackluster efforts of AD, Rob Mullen’s , to try to systematically clean up the image of a sullied athletics’ program.

Kelly’s biggest problem in Philadelphia , beyond fomenting a relationship with GM , Howie Roseman , will be to make a decision as to the impending future on the declining skills of Michael Vick , who in 2012, had his worst season on record . Vick’s days as a starter in the NFL are numbered , and his ego might not permit to become a glorified backup to a less experienced player, who the veteran may well feel that he has a far superior skillset , than the incumbent. We have seen it before , and we will see it again within the NFL. The 2013 NFL Draft , should prove to be a great indicator as to the direction that will be taken by Kelly and the Eagles’ front office , as they seek to write a new chapter in the franchise’s legacy.

Another of the NFL head coaches, upon a which guillotine came down on , happened to be the now departed Ken Whisenhunt of the Arizona Cardinals . Suffice to say, when you offer a player a ludicrous contract , as to the one offered to Kevin Kolb , you had better fucking well , make sure that he can play with the position effectively ! Let’s just say that chicken shit” , tastes nothing like ” chicken liver “, and essentially Kolb and John Skelton , combined , served up a whole lot of chicken shit, as it related to the Cardinals’ offense and passing game throughout 2012.

The Cardinals’ front office made what I believe has been the best hire , of the newly hired head coaches , in acquiring Bruce Arians to succeed Ken Whisenhunt . Anyone , who had the pleasure of seeing the former Steelers offensive coordinator and Colts’ assistant, interact with Andrew Luck while leading the team on their improbable run during the regular season ,while the franchise’s off-season woes dealt with the health issues of head coach , Chuck Pagano . Arians, was able to steady a team whose nucleus was primarily made up of rookies and second year starters . That may well have been the trait that was easily recognizable by the franchise’s newly installed GM , Steve Keim, as the Arizona Cardinals seek to move on from another disastrous season . If Bruce Arians is able to get half as productive an output from the Cardinals players on the current roster , by comparison than what he achieved with the Indianapolis Colts last season , then it bodes well for the team in 2013.

The NHL, is back ? So who, gives a shit? A regular season schedule of forty-eight games in the space of the three months is meant to enliven a disheartened apparent dwindling fan-base . Yet , the NHL hierarchy are still trying to sell the fans and public this time around they have got it right . I’ll pose this question, what in hell’s name has convinced Commissioner Gary Bettman that this time a ten-year negotiated deal, which sees an even split the NHL’s revenues will lead to a long-term peace accord ? Is this not the same sport , that in the space of two decades have forced their fans to endure four league induced work stoppages ? Not the self-destructive AFL-CIO , or the UAW have been as inept as the NHL and NHLPA combined , and have been able to wreak as much financial damage to their sport . Bettman’s , union counterpart , Donald Fehr , held a similar position with the MLBPA , within Major League Baseball (MLB).

Hockey has now become a sport of diminishing returns , for a vast majority of the teams within the league . A $2.5 billion ( $2,500,000,000) a year industry still remains on life support and the idiocy remains , that neither league hierarchy, team owners or the players themselves , have learned a god damn thing after this labor dispute ! They’ve learned nothing from their first , and nothing from the last stoppage to have derailed the sport ! Their heads remain up in the clouds , and in no fucking way, are their feet firmly in the ground , as this sport , is now being ran , as if it were a corner-shop convenience store, that barely carries the essentials needed to captivate the fans’ attention . Sparse attendance , a dwindling television audience , and there just happens to be the fact that the NHL ,still pays NBC Sports , to carry its content, in terms of a hockey broadcast in the United States . If that’s not a recipe for a continued economic disaster , then can someone explain to me what in their eyes , would not be another sure-fire way of seeing this sport completely disappear off the sporting landscape ?

The NHL regular season drops its puck on Saturday afternoon with a slate of thirteen games , whereby the teams will have to race out of their starting blocks and maintain a break neck speed over the course of this truncated season. Whether or not the fans will be appreciative of this all , remains to be seen, because the postseason could very well be , just as frenetic and misleading .

After Manny Pacquiao’s most recent loss to Juan Manuel-Marquez , a fight in which the eight-time titlist was relentlessly punished by his opponent , suffering the most humiliating loss , of his illustrious career . Many felt , it was time for the fighter to call it quits , and simply walk away under his own steam , while he had all of mental and physical capacities about him . A relentless fighter in his prime, he marched through each of the divisions where he reigned supreme , winning eight world titles in five different weight categories . However, the biggest fight of his career and the one that every fight fan yearned to see , proved to be elusive , and is unlikely to ever take place . Diminishing skills , and the very fact that his greatest nemesis , Floyd Mayweather Jr , now simply “ talks a good fight “ rather than being a willing participant in a bout that everyone wishes to see .

Courtesy of ESPN UK

Pacquiao given Parkinson’s warning

The possibility of retirement for Manny Pacquiao was raised on Thursday after neurologist Dr Rustico Jimenez speculated as to whether the Filipino was showing the first signs of Parkinson’s.

According to reports Jimenez, president of the Private Hospitals Association of the Philippines, said he was concerned about the health of the fighter, who suffered a brutal knockout at the hands of Juan Manuel Marquez at the end of 2012.

Parkinson’s disease is a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system, which affects Pacquiao’s world-renowned coach Freddie Roach. Dr Jimenez is concerned he can see the first signs now creeping into the physiology of the 34-year-old welterweight.

“Even though his reflexes are quick, I noticed the movement – it’s just another view, my personal view – but it seems like there are early signs,” Jimenez told radio dzMM.

“There are some movements that you will notice with his hands. It’s in the hands, and not the head, where you can easily see this. It twitches a little bit. Although I haven’t seen it up close, I think I am seeing that there are some signs.”

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Allegations of doping , an unwillingness to meet each other’s contractual demands , has in essence made this super mega-fight a nonstarter . A guaranteed multimillion dollar gate in receipts , and in excess of 2 ½ million pay per view buys, has not been enough to get Pacquiao’s or Mayweather’s representatives together , to work out the finite details of such a bout . So all that the most ardent fans can ever wish for , is what might have been , or the idiocy of several computers programmers getting together and inputting all of the fighters’ stats into a purpose-built program , to decide upon who a fictional winner might be . Floyd Mayweather’s business partner and closest confidante , Leonard Ellerbee, in recent weeks has suggested Manny Pacquiao’s promoter , Bob Arum , has rebuffed all of his calls . Personally, I believe that Arum , now has “ bigger fish to fry” , as his biggest and most lucrative client , is no longer the “ major draw” he once was. Two now punishing losses , the first of which was a highly debatable but yet justifiable result was the loss of the Filipino fighter’s WBC welterweight title belt to the then , lightly regarded , Tim Bradley. A proposed rematch with Bradley , is now unlikely to take place , so make of it , what you will.

One of the more tantalizing stories to come out of this saga , since Manny Pacquiao’s defeat, are claims by a renowned neurosurgeon that the fighter is clearly showing early signs of dementia and what could be the onset of Alzheimer’s disease . If that were the case , then it is clearly the time for the fighter to step down and save himself from further injury or a major catastrophe occurring in the ring. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize what such a major loss of this magnitude might mean for the sport . Yet , nowhere is there any common sense being shown on the part of Bob Arum or his client , who seems reluctant to walk away from the ring . Manny Pacquiao has career earnings, in excess of $ 200 million , a lucrative business empire in his native Philippines , as well as being a congressman representing his constituents of Sarangani , a highly impoverished district in the Philippines. Pacquiao’s marriage is now threatened by his reluctance to walk away, as the angst shown by his wife , Maria Geraldine Jamora (“Jinkie”) , and their four children, is etched upon her face, when she states …… “ my children would rather see their father alive , than laying dead , in a casket “. If those words are not strong enough a cause for Manny Pacquiao to now rethink his future , then it would be best for his wife to walk away , than subject her and the four children to further emotional trauma .

And while there has been no real evidence to suggest that Pacquiao has suffered any major loss of neurological functions , it would take an eternal optimist to not believe that the fighter’s two losses to Tim Bradley and Juan Manuel-Marquez hasn’t done any damage to the Filipino fighter’s psyche . After-all, who is he going to fight next, in order to convince the public that he is still relevant in the world of boxing ? Any suggestions ?

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Picture gallery .

Do you as such, have any comments that you wish to make concerning this article ? Then, by all means give us your insights, as you see fit . Continued thanks always for the support of this site and the enlightening and illuminating comments received !

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(1) Lance Armstrong is seen here with talk show host and entrepreneur Oprah Winfrey , as the former athlete confesses to doping, which he denied while an athlete . The interview conducting on Winfrey’s OWN Network came across a bile inducing apology from Armstrong , who is now essentially seeking the public’s forgiveness after the years of deceit and lies . Winfrey herself , failed to ask any really pertinent questions , primarily because the field of sports’ journalism isn’t her expertise , whereas fawning over a guest , has her appearing as matronly individual you could somehow trust to get the truth. Well in this case , there is Armstrong’s truth, as he sees it . And the truth , as the whole world now knows it to be . So who would you rather believe at this juncture ? Courtesy of USA Today /Matt Hinchcomb …. .

(2) A pensive Lance Armstrong searches for answers during an interview with Oprah Winfrey . The host on her ratings’ challenged network hopes to get a boost in the ratings for this two night four-hour expose` . The Guardian UK / Paul Wilson ….

(3) Sacramento Kings fan Gloria Bailey lets her feeling be known as the Kings played the Cleveland Cavaliers in an NBA basketball game in Sacramento, Calif., Monday, Jan. 14, 2013. The Kings won 124-118 . The Maloof family, owners of the Kings, are rumored to be in negotiations to sell the team to a group headed by investor Chris Hansen who would relocate the team to Seattle. AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli …

(4) Clockwise , from left to right , Chris Hansen, Steve Ballmer , Erik Nordstrom and Peter Nordstrom are the four lead investors seeking to purchase the Sacramento Kings and relocate the franchise to Seattle Washington , where they would play in the newly refurbished Key Arena , in Seattle , Washington ,. AP Photo / Mark Mason …

(5) James Frazier, right, holds a sign alongside his mother Karen Roth before an NBA basketball game between the Sacramento Kings and the Dallas Mavericks in Sacramento, Calif., Thursday, Jan. 10, 2013. Word of the possible sale of the team to investor Chris Hansen who would move the franchise to Seattle has Kings fan showing their support with hopes they will remain in Sacramento. Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson is now petitioning NBA Commissioner David Stern and the NBA Board of Governors , a body made up of the league owners and league hierarchy for an emergency meeting in seeking to retain the franchise within the city. However, Johnson has not been able to suggest how he seeks to have the Kings remain in the state capitol. No vested purchasers have come from within the greater Sacramento area , although the situation is being monitored by several parties , although no counter offer has yet been made . AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli ….

(6) Arizona Cardinals owner William Bidwill , right, talks with new head coach Bruce Arians , left, and his wife Christine Arians after Arians was introduced during an NFL football news conference at the team’s training facility Friday, Jan. 18, 2013, in Tempe, Ariz. The Cardinals bring in Arians after he had a storybook year as the Indianapolis Colts offensive coordinator-turned-temporary coach. He filled in for head coach Chuck Pagano while he was treated for cancer and helped get the Colts to the NFL playoffs . AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin ….

(7) New Jersey Devils goalie Martin Brodeur blocks a shot during the team’s first official practice since the NHL hockey lockout ended, Sunday, Jan. 13, 2013, in Newark, N.J. AP Photo/Julio Cortez ..

(8) Juan Manuel Marquez , left , is seen here fighting Manny Pacquiao in the fourth of their now epic four fight quartet . Many are pressing for a fifth fight between the two , most notably Pacquiao’s promoter , Bob Arum of Top Rank Inc . AFP /REUTERS …..

(9)(L-R) Manny Pacquiao throws a right at Juan Manuel Marquez during their welterweight bout at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on December 8, 2012 in Las Vegas, Nevada. But it would be Juan Manuel-Marquez who would end up being the victor in landing left hook and right cross that lead to the knockout of Pacquiao in the sixth round of their WBC welterweight title fight . FRI Mathe` Regency S.A. / Anton Pasquale … @ copyrighted material all rights reserved .

(10) Manny Pacquiao is seen here with his wife, Maria Geradine-Jamora Pacquiao (“Jinkie”), and three of their four children. Jinkie as she is more commonly known , has pleaded with her husband to now step aside and retire from the sport that he has graced over the past decade, requesting that he do so for the sake of their family, and ultimately his long-term health. The boxer has yet to make a decisive decision concerning his future, with promoter , Bob Arum pressing for a rematch against Juan Manuel-Marquez. Picture appears courtesy of BBC Sports ….

(11) Bob Arum , veteran boxing promoter and CEO of Top Rank Promotions Inc , is seen here with Manny Pacquiao , publicizing his third fight against Juan Manuel Marquez in December of 2011 , that took place at the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino Resort in Las Vegas Nevada ,. AP Photo / Richard Harper ……

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50 Cent …………. ” Many Men “( Wish Death ‘pon-me)

Just Kick the fucking can down the road , as it’s how you deal with the issue or issues ….

Just Kick the fucking can down the road , as it’s how you deal with the issue or issues ….

By Tophatal ….

It has not come as a surprise to see the ongoing incompetence of a Congress and Presidential administration that remains so damn clueless ! President, Barack Obama having been returned to office for a second successive term , he still remains a powerless individual . And while I believe him to be the better of the two candidates ,, who sought the nation’s highest political office , in no way should that be viewed as an outright ringing endorsement of Obama the man . His failings on a number of political issues across the political panacea have been mounting and still show no signs of abating.

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In the aftermath of the tragic events of Newtown , Connecticut , and the loss of twenty six innocent lives , of which 20 of those were students under the age 12 , at Sandy Hook Elementary School . The nation angered by this latest atrocity , and it has once again been left to the idiocy of the Democrats and Republicans to argue over “gun control” , and what might be seen as an effective policy and far-reaching statute that would keep multi-faceted automatic weapons out of the hands of criminals but also individuals with mental health issues . Once again, in comes the NRA , and their overzealous and often insidious Chairman Wayne LaPierre . LaPierre , would have us believe that his organization’s lobbying to have strict and effective gun control policy basically “watered down” effectively assisting the arms’ manufacturers even greater profits than even they could have possibly imagined . Over the years , whatever “teeth” there has been to any effective mandate as it relates to gun control , has had the heart ripped out of it completely. And the statutes now on the books simply does not go far enough to negate the violence now within our midst that takes the lives young innocent children among us .

(4)

The names of the twenty six lives lost in the tragedy of Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown Connecticut ,. … @ copyrighted material ABC news all rights reserved …

Mass killings and the hundreds of lives that have been lost on the streets of Chicago over the past eighteen months , should be enough of a horror to make even the most hardened amongst us repulsed . Yet , somehow these harrowing statistics , that places the United States atop of the ladder of developed nations with regards to homicides per capita and per 10,000 remains the highest in the industrialized world . This is not something that the country can take pride in at all. It’s now open season on children and women in terms of the violence now taking place , and these fucking politicians now seem to be intent on sitting on their ass ,while not doing anything positive or proactive on a variety of issues, and the uninitiated masses who offered up their synopsis on this election seeming glossed over so much , merely because they haven’t a fucking clue as to the issues that now affect the country domestically and internationally !

With that in mind , what else should the can the electorate now look forward to ? The economic malaise we’re now told is a “ fiscal cliff” has become a cluster fuck that stinks to high heaven , and at no time over the past four years , has either side sought to deal with this , the most acute of the issues the country now faces . The Democrats and Republicans the ” two bumbling ” and more prominent of the political parties , are now behaving like children fighting over a new toy in a sandpit . House Leader , John Boehner , has all but made sure that there will be no clear-cut solution or compromise before the Congress takes their winter recess . The President for his part remains a toothless tiger without the leadership traits many felt sought in him, as a political leader and statesman . Basically , it’s back to kicking the can down the road as relates to dealing with the nation’s problems . Nothing ventured, nothing gained as they say.

The NBA season is now up and running , and a mere third of the way through its eighty-two game schedule . Leading the way within the Eastern Conference , as well the Atlantic Division , are the New York Knicks (19-7) , the team with the best record within conference , but the fourth best record in the NBA , behind the Oklahoma City Thunder (21-5) , San Antonio Spurs (20-8), and the Los Angeles Clippers (20-6) .

Now while Mike Woodson’s players are off to an impressive start to the season , one could attest to the fact that for the moment they might just be the best team in the conference. Yet the reigning champions the Miami Heat , in spite of their recent hiccups , LeBron James and his teammates do have something to prove , as they seek to make a successful defense of their NBA title .

Now while many might feel that the Heat’s start is somewhat indifferent , it has to be said , if anything this team is simply pacing themselves for the long haul of an arduous season. The NBA schedule , much like a marathon , is not a sprint , but an attrition sapping course of events that simply takes its toll upon the players . So while the Knicks and their fans feel something to excited about at present , let’s not get ahead of ourselves , especially in light of that ugly ….. loss to the Chicago Bulls at home , while playing at Madison Square Gardens, in New York City , New York . Riding high , behind the play of Carmelo Anthony , undoubtedly one of the early season candidates and leaders for the league MVP . Behind some resolute defense and an equally imposing offense , the much maligned Knicks now have the rest of the NBA sitting up and take note.

From the good to the bad , and oh yes , it is really bad , as the woefully inept Washington Wizards (3-20) , either are unknowingly wanting to look bad , or the Wizards’ players are simply that horrendous . Far be it for me to suggest that I can’t spot bullshit when I see it , but the NBA hierarchy should now be investigating whether or not there is a real intent by the franchise to play competitively . If not , then I guess their record and play is indicative how bad they just happen to be. Personally, I just can’t see any light at the end of the tunnel for this laboring franchise ! They are simply not a championship caliber team by any stretch of the imagination

You can build a team around a number one draft pick but you’d better sure as hell have the players to go alongside him to match his skill-set . Two years removed from being the number one pick in the 2010 NBA Draft , John Wall remains something of an enigma , while his teammates , are simply lackluster and dispassionate . Head coach , Randy Wittman , may well be in for an arduous season with his young team . as they try to find a way to remain relevant within the NBA this season .

In the Western Conference , everything has been encapsulated by the might of the Oklahoma City Thunder , led by their All Stars , Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook . And for Westbrook, who might just be the most electrifying talent at the point guard position currently playing in the NBA , and that is with due respect to Chris Paul, Deron Williams and Rajon Rondo .

In the midst of this all , Kevin Durant remains the lynch pin that holds this team together , under the erstwhile coaching abilities of Scott Brooks and his coaching staff . . Thunder GM , Sam Presti , a former front office executive with the San Antonio Spurs has simply molded the franchise using a similar template , by drafting judiciously over the years , garnering , Durant , Westbrook, James Harden , and in 2012, it appears another bumper crop of talented players that Brooks can enmesh into this roster , with them making contributions in assisting the franchise’s aspirations.

Harden , in the midst of contract negotiations with the team could not reach an agreement wherein his contributions with the Thunder have made this franchise a force to be reckoned with over the past two seasons . The negotiations between James Harden and Sam Presti broke down , with the front office deciding to trade the player being traded to the Houston Rockets , in exchange for Kevin Martin and several role players. Harden , for his part having joined the Rockets , he has made more than a solid a contribution for the team , and outshining Jeremy Lin , the “supposed face of the franchise” in the wake of esteemed career of Yao Ming .

The Rockets (14-12) sits third behind the Memphis Grizzlies (18-7) and the San Antonio Spurs within the Southwest Division . From his “hot start” with the Rockets, both Harden and the team

seem to have cooled down with the franchised on a three-game winning streak, but 6-4 over their last ten games .

While there seems to be a new chapter being written in burgeoning career of Blake Griffin and Chris Paul , as the duo lead the Los Angeles Clippers to new unprecedented heights of recent success. The team is now on a twelve-game winning streak , the longest such streak in the NBA this season . Griffin and his teammates have simply been the story in LA , while their more celebrated neighbors the Los Angeles Lakers are struggling under the wealth and weight of expectation . The firing of Mike Brown after a 1-4 start , and the hiring of Mike D’Antoni as Brown’s successor has left the fans of one of the NBA’s most heralded franchises asking what the hell just happens to be going on.

DAntoni for his part is having a hard time in trying to win over the die-hard Lakers’ fans , whose wish it was , was to see either the return of Phil Jackson or the vacant position at the time , be filled by Jackson’s former assistant , Brian Shaw. The decision for the hiring of Mike DAntoni was made by general manager , Mitch Kupchak and SVP Jim Buss , the son of team owner, Dr Jerry Buss .

I have never been a great admirer of Mike D’Antoni as an NBA head coach , as I believe coaching to be fundamentally unsound , especially in light of the fact he has never been avowed teacher of defensive fundamentals , with regard to coaching in the NBA . Dantoni’s teams throughout his coaching , are not known for their defensive prowess. And that is now clearly the case at present, as it relates to the Lakers . And the idiocy is that the fans are now meant to believe that D’Antoni will adjust his coaching style to make such a thought a reality , is simply beyond belief .

Kobe Bryant is the lone constant on the roster of the Lakers , and their primary offensive source , as well as a defensive stalwart for this beleaguered franchise. With Kupchak and Jim Buss having made the decision to hire D’Antoni , it should be noted that they team’s roster also was revamped with the acquisitions of Steve Nash and Dwight Howard to complement to skill-set of Bryant and Pau Gasol. From my own standpoint , with injuries already sustained to Howard , Gasol and Nash , there seems to be a lingering concern as to the overall health of three players. In part, this has played a role in the ongoing owes of the team and the sub .500 record (13-14) now held by the franchise within the Pacific Division of the Western Conference.

The Lakers in their most recent game , came away with a hard-fought 118-115 victory over the Golden State Warriors . On Christmas Day , when to my mind , it gives us a clear-cut picture as to how the teams are faring , as by now we should be witnessing the well-formed intentions and their chase for a playoff berth .

Beyond the off the field issues facing the Sacramento Kings under the connivance of team owners , Joe and Gavin Aloof , there can be no denying that this franchise remains a work in progress both on and off the field of play. Head coach , Keith Smart , still has to deal with a malcontent in DeMarcus Cousins , player with a great deal of talent , but the attitude of a pig , and who lacks the maturity to be seen as a genuine leader of this team. I was once told by a patron, who just happened to be a Kings’ fan , he wasn’t at all concerned about a player’s issues , just as long as he came to play the game. Well, that sort of attitude is so typical of the vast majority of sports’ fans in general today , as they would rather excuse the gross misbehavior of an athlete as being part of the “norm” . Well, it no longer becomes the norm when a player chooses to disparage his head coach and indirectly his teammates . Cousins has been suspended indefinitely by the franchise, for conduct detrimental to the team and organization . Anyone within front office who didn’t see this incident coming has to be either naïve or convinced that DE Marcus Cousins had in fact turned over to a new a leaf.

Cousins remains an enigma , malcontent , talented and a conundrum all rolled up into one human being. The fact that he cannot be quelled and that his off the field antics have been tolerated for so long , speaks volumes as to the incompetence that has been shown by the Kings’ front office as well as the NBA hierarchy as a whole . Repeated infractions by the player, and he has simply been coddled by the Kings’ coaching staff , until this latest incident . Highly sought after , Cousins , as a player, while a player at Kentucky (Wildcats) under John Calipari, a coach whose idea of making players under his tutelage be productive citizens , is akin to seeing Al Capone choosing not to profit from the era of prohibition . And if you sincerely believe that Calipari has ever had the best interests of the players to have been under his tutelage , then simply peruse the minutiae of coaching resume` in detail to see the trail of trouble and NCAA investigations conducted at the programs where he has been a college coach. NCAA champions or not , albeit that the coach is well-respected by his peers and Wildcats’ fans alike , there remains a distasteful stench surrounding anything associated with John Calipari and much of the success he has attained .

As to Cousins impending future and whether or not he remains a player with this franchise in the future , it now remains to be seen .

As I alluded to earlier , Christmas Day becomes the point at where we can truly gauge the progress of the teams. In 2011 , that was certainly the case , as it has always been during previous seasons within the NBA and their usual festivity appealing schedule . Five games are on schedule for the 25th December , of which the “ marquee match-ups” are the Boston Celtics facing the Brooklyn Nets at the Barclays Center , in Brooklyn , with the other game in question, being the New York Knicks facing the Los Angeles Lakers at the Staples Center , in Los Angeles , California, . Hopefully , a genuine treat will be served up by the teams in question in those five scheduled games .

What thoughts if any do you have with regard to the NBA season , and how the year has progressed so far ? And do you feel that the right action has been taken by the Sacramento Kings in the suspension of DeMarcus Cousins ? Merely leave a comment as you see fit on this and anything else you believe to be pertinent on the subject matter in question .

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Picture gallery

To the patrons of this site and the first-time observer my sincerest wishes is for you all to have a wonderful Christmas and a prosperous New Year , with the same sentiment to your immediate families !

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(1) U.S. President Barack Obama (R) shakes hands with Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) during a meeting with bipartisan group of congressional leaders in the Roosevelt Room of the White House on November 16, 2012 in Washington, DC. Obama and congressional leaders of both parties are meeting to reportedly discuss deficit reduction before the tax increases and automatic spending cuts go into effect in the new year. Source: Pool images /Getty North America ….

(2) U.S. President Barack Obama (C) speaks as Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) (L) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) looks on during a meeting with bipartisan group of congressional leaders in the Roosevelt Room of the White House on November 16, 2012 in Washington, DC. Obama and congressional leaders of both parties are meeting to reportedly discuss deficit reduction before the tax increases and automatic spending cuts go into effect in the new year.
Pool Images/ Getty North America …

(3) National Rifle Association Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre calls on Congress to pass a law putting armed police officers in every school in America during a news conference at the Willard Hotel December 21, 2012 in Washington, DC. This is the first public appearance that leaders of the gun rights group have made since a 20-year-old man used a popular assault-style rifle to slaughter 20 school children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, one week ago. Either LaPierre is that much of a cynic if this is the best suggestion , he believes is necessary to stem the tide of violence now encompassing the fabric of our society . Clearly, he feels the gun manufacturers has no place to be a part of the wider debate , as it relates to “gun control” . Getty Images / Alex Wong ….

(4) The names of the twenty-six lives lost in the tragedy of Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown Connecticut ,. … @ copyrighted material ABC news all rights reserved …

(5) New York Knicks’ Carmelo Anthony (7) ) drives the ball around Minnesota Timberwolves’ Ricky Rubio (9) in the first half of an NBA basketball game on Sunday, Dec., 23, 2012, at Madison Square Garden in New York. The Knicks won 94-91. AP Photo/Kathy Kmonicek …

(6) Washington Wizards point guard John Wall talks with the news media following a team practice at the Verizon Center in Washington, Monday, Dec. 17, 2012. Wall, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2010 draft, has been recovering from a stress injury to his left knee cap. AP Photo/Susan Walsh …

(7) Los Angeles Lakers’ Kobe Bryant (24) dribbles next to Golden State Warriors’ Klay Thompson (11) during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Oakland, Calif., Saturday, Dec. 22, 2012. AP Photo / Paul Parsons …

(8) Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins , right, drives to the basket around Golden State Warriors defender Festus Ezeli during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Sacramento, Calif., on Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2012. The Kings won 131-127 . Cousins has been suspended indefinitely for conduct unbecoming and detrimental to the organization . Kings’ head coach Keith Smart and Geoff Petrie , general manager have yet to state whether or not the player will be reinstated and length of the suspension will take . AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez ….

(9) Sacramento Kings’ GM , Geoff Petrie is seen here with the team’s 2012 NBA Draft pick (5th overall in the 2012 NBA Draft) , Thomas Robinson ,alongside head coach, Keith Smart . AP Photo / Matt Marsh ….

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Hot chic pic of the day a very sexy female Santa , spreading some Yuletide joy.

That Was Going To Be My Pick ….. Or Not ….

That Was Going To Be My Pick ….. Or Not ….

tophatal ………. 06/01/2012 …… 00.35 AM (EST)

Could things have gotten any worse for the Charlotte Bobcats’ (7-59) franchise in the aftermath of last night’s NBA Draft Lottery ? . Prior to the Eastern Conference Finals game two between the Boston Celtics and the Miami Heat . The NBA had its little precursor which would give us the order for the top five picks for the teams with the worst records from last season. Though the Bobcats had that ignominy and distinction with the worst record percentage wise (.106) in NBA history . The privilege of having the number one overall pick , that honor will belong to the New Orleans Hornets (21-45) . The consensus will be that the Kentucky Wildcats’ …… Anthony Davis will be the number one overall pick in the upcoming 2012 NBA Draft .

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The New Orleans Hornets were formerly league owned but with the recent sale of the Hornets to Louisiana businessman and New Orleans Saints’ owner Tom Benson . It has to be said that this could either be viewed as “Kismet” or the league hierarchy’s way of looking after one of the poorer NBA franchises economically . It goes without saying that more likely than not the Hornets will indeed not choose to shy away from taking Davis . The soon to be former Wildcats’ guard was one of the primary reasons why John Calipari was able to secure his first NCAA title . And in all likelihood this Wildcats’ team could see as many see as many as five players from this past season’s championship roster being taken in the first round of this NBA Draft.

For Bobcats’ owner Michael Jordan , GM Rod Higgins and team President & Head of Basketball Operations Fred Whitfield the very fact that the chance of now not being able to obtain Anthony Davis may well have further darken the horizons for the franchise to lift itself out of the doldrums . With the mutual departure of Paul Silas , the Bobcats also finds itself without a head coach . And having interviewed Jerry Sloan for the still vacant position , it remains to be seen whether or not the front office will make the former Utah Jazz head coach the successor to Silas.

Granted , there will be a number of players that Jordan and his executive staff may well deem suitable to complement the talents of Kemba Walker and the rest of this now infamous Charlotte Bobcats’ roster . One of the most anemic defensive teams of the past season as well as one that was completely lacking in terms of their offensive prowess . In reality the flaws for the Charlotte Bobcats were ongoing , with their being no veteran leadership from seasoned players viewed as the tutors whom Walker could actually learn from , thereby assuming the responsibility as the face of the franchise .

Clearly , at a crossroads , as to where he desires his franchise to be Michael Jordan can’t be entirely happy in seeing a number of his peers have some semblance of as a general manager within the NBA . GM Danny Ainge has presided over the Boston Celtics winning their most recent NBA title in 2008 as well as being a participant in the postseason 2010 and 2011 . Larry Bird as the general manager of the Indiana Pacers , he has groomed a talented group of players with head coach Frank Vogel and his coaching staff leading the charge in making this group a positive force during the regular season , and making their presence felt this postseason .

There’s no denying that Michael Jordan was more than a ” force of nature “ as a player during his illustrious NBA career . But it has been the pratfalls as NBA front office executive for which he has now become more notoriously known . While with the Washington Wizards serving in a similar capacity with the organization , he drafted then unknown high school player Kwame Brown as the number one overall pick in the 2001 NBA Draft . The player never fulfilled those expectations while players such as Tony Parker and Tyson Chandler taken lower in the draft order have established themselves as bona-fide stars within the NBA . Jordan has never been able to live down that misstep and the repeated mistakes since he assumed control of the Charlotte Bobcats having bought the franchise from Robert L Johnson the media mogul and founder of BET . Johnson would go on to sell the ($2.3 billion) cable broadcast outlet and programmer to Viacom Inc , parent company of CBS .

As much as it pains me to say this but if Michal Jordan is allowed to plow the franchise further into the depths of mediocrity, it has to be incumbent upon the NBA hierarchy to step in . NBA Commissioner David Stern must be embarrassed to see the ship upon which upon which he pinned sail to ______ now suffering such an indignity . God , the Clippers for years had to put up the repeated failings of Donald Sterling and former GM Elgin Baylor , and even now , the franchise though deemed to be on the ascent , they quickly fell back to earth having been soundly beaten (4-0) in the second round of the Western Conference playoffs . The fallacy has been in the decided reports as to the makeup of this NBA postseason with their being a number of small market teams , it has created the perception of parity within the NBA this season . In reality , however, what it all boils down to is the prudent acquisition of free agents , the drafting of well-rounded players and not paying …. exorbitant player salaries in chasing after success . Consider the payrolls for teams such as the Miami Heat , Los Angeles Lakers and Dallas Mavericks , each of whom made the postseason but had varying degrees of success .

Recently I was perusing the quarterbacks drafted over the last 15 years in the NFL . It speaks volumes that in 2011 we had one of the most explosive seasons in recent memory concerning the productivity players at the position who may well be judged to be amongst the best-of-the-best this past season . Obviously , there have been players who simply under-achieved while others exceeded expectations. Jay Cutler , an accomplished player but somehow much like his conference counterpart Tony Romo have simply become an enigma wrapped up in a conundrum .

The NFL Draft (2006) saw Jay Cutler being drafted in the first round but also part of this parade just happened to be Matt Leinart , Vince Young , Kellen Clemens , Bruce Gradkowski , Charlie Whitehurst , D J Shockley and Tavaris Jackson . To say suggest that this was barrel filled with some rotten apples would indeed be an understatement . That being said simply look at the regular and postseason results from that year and the quarterback statistics to understand why it’s not always best to throw a rookie overboard without a life-jacket . Peyton Manning may well have had some semblance of success in 1998 , his rookie season , and as we can all attest Cam Newton simply shredded the record books in 2011 on his way to an outstanding season with the Carolina Panthers . Both players as we know were number one picks in the NFL Draft.

Manning , having been let go by the Indianapolis Colts as Jim Irsay and GM Ryan Grigson seeks to rebuild around Andrew Luck and the draft picks made by the franchise . Luck and Robert Griffin III were the top two picks taken in 2012 , and their respective teams are no doubt hoping to rebound from each having a disappointing season in 2011 .

Peyton Manning looks to add to his already his illustrious career and the fact that he now makes his home with the Denver Broncos . John Elway the Head of Football Operations for the franchise saw fit to acquire Manning , albeit that Tim Tebow led the Broncos into the postseason where the team would ultimately fall (45-10) to the New England Patriots . The AFC West could no doubt be very competitive this season but in reality I believe it will be one of hits and misses ! More misses , than hits , if truth be known ! It’s not as if with the addition of Manning to the division , we will actually see some outstanding play from the teams in question . Simply look at the divisional standing last season for the teams in question and then tell me where you believe there will be a vast improvement ? No one can be sure that Peyton Manning will actually be the player who has set so many records over the course of his career , especially in light of his recent injury issues . But it was a risk that John Elway and team owner Pat Bowlen was worth taking , given the financial commitment made to Manning . That being said , it’s now do or die for the Denver Broncos .

This season a great deal will be asked of Jay Cutler and Tony Romo , as it my belief ” that both are on the clock” ! God knows, Lovie Smith and Jason Garrett are also under a great deal of pressure to produce and succeed as the respective coaches of the Dallas Cowboys and Chicago Bears . The quarterbacks in question have yet to win a meaningful game over the course of their respective careers . Jerry Jones may well carved out that edifice that can house 100,000 rabid fans with a Jumbotron Hi-Def screen as the center-piece and one of a slew of ostentatious attractions to lure the fans to this palatial arena in Arlington , Texas,. If this team doesn’t produce this season within the NFC East , especially in light of the dominance of the New York Giants in recent seasons , having twice won the Superbowl in the past five years . Eli Manning is slowly staking his claim that he’s well on his way to becoming a future Hall of Famer , as he seeks to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio,.

Jerry Jones has seen the valuation of his franchise rise exponentially , making it one of the most valuable NFL teams and amongst the most profitable professional sports franchises in the world . So much has been made about the talent we see coming from the collegiate ranks , some are prepared , whereas, others are most definitely not . The coaches and their coaching staffs are placed under microscope to get the players prepared as they are being continually second-guessed not just by the fans but also the on-air television analysts. And perhaps no one this season will be place under that type of public scrutiny than Rex Ryan of the New York Jets . The three-ringed circus has already began with questions being raised about how Tim Tebow will be used by the organization and whether or not the back-up can actually beat out the incumbent starting quarterback , Mark Sanchez , for the starting role on the team . The beat writers and tv media within the greater New York , New Jersey area will spend the entire off-season speculating on this and a great deal more concerning the franchise . Let’s just say , Tebow may well be having fun, the pressure cooker that is the New York City market can either have a devastating effect or be a motivating factor behind a player’s rise or fall within that particular market-place . The jury is still out on Sanchez , in spite of the first three years of his NFL career . Two AFC championship appearances on face value alone should be deemed acceptable to most but we’re talking about New York , where the last remnants of success for the Jets’ franchise was simply when “Broadway” Joe Namath made his bold prediction and then backed it up with a victory for the team. Both Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow have a great deal to live up to and I am sure that the Jets’ fans will make them aware of that over the course of the coming season , if not before !

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(1) NEW YORK, NY – MAY 30: Head Coach Monty Williams of the New Orleans Hornets holds up the winning card during the 2012 NBA Draft Lottery on May 30, 2012 at ABC News “Good Morning America” Times Square Studios in New York City. Copyright 2012 NBAE Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images ….

(2) Head Coach Monty Williams and Tom Benson of the New Orleans Hornets reacts during the 2012 NBA Draft Lottery on May 30, 2012 at ABC News “Good Morning America” Times Square Studios in New York City. Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images …

(3) FILE – In this March 9, 2012, file photo , Charlotte Bobcats owner Michael Jordan gestures at the referees during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the New Jersey Nets in Charlotte, N.C. The Bobcats, after the worst season in NBA history, fell to the No. 2 pick in the draft lottery , Wednesday, May 30, in New York. AP Photo/Bob Leverone …..

(4) Kwame Brown is seen here alongside NBA Commissioner David Stern on draft day 2001 . The player was taken #1 overall in the NBA Draft of that year ahead of the likes of Tony Parker , Shane Battier , Pau Gasol , Joe Johnson and Richard Jefferson . It is said to be one of the greatest “draft blunders” in NBA history when Brown was taken straight out high school by the Washington Wizards, where Michael Jordan was the de-facto general manager and Head of Basketball Operations for the team’s owner Abe Pollin . AFP/Reuters/ Chris Shaw …

(5) ” A picture paints 1,000 words ” . Kwame Brown is seen here along with Michael Jordan , as he’s formally introduced to the convened press as the Washington Wizards’ #1 pick overall in the 2001 NBA Draft. Brown’s career with the franchise was “littered with highs and lows” . Truthfully , the “highs” weren’t that memorable and the lows were pitiful . AP Photo / David Price ….

(6) From left to right , Vince Young , Brody Croyle and Matt Leinart , quarterbacks taken in 2006 NFL Draft . Each has had a less than stellar career in the NFL , although they were highly touted as being very talented at the collegiate level. AP Photo / Matthew Khan …….

(7) Lovie Smith of the Chicago Bears talks with Jay Cutler (6) during the game against the Atlanta Falcons at Soldier Field on September 11, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. Getty Images /Scott Boehm …

(8) Quarterback Tony Romo (9) of the Dallas Cowboys stands on the sidelines with head coach Jason Garrett as the Dallas Cowboys take on the Philadelphia Eagles at Cowboys Stadium on December 24, 2011 in Arlington, Texas. Romo hurt his right hand in the first quarter and sat out the rest of the game. Getty Images / Matt Hough ….

(9) New York Jets quarterbacks Mark Sanchez, right, and Tim Tebow, left, listen to quarterbacks coach Matt Cavanaugh , center, during NFL football practice, Thursday, May 31, 2012, in Florham Park, N.J. AP Photo/Julio Cortez …..

(10) Denver Broncos head coach John Fox , right, bumps fists with quarterback Peyton Manning during NFL football practice at the team’s training facility in Englewood, Colo., on Wednesday, May 30, 2012. From left are Caleb Hanie , Manning, Adam Weber and Eric Decker . AP Photo/Ed Andrieski ….

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Western Conference Finals … San Antonio Spurs leads (2-1) the Oklahoma City Thunder

San Antonio Spurs …. vs …. Oklahoma City Thunder @ Chesapeake Energy Center , Oklahoma City , OK, .

Eastern Conference Finals …… Miami Heat leads (2-1) the Boston Celtics

NBA schedule 06/01/2012
Miami Heat …. vs ….. Boston Celtics .. … @ TD Banknorth Gardens Center , Boston , Massachusetts ,. Eastern Conference Finals

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Mia-Michelle/

Hot chic pic of the day Mia Michelle . A real ‘nasty’ and ‘tasty piece’ of ‘hot ass’ ! So what’s not to like ?

Coverin' up  the  goody's/

A lil’ bit more of Mia ……. you down with that ?

Taking It To The House ………

Wednesday, 02 May, 2012 …. 20:24:46

Taking It To House ………………..

By tophatal ……….

It’s not rocket science but all of a sudden it seems the NFL now has more egg on its face in the aftermath of the ” Bounty-gate scandal “ which has systematically embroiled the New Orleans Saints organization and led to the NFLPA (union) “running ” for the hills while Executive Director DeMaurice Smith seeks to deflect whatever damage is heading his way and directly in the face of what the fans see as hypocrisy by the union and its executive committee . Smith has issued a public statement defying the NFL hierarchy to produce the evidence that indicates that there was intent on the part of the New Orleans Saints’ players named in the league’s investigative report , which in effect indicts them in terms of the acts , now well chronicled . Coaches Sean Payton , Joe Vitt and former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams have been suspended . Along with the coaches , GM Mickey Loomis will also serve suspensions ranging from 6 games to a full year , to Williams’ indefinite suspension . That pretty much ends Williams’ career in the NFL and casts him as a “pariah” amongst his peers .

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To my mind Roger Goodell has been far too lenient with the punishment meted out and draft picks asides does anyone truly believe the Saint won’t find a way rebound from this all in some form ? The New Orleans Saints had to forfeit a first round pick in the 2012 NFL Draft . Rounds two through seven saw the Saints simply go with what they felt was best suited their needs in supplementing this team’s roster . And the New Orleans Saints’ schedule this season will truly test the mettle of this coaching staff and the now beleaguered Saints’ players. A “giant shadow” has been cast over this organization and it may well take at least two or three more years before the fans and public alike …… see this Saints’ franchise in a totally new and positive light . In reality , the longer the ball-club is simply looked upon as a bunch of nefarious cheats , the better off the game will be ! . With that in mind the NFL , the league itself , is not without any responsibly for this mess . Its slow and bumbling investigation has made the “Mitchell Report ” within baseball seem like a fabled child’s story .

As contentious as the NFC South has been over the past few years , it has to be said that 2011 raised a whole new awareness as to how good this division just happens to be . That being said , the Tampa Bay Buccaneers took mediocrity to a whole new level over the course of their 2011 schedule . Ten straight losses to end their season , which subsequently led to the firing of Raheem Morris and the jettisoning of several players during the off-season. Morris’ successor Greg Schiano and his coaching staff in conjunction with GM Mark Dominik saw fit build their roster through free agency and obviously the draft . Schiano and his coaching staff made Michael Barron their pick in the first round of this past NFL Draft as the organization’s choice to bolster their secondary . And as we all know the Buccaneers’ defense was one of the worst performing in the NFL during 2011. As we know the Tampa Bay Buccaneers legacy has always been built upon the efficiency of their defense and the achievements under their former coach Tony Dungy . The ” Tampa Two” as it has come to be known has been adapted and re-engineered to meet the needs of other NFL franchises around the league . And Dungy’s legacy to the NFL , just like that of the West Coast offense” devised by Hall of Fame …… Bill Walsh . Needless to say, Greg Schiano now has a great deal to live up over the course if this season with the Buccaneers.

Mark Dominik has been aggressive in the formulation of acquiring free agents that will complement this roster and strengthen their overall competitiveness . Vincent Jackson the former wide-out with the San Diego Chargers was quick to join the Buccaneers and it is hoped that his play will be a big boost in the reaffirmation Buccaneers’ quarterback Josh Freeman . And it has been well chronicled how sub-par Freeman’s performances were during last season for the Buccaneers. And if the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are to fare well then it will be incumbent upon Josh Freeman to perform like the franchise quarterback the franchise believes him to be . Going up against the likes of Cam Newton , Matt Ryan and Drew Brees will be no easy task , given the proficiency of the quarterbacks in question and the very fact that they are among the very best within the NFC , as well the NFL .

In light of the postseason and the San Francisco 49ers’ postseason heroics. For John Harbaugh and GM Trent Baalke and the loss in the NFC Championship game to the Eli Manning led New York Giants left a gaping hole in the Niners’ season . For the players this loss proved to be something of an epiphany for the coaching staff and no doubt Harbaugh . The team’s 13-3 record within the NFC West was no fluke as the Niners proved that their resurgence was for real . And from a defensive standpoint the San Francisco 49ers proved to be one of the stellar units within the NFL . Shoring up the defense was one thing but Harbaugh and Baalke were aggressive during the off-season in acquiring Mario Manningham , Randy Moss and Brandon Jacobs . Manningham and Jacobs were part of the Giants’ Superbowl winning team that triumphed over the New England Patriots in a memorable game .

I’ve long maintained that the NFC West much like their AFC West counterparts , are two of the weakest divisions in the NFL from a competitive standpoint . And it should come as no surprise how weak those divisions just happen to be . Barely , an above .500 record by all accounts garners the division winner postseason berth in the postseason . But what might be even more astonishing is the mere fact that the NFL hierarchy hasn’t thought to change this archaic system that is now in place . Would it not be in the best interest that for the league to simply re-seed the teams based upon their divisional and conference records and then by their standings thereafter for the teams who are not divisional winners ? Much of the time , all we appear to witness from the league’s Competition Committee has been to simply soften the image of the game in so many aspects. But it’d be remiss also to overlook the fact of the idiocy of Goodell and the team owners to try and subvert the course of justice as the NFL now finds itself as the plaintiff several judicial proceedings lodged against it by current and former NFL players as they seek recourse concerning the very fact that the league has done little to protect and assist players who suffered concussions during the course of their NFL careers . With players now suffering the early onsets of Alzheimer’s disease , CTE , seizures , long and short-term memory loss . One has to wonder what it is that Goodell and also the NFLPA are trying to hide ? Puzzling as this may seem , even with in-depth medical studies conducted by several world-renowned academic establishments and hospitals , it would appear that the NFL and union have sought to ignore those findings . Can someone please explain to me , how anyone truly believes that Goodell or the NFLPA has one god-damn ounce of credibility at this juncture ? Unless you happen to be an anally retentive as#hole and such a dumb son of a bitch , you surely cannot believe that Roger Goodell really is trying his utmost , to do right by these seasoned veterans ? If that were the case then why in hell’s name would the league hierarchy and union have the details of the $1 billion ($1,000,000,000) set aside in the aftermath of their recent collective bargaining agreement be ” sealed ” by the presiding judge during their mediation process of the labor negotiations ? No details have been forthcoming by either side and it might be correct in surmising that this sum may well be used by the NFL in paying any punitive damages in any judicial verdict leveled against the NFL as part of a settlement . A billion dollars seems a small price to pay , considering the years of suffering by seasoned retired NFL veterans who have been and are still being denied their rightful benefits by the league hierarchy union . WTF !

Having worked in conjunction with current US veterans who’ve served in the theaters of conflict in of Afghanistan and Iraq , only to see them being denied much-needed assistance from the US Dept of Veterans Affairs as well local state agencies because the mountains of bureaucracy and the sheer incompetence of the agencies in question . I can only surmise that the NFL much like the US government simply doesn’t care enough about those who have served with distinction and honor !

The tragic loss of Junior Seau , the former NFL defensive lineman whose near two-decade career saw one of the game’s most prolific defensive players. The player made his name with the San Diego Chargers but also played for the Miami Dolphins and New England Patriots . And while the player’s death is now currently under investigation by the local law enforcement agency there is a great deal of speculation as to the surrounding the death of Seau . Widely differing aspects as to the circumstances concerning the former NFL player’s death from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest . However, unconfirmed sources , state that the death is being treated as a suicide , that if proven to be case , dependent upon the coroner’s findings from the autopsy . Then this would indeed be a sad end to the life of another NFL player. There were no apparent signs that Junior Seau may well have been conflicted or said to be suffering from bouts of depression or any other psychological disorder but in this day and age where we view the NFL player as gladiators, who needn’t show their emotions . Then when such an incident like this arise , it begs the question how should the discerning NFL fan view this all ?

There’s very little help provided by the league or union to aid the players beyond their mandatory programs as it relates to players who have violated the NFL’s drug or steroid policy . God forbid , that a player should the fans much less the analysts that they have some emotional problems because I alluded to earlier these players are viewed as gladiators on the field of play. It’s what the NFL sells and will continue to sell for the blood-hungry fans who in large part couldn’t give a flying-fuck as it relates to player safety . One simply has to read the inane and idiotic comments rendered by patrons all across this forum to actually see how damn well disengaged and out of touch they really are on this most acute of issues . Needless to say that this will continue because of the sheer ignorance of the individuals in question !

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

The New Orleans Saints may well be under a great deal of pressure but it now appears that they may well have an unexpected supporter indirectly with the NFLPA coming to their aid. A number of players in part now suspended by the league hierarchy will appeal their suspensions and they will be aided in thorough veracity by their player representative and legal counsel . It remains to be seen how the NFL and in particular Roger Goodell will address those hearings as judge and jury in those upcoming proceedings . What thoughts if any do you have with regard to the New Orleans Saints and the recent announcements concerning the player suspensions ? Also how do you view the upcoming season panning out for the San Francisco 49ers ? And as such what were your first thoughts when made aware of the death of Junior Seau ? By all means simply leave a comment as to your thoughts and once again thanks as always for the continued support of this site as it is greatly appreciated !

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(1) NFL Players Association Executive Director DeMaurice Smith speaks during a press conference held by the NFL Players Association at the Super Bowl XLVI Media Center in the J.W. Marriott Indianapolis on February 2, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Smith has been very critical of Roger Goodell and the suspensions rendered against several New Orleans Saints’ players. The union leader believes that the NFL commissioner far overstepped his mark in the decision. But DeMaurice Smith should know that he and the union hierarchy , . and player representatives signed away (negotiating ) ” their rights “ during the last collective bargaining agreement (CBA) in terms of a process as it relates to his members transgressing the league’s mandates . All this from a former US Justice Dept attorney also practiced with noted Washington , DC law firm Patton Boggs , LLC . One has to wonder during his academic years which classes and lessons in contractual law did Smith more than likely miss ? Win McNamee /Getty Images …..

(2) FILE – From left are NFL football players Jonathan Vilma , in 2011; Anthony Hargrove , in 2010; Will Smith , in 2011; and Scott Fujita , in 2011. New Orleans Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma was suspended without pay for the entire 2012 season by the NFL, one of four players punished Wednesday, May 2, 2012, for participating in the team’s cash-for-hits bounty system. Defensive lineman Anthony Hargrove, now with the Green Bay Packers, was suspended for the first half of this season; Saints defensive end Will Smith was barred for the opening four games; and linebacker Scott Fujita, now with the Cleveland Browns, will miss the first three games. All of the suspensions are without pay. AP Photo/File …..

(3) Sean Payton (left) and Saints’ GM Mickey Loomis share something of a lighthearted moment with the press at the team’s training facility in Metairie , Louisiana ,. Nick Goss /AP Photo …..

(4) (4) Alabama’s Mark Barron poses for photographs with loved ones after being selected as the seventh pick overall by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the first round of the NFL football draft at Radio City Music Hall, Thursday, April 26, 2012, in New York. AP Photo/Jason DeCrow ….

(5) Bucs’ general manager Mark Dominik, far left, and coach Greg Schiano introduce their first-round picks, Alabama safety Mark Barron (No. 7 overall) and Boise State running back ; Doug Martin (No. 31). Courtesy of The Tampa Bay Time/Daniel Wallace …..

(6) SEATTLE – DECEMBER 07: (FILE PHOTO) Junior Seau (55) of the New England Patriots jogs on the field before the game against the Seattle Seahawks on December 7, 2008 at Qwest Field in Seattle, Washington. The Patriots defeated the Seahawks 24-21 . Former linebacker for the San Diego Chargers, Junior Seau, was found dead at his home on May 2, 2012, one of eight former team members of the 1994 San Diego Chargers to die . According to reports, Seau had died from a self-inflicted gun shot wound to the chest. Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images …. …..

(7) Defensive end Chris Mims (94 ) of the San Diego Chargers watches the action from the sidelines during Super Bowl XXIX against the San Francisco 49ers at Joe Robbie Stadium on January 29, 1995 in Miami, Florida. The 49ers won 49-26 . Mims died of an enlarged heart on October, 2008, one of eight former team members of the 1994 San Diego Chargers to die. Former linebacker for the San Diego Chargers, Junior Seau, was found dead at his home on May 2, 2012. According to reports, Seau had died from a self-inflicted gun shot wound to the chest. Photo by George Rose/Getty Images ….

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For Half A Billion Dollars You Simply Can’t Beat Another Fucking Screw Up ……… Business 101 Courtesy of A Now Bankrupt US Government …………

For Half A Billion Dollars You Simply Can’t Beat Another Fucking Screw Up ……… Business 101 Courtesy of A Now Bankrupt US Government …………

OK so someone please explain to me how it is that the government can somehow sink $500 million (half a billion dollars) into a now defunct Fremont , California based company Solyndra that was trumpeted by President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden as the wave of the future in the country’s commitment to energy conservation _____ the specific use of this technology with regard solar panel and cylinders in creating energy efficient usage and products . Now comes what might be unbelievable , the company filed for bankruptcy ( Chapter 11) in the US Federal Court in the state of Delaware . Once again , more taxpayers’ monies simply sank without a trace and there being no one within the administration much less from the President’s own staff readily available to issue a formal statement . Jay Carney , White House Press Secretary , usually available to take the press’ questions on numerous public issues , himself , a well known journalist has yet to make any formal statement on the bankruptcy filing that leaves the taxpayer on the hook for this debt .

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It has been one thing for the government to use the TARP facade in assisting their paymasters (major financial institutions) in placing Obama and select GOP and Democrats in the Congress and Senate . It is now one thing to watch the eight Republican nominees seeking that party’s blessing as the opponent to Barack Obama in 2012 but it is equally idiotic to hear them each opine on the economy , with little knowledge of what’s actually happening in the real world.

Barack Obama will have a hard time explaining another misstep by this administration and even more so from Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner whose department it is to oversee the government’s spending while the country’s economic monetary policy itself is dealt with by the Federal Reserve under the auspices of Ben Bernanke as its chairman. Clearly with all of the divergence in thought , ideology being placed ahead of bipartisanship and doing what’s best for the country , we are now seeing this administration and both legislative chambers simply throwing fecal matter up against the wall just to see what sticks and then using that as a legislative policy and statute. If that’s not completely fucked up then what is ?

With the none partisan Office of Management & Budget having forewarned both the House Appropriations Committee and Senate Finance Committee as to the irregularities and the guaranteeing of this $500 million loan to Solyndra it appears those warnings went unheeded with legislators such as Nancy Pelosi (D-Ca) championing the loan ___ stating that it would be of great benefit to the her home state of California and for the employment prospects of the residents within in the state . Well this white elephant, of all of three years has gone up in a cloud of smoke and there is simply no one willing to answer questions as to what went wrong . When the US government seeks to become a venture capitalist it speaks as to its very arrogance and their use of the taxpayers’ monies in such a case ! Now with the FBI and attorneys from the Justice Department having removed countless documents from the Fremont , California based company in the last 24 hours it remains to be seen whether or not there will be any senior executives of Solyndra indicted by the Justice Department in possibly perpetrating a felonious and larcenous act against the US taxpayer !

Courtesy of the Los Angeles Times

Solyndra executives back out of congressional hearing

By Neela Banerjee & Jim Puzzanghera of the Los Angeles Times

The solar equipment maker’s executives cite the demands of a complicated bankruptcy and a federal investigation they now face.

Reporting from Washington—
Executives of beleaguered solar equipment maker Solyndra Inc. canceled their Wednesday appearance before a congressional investigative committee at the last minute, citing the demands of a complicated bankruptcy and a federal investigation they face.

Solyndra got a $535-million loan as part of the U.S. stimulus package in late 2009 and was held up by the Obama administration as a powerful example of the kind of innovative manufacturing that would revive the economy. But in the last few weeks, the Fremont, Calif., company has closed shop, laid off most of its 1,100 workers, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and had its offices and executives’ homes raided by the FBI.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee will hear testimony from administration officials about the government’s loans to Solyndra. The company said in a statement that its executives were busy with the bankruptcy and were discussing a new hearing date with the committee.

The events surrounding Solyndra’s government backing and now bankruptcy have become a political hot potato in Washington.

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It is good to see that while the President is doing the rounds trying to sell the country on his latest posturing on jobs and the economy , he has been evasive on answering questions raised with regard to the bankruptcy filing of Solyndra . Bear in mind also that this has been the fourth such company in the past eighteen months to have filed bankruptcy proceedings due to their failure . What is it , that is said to be remiss about this all , other than a clear case of mismanagement and an over eagerness to delve into an industry still in its infancy and without there being any real due diligence being used by a number of the entrepreneurs in question ? At the same time countries such as China , Brazil and the UK , all seem to be prospering somehow but with there being accountability and clear oversight by the respective governments in question. regard to the Congress itself rather the continued asinine and infantile behavior we now see repeatedly from both sides of the political aisle . Lack of leadership ? Yes ! Lack of integrity ? Certainly ! But overall , a total lack of respect for the electorate , their wishes at large and neither of the two political parties actually seem to give a damn ! For them , it now has become all about ideology and how much money can be made at the expense of the taxpayer !

As this whole picture unravels you can be sure that the executives of this company will simply hide behind their litany of lawyers not wanting to make any formal statements on this issue . And with Congress now wishing to enact a speedy hearing to ascertain what these executives may or may not have known as to the financial well being of their company . Is anyone at all surprised to see the government once again with egg on its face ? After all these are the very same imbeciles who made sure that this deal essentially went through without much scrutiny by anyone that mattered . Certainly they failed to heed the warnings raised by senior officials not only from within the OMB but also the CBO ( Congressional Budget Office ). Once again we’re back to the same damn issue ……..” follow the fucking money trail ” and you can who made sure that things simply went ahead smoothly without there said to be any problems arising !

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What now awaits , is where the apportioned blame will be placed and who seeks to gain from this all . We may each have our own thoughts on this matter but it is clear to see that once again the government has failed the electorate and populace with its gross stupidity and naivete’ . Care to guess as to how this shit will be spun by the parties concerned ? Chime in with your comments as you deem fit and thanks as always for the continued support as it is greatly appreciated !

Alan aka tophatal ………. https://tophatal.wordpress.com

Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) Executives of solar equipment maker Solyndra Inc. canceled their appearance before a congressional committee . Above, Solyndra headquarters in Fremont, Calif. Paul Sakuma / Associated Press ….

(2) An FBI agent walks inside the Solyndra headquarters building in Fremont, Calif., Thursday, Sept. 8, 2011. The FBI are executing search warrants at the headquarters of California solar firm Solyndra that received a $535 million loan from the federal government . AP Photo/Paul Sakuma ……

(3) FREMONT, CA – MAY 26: Ben Bierman (left) and Chris Gronet (right) explain solar technology to U.S. President Barack Obama on a tour of the Solyndra solar panel company May 26, 2010 in Fremont, California. President Obama toured Solyndra Inc., a growing solar power equipment facility that is adding jobs as they expand their operation . The $535 million loan provided by the Department of Energy is now lost with the company having filed for bankruptcy. (Photo by Paul Chinn/Getty Images …

(4) President Barack Obama is seen here with both Chris Gronet and Ben Bierman at Solyndra’s plant and headquarters in Fremont , California . Getty Images / Paul Chinn ……

(5) Former Director of the National Economic Council Lawrence Summers (L), Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers Dr. Christina Romer (2L), Secretary of the Treasury Timothy F. Geithner (C) and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke (R) listen as President Barack Obama (2R) speaks after a daily economic briefing in the Roosevelt Room of the White House March 23, 2009 in Washington, DC. Obama said the administration’s plan to purchase toxic assets from banks is a move in the “right direction” to unlock credit markets. Both Romer and Summers no longer sit on the board of the Council of Economic Advisers . Getty Images North America / Brendan Smialowski ……

(6) U.S. President Barack Obama (C) walks into the White House briefing room while flanked by White House White House Press Secretary Jay Carney (R) and White House Chief of Staff William Daley (L) on April 5, 2011 in Washington, DC. President Obama addressed the media about his meeting with Congressional leaders in hopes of coming to a agreement on funding the Government to avoid a shut down. Getty Images North America / Mark Wilson ……..

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Don’t Hate Appreciate ………… Have You Had Your Can Of Whup Ass Today ?

Don’t Hate Appreciate ………… Have You Had Your Can Of Whup Ass Today ?

I’ve said it repeatedly the tough teams know how to win when it matters most and case in point was proof positive of that as the Los Angeles Lakers simply gave up in their quest having succumbed to the Dallas Mavericks 98-92 in a decisive game three played at the American Airlines Center in Dallas , Texas. Instead of being composed we saw a Lakers’ team pressed and playing rather in consistently throughout this series .

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If there was an unsung hero during this game for the Mavericks then it had to be jointly Jason Terry , Peja Stojakovic and that wily veteran Jason Kidd who belied their years in the league. Now pardon me for saying this but each time I hear TNT or ESPN analyst Jeff Van Gundy I simply want to throw up ! Is there no time wherein this guy can simply be observant report on what he observes rather than coming up with asinine comments and analysis. Now down 0-3 this series is now beyond the reach of the Lakers as no team in playoff history has ever come back from an 0-3 deficit to come back and win that series .

This was simply a collective effort from this Mavericks’ team and it was a thoroughly convincing result and this series now seems to the Dallas Mavericks’ for the taking . If you’ve any doubt about that then simply look at the box-score and the stats for the Mavericks ? Game four of this series resumes on Sunday and we’re liable to see the Lakers be swept out of this series as the Dallas Mavericks make their way to the Western Conference Finals . Personally I can see the Lakers quite possibly taking game four but beyond that this team is liable to lose one if not two of the next three to be played at the Staples Center after the series’ departure from Dallas .

Anyone who was in any doubt why Derrick Rose became the youngest league MVP in NBA history then you simply had to witness his display against the Atlanta Hawks in game three played at the Philips Arena in Atlanta , Georgia . The Chicago Bulls simply laid the wood to the Hawks as they took them behind the woodshed and literally beat the shit out of this Hawks’ team . Forty four points simply sums up this player’s play and the fact that the Bulls’ bench took up some of the slack . Joakim Noah , Kyle Korver and Taj Gibson played with a great deal of aplomb as and when needed, as they harried the Hawks’ offense and made them look lethargic .

By midway through the fourth quarter this game was simply beyond the Atlanta Hawks’ reach and their two All Stars on this team in Joe Johnson and Al Horford simply couldn’t do anything to bring the Hawks back into this game. On this series resumption with game four we could well see the Chicago Bulls take a 3-1 lead in this series .

Can someone explain to me how it is that Cliff Lee can strike out 15 batters in a game and still come up with a loss (5-0 ) in a game played at Citizens Ballpark in Philadelphia as the Philadelphia Phillies took on the Atlanta Braves ? Lee’s opposite number Derek Lowe also had the prospect obtaining a no hitter in this game in what was an exemplary display by both pitchers. In the end however this was more about the mistakes defensively made by the Phillies and solid resolute play by the Braves as they inched closer to the the Florida Marlins and Phillies within the NL East .

Andre Ethier’s amazing season continues as he embarks on rewriting the Los Angeles Dodgers’ record book. Ethier is on the cusp of becoming the Dodgers’ consecutive single season record in terms of a consecutive games hit streak . Now at thirty games and counting Ethier looks to surpass the Dodgers’ record of Willie Davis’ streak of 31 and hopes to top the mark of forty before he can think about even coming within range of Joe Di Maggio’s 56 game hit streak which is the all time record within MLB . It’s now becoming redundant to continue talking about the Dodgers’ off the field problems as nothing can now simply change that particular landscape as it now stands. The idiocy of it all is that the team’s owner Frank McCourt continues to wallow in the fact that he’s now become a victim in the aftermath of the league hierarchy taking over the day to day running of the organization. Suffice to say that the league , its team owners enabled McCourt and his executive subordinates to enact this madness . And for those opining that the Dodgers and their $3 billion tv contract signed with Fox and its parent company NewsCorp let’s just say if you’re unable to pay the staff salaries for your employees for the months of April and now May please don’t come up with the bullshit about this organization being in a viable financial position. Simply let it be , and get a dose of reality as to how business is conducted in the real world .

Maryland basketball coach Gary Williams effectively announced his retirement as coach of the Terrapins’ basketball team . Having assumed tenure of the Terrapins as its coach in 1989 while the team was under NCAA probation Williams single handedly resurrected this program and put it back on the map. In doing so he won the 2002 NCAA Basketball Tournament . That title has been Maryland’s sole NCAA Men’s title but it has been the programs consistency over the years that has made Gary Williams stand apart as a collegiate basketball coach . He leaves an indelible record having won over 630 games and a run of eleven straight NCAA appearances as well as the Sweet 16 on multiple occasions . Thirty three years as a coach of, which 22 were spent as the coach of Maryland and I’d like to think that makes Gary Williams something of a special talent within the world of collegiate basketball !

Well it appears now apart from Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff looking to challenge the BCS’ antitrust exemption status and its stand as a monopoly within collegiate football. It now seems that the US Justice Department and its antitrust division will now serve notice that they intend to send letters to NCAA President Mark Emmert and the BCS seeking their reasons as to why there isn’t a playoff format in place for the national championship at the D1 level. If that’s not enough to peak your interest assistant US attorney general Christine Varney within the antitrust division of the Justice Department says that she is quite prepared subpoena records from both the NCAA and BCS to seek out how they conduct their business practices as it relates collegiate football . Considering the NCAA is already facing a civil suit challenge by several former NCAA athletes as to the use of their likeness for business purposes within the Federal Court System this couldn’t have come at a worse time for both the NCAA and BCS.

If it hasn’t been enough that we’ve seen the idiocy of the NCAA and the belief that the BCS and its subordinates feel that they’re above reproach . We now have to see them having to defend themselves from what we already know to be a grossly corrupt system that is in place and that’s being defended by an idiot in Ohio State university President Dr E Gordon Gee . How in God’s name that buffoon believes that the system is above reproach tells you all you need to know when you simply survey the 2010-11 and 2011 schedule of the Buckeyes to see how they affix their schedules , wherein they’re literally playing a bunch of no name programs to pad out their stats. In the midst of this all, Gee has the temerity to suggest that mid major conferences ought not to be allowed to have the privilege of attaining a BCS Bowl game berth because they’re simply not good enough. If anything, Gee ought to be more concerned over the image of his school and the fact that its football coach Jim Tressel has no moral character or integrity and the very fact that he’s self consumed a liar and a cheat . Those ought to be Gee’s biggest concerns rather than his asinine notion that the BCS system is above reproach.

I’ve longed felt that were it not for Severiano Ballesteros the European Tour and the PGA Tour wouldn’t be what is today . Having won five grand slam majors and over 68 tournaments worldwide Ballesteros’ legacy has been well chronicled . Long before Tiger Woods held the world as a captive audience on the golf course it was the spectacle of seeing Ballesteros simply play with a fluidity not often seen on any major tour today. His shot making was uncanny and anyone who knows anything about the sport of golf will know how special Seve’ Ballasteros was . Unfortunately , the Spanish star and a successful Ryder Cup captain is suffering from cancer of the brain , having gone through repeated bouts of chemotherapy and undergone several neuro surgeries over the past eight years ever since it was discovered that he had malignant tumors on his brain. Having removed several of the tumors it was felt that Severiano Ballesteros’ would be able to make a slow and successful recovery from his illness .

Ballesteros died at age 54 in the early hours of Saturday morning, in the arms of his family, a national treasure within the country of Spain and a worldwide celebrity . A wealthy individual in his own right , from his professional earnings and as a businessman from his the off the field business ventures , he married Caroline Boutin , whose family founded one of Spain’s largest financial institutions Banco de Santander . He will be sorely missed by the golf word but it was his larger than life character , respect for and of the game as well as his fellow competitors that made Ballasteros stand apart. His dominance of the game goes without saying and for those who’ve never witnessed Ballesteros at his very best , simply imagine the shot playing of Tiger Woods at his best with the power of Jack Nicklaus and you can imagine how special Ballesteros was at the height of his game.. Thanks Seve’ for all the grace you brought to the game and in particular the world of sport , you’ll be sorely missed !

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What thoughts if any do you have on the points raised within this piece ? Simply chime in with a comment as to your thoughts and thanks as always for the continued support as it’s greatly appreciated !

Alan aka tophatal ………………….

https://tophatal.wordpress.com

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(1) DALLAS, TX – MAY 6: Dirk Nowitzki (41) of the Dallas Mavericks reacts after hitting a three against the Los Angeles Lakers in Game Three of the Western Conference Semifinals during the 2011 NBA Playoffs on May 6, 2011 at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Danny Bollinger/NBAE via Getty Images …….

(2) The Los Angeles Lakers’ Kobe Bryant looks at his bench as Dallas Mavericks’ Dirk Nowitzki , left, Peja Stojakovic , center and Jason Kidd , right react during the final minutes of Game 3 of a second-round NBA playoff basketball series, Friday, May 6, 2011, in Dallas. The Mavericks won 98-92. NBAE/Getty Images / Danny Bollinger ….

(3) Los Angeles Lakers’ Pau Gasol shoots over Dallas Mavericks’ Jason Kidd, left, and Peja Stojakovic during the first half of Game 4 of a second-round NBA playoff basketball series, Sunday, May 8, 2011, in Dallas. AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez …….

(4) ATLANTA, GA – MAY 06: Derrick Rose (1) of the Chicago Bulls drives against Joe Johnson (2) and Al Horford (15) of the Atlanta Hawks in Game Three of the Eastern Conference Semifinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs at Phillips Arena on May 6, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. Getty Images / Kevin C Cox …..

(5) Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Derek Lowe(notes) delivers to the plate during the first inning of a baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies, Friday, May 6, 2011, in Philadelphia. AP Photo / Barbara Johnston ….

(6) Atlanta Braves’ Jason Heyward (22) steals to second base as Philadelphia Phillies second baseman Michael Martinez (19) is late with the tag during the ninth inning of a baseball game, Friday, May 6, 2011, in Philadelphia. The Braves won 5-0. AP Photo/Barbara Johnston ….

(7) Los Angeles Dodgers’ Jamey Carroll(14) greets teammate Andre Ethier (16) at the plate after Ethier’s seventh-inning two-run home run as New York Mets catcher Ronny Paulino , center, looks on during a baseball game at Citi Field in New York, Sunday, May 8, 2011. AP Photo/ Kathy Willens ……

(8) University of Maryland basketball coach Gary WIlliams (L) hugs his wife Dana WIlliams after announcing his retirement on May 6, 2011 at the Comcast Center in College Park, Maryland. Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images ……..

(9) University of Maryland basketball coach Gary WIlliams speaks while announcing his retirement on May 6, 2011 at the Comcast Center in College Park, Maryland. Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images ……..

(10) Seve Ballesteros (C) of Spain poses with Per Ericsson (R) and German Lopez of Volvo Event Management during the press conference of the Volvo World Match Play Championship 2009 presentation at Intercontinental Hotel on October 14, 2009 in Madrid, Spain. Ballesteros, who is recovering from cancer which has left him partially blind in his left eye, is hopeful that he’ll be able to take part in the upcoming Volvo World Match Play. October 13, 2009 – Photo by Angel Martinez/Getty Images Europe ……..

(11) Ballesteros seen here in receipt of the Green Jacket having won the 1983 Masters Tournament at Augusta National G&C Augusta , Georgia ,. Photo archives / Reuters/ Peter McKinnon ……

(12) Christine Varney (left) head of the Antitrust Divsion of the US Dept of Justice . Her department has been asked by the AG Eric Holder to look into possible grounds to see if the BCS can be considered a monopoly in terms of its business practices as it relates to D1 collegiate football . NY Times Susan Etheridge ……

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MLB News

MLB Scoreboard & schedule 7th May 2011

MLB results 6th May 2011

MLB Schedule 8th May 2011

MLB Standings

NBA News

NBA Playoffs 2011

NBA Results 6th May 2011

NBA Schedule 7th May 2011

NBA Schedule 8th May 2011

I Love My Sports …………… Hoo Hah ! And The Military Ain’t Bad Either !

I Love My Sports …………… Hoo Hah ! And The Military Ain’t Bad Either !

Well the Superbowl 45 (SBXLV) was somewhat anticlimactic to my mind a game (31-25) which was essentially beset by the mistakes made by both teams . I think that much of that came down to the fact that both teams never really settled down to the cavernous atmosphere of the stadium and the expectations that many felt was there to be had. The Pittsburgh Steelers were looking to win their seventh Superbowl title and cement themselves in the annals of the game. The Green Bay Packers not without a legacy themselves were looking to win their fourth Superbowl in the team’s history .

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The respective coaches in this case Mike Tomlin and Mike McCarthy have been the epitome of class throughout much of the season . We’ve had the bombastic attitude of Rex Ryan and we all saw how quickly the bottom fell out of the New York Jets’ season and their and languid their performance was in their loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC championship game played at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. That game pretty much summed up the Jets’ season and how overrated they actually were. I even remember one patron trying to suggest that Jets’ quarterback Mark Sanchez wasn’t a player that was being asked to do too much by Ryan and his coaching staff . Those of us who witnessed that game saw a player who struggled in large part and a player that was simply let down by his teammates as well.

The Superbowl itself was a game which I watched with several of my work colleagues at a local VFW as a number of them are former military vets or members of the Florida National Guard . We all vary in age from 35 to 65 and having served in the British military as a member of the Royal Marines in various parts of the world for a nine year stint ( Northern Ireland , Eritrea , Cyprus and the Ivory Coast ) . Along with my cadre of colleagues it goes without saying that others in attendance were obviously former service members. The USMC, US Army , US Navy and Air Force were all well represented. Many of them there had their allegiances to the teams participating or one should say specifically to the conferences. I simply wanted to see a game that was competitive and in some ways it actually fell short of that . It may well have been that this was the highest rated Superbowl in television history with an estimated audience by all accounts of 115 million viewers domestically. For Fox and their advertising partners this was a ratings’ bonanza and with ad rates said to be in excess of $150,000 per second a thirty second spot during peak viewing time would garner the network $4,500,000 . It’s pretty safe to say that not only was the network making a great deal of money but so too was the NFL .

I’ve got to admit being around these guys and watching the game was very much in essence like being around some of my former military buddies I’d served with. Now don’t get me wrong attuning myself to the sports’ landscape here and aligning myself to many number of teams once this country became my permanent home. Two decades on and I can categorically say that my allegiances are with the San Antonio Spurs , New England Patriots , and Duke (Blue Devils) Basketball . Admittedly at one time I was also an avid fan of the Florida Marlins and the USC Trojans but that all fell apart one I saw that the front office of the Marlins led by owner Jeffrey Loria couldn’t be trusted to tell the truth as to the team’s financing and viability. Let’s just say that team’s plight and anything that’s now said to be coming from Loria publicly can’t be trusted as being factual.

The same can be said of the Trojans’ athletics program and the mere fact that the university’s former AD Mike Garrett took winning to heart even if it meant doing so by unscrupulous means as a way of gaining untold riches and notoriety . At the center of it all was the behavior by former coaches Pete Carroll , Tim Floyd , athletes Reggie Bush and O J Mayo . And as we now know what transpired there was enough to indict everything that’s wrong in collegiate athletics today and the mess that the NCAA itself has created and condoned in many respects with the idiocy of their actions.

In the UK I still follow religiously my two favorite soccer teams Manchester United and Chelsea of the Premiership (EPL) . And not a day goes by when I’m no online checking on both teams’ progress in their various competitive endeavors. As many of you know also I’m somewhat passionate about the sport of boxing and there my alltime favorite boxer is Marvin Hagler perhaps the most underestimated middleweight champion in history. But with the sport now becoming something of a misnomer and with there now being a complete lack of credibility in many of the weight categories I now find myself more interested in MMA and specifically the promotions of UFC . As a martial arts practitioner I’ve got to admit that watching these bouts unfold now gives me greater pleasure than what’s now being served up in the world of boxing by the sport’s most prominent promoters such as Top Rank Inc , Don King Promotions and Golden Boy Promotions Inc . That triumvirate in large part along with the multitude of boxing’s international governing bodies have brought the sport to depths it’s now at , completely lacking in any credibility at all !

While watching the game I couldn’t help but wonder where many of us might be were it not for the circumstances that’s led us to where we are at present. A number of the veterans in attendance were also young vets who’d served in both Afghanistan , Iraq , as well as older veterans who’d served in the the first Iraqi conflict , World War II , Vietnam and Korea . However it also pained me to see number of the vets who’d recently returned from both Afghanistan and Iraq , who having served their country gallantly are having difficulties acclimatizing themselves back to civilian life. The Dept of Veterans Affairs as well meaning as it is overwhelmed with way too much bureaucracy and the fact that in some cases the facilities at which some of these veterans are treated at can at times best described as deplorable and outrageous. Having worked in conjunction with a number of organizations such as the PVA (Paralyzed Veterans of America) and charities specifically that deal with the well being of former vets I have to say that the conditions I’ve witnessed first hand as well as through some of the work that some of my work colleagues have done as pro-bono work as lawyers , has simply indicated to me that the US government does treat their veterans deplorably ! A lot of the time the utterance coming from members of Congress and the Senate is simply a sound byte merely to be politically correct and to seek empathy from the electorate.

To see a military veteran who’s now confined to a wheelchair having because of an IED and the fact that in many cases these incidents could have been avoided had former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld seen fit to plan with some insight and not utter the rather asinine sound bytes while the propaganda war being waged came to a grinding halt as repeatedly this conflict has become completely out of control. Two wars , $1.6 trillion ($1,600,000,000) has been spent and there’s no sign that there’s light at the end of the tunnel ! . We’re told that the US troops will be leaving Iraq in an orderly fashion once the Iraqi security forces are able to secure their borders and the civilian population. Unfortunately what President Obama , Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton now seem to be forgetting is that the Iraqi government has become so corrupt where the rule of law has become non existent . The less said about Afghanistan and the government led by President Hamid Karzai the better as that’s another cluster fuck that’s getting worse by the minute , and the fact that coalition lives are being sacrificed for no other reason than the pomposity now being shown by the US government and its allies. Democracy as always , there’s a steep price to pay but when the cost is that of US men and service women’s lives with there being nothing tangible to show for it at the end of the day has me now asking what is the stance of the US and its diplomacy as it relates to the Middle East ?

Superbowl MVP Aaron Rodgers having led the Green Bay Packers to their first Superbowl win in almost fifteen years . It has to be said that this was a long time coming for the fans in Green Bay . Mike McCarthy had this team playing with a great deal of resolve and it showed throughout much of the preseason , regular season and into the playoffs . And statistically the team led by Rodgers simply more than a pleasant surprise . And it augurs well for the prospects of the organization as a whole . A chance of a successful defense isn’t out the realms of possibility if they’re able to show the same sort of attitude shown throughout the 2010 season. But as we all know winning is the easy part the hard part is to successfully defend a title as everyone places a target on your back aiming for that bullseye, with the intent of knocking that team off their pedestal.

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Spending time with my colleagues in such a way was nurturing on a number of levels merely because I felt at ease around many of these individuals with whom I had something in common with. We’ve shared stories about our experiences in the military but we’ve also formed a bond over love of sports and all that it brings . What else could one really ask for and how else would one want to spend a Superbowl Sunday ? Unfortunately the event itself from my own perspective had been something of a downfall with the fact that during the pregame ceremony you had 5 time Grammy winner Christina Aguilera butcher the National Anthem and then the halftime show headlined by The Black Eyed Peas was a complete cacaphony of noise that if anything sounded like lead singer Fergie was unsure what the hell she was doing on stage. I’ve got to wonder wasn’t there a sound check instituted before the group took stage and if anything was the original sound check conducted by Hellen Keller ? The game itself while entertaining in part did leave a lot to be desired but then again it met the expectations with the fact that it was once again a monumental and financial success for the NFL . And as we all know the NFL has simply about their image and the money because nothing else really matters to the hierarchy !

What impressions if any did you have on the event itself and how did you feel about the entertainment that was provided throughout ? Simply chime on in with a comment as you see fit .


Picture and slide show details below

(1) Green Bay Packers fan John Magnin celebrates after the NFL football Super Bowl XLV Sunday, Feb. 6, 2011, in Arlington, Texas. The Packers beat the Pittsburgh Steelers 31-25 . AP Photo/LM Otero ……

(2) Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) celebrates winning Super Bowl XLV over the Pittsburgh Steelers 31-25 with his family at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas on February 6, 2011. Kevin Terrell/NFL ……..

<p (3) Green Bay Packers cornerback Charles Woodson (21) talks with the media after winning Super Bowl XLV over the Pittsburgh Steelers 31-25 at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas on February 6, 2011. Gary A. Vasquez/NFL ………

(4) Green Bay Packers’ Jordy Nelson, right, celebrates with teammate Andrew Quarless after scoring a touchdown during the first half of NFL Super Bowl XLV football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers Sunday, Feb. 6, 2011, in Arlington, Texas. AP Photo/Charlie Riedel ….

(5) U.S. Army medic SGT Tyrone Jordan (top) of Charlotte, NC attached to Dustoff Task Force Shadow of the 101st Combat Aviation Brigade works on Marine LCpl. Michael Staley aboard a MEDEVAC helicopter after Staley suffered a gunshot wound to the shoulder September 18, 2010 near Marja, Afghanistan. Task Force Shadow is responsible for evacuating wounded Afghani and Coalition forces as well as local nationals throughout southern Afghanistan. Scott Olson/Getty Images AsiaPac ……….

(6) Afghan President Hamid Karzai holds a press conference at the Presidential Palace on February 8, 2011 in Kabul, Afghanistan. Karzai called on his Western allies to close down civil-military provincial reconstruction projects (PRT’s) that have served their purpose, likening the PRT’s to a ‘plumber’ whose services were no longer required. Majid Saeedi/ Getty ImagesAsiaPac ……….

(7) US Air Force Senior Airman, Lisibeth Payano closes the door of a mortuary vehicle during a dignified transfer at Dover Air Force Base on December 3, 2009 in Dover, Delaware. The dignified transfer was for US Marine Lance Cpl. Jonathan Taylor of Jacksonville, Florida and US Army Cpl. Kenneth R. Nichols, Jr. of Chrisman, Illinois, both killed in Afghanistan while supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. Getty Images North America / Mark Wilson ….

(8) Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) (L) thanks U.S. Army Specialist Eric Edmondson (C) and his father Ed Edmondson (top) during a news conference about Democratic efforts to pass an omnibus veterans? health bill at the U.S. Capitol November 10, 2009 in Washington, DC. Specialist Edmondson, who suffered severe traumatic brain injury in an improvised explosive device attack in October 2005 while serving in Iraq, is cared for by his parents. Democrats indentified Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) as the sole Republican holding up the passage of the bill designed to help Iraq and Afghanistan combat veterans and family caregivers of the seriously wounded. However since this bill became law what many veterans are now finding out is that the VA (Veterans Administration) hasn’t been all that quick meeting their obligations in facilitating the expedition of the paperwork . The agency itself is undermanned and being mismanaged never mind the absence of well trained medical professionals needed . Getty Images North America / Chip Smodoville ……….

(9) A marine checks a weapon as eighty Royal Marines of Zulu company 45 Commando prepare to leave their base RM Condor for six months tour in Afghanistan on October 2, 2008 in Arbroath, Scotland. A total of 500 Royal Marines from 45 Commando are going to Afghanistan, Whiskey Company left last week, and the rest of the marines will leave in the next two weeks. Jeff Miller / Getty Images Europe ………….

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[ In my military active service I saw action while being on the front lines of the troubles in N Ireland as the troubles there and where the violence actions of the IRA who in essence were a para-military organization _____ a precursor for what we now see in Al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations such as Hezbollah and Jeemah Islamiyah . ]

😛

Alan aka tophatal ………………..

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John Legend ……………….feat’g Andre’ 3000 …….”Green Light” Music as it should be with actual instruments and vocals !

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There’s Only So Many Ways You Can Throw Sh_t Up Against A Wall

There’s Only So Many Ways You Can Throw Shit Up Against A Wall …….

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I’m not one to always jump unto the political bandwagon but what’s now happening in the country of Egypt ought to act as a reminder why it is that the US continues to be the pimple on the ass of an elephant as it relates to its foreign policy . Ever since the death of the country’s former President Anwar Sadat to a assassin’s bullet the country has tied itself to the corrupt government of Sadat’s successor Hosni Mubarak . What might be even more galling is the very fact that after the events of 9/11 when 22 terrorists saw fit to attack the country in a pre-emptive strike which took the lives of over 3,000 innocent victims the US still rallied and showed support for Egypt even though 14 of the twenty two terrorists who were part of this heinous atrocity were from that country. The remaining 8 terrorists were from the country of Saudi Arabia another we’re told a so called ally of the United States and its war on terror. At no time did the US seek to cut off diplomatic ties with either country but instead simply continued its ties with both.

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Hosni Mubarak in his tenure has rarely been opposed in terms of when he sought re-election during his reign as President as any opposition from within was viewed as a form of blatantly disavowing the country’s path under Mubarak and his policies. Now you can see the reason why the form of democracy now being espoused in the country has been a charade and the fact that the United States had thrown its support behind Mubarak over the years begs the question what the hell has the country been thinking during that time ? Now there are those who’ll say we need Egypt because as an ally , and logistically because of where the country lies and the very fact that the Suez Canal is the primary route for 70% of the world’s oil that leaves the Arab peninsular for the Western market. There in a nutshell sums up the primary reason for the United States’ interest in the region and reason for the Egypt to remain a with some form of leadership . Even if it is one that has a rather dubious form of democracy and ties to a number of organizations that many in the West view to radical.

Stability can be deceiving when one considers how corrupt the Mubarak regime has been and the very fact that the rule of law isn’t at all adhered to . The Egyptian judiciary is corrupt and the defense attorneys aren’t always to defend their clients effectively because there’s a propensity for the judges to align themselves with the prosecution and bribes shall we say that tend play its part in any decision that’s brought down as a verdict by a judge ? And this is what the US government would have us believe is a suitable form of democracy to throw its weight behind and support ? Laughable and ludicrous isn’t it ? But then again if memory serves me correct President George W Bush did once make the statement that the Sudan’s __ President Omar Al-Bashir was a leader who could be trusted . And in the Sudan some 2 1/2-3 million victims over the last decade have lost their lives to the genocide inflicted by Bashir’s security forces and that of the Janjaweed while the rest of the world seemingly looked on .

Mubarak has been President of the country for almost three decades and during his reign there has been no end of political corruption and no end of his autocratic rule. His government has been essentially one filled with a close inner circle of friends and family. Political reform if any has been minuscule but at the same time the West and in particular the United States views the country as a trusted ally in the Middle East merely because it is one of only two Arab countries in the region that actually recognizes Israel’s right to exist and who openly has diplomatic relations with that country. The other country who joins Egypt in its recognition of the state is that of Jordan which is ruled by King Abdullah .

Now for the past three decades Egypt , other than Israel have been the largest recipient of US donor aid of which the State Dept confirms that the figure has been in excess of $68 billion ($68,000,000,000,000). And while no one can actually show how this money has actually been spent we can be sure that much of it has found its way into the pockets of the Mubarak cabinet and that of his closest allies while the country itself is in an economic mess. Israel itself is not without with the largess of the United States also being the recipient of donor aid to the tune of approximately on average $3.5 billion (3,500,000,000) a year. What I’d like to know is what the US gets in return in terms of reciprocity while taxpayers’ monies are being sent to the countries in question ? Has there really been any form political or economic reform in Egypt much less Israel given the fact that the Palestinian situation each year becomes a mess that the parties involved seek an amicable accord to ?

Egypt’s capital city of Cairo has become the lightning rod and epicenter for the protests now taking part in and across the country. While this has all fomented the unrest not seen in the Arab world of this seismic in nature since Iran erupted which led to the overthrow of the Shah of Iran (Reza Pehlavi ) . In his stead the country came under the reign of the Islamic clerics led by the Ayatollah Khomeini . And as we know the country is now seen as a ‘pariah’ in the West and the conduit of terrorism as a backer of the group Hezbollah .

In the aftermath of 9/11 President Bush and his cabinet did little to seek answers from either Egypt or Saudi Arabia but yet we’re led to believe that both countries were of great assistance to the country in seeking out members of Al Qaeda , the terrorist organization actually responsible for the atrocity . Bush’s successor Barack Obama has been making statements that add little to the perspective other than to say that he supports the rights of the Egyptian people to their freedom of expression while at the same stating that he believes that Mubarak will use this as a chance to make the changes needed, bring about reform and stability back the country. If after three decades that has never been done what makes the President now believe that with the death of almost 100 Egyptian civilians and in excess of 2,000 injured that things are now about to change ? Certainly with Secretary of State —- Hillary Clinton essentially adding nothing to this at all from her own perspective other than to reiterate the President’s statements it leads me to believe that there’ll be little change if any made by Mubarak’s government.

US foreign policy over the years has bordered on being inept and downright disgraceful ! The country suborns dictatorial regimes but then chooses then uses oxymoronic tones questioning countries such as Myanmar (formerly Burma) , Iran , and Somalia , Sudan and Yemen . It wouldn’t be that bad were it not for the fact that these countries if anything in terms of transparency with regard to their respective political process isn’t that much worse than that of Egypt . And what might be even more thought provoking is that while the US hid behind their nonsensical stance that they didn’t suborn the interdiction and torture of US citizens or that of other nationals who were arrested under the suspicion of being terrorists , it was to countries such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia where many of these individuals where taken and tortured . Then Secretary of State Condolleeza Rice under President Bush categorically denied that very fact but we now know this not to be true.

Egypt might well have been a useful ally to have but herein lies the question with this so called right of exceptionalism , where’s the right of common decency and the rule of law in all of this ? Thankfully, Egypt as a country albeit one that has been relatively stable until the unrest now being shown but without there being true reform and the very fact that while the present US administration hopefully looks for some reform and stability merely thinking that throwing money at a problem makes it better has simply shown that the foreign policy has been myopic and without any real thought !

This type of idiotic foreign policy that the US has been entrenched in has been existence merely driven to drive its own economic interests rather than being an equal partner with many of its allies in the Middle East. It’s not something that either side of the political debate would like to admit as being fact but it’s becoming more and more apparent that it has been the zeal which has driven the debate and policy of successive Presidential administrations down the years.

Hosni Mubarak isn’t yet ready to give up his rule as President of Egypt and the changes made in seeking the resignation of his entire government while replacing them with many of his cronies and one or two members from opposition party members merely smacks of desperation on his part , while he looks to still have the support of the West and in particular that of the US and the UN . If those two esteemed bodies show their support for Mubarak then essentially nothing will in fact change.

Courtesy of Wall St Journal

ElBaradei Says Unrest Will End if Mubarak Leaves

By Matt Bradley

Cairo – President Hosni Mubarak’s announcement that he will step down after elections later this year is “an act of deception” and will not satisfy the demands of those protesting against his 29-year rule, according to opposition leader and Nobel laureate Mohamed ElBaradei.

“Nobody is satisfied with that, nobody is ready to be naive, not see a ploy,” Mr. ElBaradei told a small group of journalists in an interview. “It’s an act of deception to me,” he added.

He said Mubarak needs to leave Egypt in order to bring an end to the mass demonstrations calling for him to step down.

“Once he’s out of the country” the demonstrators will go home, Mr. ElBaradei said.

Mr. Mubarak said Tuesday that he wouldn’t run in the next election and called for constitutional reforms, opening the door for opposition groups and his regime to square off for control of the country’s future. Mr. ElBaradei has emerged as a leader of a loose coalition of opposition forces that includes the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood .

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True political reform comes about from an ideology of change that starts from the top and one that works its way down to the benefit of one’s citizens. Egypt’s former Nobel Peace Prize award winner Mohammed ElBaradei and former head of the United Nation’s IAEA having returned to Egypt , has in part become of one of the most recognized voices that opposes the current government. As to whether or not he can viewed as one who can assume the mantel of leadership remains to be seen but it’s clear that he wants and seeks change for his country and that of its populace.

And it goes without saying that the changes sought by the Egyptian people and that of its citizens abroad will be a long time coming if the incumbent President remains in power. At the same time outside influences such as that of radical clerics who may well view this as a possible way of gaining further influence in breeding its explosive rhetoric of radical Islam could now jump into the fray and force the country into becoming in Islamic theocratic state that is administered by imams who’ll use Iran as their role model. Something that I believe that no one in the West would want at this juncture ! But in light of the relationship between the West and the Middle East at present this might not be out of the realms of possibility.

God knows with the situation that’s now in place in both Afghanistan and Iraq where the United States still involved in two wars and where both the governments of President Hamid Karzai (Afghanistan) and Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki are riddled with corruption and whose idea democracy aren’t now that much different than those of their Islamic neighbors who view an Islamic theocracy as a democratic form of government. It is where the rights of the populace aren’t as important as that of seeing the downfall of the infidels in the West which essentially is now what foments the vitriol that drives the ideology of radical Islam and where in the West we are now seeing the rise of xenophobia and outright racist rhetoric coming from all sides of the political agenda. One now wonders how this all we be portrayed from the bastion of right wing conservatism Fox News and that of the rather less than knowledgeable analysts and pundits of ABC , CBS , CNN , MSNBC and NBC ? . Let’s just say all the perception of knowledge that they can give you with some incisive insight as to the state of affairs is in reality that they simply don’t really understand many of the issues with any great depth.

I’ve always maintained that a person’s right to seek one’s own freedom starts with taking a stance and that of a rallying cry. It’s now happening in Egypt but that was never the case with the countries of Afghanistan or Iraq as US the saw fit to entrench itself in a conflict, which was one of futility and not of necessity and one where the planning and its execution has bordered on sheer ineptitude. It kind of now makes one wonder how the US can now extricate itself from both situations and now on appearance, its support of another dictator that the country has supported while trying to suggest that they’re a trusted ally ?

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have on the political unrest now happening in Egypt and how things have changed not only in that country but also in Tunisia , Jordan and Yemen where we’ve seen the citizens demonstrating in the streets calling for changes and political reform ? Do you believe that Mubarak will step down as President and relinquish his role as Head of State or will he try to remain in office ? Chime in with your thoughts on this matter .

Picture and slide show details.

(1) Egypt’s capitol Cairo amidst of the vocal demonstrators who oppose President Hosni Mubarak’s stay in power . The beleaugered President having sought the firing of the Egyptian Cabinet still holds unto the reins of office having sworn in some members of the opposition and in large part many of his closes allies to be part of a new ministerial administration. However that has not been enough to vanquish the President’s staunchest opponents and the populace at large. Mubarak has since made the public statement that he’ll step down in September at the time of a new election for President and that of a new government altogether. Western analysts seek a smooth transition over the period rather than the country falling into utter chaos. Courtesy of AFP/ Reuters …………..

(2) U.S. President Barack Obama (R) speaks as (L-4th L) Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, King Abdullah II of Jordan, and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak listen during an East Room statement at the White House September 1, 2010 in Washington, DC. The White House has kicked off a new round of direct peace talks for the Middle East, the first one in more than 18 months. Getty Images North America / Alex Wong …………

(3) U.S. President Barak Obama (R) talks with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in the Oval Office at the White House August 18, 2009 in Washington, DC. The two leaders discussed a range of issues including Middle East peace. Getty Images North America / Mark Wilson ……….

(4) Beleaguered President Hosni Murabak addresses the nation on state television informing them of the changes to be made in the country’s government. However he’s stated that he won’t step down until there’s a smooth transition and elections take place in September. His opponents had sought the President’s resignation and his departure from office and the country. Reuters/ Mohammed Al-Shahi ……

(5) Egyptian protesters hold pictures showing slain Egyptian businessman Khaled Said as they shout anti-police slogans during a demonstration in Alexandria, Egypt Wednesday. Anger is spreading in Egypt over the latest example of police brutality and torture within the close US ally. Courtesy AP/ Christian Science Monitor ….. @ copyrighted material all rights reserved

(6) U.S. President Barack Obama (right) and Secretary of State of State Hillary Clinton participate in a cabinet meeting at the White House February 1, 2011 in Washington, DC. Later in the day President Obama will meet with members of the Technology CEO Council to discuss competitiveness, innovation, and the need to create jobs. But what might be now a more pressing situation facing the administration is the growing unrest in Egypt and the presence of US citizens there now hoping to leave the country under US mandated evacuation. Getty Images/ Mark Wilson …….

(7) Anti-Government Protesters Clash With Pro-Mubarak Demonstrators A supporter of embattled Egyptian president Hosni Mubarek is thrown from a horse during a clash between pro-Mubarek and anti-government protesters in Tahrir Square on February 2, 2011 in Cairo, Egypt. Yesterday President Mubarak announced that he would not run for another term in office, but would stay in power until elections later this year. Thousands of supporters of Egypt’s long-time president and opponents of the regime clashed then today in Tahrir Square, throwing rocks and fighting with improvised weapons. Getty Images / Chris Hondros ……….

(8) A wounded Egyptian man is brought away from front lines during a clash between pro- and anti-Mubarek protesters February 2, 2011 in Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt. Yesterday President Mubarak announced that he would not run for another term in office, but would stay in power until elections later this year. Thousands of supporters of Egypt’s long-time president and opponents of the regime clashed then today in Tahrir Square, throwing rocks and fighting with improvised weapons. Getty Images / Chris Hondros ……….

(9) Egyptian opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei is surrounded by reporters as he arrives at Cairo airport on January 27, 2011 in Cairo, Egypt. Mr ElBaradei has vowed to join anti government protesters in Cairo tomorrow. Getty Images Europe / Peter Macdiarmid ……….

Facts about Egypt ………..

Alan aka tophhatal …………..

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Marvin Gaye …………. “What’s Going On/What’s Happening Brother”
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Fanning The Flames Of Ignorance And Liberty Or Just Being Stupid ?

Fanning The Flames Of Ignorance And Liberty Or Just Being Stupid ?

It should come as no surprise to anyone that with the upcoming ninth anniversary of the September attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon Building the nation has yet to heal from the most heinous of attacks perpetrated on US soil. And while we're seeing a rise in anti-Islamic resentment and a full scale attack on Muslims not just verbally but also physically with a number of what we're told are now random acts of violence. I've got to ask myself is this country actually now reverting back to the sixties and earlier wherein the seeds of resentment were actually aimed at African Americans and other minorities of color ? Clearly an argument could be made that this seems to be journey now being taken . Call it what you will xenophobia , racism or just plain ignorance and the unwillingness to accept the differences between the races that makes us so different.

This all seems to be coming from a rallying cry of what appears to zealous bigots who are stating that this is simply their way of reacting to the actions of the radical Islamists and jihadists out there whose call for death to imperialistic Zionists has to be heard. And while I condone those atrocities carried out by Al Qaeda and the Taliban I’ve got to say that should the proposed action of the Florida pastor Terry Jones of the Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Florida ________ who calls for the burning of the Quran this Saturday to commemorate the tenth anniversary of 9/11 and also to act as a deterrent to the Islamists of the country’s will. I see it as a rather futile and idiotic act that will not only place the lives of US military men and women in harm’s way as well as that of the coalition forces still waging on an ongoing war for the survival of Afghanistan and Iraq. Somehow this seems to have been lost on this pastor and the members of his congregation who seem intent on joining him in this exercise .

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Having served in the military courtesy of Her Majesty’s (UK) armed forces in the Royal Marines where my own experiences on the front line was to witness what full blown atrocities were all about with the actions of the IRA in Ireland as well as on mainland Britain. I can say to you that any life lost on the field of battle is a needless one, unless there’s a certainty that one knows what exactly it is that you’re fighting for. I’ve taken lives in the service of my country and I’ve also tried to assist in the rebuilding of lives as it concerns that of the returning servicemen from active duty from both fronts in the current war being waged on terror. The law firm for which I work does a great deal of pro-bono work in order to aid military veterans gain the services denied to them by the VA and government due to the bureaucracy that tends to be thrown up in their path repeatedly. And for those of you who currently believe that the US government does all it can to assist these men and women then think again as nothing could be further from the truth. There have been horror stories out there that’ve gone reported and unreported that shows that this country tends to do a horrendous job in really honoring its men and women in the military. The lip service that’s paid by the politicians and on air political pundits alike is merely being done to solicit favoritism and little else beyond that.

Courtesy of The San Francisco Chronicle

9/11 Burn a Quran day motivated by Terry Jones’ greed, money & avarice ?

By Yobie Benjamin

Terry Jones, zealot pastor of a Florida church called the Dove World Outreach Center of Gainesville and author of “Islam is of the Devil” claims to be motivated and inspired by God as he toys with the world’s leaders, media and lives of American soldiers and civilians.

Barack Obama, Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, Pope Benedict, Hillary Clinton, NATO, Interpol, every country in the European Union, every religious group in Gainesville, Florida and perhaps the entire civilized world has implored and pleaded with the zealot so-called pastor Terry Jones to cease and desist from burning Korans on September 11, 2010. The foreign ministries of Pakistan and Bahrain issued official denunciations with Bahrain calling it a “shameful act which is incompatible with the principles of tolerance and coexistence.” The president of Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim nation, has also sent a letter to President Obama asking him to stop the bonfire.In Pakistan, about 200 lawyers and civil society members marched and burned a U.S. flag in the central Pakistani city of Multan, demanding that Washington halt the burning of the Muslim holy book.

Jones’ answer? He feigns religious persecution. He says his bank wants his church to pay what it is owed. He also says he has 200 Korans and he wants buy more to burn. There is no subtext or code for what this pastor wants. He wants you to send him and his 50 followers money and lots of it. Yes, please send money by joining as a “member” of the church. He also needs money because Florida authorities discovered that he was running a for-profit eBay enterprise and the state wants to get paid for sales taxes.

God has no part of Jones’ plan. Jones’ plan is the Terry Jones plan and it was the reason why his old church in Cologne Germany fired him. His motive is as earthly, worldly and as old as humanity itself – greed and avarice. Terry Jones has figured out the magic formula to get every self loathing zealot nut job in the world to send him money — Get on every TV, radio, newspaper and web site and plead for like minded idiots to send money. There is no doubt that several hundreds of new “members” have sent in their tithes to pastor fake doctor of theology.

The First Amendment of the US Constitution protects Jones’ right to say and do what he wants. Jones has the right to burn Korans even in the face of Gen. David Petraeus’s dire warnings. To emphasize his intention to burn Korans, Jones wrote a screed on his blog.

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Now you may consciously ask why can’t this pastor carry out his wish to burn the Quran as it is his wish , given his First Amendment Rights ? But I’d ask what en if the repercussions should be the loss of US military lives or that of US civilians abroad as an act of retaliation ? Does that comfort those who think this ought to be an appropriate act by the pastor ? Regardless of what your beliefs might be, this all could create a tremendous amount of blow-back for all of the wrong reasons of which we will have to ask ourselves was it all worth it at the end of the day ? Clearly there’s food and room for thought here on all sides of this equation no matter what one’s beliefs might be.

For many of us the devastation and emotional horror of that momentous day is still something of a traumatic shock to the system and it may well have felt surreal. I can only speak for myself when I say that I was aghast sad and horrified when the reality began to set in as to what had taken place on 11th September 2001. For many of my friends and relatives whom I knew lived in the New York my immediate concern was for their safety but also the needless loss of lives all for the purpose to send a message of hate was one that simply reviled me. Now in the same essence I view the actions of this pastor as simply playing into the hands of the radical Islamists (Muslims) who’ll merely use this as another way of showing that they can simply show us that the disdain they have for all things Westernized and that should they choose to unleash a new reign of terror then we will simply have no real reply for it all. It’s not as if this pastor himself will take to the field of battle but he’ll simply revert to the fact that it was his calling and God’s will ? Well I was under the impression that the Christian teachings taught us to be compassionate and tolerant of others ?

Islam itself is being perverted by fundamentalist clerics (imams) but unfortunately there are very few Muslims who are actually prepared to step forward and make their own thoughts be heard as a passionate call to show that they don’t believe in the perversion of their religion. And it’s the same here with this pastor and the very fact that there has been little or no call to state their disdain for what is being proposed by Terry Jones . On the right of the political aisle there’s little opposition and to the left of the argument you have those stating that it is within the pastor’s rights no matter how abhorrent it might appear to be. That may well be the case but what about common sense and decency ? Clearly this pastor and the members of his congregation think that they’re above that and that whatever transpires out of this all won’t be any concern of theirs even if it means the loss military lives.

Here also you have right wing Christian conservatives who come out and openly with disdain in their protests outside of military funerals and have called stated the fallen men of women of the US military who’ve died so valiantly and with honor in the service of their country. They have in effect stated that their deaths have been because this country has sought to embrace homosexuality,socialistic ideals and other things that they deem to be perverted and un-American . Which begs the question what is now meant to be American in terms of an ideology ? Unfortunately these idiots aren’t as enlightened or as educated as they believe themselves to be.

As the ninth anniversary 9/11 approaches this ought to be a time of reflection and conciliation but instead we’re seeing a divergence of not only of cultural beliefs but morals and integrity on both sides of the diaspora with each faction trying to lay claim that they’re right. The sadness in the midst of this all is that while this idiocy carries on the lessons there to be learned and taught are falling on deaf ears. And it’s an indictment of how far man has fallen of his path as a human being .

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