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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Save It For Another Day ….

Save It For Another Day …

OK, so the country is in a state of shock after the events of the past seventy-two hours and I am of the belief , you cannot change a country, when the mindset of the political leaders remains ambivalent , rhetorical and pragmatic . The United States of America no longer remains the Land of The Free , but it has become about the have’s and have not’s . No other country on the earth judges its people than by the wealth amassed and the power one has by the fortune amassed. From my own standpoint , I no longer wish to make any type or real observation concerning the country , because I know in essence, things are unlikely to change , no matter who takes power at the highest levels of political office .

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In the world of sports , the NBA’s off-season has taken shape with a spate of transactions and the ongoing stupidity exhibited by analysts such as Charles Barkley and Stephen A Smith . The duo have taken things to a new level of such idiocy with their statements concerning Kevin Durant’s departure from the Oklahoma City Thunder to join the Golden State Warriors . How little they seem to remember , when it came to the orchestrated and embarrassing performance by LeBron James , when he left the Cleveland Cavaliers to join the Miami Heat and where James would lead the Heat to two of their three NBA titles while he played for the franchise. Rather than address the fact , the NBA is no longer about team success , but more so about singular titular achievements of the league’s superstars. The fans of the NBA now have to put up with the utter bull$hit exhibited by individuals (Barkley and Smith) who clearly want to proffer up idiotic opinions, with the belief they will be listened to with a great deal of clarity and real intellect.

Dwyane Wade’s shocking departure from the Miami Heat to join the Chicago Bulls was more of a jolt , than Kevin Durant’s decision to leave the Oklahoma City Thunder. Heat Team President Pat Riley has played footloose and fancy-free over the last six seasons conjuring up the success for their franchise. Yet, his plan had to unravel , because the financial burden for the Miami Heat had become too much to bear. Wade for his part sacrificed professionally as well as monetarily in order to facilitate the wishes of the front office executive Yet at the end of the day , as we all know the NBA has been nothing more than a business , with team success being secondary in nature and nothing more than a bye product of it all.

In reality the league (NBA) has become entity without any heart , soul or real competitiveness, where they are no longer any great team rivalries , player rivalries or in-depth skill-set. There are but a handful truly great players in the NBA , with the coaching also being rather mundane, if not pedantic , bordering on being less than average.

Away from professional basketball , Major League Baseball is on the cusp of taking its mid-season break for the events of this year’s All Star Game being held at PETCO Park , home to the NL’s San Diego Padres . Teams are still vying for divisional supremacy as well a vital playoff berth within each league. Of late things have slowed up for the Chicago Cubs who at one point had the best record in all of baseball. That mark now belongs to the San Francisco Giants who are bring pressure to bear on their divisional rivals the Los Angeles Dodgers whose gargantuan payroll dwarfs so many of their rivals within the NL West as well as the rest of MLB . Over the last ten games played , the Philadelphia Phillies and Toronto Blue Jays have been the two best teams in baseball , with each compiling an 8-2 record . Though it is not reflected in their divisional standing within the NL East or the AL East where they sit several games behind the respective divisional leaders.

Coming off their last contest the Toronto Blue Jays were 5-4 winners over the Detroit Tigers in a game played the Rogers Center in Toronto , Ontario. The two teams will face each other again on Friday evening , with the Blue Jays seeking to inch closer the Baltimore Orioles , who currently lead the AL East . In the case of the Philadelphia Phillies , it has been a lack of consistency throughout much of the season which has led to their faltering behind the Washington Nationals and New York Mets within the NL East . Thursday’s embarrassing loss to the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field in Denver Colorado , proved to be something of a setback for this Phillies’ team , but they will get the chance to rebound from the defeat , when they meet in the resumption of their regular season series this Friday.

At this point last season , the standings within the game gave us no real indication as to how the postseason would play out for the participants . I certainly believe the last month of the regular season will play a part in what we could very well expect during the postseason foray for the teams. For now, the fans will prepare as the All Star Game festivities get underway , with the beginning of the mid-season showcase starting with starting with the Celebrity All Star Game on Saturday, followed by Sunday’s Home Run Derby , with the pinnacle being Tuesday’s big event of the whole showcase. The AL and NL rosters for the game might well have been filled with surprises , but when you consider this is nothing more than love-fest , which comes courtesy of fan voting , rather than on the merits of the accomplishment of the players up to this point of the season. Then there are bound to be a number of grievances from various arenas covering the game of baseball. Yet at the end of the day, the fans simply want to be entertained, while seeing a very competitive contest from the best players the game has to offer.

What should have been one of the biggest promotions in UFC history with the scheduling of UFC 200 , will now turn into something of a nondescript spectacle. One of MMA’s biggest stars, Jon ‘Bones’ Jones has been forced to withdraw from his proposed Light Heavyweight title bout against reigning champion Daniel Cormier . Jones has tested for a banned substance and a mandatory two-year suspension by WADA comes strong on the heels of the fighter just returning to the octagon having tested positive for cocaine after his having originally defeated Cormier in defense of the title he had to relinquish . Jones has pled his innocence stating that he could have only tested positive having taken a prescriptive medication for which he wasn’t aware was among the list of substances banned by the UFC. Plausible or not , Jon Jones has become the unwanted face of the sport because of his past offenses in and outside of the octagon. Jones , alongside Conor McGregor and Ronda Rousey , are the three biggest draws in the sport , which at present is truly bereft of a breakout star, given the fact in recent months, each of the three fighters mentioned suffered losses professionally in the octagon or their reputations have been sullied with some negative press, because of actions outside the sport. UFC President Dana White , whose avuncular style and dictatorial leadership of the UFC has drawn negative reviews , is now pressed in having to deal with another damaging blow the sport.

Criticism from many circles concerning the UFC’s business dealings with contracted fighters signed to the company are not misplaced , in spite of claims to the contrary by White , and UFC’s owners , Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta . UFC 200 will still be staged , but the main attraction on the card will mark the return of former Heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar who will face Mark Brown , while Miesha Tate will defend her Women’s Bantamweight title against Amanda Nunes . Daniel Cormier is likely to be tested in his bout when he faces off against Anderson Silva the former UFC Middleweight champion. These three bouts will highlight the main card for the evening’s events staged at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas , Nevada on Saturday , 9th July, 2016. If nothing else, UFC needs a shot in the arms after all of the negative publicity surrounding the Jon Jones debacle as well as the uncertainty concerning Conor McGregor’s future within Mixed Martial Arts (MMA). The Irishman seems unfazed by the antics of the UFC President , knowing full well the UFC needs him more than he needs the sport. Contract obligations asides , his staged announcement and walking away from sport was nothing more than hyperbole.

Brock Lesnar’s return will certainly give us something of a comedic spectacle, given the fact his reign as the former champion was short-lived . All-American or not , Lesnar has limited skills as an MMA fighter , where his greatest strengths are his wrestling and physique.

Serena Williams will be looking to add to her twenty-one singles’ Grand Slam titles when she faces Angelique Kerber of Germany in the Ladies’ Singles Finals at Wimbledon. Kerber , defeated Williams to win the Australian Open in Melbourne , this past January, depriving the American of her chance to equal Steffi Graf’s modern era Open record of twenty-two Grand Slam singles’ titles. Serena Williams will enter the Finals at Wimbledon as an overwhelming favorite , but I believe Angelique Kerber is not to be underestimated ! Williams is by far the best player of her generation and among the top-five female players in the history of tennis, but it is difficult to suggest she is the greatest female player of all-time. Her career record while outstanding , would pale into comparison when measured against the likes of Martina Navratilova , Steffi Graf , Billie Jean King and Margaret Court .

If Serena Williams fails in her quest on Saturday afternoon , it will not be for the lack of trying , but questions will certainly once again be raised where she ranks within the pantheon’s of the women’s game should she falter again , at the hands of Angelique Kerber.

The Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro , Brazil are just over month away and while IOC President Thomas Bach assures the world at large everything is OK. What cannot be hidden from the public , is that the country remains beset by political scandal , has an outbreak, which many believe Brazil cannot contain , in spite of assurances from the nation’s Health Ministry and the WHO (World Health Organization) . While I believe the ‘Zika Virus’ outbreak is a real cause for concern, my greatest fear, is that Brazil and its security apparatus will be unable to handle a terrorist attack . The whole world will be watching the biggest sporting spectacle to be staged each quadrennial and I have to admit , I will be fascinated to see many of the events unfold. Team USA will seek forge unity , trying to unite a nation divided by racial and economic divides , while idiot politicians and members of the media seek to suggest the nation is more unison, when it faces its greatest adversity. Nothing could be further from the truth, as there remains a perpetuation of xenophobia fomented in the bigoted rants of political commentators , Presidential candidates and even idiot members of the populace , who know little of the nation’s history, much less the reality of the real world .

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Recent tragic events , which we have now borne witness to via media resources, reminds us why very little has changed in the US over the last six decades, much less since the nation came into being. All men are not created equal and they are certainly not treated fairly under the law. Anyone with an iota of intelligence can see that for all sense and purpose the United States remains divided along racial and socioeconomic lines. It is the way in order to keep the status quo as is, with those in power , controlling the wealth and suppressing the freedom of others, specifically those who are of an ethnic background.

Tophatal …………. 2016/07/08

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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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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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Today’s athlete more concerned about their brand image rather than the underlying social issues !

Today’s athlete more concerned about their brand image rather than the underlying social issues !

In light of Jim Brown’s recent statements about athletes of today, not being socially involved in a number of politically or socially relevant issues. It had me wondering, why any athlete, who more often than not would rather seek the advice of their agent as to how to carry themselves in public, and what to say on camera, would actually be at loggerheads with someone such as Jim Brown , who alongside Arthur Ashe , Kareem Abdul-Jabbar , Bill Russell , Billie Jean King and Muhammad Ali , might be the most socially active athletes this country has produced in the past four decades ! Brown was extremely critical of NBA player Kobe Bryant , in saying that the Los Angeles Lakers’ guard is somewhat confused about his culture and background. Personally, I do not believe Brown to be that far off the mark in his presumptions about the NBA star, whose history prior to his legal entanglements in Eagle , Colorado , told us a great deal about Bryant and his disloyalty towards then teammates Rick Fox and Shaquille O’Neal . The relationship between Bryant would be soured between he, O’Neal and Fox , after the player tried to implicate both , in , and after his own sexual indiscretion , and the alleged sexual assault charged brought against him .

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Granted, Kobe Bryant prior to the incident, was the “face” of the NBA and one the league’s beloved and respected stars. Once those allegations of a sexual assault came to the fore , ” Team Kobe ” were quick to corral the star and sought to protect his image , while seeking to paint his then victim, as a scheming harlot, looking for a large payday. In the end, Bryant would apologize for his actions while embarrassing himself and his immediate family, in the aftermath with his act of contrition . Several years later, Kobe Bryant’s name would become associated with Hollywood actress Sanaa Lathan , whom the player described as a close family friend. The fact that at the time, his wife Vanessa was pregnant with the couple’s second child , the player was being photographed with the starlet at a Prince concert being staged at the Staples Center in Los Angeles California , spoke volumes as to Bryant’s improprieties , his lack of candor and honesty in simply stating that he and his wife were separated at the time. Divorce proceedings were filed, but in the end the couple reconciled and settled their differences.

Courtesy of The LA Times

Kobe Bryant responds to Jim Brown slight

By Eric Pincus , The LA Times

Former NFL running back Jim Brown gave a controversial opinion on Kobe Bryant while visiting “The Arsenio Hall Show” on Tuesday night.

“He threw [Shaquille O’Neal] under the bus and he is somewhat confused about culture, because he was brought up in another country,” said Brown. “[Bryant] doesn’t quite fit what’s happening in America.”

Bryant spent many years of his youth in Italy, where his father Joe “Jellybean” Bryant played basketball professionally.

“In the days when we had a summit and we called the top black athletes together to talk to Muhammad Ali about his status with the armed forces, there were some athletes we didn’t call,” said Brown. “If I had to call that summit all over, there would be some athletes I wouldn’t call. Kobe would be one of them.”

Brown’s comment prompted Bryant to reply via Twitter.

[ Kobe Bryant
@ kobebryant

A “Global” African-American is an inferior shade to “American” African-Americans?
? #hmm. that doesn’t sound very #Mandela or #DrKing sir ]

Bryant also addressed the topic after practice Thursday.

“It surprised me in the sense that it just came out of left field. I’ve never even met him,” Bryant said of Brown. “I do think it’s a great opportunity to have these conversations, to have this discussion.”

Why did he choose to respond to Brown publicly?

“If it’s a major issue that involves equality or the perception of racial equality, I feel like that’s something that . . . needs to be addressed,” Bryant said. “Obviously it’s a sensitive topic for everybody but I think the best thing to do is not dance around it.

“Ultimately, the conversation is that it doesn’t matter what color skin you are,” continued the Lakers All-Star. “I think it’s a good place to start, to have a good conversation and try to educate one another and try to improve as a society because of it.”

Would he like the opportunity to sit down and talk with Brown?

“There’s nothing to talk about. We have different perception, different views on it, clearly,” Bryant said. “What I’m trying to do is educate our youth going forward, no matter what color skin you are, African-American, white, whatever the case may be.

“For he and I, there’s no reason for us to have a conversation. We’re completely on the opposite sides of the spectrum. I’m an old dog, but he’s a much older dog. He’s probably a lot more set in his ways than I am.”

Brown’s summit in 1967 with Ali included Bill Russell and future Lakers Hall-of-Famer Lew Alcindor, who would change his name to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

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Having amassed an estimated $200 million fortune , Kobe Bryant has been philanthropic , with a number of social causes in the greater Los Angeles area as well in Lower Merion , Pennsylvania, Byant’s place of birth. That being said, like many of his peers , the player has never sought to ingratiate himself with any real deep felt social cause or issue or spoken out on any particular political matter. Needless to say, it is by no means an indicator as to what the player might think about any one particular matter , but if adjudged against the asinine rationale of an idiot such as the Minnesota Vikings’ defensive lineman Jared Allen , then it is perhaps best that we do not often hear an athlete address any type of political or social issue.

Allen prior to the 2008 Presidential election, came out with the rather asinine statement that he would not be voting for the Democratic Presidential candidate Barack Obama on the grounds that the nominee was simply about hiking taxes and living off the rich. Last I looked, even if Allen , were a noted Republican supporter , surely it could not have escaped his notice, that during the reign of then incumbent President George W Bush , taxes may well have declined somewhat , but the value of the US dollar had declined even more so , forcing the consumer to actually spend more of their income than ever before, even on the most basic daily staples . The economy was in a downward spiral and for a player who at the time was earning in excess of $ 8 million a year , I can only surmise that Allen felt uniquely placed to speak for the masses when his own salary was actually two hundred times that of the ordinary average working American worker . Allen’s education at Idaho State albeit, on a scholarship, was greatly wasted on this ass !

While, it would be easy to be critical of today’s athletes and what appears to be their lack of social awareness, far too many of their actions, are too often dictated by agents , sponsors or even their very teams. And while could state that during the era of Jim Brown , Arthur Ashe , Muhammad Ali , Bill Russell , Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Billie Jean King chose not only to be socially active, but also politically . The same cannot be said of today’s so-called pantheons of the sports’ world, whose concerns more often than not, appear to their image , amassing wealth and being seen in public at the biggest social events , when away from their chosen endeavors. Also, when an athlete now chooses to place themselves within the midst of an issue , specifically one that is political , their apparent intelligence also comes into question , as was the case with Jared Allen. One could also attest that times have changed since Ali was a vocal opponent of the war in Vietnam , and while his incarceration may well have been more one of political and racial motivation , by the government . I would suggest that even now, the country has not preceded that far forward, in terms of its apparent social progress. The nation still remains, one that is divided, along not only racial lines, but also economically as well as politically. With the latter inference, coming by way of the two political parties seeking division rather than bipartisanship in dealing with what ails the country.

There have been athletes who have gone about quietly seeking change, but much of that goes uncovered , or rarely reported on, in full by the press , who if anything are just as guilty with their ongoing impudence and lack in-depth journalism on a wide variety of issues, be they economic or social issues . The big story always sought, seems to be one of salacious or sexual intrigue , or shall we attest to the fact , there just seems to real disinterest in many of the topics raised, merely because the journalists believe there happens to be no real story of human interest ?

Floyd Mayweather Jr and Tiger Woods , are perhaps two of the most recognized athletes on the planet, but rarely have you seen either , speak openly on a matter of social or economic importance. Both of these high-profiled athletes apart from being extremely wealthy individuals , as can be seen from their ranking in Forbes’ highest paid athletes , are very much indifferent as to what they believe their legacies are said to be. Mayweather brandishes his opulence, by way of his lavish lifestyle, penchant for fast cars and gambling. Woods for his part, having careers earnings from the PGA Tour exceeding $100 million , with a further $850 million in endorsement earnings , might just be the wealthiest active North American athlete.

The golfer whose off-course issues came cannon fodder for the press, while idiots, such as Christine Brennan sought to ingratiate herself, with her readers by trying to suggest that Woods’ sexual peccadilloes were an outrage. Somehow, it might well have escaped Brennan’s notice, that the player’s actions were not unlawful, just simply repulsive. However, it would appear, that because of Woods’ visibility, the story was worth running with, merely to whet the appetite of the readers of USA Today and provide evidence and further lower what we now know is simply the press at its worst , without ever seeking to be informative or overly judgmental. Brennan , may well be seeking to show that as a woman she can compete in an environment that is uniquely dominated by her male counterparts , but she has yet to show that she can shy away from letting her emotions get the better of her.

Woods and his Tiger Woods Charitable Foundation in conjunction with many of his corporate sponsors have spent countless millions on children’s issues, with the furtherance of their education and well-being . Woods , himself, beyond the creation of foundation , now has several educational facilities in the state of California and nationwide , with monies also being spent abroad to establish similar academic institutions in Thailand , the birthplace of his mother , Kutilda Woods , and on the African continent.

Tiger Woods , like LeBron James , Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant, have chosen to remain silent on a wide variety of sociopolitical issues . And while the golfer has let his money and deeds speak volumes as to his actions , by contrast the NBA and its fraternity of players along with their MLB and NFL counterparts have remained mute . Somewhat strange, when you consider that annually the MLB hierarchy annually in remembrance of Jackie Robinson’s integration into the game of baseball and at the insistence of Bud Selig , have sought to exhibit their political activism . Yet today, there has not been one player of note during this era, who has stepped up to the plate to speak openly on any issue of note . The self-absorbed image of the NBA and their egotistical fraternity , as presided over by David Stern , remains one of ridicule narcissism. In the wake of the death of teenager , Trayvon Martin ,whose demise brought a great deal of national outcry, the only action of note from many of the league’s players and specifically those of African-American heritage , was to stand silently before a game adorned in hoodies to express their concern over the teenager’s tragic demise . Even though Martin’s assailant, George Zimmerman was later acquitted of the victim’s death , it has not gone unnoticed, that the former defendant , has subsequently had several more run-ins with the law, with two occasions of Zimmerman having used a weapon to have allegedly threatened his ex-wife and a girlfriend. Speaks volumes, as the justice system within the state of Florida, the lack of intelligence amongst the twelve members of the jury and that of the complete incompetence of the prosecuting attorneys in the presentation of the state’s case.

Kobe Bryant may well have taken umbrage at being targeted by Jim Brown , but the NBA player’s response if anything showed a great deal of naiveté and a lack of understanding . Bryant’s own response if anything, further emphasizes why today’s athlete , has become way too-image conscious and even less involved and dare I say it, even less informed than many of their peers from years past ?

Loves labors lost, as it would now appear with the Los Angeles Lakers (10-11) , as they strive for some semblance of success this season . The very fact that their joint co-habitants at the Staples Center in Los Angeles , the Los Angeles Clippers (15-9) do appear have taken some of the glare off the more renowned of the two LA based NBA franchises , could very much be a part of one of the numerous reasons why prior to the start of the regular season schedule Kobe Bryant was somewhat mystified as to why analysts felt the Lakers would be no better than the twelfth best team in the Western Conference . From my own standpoint, I believe that the analysts were being rather generous with their own analysis of the Los Angeles Lakers as a team and their season’s aspirations in possibly making the NBA Playoffs. A less agile Bryant coming off , off-season surgery , with Pau Gasol’s game now in regression and with point guard Steve Nash not being able to give the Lakers at best no more than twenty minutes per game . I cannot see how anyone could expect to see this Mike DAntoni coached team make a deep run within the postseason , much less make a credible challenge within the Pacific Division of the Western Conference.

Coming off a recent narrow six-point loss (114-108) to the Phoenix Suns , which saw the return of Kobe Bryant for his second game of the season , has pretty much summed up the Lakers’ season. Without him, Los Angeles are simply a team, treading water whilst in the middle of the ocean without a life-jacket . His return, makes Los Angeles a far more potent team offensively, but there remains numerous flaws that clearly need to be addressed by GM Mitch Kupchak . The team’s next game does not get any easier, as they meet a highly rejuvenated Oklahoma City Thunder team buoyed by the return of their All Star point guard Russell Westbrook .

Make no bones about it , with Bryant on the downside of an illustrious career and in spite of his recently signing a two-year $48.5 million contract extension . There is a continued belief that unless Mitch Kupchak is able lure away a highly prized free agent this upcoming off-season, this franchise is likely to languish in the middle order of the conference and at the lower end of the Pacific Division , which at present is a clear reflection of the Lakers’ present situation. There may well be a great deal of optimism amongst their fans, as would be expected , yet, the reality has not begun to set in, as to what the franchise’s real future is likely to be without a Kobe Bryant.

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Picture gallery .

In light of Jim Brown’s criticism of Kobe Bryant, do you believe that the former NFL player was justified in criticism of the NBA star ? Do you also believe that today’s athletes are too noncommittal concerning matters when it comes to politically or socially sensitive issues? Simply, leave a comment as you see fit and thanks as always for your continued support of the site .

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Picture and slideshow gallery details below .
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(1) Hall of Fame great Jim Brown is seen here during an appearance on the late night syndicated television talk show of host Arsenio Hall . Brown’s comments concerning NBA star Kobe Bryant seems to have caused a stir with the NBA player , who seems to believe that the statements attributed to the former NFL star were unflattering. Courtesy of UPN/Paramount Studios …..

(2) Bill Russell ,left, joined Muhammad Ali, Jim Brown and Lew Alcindor (among others) in 1963 at a meeting of top African-American athletes to show support for Ali’s refusal to fight in Vietnam. The boxer’s refusal on the grounds of being a conscientious objector to the war , also centered around the social injustices also taking place in America and the civil rights’ movement. . Getty Images / Tony Tomsic ……

(3) Lakers of ’04 as things didn’t go as planned as they were summarily dismissed in the NBA Finals by the Detroit Pistons . Seated from left to right Gary Payton , Shaquille O’Neal , Karl Malone , Kobe Bryant and Rick Fox. That was one of the truly amazing upsets in NBA history as the Lakers were heavily favored in the series which they ended up losing 4-1 to the Eastern Conference based Detroit Pistons. Associated Press / Louis Lattimore

(4) Arthur Ashe, a three-time Grand Slam singles’ tournament winner and a founding member of the ATP , who succumbed to the aids’ virus having received contaminated blood, intravenously . A vocal opponent of the apartheid regime in South Africa , the former world number one spoke put passionately against the regime refusing to play in any sanctioned tournament in the country while many of his fellow professional took an opposing view , citing that playing there would actually bring closer harmony between the minority white populace and the majority black population during the seventies . Upon his contracting the HIV virus leading to full-blown aids , Ashe also sought to aid and educate those contracting the disease. A foundation was set up in the player’s name , which has since raised tens of million of dollars for aids’ research and education . AP / REUTERS/ …….

(5) PGA Tour player Tiger Woods , long seen as the face of golf worldwide . Woods has seen fit to stay away from being political , choosing instead to simply let his philanthropic deeds speak as to his legacy on a number of social issues . Courtesy of PGA Tour .

(6) Los Angeles Lakers’ head coach Mike D’Antoni is seen her with Kobe Bryant , court-side during a game . With the Lakers off to an inauspicious start to this NBA season , it remains to be seen whether or not the team can make it a reality of making the NBA Playoffs . Getty Images/ Elsa Martinez …..

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My sort of play thing !

Have her (Jordan Carver) place your balls in the right place .

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 !

Picture and slideshow details below
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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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NBA history & archival stories

NBA news

NBA standings by division

NBA standings by conference

NBA schedule 23rd December , 2012

NBA schedule 25th December 2012

NBA teams offense

NBA teams defense

NBA teams’ history

NBA player statistics :

NBA scoring leaders

NBA blocked shots

NBA rebounds

NBA

Points, reb’s & assists

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

Reverence Being What It Is ……………..

Reverence Being What It Is ………………….

There’s no doubt in my mind that the political landscape the world over has its idiots and intellectuals. In the country of my birth , England- we had a Labour MP named George Galloway once describe the Taliban as being ‘persecuted just as much as the Palestinians’. Now don’t get me wrong Galloway at the time was elected by his constituents to represent them in the House of Parliament in Westminster ,London. And while serving them, he was a vocal opponent of both the Afghan and Iraqi invasions. At the time, Tony Blair was the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. In large part Blair chose to follow George W. Bush avidly, down this path , despite some opposition from within his own political party, Labour Party and from both opposition parties the Conservative Party and the Liberal Democrats .

Several years into the conflict and with mounting casualties amongst the coalition forces . Galloway was still spouting his diatribe while at the same time steadily gaining some support. This essentially became his mandate to be what he felt was the ‘voice of reason’ amongst his party members and his peers in the House of Parliament. Alas, Galloway’s rise to infamy was as swift as his fall into relative obscurity, as he’s no longer an MP. He has since appeared on several game and reality shows in the UK and at the same he continues to make a complete ass of himself whilst he’s in the public domain.

In Italy , Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi , an admitted philanderer and misogynist has publicly derided fellow opposition members , especially those who happen to be female. He has suggested that women ought not to be at all involved in politics . And that their best attributes are when they’re servicing their husbands sexually either in the act of coitus or orally. This coming from a man who has been married several times and as recently as 2008 was sexually involved with a female aide while at the same being romantically involved with a call girl. When broached on the subject and the fact that he’s still married. Berlusconi’s response was that ‘he’s a man’ and what ‘he does in the bedroom and whom he’s doing it with shouldn’t at all be the concern of the Italian people’. What may well be even more abhorrent concerning Berlusconi’s candor has been his outspokenness and vapid racial attacks on the minorities within the country. Even those who are now second or third generation Italians, who have fled either from the North African continent or dependencies once under the country’s rule or influence. Never let it be said that Berlusconi wasn’t an equal opportunity bigot.

Come full circle and it appears that Vice President Joe Biden continues to show what he lacks in candor he more than makes up for with his apparent lack of intelligence and sheer stupidity ! And during the Presidential election he was thought of as being the smart and prudent choice as Barack Obama’s nominee for the VP position ? We were led to believe that his knowledge of diplomatic affairs would counterbalance the apparent weakness that Obama had in that arena. Given Biden’s faux-pas’ as of late ,. I’m not so sure that he is as smart as some had made him out to be. The guy is an ass and his latest actions simply proves that point ! Though it has to be said that his actions are no worse than the profanity laced insult that Dick Cheney once used when he directed his tirade at Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt) , in telling him to “go fu_k himself and calling him a fu_king as_hole” ! An apology was never uttered to Leahy by the former Vice President .Nor was he ever censured for those remarks. The words uttered at the time were during a beak in the business being conducted on the floor of the US Senate . Kind of makes you wonder what they purportedly do for fun in the Senate when they’re not at each others’ throats ?

There’s noting like dropping the f-bomb in the accompaniment of the President and the convened White House Press Corps in attendance is there ?

Courtesy of NY Daily News

Vice President Biden caught on mic; calls health care bill a ‘big f—ing deal’

By Michael Sheridan , Daily News Staff Writer

Health care reform isn’t just a big deal, it’s a “big f—ing deal.”

At least, that’s what Vice President Joe Biden thinks.

The 67-year-old former senator introduced President Obama prior to his signing of the historic health care reform bill into law on Tuesday, and let the colorful word slip while shaking the commander-in-chief’s hand.

“You did it,” Biden told his boss. “It’s a big f—ing deal.”

In response, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs tweeted: “And yes Mr. Vice President, you’re right…”

This, of course, isn’t the first time the VP has been cause in a verbal gaffe. He was similarly caught on mic last year using the f-word while at an event with Amtrak to promote the stimulus plan.

“Oh give me a f—ing break,” Biden said in March 2009 to a former Senate colleague on a live mic.

Foul language may be a favorite for vice presidents. Ex-Veep Dick Cheney famously used the infamous phrase on several occasions during his two terms.

During a heated discussion on the Senate floor, Cheney reportedly told Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.) to go “f— yourself.”

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Biden with his apparent slip of the tongue after the health-care reform bill had just been passed in the House and soon to be voted on in the Senate . Well perhaps his word could have been better chosen given the arena he was in at the time. When asked on how he felt about the bill being passed , Biden’s alleged retort and response was said to be …………”big fu_king deal ” ! Now either I’m mistaken but this was a hard fought victory on the part of the Democrats , despite opposition from within ‘his own party’ and from the Republicans as well. But this can’t have been the response that the convened press or those who were in Biden’s accompaniment could have expected at the time . Simply put, you get what you deserve when you sometimes surround yourselves with idiots or supposed intellectuals who someone has deemed as being smart. Biden has simply proved that he’s neither smart or knows how to properly conduct himself and treat the his position with the reverence it deserves. Instead he comes off looking like a drunken idiot completely unaware of his surroundings and the very reason why he now holds the second most powerful political position in the world. God forbid that something should happen to the President . Because I for one would hate to see how Joe Biden would conduct himself , if ever he were to hold the position of President of the United States ! Has he even got a clue as to what the job even entails to begin with ?

Click here to see more of Joe Biden’s faux-pas’ over the years .

Alan Parkins aka tophatal ………………….

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Instantaneous classics !

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Here are some of his other blunders along the way .

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And The Survey Says……… I Think That You Screwed Up Mr President ………

And The Survey Says……… I Think That You Screwed Up Mr President ………

As an impartial observer on the outside looking in . I can’t help but wonder if Barack Obama as President, had it all to do-over once again . Would he have sought to have surrounded himself with such a bunch of misfits ? His cabinet thus far has been about as useful as piece of fecal matter on the floor of an operating theater in a hospital. I know that when it comes to House and Senate majority leaders there’s little that he can do to the likes of Sen. Harry Reid (D-Utah) or for that matter Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Ca). To my mind both of these individuals are self serving and condescending when it comes to addressing the needs of the nation as a whole. That’s not to say that the Republicans themselves are without fault. As they’re as much to blame for this turmoil but they’d rather act oblivious to that very fact. And in terms of them coming up with solutions. Well that’s like asking Paris Hilton to explain the difference between a ‘balance sheet’ and a ‘baking sheet’. She’s as clueless as the Republicans on the matter.

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks during a meeting with members of the Cabinet in the Cabinet Room on September 10, 2009 at the White House in Washington. During the meeting President Obama said he accepts the apology of Congressman Joe Wilson (R-SC) for yelling out "You Lie" during Obama's speech on healthcare reform to a joint session of Congress last night

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks during a meeting with members of the Cabinet in the Cabinet Room on September 10, 2009 at the White House in Washington. During the meeting President Obama said he accepts the apology of Congressman Joe Wilson (R-SC) for yelling out “You Lie” during Obama’s speech on healthcare reform to a joint session of Congress last night . photo appears courtesy of UPI/ Olivier Douliery …….

The President’s cabinet thus far, has proven to me that whilst a great many of them are obviously highly intelligent. When it comes to being forthright and communicative orally , they become tongue tied and about as comprehensible as alien life form that has suddenly landed on planet earth but is unable to communicate with anyone in any particular verbal format. If I’m not the only one of this opinion then I may well have misjudged the situation altogether. But somehow I think not !

The troubling fact now is , as the country gets mired in an economic meltdown that neither the economists or the Presidents own Council of Economic of Advisers have answer for as to when we may begin to start the climb out of the current recession. We have the asinine statements being made by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and that of Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner , all throwing their hat into the ring, as to what they view as a certainty that the tides of change are suddenly beginning to foment and that the economy is about to take a turn for the better. Those are the sort of statements that are speculative in nature and which drive the greed that we tend to see on Wall St. But then again where were the members of ‘Congress’ and the ‘Senate’ , when these charlatans were bringing the economy to its very knees ?

President<strong>  Barack Obama </strong>and Treasury Secretary <strong>Timothy Geithner </strong>, make statements on tax reform, Monday, May 4, 2009, in the Grand Foyer of the White House in Washington.  photo  appears  courtesy  of  <strong> Associated Press </strong> / Ron  Edmonds  ..........
President Barack Obama and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner , make statements on tax reform, Monday, May 4, 2009, in the Grand Foyer of the White House in Washington. photo appears courtesy of Associated Press / Ron Edmonds ..........

Courtesy of CBS Moneywatch

Why Geithner Can’t Treasury Bonds

By Eric Schurenberg

Secretary of Treasury Tim Geithner defended the Treasury bond’s AAA rating yesterday on television. But what else could he do? Last Wednesday, credit rating agency Moody’s warned that the T-bond’s rating was in danger of a downgrade, which would be a disaster for Geithner and the Treasury. A downgrade would raise the cost of the nation’s borrowing addiction, potentially hamstring the economic recovery and look really, really bad for Tim. So he did what he could to talk the spectre of a downgrade back into the closet. But it won’t do any good. It’s not his call.

Moody’s was pretty clear about what had to happen to prevent a downgrade:

Unless further measures are taken to reduce the budget deficit further or the economy rebounds more vigorously than expected, the federal financial picture as presented in the projections for the next decade will at some point put pressure on the triple A government bond rating.

In other words, the Treasury bond’s rating is up to Congress, the strength of the recovery, and the analysts at Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s. How likely is it that Congress will get behind meaningful deficit reduction? Four days before Moody’s fired its shot, Douglas Elmendorf of the Congressional Budget Office offered some dismal testimony about how much Congress would have to change. (Thanks to Ed Yardeni of Yardeni Associates for pointing out the testimony):

…. accumulating deficits will push federal debt held by the public to significantly higher levels. At the end of 2009, debt held by the public was $7.5 trillion, or 53 percent of GDP; by the end of 2020, debt is projected to climb to $15 trillion, or 67 percent of GDP

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In order to read Eric Schurenberg’s article in its entirety
just click on the link provided.
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And though the venerable Sarah Palin and her Tea Pot coterie are trying to sound anew . Haven’t we all heard this same sort of bulls_it once before with J. Ross Perot ? Only in the case of Perot, he wasn’t ‘suckering the masses’ the way Palin is now intent on doing. Her most recent public engagement where she addressed a hall of thousands concerning the present administration. Where as the noted speaker, she had little of interest to say , other than a few mocking anecdotes. What I for one would like to know, were any of those in attendance aware that Palin was in receipt of $100,000 , merely to attend and address those congregated there to hear her speak ? And the masses are to believe that “she” of all people, is intent on seeing change up on Capitol Hill ? If she’s painting herself as an individual of a different mindset from those she’s now intent on criticizing. Then why all this false bravado and the money she’s accepting just to make these asinine and moribund statements, that at present have little or no sense to them at all ? For her it’s not about change but just the same old insipid tactic that all politicians tend to use just to ingratiate themselves amongst the electorate. And those gullible enough, tend to follow her lead rather than looking intensely and listening as to whether or not she’s making sense or has anything at all that insightful to begin with.

But for me at present , my biggest concern are the inane statements that are now being made by Tim Geithner as Treasury Secretary. Either this guy is a habitual liar or he’s plainly someone who happens to be amoral. Anyone who happened to have heard Geithner’s most recent public statement concerning US Treasury bonds ought to know that when those are indeed downgraded , it shows that the ratings’ agencies believes that there’s cause for concern over the government’s handling of the nation’s finances as well as the economy at large. For him to make the claim that there’s nothing at present , is very much akin to the boy who persistently cries wolf when there’s nothing there. But when the wolf just happens to be at his very door he’ll act as if the wolf had been invited in for supper and to devour anything within its sight. This is more or less Geithner’s view not just only on the economy but also on the financial crisis now within our midst.

There seems to be a belief that there’s a neverending abundance of money here that federal government has at its beck and call. In reality nothing could be further from the truth. For inasmuch as the Treasury continues to print money and issue US Treasury Bonds. The inflationary minutiae that’s created , once opened up like can worms is extremely hard to gather up and placed back into the can. And having the Federal Reserve then enact a somewhat draconian fiscal monetary policy tends to exacerbate the matter further , instead of allaying the fears that are already out there.

The fact of the matter is, Tim Geithner is now kidding not only himself but now he’s trying to pull the wool over the eyes of 300 million inhabitants of the nation. I wonder which sock puppet he really is at this juncture ? And who indeed has their fingers up his ass controlling his thought process and speech at present ? Because clearly for a so called intelligent and knowledgeable individual ,something is very awry , askew with his view on the world and that of the US economy at present.

Alan Parkins

Eyes On The Prize …………….

Eyes On The Prize

Did I miss something when President Barack Obama stated that he’d make Afghanistan the …. ‘focus of his attention’ when it came to the war against the Taliban and Al-Qaeda ? Figuratively and literally the military in Afghanistan has been abandoned by the Obama administration . As he seeks to bolster his political clout with other issues and legislation-though warranted that has achieved very little on the political front.

The President’s assessment of the situation remains non too clear. But in the meantime US lives are still being lost.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff under Admiral Mike Mullen , Defense Secretary Robert Gates and the President have had little , if anything to say on this very acute and worrying issue. It is even more perplexing when there are now statements being made by Secretary Gates now asking that General Stanley McChrystal not make anymore comments regarding the situation with regard to the situation in Afghanistan. Now unless I’m mistaken wouldn’t the top US military commander in the country (Afghanistan) and the head of the UN forces there be of the right frame of mind to be letting the public know of the inherent problems that the US military now faces in Afghanistan ?

The President   (seated   center)  is  seen  here  with  Defense  Secretary  Robert  Gates  (right )  and   Secretary  of  State  Hillary  Rodham-Clinton  (left)   at     a  meeting   to  discuss  nuclear  proliferation.      picture  appears  courtesy  of    getty  images/  Richard  Scholes  ....................
The President (seated center) is seen here with Defense Secretary Robert Gates (right ) and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham-Clinton (left) at a meeting to discuss nuclear proliferation. picture appears courtesy of getty images/ Richard Scholes ....................

Courtesy of US Dept of Defense

Obama , Other Leaders Receive Afghan Resources Request …..

By Gerri J Gilmore , Armed Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 7, 2009 – As President Barack Obama and senior defense and national security leaders reconvened meetings today on the way forward in Afghanistan, they did so with the addition of Army Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal’s list of requested resources, the Pentagon press secretary said.

Obama received a copy of McChrystal’s request for resources late last week from Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, Geoff Morrell told reporters here today.

On Monday, Gates also provided copies of the resource request to senior White House officials, to include National Security Council members, he said.

Obama wanted a copy of the report to read last weekend, Morrell said.

The Afghanistan resources request is now formally working its way through the U.S. military and NATO chains of command, he said.

Morrell referred to the copies provided to Obama and other senior White House officials as “informal” documents that didn’t bear official comments of review or vetting from senior civilian and military leaders. Those leaders, he said, include Gates; Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; and Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, commander of U.S. Central Command, which oversees operations in Afghanistan.

However, all of the Pentagon’s top leaders, to include Petraeus and McChrystal, have been closely involved in White House discussions on the way ahead in Afghanistan and Pakistan, Morrell pointed out. The White House hosted the first of a series of strategy meetings on Sept. 30.

A second such meeting was held today, Morrell said, with another slated for Friday.

Gates likely decided to hold onto the resource assessment until directed otherwise by the president, Morrell suggested, to limit the possibility of leaking information, such as occurred earlier with McChrystal’s assessment on the situation in Afghanistan.

Everyone concerned, Morrell emphasized, will have an opportunity to “weigh-in” with their opinions.

“Obviously, this has been a slightly unconventional process and an informal copy as I mentioned bypassed the chain of command at the secretary’s request, so he could own it and could therefore make decisions about where it should go, when it should go,” he said.

Today marks the eighth anniversary of the start of Operation Enduring Freedom, which removed the Taliban from power in Afghanistan.

“We have seen our amazing military men and women adapt to and overcome daunting terrain, harsh conditions and an agile and ruthless enemy,” Morrell said of the U.S. military effort in Afghanistan.

Nearly 800 Americans have died in military operations in and around Afghanistan since the war began, Morrell said. He cited the deaths of eight U.S. soldiers who died there last weekend during an enemy assault on a remote outpost in Nurestan province.

“Our thoughts are with their families and all families who have sacrificed so much in Operation Enduring Freedom,” he said.

Located near the border with Pakistan, the outpost was slated to be closed, Morrell said, as part of McChrystal’s counterinsurgency strategy to move U.S. troops closer to major Afghan population centers.

An investigation into circumstances surrounding the attack is ongoing, Morrell said. The enemy, he said, paid dearly, losing 100 fighters during the assault and in its aftermath.

Turning to other defense matters, Morrell said the Pentagon is developing a conventional 30,000 pound, massive ordnance penetrator bomb designed to pulverize underground facilities that may store weapons of mass destruction and related systems. The bomb, he said, should be ready for deployment in the coming months.

“This has been a capability that we have long believed was missing from our quiver or our arsenal,” Morrell said, “and we wanted to make sure we filled in that gap.”

There is no specific target list for the new weapon, Morrell emphasized.

The bomb “is just a capability that we think is necessary, given the world we live in these days,” he said.

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Adm. Mike Mullen Head of The Joint Chiefs of Staff addresses members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Unfortunately it’d appear that the President and his Defense Secretary are either under the impression that the war there can still be won by being haphazard and placing the lives of the US military in harm’s way as some sort of collateral damage if only to amp up the political rhetoric that’s now said to be going on. As to the assertion that the President and Robert Gates will acquiesce to McChrystal’s request for some additional 40,000 troops on the ground there in Afghanistan . Well that remains to be seen at this juncture . But it’d appear that it isn’t the priority that the President and his administration would have us believe it was . Clearly this administration seems to have lost touch with reality on this issue. Have they forgot that the lives of US soldiers are now being needlessly sacrificed for the sake of what ? What tangible evidence is there now that we’ve got both the Taliban and Al Qaeda on the run ?

President  Obama (left)    seen  here   with   Afghan  President ,  Hamid  Karzai.     Karzai   was   recently re-elected  to  the  post  in  an  election   that  was  said  to   be  rife   with   corruption.      The  opposing  candidate    Abdullah  Abdullah    has  stated  that   Karzai   supporters  were   integrally  behind  much  of   the   coruptional   voting   fraud  that  took  place.   Whereas  Karzai,  himself   has  stated  that   his   opponent's  supporters  was  behind   much  of  what  had   taken  place.    Either  way  there's  no   questioning   as to the   graft  that's   now   said  to  be    still   taking   place  inside  Karzai's   administration  .     picture  appears   courtesy  of   guardian.co.uk /  archives/   Tom  Spencer  ...................
President Obama (left) seen here with Afghan President , Hamid Karzai. Karzai was recently re-elected to the post in an election that was said to be rife with corruption. The opposing candidate Abdullah Abdullah has stated that Karzai supporters were integrally behind much of the coruptional voting fraud that took place. Whereas Karzai, himself has stated that his opponent's supporters was behind much of what had taken place. Either way there's no questioning as to the graft that's now said to be still taking place inside Karzai's administration . picture appears courtesy of guardian.co.uk / archives/ Tom Spencer ...................

Of the 650 plus lives now lost on this particular battlefront , it has to be said that though we would expect the loss of life in war. But ought we to expect the administration to act as if these lives are now being sacrificed for a cause when it now appears that they seem to have forgotten the purpose of this effort. In all honesty are the Afghan people now in a better place ? And what tangible evidence is there that this military action has met any of its original goals ? The Taliban may well have been overthrown and there’s now said to be a legitimately elected democratic government elected with Hamid Kharzai as its elected President. But Kharzai’s administration is said to be rife with corruption and many of the elected officials are indeed subordinates of the Taliban and Al Qaeda. And what has become even more apparent is that the country is still controlled in large part by these radicals.

Economically the ‘poppy trade’ (its by product being heroin) still pays large dividends for the Taliban and Al Qaeda as it is their main source of income in financing their continued wagering of the continued war in Afghanistan. That particular trade accounts for in excess of 75% of the country’s GDP. On both fronts this war has been wagered with there being little sign of any tangible improvement as to the country’s infrastructure and its citizens’ way of life.

Gen .  Stanley  McChrystal (foreground of  picture) , top US   military  commander   of    forces  in  Afghanistan.   The general   has   submitted   a  formal   request   for additional   troops  in   Afghanistan  to  the  Defense   Dept . But  still   awaits   word   from  Defense  Secretary   Gates  and   President  Obama , as   to  whether  or   not  his   request  will  be   granted.       picture  appears   courtesy  of  afp/ getty  images/   Manan  Vatsyayana   ........................
Gen . Stanley McChrystal (foreground of picture), top US military commander of forces in Afghanistan. The general has submitted a formal request for additional troops in Afghanistan to the Defense Dept . But still awaits word from Defense Secretary Gates and President Obama , as to whether or not his request will be granted. picture appears courtesy of afp/ getty images/ Manan Vatsyayana ........................

So as it now stands , what’s the present policy now in Afghanistan ? Does anyone within the Obama administration know ? The situation has been made almost untenable because of the present inaction on the part of the President. He’s seemingly at a loss to his express himself with clarity on this specific issue. Something of a comedown from that rousing acceptance speech after he’d won the Presidential election. “Change we can believe in “ . It’s now beginning to ring hollow at present when it comes to this one particular pressing issue. What say you on the matter ?

NB: Eighty five per cent ( 85 %) of the world’s poppy trade and productioin emanates from the country of Afghanistan. And it provides a lucrative source of income for not only the farmers but also for both the Taliban and Al-Qaeda. Furthermore there’s a growing epidemic of heroin use amongst the Afghani people, in particular amongst the women and children under the age of eighteen.