Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Snarky Transvestites from Planet X (or my preseason NFL rankings)

Now that I have your attention...

With the rest of the world watching Obama's coronation, it seems like an appropriate time to offer my NFL preseason rankings. This is how the teams look going into this year:


Patriots: The only team that comes into this season with an elite ranking. Sure, they lost the Super Bowl, but they still have Brady and Moss and Welker and Maroney and a good offensive line and a decent defense. I don't think they'll go undefeated again, but they are THE team to beat.


Colts: This team just looks ready to break down. If Manning goes down, so do the Colts. But until they do, they have to be considered an excellent team.


49ers: The Cinderalla Niners will shock a lot of people this year, and are my pick for NFC Champ. Frank Gore does his best Marshall Faulk impression, while J.T. O'Sullivan becomes this year's Kurt Warner in Mike Martz's offense. Watch WR Josh Morgan too, who has had a nice preseason as a 6th round pick. If Mike Nolan can get some defense going on this team, they could be scary good.
Cowboys: There is nothing wrong with the Boys. They have the talent. They will be the team to beat in the NFC, but I see them losing in the playoffs again. They have no character, but plenty of characters.
Panthers: If Delhomme stays healthy, this team goes far. Welcome the newest running back sensation, Jonathan Stewart. Like the 49ers, the only question in Carolina is the defense.
Jaguars: With another year under QB David Gerrard's belt, the Jags will challenge the Colts for division dominance.
Chargers: This team is still good. But with OLB Shawne Merriman playing on two torn knee ligaments, expect the defense to take a hit.


Texans: I have seen more than a few prognosticators call for a big year from the Texans. While I think they will be better, they have too many guys with injury histories, starting with QB Matt Schaub, and including running backs Ahman Green and Chris Brown. That said, their defense is quite respectable. But they have to show me they can stay healthy if they are to rank any higher than this.
Broncos: This is the year Jay Cutler enters the ranks of elite quarterbacks. The running game should be servicable with Selvin Young. The defense is still a question mark though.
Steelers: The Steelers should be challenged for the division title by the Browns this year. The Steeler defense gives them the edge.
Browns: The best team not to make the playoffs last season should be able to slip in as a wild card this year. If the Steelers slip, the Browns should move in for the division title.
Redskins: Every year they come loaded for bear, and every year they disappoint. This team will surprise, possibly even shooting the Cowboys from the top.
Packers: Without Favre, the Packers aren't bad. The problem here is QB Aaron Rodgers' injury history, plus his attitude.
Vikings: Adrian Peterson starts out strong, then gets hurt. This team's success rides on Peterson's ship.
Giants: No Osi, no Strahan. Welcome back to Earth G-Men.
Eagles: Donovan McNabb's last season will end early with his annual injury. Next year, he goes to Chicago.
Seahawks: This is the most boring team which still manages to win a lot of games. Holmgren is a good coach, but even good coaches can't make filet mignon out of hamburger.
Bills: The Toronto Bills just sounds wrong, much like "Bills win the Super Bowl" sounds wrong.
Bengals: The Bungles should be a little better this year, but they still have no defense.
Jets: You weren't honestly expecting that adding Brett Favre instantly makes this sorry team a playoff contender? After this season, Jet fans will long for the carefree days of Chad Pennington and Herman Edwards.
Titans: QB Vince Young needs to age a little more quickly. In his defense, they haven't exactly given him any receivers. At least he should be able to have a running game (LenDale White and rookie Chris Johnson) to take some pressure off him.
Saints: Reggie Bush = bust (and I don't mean the Canton style either).
Lions: This is the year WR Calvin Johnson breaks out. Unfortunately, the rest of the team is still stuck in neutral.
Buccaneers: This will be Jon Gruden's last year as the Bucs coach (because he will be fired), so expect it to be like a bad "Chuckie" movie.
Bears: If you're Lovie Smith, and when you have to choose between quarterbacks Kyle Orton and Rex Grossman, you walk down to the front office and say, "You're killing me guys!"
Raiders: If you want to have some fun, listen to coach Lane Kiffin's press conference, and try to interpret the subtle messages Kiffin is sending to Al Davis. The sad thing about the whole Kiffin-Davis divorce-in-the-making is that this team isn't that bad. QB Jamarcus Russell should be fun to watch, and Darren McFadden should be a great running back. The defense is decent too. But this team has no chemistry.


Falcons: The Matt Ryan era begins in Atlanta. This team looks like it just might generate some offense, but don't expect miracles. The Falcons have a long way to fly.
Cardinals: Matt "Hollywood" Leinart can't seem to unlodge Kurt Warner from the starting quarterback job, which is a sad commentary on this team's front office. I would tell Cardinal fans to expect a long year, but they should be used to that by now.
Rams: It will take more than one season of rebuilding to revive this team.
Ravens: Quoth the Raven, "Not this year..."
Dolphins: Hey Dolphin fans! Get used to hearing this: "And the punting team comes out..."
Chiefs: Remember that great draft the Chiefs allegedly had? Unfortunately, they didn't get a new coach. This team will actually get worse. If you enjoy watching Herm Edwards blow his stack in press conferences, you will love this season.

Friday, August 22, 2008

R.I.P. Gene Upshaw

The death of Gene Upshaw, a former offensive guard for the Oakland Raiders and current head of the NFL Players Association, comes as a sad shock to me.

For all my fond memories of Upshaw's work on the Raiders offensive line, his greatest legacy will be his work as head of the NFL Players Association, the players union. The collective bargaining agreement(CBA) which Upshaw negotiated with Paul Tagliabue (former NFL Commissioner) stands as arguably the finest union-negotiated agreement of any industry ever, for the simple reason best said by Tagliabue in his statement about Upshaw's death: "[Upshaw] never lost sight of the interests of the game and the big picture."

Unlike other unions, the NFLPA under Upshaw knew that if they killed the league, they get nothing. So the union negotiated for a percentage of income, as opposed to the specific salary demands many unions get. In effect, as the NFL prospered, the players prospered. This can be seen in the NFL's salary cap, which has increased every year of the current CBA, as the NFL's income has increased every year.

If all union leaders were as smart as Upshaw, I would happily support unions in more industries. Unfortunately, I doubt the success of the NFLPA will be remembered by other unions. I just hope the NFLPA remembers it's own success under Upshaw.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Obama and the Nazis

I saw the above Orwellian poster image on the US News and World Report website. Here is the story behind it:

"...if a Los Angeles creative agency gets its way, Sen. Barack Obama will see fans meet him with his own salute like the one above. "Our goal is to see a crowd of 75,000 people at Obama's nomination speech holding their hands above their heads, fingers laced together in support of a new direction for this country, a renewed hope, and acceptance of responsibility for our future," says Rick Husong, owner of The Loyalty Inc. Husong tells me that he got the idea after seeing the famous Obama-Progress poster by artist Shepherd Fairey. "We wanted to get involved some way," he says. So, the agency came up with their own a symbol of hope and progress that also plays off Obama's name. "We thought, 'Let's try and start a movement where even while walking down the street, people would hold up the O and you would know that they were for Obama,' " says Husong.

So Barack gets his own "salute"? Now what historical figure does that remind you of...

Now before all the liberals get their panties in a bunch over me calling Obama a Nazi, consider the following posters from Nazi Germany (with the translations below them):

"No one shall go hungry! No one shall be cold!"

(quote from Hitler)"I ask the German people to strengthen my faith and to lend me its strength so that I will always and everywhere have the strength to fight for its honor and freedom, to work for its economic prosperity, and particularly to strengthen me in my struggles for genuine peace."

"Don't give. Sacrifice."

"Greater Germany: Yes on 10 April."

Sounds an awful lot like "yes we can", doesn't it?

But seriously, I am NOT saying Obama is Hitler. Just that the nature of propaganda hasn't changed much in 70 years. Remember, the key to propaganda is NOT what it says, but rather what it does NOT say. If you look at the Obama poster at the top of this post, what does "sign of progress" tell you? It sounds nice, but means nothing, other than trying to show a correlation between an "Obama salute" and the word "progress". Progress towards what?

Naturally, anyone can go to Obama's website and read his platform to determine what he means by "progress", which is certainly more information than was available during Hitler's rise to power in Germany. So what does Obama mean by "progress"? Let's line him up with Hitler and see:

GOT TO BLAME SOMEBODY: Hitler blamed the Jews, whereas Obama blames the rich and the corporations. It didn't matter that some of the most productive members of German society WERE Jews, just like it doesn't matter that the rich and the corporations ARE the most productive parts of American society.

GET 'EM WHILE THEY'RE YOUNG: Hitler had his "Hitler Youth", whereas Obama wants our kids being assimilated in government schools from the day after birth. At least Hitler waited until the kids were 10.

WE NEED A WAR!: At least Hitler gave Germans a "real" war to fight. The best Obama can come up with is an imaginary "Global Warming" foe (now known as "climate change", since we don't REALLY know what the weather will do next week).

Even though Obama has pulled a page from Joseph Goebbels' playbook, at least we can feel safe that Obama is no Hitler. I hope...

(hat tip to the Calvin College website for the Nazi posters)