The Challenges in Reforming the Left

from Sargon of Akkad

The nine points needed to be understood to make the American Left a competitive party again: The Challenges in Reforming the Left



Springtime for the Tea Party

I went to a Tea Party rally once. Two of my friends from work were going, and somehow convinced me to join them. This was a few years ago, so at the time I had not heard of the Tea Party as a political movement. I was disappointed when I got there and found out they did not actually serve any tea. I had taken the PATH to the WTC station and walked from there, so I was a little cold and could of used a nice hot beverage. I remember wearing a blue hoodie with a Phish logo and a flannel shirt and some other stuff, purposely so that I did not look like I was actively participating in the event. Most of the tea baggers, a phrase I’m not sure I knew at the time, probably assumed I was a pedestrian on my way to or from the nearby Starbucks.

The Tea Party actually began as a movement during the George W. Bush lame duck period. Some of their first protests were in response to the Wall Street bailouts, which I was never a big fan of either. My main issue with these angry protest movements is that they rarely attract people with nuanced beliefs. What struck me immediately about the people who spoke at the rally was the lack of a coherent ideology they had. It seemed like a forum for average Joe Republicians to rant, but under the guise of some underground movement.

I miss the days when Republicians were greedy board-room honchos, sitting around wearing their power ties and sipping scotch.

Republicans back in their glory days of power.

These days, your average Republician is likely to live in a log cabin in the mountains of Idaho, usually calling into the Rush Limbaugh show to talk about how they’re covering themselves in tin foil to hide from Obama’s Communist spy-satellites.

A new generation of GOP supporters.

Try reading some of the online comments for any Yahoo! News political article; they all sound like they are written by the two mountain men from Deleverance. The recent wave of crazy is perhaps a consequence of the Tea Party’s success as a popular movement.

I will take a look at some current representatives of the Tea Party, and how many of the things they say are stupid.

Glenn Beck

Here Glenn Beck starts off okay, calling Chris Matthews a balloon head. Then he continues, but without making any kind of point. Here you can really see Beck’s vast lexicon and strong command of english vocabulary:

“You sir, are a balloon head that was taught by a balloon head and all you did because you’re a balloon head was sit in your stupid balloon head Ivy League classroom and be indoctrinated by a balloon head and never ever used your balloon head to ask an intelligent question of the balloon head in the tweed jacket! You self-sanctimonious, self-important balloon head, America has had enough.”

As an Ivy League graduate, I can tell you that this was exactly what my college experience was like:

A typical lecture for MATH 294 - Linear Algebra at Cornell.

Thanks to Glenn Beck for calling out the Communist Ivy-League Indoctrination centers that brainwashed Chris Matthews. Shame on you, Holy Cross and University of North Carolina!

Apparently nobody listens to Glenn Beck anymore, so that is a relief. I think he had some conspiracy theory a while back that Egypt was being taken over by aliens. I don’t remember the details of that one. I think stuff like that eventually reduced his credibility among people who are not total wing-nuts, so his show got cancelled. Ha, sucks for him. But rules for pretty much everyone else.

Rand Paul

Senator Rand Paul (R – KY) is a Tea Party candidate recently elected in 2010 to replace the infamous Jim Bunning. His platform isn’t the complete train-wreck that defines some of the other folks I mention here. He has a few positions I agree on, like he opposes oil subsidies, the war in Iraq, and the USA Patriot Act.

As it happens, Rand Paul smoked a fair amount of pot down at Baylor, at one point he worshipped a god named ‘Aqua Buddha’ which was presumably a talking bong.

My problem with all of these Tea Party candidates is they tend to treat “Federal Government is Bad” as an axiom, without really evaluating it on a case-by-case basis. Rand Paul is particularly fond of “leaving it to the states” in favor of Federal legislation. In many instances, I may agree with him. But other times, this stance can be very confusing to me. Here is his recent comment from a Senate vote that passed 96-1:

Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul was the sole “no” vote Thursday night on a measure that would make it a federal crime to aim a handheld laser pointer at an aircraft. The measure, offered by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) as an amendment to a measure on funding the Federal Aviation Administration, passed on a 96-to-1 vote, with three senators not present. It would call for anyone who knowingly aims the beam of a laser pointer at an aircraft to face fines or a prison term of up to five years.

Paul told reporters after Thursday’s vote that he believed the laser-pointer issue was one best handled by the states, not the federal government.
“There are a lot of states that already have laws, and I think states ought to take care of it,” Paul said.

I am not surprised this measure passed 96-1. FYI, when you shine a laser-pointer at an aircraft, it does not just project a tiny red dot in the interior of the airplane. The light can refract with the windshield of the plane and fill the cockpit with intense, blinding light. It is fairly obvious that this should be an illegal.

Paul’s assertion that the “states ought to take care of it” is a particularly bizarre one for this law. It would be irresponsible to assume that every state would pass the law, and use that to justify inaction at the federal level. What about the alternate scenario? Let’s say that every state in America voted on such a bill, and every state passed said bill except for Kentucky.

Kentucky now more dangerous for commercial aircrafts.

The problem is that this doesn’t just affect residents of Kentucky, it affects anyone who happens to be flying over Kentucky. If I wanted to fly from Indianapolis to Nashville, without being attacked by some jerk with a laser-pointer, I would now have to go well out of my way to accomplish that.

This would be extremely inconvenient.

Have you ever been on a flight that took off and landed in the same state? Probably not very many. Commercial airline flights are by nature a matter of interstate transportation. They are precisely the type of business that should be regulated by the Federal government, as opposed to the states. Rand Paul is wrong.

Michele Bachmann

Despite being a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, Michele Bachmann is dumber than a pile of bricks. Not one for diplomatic tact, she stated in regard to Iran, “We can’t remove any options off the table [sic] and we should not remove the nuclear response.”

Just a heads up Iran, we’re playing around with the idea of blowing the shit out of you, but it’s only one of our many options on the table. The table is also full of various benign ideas like, “playing a charity wiffleball game” because Michele Bachmann has not removed any of them off yet.

This is how much of a fucking idiot I am.

We all know about the global warming hoax: invented by the USSR in a desperate, final attempt to derail the US economy and win the Cold War. Here is Mrs. Bachmann with an air-tight proof of the non-existence of climate change:

“Carbon dioxide … is a harmless gas. Carbon dioxide is natural …. We’re being told we have to reduce this natural [sic hey learn any new words lately] substance to create an arbitrary reduction [sic] in something that is naturally [sic] occurring in the earth.”

There you have it, anything that is naturally occurring in the earth is good for you. We’ll take tornados as an example. Suppose I built a giant Tornado Machine, and began deploying it in the center of Manhattan. Residents of New York City would not be happy about this at all. I imagine I’d be a very hated man there. On the other hand, I’d have the full support of Michele Bachmann, based on her reasoning above: Tornados are just some naturally occurring thing that can’t possibly be bad for us–who cares about a few more?

The other pillar of Bachmann’s climate change argument is that carbon dioxide is a “harmless gas”. Really, carbon dioxide is a very useful gas for humans. It allows us to exhale after breathing, which prevents us from exploding with oxygen atoms. It also facilitates the serving of beer in kegs. To my knowledge, no one is arguing that carbon dioxide is like that gas from The Rock where you drop a container and it starts melting your face.

Not carbon dioxide.

The environmental issue with carbon dioxide is that an abundance of it makes the Earth hotter. It is sort of like a coat. A coat itself is not hot; it keeps you warm using your own body heat.

In fact, it’s almost like one of those things–what do you call those houses made of all windows, where you put plants to keep them warm? I don’t remember.

At this point, I would go on to explain how an increase in global temperature melts the polar ice caps, if I were explaining basic Earth Science to a group of Second Grade children. I suppose if I were stuck in a conversation with Michelle Bachmann about it, I would just give her a bouncy ball to play with or something.

Sarah Palin

I almost forgot to do this last bit. Fortunately, I made a to-do list earlier today, and I just remembered to look at it.

I don’t have too much to say about Palin. She should tell her kids to stop mouthing off on Facebook or something. I have no opinion of Dancing with the Stars because I don’t watch that show.

There was one issue with Palin that was overlooked with all the other controversy surrounding her, some of which was false. She made that map that got over-criticized when the Arizona shooter came out, because she had sniper’s crosshairs on the political districts of 20 Democrats. This overshadowed the more relevant criticism of the map, that it was crazy and in poor taste:

Clearly the real map, it has Sarah Palin's signature.

Though Palin’s map would make a great spec for an Al-Qaeda video game, it’s not a map that anyone would pick up and say, “Yes Sarah, I agree to kill these people.” It is pretty clear she is just trying to get Republican votes and stuff. I simply find it weird that marksmen’s targets are being pointed at things on U.S. soil in a political ad. It’s a very bellicose campaign spot, is all I guess I am saying.

That’s all I have for now, I can’t remember any other Tea Party people I hate. Scott Brown is okay. I’ll have some other blog-type stuff soon. I’m guessing the topic will be me insulting various people.

Mitch McConnell — Asshole

Here is an excerpt from today’s Face the Nation broadcast which proves Mitch McConnell is a partisan hack:

SCHIEFFER: Rand Paul, your newly elected colleague to the Senate from your home state of Kentucky, who you opposed in the Republican primary, says on ABC this morning he wants a 5 percent across-the- board cut in everything. He also says he wants to cut military spending. He wants a freeze on federal hiring. And he said you should also consider cutting the salaries of federal workers. How much of that do you favor?
MCCONNELL: Well, you know, he’s going to have an opportunity in the Senate to offer all of those ideas. We’ll get votes on them. I think he’s an exciting new member of the Senate. We worked closely together in his general election campaign. He’s coming here with a lot of enthusiasm and new ideas. And we’ll be happy to consider them in the Senate. And I’m sure they’ll be considered in the House as well.

Way to answer the question, dick. No one asked you whether Rand Paul was “an exciting new member of the Senate.” What Bob Schieffer asked was to what extent you agree with Rand Paul’s ideas.

What’s more, McConnell notes that Paul will “have an opportunity in the Senate to offer all of those ideas.” Thanks Mitch, no shit. That’s what generally happens when people get elected to the Senate. The question was how do you, Mitch McConnell, feel about those ideas? That’s okay, let’s try again:

SCHIEFFER: I mean, considering them and being for them — are you for those things?
MCCONNELL: Some of those things I may well be for. I may end up being for all of them. We’ll have to see.

What a ringing fucking endorsement. I know if I needed someone to stump for me, I’d sure as heck give McConnell a call. In fairness to Mitch, he learned who Rand Paul was right before the show …Ron Paul has a son? Impossible! Paul is a RINO/closet Libertarian, and everyone knows all Libertarians are also gay wiccans. However, Bob Schieffer reassured him that Rand was indeed Ron Paul’s son and just got elected to the Senate. “In fact, you worked closely with him in his general election campaign,” Schieffer informed McConnell.

Read more about Mitch McConnell’s trainwreck of a political platform here.

X’s & O’s: Giants Defense (or lack thereof)

Sorry, more football nonsense today. The thing is, when a defense as astonishingly bad as the 2009 New York Giants comes along, it deserves a second look.

I was listening to today’s Giants/Vikings game on the way back from Connecticut, and it was so bad that I couldn’t even turn it off. It was amazing–I hadn’t seen a group of 11 guys this bad at their collective job in quite some time.

Afterwards, I had to see it for myself. I took a look at the highlights on, in hopes of finding a few players whose lack of talent really stood out from the rest. I certainly wasn’t disappointed, here is what I found (I couldn’t embed the video here, so click on the link to open in a separate tab):

0:10 — Danny Clark #55 falls down after a terrible block by the Vikings guy. I took a screenshot which highlights Clark’s humorous attempt at playing defense.

0:25 — Aaron Rouse #26 runs halfway across the field before he realizes it’s a run fake. Michael Boley #52 attempts to cover Rouse’s guy but is too far away at that point.

0:45 — Clark and Jonathan Goff #54 can be seen discussing last week’s episode of Bones when they realize that a member of the Minnesota Vikings is running by them with the football.

1:04 — DJ Johnson #29 (whom i’ve never heard of until today) either thinks he is 12 feet tall or has very poor depth perception, based on his attempt to defend this Brett Farve throw.

1:30 — Kevin Dockery #35 attempts to cover ex-Giant Visanthe Shiancoe, but is clearly too stoned to do so.

1:50 — Goff and Clark decide to double-cover Vikings TE Jeff Dugan (Shiancoe’s backup who has 5 receptions this year) leaving Shiancoe wide open down the field.

Note that the Giants’ brand of double-coverage involves two guys jogging behind the receiver, so I guess it was better that they just left Shiancoe open.

2:10 — The defensive game plan of shutting down Jeff Dugan really worked to perfection here. Aaron Rouse takes away the Dugan deep threat by cleverly backpedaling towards the corner of the endzone, as Farve is forced to settle for a wide open Sidney Rice.

2:34 — I’ve tried to avoid calling out defensive coordinator Bill Sheridan, mainly because he is such an easy target. But the play calling here is just bizarre. The defensive scheme on this play calls for six guys blitzing, and for some reason this guy is one of them (didn’t catch his number, probably Rouse or a member of the Johnson trio):

I like how the offense is inside the 15 in a clear passing formation, and he blitzes a guy who’s 15 yards away from the quarterback, thereby giving the defender a 0% chance to succeed on the play. Step into my office, Bill Sheridan–because you’re fucking fired.

2:51 — Danny Clark doesn’t know who to cover here and gets beat. Probably poor coaching, but also he sucks.

3:31 — Once again, notice the swarming coverage Jeff Dugan receives on this 4th-down play. You know what they say, when you play the Minnesota Vikings, you can’t let Dugan beat you.

Bill Belichick is smarter than you

For the sake of simplicity, I just made up some numbers that seemed pretty reasonable to me, and hopefully to you as well. As you can see, this is not at all a straight-forward decision:

Colts scoring from their own 30 = 30%
Colts scoring from the Pats’ 30 = 70%
Pats making a 4th and 2 = 70%

So if they punt the ball the Colts have a 30% chance to win. But if the Pats go for it, the Colts have a (100%-70%)*70% = 21% chance to win.

Since I am generally an anti-punting zealot, the amount of people who called Belichick’s decision the “worst coaching decision ever” sort of annoys me. Not just that people like Mike Francesa or Tom Peretti disagree, but that they consider it the worst decision in the history of NFL coaching strategy. NFL coaches tend to make gutless punting decisions as it is, and I fear that this reaction will only serve to augment that trend.
If you ask me, the worst coaching decision ever happened in the 2007 AFC Playoff game between Pittsburgh and Jacksonville, when Mike Tomlin went for a 2-point conversion from the 12-yard line, after a holding penalty on the previous attempt, with the score 28-23 Jaguars. After failing to convert and getting the ball back, Pittsburgh was compelled to go for two again after scoring a touchdown to make the score 29-28: this attempt also failed. Because they went for two on back-to-back touchdowns, the initial decision ended up costing the Steelers two points instead of just one. Needless to say, the final score was Jacksonville 31, Pittsburgh 29.

In conclusion, Bill Belichick is smart, whereas Mike Tomlin is dumb.

Three things here. I was discussing with DC Hero, an avid pats fan, who makes a couple good points:

“All the talking heads are focusing on the decision to go for it, which is the usual nonsense. If you know you’re going for it on 4th down, you run the ball on 3rd down–end of story. Make the colts use their last timeout. Instead, you throw the ball, then YOU use a timeout. [Then] they flank out faulk, and he is in press coverage with a safety.”

Agreed on all accounts. The clock management was bad, the 4th down play was iffy, and the pats had numerous chances to put the game away before that. Belichick certainly made his share of mistakes, just not with regard to this decision.

Now there are two common lines of arguments I’ve been hearing that I find sort of dumb:

“What message does this call send to your defense, that they can’t stop Manning?”

This is a very wishy-washy argument to me. So because Belichick trusts his offense and respects Peyton Manning, now the Pats’ defense will be moping around the field, too emotionally scarred to tackle or cover people? Give me a break. Football is about winning games, not being nice to people.

“Maybe this strategy works in Madden, but not the NFL.”

If there’s any team that makes you think you’re watching a game of Madden, it’s the Patroits. They scored 59 points against Tennessee for crying out loud. And are 4th downs really harder to convert in the NFL than Madden? Has this been studied? On the contrary, ESPN columnist Bill Simmons likes to talk about how NFL coaches should have a Madden-playing teenager on the sidelines, because they usually make better two-minute drill decisions. I would tend to agree with him.

**UPDATE 2**
No I did not plagiarize Joe Posnanski. Clearly this is a case of great minds thinking alike. But go ahead, side with Peter King (the subject of previous Quality Prose) and Trent Dilfer if you prefer.

NFL Draft Analysis

Greetings, sports fans. The greatest non-athletic event in sports kicked off yesterday, and it was quite an eventful day. I sat down with a couple of brews and a generous helping of wings courtesy of the new Parsippany Cluck-U to watch it all unfold.

From the perspective of a fan of the New York Giants and the NFL in general, here is what I saw:

Round 1

1) Detroit Lions — Matthew Stafford, QB, Georgia
Meh. I’ve seen this guy a couple of times on TV. Granted Georgia was a disappointment this year. And he did look like an NFL quality QB. But #1 overall? $48 million guaranteed?? Personally I think he’s halfway between Alex Smith and Carson Palmer, but we’ll see.

2) St. Louis Rams — Jason Smith, OT, Baylor
6’6″ 305 lbs! Very pedestrian name though.

3) Kansas City Chiefs — Tyson Jackson, DE, LSU
Considered a reach, but I like that the Chiefs are using their annual Top 5 pick to assemble an all-LSU front four.

4) Seattle Seahawks — Aaron Curry, LB, Wake Forest
Did you know that “seahawk” is actually another word for osprey?

5) New York Jets* — Mark Sanchez, QB, USC
*from Cleveland
At this point I was rooting for the Browns to select Crabtree, which would have signaled a Braylon Edwards deal (hopefully to the Giants) was imminent. Of course, that wasn’t in the cards, but I like what the Jets did here. I think Sanchez can be a reliable, Joe Flacco type of guy for a team with a lot of other pieces in place.

6) Cincinnati Bengals — Andre Smith, OL, Alabama
The first “character issues” guy off the board. Honestly, I think all this finger-waiving by the NFL and the media is getting a little out of hand. It used to be that “off the field problems” meant running over kids who beat you in touch football, or pointing a gun at some kids in a McDonald’s parking lot. Now, we’re raising red flags when some guy leaves the NFL combine early? Kudos to the Bengals for not buying the negative hype.
7) Oakland Raiders — Darius Heyward-Bey, WR, Maryland
The Raiders are like the guy who takes Cole Hamels in the first round of your fantasy baseball draft. It’s not that I have a problem with Cole Hamels, it’s that you could’ve gotten him in the 2nd round at least. In the Raiders case, why didn’t they trade down?

8) Jacksonville Jaguars — Eugene Monroe, OT, Virginia
Wow, this guy makes Jason Smith look like Gary Coleman, coming in at 6’6″ 315 lbs.

9) Green Bay Packers — B.J. Raji, DT, Boston College
One of the more impressive highlight reels I saw. Also fills a big need for the Packers, I like the pick.

10) San Francisco 49ers — Michael Crabtree, WR, Texas Tech
Good fit for the 49ers, and fell into their lap at 10. He’s not as good as Calvin Johnson, the last marquee rookie wideout in the draft. But he’s certainly better than Arnaz Battle.

11) Buffalo Bills — Aaron Maybin, DE, Penn St
Doesn’t excite me.

12) Denver Broncos — Knowshon Moreno, RB, Georgia
This guy has a lot of O’s in his name.

13) Washington Redskins — Brian Orakpo, DE, Texas
This one could be a steal. The Redskins have really loaded up on defense this offseason, it should be really interesting to see how that group performs in 2009.

14) New Orleans Saints — Malcolm Jenkins, DB, Ohio St
I don’t think he will solve the Saints defensive woes, but he doesn’t need to with the teams high-powered offensive attack led by Drew Brees.

15) Houston Texans — Brian Cushing, LB, USC
At first I thought his name was “Crushing” which would be an unbelievably awesome name for a defensive player (outside of CB and FS perhaps). But “Cushing” is much less intimidating. What’s he gonna do, attack me with pillows? Lame.
16) San Diego Chargers — Larry English, DE, Northern Illinois
With Tomlinson and Gates wearing down, I would’ve gone for offense here. Maclin would’ve made sense.

17) Tampa Bay Buccaneers* — Josh Freeman, QB, Kansas St
*from N.Y. Jets through Cleveland
Ahoy matey! This 6’6″ scurvy dog be a very excitin’ prospect for ye. Lots o’ upside.

18) Denver Broncos — Robert Ayers, DE, Tennessee
The Broncos finally address their laughably bad defense. This guy is apparently good, but he will not prevent the Broncos from going 3-13 next year. Josh McDaniel will clearly be fired.

19) Philadelphia Eagles* — Jeremy Maclin, WR, Missouri
*from Tampa Bay through Cleveland
Probably not a good sign that the Eagles traded up for the guy I was hoping the Giants would trade up for. With Brian Westbrook, Deshaun Jackson, and Maclin, they have 3 guys on offense who are exceptional in space, and should give defensive coaches nightmares. The main question is whether McNabb and Westbrook can stay healthy and productive.

20) Detroit Lions* — Brandon Pettigrew, TE, Oklahoma St
*from Dallas in the worst trade of all time
The Lions certainly have a lot of defensive issues, but I like the strategy of trying to build one side at a time. They’ll suck again next year, so they should have a top pick to use for a stud defender.

21) Cleveland Browns* — Alex Mack, C, California
*from Philidelphia
Who can blame Cleveland for trading down three times for…
In addition to a 6’4″ 316 frame, Alex Mack’s strengths include telekinesis, electrokinesis, and the ability to morph into a liquid puddle. One area of concern for scouts is how Mack responds to bullying from co-star Jessica Alba.

22) Minnesota Vikings — Percy Harvin, WR, Florida
Considering the most recent Florida wideouts taken in rounds 1 & 2 have been Ike Hilliard, Reidel Anthony, Jacquez Green, Travis Taylor, Jabar Gaffney, Taylor Jacobs, Reche Caldwell, and Chad Jackson, I can’t exactly give a ringing endorsement of this pick.

23) Baltimore Ravens* — Michael Oher, OT, Mississippi
*from New England
Great value here, getting a potential stud LT late in the first round.

24) Atlanta Falcons — Paria Jerry, DT, Mississippi
I love typing out the word “Mississippi”. It’s like doing a little dance with your fingers. This guy probably sucks.

25) Miami Dolphins — Vontae Davis, DB, Illinois
Solid late 1st rounder, and what the Dolphins needed. I do know it took the Giants about 6 or 7 tries to draft a quality CB, so this guy could be hit-or-miss as well.

26) Green Bay Packers* — Clay Matthew, DE, USC
*from New England
I like how the Packers have addressed their defense in the 1st round. Considering they went 6-10 but actually scored more points then they gave up last year, the Pack may rebound very quickly.

27) Indianapolis Colts — Donald Brown, RB, Connecticut
The first of four UConn Huskies taken in the first two rounds! Nice player, although I would’ve gone with a defender myself.

28) Buffalo Bills* — Eric Wood, C, Louisville
*from Philadelphia through Carolina
Kinda looks like the fat kid from The Sandlot…”Hey, want a smore?” “How can I have some more of nothing?” “You’re killin’ me, Smalls.”

29) New York Giants — Hakeem Nicks, WR, North Carolina
As far as Giants fans are concerned, this guy better be good. With established receivers Braylon Edwards and Anquan Boldin on the trade block, GM Jerry Reese refused to include this 1st round pick in any potential deal. They also had an opportunity to trade up for Jeremy Maclin, but chose to stand pat while the Eagles “swooped in” by making a trade of their own.
Luckily, I think the Giants got the right guy. Nicks has good size, sticky hands, and is a beast after the catch.

I could even see him having the best NFL career out of the six WRs chosen in the 1st round. However, he might need some time to develop. And I doubt teams will double-cover him right away, meaning defenses can still keep an extra defender up for the run. The pressure will be on Eli, Nicks, Smith, Hixon, and Manningham to execute in the passing game in order to keep defenses honest.

30) Tennessee Titans — Kenny Britt, WR, Rutgers
The Giants could have opted for this hometown hero instead of Nicks; at 6’4″ he does provide more of the size element they were missing without Plax. But Britt does not have the same playmaking abilities as Nicks, and will probably not be an elite receiver in the NFL. He is probably a better fit for the Titans, who do not throw the ball as often as the Giants.

31) Arizona Cardinals — Chris “Beanie” Wells, RB, Ohio St
This OSU product is not to be confused with Evan Wells, a member of my pledge class who would have been picked #1 overall, but sustained a devastating knee injury running house laps. Beanie Wells is nevertheless a steal for the Cardinals at #31. Although he is not the ideal fit for Arizona’s spread offense, I think his overall talent and the added dimension he gives them is enough to justify this pick.

32) Pittsburgh Steelers — Evander “Ziggy” Hood, DT, Missouri
The Steelers primary need was offensive line, but they are also aging on defense and Ziggy gives the Super Bowl champs a long-term plan up front. Also, both his nickname and his real first name rule, and that’s more or less enough for me.

Rounds 2-7
Right now, as I sit here typing, we’re in the middle of Round 5. Here are some random thoughts on Round 2 from yesterday, and the action so far today:

-So far, hear is what the Giants have done:
45) Clint Sintim, LB, Virginia: We do need depth at the LB spot, and Sintim could mesh well with recently acquired Michael Boley. While Boley is terrific in pass coverage and pursuit, Sintim is a good run stuffer and can rush the passer. Personally I would have gone with Conner Barwin, whom the Texans selected with the next pick and seems as though he could probably play OLB.
60) Will Beatty, OT, UConn: An excellent pick. The Giants O-Line is one of the best in the league, but if there is any weakness, it’s LT David Diehl. He is an above-average offensive tackle, but has been exposed on occasion and could begin to wear down. But now he might have some competition as the Giants got a steal with this pick. Because of this draft’s depth at left tackle, Beatty slid past his true value, which was around late 1st/early 2nd according to most scouts.
85) Ramses Barden, WR, Cal Poly: At 6’6″ 227 lbs, this guy is built like a refrigerator, yet he clocks in at 4.5 in the 40. He is not an explosive player, but could be a reliable target for Eli once the Meadowlands winds start swirling.
100) Travis Beckum, TE, Wisconsin: Another good upside pick for Jerry Reese. He does not block well, but the Giants already have a sturdy blocking TE in Kevin Boss. Beckum’s strength is in the passing game, and the Giants will be thrilled if he can become a receiving threat.
129) Andre Brown, RB, NC State: This pick makes sense with the loss of Derrick Ward. More of a power back who will probably end up with a Reuben Droughens type role (hopefully better though).

-ESPN needs to promote Erin Andrews right away. Possessing a rare combination of Irish good looks and an unparalleled intellect and enthusiasm for journalism, Erin Andrews is the premiere sideline reporter in all of television. I find it criminal that Suzy Kolber and Michele Tafoya are allowed to roam the sidelines for Monday Night Football, while the clearly superior Andrews is deprived of an opportunity to shine on the national stage.

Erin Andrews, a beacon of quality journalism
Erin Andrews, a beacon of quality journalism

-You have to like what New England did in Round 2. Trading out of the 1st round left them with 4 picks, which they used on: Patrick Chung (DB-Oregon), Ron Brace (DT-Boston College), Darius Butler (CB-UConn), and Sebastian Vollmer (OT-Houston). All of these guys have the potential to start and contribute. Also note that Vollmer is a 6’7″ 315 lbs German guy who barely spoke English upon arriving at Houston, which rules.

-The Eagles made their 2nd scary offensive pick taking LeShaun McCoy (RB-Pittsburgh) in Round 2. McCoy is a scat back but gives the Eagles yet another guy who is difficult for defenses to wrap up, especially when he gets the ball in space. With Westbrook becoming more of a health risk as he gets older, this is a very smart pick by Philly. However, they still lack a power running back that can pick up short yardage and move the chains.

-To the delight of both Giants and Eagles fans, the Dallas Cowboys officially suck. Already with the losses of Terrell Owens, Julius Jones, and Chris Canty, the Cowboys compounded their woes by trading their only pick in the first day of the draft. This 9-7 squad from a season ago is moving in the opposite direction as the rest of the division.

Republicans: Give Up

Sorry for the increasingly political nature of this blog. Perhaps I should refrain from editing it under the influence of alcohol, but I feel like that would be depriving you of some valuable insights.

Here is a Yahoo! news clip of some Republican talking. I’m gonna be honest with you guys, I don’t really know that much about politics. I’m an engineer–I’ll bet you can count on one hand how many Bachelors of Science there are in the House and Senate.
On the positive side of things, Republicans have some pretty valid points to make in terms of the economy. Let me be clear, there is a debate to be had, but the GOP side deserves to be heard. Notice this guy was conspicuously silent during the spending spree of the Bush adminstration, but that is beside the point.

One thing I should mention, just to play Devil’s advocate on the economic part, is that American’s generally do support government-run health care. Also, every President since George Washington has had “unprecedented levels of spending.” That is a vacuous statement. I mean, maybe Chester A. Arthur or someone lowered spending, how the hell should I know–but overall spending in US Dollars goes up over time, regardless of who is president. I did like his mention of Debt Day, it was far more insightful than congressmen trying to explain how much $1 trillion is.

It's a lot of fucking money, I get it.
It's a lot of fucking money, I get it.

Anyways, you’ll notice Rep. Boehner talks about the economy until about the 2:50 mark (of his 3:50 minute speech). Sadly, it all goes downhill from there. Here is his subsequent quote:

They’ve decided to close the deteenay … uh, detainee base down in Cuba–without having any plan for what they’re going to do with those terrorists, who are hell bent on killing Americans.

Well … no. Let’s see what our friend wikipedia has to say about this one:

Since October 7, 2001, when the current war in Afghanistan began, 775 detainees have been brought to Guantánamo. Of these, approximately 420 have been released without charge. As of January 2009, approximately 245 detainees remain.
Three have been convicted of various charges … Of those still incarcerated, U.S. officials said they intend to eventually put 60 to 80 on trial and free the rest

So if these guys are all terrorists hell-bent on killing Americans, that kinda sucks that 420 of them were already freed under George W. Bush. Frankly, I’m surprised I’m not dead right now.

Republicans–stop talking about foreign policy. Seriously, it’s time to go back to the drawing board on this one. It’s not even fair to claim the patriotic, U-S-A! stance at this point: the Democrats’ foreign policy, though flawed, clearly favors a smarter, more tactical national defense that doesn’t blow its wad every time an international disagreement arises. An America-loving patriot should really prefer that in the long run.

In closing, the government is sort of like the email program on my company computer. It sucks and never works. So I send a note to the helpdesk, and they’re like, “nah, everything’s cool.” But eventually, if you keep sending them notes, and convince your friends to do the same, someone will realize that the program is fucked up and needs to be fixed. So yea, do that I guess.