Archive for December, 2007

Happy New Year!

December 31, 2007

May everyone reading this have an excellent 2008!  Just to warn you, I predict a long year ahead (it is a leap year, afterall) with a Presidential election casting its first actual votes in 3 days and its last and most important votes in 11 months.  And, of course, the Olympics Beijing w/ what I am sure will prove to be annoying coverage by NBC.  Enjoy!

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What PennDOT does best . . .

December 31, 2007

is inconvenience motorists:

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07364/845428-147.stm

Now, I ask, how the **** are you supposed to get in and around Pittsburgh in 2008 with all these projects?  There is work planned for the Parkway North, East, and West, I-79, Rt. 28, and U.S. 22.  Folks, that really doesn’t leave anything untouched.  Oh, and they are closing a stretch of the Boulevard of the Allies, too.  Argh!

President Bloomberg?

December 31, 2007

Is America ready to have TWO mayors of New York City running for President?

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/12/29/AR2007122901476.html?hpid=topnews

This group reads as a Who’s Who among American centrists of the past quarter century, guys like former Republican Missouri Senator John Danforth, Democratic Georgian Senator Sam Nunn, and Republican Senator from Maine and Secretary of Defense under Bill Clinton William Cohen, to name a few.  Combine Bloomberg’s money with this group, assuming all or most of them can get themselves to break ranks with their own parties (a very big if) and this could actually work.  There are a ton of people in this country disillusioned with both major parties, and there is no question the center has been abandoned by both, particularly the GOP in the past couple decades.  Consider me unconvinced at this point that Mayor Bloomberg is the best vessel to pour that energy and effort into, though.

He would almost certainly be a steadier hand than Ross Perot, though.  This bears watching.

Dungy Throws in Towel Early?

December 30, 2007

Oh, I gotta think fans of the Cleveland Browns are a bit miffed at Colts coach Tony Dungy right now!  Not at the fact Jim Sorgi played almost 3/4 of the game; that was expected.  But at the way the Colts quit a bit early at the end of this game.  Down 6 points, having just committed a turnover on downs with 1:52 remaining and still owning one timeout, the Colts stood there and let the Titans take knees and never called the timeout.   If the Colts call timeout after 1st down and the Titans then run a couple nondescript running plays, you force a 4th down play with about 15 seconds left.  Even if the Titans don’t successfully kick a field goal (they were in Bironas’ range) there isn’t much hope.  But if you were truely playing the game honorably with the people you have, you call that timeout.  Hell, if you hold the timeout, bait the Titans into falling on the ball all 3 times, then call it, there was a full 30 seconds left after 3rd down and certainly time to do something (again assuming 4th down is not a good field goal).  I hate to question Tony Dungy’s ethics, but I think it poor to not call the timeout and extend this game.

 In all fairness, though the Bears were facing elimination by the Vikings in Week 15 and did not call a timeout to force Minnesota to punt to Devin Hester one more time with about 10 seconds left, and the Bears were eliminated by that loss.  That’s far harder to understand than the Colts not wanting to extend the game more plays where someone could get hurt.

Potter Holiday Classic II

December 30, 2007

Congratulations to the Wellsville Tigers on winning the championship game 39-33 over host East Liverpool.  Very defensive game, and the Tigers had to overcome a defense geared to stop their star Zane Carter, and he being saddled with fouls.  Maddening part of this game, though, was the Potters offense, or lack thereof.  Completely lacked energy or focus most of the game, and it wasted a great night defensively.  You should win basketball games when you hold the other team to 39 measely points.  Indeed, this basketball game ended up being outscored by one point by the New England/New York football game.

 Also congrats to Oak Glen (WV) who played excellent ball tonight in winning the consolation game handily over Beaver Local.  I was very impressed with the Golden Bears both nights in the way they run their plays and play efficient basketball.  They know how to work the ball for the open shot, and they were hitting a lot of open shots tonight.

Potter Holiday Classic, Night 1

December 29, 2007

What a couple great high school basketball games last night at Potter Fieldhouse!  I personally expected Wellsville to run away with their game against Oak Glen, but to the Golden Bears credit they matched the Tigers point for point with excellent coaching and good, patient half court offense.  Save a couple brief lapses they did not let the Tigers get out and run.  Unfortunately for the Bears, they had a golden opportunity to win slip away when their kid missed the front end of a one-and-one with 2.7 seconds remaining and Wellsville called timeout with 0.8 remaining and a tie game.  People can check the video at right through the Potter Sports Online link but it did not appear Zane Carter’s 3 off the inbound was timely, but high school refs are inclined to count a shot like that when its close.  And frankly, my live impression was he did shoot in time, so I can’t really knock the call.  I’m sure Oak Glen fans would disagree, though.

As for the nightcap, a classic struggle between East Liverpool and Beaver Local to match the one that took place in the “Beaver Dome” 4 weeks ago, only there were less than 3,000 personal fouls called this time.  I was of course pleased the Potters got the win, but they need to do a better job shooting and ball handling if they are to have more than a mediocre season.

 Tonight’s action hopes to be almost as exciting; the first game we’ll see who of the Bears and Beavers does a better job bouncing back from a bitter loss.  In the title game I would have to favor Wellsville, but we’ll see what happens.

Greatest Time of Year

December 29, 2007

Starting today and running through a week from Monday, January 7th, there is either college bowl games or NFL end of regular season or wildcard playoffs every day except January 4th.  What sports fan doesn’t enjoy that!  Of course, its off right now to a less than stellar start with the Meineke Car Care Bowl in Charlotte between, um, Wake Forest and, um, Connecticut.  Can we convert this into a basketball game please?  Still, we are currently in the midst of the most wonderful football fortnight of the year.

NFL Blackout Restrictions

December 28, 2007

A quick check of the updates on the NFL TV distribution maps (link in right panel) shows that the NFL has lifted restrictions on stations showing a game opposite their local team’s home game.  To wit, Fox New York City can now show a game at 4:15pm opposite the Jets, Fox Baltimore can now show the Redskins opposite the Ravens game, and CBS DC can show the Ravens game opposite the Redskins.  Now the latter two is a unique situation wherein DC is a secondary Baltimore market and Baltimore is a secondary Washington market, and the NFL usually makes sure to not schedule the Ravens and Redskins in the same timeslot.  But New York is not unique since the Jets and Giants are not in the same timeslot.  Why lift the restriction there, and not on, say CBS Cleveland at 1pm which is blacked out with the Browns at home on Fox, or Fox San Francisco/Oakland which is blacked out at 4:15 opposite the Raiders hosting San Diego on CBS?  Do the fans a complete solid and waive all the blackout rules in Week 17 except the sellout requirement.  You already went the extra mile by doing dueling doubleheaders and easing restrictions in some markets.

Obama politicizing Bhutto Assassination

December 28, 2007

Illinois Senator and Democratic Presidential hopeful Barack Obama is trying to blame Hillary Clinton for the assassination of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto(from an article in today’s Washington Post, quote attributed to Obama senior adviser David Axelrod):

“Obama opposed the war in Iraq explicitly because he feared it would divert our attention from al-Qaeda, Pakistan, the whole region,” Axelrod said. “It underscores the fact that you have to have a president who understands the world, who is going to analyze these events, and who will chart the right course, counter to the conventional thinking.”

Frankly I think its quite a stretch to say Bhutto’s death has a direct correlation with Mrs. Clinton voting to support war in Iraq back in 2002.  I mean, I fully agree the war was an unnecessary distraction from defeating Al Qaeda and capturing bin Laden.  But I also think that Bhutto had a lot of enemies in Pakistan, that she was in exile until two months ago for a reason, and yesterday’s violent act would have happened irregardless of how the Senator from New York voted 5 years ago.

Big Ben Resting

December 28, 2007

Published reports in the past 24 hours or so suggest that the Steelers will rest Ben Roethlisberger this Sunday dinnertime in Baltimore in favor of Charlie Batch.  To which I say “Thank God!”  Frankly, the more important Steelers I see standing on the sidelines in officially liscensed NFL merchandise other than a standard road game uniform, the happier and more relieved I will be.  The Steelers have to play the following weekend in a home playoff game irregardless of outcome; treat this as the bye week and rest players, especially ones with nagging injuries.  Even guys that don’t have a nagging injury, but just happen to be older than me (30 years); sit please.  Being seeded 3rd instead of 4th is only possible if San Diego loses to hapless Oakland in their finale and is frankly not worth the effort anyhow. 

There has been a lot of talk in local media lately about how much preferable the 3rd seed would be because it avoids Jacksonville in the wildcard round and guarantees avoiding New England in the divisional round.  Baloney.  Its not like playing Tennessee or Cleveland would be a stroll in the park; anyone else remember how the Steelers had to fight tooth and nail to get past Cleveland at home in mid-November?  And while he has had a sub-par sophomore campaign, the thought of defending Vince Young makes me a bit nervous.  Generally speaking, when you get to the playoffs you will be playing, well, a playoff team, iow, a good team.  As for Patriots avoidance, you might even if you’re 4th if 6th upsets 3rd in the other game, and its not like going to Peyton’s Place (yeah, I know I’m not the first to make that joke) to tangle with the Colts is much of a bargain.  To win the whole thing, which is the ultimate point, you’ll have to tangle with the Patriots or the team good enough to upset them eventually anyhow; divisional weekend when they haven’t played a meaningful game in a couple weeks might be the best time.