Archive for April, 2010

Pens Claim Game 1

April 30, 2010

6-3 over the Montreal Canadiens.  A solid win, but there are some concerns moving forward for the Penguins:

1) They can’t count on getting 4 power play goals every game, obviously.

2) They can’t count on Halat playing that shaky every night, especially given how he played against Washington.  And if the Habs go with Price he can certainly play well too.

3) The health of Jordan Staal.  Of course Montreal has a health worry of their own too with Markhov.  Staal’s injury appeared to be ankle.  If its just a bad bruise he might be okay if he can get the skate boot on, but if he can’t go it presents real problems.  Would likely have to rotate Talbott off of Malkin’s line so he could center the 3rd line and make it pretty much impossible to put Malkin and Crosby on the same line which Bylesma likes to do at times when the offense needs jump-starting.

Of course, the Pens did win the game and did score 6 goals so maybe I shouldn’t panic too much 🙂

Pens Advance to 2nd Round

April 25, 2010

It proved harder that it seemed it would after an easy Game 4 gave the Penguins a 3-1 lead, but they were finally able to get past a pesky Senators squad in 6 games on Pascal Dupuis’ overtime goal.  You have to give Ottawa a lot of credit for the way they battled in this series despite being the team with a talent deficit.  They blocked a ton of shots and got great series from guys like Regin and Neal and Volchenkov.  But you also have to give the Pens credit after losing Game 5 in 3OT and being down 3-0 in Game 6 the fought it back to overtime and was able to sneak a goal in to win.

Of course, the stories the next day are focusing on how the game would’ve been different if the Ottawa goal that went in after the net was dislodged had been allowed to make it 4-1, while completely ignoring that Toronto didn’t allow the Pens to have the goal they clearly scored to tie the game at 1 in the 1st period and how that could’ve turned the game also.  Oh well.

So now the Pens sit back and wait to see who they play in the conference semifinals.  Assuming Washington does eventually get past Montreal the Pens would play the winner of the Boston/Buffalo series.  But if the Canadiens do pull the comeback upset its more complicated.  A Boston win in their series would mean the Pens play Montreal.  A Buffalo win in their series would mean the Pens play Philadelphia.  If the results work out to where the Pens are playing Montreal, Philadelphia, or Boston they would have home ice advantage.  But if its Buffalo the Sabres have home ice.  Also, if Boston and Montreal both win that would actually give the 4th seeded Pens home ice advantage through the conference finals.  Not that it really matters much in the Stanley Cup Playoffs; the 6 games in the Sens/Pens series was won by the home team exactly once.

God Has Spoken

April 21, 2010

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell seems to’ve given himself every other title, including judge, jury, and executioner, so we may as well give him that title also.  Ben Roethlisberger, guilty of having been accused of sexual misconduct twice, has been suspended for the first 6 games of the 2010 season (pardons board Goodell could opt to reduce that to 4 games).

As you can probably tell I disagree with this.  I would agree that Roethlisberger would have been in violation of the NFL’s player conduct code if he had actually raped someone as Goodell and most of the American public seems to’ve concluded that he did.  But see there is this pesky detail that law enforcement has never charged him with a crime, let alone convicted him.  All we can say Roethlisberger is guilty of for sure is having unfounded allegations levied against him.  Don’t you think if there was a strong case against him in Georgia the DA would’ve indicted him?  Convicting a two time Super Bowl champion quarterback of a serious felony is the sort of thing that makes a career.  The case was too flimsy to even try.  He didn’t even feel like bothering to charge Ben with furnishing to get the county some fine money.  And as for Andrea McNulty hardly anyone took that civil suit a year after the alleged fact seriously at the time, so why now all of a sudden does her claims qualify for making the Georgia incident a “pattern of misbehavior”?

Basically Goodell looked at the evidence and decided for himself that Ben forced himself on this college student.  Why the fuck does he have that power?  And if he does have this power, why didn’t his predecessor look at the evidence and decide what most of the public concluded for itself that Ray Lewis helped murder someone?  I would think murder is worth at least a 6 game suspension.

Was the Commish pressured to do this by black players and members of the press that wanted to make sure the white quarterback got the same treatment as the black one that was actually charged and actually convicted of dog fighting?  My personal hunch is no that Goodell just has that much of a God complex that he decides that he can look at the stack of evidence and render the conviction the DA in Georgia didn’t even want to seek even though it would not have exactly been hard to make the college coed a more sympathetic figure than the priviledged athlete.

The cruel irony in this is that Ben would’ve actually had a better chance to clear his name if he had been charged.  He would’ve gone into court and been able to present his side of the case (of course he would’ve been staring the possibility of jail time in the face too).  Now his version of events may never be known as he follows his lawyer’s obvious advice to not say much.  Now we have police reports in all their sordid detail and evidence gaps that leave a delicious layer of ambiguity so that people can make their own assumptions.  Like the Duke lacrosse players most will just assume the well-off athlete is a cad.

Now the Steelers have to decide what’s next.  They traded for Byron Leftwich presumably to either be the starter, or compete with Dennis Dixon to be the starter in Ben’s stead.  Adam Schefter is reporting the Steelers will trade Ben if someone coughs up a top 10 pick in tomorrow’s Draft 1st round (Al Davis, call on line 1).  Personally I hope they keep Ben.  He’s getting a bum rap right now and a sizeable amount of this would blow over in time if given the chance to.  Also, for what its worth he’s a franchise quarterback and those are very hard to come by.  Speaking selfishly I’m too young to remember Bradshaw.  I put up with Mark Malone and Bubby Brister and Neil O’Donnell and Mike Tomczak and Kordell Stewart and Kent Graham and Kordell again and Tommy Maddox.  I feel I have earned a few more years of non-mediocrity.

Weekly Media Matters Update

April 18, 2010

As usual the below is copy/pasted from the e-mail from Media Matters.  And as usual the main target is Fox News:

Media Matters: All aboard the Fox Tea Party Express (except you, Hannity)

Is Fox finally feeling the pressure and realizing that claiming to be a “fair and balanced” news outlet means you can’t flat-out endorse and promote a political movement? Yes and no.

Following Fox’s incessant promotion of the tea party rallies last year and the heavy criticism that ensued, one might have expected that Fox’s coverage of the tea party rallies would be slightly more subdued this year. After all, News Corp. chairman Rupert Murdoch acknowledged that Fox shouldn’t be “supporting the Tea Party or any other party” just last week.

But that didn’t stop some of Fox’s usual suspects from praising, promoting, and downright gushing over the events. In fact, Fox News on-air talent participated in over a dozen tea party events. Neil Cavuto, dedicating his entire show to a tea party event in Atlanta, actually promised to devote his hour on Fox to “what [the tea partiers] want to see happen.”

Not to be outdone, chronic opportunist Dick Morris advertised his undoubtedly lucrative headlining appearances at tea party rallies in Arkansas, saying to Megyn Kelly, “I’m going to go there because Blanche Lincoln needs to be defeated.” In case you still couldn’t quite connect the dots between Fox’s paid contributors and their participation in the tea party events, Morris told Kelly that he had a “minor role” in the tea party movement.

The brain trust at Fox & Friends tried to defend their shameless promotion of the rallies by claiming that the tea party is nonpartisan, despite the fact that the majority of those who identify themselves as tea party supporters are Republican. It also didn’t help that the next day, fill-in-host Eric Bolling called the tea party principles “all very, very conservative issues” and “all great ideas.” So much for the tea party being nonpartisan.

Fox also followed up on its coverage of the Tea Party Express, especially Sarah Palin’s stop in Boston, with Caroline Shively reporting, “The idea is the same from the Boston Tea Party, too, 237 years ago.” Brian Kilmeade also commented, “It’s 1773 all over again.” Greta Van Susteren promoted “Boston Tea Party Take 2” with an extensive excerpt of Palin’s keynote address.

But these are just examples from Fox’s opinion shows, right? The straight-up news programs would never compare this highly partisan political pep rally to an emblematic event that helped trigger America’s fight for independence, right? There are significant distinctions between Fox’s opinion programming and the hardworking, shoe-leather journalists whom Fox viewers rely on to provide the objective news of the day, right?

You tell me:

Special Report declares Tea Party Express protest the “21st century version” of the Boston Tea Party

None of this should be too surprising, considering we also found out this week that when a Republican consultant originally pitched the idea for the Tea Party Express in a GOP consulting firm, he counted on “some mentions and possibly even promotion from conservative/pro- tea party bloggers, talk radio hosts, Fox News commentators, etc.” The consultant, Joe Wierzbicki, even cited the fact that “the April 15th tea parties may have been promoted by Fox News” in his pitch for the Tea Party Express.

Now for the encouraging news, a sign that Fox News executives may be getting the message that the salad days of “celebrat[ing] with Fox News” at any of four “FNC Tax Day Tea Parties” have come to an end. As Media Matters‘ Eric Hananoki noted, the Cincinnati Tea Party sold tickets to what was supposed to be a broadcast of Sean Hannity’s Fox News show. Myriad criticisms from media experts and ombudsmen followed. The Los Angeles Times reported in an April 15 article that “[a]ngry Fox News executives ordered host Sean Hannity to abandon plans to broadcast his nightly show as part of a Tea Party rally in Cincinnati on Thursday after top executives learned that he was set to headline the event, proceeds from which would benefit the local Tea Party organization.” The article added: “Furious, top officials recalled Hannity back to New York to do his show in his regular studio. The network plans to do an extensive post-mortem about the incident with [John] Finley [the show’s executive producer] and Hannity’s staff.” I hope this was the straw that broke the camel’s back and not a flash in the pan — a harbinger for a new day in Fox News’ tea party coverage. After all, Megyn Kelly couldn’t even bring herself to inflate the crowd size at the “most high profile” tea party rally of the season.

Other stories this week

O’Reilly’s whopper (he gets it his way)

Oh, Bill, we missed you. Good to have you back. O’Reilly’s triumphant return to staunch misinformer started when Sen. Tom Coburn told a constituent that the recently passed health care reform legislation wouldn’t put anyone in jail for failing to purchase coverage, adding that the false claim “makes for good TV news on Fox.” Like a bear defending her cub, O’Reilly invited Coburn on his show and pushed him to explain his remarks. O’Reilly told Coburn: “[W]e researched” and “[n]obody” on Fox “ever said you are going to jail if you don’t buy health insurance.”

Naturally, we called Merriam-Webster to see if they had changed the definition of “nobody.” Turns out: no change. It still means “no person” or “not anybody.” O’Reilly must have gotten confused, because Glenn Beck (on O’Reilly’s own show!), Rush Limbaugh on Fox & Friends, Dick Morris, Sean Hannity, Andrew Napolitano, Bill Hemmer, Greta Van Susteren, The Fox Nation, and Fox & Friends all falsely claimed that failing to buy health insurance could result in jail time.

Luckily, Neil Cavuto was there to help Bill out the next day, commenting, “I’ve researched this, and a number of Fox personalities had made that comment.” Cavuto’s correction fell on deaf ears, apparently, as O’Reilly told Dennis Miller that night that Coburn “didn’t really have his facts in line.”

Bitter to the end, O’Reilly subsequently said that “NBC News has highlighted dishonest propaganda from the far-left Media Matters outfit” and claimed that when “jail time” had been “on the table,” Fox had reported on it, but no one on Fox made the claim after that provision was supposedly removed. In fact, the health care bill Fox had been reporting on at the time also did not have “jail time” as a penalty for not having health insurance. We still appreciate the shout-out, though.

Help wanted: CBS News ethicist

With the announcement of Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens’ retirement, it’s only appropriate for news outlets to reach out to various corners of the political arena for commentary and analysis on potential nominees for his replacement. What might be less appropriate is a major news organization providing an online forum for a known plagiarist and disgraced Republican operative to spread unsubstantiated rumors about the personal life of the current solicitor general of the Untied States and potential Supreme Court nominee.

Yesterday, CBSNews.com published an “opinion” article by Ben Domenech that baselessly claimed Solicitor General Elena Kagan would be the “first openly gay justice” appointed to the Supreme Court. Next, Domenech published an “update” baselessly asserting that Kagan “is apparently still closeted” and that “her female partner is rather well known in Harvard circles.” CBS later published an “editor’s note” explaining that the White House said “Domenech’s reference to Ms. Kagan as gay is innaccurate [sic].” Later still, CBS published an update to the editor’s note in which Domenech stated: “I offer my sincere apologies to Ms. Kagan if she is offended at all by my repetition of a Harvard rumor in a speculative blog post.”

Wow. That’s a lot of updates; all of which could have been avoided if CBS had considered at all Domenech’s status as a serial plagiarist. Maybe CBS looked at the line on his resume as a Washington Post blogger, but missed the fact that his tenure lasted all of three days. Media Matters‘ Jamison Foser reminded us of Domenech’s history of plagiarizing everything from movie reviews to political commentary in his writing for the National Review Online and the College of William & Mary’s student newspaper. Domenech is also the kind of guy who thinks it’s appropriate to call Coretta Scott King a communist and attack “the Judiciary” as “worse then [sic] the KKK” for upholding the legality of abortion.

Maybe next time, CBS will avoid such an embarrassing episode by actually reviewing who is contributing to its website and what those contributors are saying.

This weekly wrap-up was compiled and edited by Tom Allison, a researcher at Media Matters for America.

Pens Even Series

April 16, 2010

With the Ottawa Senators by winning tonight’s Game 2 at Mellon Arena 2-1.  The obvious story was Sidney Crosby, who scored the first goal, made a diving play to clear a puck off the goal line early in the 3rd period, and made a Bobby Orr-like play skating around behind the net before passing to Letang for the winning goal with about 3:30 remaining.  But it wouldn’t take Barry Melrose to analyze the difference between this game and Game 1 that Ottawa won.  Tonight the Pens showed they cared, they played with passion, energy, and intensity.  They found the on switch.  If they play like that consistently they will wear down this Ottawa team and win in about 6 games.  If they don’t they will be vulnerable to the early exit.

Dr. Leary Was Right

April 12, 2010

‘Shrooming as a way to beat depression:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/12/science/12psychedelics.html?th&emc=th

That could set up interesting battles down the road, seeing as how we cannot even get legal pot in this country.

Lefty Claims His 3rd Green Jacket

April 11, 2010

By completing the four rounds at Augusta National in a blistering -16 272, outlasting Lee Westwood by 3 shots and Anthony Kim by 4.  It was an amazing round for Mickelson, playing a bogey-free round of 67.  He started with 7 straight pars before a birdie on 8.  But what held this round together was that he was able to scramble for pars after bad tee shots on difficult par 4s 9, 10, and 11.  Those are 3 of the hardest holes on the course, especially 10 and 11 and are oftentimes messed up from the fairway.  Then he birdied the signature 12th hole just like in 2004 and then hit a shot for the ages between two trees to the green on 13.  He biffed the eagle putt but wasn’t deterred by it.  When he birdied again on 15 to Westwood’s par he pretty much had it.  Just an amazing round.

One can’t help but feel a bit for Lee Westwood.  This is the 3rd straight major he comes in either 2nd or 3rd and he also had a near miss of the ’08 US Open.  He didn’t have his best day today but still certainly could have won if not for the back 9 that Mickelson had.  After all, -13 is usually more than good enough at a major.

One of the rising stars of the game is Anthony Kim, and he showed some that promise today, going out and shooting a 65 that would’ve had him square in contention if not for, again, Lefty shooting 67.  As this guy continues to improve, particularly improve in limiting his bad holes and bad days, he will be a force to be reckoned with.

Fred Couples looked at times like he might be able to out-geezer Nicklaus ’86 but it was his turn to have an awful Amen Corner to dash his chances.  Still, it was a great effort and nice to see him in contention again.  One cannot help but wonder if he would’ve had a few more majors than the ’92 Masters if not for his balky back.

Naturally most people will want to talk about Tiger Woods, perhaps even as much as the champion.  Indeed, a lot of people will want to over-analyze meaningless crap and I will try to avoid that.  I thought his erratic play this weekend shows just about as well as anything how great a player he is.  That might sound absurd but think about it.  He was taking swings, especially on Sunday, that just looked awful.  He was hitting duck hooks and sky balls off the tee.  He struggled with distance control on his short irons and his chipping.  He 3-putted from 8 feet on 14.  And he still shot -3 69 for the day and was -11 for the tournament, finishing tied for4th.  One assumes he’ll have those uncharacteristic miscues rectified by the 3rd weekend of June at Pebble Beach and the rest of the field could be in serious trouble if I am correct.

But I hope Tiger doesn’t overshadow Phil here as the champion deserves the spotlight, both for what his family has gone through the past year with his wife’s breast cancer and also of course for winning the tournament.  3 titles at Augusta brings him even with the likes of Demeret, Snead, Player, and Faldo and behind only Nicklaus, Woods, and Palmer.  Good stuff as always from Augusta.

First Games for the Stroh Center

April 9, 2010

The first opponents in volleyball, men’s basketball, and women’s basketball for BGSU in the Fall of 2011 in the new Stroh Center have been announced:

http://www.bgsufalcons.com/news/2010/4/9/GEN_0409104326.aspx

Ohio Judge Suggests Packing Heat

April 9, 2010

Copy/pasted from Salon.com

A judge in an Ohio county is urging citizens to be vigilant and carry firearms because of budget cuts to the sheriff’s department.

Ashtabula (ash-tuh-BYOO’-luh) County Common Pleas Judge Alfred Mackey tells Cleveland’s WKYC-TV that the cuts mean citizens should arm themselves and watch out for their neighbors.

The northeast Ohio county is the state’s largest in area and is mostly rural. With deputies assigned to transport prisoners and serve warrants, one radio car is assigned to patrol 720 square miles.

Sheriff William Johnson has threatened to sue county commissioners to have some of his department’s funding restored.

I Am Not Usually One to Advocate Violence

April 9, 2010

But the planet would really be better off if Fred Phelps weren’t around anymore:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/09/us/09westboro.html?src=un&feedurl=http%3A%2F%2Fjson8.nytimes.com%2Fpages%2Fnational%2Findex.jsonp