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Sunday, October 12, 2008

This 'Trading-My-Youth-For-Wisdom' Thing Isn't Working Out

You know your getting old when Van Halen's "Jump" comes on the radio and all you can think about is your trashed 401k.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Thank God For Mississippi

We won.

No major injuries. (to my knowledge)

Alabama 17, Kentucky 14.

That's about all the good that can be gleaned from Saturday's win in Tuscaloosa. Coach Saban said it best in his post-game interview: "It should have been 24 - 0 at the half. That would have changed everything". Talk about stating the obvious!

It's important to note that one of the characteristics of a young team is emotional highs and lows. Coach Gene Stallings was a master at keeping his teams on an even keel, never getting too high after a win, too low after a loss. He emphasized a business-like attitude. Ditto Coach Saban. But was anyone listening?

Starting immediately after the big win over #3 Georgia he started preaching focus. The huge win over the nationally ranked Bulldogs would be meaningless if they lost to Kentucky before a nationally televised audience and home standing crowd. One had to look no further than the play of John Parker Wilson to see his point.

Wilson looked like Dan Marino last week. He played like Dan Rather Saturday. And he's a senior. Over throwing. Under throwing. It was clear Georgia was still on his mind. He couldn't have been anymore off target than Barney Frank at the Playboy mansion.

What was on the minds of the officials is anyone's guess. But what is clear is it was another horribly officiated Southeastern Conference game highlighted by an inexplicable offensive pass interference call on freshman receiver Julio Jones.

The Buffalo Wildwings restaurant chain currently is running an amusing television ad featuring a zebra sticking his head in the sideline replay camera boot and asking the crowd at Wildwings if they're ready to go home. After a moment of thought the patrons respond in the negative. Afterwards an official is seen tripping an open player running down the field for a presumed game-ending touchdown. I can't help but believe this commercial was inspired by SEC officiating.

The SEC is supposedly the premier college football conference in the country. Wouldn't it be nice if we could match that with consistently and appropriately competent officiating??

But today the 'Bama Nation turns it's weary eyes to the polls. Alabama came into yesterday's game ranked #2 in the AP and #4 in the USA Today/Coaches poll. After the win over Georgia, Tide fans dared dream of BCS bowl games. As the first BCS poll races toward us, will the lackluster performance drop the Tide from the top five? Is Alabama a legitimate top 5 team?

#1 Oklahoma has beaten Chattanooga, Cincinnati, Washington, Baylor and barely legal #24 Texas Christian. Their combined records are 12 - 15.

#2 LSU? Appalachian St., North Texas, Auburn, Mississippi State. Combined record: 8 - 13.

#3. Mizzou. #20 Illinois, Southeastern Missouri State, Nevada, Buffalo, and Nebraska. 13 - 13.

#4 Alabama. #9 Clemson, Tulane, Western Kentucky, Arkansas, #3 Georgia and Kentucky. Pay close attention. You're looking at the ONLY top five team whose opponents combine for a winning record. 17 - 14.

#5 Texas. Florida Atlantic, Texas-El Paso, Arkansas, Rice and Colorado. Combined? 11 - 16.

Now some will argue (legitimately) that statistics can be twisted to prove anything. But certainly my argument has more basis in fact than sports writers with their regional biases, college sports information directors (who are for the most part the real voters in the coach's polls) and so-called media "experts" with their agendas.

Alabama was also the ONLY top 5 team on Saturday, Oct. 4Th, to play an undefeated opponent.

Despite Saturday's big blue speed bump, not only should the Tide not fall in the polls, they should still be given legitimate consideration for number one.

I'd buy stock in Fannie Mae before I expected that.

Alabama's out of the spotlight with an off-week this Saturday. And there's a legitimate "marquee" match-up for the ESPN/ABC sports monopoly to hype this week (after throwing up all over themselves with that Vandy/Auburn snoozer) in Oklahoma v. Texas. #2 LSU also travels to Gainesville to face (as it stands now) the 13th ranked Gators.

Yet what was old is new again for many in Alabama today for once again we have reason to give thanks for our neighbor of a shared border to the west.

Was it not for the Ole Miss upset victory over Florida, Sept. 27th, and it's subsequent appearance on the cover of Sports Illustrated, the Bermuda Triangle of the sports media, the SI jinx could have easily been the intangible that put Kentucky over the top at Bryant-Denny Stadium Saturday.

Sincerely, thank God for Mississippi and Roll Tide.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

And The Sun Also Rises.........

Alabama 31 - Georgia 0, halftime. Alabama 41 - Georgia 30, final score.

And from Pat Forde of ESPN.com

http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/columns/story?columnist=forde_pat&id=3613594&sportCat=ncf

to Darren Epps of the Chattanooga Times Free Press

http://timesfreepress.com/news/2008/sep/28/crimson-tide-makes-case-no-1-harris-poll-rating/?sports

the case is being made for the Crimson Tide's inclusion in 2008 college football national title contention.

This perfect storm began Thursday night as Oregon State toppled the #1 USC Trojans. Then, in an early Saturday game, the #4 ranked Florida Gators flop around, allowing Ole Miss to stay in the game with them and inexplicably lose to the Rebels in front of their home crowd at Gainesville. This loss with the lesson of USC - Oregon State just two days prior.

With these two losses it became clearer to those who chose to look objectively that #3 Georgia vs. #8 Alabama Saturday night became a "gateway game" for Alabama's possible re-emergence onto the national scene.

And what a splash they made.

Georgia hyped the game into overdrive with their "blackout". ESPN's prime time Saturday night slot assured eyeballs to screen across the nation. If there's a dark side to any of this for this writer, it's that 40+ yr Georgia radio play-by-play man Larry Munson's first game to witness after retirement had to be this near-total emasculation by the Nick Saban coached Tide.

My God Almighty!

And Richt's "blackout" gimmick has only served to further burn the image of the no-nonsense strategy of Nick Saban on the national consciousness. If Saban had any tricks up his sleeve, he didn't play them Saturday night. With the exception of John Parker Wilson's laser accuracy, Alabama didn't do anything different than they did in smashing Clemson. Makes one wonder if Saban didn't sandbag Wilson. He never looked better.

In 1864, William Tecumseh Sherman marched through Georgia with his infamous scorched-earth campaign. Yet he left Atlanta with enough of a base to rebuild and didn't touch Savannah.

Nick Saban marched to Atlanta and dismantled #9 Clemson and with their loss to unranked Maryland Saturday, it's clear they haven't recovered. Tommy Bowden may finally be on his way out there. To make sure the job was done, Saban marched his Crimson troops back into enemy territory and under the cover of darkness (some call it blackout) sprung a surprise attack on Athens and left it in rubble.

And the devastation is complete. From Rome to Albany, there can now be no doubt. As the dust clears, it's obvious the state of Georgia is a college football smoking ruin.

But let's be clear about one thing. Last night was game five of a long regular season road. Nick Saban now faces the unenviable task of getting this extremely young team's feet back on the ground in time to face undefeated Kentucky in Tuscaloosa.

How tough can that be? Just ask Urban Meyer.

But for this day, the sun has a special warmth on this dog's ass.

ROLL CRIMSON TIDE ROLL!

(Update: In the intro to ESPN'S "Sports Reporters", Mitch (Ears) Albom said that "compared to the 700 billion dollar government bailout of Wall Street, the 32 million Alabama paid Nick Saban now looks like a bargain".

Humpfh.

Don't be fooled by these carpetbaggers, friends. They now love us only for our ratings and ad money. They'll be the first to shovel dirt on us when the rainy days inevitably come. The road from raving introductions to parting shots is traveled in a "New York minute". RTR!)

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Listening To Eli..........

As i flip between the Auburn - MSU game and Ohio State v. So. California, I'm listening to 'Bama drum Western Kentucky.

Since Kenny Stabler decided to take a year off of his broadcast duties to fight his latest DUI charge, Tom Roberts and a rotating sub have been doing the color. Last week Roger Schultz did OK.

This week they have Prince Wembley in the booth. He's awful. Wembley combined with Roberts are actually making Eli sound good.

Still, Eli's mis-calls an Alabama touchdown. Here's a tip Eli: if you're unsure of the play, wait for the official's signal.

In another blunder, he refers to freshman running back Mark Ingram during a running play as "Riddle", as in former Alabama running back Dennis Riddle.

(Update: Immediately after the Riddle mistake, Eli tryed to play it off on Wembley being in the booth, retro-ing back to Prince's playing days. Uh, Eli, By the time Dennis Riddle played, Wembley was long gone)

Then Eli's hawking products during the game. Tonite he runs through the menu at Wings. Roberts chimes in and asks about dessert!

OY!

To start the second half, Eli breathlessly proclaims that because 'Bama scored 31 points in the first half, all attendees to the game can present their ticket stubs at their nearest Advance Auto for a free gallon of windshield washer fluid. Long lines at the gas stations and the parts stores tomorrow!

Well, last week the football team took the night off. This week it's the broadcast team. While Barry Krauss is interviewing a long-winded Jerry Pate, the listeners miss two plays. Eli finally cuts in and when he goes back to Krauss and Pate later, they've taken a powder.

Somebody told me last week Alabama fans were "lucky" to have Eli Gold. That's going to require a little more explanation.

Oh, yeah. 'Bama wins big.

SEC Football Observations - 09/13/08

The Undercard: Alabama - Birmingham v. Tennessee.

SEC snitch Phil Fulmer needs a quarterback and in a hurry. Because judging by the booing in Knoxville today, there's a huge target now painted on his ample backside.
If UAB had a bigger player on the field today than UT running back Arian Foster, I didn't see him. But in a rare inspiring effort by a Neil Callaway coached team, the Blazers scored a moral victory today in losing to the Vols 35 - 3.

Speaking of paint, those Blazer green streaks on those white UT helmets clashed with the pumpkin orange power T. Translation: UAB was doing some hittin' out there.

The Main Event: Georgia v. South Carolina.

Is it really Georgia Bulldog football if Larry Munson isn't calling the game?

If you don't like watching Steve Spurrier, you just don't like good college football coaching. The guy's a genius.

The first quarter is typically marred by horrible officiating. The on-the-field play clock is malfunctioning and the officials are calling penalties they're having to pick up. Twice in the first quarter they announce to the audience time is being kept on the field. Ticky tack calls. Thank God for the instant replay.

Richt's horses, Stafford and Moreno, need better blocking.

Spurrier's developing a QB in Chris Smelley.

Carolina, driving in for a score, fumbles into the endzone, Georgia recovers. Georgia's running backs likely the difference in the game. (The Dogs have them, the Cocks don't)

It's late in the fourth quarter, Smelley's ripping up the UGA defense. (Alabama fans must hope someone on their staff is watching USC's tight end rip the Dog defense)

Spurrier's getting too cute, subbing quarterbacks.

Spurrier got too cute. Subbed in freshman receiver and ran the pass play to him. He ran the wrong route on fourth down. Ball game.

Not so fast my friend! Georgia's three and out. Spurrier's got the ball back. (no timeouts)

USC drives down, Smelley throws into double coverage, intercepted. Dogs escape, 14 - 7.

The Afterbirth: Auburn v. Mississippi State.

After one quarter, it's a punting contest. Advantage: Sylvester Croom and the Dogs. Auburn needs to work out the new offense and score. State wants to muck it up and wait for an Auburn miscue.

The kickers are getting a workout in this one. Auburn receives a Dog (literally) punt on it's own 40, drives the short field, stalls, kicks a field goal. Auburn three - State zip.

Auburn misses a field goal right before the half, Croom sits on ball to go into the half down by three.

It's an ugly, defensive game that favors MSU. While Croom can't be happy with his quarterback's play, he has to feel good about his position at the moment.

Third quarter. MSU misses an important field goal that would have tied the game. Chip shot at that.

Brad Lester is hurt in what looks like a neck injury. Let's pray he's OK.

Auburn looked as if it was inspired by the injury to Lester, aided by a penalty, drives down to the MSU 2, then is stood up by the Dogs.

Auburn misses another field goal attempt. That is gonna come back and bite them.

It's the fourth quarter. State punts. Auburn gets the ball on it's own fourty something and thanks to a couple of holding calls again stalls and has to punt. LSU's coming to town soon. If Auburn doesn't figure out a way to score soon, that top ten ranking isn't the only thing they're gonna lose.

It's getting uglier for Auburn. backed up inside their own five yard line, Auburn offensive lineman Ryan Pugh tackles a State defender in their own endzone. Safety. It's now 3 - 2 Auburn and they have to kick to the Dogs from their own twenty.

Croom screws the pooch. Misses a fourth down and short.

Tuberville gets a sideline penalty.

Auburn fumbles. Dogs recover.

ESPN is now recounting past AU - MSU baseball scores.

Croom screws pooch AGAIN! Fourth and long in his own territory and goes for it. Of course they didn't get it. Auburn takes over in supreme field position.

Auburn fumbles AGAIN! State recovers. Review in process.

MSU ball. Then they promptly throw an interception. IT'S under review.

Auburn ball.

Auburn runs out the clock and in a comedy of errors, Auburn wins. But did they really? That number 9 ranking is in the toilet. And LSU's around the corner.

And it can't go unsaid Sylvester Croom's piss poor calls at the end of this game. One could make the argument Croom gave that game away.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Well Hello Dolly

The 2008 version of Nick Saban's Alabama football program made a memorable first impression by clobbering the #9 ranked Clemson Tigers before a nationally televised audience at the Georgia Dome.

Before and during the contest Alabama was billed to be a "middle of the road" SEC team facing the cream of the Atlantic Coast Conference crop in Clemson.

From this perch, Alabama may be a bit better than a middle of the road SEC team. To say Nick Saban's vaunted #1 ranked recruiting class made a significant contribution to this eye-opening win would be the mother-of-all understatements.

Mark Ingram proved he's worthy of Johnny Musso's #22.

Terrence Cody pushed the interior of Clemson's offensive line all night.

Julio Jones started and looked more-than worthy of a starting spot.

The ACC as a conference looked bad Saturday. From Virginia being blown out at home by a USC team that has had significant injuries to this point and traveled across the country to play to the pre-season pick to win the conference having their heads handed to them by Alabama, it was not a good day to be in the ACC.

There are many voices shouting from the hinterlands today proclaiming Clemson's once again over-rated. As Lee Corso, sporting his Clemson Tiger head, would say, "Not so fast, my friend!"

This Clemson team reminded me of the Miami team that Alabama faced in the Sugar Bowl in 1992. (that is in NO WAY meant to make that old, tired comparison of this year's Alabama defense to that Bill Oliver coached championship defense of 1992) Clemson '08 and Miami '92 had Alabama's offense pound them with the running game. Clemson's defense had as little an idea of who Mark Ingram was as Miami '92's defense did Derrick Lassic. Both had a significant conversion leaving their respective domes.

I don't think there can be any question that Tommy Bowden choked on this game. His deer-in-the-headlights sideline look confirmed to me he tightened up with what I still believe to be a very talented football team. It was very similar to the Johnny Majors coached Tennessee teams that many years faced Alabama with superior squads but inexplicably walked away losers while 'Bama puffed the stogies. In the end Majors was knifed in the back by Phil Fulmer backers due to those choke jobs.

As Nick Saban said afterwards, this is just one game. When we're battling vastly superior competition on the road in conference play, this game will be long forgotten.

We'll now sneak up on no one with our vaunted freshmen.

Those same freshmen will make mistakes that will likely cost us games down the road.

But for today, John Mark Stallings sits at Bryant's right hand and he laughs, claps and queries the Bear on whether the Tulane game will be angel-per-view.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Tropical Tradition

It's early morning Tuesday, (very early) the rain from the former hurricane Fay pours outside and I'm finally starting to get football fever.

Most seasons I've already worn out my collection of Alabama football CDs and tapes but this year not so much. I'm getting old and cynical.

But I was reading a blog on famous (and infamous) Alabama football openers and the 1985 Alabama-Georgia game is mentioned. This game is special to me.

In the summer of 1985 a pick-up basketball buddy of mine gave me two tickets to the game in Athens. My wife and I had been married about four years at the time and we didn't have two rocks to rub together financially. But that mattered not, we were going to the game!

My preparations were meticulous. Grill and cooler in the back seat of our maroon red '75 Caprice Classic as there was no room in the trunk. My worrisome mind fretted over the prospect of driving to Athens, Georgia on four bald tires so I cobbled together three bald spares in case of trouble. My weather eye kept close watch on the Gulf of Mexico as Hurricane Erin wandered back and fro along the Gulf Coast. There was scattered talk of canceling the game. E-gads!

Well, we made the trip without event. The hurricane held it's water. The game was a rather boring back and forth contest with Ray Perkin's Alabama squad finding itself trailing with a minute left to play. I thought we were going home losers.

Mike Shula, Greg Richardson and Al Bell had other ideas. A last minute desperation drive down the field culminated in an Al Bell touchdown reception in the end zone right in front of the wife and I. That big win in that road setting (I'll always remember that UGA scoreboard, 'This is Bulldog Terrortory!') burnt that game in my memory as one of the best games I've ever attended.

My youth was spent watching Alabama football in it's championship mode. I grew up thinking Alabama would win every game we played. It was the product of being a fan of a team coached by Paul William Bryant. Despite a bowl-less 1984 season, I was still mentally in that mode in 1985. Bryant's now been buried over 25 years. The Alabama football program that enjoyed the rarefied air of his tenure has suffered through some rough and tumble times. The losses, scandals and probation have tempered this old man's expectations, to say the least.

When asked about my game prognostication by a couple of friends at work yesterday they were shocked that I could not just fathom the prospect of an opening day loss but predict it. Fans of Alabama football have been through a lot in the last twenty five years. Last year's result only underscored the enormity of the task Nick Saban faces in rebuilding the program to the level of it's championship past.

None of that seemed to phase my friends yesterday. In them I saw my youthful optimism. The past doesn't matter. The superior opponent doesn't matter. The road trip to Georgia doesn't matter. The weather doesn't mat........

Wait. Game in Georgia. As I type this is sit in the rain of tropical storm Fay with tropical storm Gustav brewing in the Caribbean. Could that 1985 game, it's location and the weather circumstances that surrounded it be a favorable omen for the Tide's 2008 football fortunes? Certainly not! I'm too old for that kind of childish thinking!

But, just in case, if you know anyone with a 33 year old Chevy for sale.......

Saturday, August 2, 2008

The Crimson Tide's #1 Fan, John Mark Stallings, Dies

It is being reported by Pat Smith and Ryan Haney of WJOX Gameday and Cecil Hurt of the Tuscaloosa News this morning that the son of former Alabama head football coach Gene Stallings, John Mark Stallings, has passed away. He was 46. It is believed he died of complications due to Downs Syndrome.

John Mark became a beloved figure in the Alabama family during his father's tenure as head football coach with Alabama. Despite his condition he was a very high profile figure around the program and obviously a huge fan of Alabama football. Many fans remember the television footage of he and his mother, Ruth Stallings, excitedly watching as his father coached Alabama to it's first and only college football national championship against the Miami Hurricanes in 1993 since the retirement of Paul William Bryant.

John Mark far outlived the pronostications of his doctors throughout his life. In an interview on the Paul Finebaum Radio Network last year Coach Stallings was ask about his son by a caller and at that time Coach Stallings admitted John Mark was struggling with his condition like never before.

Rest in peace, John Mark. And ROLL TIDE!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

JACKASS

Today I called the Paul Finebaum Show. I've been listening and calling for over twenty years now. Today, as has been the case for the better part of twenty years, I made a fool of myself.

The topic that motivated my call today was the public perception of Nick Saban, head football coach at the University of Alabama. Keith Dunnavant was a guest on Paul's show and the topic was how he perceived Saban's now infamous quote while still head coach of the Miami Dolphins:

"I'm not going to take the Alabama job."

When Dunnavant was asked his thoughts on the statement he didn't give a positive response. He didn't feel like Saban came off looking very good after backing down on his word. He and Paul both feel, as do I, some of the media criticism he's received since was valid.

This provoked the typical homer response of an Alabama fan who called and immediately began repeating the boilerplate excuses and defenses of Saban that after a year and a half or so I'm, frankly, sick of hearing. When Nick Saban told the Miami media he wasn't going to take the Alabama job he made a serious mistake, whether he took the job or not. You never allow the media to nail you down like that. Nick Saban made enemies in the Miami sports press corp. When didn't keep his word it gave the media, Miami at first, then nationally, a club to beat him over the head with. And without fail, they haven't missed an opportunity.

The point I did a piss-poor job of trying to make is that after 1 1/2 years, Alabama fans need to quit worrying about what outsiders think of Saban. As long as the Alabama family are happy with what Saban's doing, we should give a whit what anyone else thinks, media or otherwise. Since Saban's hiring, it certainly hasn't been a smooth road. I myself haven't agreed with every decision Nick Saban's made with my Alabama Crimson Tide. But had Saban made the correct decision in every move he made with this team, on the field or off, it wouldn't have made one bit of difference to the Colin Cowherd's and Dan LeBatard's of the world.

They'd still be ripping him to shreds at every opportunity.

As a matter of fact, I'd RATHER have a coach that's doing what he was hired to do and is hated by our opponents and the media than to have a coach who's clueless on how to run a bigtime college football program but is given glowing reviews because of his last name.

Call me the anti-Sally Fields.

"You hate me! You REALLY hate me!!!!!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

EARTHQUAKE

They just experienced a 5.4 earthquake in Southern California. No damage. Lots of small aftershocks. Reports of pictures off walls and shaken nerves but not much else.
The epicenter is being reported as Chino Hills, just south of Pomona. This is really just an amusement park ride for these guys.

Let's pray that this is the worst of this episode.

Being from the Birmingham, AL area I've experienced two minor temblors here. The first was around '72 or '73. I was up late watching Carson (in those days the Tonight Show was thought of as very risque in these parts and the Birmingham NBC affliate delayed it until 11:30 to make sure all the Baptists were in bed) and around 11:20 pm the pictures and dishes started rattling. Lasted about 15 seconds. Can't remember when the second one was but do remember riding to work, listening to the radio coverage of it. Both were around 3 on the Richter. I've been told there's a small fault line somewhere north of B'ham.

Was also in another while working in New Hampshire. Laid up in a motel in Gorham around 8:00 one night and the bed started shaking. (Stop it!) This was in November of 1988. It was a small shaker epicentered in Montreal, Canada. I told everyone it was a quake and they all laughed until they saw the news the next morning.

There are several places around the world famous (or infamous?) for quakes but they really happen in a lot of places not known for earthquakes.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

NASCAR In Decline

I sit here listening to the post-race excuses. All the drivers and all the crew chiefs and all the owners are in line.

This was the best we could do.

Well, I'm sorry. This is INDIANAPOLIS YOU GOMERS! That bullshit doesn't feed the bulldog. NASCAR owes every fan who showed up for that bullshit today a refund. And not just the ticket price either. Fans spend big money to get there. They spend big money to get in. Save the excuses about the COT. The track. The tires.

Message to Robin Pemberton: This is YOUR stupid car. You KNEW something was wrong. If one of the teams screwed up this bad, you'd fine them into oblivion. YOU shipped in tires from Pocono anticipating problems.

Keep it up, big boy. Lots of the old line NASCAR fans have already seen enough.

Save the excuses. How about an apology?

War, Children, It's Just A Shot (or a centrifuge) Away

With the today's announcement by Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that Iran now has in it's possession twice the number of centrifuges needed to enrich weapons-grade nuclear material, can it be made any clearer we are headed towards world war?

Israel cannot allow Iran, it's sworn enemy, to go nuclear. One nuclear-tipped missile would devastate Israel. Iran's president has not been bashful about his intention to "wipe Israel off the map", a point that has been symbolically underscored with Israel's latest "exchange" with Hizbollah, a Lebanese terror organization supported by Iran. The exchange of live terrorists for the dead bodies of Israeli soldiers sends a clear message. It has also likely ensured the re-emergence of the no-nonsense Benjamin Netanyahu as Israeli president. Ben has seen this movie before. He won't repeat the mistakes of Olhmert. He will be pro-active.

The United States stake in this is also huge. A nuclear strike against Israel will likely be accompanied by a strike against the U S in Iraq also.

Due to our dependence on oil imports, prices here and worldwide will skyrocket due to shipping disruption and market instability. Don't believe for two seconds Ahmadinejad doesn't know this. He wants Israel to attack. The ensuing fallout will turn the world on Israel and any ally they might have.

Ahmadinejad's back is against the wall. His oil reserves are dwindling. He faces civil unrest from within and is bordered on two fronts by United States forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. Nuclear weapons are his last ace-in-the-hole. His actions of late show he won't hesitate to play it.

God help us.

(Update 07/27/08) House Representative Frank Pallone, Jr. was interviewed on Fox and Friends Weekend this morning and was spouting that unbelievably irresponsible line about tapping the Strategic Oil Reserve to lower prices at the pump.

What idiots. With the current events in the Middle East, how can one be this stupid? This reserve was created to address just the kind of crisis that's staring us in the face. By presenting this "plan" Congressional Democrats admit our current petroleum situation is a supply-and-demand issue. Yet they'll throw anything against the wall to deflect attention from what really needs to be done, drill. Drill here. Drill now. Drill everywhere there's oil. Just talking about it's forced the Saudi's to pump more and prices are down.

Yeah. Let's blow our rainy day fund for a little temporary relief.

Again, God help us.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

But Radar Is Also Picking Up A Squadron Of Russian ICBM's, So I Wouldn't Sweat The Thunderstorms!

I love that old line from George Carlin's standup routine. May he RIP.

Alabama v. Clemson

Tommy Bowden v. Nick Saban

August 30th, 2008. 7 pm

Georgia Dome, Atlanta GA

Considering the events at the Dome the last time an Alabama team played there I'd be extremely up-to-date as to the weather conditions BEFORE I entered that arena.

As we all know now, keeping CUSTOMERS abreast of impending severe weather isn't very high on the priority list at that facility.

Good night and good luck!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

What Have you Done To Deserve A Raise?

The national minimum wage today went up 70 cents per hour to $6.55 per hour.

(1.) Who makes minimum wage any more??

(2.) The next time you're looking at the "food" they just shoved through the drive-thru window at you and you're wondering how come it can't remotely look like the food on the menu you ordered from, ask yourself: does the tattooed, multiple pierced individual that just threw that slop together deserve a raise???

And please save me the line about how people are struggling to live on minimum wage money. Minimum wage positions are ENTRY LEVEL positions. If you've been working in an entry level job for over a year without a raise based on merit or leaving for a better paying job OR getting a second job to supplement your income, you deserve exactly what you're getting.

Government has NO business telling business what they must pay an individual to work at ANY level.

Monday, July 21, 2008

There's No Place Like Home

So said Dorothy while clicking the heels of her magic red slippers before exiting Oz and going home to Kansas.

No one knows if Antoine Pettway was wearing the red shoes he became famous for wearing during his playing days at Alabama when interviewing for the assistant coaching position he now holds. And this certainly ain't Kansas, (Oz, basketball or otherwise) but it is home.

Coach Pettway was a fan favorite during his playing days. He wasn't highly recruited. Son of a high school coach, he came to 'Bama on an academic scholarship. His hustle, grit and intelligence earned him a full basketball scholarship later. That's one of the few decisions Mark Gottfried's made as head coach at Alabama that's actually paid off. In 2002 Pettway scored a last second layup to beat Florida and secure the regular season championship for Alabama at home. It was as wild a scene as I've ever witnessed in Coleman Coliseum for Alabama basketball. In the '04 NCAA tournament Pettway hit a running jumper to beat Southern Illinois as time expired and sent 'Bama on that magical Elite Eight run.

Since Antoine's graduation times have been tough for 'Bama basketball. Alabama made the NCAA tournament in '05 but was bounced out in an ugly fashion by Wisconsin-Milwaukee coached by Bruce Pearl. (Pearl parlayed that into the head coaching position at Tennessee and is now the refreshment chairman of the Mark Gottfried fan club......really!) In '06 'Bama again made the Big Dance and lost in the second round to eventual Final Four UCLA. Mr. All-Everything Ron Steele missed a last second jumper that would have catapulted Alabama to the Sweet Sixteen. But Gottfried rode his stallion Steele like a rented mule during the '05-'06 season (Steele averaged 40.3 mpg in '05-'06) and that fact reared it's ugly head pre-season '06-'07. Gottfried came under intense scrutiny for his handling of Steele and without a healthy Ron Steele the wheels came off. 'Bama has failed to make the NCAA tournament for the past two years and fan apathy is at David Hobbs levels. (who Mark was hired to replace)

Gottfried has hired Pettway to hopefully bring back the magic touch of his playing days. He's been hired to replace Kobe Baker who's dealing with an ailing family member. Baker was hired to replace Tom Asbury who also had to leave to deal with an ailing family member. Athletic director Mal Moore had to leave Alabama head football coach Gene Stallings' staff to deal with an ailing family member years before. He was later "re-assigned" as athletic director. It is thought Baker will also be similarly "re-assigned".

We're also being told Pettway won the job over numerous other candidates, some being former head basketball coaches. Of course, they're unnamed. He supposedly consulted with the "likes" of none other than Roy Williams.

The inference being Roy Williams recommended Pettway for the job. Sorry, folks. I love Antoine as much as the next Alabama basketball fan but I'm not buying any of this for two seconds. (likely the same amount of time Roy Williams has spent thinking on Mark Gottfried) Kevin Scarbinsky of the Birmingham News, who "broke" this story, has been in the tank for Mark Gottfried for some time. The Alabama head basketball coach likes having his name mentioned with the elite college coaches and Scarbinsky is all too eager to comply.

The sad truth is Antoine Pettway is a desperation hire by Mark Gottfried. Mal has made it plain to anyone listening this is a make-or-break season for Gottfried. Basketball at Alabama is about money and if you ain't makin' the Dance you ain't making money. Plus, attendance is down. If anyone else was consulted it's likely they know Gottfried's the captain of a sinking ship. Richard Hendrix is gone. Ron Steele's damaged goods or he'd be gone too. That leaves Mark with a very young team in need of bench coaching, something Mark's proven he's not very good at.

The hiring of Pettway is a very calculated move by Gottfried designed to hit several birds with one stone.

(1.) Gottfried knows Pettway is a fan favorite and hopes to re-energize apathetic fans.

(2.) Re-energized fans might come back to his games this season.

(3.) Firing Gottfried will mean firing Pettway. Don't think this isn't part of the thought process. If he doesn't make the tournament this season there will be serious pressure to can him. But no one will want to cut loose Pettway.

(4.) He fills a position with a young, inexperienced coach who played for him. Pettway likely won't challenge Mark. He desperately wants to keep this job but he also desperately wants to prove his critics wrong and show the world he CAN coach with the big boys.

(5.) And who knows? Maybe Antoine Pettway IS Mark Gottfried's lucky charm.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Secret Secret

Disgraced and disbarred former NBA ref Tim Donaghy has a secret. Question is, how long will he keep it?

Donaghy has admitted to betting on NBA games and feeding information about those games to gamblers. Yes, Donaghy likes to talk. A lot. Fox News recently reported that in the time period Donaghy confessed to betting on and passing info on NBA games (Oct '06 thru April '07) he also called colleague Scott Foster 134 times. One must hope Donaghy listened to Barkley and had Foster in his T-Mobile myFave plan.

NBA Comissioner David Stern calls Donaghy a "rogue, isolated criminal". Of course, he has to call him that.

Mr. Stern has had a lot on his plate since the retirement of Micheal Jordan. The superstar standard-bearer left huge shoes to fill. Who to do that?

Allen Iverson? With his thuggish off-court activities and gunplay he certainly wasn't the answer.

Shaquille O'Neal? There was certainly a lot of effort put into grooming him to replace MJ but something was missing.

Kobe Bryant? One fateful late night episode with a SWC (stupid white chick) took care of Kobe.

So with the thug culture infesting the "Association" along with the void left by Jordan, Stern's been a busy man. Now this. This is Stern's greatest challenge. The perception that the league's officials are on the take would destroy the NBA's credibility. All of David Stern's hard work since the retirement of Micheal Jordan gone.

And don't believe for one second that Tim Donaghy and his lawyers don't know that. Stern started out demanding 1.4 million dollars in restitution. They're now down to under $500,000. In the end I'll be surprised if he pays anything or does any hard time.

Because Tim Donaghy's got a secret. 134 (or more) of them.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

"The Minute I Laid Eyes On You I Knew You Were No Good"



Cecil Hurt: Trouble Was Always Brewing For Jimmy Johns.

Kevin Scarbinsky: "A lot of us (define 'us', Kevin. Names?) have heard whispers during the past academic year that Johns might be involved in off-field activities beyond missing class or showing up late for team meetings......."

Ian Fitzsimmons and Lance Taylor of WJOX knew.

The minute they laid eyes on..............

College Football Police Blotter: Jimmy Johns

Popular Alabama football player Jimmy Johns has been arrested for 5 counts of selling cocaine to undercover agents of the West Alabama Narcotics Task Force.

For the fans of Alabama football, the hits just keep on coming. Five times. In a search of his apartment by officers, cocaine and marijuana were also found. This incident follows what is a now becoming long line of infractions by football players that have occurred since the hiring of Nick Saban. What separates this incident from the others is that the Johns arrest comes after team meetings with Saban where he supposedly expressed his dissatisfaction with the high profile incidents. Psychologists were hired. Player peer groups were formed. It was rumored that after the Rashad Johnson incident, Saban met with the Tuscaloosa Chief of Police. To no apparent avail for Mr. Johns.

Predictably, the Internet blogs and talk shows are blazing. (In the interest of truth in advertising, as your humble correspondent types, he's listening to a radio show emanating from Birmingham, AL) Questions are flying about like muslim scarves at an Obama rally.

What did Nick Saban know and when did he know it?

Was his staff aware at any level?

What's worse: You knew and did nothing or you didn't know?

Mr. Johns was apparently selling to students. Were members of the football team among those students?

Were members of the team aware of Mr. Johns' activities? The police are going out of their way to make it known Johns' teammates WERE UNAWARE of his activities. Why?

Regardless, Mr. Johns had history. While certainly the latest situation is the most egregious, this isn't a first time incident for him. If not before, it's certainly plain now Jimmy Johns did not belong on the University of Alabama campus for any reason.

And had he had to meet the same entrance requirements of a regular student, we'd have known that right off the bat.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The GOP: Gas and Oil Party!

"After eight years, President Bush and Dick Cheney have turned the GOP into the Gas and Oil Party. That's the legacy that they are going to leave."

Massachusetts Rep. Edward Markey responding to President Bush's call to Congress to lift federal restrictions on domestic oil exploration and drilling.

Ironic. If you listen to the pundits, John McCain is stumbling over himself in an effort to distance himself from the President. Yet here, as was the case a few weeks ago when Mr. Bush created a liberal furor comparing today's terror apologists to those who coddled Nazis before WWII, the President has handed the "presumptive" Republican nominee another clear issue to separate himself from his opponent and a political club to beat him over the head with.

The War on Islamic radicals and access to oil are the defining issues of this election and certainly of our time. Energy independence from those who would do us harm is critical to the American way of life. Solar, wind, nuclear and other alternative energy sources are important rungs of the ladder we must climb as a nation to get out of the energy fix we've gotten ourselves in. But we can't do this without oil. Domestic oil. OUR OIL.

Like four dollar a gallon gas?? Let Iran continue to provoke unrest in the Middle East to the point of war. You'll be pining for 5 dollar a gallon gas! In the event Israel makes a defensive strike on Iranian nuclear sites, gas will skyrocket 4 dollars a gallon overnight! Never doubt it.

The only question is when will John McCain quit wasting time prattling on about climate change, stand strong and fight for our way of life. We have to utilize our resources. We have to drill. We have to secure a reliable source of petroleum while we refine alternatives. Democrats stand in the way.

Political idiots such as Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, B. Hussein Obama and the aforementioned Rep. Markey demagogue the oil companies and flat out lie to public about the impact of domestic oil production to our market and economy. They propose to sue foreign entities who they have no jurisdiction over and sit on reserves at home.

Doubt the impact of our resources on the world market?? Just talk among conservative voices in Washington and across the nation in the past couple of weeks have spooked the Saudis into pumping 500,000 more barrels A DAY over current production. Remember that the President was just there recently begging for more oil and they couldn't seem to find an extra drop. They're listening. They know. They're scared. They're scared somebody here might get a clue.

So they call us the Gas and Oil Party? No problem here. When and where does this party start, John McCain??

Party hardy!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Gone

"gone like a freight train, gone like yesterday, gone like a soldier in the Civil War - bang, bang, gone like a fifty-nine Cadillac, like all the good things that ain't never comin' back, she's gone."

Montgomery/Gentry

And so goes the college basketball career of Richard Hendrix at the University of Alabama. Gone.

Gone in the NBA draft? Maybe.

First round draft pick? Not likely.

And don't think Richard doesn't know that. He's already got his degree. His father's a basketball coach. Despite the fact he signed to play for Mark Gottfried, he's no dummy. By his own admission, he knows he's a second round pick.

No guaranteed money.

No guarantees, period.

Richard's shot in the Association is at forward, but he doesn't have that game. Richard needs another year to hone his facing-the-basket skills. He (and his father) have determined that he can't risk another year under Mark Gottfried. Some make comparisons to Kennedy Winston, who also left early, didn't get drafted and eventually faded into hoops oblivion. (I think he resides next to Rod Grizzard. They collect and swap Pat Reilly yard gnomes)

The difference is Richard knows EXACTLY where he stands.

(are we clear?

Yes, sir.

ARE WE CLEAR?!?!?!

Crystal.)


He's going anyway. (like a freight train....)

Of course, the pro-Gottfried media is focusing on the return of Ron Steele. Conventional wisdom held that if Steele and Hendrix returned, Mark Gottfried was practically guaranteed a SEC West title and his job saved. But a review of Gottfried's 10 year tenure reveals high expectations are followed by hard luck. There was scattered grumbling in the hinterlands before the '04 Elite Eight run. No one saw that coming. The rarefied air of the '04 - '05 preseason expectations crashed into a ugly tournament loss to Wisconsin/Milwaukee. (coached by u-know-who, north of the border) The '06 Sweet Sixteen tournament loss to Ben Howland's UCLA squad gave fans hope. We were a Ron Steele three-pointer from advancing. Fans again had hope for the future. We all know how that turned out. Since, Gottfried's program has folded faster than a cheap lawn chair at a Bear-Stearn's company picnic. (juxtapose the career path of Jordan Farmar to Ron Steele from that gam........no, don't)

No one wants to say it but the fact is Ron Steele would be gone too if he weren't damaged goods. Gottfried told anyone who would listen (and there were plenty in the lapdog local sports media) that Ron was the "best player in practice" late last season. High praise considering the flashy play of freshman phenom Senario Hillman. But we weren't entertained with any ESPN Top Ten Plays or YouTube videos of Ron from practice and considering the word from the NBA camps and tryouts it's now likely Gottfried was spinning to deflect attention from Ron's multiple knee surgeries. He's now taking a page from the Bryant playbook and poor-mouthing Ron.

And if there's anything Mark Gottfried's good at, it's beating down the bar of expectations and bunny hopping over to the raves and applause of his apologists in his dwindling fan base and media.

But give Mark Gottfried credit for one thing. It's June and we're talking basketball in Alabama. (for better or worse)

Give Richard Hendrix credit. He's one of the few good men to play basketball for the Tide.

Good Night and Good Luck, Rich.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Dear John: An Open Letter to John McCain

Dear Mr. McCain,

Well sir, here we are. It's now you vs. Obama. It's been eight long years but you're finally where you thought you should have been this time in 2000. The presumptive (I love that word) Republican nominee. And don't worry about those crybabies clamoring about your speech in Louisiana the other night. You can lose the green screen. Reading a teleprompter? Piece of cake. I'm sure your campaign can find somebody out there that will react a little more enthusiastically than those cajun bums you were speaking to Tuesday. There's plenty of time. (although one must wonder what you've been doing the past four months!)

No, those are not big issues, really. My concern is your strategy. You seem to have allowed a rookie (and his lapdogs in the media) to set the theme for the campaign: change. Your response? Me, too! 'I'm for change, just the "right" kind of change.' You set out to demonstrate this by documenting the number of issues you've "reached across the aisle" to democrats to "get things done" for "the good of the country".

Only problem is, John, when you're on the stump rambling on about what a maverick you've been for the past seven years, you're reminding your Republican base why they hate you. And trust me on this, John. There's a lot of outright hatred for your actions of the past seven years in your base.

It wasn't just your stand on amnesty for illegals, John. It was the way you went about it. Working with Ted Kennedy? Then trying to ramrod the legislation through before anyone found out what it was about. Then when we the people said no, you wailed about how "talk radio (Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Neil Boortz) was running the country." And that said with the Fairness Doctrine fresh on the minds of conservatives nationwide.

Campaign Finance "Reform".

Climate Change legislation.

Gang of Fourteen.

I could go on. It's a very long list.

You're being baited, Mr. McCain. You're letting them set the debate then reminding your party why they've been so disturbed by you to win the argument.

You've got a lot going against you, sir. Barack Obama is young. Frankly, you're old. He's telegenic. Sorry, bud. You're not. He's a great speaker. Uhh, you're not. And most importantly, the mainstream media is set on getting Obama in the White House. And keeping you....out.

In the end the question is: can you win over enough of the undecided mushheads to make up for the conservatives you've alienated to win the election??

Yup, John. Keep on reminding us what a maverick you are.

Sincerely, Ray

Friday, May 23, 2008

It's All Rush Limbaugh's Fault....

At a South Florida Democrat fundraiser, B. Hussein Obama opined on the origins of the opposition to open borders and amnesty for illegal aliens.

From Micheal C. Bender's blog at palmbeachpost.com:

“A certain segment has basically been feeding a kind of xenophobia. There’s a reason why hate crimes against Hispanic people doubled last year,” Obama said. “If you have people like Lou Dobbs and Rush Limbaugh ginning things up, it’s not surprising that would happen.”

And all this time I was thinking it might be tragedies like this that are being repeated over and over and over again while our government twiddles it's thumbs.

From islandpacket.com:

Josh George died Tuesday night after his family made the difficult decision to remove the Bluffton High School student from life support.

Only George's immediate family was with him at Memorial Health University Medical Center in Savannah. A waiting room had been filled with his friends and coaches since the two-car crash early Sunday in which George's vehicle was struck by an alleged drunken driver. George was coming home from the prom at Bluffton High School.


The suspect in this murder??

Following news of the death, Bluffton Police Chief David McAllister and Solicitor Duffie Stone announced they will meet as soon as today to discuss upgrading the charges against 20-year-old Juan Jose Olague Roman.

Roman was arrested and charged early Sunday with felony drunken driving involving a wreck resulting in great bodily injuries, leaving the scene of an accident involving great bodily injuries, driving without a South Carolina driver's license, operating an uninsured vehicle and disregarding a traffic signal.


After tracking Mr. Roman down by following the trail of car parts in his wake to a house occupied by nine others where he was renting a room, he also allegedly gave the officers trying to identify him a false name.

As I stated earlier, from illegal Mexican gangs murdering law officers and innocents in drive-bys to our children and grandchildren being senselessly snuffed out by illegals who have no business being in our country at all much less driving on our roads, I would have thought that might be what's driving the overwhelming majority of American's feelings on enforcing current immigration law.

Silly me.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Pot, Meet Kettle......

If it weren't so pathetic (and expensive) Groucho Marx would be rolling in his grave. (of laughter)

In a week when our representatives sent a farm bill to the President (for certain veto) that is bloated with millions of taxpayer dollars for pet projects - didn't the Democrats who successfully unseated the corrupt Republican majority and took control of both houses of Congress promise to stop this type thing? - these hypocrites haul oil company executives in to berate and grandstand over oil company profits. Which begs the question.

Who profits the most from the sale of petroleum in the U. S.??

Answer: Government. By the people, for the people. In other words, YOU.

So what is the supreme legislative body, Congress, (who, since the '06 midterms has been in the control of lying Democrats who've never run anything much less a business) doing grilling oil company executives??

It's called cover. The farm bill Democrats overrode the President to pass is loaded with earmarks and pork projects. (anyone remember Nancy Pelosi vowing to clean up - "drain the swamp", her words - if given control of Congress) Over 60% of the taxpayer moneys in the farm bill have nothing to do with farming. Billions of dollars are being paid to farmers not to grow. And in a time when food prices are through the roof. But the taxpayers are disconnected from the machinations of D.C. Such details bore the average American. Not so with petroleum. In our mobile society, as fuel prices rise, this is a problem that's in American's wallets daily. It doesn't matter why, we the people love to see oil bigwigs raked over the coals.

Misery loves company.

So for the few who are paying attention, the subject is changed. Farm bill waste? Boorrring. Old news. We're beating up on Big Oil now. We're looking out for you!

When nothing could be further from the truth.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Global Dumbing......

As we wade through this presidential election year I'm truly amazed at some of the stupid statements and ideas I hear out of our politicos.

On the left, Hillary stumps for a "tax holiday" for Americans to "give" us some relief at the pumps. Now, mind you, this is the same individual who of late has been slamming evil Big Oil, threatening windfall profit taxes and lawsuits against OPEC. Let's think on this "tax holiday" idea for a moment. The federal gasoline tax that would be suspended for a day as Hillary proposes is around 18 cents per gallon. Let's say it's announced by the Clinton (God forbid) administration that next Saturday the tax is suspended. What happens? You would see lines at the gas stations reminiscent of the '70's. Americans would flood to the pumps trying to take advantage. If you buy into the oil company bashing the Democrats pump, who stands to profit the most here?? Big oil.

What hypocrites.

Then there's John McCain and his climate crisis stance. As time passes more and more evidence mounts that there is no man-made global warming. I don't believe McCain is that stupid. Yet, he still pumps this climate crisis claptrap to the masses. Why? Because the audience he speaks to does. You don't have to be a news junkie (and I'm not) to have seen some of these polling groups of undecideds. Listen to them. Dumb asses all. They buy climate change because they don't know any better and don't want to know. They're told big business is raping them and in this day of sky-rocketing gas prices they're looking for a villain. Enter government regulation and intrusion in the name of the environment. The same ones who can't decide who to vote for.

I propose re-instituting the literacy test.

Q. Our next president will make how many since Abraham Lincoln?? (I'll cut you some slack. You have thirty seconds to answer) Wrong answer??? Sorry, maybe next time.

That's part of our problem in my mind. Politicians pandering to the uneducated in our nation. If your too dumb to keep up, stay home.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Pearl Gets It

As a University of Alabama sports fan of anything, (particularly football) I'm supposed to be suspicious of anything going on in Knoxville, TN regarding the University of Tennessee.

But I must admit to being rather jealous of the goings on concerning Bruce Pearl and his Vol basketball program. Post Don Devoe, a series of dubious hirings at the head coaching position left the program on life support. The 25,000 seat Thompson-Boling arena had not been sold out in recent memory and even the thought of a Vol basketball program popular enough to draw that level of interest was unfathomable.

Enter Pearl. After questionable decisions left him coaching at Wisconsin/Milwaukee, he gratefully accepted the UT offer. Little he's done since can be seen as anything but wildly successful. Pearl threw himself into the job and the UT faithful have bought in to what Bruce is cooking to the tune of a packed arena night after night this past season. Tennessee basketball fans have even taken to the road following the Vols thru the SEC season in unprecedented numbers. Head football coach Phil Fulmer has been seen at b'ball games trying to ride the Pearl wave.

Even this past week when the news of Duke Crews and Ramar Smith being dismissed from the team was released, it was overshadowed by the feel-good story of Chris Lofton playing while battling testicular cancer on the down/low.

Yes, Bruce Pearl might have made some questionable career moves way back. But after getting his second chance, he's done very little wrong.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Bigger Than Bear?

I guess it's true. You live long enough you'll see and hear everything. But forgive me. I guess I thought it would be a bit longer before I heard this one.

Is Nick Saban bigger than Paul William Bryant? Yup. The Bear. And this wasn't asked by some blogging bum such as myself, this was the lead question in today's (04/15/08) column (http://www.finebaum.com) by the one and only Paul Finebaum.

After two spring practices. After 8 wins. After one recruiting national championship. I'm not kidding. And certainly not laughing.

This line of thinking screams for historical context.

1954.

The record: 4 - 5 - 1. Alabama lost to Auburn 28 - 0. Yeah, that's a goose egg.

1955.

The record: ZERO - 10. Can you see that with your one good eye, Paul? IN 1955 ALABAMA DID NOT WIN A SINGLE GAME!!! And, oh yeah, the Auburn game?? 26 - 0.

1956.

The record: 2 - 7 - 1. After slitting your wrists over a winless season the year before, I imagine fans of the day were elated to have won TWO games. And for those of you who thought I might slip up and forget the Auburn game, NOT! Auburn 34 - Alabama 7.

1957.

The record: Again, 2 - 7 - 1. AUBURN 40............'Bama..........nothing.

Translate this period to today's Alabama. I can envision fans marching on Tuscaloosa, pulling the head coach out of his office by his, ahem, ears and caning him to the state line. The GEORGIA state line!

Back to the book.

In '55 'Bama scored 48 points and gave up TWO HUNDRED AND FIFTY SIX.

In '56, 85 points scored to TWO HUNDRED AND EIGHT given.

In '57, 69 points scored to one hundred and seventy three given.

In three years J. B. Whitworth was 4 - 24 - 2. ('55, '56, '57)

This is Alabama Football??? Yep. This is the Alabama football program Paul William Bryant was hired to rebuild. In it's storied history Alabama football was NEVER lower. Not even close. "Ears" Whitworth made Mike Shula look like the Don. (no pun intended)(I have it on good authority "Ears" could grill a mean steak, though!)

Bryant's first move? Coddling "show dogs"?? Berating the media?? Comparing his task in rebuilding a football program to winning World War II??

Try none of the above. Bryant hit town telling everyone there was no "depth" chart, from quarterback to waterboy. He didn't care about legacy, last name, or how much money your daddy had. Last year's "stars" were this year's targets. Most didn't make the first spring practice. Remember, Bryant wasn't that far removed from Junction, Texas. He believed if you laid down in practice, you'd lay down in a game. And he meant to find out who were the quitters in practice. By his own admission, he was one mean son of a bitch in those days and regretted his meanness later on.

But the record books don't lie. In his first eight years he won three National Championships. Some argue it should have been four. For his career coaching the Crimson Tide he won SIX national titles and THIRTEEN SEC championships. I vividly remember hearing The Man growl that an SEC title was just something you had to win to get to a national championship. And for those eager to place him on a pedestal and proclaim him the creator of 'Bama football, he'd be lightning quick to correct them. Alabama had a proud championship tradition long before he got there. He did nothing more than pick up the torch from the mire, relight it and run to glory.

Coach Bryant only carried a state on his shoulders through one of it's darkest times.

The job, it killed him.

Time, why you punish me?
Like a wave crashing into the shore
You wash away my dreams
Time, why you walk away? oh, oh
Like a friend with somewhere to go
You left me crying
..........Hootie and the Blowfish.

Since his death, 'Bama's march though the wilderness is well documented. Gene Stallings and his one national title (1992) the only ray of hope in 25+ years spent roiling in a pit of incompetence, cheating, finger-pointing and sanctions.

Enter Nick Saban.

After the gross incompetence of Mike DuBose, (remember, capitalize the "B") the self-serving Franphony, the stupidity of Mike Price and the stubborn inexperience of Mike Shula, after 25 years of stumbling in the darkness, who can blame the Alabama fan base for clinging to Saban like he's some college football messiah returned to raise the program from the dead? (many did the same with Shula)

But the same Paul Finebaum who once said a "ham sandwich" could win eight games a year at Alabama now would have you thank your lucky stars you have Nick Saban's butt to plant your head in.

Think about it, Mike DuBose, coming out of the NCAA sanctions left him by Hootie Ingram and Gene Stallings, won the 1999 SEC Championship with his penis in one hand and a play....book in the other. (and Steve Spurrier never recovered) How hard can it be??

I know I'm exaggerating the point here, call me a cynic, but through the mishmash of today's feel-good, puff-in-stuff blather, the burning beacon of historical truth shines like the sun.

Nick Saban's a good coach, maybe great. But I knew Coach Bryant and, you sir, ain't walked on no water I've seen yet.

It's 3 am, the red phones ringing, Dr. Michelson.

Paul's sprung a leak!

Monday, April 14, 2008

"Business As Usual"

The words of Mark Gottfried when asked recently about the state of Alabama's basketball program after another tumultuous season, the second straight missing the NCAA tournament. Many around the program have been waiting on some word from Mark's superior, Mal (Mal-function in some circles) Moore relative to Gottfried's performance of the past few years.

The silence has been deafening. Of course, why would Mal have to say anything?? He has a coach under contract. He certainly knows what's been going on. We've been told Wendell Hudson was dispatched to monitor the team and report to Mal his findings during the course of this past season. (and apparently Mal was so impressed with his work, he promoted Wendell to head coach of the women's basketball team. Looks like something you would see happen at your local high school)

The one post-season tournament Alabama did make was the SEC Tournament. (note that their presence was mandatory) That tournament was certainly eventful with the tornado during the 'Bama/Miss. State game and it's aftermath. But what flew under the radar for most was Gottfried's post-game interview with RayCom after Alabama's first round victory over Florida. Mark was obviously elated to have won that game and made no effort to hide it. He looked like a schoolgirl who'd just been told she'd won a backstage pass to a Justin Timberlake concert.

In this season of discontent we've seen many things around this program due to the increased scrutiny and criticism of Gottfried. He's been more animated courtside. His wife went into the stands at a game and publicly accosted a media member. The spin control out of the Gottfried camp has racheted up exponentially. But his display during that interview seemed genuine. Gottfried looked as if he'd been freed of the albatross. I'll always believe there was more riding on that game than we'll ever be told. It was just a first round conference tournament game. Bill Self wasn't that excited after winning the National Championship. It was obvious Mark Gottfried did not want to go home one-and-done and the thing is no one expected him to go over there and do anything. No one we know of. For those searching for wisps of smoke.....

Since, despite the annual revival of Alabama's third favorite sport - spring football practice - (second? football recruiting) the basketball program's been in the news bigtime. Richard Hendrix and Ron Steele have declared for the NBA draft. Justin Tubbs and Rico Pickett will transfer. Nothing really unusual in this. Happens everywhere, every year. But the events surrounding Pickett and Steele's declarations make them unusual.

Few saw the Steele thing coming. One who apparently did was Bill Ellis. Conventional wisdom said coming off a medical redshirt year to heal his knees, Ron would need another year at 'Bama to prove himself healthy and up to the rigors of NBA play. Talking points from the Gottfried camp told us Steele would return and things would change. But Bill recently blogged that he's known this information for five months. Let me be perfectly clear that I like and trust Bill Ellis. He's a knowledgable basketball man and a loyal fan of the program. But this revelation means around the time Ron decided to sit out the '07-'08 season, he'd made up his mind to test the draft. Around late January Mark Gottfried, under intense criticism, and his minions started telling anyone who would listen Ron Steele was well on his way to full recovery and was consistently the best player in practice. This surprised no one because upon his arrival at 'Bama, Ron was the best basketball player to play there in some time.

Not long after season's end, the tone changed.

Gottfried was asked recently about the team's prospects with a healthy Steele:

“and Ronald Steele — there’s an if there — is he going to be healthy?” Gottfried said. “But if things can come together, I think it can be very exciting,”

Are we now talking about the same player who's been the best in Mark Gottfried's practices for two-plus months?

"This decision may come as a surprise to some," Steele said at a news conference, accompanied by coach Mark Gottfried. "While I did not participate in any games this year, I did practice fully with the team. Since January I have felt as good physically as at any time during my career.

Yeah. Sounds like the biggest surprise was to his coach. To be fair, Steele said his decision had not been finalized until after the season was over. But that begs the question, why did he feel the need to say that?

Declaring for the draft and returning to school is certainly a common thing these days. Many with NBA potential do so to get a taste of the process and learn expectations. They do this with the full expectation of returning. But read Ron's quote:

"I'm going with the intentions of putting in my best," Steele said. "I'm serious about it. I wouldn't be wasting time pursuing my dream. I'm full speed ahead, 100 percent committed to it.

That doesn't sound like someone who wants to come back. Ron's out to prove himself a first-round pick. He wants the hell out.

Ditto Rico Pickett. The Pickett story was interesting from the beginning in that the first news out on that was from a university press release late on a Sunday night. Gottfried had "suspended" Pickett for "failure to comply with team rules".

"We have standards and levels academically as well as athletically that our student-athletes need to meet, and there are consequences when they fail to do that," Alabama coach Mark Gottfried said in a prepared statement.

Translation: Pickett was flunking out.

Enter Pickett's father.

"He told them that he wanted to leave. They told him they weren't going to release him."

Translation: You can go but you're going to have to sit a year if you do.

"This is their way of fighting back, saying that he is suspended for academic reasons. He has the same grades that he has had since he has been at Alabama."

Translation: Come clean Mark.

When it became obvious the Pickett's weren't going to take the slander lying down, the Gottfried camp released Pickett unconditionally from his scholarship and clammed up. Well, almost.

"If we have a player who feels he will be happier somewhere else, I will support them 100 percent if they choose to pursue another opportunity. I don't really have anything else to say about it right now."

Translation: Don't let the doorknob slap your ass on the way out.

And what else could Mal possibly add to that?

Without a doubt, most of what is opined here is reading between the lines. But if one wants the truth concerning Mark Gottfried's basketball program, it's required reading.

Yup, business as usual.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Tournament Frustration.............

George mason '06, Alabama '04.

I've said this before, I'll say it again. Alabama basketball, and certainly Mark Gottfried's version, is mid-major basketball. and until the powers-that-be down there decide to make a championship commitment, that's all it will ever be.

For some folks, that's fine. for those of us who want a little more, well, it can certainly be a frustrating experience. And most certainly this time of year.

The most interesting game this tournament to date for me has been the Duke-Belmont game. Certainly this wasn't your grandfather's Duke team but the coaching chessmatch that went on between Rick Byrd and Coach K was a treat to watch. Coach K's body language after the match indicated he'd been out-coached and he knew it. And that's the thing.

True mid-majors that make the dance are, as a rule, well-coached teams. They have to be.

That's the difference between them and us. Mid-majors who make the dance have great coaching coupled with inferior talent. Alabama has great talent that's poorly coached.

At Duke, Kentucky, UCLA, Indiana, UNC, UCONN, Mark Gottfried would have been fired long ago.

We have been told by reputable sources (Cecil Hurt being one) the Board of Trustees and athletic director Mal Moore didn't want to buyout Mark's contract. No money.

Then, when LSU whips out the wallet and gives Les Miles a raise that tops Nick Saban, money flies out from the hinterlands to respond with a football staff pay raise. We already had the highest paid football staff in the conference! It's a big member contest. LSU whipped theirs out and said mine's bigger. When put in those terms, there's money.

I argued with Bob Bockrath years ago on a radio show about blasting Coleman Coliseum and building a new arena. Of course, you know where that went. And in the end, that's the bottom line.

Commitment. For those reading this blog, know my position on gottfried. I've never thought he was that much of a basketball coach. After the Ron Steele debacle, he should have been fired. Period. But hiring a competent coach isn't going to solve all of Alabama Basketball's problems.

C. M. Newton left Alabama years ago because he felt there wasn't the backing to get where he wanted to be. He didn't hide it.

The more things change, The more they stay the same. At Alabama anyway.

Friday, March 7, 2008

About Face......Forward March!

With the loss to Louisiana State University Wednesday night, my beleaguered Alabama Crimson Tide basketball team is now 15 - 15. The loss also means that this team, this season is winless on the road. And in what has to be the worst season overall for SEC basketball in recent memory. At this point the only locks for the NCAA tournament are Bruce Pearl's Vols and the Vanderbilt Commodores.

Closer to home the Mark Gottfried Machine is spinning 24/7 to try and influence the Board of Trustees to retain Mark for another season. Those on the wagon now include:

Mark McCarter - Huntsville Times
Kevin Scarbinsky - Birmingham News
Ian Rappaport - Birmingham News
Neil McCready - Mobile Register
Paul Gattis - Huntsville Times

Reasons for retaining Gottfried are varied and sometimes confusing. Mark McCarter writes, "Gottfried, to be frank, is not one of the 8 or 9 best X's and O's coaches in the league." Later in his column he describes him as "bright". Huh?

Others describe him as a loyal alum who represents the University well despite the claims of some that Mark on two occasions has allowed his name to hang out there while coaching searches have went on elsewhere, netting himself pay raises. Mark also told Kevin Scarbinsky in an interview in 2005 that if UCLA (his former employer) came calling on him to be their head coach, he'd have to consider it.

No Ron Steele.

Recruiting busts.

No assistant coaching.

Lack of commitment from the University.

But the one reason to retain Mark Gottfried conspicuously missing??

He's a great head basketball coach.

You won't hear anybody say that. Because it's just not true. You can argue the other points.

Can't touch that one with a Ron Steele three pointer.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

It's Early Tuesday Morning...........

and as I wait for the rain this morn and fret over the future of my Alabama basketball team..........

Bill Ellis speaking on The Paul Finebaum Radio Network yesterday concerning the state of affairs with Alabama basketball: "I've burnt my bridges with this staff."

In other words, Bill has decided after watching the ineptitude of this season, 'Bama needs to go another direction. He's publicly called for Mark Gottfried to step aside as the head basketball coach. Bill Ellis is one of the most knowledgable, credible and faithful Alabama basketball fans I know. (he's also a longtime season ticket holder) He's been cut off from the Gottfried camp for speaking his mind. Now mind you, after the farce of last season, in the wake of the Ron Steele knee surgeries, Bill stated on his radio show and blog Gottfried should get two more years. I was very surprised to hear him a couple of weeks ago start calling for Gottfried to be replaced. Unlike me, Bill is pretty level-headed, not prone to knee-jerk reactions or decisions.

Consider, Mark's now had his wife go into the stands at a game, accost and berate a man, Paul Finebaum, who, love him or hate him, led the media charge to get Mark that job. That cannot be denied. It was a very nasty public scene.

Mark's now locked out a loyal season ticket holder in Ellis. What positive can possibly be gained from that??

Cecil Hurt of the Tuscaloosa News stated last week when questioned by Finebaum about the possibility of Gottfried being replaced at season's end, his sources told him Mark would be retained. His feeling on the matter was that (1.) there was no stomach for buying out his contract. (three million bucks) (2.) No one wants to engage in a search for another basketball coach. When asked today on Paul's show, after the embarrassing loss to Auburn Sunday, if with four games left there was a scenario in which the decision makers in Tuscaloosa (apparently the Board of Trustees) might reconsider Gottfried's employment, Hurt hemmed and hawed in a manner that, frankly, gave me pause. He obviously had something he wanted to say about the situation but knew better in the end. He finally begged off the question for "a couple of weeks". Don't hold your breath waiting on any groundbreakers on this front. Cecil's been around this situation. He's already walking a fine line by saying what he's already said. He doesn't want to get cut off either.

I think it's increasingly clear Mark's gone in the bunker. And as long as you're perceived to be on his side, you'll get media access from down there. If not, well, the rain's here.

And it's coming down in.........buckets.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

College Football Beat (Police Blotter revisited)

It's being reported by several local media outlets early this morning that senior defensive back Rashad Johnson was arrested for "disorderly conduct" after a scuffle with barroom bouncers was witnessed by two officers of the Tuscaloosa Police Department outside the "Legacy". This follows on the heels of the arrest of Jeremy Elder and Alabama head football coach Nick Saban's first season that was littered with arrests and suspensions for various team and NCAA violations.

After the 2006 season of discontent, Mike Shula was let go and Mal Moore bought.....brought in Nick Saban to rebuild the program out of the dark era of probation to the tune of an thirty two million dollar, 8 yr. contract.

From Nick Saban's introductory press conference: "I want you to know it will be our goal to give you the kind of football program, the kind of football team you can be proud of and that will compliment the tradition that this institution has been so proud of through the years and that's going to be the goal with this football program."

Those around the program expecting to see immediate signs of progress in this area have been, to say the least, sorely disappointed. Problems began surfacing during the summer of '07 when three Alabama players were arrested in two separate incidents, (1.) football players Brandon Deadrick and Roy Upchurch were arrested after creating a disturbance outside, again, the "Legacy", and (2.)senior defensive back Simeon Castille was detained and charged with "disorderly conduct" after an incident in the middle of the night, in the middle of the road, on the "Strip" in Tuscaloosa.

The '07 campaign began with the one game suspensions of Keith Brown and Prince Hall for undisclosed team issues. After winning it's first three games in a row and a close loss to Georgia at home, the arrests and suspensions quickly took a backseat in the wave of euphoria the 3 - 1 start brought. Then, in an announcement timed minutes befor the kickoff of the Tennessee game, five players, Antoine Caldwell, Glen Coffee, Marlon Davis, Marquis Johnson and Chris Rogers were suspended pending an investigation into "textbook" issues.

Saban and Alabama seemed unfazed by the suspensions as they whipped the visiting (and hated) Vols 41 - 17. Again, at 6-2, the Tide Nation was riding high. It was later revealed the players in question were to be suspended for four games for "improper receipt of textbooks." But with the big win over UT and a huge nationally televised home game with LSU pending, it was without a doubt a backburner issue with the fans. Even with the eventual loss to LSU, the Tide played well, fought deep into the fourth quarter toe-to-toe with a vastly superior LSU team. The issue was not decided until a late fourth quarter interception by John Parker Wilson gave the Tigers the opportunity to win, which they did. Still, at 6 - 3, with Mississippi State, Louisiana-Monroe and Auburn in the homestretch, 'Bama fans were optimistic. Coming off the dismal final Shula season and in Saban's first year, an eight or nine win season seemed very doable. The events of that three game stretch faded the optimism quickly.

Alabama, frankly, looked totally unprepared and terrible against State. Two John Parker Wilson interceptions gave the game to one of the late Coach Bryant's favorites, Sylvester Croom. Later the next week it was announced that 'Bama's star wide receiver, D. J. Hall, would be suspended one game for, again, an undisclosed team issue. (it was rumored he instigated a fight with J. P. Wilson) Hall stayed on the sideline for a half. When the Tide came out of halftime tied 14 - 14 with the Warharks, D. J. Hall, to the surprise of many, took the field. It didn't make much difference. 'Bama bumbled and stumbled to an embarrassing 21 - 14 loss in front of the home crowd. Scattered booing reminded some of Shula's last days.

In the press conference afterwards Saban was pressed on the change in his punishment of Hall and it's obviously suspicious timing. "It was what it was", was his only comment. In his Monday press conference, much was made nationally about his "catastophe" reference and a supposed comparison to Pearl Harbor and 9/11.

"Changes in history usually occur after some kind of catastrophic event," Saban said during the opening remarks of his weekly news conference on Monday. "It may be 9-11, which sort of changed the spirit of America relative to catastrophic events. Pearl Harbor kind of got us ready for World War II, or whatever, and that was a catastrophic event."

The national news media had a field day with those comments. But it is other comments during this same press conference that are much more relevant now in my mind.

Continuing: "There are consequences when you do the wrong thing. Who would you hire? A guy you know is raping and pillaging the community and not representing your organization properly, or are you going to hire someone who has got talent and character? If we didn't do it that way, you would all kill us. That is not why we do it, but you would kill us because it's the right thing to be killed."

Does the arrest of a football player for armed robbery of two students rise to the level of a catastrophic event?? Or the arrest of two players within a week?? Are Jeremy Elder and Rashad Johnson "representing our organization" properly?? Especially in light of the history being developed, the embarrassment piling up for the program.

More Saban: "There is a value in doing the right thing,"

Agreed, Coach.

"and that there are consequences in doing the wrong thing. This is college football. We're supposed to be developing people here, we're supposed to get guys to graduate from school and go to school and do the right things and we're supposed to develop them into being the best competitors on the field that they can be."

Adopting an extreme tone of sarcasm, "Now if we're going to win at all costs, if that's the philosophy we're going to have, then we ought to take those first two and throw them out the window. I think that's what we should do. I think that's how we'll really be successful in the future. I really do.

A now extremely exercised Nick Saban rants on. "And I'll tell you what, that ain't ever gonna happen, not as long as I'm here. And if we can't win doing it the right way and gettin' guys to do the right things, then I won't be here. Ya'll won't want me to be here."

Spot on, Coach. When do we get started??

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Rush is Right...............

Breaking News: The New York Times, endorsers of John McCain as the Republican nominee for POTUS, published a story 12/20/08 questioning McCain's ties to a Washington lobbyist

From the New York Times: WASHINGTON — Early in Senator John McCain’s first run for the White House eight years ago, waves of anxiety swept through his small circle of advisers.

A female lobbyist had been turning up with him at fund-raisers, visiting his offices and accompanying him on a client’s corporate jet. Convinced the relationship had become romantic, some of his top advisers intervened to protect the candidate from himself — instructing staff members to block the woman’s access, privately warning her away and repeatedly confronting him, several people involved in the campaign said on the condition of anonymity.


Many conservatives in the media have predicted once McCain locked up the nomination, the very same liberal media types that have been kissing his ring for the past seven years would inevitably turn on him. And what better way to do so than with the double-whammy gutshot of a possible extra-marital affair with a Washington lobbyist. Or so it seems.

As I watched Fox News Channel's Hannity and Colmes last night the irony hit me in the face like a Girls-Gone-Wild infomercial. Sean Hannity, who has railed against the McCain candidacy on both his radio and cable news shows, is foaming at the mouth in his defense of McCain against any red-blooded conservative's sworn enemy, the NY Times.

In response to his mainstream (drive-by) media critics, Rush Limbaugh opined on his radio show recently that the worst thing he could do for the McCain campaign is to endorse it.

It's still early in this little dust-up. But could it be that McCain's best friend is his new enemy, the New York Times??

(RIR update: Again, from the New York Times: Later in the day, one of Mr. McCain’s senior advisers leveled harsh criticism at The New York Times in what appeared to be a deliberate campaign strategy to wage a war with the newspaper. Mr. McCain is deeply distrusted by conservatives on a number of issues, not least because of his rapport with the news media, but he could find common ground with them in attacking a newspaper that many conservatives revile as a left-wing publication.

At the risk of being accused of plagarism, I must say, 'See, I told you so!'

(RIR update 2: From the Bill O'Reilly show 02/22/08, "Even some liberals are appalled at the unfair way the New York Times is treating John McCain.")

The liberal in question? Geraldo Rivera. Those guys at the Times.........they're good. Really good.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

College Football Beat (Police Blotter)

LSU

"LSU quarterback Ryan Perrilloux has been suspended indefinitely for a violation of team rules."

While Mr. Perrilloux was a blue chip prospect when he signed with LSU three years ago, in the past 10 months he's managed to get himself suspended three times, twice indefinitely. The latest infraction is apparently an unspecified violation of team rules but the previous two involved a barroom brawl and trying to enter a casino illegally.

Tennessee

"University of Tennessee junior punter Britton Colquitt has been suspended for the first five games of the season after he was arrested on charges of DUI and leaving the scene of an accident."

Wow! This one gets good! Apparently, in the wake of this latest (yes, latest) alcohol-related arrest, (there have been FIVE) the police in the town of Clinton, TN are scrambling to get the egg off their faces after Mr. Colquitt was allowed to speak to a group of fifth graders graduating from a DARE program on the dangers of drinking and driving! In his public apology, police chief Rick Scarbrough said, "He should have been screened more closely, possibly disclosed the information himself or not been allowed to address our group by the university. I was kind of surprised UT officials let him come." Really? UT official Tiffany Carpenter responded saying, "They (DARE) went directly to the family, we were unaware of the speaking engagement." Understand that Colquitt is a legacy player for UT. He is the latest in a long line of high profile kickers for the Vols. In addition to a five game suspension and stripping his scholarship, UT head coach Phillip Fulmer threw his family under the bus!

Rehab, anyone?

Alabama

"Redshirt freshman defensive tackle Jeremy Elder has been arrested on two counts of first degree robbery. The 6' - 3", 271 pound Elder approached two UA students with a handgun, took twenty six dollars from one student, then fled by foot."

If a 6' - 3", 271 pound man approaches you on the street and demands money, does he really need a gun to get it?? Unfortunately for the not-so-bright Mr. Elder, if he's convicted, the State of Alabama mandates 5 years be tacked on to any offense committed involving use of a gun. (and although we'll probably never find out, it would be interesting to know how many gun control laws were broken in commission of this crime)

(blotter update: there is an extremely enlightening interview/advertisement on www.finebaum.com with Donald Maurice Jackson, prominent Montgomery, AL sports attorney. note to Barrister Jackson: get a new cellphone!)

(blotter update deux: Former Alabama football player turned defense attorney Josh Swords said yesterday (02/20/08) that the gun used by his client was a "pellet gun". Brilliant!)

Tide blue chip signee Julio Jones is apparently off to an auspicious career at the Capstone himself. He's currently testifying in a capital murder trial in Baldwin County, Alabama! Way to go, Julio!

Jacksonville State University

"The Jacksonville State Gamecocks will open spring football practice on Thursday without starting senior quarterback Cedric Johnson and senior defensive end Aaron Jones." Head coach Jack Crowe, seemingly at his wit's end, said the seniors had exhibited a pattern of "unacceptable behavior." "This has nothing to do with the university or any legal authority." (sounds rather Al Gore-ish, you think?) Continuing, "These are strictly team rules. We try to have tolerances with the development of young people but these guys are seniors (translation: grown men) and it's not a one-time incident. We've done everything we can for these two guys, everything we can. We can't help them, they can't help us."

Pretty much says it all, eh?

South Carolina

"USC freshman wide receiver Dion Lecorn was arrested at an apartment complex and charged with marijuana possession."

It's me Dave, open the #%&#$^ door!!!

Why is this happening? One reason why is there's, obviously, individuals who have been allowed to enter these institutions of "higher" learning who have no business being there. Today's focus has been on programs in the South but this is going on around the country in an increasingly alarming rate. Entrance requirements vary, but as a rule "student"/athletes have to meet stardards roughly half what the average student does to gain entry into the institution. And many struggle to do that often failing to qualify and attending junior colleges and prep schools to try and get in at all. (we'll discuss the academic wrestling that goes on to get an athlete academically eligible another day!)

It's sad for some truly trying to improve their lot in life but until entrance requirements are raised to something remotely resembling what the average student has to achieve, this situation will not only continue but get worse.

One must wonder how much more embarrassment these universities will endure so their alumni and boosters can enjoy seeing a positive result on the scoreboard on any given Saturday.

And where, pray tell, is that august governing body, the NCAA, in all this??

Monday, February 18, 2008

Celeb Watch

Saw a Jenny Craig spot the other day starring Valerie Bertinelli. (What happened to Kirsti??)

Made me think: I'm so glad Suzanne Somers faded into the celebrity sunset before the advent of High Definition Television.

One must wonder when the makeup industry will catch up.

Refinery blast.............

Just heard the news about a refinery blast in Big Spring, Texas. No one killed. And if you look at the photos of the mushroom-style blast cloud, (eerily reminding one of a nuclear blast cloud) that is a miracle.

While I'm certainly not a fan of using disasters and tragedies to make points, one must wonder when we are going to get serious about building new refineries to handle our ever increasing need for petroleum. I shake my head when I see advertisements for oil companies trying to convince us they're working on alternative sources of energy. The fact is we're years (many years) away from having a practical alternative to oil. I have no problem with the concept of conservation. Ditto research of alternative fuels. But if you want to sell me gasoline, quit telling me how much money you're blowing on windmills and start telling me what you're doing to tap domestic sources of oil and what you're doing to get it to the market. We've got to come to the very clear understanding that oil and coal are our number one sources of energy. And that isn't going to change likely in most of our lifetimes.

We're constantly hearing the class warfare rhetoric from the left about doing one's fair share when it comes to taxes. But why is it we can pump oil and natural gas from the coast of Alabama, Louisiana and Texas but not areas where there are known oil reserves like the west coast of Florida? California? The snow-covered desert of ANWAR??? Who's not doing their fair share??? In a time of war???

In the meantime, 5 dollar a gallon gas, anyone??

(update, 12/21/08. the price of a barrel of oil hit 101 bucks a gallon yesterday. thanx to our humble correspondent, ben dover)

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

They just don't get it..........

As I listen to the media pundits dissect the Republican right's dissatisfaction with the prospect of John McCain as their party's nominee, we are told again and again (ad nauseum) that he's "not conservative enough". Then they trot out polls and "ratings" to try and prove his conservative credentials. "Foot soldier" in the Reagan revolution and all that jazz. As Micheal Jordan used to tell Mars Blackmon, "It's not the shoes".

On a personal level, my problem is not with John McCain's conservatism. It's his conduct. As I stated in an earlier post, McCain was bitter after losing the nomination to Bush in 2000. He felt he lost due to dirty tricks in South Carolina. (Allegations that were never proven) He then set out to become a thorn in the side of the Bush administration from that day forward. 9/11 set his timetable back a bit but as time passed, McCain became increasingly bold in his attempts to thwart the will of the President and assume the role of the monkey wrench in the works of the Republican controlled Congress. From opposition to drilling in ANWAR to global warming, gang of fourteen to border security, there's been nothing but "D" in his Alpha Bits to the detriment of the "R". From his liberal class warfare rhetoric concerning the Bush tax cuts to flirting with John Kerry as a possible running mate in '04, it's clear he's had a seven year axe to grind.

Now, conservatives that have watched the conduct of John McCain with varying levels of disapproval are grinding their axes as it becomes clear this "maverick" is now our party's standardbearer, we're told 'pay no attention to that man behind the curtain', line up like good little lemmings and support the "R".

Do as I say, not as I do.

Monday, February 11, 2008

The Fair Tax

Just saw Neil Boortz on Hannity and Colmes. Great show, by the way. Neil has been a big proponent of the Fair Tax for some time and has written two books on the subject. Neither of which I've read, by the way.

Why? I think a consumption tax in place of our present system a good idea. Abolish the IRS. Who isn't for that? Government, that's who.

Rush Limbaugh said it years ago and it isn't any less true today. Our money is their (Washington's) power. Think they're going to give that up without a fight?? Plus, the kicker is, it puts them on the hook to keep the economy going.

So, let's review: Enacting a consumption tax........

(1.) messes up their convoluted (deliberately) system.

(2.) Foists real responsibility on their backs.

(3.) Brings sunshine to the system.

And now the overriding question. If you favor enacting the Fair Tax, or some variation, to what extent are you willing to go to get it done?

Welcome

Kinda late to the blogging game but here we go.


As a conservative Republican, I'm definitely concerned with the direction of the GOP with the impending nomination of John McCain. My personal view of the man is that he got his panties tightened up over losing the Republican nomination to W in 2000 and has been on an obstructionist path to the will of the administration and congressional Republicans for the last seven years. Much has been made of his speech at CPAC last week in a supposed attempt at "reaching out" to the conservative wing of the party. Two things going on here:


(1.) If the truth was known, I doubt it was McCain's idea to make an appearance there. (I would remind you that he skipped CPAC last year) I personally think McCain could care less what conservatives think or want but his campaign manager probably dragged him in there. (The same guy that planted all the McCain ops in the audience to limit the booing)


(2.) Speculation swirls about the direction McCain will go coming out of CPAC. Will he try and rally the base? Who will he choose as a running mate? What will that mean to the base?


McCain has likely said all he's going to substantively to rally the base. Yeah, you'll hear a clip here and there to make it look good but, again, I don't think he really cares about conservatives.


His strategy from here? McCain can't win without liberal Repubs, (RINOS) independents (mushheads) and conservative democrats. He'll choose a running mate to appeal to these blocs. As we close in on November, he's counting on the prospect of liberal Democrat in the White House with the backing of a democrat Congress being so repugnant to conservatives that they'll hold their noses, betray their principles and vote for him anyway. And let's face facts. Nothing is more nauseating to conservatives than the idea of Bubba in the White House again. I laughed to the point of projectile vomiting at the video clip of a reporter asking Hillary about her husband's role should she win the Presidency. She immediately feigned a coughing jag that a four year old could recognize. Hilarious. And typical of a Clinton. Tears on cue, that cackling laugh, etc. (democrats gave Reagan grief about being an actor! At least he was a "B" movie actor!)


I have a close friend and confidant who says it's my duty as a conservative to march to the polls, swallow my pride, forsake my principles and lend my support to John McCain. The prospect of government-run healthcare truly scares the hell out of me, to be honest. Ditto, Fairness Doctrine.


ANWAR. Border security. Gang of 14. McCain/Feingold. McCain/Kennedy. McCain/Leiberman.Class warfare rhetoric. Global warming claptrap. Fairness doctrine. Seven years of obstructionism motivated by nothing more than spite.


In the end, do I sacrifice my principles for my party? Do I spit or swallow?


Damn dangerous time in the history of our nation to be contemplating such a thought.