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 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.


"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?


"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?


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.