Football

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The National Felon League: Week 2 Trash Talk

Welp. Not a particularly banner week for the National Football League. In fact, I am not sure I have ever seen a league, any league, take quite the self inflicted beating that Goodell and the NFL have this week.

The Ray Rice affair was already quite the ugly black eye before all hell broke loose, and appropriately so, with the release of the TMZ tape clip from inside the elevator at the Revel Casino in New Jersey. Marcy already covered the tape and some of its implications. I don’t have a ton to add here, but I do have a couple of things to say. First, the NFL and Goodell are just flat lying through their teeth about the video. I have dealt with pro security offices before, including one in the NFL. They are almost always run by either ex-FBI or ex-state police. Experienced people that know what they are doing and are very connected to police and other local authorities (say, for instance prosecutors). If the Ravens and NFL security wanted the video, they would have the video, whether from the Atlantic City Police or from the Revel Casino itself. The thought they couldn’t get it is absurd. And that is irrespective of the law enforcement member that says he gave it to the NFL.

Secondly, a lot of people are shocked and outraged that Rice was give a diversion plea. Frankly, I am not all that shocked; diversion is not at all uncommon where there are no serious physical injuries, no prior convictions and the victim uncooperative as to prosecution and requests that diversion be given. That is certainly the case here, and from talking to a couple of experienced attorneys in New Jersey, it is not at all unheard of there. Here is the actual prosecutor’s reasoning for doing so. Here is a TMZ report citing anonymous junior prosecutors in the Atlantic County DA’s office saying it is very rare and expressing outrage. Frankly, in Arizona, I think the Rice case would be filed as a misdemeanor to start with and while diversion would be discretionary, it would not be uncommon. Time, and their own conduct, will tell if diversion was the right Continue reading

Is NFL Telling Stories Now about Previously Seeing Ray Rice Video because They Believe(d) It Exonerates Rice?

NFL officials are everywhere claiming that no one saw the Ray Rice video released today by TMZ back when they considered his punishment.

But, as Deadspin points out, Peter King’s reporting from July clearly suggests both the NFL and the Ravens had seen the video. Here’s what he wrote in July:

There is one other thing I did not write or refer to, and that is the other videotape the NFL and some Ravens officials have seen, from the security camera inside the elevator at the time of the physical altercation between Rice and his fiancée. I have heard reports of what is on the video, but because I could not confirm them and because of the sensitivity of the case, I never speculated on the video in my writing, because I don’t think it is fair in an incendiary case like this one to use something I cannot confirm with more than one person. I cannot say any more, because I did not see the tape. I saw only the damning tape of Rice pulling his unconscious fiancée out of the elevator.

But I don’t think Deadspin emphasizes the implication of this enough.

King raised the reports of the video he got to explain why he had said he thought it was fair for Rice to get just a 2-game suspension (though he thought 4 to be more fair). That is, people told him this video exonerated Rice.

There is a certain (perverse) logic to that. It suggests that because Rice’s then fiancée swung at him, he was justified in belting her, which led her to lose consciousness. (It’s not clear to me whether the blow itself or hitting her head on the railing knocked her out).  That might explain why she issued an apology at the time, because obviously swinging at Rice and getting knocked out in response makes it all her fault.

That is, the scandal of the video — in addition to the fact that they appear to be lying about having considered it in their discussion of Rice’s punishment — is they believed that because Janay swung at Rice he was justified in swinging back.

Even assuming that was their logic, though, remember that Roger Goodell was at this same time giving long, long punishments to various people for doing the harmless thing of smoking dope.

Update: In a follow-up post, now showing that Chris Mortenson and several other reporters also got the same report, Deadspin does emphasize this. NFL was telling reporters in July this video exonerated Rice (because Janay “attacked” Rice). Now they’re claiming they never saw it.

Last Dance for MI/ND and NFL Week 1 Trash Talk

BwKKlz7IgAA50kYThere is a LOT going on this weekend in the sports of Trash department. It is pretty early for in depth analysis (not that my analysis is ever particularly deep, mind you), so think we will do an overview of all that is going on and a couple of side stories of note.

As I write, I am watching qualifying at Monza for the Italian Grand Prix. As I try to convey every year, there are two GPs that are the living epitome of the sport at its best. Two weeks ago was the Belgian GP at Spa, hands down in my book the most beautiful full circuit (i.e. Monaco excluded). This week is Monza, the oldest and fastest circuit. Simply great racing. Tune in tomorrow morning on NBC Sports channel; coverage starts at 7:30 am EST.

Even though Marcy has abandoned her one time main girl, Brittney Griner, Brittney and the Phoenix Mercury are in the WNBA Finals, which start Sunday. They face the Chicago Sky and Elena Delle Donne. That said, the best player on the floor will be Phoenix’s Diana Taurasi. Bob Schacht would be proud.

But, of course, the big ticket is football, and this is the first full weekend with both college and pros. Not a real promising start Thursday night, but, man, the Squawks look like they are picking up exactly where they left off.

The big game is not in The Big House, but is instead at South Bend, where the Continue reading

Real NFL Trash Talk: Packers Fair and Square

Yo. How y’all doing out there? Yeah, yeah, trash talk has bee a bit thin for a while. And some “other” blogger at this site has been carping at me about that. I would say it was righteous carping…BUT no can do.

One of the first humans I ever saw hopping on the Brittney Griner train when she was a Baylor Bear was Marcy. Yet when Brittney, the Phoenix Mercury and Diana Taurasi advance to the WNBA Championship, I hear nothing. What is a self righteous Emptywheel denizen to do?? I ask you! This would never have happened if our old friend Bob Schacht were around to scold us. I miss Bob.

But, tonight, the WNBA is an afterthought because real live genuine NFL Football is here. At long last love.

Tonight is all about the Heroes of Titletown, the one and only Green Bay Packers, going to the land of clouds and rain to visit the Seattle Seasquawks.

Pretty awesome opening game, no? Yeah, don’t mess around, of course it is. It is on NBC, tune in or get out.

Seattle is one tough joint to play a gig in for a football team. But, that said, the Arizona Cardinals, of all people and teams, went in to the Emerald City late last season and knocked off the Squawks. If the local yokel Cardinals can do it, then Aaron Rodgers and the Pack can.

Will they? Okay, I am not betting any of my fleeting real money on it, but I think Aaron Rodgers can out fox Richard Sherman. GO PACK GO!

Appalachian State Trashnado: The Second One

Hey there Lugnuts, how the hell you doing? That’s right, Trash Talk is back. Bigger. Better. And more trashy than ever. This ain’t no party. This ain’t no disco. This ain’t no fooling around. There are probably other things this ain’t. But I cannot find David Byrne to tell us. But he obviously would. Cause he would be one of us.

To be honest, there would still be no Trash until the start of the proper NFL season. But for one little thing from Appalachia, i.e. the Mountaineers. And the most glorious September 1, 2007 battle in the Big House where the Mountaineers bathed in the glorious defeat of the hometown Michigan Bo Merlot Wolvereenies. I have been to some outlandishly kick ass monumental college football games, but this one I had to consume by giant TeeVee. Nevertheless, glorious it was. Wiki has an awesome entry on the gig.

And here we are, seven years later, quite nearly to the day. YAY! So, after some concerted badgering by Marcy and Jim, it was unquestionably time to trash the place up. And so we shall.

Before we take a brief look at the weekend’s festivities, let us stop for a second and bow down to Texas A + M. Kevin Sumlin has got something going on down there. And, yeah, I am pretty sure this will draw the Gulf Coast Pirate out of his rum filled Galveston area cove. But truth abides (as does The Dude). Wait. Where was I? Oh yeah, Texas A+M just blew up #5 rated South Carolina, and ‘Ole Ball Coach Steve Spurrier. 55 – 28. Ouch. Wow. Keep your eye on the Aggies and new QB Kenny Hill. Who killed Kenny?? Nobody, Kenny killed Johnny Football. Also on Thursday and Friday, ‘Ole Miss put some hurt on a game Boise State team, ASU held back and still blew out Weber State, and Sparty from that other Michigan School took apart the other Gamecocks, from Jacksonville State. Bad weekend at Black Rock for all things Gamecock it seems.

Okay, yeah, yeah, on Friday night, BYU whipped UConn and Arizona and Rich Rod looks on their way to the same against UNLV. Nevada might be a better match, but UNLV is cannon fodder for the Kitties down here under in teh Old Pueblo.

But Saturday AM brings the Mountaineers back in the Merlot land of Ann Arbor. The scene of such hope and glory past. Can it be the future? Ah, fate has a fickle finger, you never know! Okay, maybe that Emptywheel lady will chafe at all this fond recollection of the glory of 2007, but this is fair and impartial peoples! That’s right, I have an official military man, Col. Morris Davis on my side. (If he flip flops now, he is dead to me!).

So, some other games of interest this weekend include: Ohio State Blecheyes visiting the Navy Midshipmen and their awesome new helmets. Seriously, these Navy helmets are bad ass. After this use, Navy is gonna contribute them to some riot police in a small American hamlet in order to suppress the peoples. Like Ferguson.).

UCLA at Virginia may be a great test for a UCLA team that a few are putting in the National Championship game. I like the Bruins here, but not to get to the big one. The other Mountaineers, of West Virginia, can often hang and play, but Alabama will rock them. Don’t sleep on Rice at Notre Dame. Cause, you know, teh Irish will probably be freaking out obsessed over their fake girlfriends and all. Clemson at Georgia is kind of interesting this early. Both superb programs with a boatload of transition. LSU will take the Badgers from Wisconsin, but it may not be easy. The Seminoles SHOULD take care of the OSU Cowboys. I think. But I also think Jameis Winston is shaky, if not a relentless scofflaw, and who knows? Lastly, the Fresno State Buldogs at USC. I actually think the Trojans win this, but would have no surprise if they did not. USC is a clusterfuck right now, and there is no way around that.

So, have you felt the change around here? It is subtle, but give it a go. In the meantime, get yer ya ya’s out and rip this joint. It is football season once more.

1st Amendment and Other Concerns On Appeal of Redskins Decision

JusticePicThere has been a lot of commotion over Wednesday’s decision by the US Trademark Trial and Appeal Board to cancel several trademark registrations of the Washington Redskins originally recognized back in the 1960′s by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (PTO). The full decision is here. It is quite long, detailed, and, at least facially, pretty compelling in its finding that the trademarks are “disparaging to Native Americans”.

Before I go further, let me say that I agree with those who think Daniel Snyder and the Washington Professional Football Franchise should change their name. It may not be the most pressing issue in our society, but it is something for which the time has come. Josh Marshall posted his thoughts on this subject at Talking Points Memo, and I think he put it all in excellent perspective and I agree with his conclusions.

The simple fact is we shouldn’t be using whole peoples as mascots for sports teams. Whether or not Indians in America today find it offensive is almost beside the point. The fact that most do is just an extra reason to do away with the practice.

With all I’ve said, there’s a part of me who feels like, ‘We really can’t have the Cleveland Indians anymore?’ It feels like a loss – part of the landscape of American sports I’m attached to. But it’s time.

Well said and, again, I agree. Josh’s entire piece is not long and is worth a read.

That said, and as much as I would like to see the name changed, I have trepidation about the government forcing the issue through agency decisions on what is proper speech, and what is not.

Tradenames and trademarks are, by their nature, really public speech and, thus, at least where they interact with the government, should be entitled to First Amendment protection. Now First Amendment protection is never absolute, but it is presumptively extremely broad. Likewise, First Amendment protections are against governmental action restricting free speech, not necessarily against private persons or entities. If I refuse to listen to you or to print what you have to say, that would be censorship, but it is not First Amendment action. If I am the government and censor you, then that is a different matter and there is a First Amendment issue.

So, here, the TTAB has taken it upon itself to restrict, at least in some regards, the free expression of the Redskins, via refusal to extend the same protection offered other “acceptable” speech and they do so by obvious decree of a governmental entity. Now the TTAB decision made out a VERY thorough and facially compelling case for Continue reading

Pat Tillman Was A Man, Not Just A Symbol

As you probably know by now, yesterday was the tenth anniversary of the death of Pat Tillman. The media has been replete with stories, remembrances, tributes and the like from the sad tale of a fellow Army Ranger who lives with the fear it was he who shot Pat, to calls for Pat to be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, to Dave Zirin’s renewed questions on the events surrounding Pat’s death and many others.

To be honest, I have mixed emotions about it all. It is fantastic Pat Tillman is so fondly and deeply remembered, but at the same time, it stirs negative emotions from how much Pat became a symbol, first for the pro war crowd, and then the anti-war crowd upon his death. The Pat Tillman I knew would have been more than uncomfortable with both and, similarly, uncomfortable with much of the hagiography over the last couple of days.

For these reasons, I vacillated with whether to join in the fray; part of me just felt uneasy with it all despite my respect for Pat. In fact, it is my deep respect for Pat that gave me pause. But there is another side of Pat Tillman that really needs more emphasis.

The article I most suggest is a long and beautiful piece in The Arizona Republic centered on Marie Tillman, Pat’s long time love and, now, widow. Marie talks a lot about Pat the man, their growing up together in California, move to Arizona, and how she has come to both accept, and at the same time move on in peace from, Pat’s death. It is really beautiful, please read it.

As Marie Tillman wants to focus on who Pat Tillman the person was, so too do I. Back on the day the Phoenix Cardinals played the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Super Bowl, on February 1, 2009, we did a post here at Emptywheel entitled “Pat Tillman’s Super Bowl”. The first part was by Marcy and was a great discussion of the problems and questions with the government’s conduct after Pat’s death, and I suggest you read that.

The second part of “Pat Tillman’s Super Bowl” was written by me and was exactly what I am trying to convey today: Pat was a man, not just a symbol. He stood for so much that is good as a human, and that seems to get lost in all the rah rah symbolism and martyrdom. I cannot say it better than I did then, so I am going to reprint that portion here in this post:

Earlier this morning, Marcy posted this serious and wonderful piece on Pat Tillman, and the Super Bowl he is missing. Unfortunately, it has turned somewhat, and predictably, into a knock down drag out on conspiracy theories and acts, I would like to return for a moment to the subject of her post, namely who Pat was, and what he did, which is why the answers his family seeks are so important in the first place.

First off, Pat gave up a large contract with the Cardinals to join the Army after 9/11. That is well known and part of the lore. What you should also know is that the contract offer could have been much bigger than that, but Pat was willing to take less money than he was worth on the open market to stay with the Cardinals because he believed in their redemption and he loved the community of Tempe and Phoenix. He had grown roots here from his four years at Arizona State and was determined to see the Cardinals through the transformation into a winning team. The contract he walked away from with the Cardinals was for about 3.6 million; he had turned down previously a 9 million dollar multi-year contract with the St. Louis Rams, right in the middle of their Super Bowl years, in order to stay with and build the Cardinals in what he considered to be his home at the time. That is the kind of man that Pat was.

Pat didn’t give a damn about money and the trappings of celebrity. Years after already being a high paid and wealthy NFL star, you would still find Pat traversing the streets of Tempe on his bicycle, looking like a hippy with his long hair and book bag. This was literally how he would go to work every day at the Cardinals training center in South Tempe. Pat was an avid reader. Of everything. He loved politics and world events, and there was nothing he loved more than spirited discussion of the same, whether it was current events, WW II, or ancient European battles. And he could discuss all intelligently, deeply and passionately. Pat knew business and marketing as well, that was his major at ASU and he was brilliant at how he understood, and could see through, the forces at work in our economy.

Pat was an iconoclast. He was his own man and would back down from nothing, and no one, if he thought he was right. This is what made him an odd fit for the military. He had every ounce of the heroism, valor, trust and honesty that the military has always purported to stand for, and then some. But he was not a yes man and was trained, from my estimation since birth, to question authority, especially if it was malignant and wrong. I believe this may have caused a rougher ride for him in the military than most would have expected, or would suspect even now, from the outside, and almost certainly played a huge role in how his death was handled, irrespective of how his death occurred. LabDancer spoke the word in comments:

Pat’s death was caused by our side; our side covered that up, employing things our side knew were untrue; our side used that same cover to distort, turn and pervert the story of his death into a symbol aimed at promoting a falsehood: that Pat died pursuing a myth our side knew for a fact he’d personally determined beforehand to be a lie – meaning that, in end, our side rendered an obscenity from Pat’s death. That’s more than enough to earn him the status emptywheel submits as his due.

That is right on the money. It is also what motivated me to write this, the use of Pat is, at this point, not just by the Bush Administration for their glory, but by the contra for theirs as well. From being a player who loved football as a game, Pat has become the football in the game. That is wrong, very very wrong.

As you may surmise here, or as some may recall from discussions at The Next Hurrah long ago, I had the privilege of knowing Pat Tillman a little. I did not know him well, but well enough to get the measure of the man he was. I used to live a little less than a mile from the Cardinals headquarters and practice facility in South Tempe. On days when I worked at home, I used to ride my bicycle to a little deli, Capistrano’s, between my house and the Card’s facility. It was there that I met Pat, who also stopped in on his bicycle, and had a few long lunch conversations with him. He was everything he has been made out to be and more. He was twenty years younger than I, but you would never know it. He was such a deep and diverse thinker that he was almost the antithesis to the world as we currently know it.

The nation, and the world, lost a lot with Pat Tillman’s death. When we talk about the type of people we need to foster and grow to lead into the future, he was a prime example. That, to me, is why his loss stings, and lingers, so deeply. Pat’s family, the nation, and the world deserve the answers to what happened, it is, and remains, important.

But, above and beyond all else, what people should be taking away is not the dickering over the mechanism and coverup of his death, although that is important; but more importantly, the facts and honor of his life, beliefs and hopes. Honor and fight what he stood for, and what he wanted the country to stand for, that is what he would want.

Pat Tillman was quite a guy. He learned, and lived, a lot in his all too short stay on this earth. He was so much more than the football and war hero, and symbol, that has comprised most of the remembrances on this tenth anniversary of his death.

Pat Tillman had a love for life, for his wife Marie, for literature, and for all knowledge he could possibly absorb, and he could absorb a lot. He was a critical thinker. And he was a great guy. Let him be remembered, and honored as a role model, for that too. RIP.

Super Bowl Sex Trafficking Trash Talk 2014

Now that the super exciting Pro Bowl is over (shoot that thing and put us all out of its worthless misery), we are down to just one last football game. But it is a good one, with the top ranked team in each conference representing, and the best offense versus the best defense. And all that jazz.

And, really, what else is there to say about the game at this point? It has been the fascination of sports, general and entertainment media for two weeks of hype now. I could take you through the normal rundown on the teams, but why? My one real take is that the game boils down not to Denver’s offense or Seattle’s defense, but rather to Denver’s defense. Peyton and the Broncos will score some points no matter how well they are defended. The same cannot necessarily be said about the Seahawks. So, if the Broncos defense plays big, Denver wins. If not, they don’t.

Can’t wait to find out; will be one hell of an exciting game to watch. If you can’t wait and want a simulation, this Breaking Madden piece is pretty great.

So, let’s talk for a bit about the game itself in terms of what it means and does for the host city. Does hosting a Super Bowl mean as much to a city as is commonly claimed?

Here is a report on the effects of 2008 Super Bowl XLII on the greater Phoenix area by the Arizona State University WP Carey School of Business. The results claim:

Super Bowl festivities generated a record $500.6 million in direct and indirect spending by visiting fans and organizations, according to the newly released Super Bowl impact study produced by the W. P. Carey MBA Sports Business program.

The gross impact of a half billion dollars in the Arizona marketplace brings rejuvenation to an economy that has been weakened by a recession.

The ripple effect of return visits, family and company relocations, and word-of-mouth marketing nationally could equal or exceed the record Super Bowl spending in years to come.

That is in line with many of the claims that are commonly pitched for Super Bowls, but is that right?

Well, maybe not. There are a lot of demands on a host city, and they really add up. One of the best journalists out there writing on the intersection of sports and society is Travis Waldron, and he reported this on the eve of last year’s Super Bowl in New Orleans:

Those estimates, though, are likely fool’s gold, according to an assortment of academic research into the actual economic impact of Super Bowls and other major sporting events. When professors Victor Matheson and Robert Baade studied the economic impact of Super Bowls from 1973 to 1997, they found that the games boosted city economies by about $30 million, “roughly one-tenth the figures touted by the NFL” and an even smaller fraction of what New Orleans officials predict. A later Baade and Matheson study found that the economic impact of a Super Bowl is “on average one-quarter or less the magnitude of the most recent NFL estimates.”

Similarly, a 1999 paper from professor Philip Porter found that the Super Bowl had virtually no effect on a city’s economy. Research on other events New Orleans has hosted, including the men’s Final Four, is similar. When Baade and Matheson studied Final Fours, they found that the events tend “not to translate into any measurable benefits to the host cities.”

There are multiple reasons the estimates are often overstated. Impact estimates usually take into account how much money will be spent in the city during an event like the Super Bowl without examining how much potential spending will be lost because people don’t visit or leave the city to avoid the crowd — that is, the impact studies account for gross spending, but not net spending. And the estimates rarely include the additional cost of putting on the event, further distorting the disparity between gross and net spending figures.

Frankly, I find the Williams College study undergirding Travis’ argument far more persuasive than the happy face one put out here by ASU that is cited above. Still, even if the net impact is “only” 150-200 million dollars, that is a good thing for a city’s economy. And I don’t know what people going to the Super Bowl in cold weather place like New Jersey/New York are going to come away Continue reading

The Conference Championships Trash Talk

Sadly, this is our penultimate weekend of football here at the Wheelhouse. Down to two games, San Francisco versus Seattle and New England versus Denver. And, really, it is fitting, as these were probably the two best teams in their respective conferences when the season started, were throughout, and are now. So, we are where we are supposed to be.

Patriots at Broncos: While the NFC Championship features two new school mobile kids on the block, the AFC features two of the classic, and classiest, traditional pocket passers in NFL history. Any discussion of best ever quarterbacks has Peyton Manning and Tom Brady in it, irrespective of who you put at the top of the list. Personally, I have Joe Montana still at the top and think some older players, to wit Otto Graham and Bart Starr, are given far too short a shrift. But Brady and Manning have earned their spot in the discussion, and this is a real treat to be able to see them face off, yet again, in such an important playoff game.

The Patriots seem to have stabilized on defense, the Broncos seem to still be reeling from the loss of Von Miller. On paper, Denver has a significantly better defense, both against the pass and the rush. But paper doesn’t count for this game, and I think it is a draw on the D side of the ball. On the offensive side, both teams have been known to rely on their quarterbacks too much. But both have recently found, and relied on, their running game. LeGarrette Blount was a monster for the Pats last week, and Knowshon Moreno ate the Pats up earlier this year. You already know about the QB’s; they are a wash. There is one area where there is a difference though. Receivers. Bill Bel and Brady have been geniuses with what they have gotten out of rooks and scrubs, but Denver has serious ballers in Welker, Eric Decker, Demaryius Thomas and Julius Thomas. That is a real edge. Then give the coaching edge to Bill Bel….and you end up with a pick em.

49ers at Seahawks: They may be newfangled, but both QB’s in the NFC Championship are superb, and, apparently, evenly matched too. But not so fast. Kaepernick has been rediscovering his groove down the stretch, and Russell Wilson has been looking a little shaky in the confidence (and performance) category. Edge to Kap. Niners also have far better receivers, with Anquan Boldin, Vernon Davis and Crabtee, than do the Squawks. Percy Harvin would have helped level that playing field, but he won’t be playing. Gore and Lynch are both studs, and thus a wash, but the QB and receivers are a huge plus for SF.

The defensive paper actually seems to favor the Niners but, again, toss the paper out the window. Seattle’s defense is bad ass, and they will have the 12th Man noise that comes with their home field. That is an edge. Coaching is a wash between Harbaugh and Carroll, but man do they completely dislike each other. The game is really probably another pick em, to slight favorite for the Niners; however, I am going to take a flyer on the Squawks. I don’t feel good about it, but there you have it.

Penalty Flag Department: Yeah, the hanky has to be thrown on Peyton Manning. Really? Bud Light? Get the fuck out! And, big ups to the Colorado craft brewers for calling him out on it.

Music is by by It’s A Beautiful Day, featuring Pattie Santos and David LaFlamme. A completely killer band out of the 60′s heyday of San Francisco. Shame they never hit it bigger and are mostly forgotten now, because they were really good. And to tie it all together, this song, White Bird, is a song about some melancholy times LaFlamme and his wife spent in Seattle. See, it all ties together for the NFC Championship Game!

Divisional Playoffs 2014 Trash Talk

Before we get to the news and notes for the Divisional Playoffs round in the NFL, lets take a quick look at two great NCAA games last night. Unfortunately, I missed both as I was at a wedding at the Desert Botanical Garden where they had the most incredible Chihuly glass display (click on the 2013 photo link). Very cool, especially lit at night.

But, while I was away, the Clemson Tigers dealt the B1G another blow by handily taking out Ohio State in the Orange Bowl. I saw a replay later, and it was a good game until late when the mistakes by OSU and the talent and speed of Clemson took over. Sammy Watkins is unreal, he’s going to be a star in the pros. In the Cotton Bowl, again another close game, but Missouri just had too much for Oklahoma State. For all the talk of ex=Big 12 teams Missouri and Texas A & M not belonging in the SEC, they seem to have done rather well so far. As a last thought, just like to note that vaunted geniuses Nick Saban and Urban Meyer were a combined 0-4 to close out the season.

In the pros, my first comment is on the somewhat startling difficulty of the NFL in selling out three of the four games this weekend, which could have meant local blackouts for home team fans. Bolts/Bengals in Cinci, Niners/Packers at Lambeau and Chiefs/Colts in Indy all struggled to sell out and needed corporate help swooping in to buy up the last blocks to get the required sellout. Maybe, maybe, you can see that at the other two, but the thought of a non-sellout at Lambeau in Titletown? Sacrilege. Our friend Peterr from FDL wrote in with some thoughts:

Reading some of the news stories about this over breakfast, various folks point to the cost of tickets and the prevalence of 55 inch flat screens at home as reasons for people not going.

This strikes me as yet another symptom of the two-tier economic world we’re in these days. For all the 1%ers who have enjoyed the rise in the Continue reading

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Emptywheel Twitterverse
emptywheel @weems It's not a party thing. It's partly that much of Congress likes the dragnet. Also they're not sure they have power to fix it.
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emptywheel @weems Not "passed." Issued to forestall Congress doing something, in part. Big surprise Congress hasn't yet tried to rein in use on USPs
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emptywheel @hrprogressive Happened on CSPAN. So anyone who wants proof can find it there.
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emptywheel Rep Paul Broun calls Pakistanis "Pakis" then corrects himself.
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emptywheel @weems And 12333 and NSLs and yes. Bob Litt has EXPLICITLY said he's going to respond to that need and protect everything more invasive.
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emptywheel When Olsen says difficult to discern what happens in Syria, remember categories don't try to. Travel to Syria & you're classed as terrorist
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emptywheel Is Matt Olsen going to treat every country that enslaves women as terrorists?
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emptywheel @weems Depends on where it is. Much of it IS public. FBI uses contractors to go into fora. Use 215 to get URL searches. So usu it's not
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emptywheel RT @NicoleOzer: New blog by me- emails @ACLU_NorCal got show Harris Corp misleads FCC about Stingrays- says only for emergency use. https:…
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emptywheel @joshgerstein Sure, but given how the no fly works, they've succeeded in doing so. Even before Sharif Mobley treatment. @RepPeteKing
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emptywheel Welp. Khorasan group has all the markings of deliberate laundering to the press. But then that makes sense.
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