NFL

The Dolphin Code: NFL Gangsta in Miami

We are going to take a little detour in our weekly lighthearted football trash talk here at the Emptywheel Blog. I will return to the actual games at the end of this post, but for now I want to discuss a hideous and, hopefully, transformative moment in football – the abusive workplace environment to which the Miami Dolphins subjected Jonathan Martin.

As you may know by now, Jonathan Martin is the second year Miami Dolphins offensive tackle who has left the team because of harassment, primarily by fellow offensive lineman Richie Incognito, but apparently by other teammates as well.

The official statement by Martin’s lawyer, David Cornwell (a fantastic attorney by the way), gives a pretty fine synopsis of the situation:

Jonathan Martin’s toughness is not at issue. Jonathan has started every game with the Miami Dolphins since he was drafted in 2012. At Stanford, he was the anchor for Jim Harbaugh’s “smash mouth” brand of football and he protected Andrew Luck’s blind side.

The issue is Jonathan’s treatment by his teammates. Jonathan endured harassment that went far beyond the traditional locker room hazing. For the entire season-and-a-half that he was with the Dolphins, he attempted to befriend the same teammates who subjected him to the abuse with the hope that doing so would end the harassment. This is a textbook reaction of victims of bullying. Despite these efforts, the taunting continued. Beyond the well-publicized voice mail with its racial epithet, Jonathan endured a malicious physical attack on him by a teammate, and daily vulgar comments such as the quote at the bottom. These facts are not in dispute.

Eventually, Jonathan made a difficult choice. Despite his love for football, Jonathan left the Dolphins. Jonathan looks forward to getting back to playing football. In the meantime, he will cooperate fully with the NFL investigation.

Quote from teammate: “We are going to run train on your sister. . . . She loves me. I am going to f–k her without a condom and c– in her c—.”

That was on top of the fact direct racial animus evidencing epithets from Incognito to Martin were already known to be in play.

“Hey, wassup, you half n—– piece of s—. I saw you on Twitter, you been training 10 weeks. [I want to] s— in your f—ing mouth. [I'm going to] slap your f—ing mouth. [I'm going to] slap your real mother across the face [laughter]. F— you, you’re still a rookie. I’ll kill you.”

This is beyond ugly conduct, and, frankly, beyond simple “harassment”. Worse, it appears that it was a pattern of conduct not only encouraged, but requested by Dolphins’ management. They ordered a code red on Jonathan Martin.

Jason Whitlock had a very provocative take on the effect of incarceration and thug culture in general at play, a take that rings all too, uncomfortably, true. Dave Zirin at The Nation has a fine take on what the “Bully Solidarity” of the Dolphins organization in the Martin matter means.

So, this hideous and intolerable conduct is legally actionable against Incognito (and the Dolphins via vicarious liability) by Jonathan Martin, right? Sure, anybody can sue anybody else, and Martin can certainly bring a civil complaint here. But the chances of success are far more tenuous than you likely think Continue reading

The Return of the NFL: It’s ON!!!

[Hey there Lugnuts!! We are having a fundraiser here at Emptywheel. Help the effort out! We have been really hesitant about doing this in the past. To the best of my recollection, we have not done one at all since leaving FDL. Marcy will not toot her own horn, but I will. The level, depth, independence, and rationality, of what Ms. Wheeler does makes most "Main Stream" and other "blogs" look feeble. And it is not just her, Jim White, Rayne and, occasionally, I who also contribute. This is a valuable forum. We live for you, but we also need your help. To the extent you can give it, it would be remarkably well placed, and much appreciated. Thank you!]

I have been being heckled about this Trash Talk stuff forever. Marcy is just cranky jonesing for football and Jim White thinks the Devil Rays count. But this ain’t called “Trash Talk” for nothing you know. Pre-season fake football and baseball in the swamps are not enough. Nosirree. Not in a sophisticated joint like this.

But there was a little smattering of real college football last Saturday, so there was primordial Trash. But, now, my friends, there is REAL, professional grade, NFL football in the queue. Let it be known, unless I meet a bigger margarita pitcher and burrito that looks like this tomorrow night, there will by Saturday morning be additional MAJOR LEAGUE Trash for the weekend. NCAA, NFL and the F1 Circus at Monza (yes, that really may be the bigger story worldwide. Formula One rules; get used to it).

But, tonight, there are two games on the schedule. The biggest, of course, is a replay of last season’s AFC Divisional Playoffs between the Denver Broncos and Baltimore Ravens. Ought to be a great game. Despite what the naysayers say, Peyton Manning’s arm is turning bionic in its incredible strength. The Bronco’s, however, are a bit wounded with Elvis Dumervil now on the Ravens and Von Miller suspended for the first six games. The Ravens have also lost a LOT of weight from last year’s Superbowl team, including Ray Lewis and Ed Reed. As much as the media and fans have always focused on Ray Lewis, I cannot help but believe the absence of Ed Reed, one of the most incredible ball hawks in the history of the NFL, is every bit as big a loss. Broncos are at home and are PISSED about that last minute loss last year to the Ravens. My money is on Peyton and the ARM OF HULK.

Secondarily, and I, (maybe you?) will probably have to DVR this, but the ASU Sun Devils are opening their season tonight at 10:00 pm EST against Sacramento State. Okay, this won’t be much of a game. But, GO DEVILS!!

That’s it for now. More later as promised. This is the best blog in the world, if I do say so from my completely neutral perch! Rock and roll my friends. Today’s music is by Government Mule. Because Donkos and Peyton rock….and, because, the US Government, collectively, are a bunch of War Pigs.

How Long Until ESPN Brand Is Damaged By Money Trumping Safety?

ESPN stands perilously close to damaging its brand with repeated recent moves that appear to place their income stream ahead of safety. After working closely with Frontline for well over a year on a project documenting the effects of concussion injuries in football and especially in the NFL, ESPN on Friday removed their name from the effort, only a few weeks before the documentary was slated to air. Today, Kevin Brockway is out with an article in the Gainesville Sun noting the frequency with which the University of Florida has been forced to schedule early season home football games during early afternoon hours when heat indices are at dangerous levels for both athletes and spectators.

The New York Times noted yesterday that ESPN wields overwhelming power when it comes to setting the times for college football games to start, in some cases not announcing kickoff times until only six days before the game. Brockway’s article in the Sun shows the impact of ESPN’s decision-making here in Gainesville:

When the Southeastern Conference unveiled its week one 2013 football season start times, the collective groan from Gator Nation was heard from Key West to Pensacola.

For the fourth time in the last six years, Florida was stuck with an afternoon kickoff for its season opener. This Saturday’s 12:21 p.m. start time against Toledo at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium will force fans to again stock up on sunblock and bottled water.

But we aren’t talking about a mere inconvenience with the starting time. Figures on fans treated for heat-related illness in previous years speak to the danger of kickoffs at this hour in August and September:

The burning question is why? Why would the SEC schedule an early-afternoon game for its southernmost member during a month when the average heat index (which measures heat and humidity) is at its highest point of the year?

The answer lies in television, and some factors beyond the SEC’s control. Nonetheless, Florida administrators aren’t happy about the prospect of another sweltering Saturday opener. They consider it a fan safety issue. In 2011, when Florida began the season against Florida Atlantic (7 p.m. kickoff), only six fans were treated by medical staff for heat-related problems. Last season, when Florida opened against Bowling Green (3:30 p.m.), 105 fans were treated for heat-related issues.

A 12:21 kickoff is likely to be even worse than a 3:30 kickoff if rain showers don’t intervene, as the stands on the west side of the stadium usually are in the shade by 3:30 but not at 12:30, while shade doesn’t hit the seats on the east side until early evening.

As for the concussion documentary, here is how the Times described ESPN dropping out of particpation:

On Thursday, ESPN, which has spent heavily in recent years to build its investigative reporting team, abruptly ended its affiliation with “Frontline,” a public affairs television series that was weeks from showing a jointly produced two-part investigative project about the N.F.L.’s contentious handling of head injuries. The divorce came a week after the N.F.L. voiced its displeasure with the documentary at a lunch between league and ESPN executives, according to two people with direct knowledge of the situation.

As might be expected, there are now denials from the NFL that they exerted pressure and from ESPN that they bowed to pressure. Those denials do nothing to improve the optics of the situation, however, and it remains indisputable that ESPN withdrew its support just before the documentary slamming the NFL’s handling of concussions aired.

ESPN is in very dangerous territory right now. If Saturday proves to be especially hard on fans at early afternoon games in the South, the record is already clear on whom to blame for shifting games from their traditional evening kickoffs to the worst possible time for fan and player safety.

Premature NFL Trash Talk Under Duress

Are y’all paying attention to that Twitter widget thingy lodged on our blog on the right hand side? Well do ya? If so, then you have seen the oppressive brutality with which the otherwise demure Empthwheel has demanded pre-season Trash Talk.

I get no respect I tell ya.

So, here we are. Of course, all the cool talk is about the Patriots and Tim Tebow….WAIT….WHAT?….that’s not really the story?? Oh my, turns out there is MUHDERRRRR bout the ‘ole Foxborough and baby Jesus ain’t even close to the main story. Go figure?! And, this time, the OJ of the moment is juicing his fans with mash notes of innocence. Yippy-yi-o-cay-yay.

Alright. Okay. Let’s do some serious trash talking, mmmkay? And I ain’t messin around here. I think people in Gainesville know where this is pointed and I DEMAND response!

Q: What does a Saint, a Racist, and a Murderer have in common?

A: Urban Meyer and the Gators.

Boom!

I would say some phony smart bunk about the teams (seriously, Peyton Manning’s arm is growing stronger by the day and Donkos Rule!) but, hey, it is preseason and not a lick of it matters. As Marcy said, this is a test drive to see who of the normal Wheelhouse pit crew is still in the mix and what kind of chops the new recruits have. Represent people.

Oh, one last matter: The F1 Circus is off grid until the Belgian Grand Prix on August 23-25.

Oh well, it’s been a good day here in the hell of the desert. Turn it up and splay your opinions out here for all to see – on everything. Let’s rock.

Formula One Trash Talk: The Circus Comes To Oz Town

Hi there Wheel, Empty, and and otherwise gear heads, it is time for Spring Trash Talk. There is a lot under foot, Spring Training in Major League Baseball, free agency season and pending entry draft in the NFL, the somewhat diminished fortunes of the NBA and, most of all, FORMULA ONE! The Circus season is upon us, and it is starting down under in the Land of Oz.

Appears we are starting off where we left off: there is yet no reason to believe the Red Bulls of Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber are anything less than the cars to beat. But, that being said, there is also no reason to think that the Ferrari and McLarens are anything less than the threat that they were at the end of last season. Drivers make a difference in F1, and Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button are very, very good drivers. And their cars are not chopped liver either. For the clear superiority of the Red Bulls, and even the McLarens for that matter, Fernando Alonso pulled off one of the greatest performances in the history of F1 with inferior equipment last year. Alonso was only 3 measly points behind Vettel in the final Driver’s standings. Simply astonishing.

The opening two practice sessions for the Australian GP were late last night my time; i.e. between 9 pm and 12 am whatever the heck time AZ is. (Daylight savings time really screws with our heads here, cause we don’t do that). Bottom line…..not much has changed.

Okay, if I were pleading guilty (I would never!) to a heinous offense under truth serum to make sure I was cray cray (yeah, okay, this is some stupid shit too) I MIGHT admit that a lot of this post was written from a series of taco joints in Old Town Scottsdale. It is nowhere near as opulent as it sounds; hell even the mariachi music is piped in like Muzak. And the 60 something threesome at the table next to me looks like their Winnebago may be illegally parked out on Camelback Road.

Where were we? Okay, back to the Australian GP. Here is what Brad Spurgeon thought:

Red Bull and Sebastian Vettel have won all the titles for the last three seasons. Vettel became only the third driver in Formula One history to win three drivers’ titles in a row, after Juan Manuel Fangio in the 1950s and Michael Schumacher last decade. Only Schumacher, Fangio and Alain Prost have won more than three titles, with seven, five and four, respectively. So both Vettel and the team have more pressure on them than ever. Still, Red Bull has the advantage of the consistency of keeping the same two drivers and technical team, and Mark Webber is still pushing for his own final career chances to capture the drivers’ title. With the great designer Adrian Newey leading the way, Red Bull should remain among the strongest.

As a lifelong aficionado of Scuderia Ferrari, I would kill to demur. But, I cannot; I think that is right. Still. As to the beloved Prancing Horse, well, from the lens of the season start, it will take another superhuman drive for the ages by Fernando Alonso to keep Ferrari in the chips.

That leaves McLaren and Mercedes fighting for sloppy thirds. Maybe it will come to be that one will blast out of nowhere to be a contender for King Vettel’s Crown, but it is really hard to see. Lewis Hamilton proved himself to be a self absorbed punk at the more superior team, McLaren; now he will try to do what Michael Schumacher could not at fast, but unreliable, Mercedes. Please. Juan Pablo Montoya performed better and was sent packing to NASCAR.

For all the sturm and drang, for all the off season shuffle, the Championship will still be fought for between Red Bull and Ferrari, with a decided advantage to the former.

Let the Circus games begin!

And, then, there is the NFL free agency merrygoround. Heck, I do not know who are the winners and losers at this point. But, a quick take says the Steelers and Cardinals, the teams of local pricks bmaz and Scribe, did not do well.To be kind. Probably nobody did worse than the Cardinals, who signed an aging punt return specialist that even the Cleveland Browns did not care about anymore, and let go Kevin Kolb, the only even practice squad level NFL quarterback they had. Seriously, what kind of addled mentally challenged assholes are running the Cardinals? Oh, wait, it is still the fucking Bidwell family. Who could have guessed from this level of rank pathetic incompetence??

The Deetroit Kittehs seem to have done very well. If they can keep their peeps healthy and out of the klink, they may have the greatest show on fake turf. The Pats lost Welker’s whining wife (and shitloads of clutch catches in the slot and over the middle) BUT gained a sometimes fragile Danny Amendola. Amendola was the successor in kind at the Pirate attack fun/gun at Texas Tech. Amendola is actually every bit the route runner, and even faster, than Welker. But he ain’t as predictable, nor as reliable, as Welker. This could be a wash, or it could be a loss. Time will tell. The Pat’s defense and, especially, secondary looks to be much improved.

Other than the above, the Squawks got Percy Harvin and some other studs, and the Niners got some too. Whoo weee baybee, the gold rush is on on the left coast.

MLB is in Spring Training; let me tell ya something brother, it is fucking hot here. The NBA is in the stretch run, but the only question of interest I see is what lower seed will the Lakers fill? 8? 7? 6 looks bleak, but not impossible; though I would be shocked. We will return to that in a roundball post later. As we will with the student athletes for March Madness, and very soon.

Rock it, Talk it, Jayhawkit. Get yer sweve on Wheelies. Light it up.

Music by BB King, Bono and the band.

NFL Hard Knocks, Head Injuries and The Monza Rebuttal

Here we are at the real, official, start of the football season in earnest. Yes there were a full slate of college games last weekend, but only a couple of decent ones. and, yes, the NFL officially kicked off wednesday with the Cowboys somewhat surprisingly laying one on the Gents – at the Meadowlands no less. Credit to Tony Romo, Rob Ryan’s defense and the ‘Boys, they fairly earned the win. But now the conventions are over and we start it all in full in the football universe. Also, this weekend is Monza on the Formula One calendar and, as always, it looks to be special. I will return to F1 a little later.

Despite the excitement of the return of football, it is time some dues should be paid to the trauma suffered by the working union members of the NFL who provide the spectacle and entertainment for us manning couches and barstools on Sundays. I wrote about this nearly two years ago in describing the “The Walking Wounded The NFL Treats Like Disposable Trash”. So much has happened since then with focus on repetitive brain injuries and high profile suicides like Dave Duerson and Junior Seau bringing the stark reality of the problem home in a powerful way.

But the Ferengi like single minded profit whores of the NFL have paid mostly lip service to the issue, save for a couple of competition rules that fall far short of a prophylactic redress of the problem. Marcy suggested a piece by Dave Zirin in The Nation to bring it all to a boil. She was right:

Beneath the fireworks, concerts and breathless hype that will mark the start of the 2012 NFL season, is a league that’s haunted. It’s haunted by future Hall of Fame linebacker Junior Seau who killed himself in May at the age of 43. It’s haunted by the recent suicides of Ray Easterling, Dave Duerson, and OJ Murdock. It’s haunted by the now widespread knowledge that the country’s most popular sport can leave you damaged in ways never before suspected. What a sign of the times that the start of the season wasn’t punctuated today with chest-thumping and military flyovers but with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s announcement that the league’s owners would be donating $30 million to the National Institute of Health to further study the affects of brain injuries.This recognition of the danger inherent in the sport has sparked a high profile debate across the political spectrum. The terms of the debate are simple: Given all we are learning about Continue reading

Vilma Vanquishes Goodell & NFL; Saints Players Reinstated

There is some early Trash from the National Football League breaking within the last hour. The four New Orleans Saints players suspended in “Bounty Gate”, led by Jonathan Vilma and Scott Fujita, dissatisfied withe the league ruling handed down by Roger Goodell, first filed suit in the Easter District of Louisiana and then appealed to a special appellate panel available under the relatively new collective bargaining agreement.

This afternoon, the special appellate panel unanimously ruled in favor of the players and ordered them reinstated:

The four players suspended by the NFL for their involvement in the New Orleans Saints’ “bounty” program had their suspensions overturned by a collective bargaining agreement appeals panel Friday, NFL Players Association spokesman George Atallah said.

While the suspensions are vacated immediately, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell can go back and suspend the players if he proves there was an intent to injure. NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said all players are eligible to play, starting with this weekend, until Goodell does so.

“Consistent with the panel’s decision, Commissioner Goodell will, as directed, make an expedited determination of the discipline imposed for violating the league’s pay-for-performance/bounty rule,” Aiello said in a statement. “Until that determination is made, the four players are reinstated and eligible to play starting this weekend.”

Here is a full copy of the written decision.

This is pretty significant news on a lot of fronts. First off, of course, the Saints get two key players back, including Vilma who is the quarterback of their defense and a critical team leader. Secondly, it is a slap in the face to Roger Goodell, and an equally big win for the NFL Players Association. Thirdly, this is an appeal process that the league agreed to and the first time it was taken out for a test spin, they got clobbered by it.

And a rebuke like this could not happen to a more deserving group of arrogant folks (see: refusal to make deal with referees) than the NFL and its owners.

That said, the ruling is not quite as huge a win as you might think at first blush, as it still leaves room for punitive action by Goodell against the players. Here is the key language from the ruling:

While we agree, then, that the Commissioner had jurisdiction to discipline the Players in this case, we are uncertain that the discipline handed down was attributable, in any part, to that aspect of the Program which lies within the exclusive jurisdiction of the System Arbitrator. While we could speculate, it is not clear from the record before us whether the Commissioner had the distinction we draw in mind at the time he disciplined the Players.

In light of the serious nature of the penalties imposed, we believe caution is appropriate. Therefore we vacate the Players’ discipline and remand the matter directly to the Commissioner for expeditious redetermination.

What this means is that Goodell can still take punitive action on these players via his “redetermination”, but he is going to have to do it under a provision different than he originally relied on. According to Albert Breer at NFL.com, who did fantastic reporting this afternoon and first posted the written opinion, Goodell will now have to base any punitive action on “intent to injure”, and that is how I read it too. That is a significantly tougher evidentiary burden to prove up legally.

Now the question is will Vilma et. al cut a deal with Goodell or keep fighting? Jonathan Vilma is very bright, and a very proud, tough fellow. It will be interesting to see if he has any inclination to deal. With Judge Berrigan still proceeding in EDLA, and having indicated she would rule in favor of Vilma if she could, I would not bet on Vilma being willing to cut any deals with the Commissioner.

Fear & Loathing Mix With Beauty & Greed In the Olympic Cauldron

The Summer Olympics are here! Yay! The Olympics, especially the summer ones, have become so commercialized, politicized and oversold, on so many levels, that it is hard in some respects to get too excited about them. That said, there is still a powerful beauty and lure in the physical prowess of the athletes, the competition, the joinder of nations from around the globe, the spectacle and the always awesome pageantry of the opening and closing ceremonies. To whatever extent the games ever had “purity”, there is much less of it now; but there is still a lot of sporting, and viewing, value.

Not long from the posting of this article (well it will be two full hours for me and those on the west coast, which is totally bullshit), the opening ceremonies will commence. We Yanks in the States cannot of course, due to the fucking craven greed of NBC, see the opening ceremonies live. If that were the only unmitigated greed by NBC and the other purveyors of the Olympics.

I have always loved the opening and closing ceremonies. One of the most beautiful things I have ever seen was the closing of the 1994 winter Olympics at Lillehammer, with the moving tribute to Sarajevo by lamplight in the dark. Powerful stuff. As was the simply incredible, even if long, opening ceremony in Beijing last time around. I have seen a little of the gig on a bootleg feed from London; it is good, but nowhere near the over the top opulence of Beijing and some of the others. I am anxious to hear what you all think, and let this be a forum for just that, and all other things Olympic.

There are also a few other notes to be made. America’s own Borat, Mittens Romney, brilliantly blurted out that London was not ready for the Olympic experience and that such was “disconcerting”:

Thursday was supposed to be the easy day, when Mitt Romney would audition as a world leader here by talking about his shared values with the heads of the United States’ friendliest ally.

Instead, the Republican presidential candidate insulted Britain as it welcomed the world for the Olympics by casting doubt on London’s readiness for the Games, which open Friday, saying that the preparations he had seen were “disconcerting” and that it is “hard to know just how well it will turn out.”

The comments drew a swift rebuke from Prime Minister David Cameron and, by day’s end, a public tongue-lashing by the city’s mayor as the Olympic torch arrived in Hyde Park.

“I hear there’s a guy called Mitt Romney who wants to know whether we’re Continue reading

Trash Talk: The NFL Season Begins Packers & Saints

It’s Here!! It seemed like it may never happen the way things looked in the spring and early summer but, unlike those mopes in Washington DC, the NFL and the players figured out what needed to be done for the long term, and got it done. Not some freaking kick the can down the road for a couple of months, or pass the buck off to a “Super-Committee” of bribed up asshole politicians, but a comprehensive and fair agreement for the next ten years. The Congress and Executive Branch in DC could learn a few things from our mindless sports pastime.

There are a couple of other updates I would like to get out of the way before we get down to business. First, in the biggest news of the day – and this is going to break Marcy’s heart – Peyton Manning is in a world of hurt. Manning had a cervical fusion operation today, and will be out 2-3 months. I would not bet against Peyton returning this year, but I find it unlikely. Unless the Colts are looking good for the playoffs late in the season, why would you put him out there? The surgery sounds very serious, and anything involving the spinal column is that, but it is fairly common actually. I have seen several personal injury clients through the process in the upper cervical area, all with good results and very little effective reduction in motion range. He will be back; just maybe not this year.

Secondly, good old Henry Waxman is again reaching his unneeded long hairy arm into the world of professional sports:

Today Rep. Henry A. Waxman sent a letter to National Football League (NFL) and National Football League Players’ Association urging them to put in place human growth hormone testing (HGH) procedures for the players without further delay. Despite agreements to test and impose penalties for HGH use, the NFL and the Players Association have failed to finalize HGH testing procedures in time to begin testing before tonight’s start of the 2011 season.

Here is the full letter. Waxman had no basis to be sticking his hand in the sports pie as head of House Oversight, and only slightly more as chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee. I guess the NFL is commerce but, really, that is a little thin; with all of the concerns in this country and Washington DC, this is not among the top of them. What really pisses me off is that Waxman is out there making a stink about this crap and, from what I am told, still pushing buttons behind the scene to maintain the prosecution of Roger Clemens.

What the Oh So Honorable Mr. Waxman, nor even any of his lesser staffers, manage to find time for is to discuss the issues behind the DOJ colluding with admitted felon obstructor of justice Scott Continue reading

F1 Hungarian Grand Prix and The Return of Football Trash!!!

Well, you knew sooner or later the Masters of the Football Universe (MOTFUs) would prove their superiority to the mental midgets in Congress and get the deal done so as to not cook the golden goose. For once, Daniel Snyder is looking better than the other DC Deciders, although that is a relatively pitiful spectrum of comparison. Well, whatever, we gots teh football back on the burner, and that is awesome. Before we get to that, however, there is the little matter of the Hungarian Grand Prix.

There was no Grand Prix in Hungary in 1961, so we will pick up with the season long retrospective of the 1961 Yankee Champion with the Italian GP at Monza in early September. This weeks tilt is at the the Hungaroring, just outside of Budapest. It is a dusty course that has many of the limitations on overtaking and competitiveness of Monaco without an ounce of the charm and elegance. In other words, as a circuit, it is bleech.

Sebastian Vettel still has a 77 point lead over his Red Bull teammate Mark Webber, and 82 points over a resurgent Lewis Hamilton of McLaren. They simply are not going to catch Vettel, but the remainder of the season looks to be much more competitive across the board and the race for all positions but the Championship will be fierce. Practice revealed Hamilton still fast, followed by Alonso and Button. The other marques waited just a little too late to catch up Red Bull, but they clearly have as to speed.

The BIG news is the continued Murdochization of F1, and it is not welcome:

The bad news comes from Britain, where the country’s F1 fans are seething over the announcement that the BBC and Sky Sports have signed a joint deal to show Formula One from 2012 to 2018, with only half the races being shown on free-to-air TV and the other half on pay TV.

More coverage of the SkyTV deal with F1 here; and the sad truth on where all the riches of F1 are going is to a spoiled little rich bitch. Well, at any rate, at least the race is back to live broadcast in the US again, with coverage starting at 7:30am EST and 4:30am PST on SpeedTV.

Now, and without further adieu (i.e. before Marcy kills me), we move to NFL FOOTBALL!!! Yea! It’s back! Thanks to universe masters that actually can cut a deal without screwing the pooch royally, the NFL is back and the agreement mandates a whole decade of uninterrupted football free of labor disputes. And with that, we are off on a flurry of signings trades and activity. Let’s take a look at what is up with that. Continue reading

Emptywheel Twitterverse
JimWhiteGNV Oh my! I think the militants in the tribal areas just got called cockroaches by Pakistan Today: http://t.co/SPyFiWTnrR
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JimWhiteGNV RT @declanwalsh: 'In Pakistan, they used to censor journalists – now they shoot us' - @mohammedhanif on Hamid Mir and the ISI: http://t.co
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bmaz @runtodaylight Doubt it will go criminal, too many complications.But I do have a client who is a Dr. there from a previous matter.
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bmaz @FalguniSheth @adamsteinbaugh @emptywheel No calves. I have my cows all grazing on Uncle Sam's land up in Nevada. Beer smooth.
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bmaz @adamsteinbaugh @emptywheel @FalguniSheth Never had Founder's beer before. Pale ale is killer.
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bmaz .@emptywheel @FalguniSheth My Founder's beer from our patio bar seat tonight: http://t.co/T9gB3HT7iB
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bmaz @steve_vladeck @ACLU_NCA Yeah, and neither will the FISC and other courts apparently.
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bmaz In the not even close to news dept, breaking or otherwise, The Blue Angels are a bunch of rowdy fighter jocks http://t.co/17tfetOJAh
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bmaz @gideonstrumpet @nancyleong @ntswanson Is that a hospital in CT is it?
12hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz RT @erinscafe: If you come to the premiere of Follow Friday the Film Friday at 5:45 pm, you can meet @LynsieLee, my fav stripper. http://t.…
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bmaz @yvonnewingett @barrettmarson @JimSmall Hey, I think I made that point already!
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bmaz I'd love to convict this Blackwater fuckstic; but the Stated Dept tanked the case w/Garrity statements at the get go http://t.co/d1zH3nNR2k
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