Laborious Trash Talk

It is Labor Day weekend. Shockingly, my dictation program, Nuance Dictate for Mac, has gone beyond its normal complete worthlessness and now exists in the temporal-intellectual worthlessness of time and space. Seriously, for an application that claims to be useful for efficiency for the normal human, they are total crap. I have fought with them for nearly four years, and I am tired. You want to talk to me Nuance, here I am. Otherwise, go blow a goat.

Okay, now that I have gotten a little preliminary issue setting out of the way, let us get down to Trash Talk mofo’s and……

Oooops! Major power outage at Casa de bmaz! Seriously, I have dick for connection, only 3G on my old iPhone (yes, I have been holding out for iPhone5, even my wife is about to kill me).

I am sorry, I Musta Got Lost. And my gmail tells me Marcy is on the warpath. Rightly so, despite monsoon season here. Oddly, the sky looks mostly clear, I have no reason why my AC, much less my DC, has been taken away from me. You laugh, but when it is 106, you need the juice for the air conditioner. Bad. Somewhere below is a picture of the only light there was for a while, the moon. Vaya con dios Neil Armstrong, I thought well of you in the face of the moon tonight. If there was a measure of the childhood of my generation, it was the Moon Shot.

More Trash content will be on the horizon, like the storm front closing in, but not yet here. In the meantime, I am going to buy you all off with the evidence of my entertainment while I had no electricity. When you suddenly have no cable, no internet, no McIntosh, Adcom and B&W stereo; you have to make do. My daughter Jenna is providing the entertainment while all things I know are down.

UPDATE: Okay, I am back for a little bit. Man, lot of no power tonight and during, and after, then there was the tequila issue. What is a poor boy to do? Sing for a rock n’ roll band?

Okay, South Carolina and Michigan State, both closer than expected but not so by me, both won to start the college football season. Nobody should take anything away from Vanderbilt nor Boise State though. Especially Boise. Sparty is good, and at home to open the season? The BCS should never, ever, dock Boise State because they do not try to play a difficult enough schedule. Previously they opened against the Oregon Ducks in Corvallis. Tell me again why they cannot play for a national championship?

But now, the most interesting game of the first weekend is on tap. Yep, the Wolvereenies versus Crimson Tide at JerryJonesBowl. I’ll take Denard Robinson, seen below in a stirring segment, in an upset over the NickSabanDroids. Granted, I am completely sloshed and sitting on my front patio in a cactus patch, but that is my Karl Rove’s Fathers’ Solid Gold Cock Ring Lead Pipe Lock prediction. [All legal disclaimers imaginable applicable]. But wait! There is more! If you call right now we will double the offer! [Okay, not really].

The NFL has played the 4th and final preseason game, the one season ticket holders pay for, but that nobody understands, already. The Jets, Jets, Jets finally scored a touchdown. Yes that is one. But “yay”. There are interesting things going on in baseball, but the best is the return of the Rocket. Even if it is for the Skeeters. These are the young Pujols’s of the next generation and, through four innings, they can’t hit Rocket. Think the jurors from the trial and Reggie Walton are not watching the Rocket? Oh yeah, you bet your butt they are. Clemens will likely throw one more independent league game, likely against the Long Island Ueckers (not really; that was a little high and outside). And then a start for the Astros. Maybe two. Just cause.

But, far more globally important than football, baseball or that nimrod NASCAR, the Circus is coming back to town. Yep, Formula One. And where the spinning wheel stops is… Spa! Yes, the circuit that looks like a woman’s reproductive system. Or a Phaser. Whatever. Unlike those candy asses in left turn NASCARland, they run in the wet in F1.

Yes they do and it is wet at Francorchamps. Qualifying will go off not too long after I post this, and the race coverage o Speed TV begins at 7:30am EST and 4:30am PST on Sunday morning. Despite the safetied up new course at Spa, with a bit of wet, it is still a fast, dangerous and interesting layout. Ought to be fun.

There are certain people that have covered F1 forever. One of the best photographers, Paul Henri-Cahier, has been, and is, a friend to this blog. Paul is the, without question, premier F1 photographer in the world and he is second to his father, the legendary Bernard Cahier.Grand Prix does not get the attention it should here in the States. But one who does cover it up close and personal on track is Brad Spurgeon. Here is Brad’s setup for this weekend:

Formula One began the second part of its season after the long, five week summer break in August, with the practice sessions on Friday at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Belgium.

But thanks to the typical Spa weather, and unfortunately for the thousands of spectators who showed up to take a €400 shower, it was as if the holidays had never ended.

The cars may have managed to turn a few laps in the rain in the morning session — although only one car went out during the entire first half of the 1 hour and 30 minute session — but there was no track action at all in the afternoon session until 35 minutes of the same length session remained. And even then, six of the 22 drivers did not take to the track, and of those who did, none drove more than four laps.

Yep. Summer break is over, and it is time to go to Ardennes forest with the lads. With the wet in the picture, Spa will be special.

So, there is Trash Talk for this week. Marcy is probably gonna come along and yammer about Nate Ebner and whatnot. I got one question though. Picture Walt Kowalski talking to an Ikea chair: Should the Cardinals pick up and immediately start Brian Hoyer? Bonus question: Do Watertiger’s precious Jets need Hoyer even worse than the Cardinals?

Boogie the Trash!

Put Down The Ducky Trash

Is another fine Saturday with a host of great college football games on tap. It’s hard to get anything past the king of sports, ESPN, and they have chosen Autzen Stadium, home of the Oregon Ducks, as the site of their ESPN Gameday. Now there may be a few other college football games going on today, for instance there is a rumor that there is such a game up there in the big mitten of Michigan. But we’ll get to those also-rans in a minute.

The game of the day, in this case actually night, is the University of Oregon versus Arizona State University Sun Devils. Oregon comes into tonight’s game ranked Number 9 in the country and the Sun Devils number 18. I Have said it before, but if you’ve never been to a game at Autzen Stadium, you just don’t know. The place is freaking crazy and loud. They do it right up there in Eugene. The Ducks are the enemy for a Sun Devil fan, but I can honestly say I’ve never been to a more fun, and wild, stadium for college football game. Today, the Ducks have a wounded wing in tailback LaMichael James being out. James is killing this year and had three straight games of over 200 yards rushing going. But today his cleats will likely be filled by super freshman DeAnthony Thomas. The Ducks’ only loss this year is to LSU in the opener, so do not be fooled by their record, they are still big, bad and can flat out fly on the field turf in Autzen.

ASU, so far, has been a curious team. The Devils started the year with absolutely a ton of promise, but have been literally decimated by injuries. The hardest hit has been the secondary, led by stud All Pac-10 corner Omar Bolden. The Devils have an inconsistent ground game, which makes QB Brock Osweiller, who is tall and very good, a target. If the Devils linebackers can contain the Ducks just a bit, and ASU can get a halfway decent running game going, they have a real shot. Those are huge “ifs” though, and I just don’t see it; look for the Quackers to roll. But it would look to be a very entertaining game to watch, and since it is the late national night game on ESPN, everybody in the country can. Go Devils, put those Duckies down!!

Because I need to stay alive for another week in order to turn the Emptywheel blog into ALL BABY JESUS TEBOW, ALL THE TIME, I will also report there appears to be another big rivalry game today; in fact, it just started. That, for those scoring at home (and even if you are alone) would be Michigan/Michigan State. Yep, the Wolvereenies are gonna visit Sparty in Lansing. Big Blue is 6-0 and Sparty 4-1; but Michigan has run into the Green Machine looking good the last few years and gotten taken to the cleaners, thus starting a downhill spiral for the remainder of the season. But the Merlots are helmed by Brady Hoke now, and even though this is in Lansing, it just feels like it is Michigan’s year in this grudge match. The Big Blue defense is gelling a little, although still giving up big points. On the other hand, it is pretty windy, which could turn some of Denard Robinson’s floating passes into sitting ducks. Michigan is also hobbled by Brandon Herron and Marvin Robinson being out for the game on defense. Kirk Cousins is a lot better suited to pass in the wind than Robinson. Close game, but I think the Bo Merlots pull it out and move to 7-0.

I am going to add some more content on NCAA and a pro section in a bit, but this will get folks going for now.

Okay, a few additional NCAA games of interest. Texas A&M is up 24-14 on Read more

Obama Heads to (?!?!?) Michigan

Update: Per martha, either Jane and I misheard or MSNBC doesn’t realize that there are GM plants all through the Midwest–Obama is going to Janesville, Wisconsin. And Wisconsin does, in fact, have a presidential primary well before 2012, so it takes no guesswork to figure out why Obama would go to a GM plant in Wisconsin. Thanks martha! And sorry for misleadig you all.

I heard NBC report (and Jane confirms that she heard it too) that Obama will head to Michigan tomorrow to give a speech at GM about the economy. Last I checked, there wasn’t a presidential primary or caucus scheduled in MI anytime before 2012. So what’s going on?

First, understand that I haven’t heard anything about a electoral mulligan from within MI–I’ve seen national reports of such a mulligan, but nothing from inside the MDP (though, of course, I’m in DC, not MI right now). Last week, MDP Chair Mark Brewer met with Obama supporters to explain how the uncommitted delegates will be assigned–so at least as far as has been said publicly, MI will proceed to assign delegates based on the grand clusterfuck.

So why is Obama headed to MI, rather than OH, to talk about the economy?

I’ve got several speculations–I’ll try to find a real answer in the next few days.

Possibility 1, the most likely: this is a bid for Edwards support

Note the timing. Obama was due to go request Edwards’ support yesterday, but then rescheduled. That means this speech at GM will happen before Obama heads to North Carolina to ask for Edwards’ support. Knowing that Edwards’ priority is fighting for the economically disenfranchised, making a big speech on the economy–in the state with the worst economy in the country–is a pretty good way of auditioning.

Possibility 2, just as likely: this is a bid for Edwards’ supporters’ support

As I said, the MDP is working with the assumption that we’re going to assign delegates based on the clusterfuck. That would mean Hillary would get 55% of the delegates, and "uncommitted" would get 40%. Or rather, Hillary would get 55% and Edwards’ and Obama’s supporters would fight over those 40%.

Now I suspect some of those delegates can be tied to specific supporters–"uncommitted" won my county, which has 40,000 students in it, many of them likely Obama supporters. And Conyers was advertising for "uncommitted" in Detroit, in support of Obama. So Obama can probably rightly claim a big chunk of the uncommitted delegates in places where he’s got very strong support. But if Obama has to fight for those 40% of MI’s delegates, he’s got to persuade Edwards’ supporters.

And if you think about it–those MI delegates are one of the very tangible things that Edwards would have to give Obama, if he gave him his support.

Read more

Definition of a Caucus

There’s been some discussion of a do-over, an electoral mulligan, for the great clusterfuck of Michigan. And–in the ongoing debate whether Obama’s victories in caucus states are "real"–discussions about caucuses. As those two subjects potentially converge, I wanted to saw a few words about caucuses, in general, and caucuses in Michigan.

I agree with Lambert’s general dissatisfaction with caucuses:

However, the caucus system clearly disenfranchised several classes of people:

1. People who couldn’t get away from work, and since Maine is a state that’s both big, poor, and challenged by the weather in the winter, that’s a larger percentage than you might think;

2. People who have child care issues;

3. People with disabilities;

4. People without cars;

5. People who are elderly and/or sick.

When this season is over, the caucus system should be abolished everywhere, in favor of a system where all votes count equally.

And for all these reasons, I don’t think a caucus state should have first in the country privileges, under any circumstances (though I am sympathetic to the notion that parties ought to organize their primaries or caucuses in such a way as to foster ongoing participation, which is one benefit to traditional caucuses). When canvassing in Iowa in 2004, for example, I ran into a bunch of restaurant workers who would have to forgo an entire night’s wages to caucus. Imposing that kind of poll tax is a terrible message for the Democratic party to send.

That said, not all caucuses are created equal. Michigan’s caucus–at least as it was run in 2004–is a lot closer to NM’s caucus: it’s just an election that the party, as opposed to the state, runs. It’s open for about 8 hours, and once you cast your vote, you’re done, pack the kids back in the car and drive them to their volleyball game. At least as we ran it in 2004, there were fewer caucus locations, so longer lines and longer drives/cab rides/free rides to polls, which is a problem. And the rules for challengers allow for each candidate to have one–but only one–loudmouth standing at the entrance pitching her candidate (this was my role in 2004, one I relished).

In two ways, though, Michigan’s caucus has greater accessibility than your garden variety state-run primary. Read more