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Boo birds for bitter Barca babies

April 28, 2011 3 comments
It’s pretty clear that FC Barcelona  is a better team than Real Madrid. I mean, they can keep the ball in the tightest spaces, and even a top club like Real were having a hard time keeping the ball on those rare occasions that they had it. As evidence, just look at Xavi Alonzo’s day. He was a mainstay in the Prem for Liverpool and he’s a Champion’s League winner, and he was having a hard time keeping up.

But why the simulation? Why does Pedro go to ground holding his face? Why does Busquets still get to writhe around in pain and stay on the pitch? He did the same last year and got a guy sent off vs Inter Milan. Inter had to play the rest of the game with 10 men and somehow held on. The behaviour by the Barcelona players is a disgrace and a shame on the game. I understand why football and basketball loving Americans seeing stuff like this and realize that this type of soccer is a total joke. Those of us that love soccer need to figure out a way to make it change. Even other European soccer stars can’t believe the way Barcelona’s players are behaving and what they are getting away with.

This year Dani Alvez gets a guy sent off by writhing around in pain, while most of the rest of Barca’s players crowd around the ref demanding a red card. Yet, no contact was made with Alvez’s foot (look on Real Madrid’s official site for video evidence of no contact.) Barca’s players are some of the most talented attackers on the planet (Messi, Villa, Xavi, etc.) but I can’t stand to watch them cuz of the cheating, the remonstrating against the refs when something goes against them, and the con-jobs they want the ref to believe when the shoe is on the other foot.

Here are some new rules I propose:

1. If you writhe around in pain, and then come back on and can fully sprint and participate in the game, you get a yellow card.

2. If video evidence shows (even after the fact!) that you got hit on your arm (like Pedro did) or your mid-section (like Busquets did), and you writhe around on the ground holding your face (like both Pedro and Busquets did), then YOU should get ejected from the game because you are trying to fool the ref and get someone else sent off.

3.Finally, if you come and crowd around the ref demanding a card for an opposing player, you should receive a caution.

It’s a disgrace. I don’t want Man U to get another european title. I don’t want Man U to get another European title. I don’t want Man U to get another European title……but I am thinking it would be better than this group of simulators and cheaters and crybabies. Of which Messi is not one. That guy gets slammed around and is pure class. His dribbling thru 5 Madrid defenders was amazing to see.

The ref will make the complete difference in the Champs League Final. It certainly did in the semi final yesterday.
Thoughts?
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“Last Post” – Daniel Butterfield

February 24, 2011 12 comments

On Presidents Day I probably spent too long talking to my kids and telling great stories about 3 of my favorite presidents, George Washington, John Adams and Abraham Lincoln. (I also include Thomas Jefferson, Ronald Reagan and maybe a few others on that list.) I told them stories about Washington leading a rag-tag group of men down the American coast, barely ahead of the British warships and Hessian Mercenaries, in the snow, shoe-less, hungry… and then crossing the Delaware River in the snow and ice and winning a battle on Christmas Eve in 1776.

I told them about John Adams and all of the selfless service he and his family provided to help create this great nation.

I told them about Abraham Lincoln, walking for miles to borrow a Bible to teach himself to read; walking for miles to return a penny or two that had been given him by mistake; and we read the Gettysburg Address. I was trying to be inspiring. Trying to tell them stories of normal, good men who stepped up to greatness in their lives.

I told them how all Presidents of America are not great, but the great ones have one thing in common: they have fought for the freedom and liberty of our country, our people, US. And there are many that have died in that fight, given their “last full measure.” We honor those fallen with this song. And then I played this video for them.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wn_iz8z2AGw

It was cool to watch them watch it. They were transfixed. 🙂

Who was your favorite US President?

A note about the video:

Taps as we know it is actually a variation of an earlier bugle call known as the “Scott Tattoo” which was used in the U.S. from 1835 until 1860, and was arranged in its present form by the Union Army Brigadier General Daniel Butterfield. Butterfield’s bugler, Oliver Wilcox Norton, was the first to sound the new call. Within months, “Taps” was used by both Union and Confederate forces. It was officially recognized by the United States Army in 1874.

Thanks to the commenters for the correction!

Protesting Good. But what comes next?

January 30, 2011 15 comments

I can only imagine how bad it is in Egypt. I certainly don’t claim to understand the situation on the ground. Widespread unemployment and poverty. What jobs do come up are handed to family members of those in power. People are closed out of their economic society and their economic future. And they are sick of it. Enough that they protest, march, take to the streets, blog, and do everything that they can — risking being shut down, beaten up, tear-gassed, shot, raped, imprisoned, and killed.

Protesters defy government in Egypt (Reuters)

I can’t say what I would do if I lived in a similar situation, but I bet I would be protesting too.

I just hope that with all the talk of forcing Hosni Mubarak’s resignation, there are concrete ideas of what will replace the outgoing regime. I have read about groups taking advantage of the unrest to go around to the prisons and break out militants that were imprisoned. Citizens are banding together to protect themselves in the wake of organized police or military control. The National Democratic Party needs to be removed, but is there a plan for what will take its place?

There are many in America that are urging President Obama to seize this chance and oust Mubarak but it’s not that simple. Sometimes the resultant regime is not much better than the one it is replacing. It may buy you a decade or so, but that is not a long term solution.

I would like the US to understand the concrete plans and proposed solutions from groups like the April 6th Youth Movement and Mohammed ElBaradei’s team before we just throw our weight behind Whoever-Is-Next.

Just because this is the “start of a new era that cannot be reversed”, where are the checks and balances that give this new era a greater chance of survival and greater chance of freedoms for the Egyptian people?

Finally! Someone ELSE is saying what I’ve been saying for YEARS!

January 20, 2011 5 comments

OK. I like Lance Armstrong as much as the next guy. Or at least as much as the next Non-French guy. What’s not to love? He went over to France and kicked all their butts in their bike race for 7 years in a row. How sweet is that? Sounds like a Great American Hero.

I hope he didn’t dope. I hope all the smoke that surrounds Lance Armstrong doesn’t mean that there is a fire. But that’s not the way it usually works out, does it?

Here’s the logic I have been using for years with my friends, my email groups, and anyone that will listen: OK — you mean to tell me that Lance’s biggest rivals and even some of his teammates have been busted for doping — and the only guy that was winning the Tour de France during those years was the ONLY ONE NOT doping?

Let’s look at the list. And this is all I can remember from the top of my mind, without doing internet research:

1998 tour winner Pantani is now dead cuz of his doping, couldn’t touch Lance during his 7 year stretch

1997 tour winner Ulrich out of the sport for doping, finished 2nd to Lance many times, but couldn’t beat him

former teammates Hamilton (banned for doping) and Landis (banned for doping)

I’m sure there are many more that a more educated cycling fan can tell me about Lance’s teammates, connections with blood-doping doctors, etc.

Here’s where the logic fails for me: Either doping doesn’t work, or Lance just figured out a better way around the system. How could one man — the only man to win during those hugely doping years — beat all of the rest of the field of blood dopers?

And now finally someone else is saying the same thing. And it’s in America. I imagine they have been saying this stuff in France for years.

Categories: Politics, Travel Tags: ,

US Military at Dangerous Point in History

July 20, 2010 2 comments

Sometimes I like to read commentary by foreign press about American issues. We’re at a point where all media has an axe to grind, and it’s sometimes nice to get an outside view.

This is an interesting article by Britain’s Daily Telegraph which says that America’s armed forces are at a breaking point.

The ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are going on longer than anyone thought they would, and we are trying to do it with fewer numbers. Our armed forces for the Vietnam war was 3 times what our numbers are today even though our population has increased 60% since that war.

We witnessed second hand that the troop surge in Bush’s final months did wonders for the war in Iraq. For whatever reason, the US is now getting ready for an even greater reduction in Armed Forces than when Clinton was in office in the 1990’s.

Military personnel are being required to take multiple tours of duty.

Military divorces are way up, as are cases of mental illness and disorders for our soldiers.

Soldiers are opting out of renewing at astounding rates, making those that stay in — even the worst performing soldiers — able to be promoted to leadership positions.

Suicides involving military personnel are way up.

National Defense is a serious issue that needs to be part of the next election process. Take a minute to read this article about more poor decisions by the Obama White House on our national security. Why make this a partisan issue? Isn’t this the President that sold America on his ability and willingness to not play party politics? Why is Obama willing to risk our nation’s security over partisan politics?

Obama’s Economy Not Working

July 16, 2010 7 comments

It’s the ECONOMY, Stupid!

Barack Obama’s White House has decided to back a Keynesian economic policy of “let’s get big government dollars to spend our way out of this economic crisis.”

Is it working? Absolutely Not.

Has Obama effectively lined his supporter’s pocket’s in the process? Absolutely.

When US Automaker General Motors was in financial trouble, the US Government effectively took GM over. As the US Gov’t reworked the company, it ditched the banks and creditors of GM, and transferred huge amounts of the “New GM Ownership” to Unions and other Obama supporters. It’s almost like when a new King started in England, and he decided to take enormous tracts of land from people he didn’t like, and bequeath enormous wealth to his new supporters. Basically it’s robbery, but legalized!

In the Federal Reserve minutes from their meeting last month, there were some very important words hidden near the back, in the small print: The Fed doesn’t think that the US Economy will recover for 5 to 6 years.

In other words, far from winding down the Great Recession and talking about the new Economic Gains that Obama has been touting this week, this shows that in the global economic crisis, the US is now becoming the problem.

The new Fed Reserve minutes show a complete change in policy, demonstrating how fast the recovery has lost steam. International Monetary Research says that the US authorities have “botched the policy response.” Oh really?

  • New home sales at 300,000 in May, lowest since records began in 1963
  • Outbound exports from Long Beach (major SoCal shipping port) dropped from 139,000 in May to 116,000 in June.
  • Philadelphia’s new manufacturing orders index plunged to -4.3 in early July

So what will Barack Obama and his team of Economic Advisers do? According to Gabriel Stein of Lombard Street Research, they are “throwing in the towel.” Washington wants to start another round of government spending again — raising the debt level from $2.4 trillion, to a whopping $5 trillion.

Sound HOPEful and CHANGEful to you? Me either.

We need to get government deficit spending to stop before the dollar becomes totally worthless. Out of all the dollars ever created in the 234 years of USA’s history, over half has been created in the last 3 years.

We need to get the US Government out of the business of spending money on stimulus programs and bailouts. We have spent billions of dollars, and it hasn’t brought the economy out of the recession. Now we want to do it again?

The US Government needs to stop the bleeding. Reduce entitlement payments immediately. Reduce the size of the behemoth that has become our Federal Government, creating Czars of This and Czars of That, each with mandatory staff and spending budgets. We need to get out of the business of saving failing banks and businesses. Let the AIG’s of the world fail. Stop the bailout spending spree. And reduce the US Federal Income Tax.

The more money is in the hands of the individual consumers, the better. What, we won’t be able to afford all of the government programs? It’s okay. The individual cities and communities will pick up the slack, feeding the poor, helping them back onto their feet.

It’s what Americans do.

Cicero still teaching us today

May 13, 2010 5 comments

Cicero was an ancient Roman Consul. He served in the Roman government for many years. John Adams said that “all the ages of the world have not produced a greater statesman and philosopher united than Cicero“. In his works The Republic and The Laws, Cicero explains his thoughts on good government and leadership.

Two of my favorite points he makes are:
1. People should learn to do of their own accord what they are compelled to do by the law.
2. There is no other occupation in which human virtue approaches more closely the function of the gods than that of founding new States or preserving those already in existence.

In his time, many of his wealthy friends wondered why he would waste his time in politics. His answer is that good, brave, and high-minded men get involved in order to not be ruled by wicked men, and not to allow the republic to be destroyed by them.

There are so many people in our time that want to focus solely on making money and living “the good life.” For the most part, I have no complaints about this. But we also need to make sure and preserve the government that protects the freedoms and liberties we enjoy, not just try to get away with whatever we can and leave it to future generations to pick up the pieces.

When I read “good, brave and high-minded men get involved in order to not be ruled by wicked men”, it made me think of my brother Greg. He’s a guy like most of America: he has a family, a job, hobbies and interests, etc. But he also gets involved in protecting our republican form of government.

When the US Representative that represents Greg wasn’t voting the way most of the people in their district wanted based on their polls, he and his friends got involved. They made phone calls. They set-up websites and blogs. They called on their Rep for explanations of her votes. Their efforts were noticed by national media outlets and brought enough pressure on their Congressional Representative that she was finally forced to respond.

I asked him about the purpose of his involvement. Was he planning on running for office? Other political aspirations? His answer was that he just couldn’t sit by and let the elected officials keep doing whatever they wanted, and not be held accountable. He just couldn’t sit by and let it happen.

Shades of Cicero, perhaps?

Is this Cicero ... or my brother Greg?

Is this Cicero ... or my brother Greg?