Archive for October, 2007

A Relevant Republican Debate

Monday, October 22nd, 2007

The Republicans had a debate on Sunday on Fox News. Despite the fact that it was overwhelmingly light on foreign policy, and did not deal with the War on Terror, it showed republicans could talk about other subjects with insight. Also, since it was on Fox News, it was actually watched.

I own multiple televisions, and one of them had the Steelers-Broncos game. I even condescended to put the baseball game on with no sound on the small tv. The big screen was prime time for the debate, and the quality of this debate was improved by giving a healthy block of time to the candidates that actually belonged on the stage. The lower tier canddiates were given less time, especially early on, to waste our time.

Despite the moderators’ best attempts to turn the debate into fratricide, the candidates refused to take cheap shots at each other. They were respectful, got their digs in, but praised each other when praise was due. The debate would have been better if it was 100% on the War on Terror, but I understand other Americans do not agree with me on this point. It was a substantive debate with four substantive men and some other kids. (other news)

Giuliani was asked about Thompson claiming Giuliani was soft on conservatism. He refused to take the bait and attack Thompson, again emphasizing his own record of accomplishment.

Romney also refused to take the bait. He spoke about Reagan, and got in a good line about republicans “being unable to defeat Hillary Clinton by acting like Hillary Clinton.”

Thompson got in a great dig at Ted Kennedy, and reaffirmed his own credentials, including his 100% pro-life record and his support of strict constructionist judges. He mentioned Rudy’s support of Mario Cuomo, but was very respectful in his dig.

Rudy pointed out that Fred was an obstacle to tort reform, in terms of fighting loser pays provisions. Fred responded that he helped pass anti-sanctuary city laws, which Rudy fought for. Rudy reaffirmed his crime fighting credentials, and pointed out that Fred never had executive responsibility.

John McCain, when asked if he was more conservative than Romney, again reaffirmed his own credentials, and stated that he has “been involved with every national crisis since Beirut.” He said that he “did not manage for profit, he led for patriotism.”

Romney complimented McCain for his heroism, but pointed out that he had the toughest Governorship for a republican in America.

McCain pointed out that during a crisis, that is the last time to call in the lawyers, which is what Romney mentioned in the previous debate. He reaffirmed his qualifications. Romney clarified his position on consulting with Congress and the lawyers, and mentioned that President Bush did go to Congress, which Hillary disputes.

This debate was very serious for the first 15 minutes because only the top tier candidates were speaking. Then it was Rupaul time. He was asked about gay marriage, and he answered calmly for once, stating that we do not need to amend the Constitution for it. He actually was totally normal in his answer.

Romney, the only one to support the Constitutional ban on gay marriage, reiterated his position a such.

Giuliani, who opposes the ban, says it is not necessary at this time. If several states allow it, the issue can be revisited, but right now it is not needed. Marriage is a civil institution, not a religious one.

When asked about Giuliani’s abortion position, Mike Huckabee ducked.

Fred Thompson, when asked about his lobbying for pro-choice groups, stated again that his private law practice differed from his public service., which was pro-life.

McCain was asked about his fence mending with the Religious Right. He stated that he has never changed. He said he reconciled with former enemies, such as the Vietnamese, and that he could reconcile with Jerry Falwell. He reaffirmed that they should all support who the nominee turns out to be.

Tom Tancredo was brought in after 25 minutes. When asked about the conservatism of the other candidates, cited the American Taxpayers Union and National Right to Life organizations, which give him A ratings.

Duncan Hunter went after Carl Cameron, accusing him of dividing the party. He then mentioned the Cuban Freedom Fighters, and mentioned Reagan helping the people of El Salvador.

The debate then turned to health care.

McCain mentioned Hillarycare and higher taxes. He also stated that Medicaid grew 10% last year, which is unsustainable. He said the democrats want to destroy health care.

Rupaul, a doctor himself, said after 35 years, managed care is not working. He then said we have to stop trying to expand our world empire. I was worried he would not go off the rails, but he finally fell back into wack job mode.

Romney pointed out that health care is not a democrat issue, it is a republican issue. He ducked the question in terms of if his plan would be applied at the Federal level. He again reinforced his version versus Hillary’s version.

Hunter pointed out that Romney’s plan had mandates, which drives up costs. 90 year olds have fertility coverage, which is not needed. We need to be able to buy health care across state lines. Romney rebutted that the democrats in the Massachusetts legislature left some mandates in, but he got many mandates out.

Huckabee pointed out that we do not have a health care crisis, but a health crisis. We spend too much money on disease, and not enough on prevention. He mentioned the that when “the old hippies find out they get free drugs, wait till that problem happens.”

Tancredo was asked about illegal immigration, allowing him to go bonkers again. However, he turned it back to health care. He mentioned that Michael Moore went to Cuba, but that he came back. He mentioned health savings accounts, but said the Federal government should not be involved with health care.

On education, Thompson said his vote on No Child Left Behind was perhaps a mistake. He stated that the Federal government should turn more power to the states, and give them maximum flexibility. He also mentioned we had a societal breakdown, and we need more fathers to raise their kids.

When asked about the school system in New York, and that it should be “blown up,” he stated that he cared a lot more about the kids than the teachers. He emphasized school choice, and refused to back down about his prior comments. He aid parents should decide school issues, not the government. He called it he “single biggest civil rights issue in the 21st century.”

The candidates were asked why they are currently losing to Hillary.

Mitt Romney had compared Hillary to Karl Marx in the past. When asked about her qualifications to be Commander in Chief, he pointed out that, “She has never run a corner store, never run a business. The Presidency is not an internship.” He said she is not fit to be Commander in Chief.

Rudy Giuliani, when compared to Hillary, said, “You’ve got to be kidding.” He quoted Hillary when she said, “I have a million ideas, America can’t afford them all.” Rudy stated, “America can’t afford you, Hillary.” He then disputed the polls, and mentioned the same polls showed Al Gore and John Kerry winning handily.

John McCain was asked about his differences on the war with Hillary. He stated he respected Hillary, but that Hillary tried to spend one million dollars on the Woodstock Museum. He stated, “I am sure it was a cultural event and a pharmaceutical event, but I was tied up at the time.” The crowd went ballistic with applause, and stated “No one can be President that supports these types of programs.” He stated that she is a liberal and he is a reliable conservative.

Huckabee stated that republicans should have gone to the minority debates, and mentioned Aerosmith. He stated that “there is nothing funny about Hillary being President.” He mentioned Islamofacism. It was the first time it was meant all night, and the first time I recall him mentioning it.

Thompson stated again that we have to worry about ourselves as republicans. He then mentioned her being wrong about repealing the tax cuts, and attacking Generals that get tried in the newspapers. He again emphasized that “laws come from God, not Government.” He also mentioned the “comfortable mediocrity” of the democrats.

Rupaul, when asked how he differed from Hillary, said that she would expand the war, and he would not. So Hillary is to the right of him on the war apparently.

Thompson was asked a laundry list of issues dealing with social security and Medicare. The question by Brit Hume last what seemed like forever, and I credit Thompson for remembering it. He said in principle with the question, and mentioned the indexing of benefits to inflation.

Giuliani was asked that attempting to reform benefits of Medicare and social security would be seen as democrats as a “cut,” he said that the first thing we needed was a consensus about private accounts. He again pointed out that allowing individuals to buy private health insurance would benefit everyone, and that those who are not covered are not poor people, since poor people have Medicaid. Private solutions are necessary.

Romney stated he would be bold, but not cut benefits for poor people. He stated that no changes would happen for current seniors. He said he would not raise taxes, but that indexing it to inflation was a bad idea. He stated these problems could be solved, but did not say how. When asked how he could bring people together on the issue when President Bush could not, he said he learned from that experience, and his own. He invoked Reagan again, and talked of common ground, but did not say how.

Huckabee pointed out that privatization should be replaced with personalization, since privatization makes people think of Enron and Worldcom. He did offer an intelligent explanation involving actuarial tables showing that “people just are not saying anymore.”

Rupaul was actually right about the fact that unless you protect the dollar, the rest is irrelevant. He pointed out a dollar is worth four cents. He was actually sounding very bright until he again related this all to the war.

John McCain got a laugh when he said he is glad Americans are not dying at 67 (since he is over 70). He bluntly stated that Medicare and social security are going broke. He stated the solution has to be bipartisan, since neither side has 60 votes. He said the American people respond when they see a crisis.

Duncan Hunter was still on stage, which I had forgotten. He stated the problem was China and the outsourcing of jobs. So therefore, China is responsible for our health care crisis. Brit Hume was incredulous, rightly so.

Tom Tancredo stated that entire structural changes were needed, and again brought up illegal immigration, because he is a broken record.

75 minutes in, and finally, foreign policy was brought up. It was a question about Russia, not the Middle East.

McCain said “I looked into Putin’s eyes, and I saw 3 letters…K…G…B.” McCain called Putin a “dangerous person.” McCain then recommended a missile defense system in Czechoslovakia, regardless of who objects.

Hunter said that Putin offered to work with us on sea-based missile defenses, and that we should work with him on issues involving a partnership in the Black Sea. Hunter was in command on this issue.

Giuliani said that we should engage Russia, expand NATO, and look to Australia and Japan. He said Ukraine would be a good hedge but they “are not quite there yet” in terms of democracy. He said that Reagan believed rightly that increasing military spending would send a message to Russia and China, and we should so again.

Thompson asked if the Turks had a right to go into the Kurdish areas. Thompson called the PKK terrorists, but said the Turks and the Kurds are both our friends, but that people have a right to defend themselves. He pointed out that Turkey is a NATO ally, and that Nancy Pelosi’s Armenian resolution “injected partisan politics into a national security issue.”

Tancredo seemed sad that Thompson stole his thunder on this issue, but said that Nancy Pelosi “was a lousy speaker, but a lousier Secretary of State.”

Huckabee agreed that the PKK was a terrorist organization, but that Turkey had nothing to gain by crossing the Kurdish border. Nobody needs or wants the grief from that situation.

Rupaul wailed and railed. America is looking for trouble. We should talk to people. Rupaul was booed roundly.

Romney brought up the “peace dividend” of the Clinton years. “We got the dividend, not the peace.” He also said, “The UN is failing in its mission to protect against genocide.” He also cited uber-genius Charles Krauthammer.

The stage then shifted to random questions.

Rupaul was asked if the other candidates left the republican party. He attacked the Neocons, and cited Eisenhower in 1952 as an example of taking over from warmongering democrats. He forgot that Ike was a military general.

Giuliani was asked if a nuclear Iran was worse than war with Iran, and he unequivocally said yes. He reaffirmed that credibility on the seriousness of going to war would make the sanctions stronger, and that China would see we mean business on Iran. He contrasted Reagan with Carter, with regards to Iran.

Thompson was asked about campaign stumbles and laziness involving Terry Schaivo and the Everglades. Thompson mentioned being a husband and father at 17, a prosecutor at 28, a Watergate Counsel at 30, and a landslide winner in two senate races. He also mentioned shepherding John Roberts through the Senate and ontp the Supreme Court. “If a man can do all that and be lazy, I recommend it to them.”

The focus group had some embarrassments. Some said Hillary would destroy America. This is nonsense. However, more sane people in the room said she would raise their taxes, and is wrong on the issues. This is true. The consensus on the candidates, even if for differing reasons, was on point.

Fred Thompson was sharp, Rudy Giuliani nailed the education question, and the crowd loved any anti-Hillary red meat. McCain is a fine man, but just does not sell himself well. Romney spoke in generalities and did not offer specifics. Huckabee did not help or hurt himself. The other candidates offer so little that I almost turned on the baseball game. I then remembered it was baseball, and at least Rupaul is entertaining.

Thompson and Giuliani won this debate.


Voting Irregularities at the Bloggers Choice Awards

Sunday, October 21st, 2007

I normally post once a day, but this is a special nighttime post regarding the Bloggers Choice Awards. I am in shock to say I have been the victim of voting “irregularities.” I am not claiming fraud as of this moment, but I have had between 1/2 and 1/3 of my votes taken away. Even my own vote was taken away.

I have sent emails to people at

 When the contest was supposed to have ended, I was in the top 3 in the political category, with Daily Kos being 4th. They had 467 votes, so I had more (the top 3 were blocked out to create excitement, which is fine). yet I noticed some people were able to add votes even today, well after the deadline. I did not mind, because even the additional votes Daily Kos got left them at 471, below me.

Yet tonight, after refreshing the screen, my total had dropped from over 471 (again, blocked out) to only 351, putting me back in 4th place. I tried to add my own vote again, and the BCA system would not allow it.

I checked every vote to see who was missing, and it seems that my coworkers, family, and even me, were deleted. I am speculating that because my coworkers are in the same building, it treated their votes as fraud. Some of my coworkers came to my computer to vote. However, they are real people who supported me. This was honest.

My parents voted at the same computer because they only have one computer. Their votes were eliminated.

I wrote an email to Angry Harry and Feministing, my main competitors. I want to make it clear I have no gripes with them. They have quality sites. If anything, I want to make sure they are not victimized either. I cced and in my email. I also contacted Ted Murphy at Payperpost, which is running Postiecon and the BCA. Here is my email.

"Angry Harry/Feministing,

These comments are not meant for posting, but you can if you want. They are meant
for you personally.

I am Eric, and my blog is The Tygrrrr Express. I competed against both of you in
the Bloggers Choice Awards. We were the top 3. If I had to guess, I think I came
in 2nd, possibly edging out Feministing, but not sure I passed Angry Harry. The
Daily Kos was 4th.

Out of nowhere tonight, between 100 and 300 votes of mine were taken away. I am
now back in 4th. This is due to a glitch in the Postiecon system. Many people who
voted for me are my coworkers, and their votes were thrown out because we work in
the same office, and I guess the system thought fraud was at work.

Also, many of my close friends voted for me from my computer when they came to my
home to watch football. My parents had their votes thrown out because the house
has only one computer. My vote for myself was thrown out.

This is not sour grapes. I just feel that if these votes are not counted, the results
could be tarnished.

I think you both have great sites, and your success is deserved. Again, I am not
saying I won. I am saying I was absolutely in the top 3, and am now down to 4th,
with well over 100 votes (and maybe 300) subtracted from my total.

I have contacted Postiecon about this problem, and you both should check your own
votes to see if any are missing.

This is not life or death, but it does matter from an integrity standpoint.


eric aka"

I want to make it clear that I am not Al Gore. I have actual proof, aka hard evidence, that votes of mine were taken away. I just want this to be looked into, and I do not trust that email contact will work. I need to get a live person on the telephone, and these companies do not post their phone numbers.

Ted Murphy is the head sled in charge of all of this. I hope he looks into this.

I do not mind losing. I mind being cheated. I am not positive that I won. However, I am positive I was in the top 3, not 4th.

The purpose of winning this contest was to gain exposure to my blog. I will get that no matter what because I write well. Now I just need to get the bitter taste out of my mouth knowing that my hard work can be invalidated by a computer malfunction.

No wonder people get disenfranchised. How can we count 100 million votes if we cannot even count a few hundred.



NFL 2007–Week 7 Recap

Sunday, October 21st, 2007

Another exciting day in the NFL, or as I call it, a reason to wake up on Sundays (with apologies to those who attend Church).

For those who are looking for my standard NFL Recap, scroll down a few paragraphs. Another football game took place a day earlier involving the coed flag football league I am in. After my bye week due to business travel, the Brown Team I am on had a rematch with the Green Team from our first match. We did not have enough players, so a couple of theirs joined our side. Nevertheless, with two weeks rest, I had a breakout game that nobody besides me should care about.

I normally run short passing routes, but my rested 35 year old legs ran a stop and go route to perfection. The bomb was perfectly thrown, I caught it in stride, and slowed down after crossing the end zone. After pointing to the sky for no reason except that I guess that’s what people who score do, I made sure that the after touchdown spike went far in the air. We were up 14-0.

Later on, I passed up a chance to have a 4th down interception on a Hail Mary by remembering ESPN Analyst Tom Jackson’s advice to just KNOCK IT DOWN! I hit it like a volleyball. Later on, I had a chance at an end zone interception, but a mistimed jump led to me getting bonked in the face. Wobbly, after finding my glasses, I staggered off the field. After 2 or 3 plays, I readjusted them, and came back in. If Jack Youngblood can play in the Superbowl with one leg, I can play with one eye. Besides, I am a Raider. We are pirates, and one eye is all that is needed.

I actually caught a short pass, faked out a couple defenders, and may have scored if my glasses did not come loose again, forcing me to run out of bounds as the defender closed in. On defense, the only pass completed against me was a long bomb. I actually got an entire hand on it, and somehow in midair the receiver ripped it from my hand. Even he seemed surprised.

Since the league was coed, due to an imbalance, I was covering women. I think I accidentally got to second base with one of them even though this was not baseball. She ran into me, and my hand was open. There was no grabbing or squeezing, so she will not be suing me. Also, this league does not have butt-slapping, since every man is one accusation away from being Clarence Thomas. Anyway, after her bouncie bounced against me, I put my hands in the air the same way a player acts when flagged for a penalty.

As for the other woman I covered, we collided once, and she then helped me up. Hey, I was wobbling around one-eyed trying to play football. I retaliated by breaking up a couple passes meant for her. She retaliated by having a boyfriend who is not me. Football is complex.

Anyway, the Brown Team won the game 44-7, and despite a soak in the jacuzzi, like Bill Murray in Space Jam, I am again contemplating retirement. Going out on top with a win is in my thoughts.

The ultimate indignity was when I returned a call to my mother.

“Hi mom. I just got home. I was out playing football.”

She replied, “You mean watching football?”

I said, “No mom, playing. I’m in a league.”

She then quizzically asked, “Isn’t that physical activity?”

Yes, being an unrecognized hero and legend in my own mind is tough, but somebody has got to do it.

Anyway, for those who skipped over the above tale of heroism, there were other football games played besides mine by players even more talented than me. It is in that spirit that I bring you all this week’s NFL Recap.

Tennessee Titans @ Houston Texans–With Former President George Herbert Walker Bush and his wife Barbara in attendance, they and the rest of the fans were treated to an error filled game. Vince Young sat out, allowing Kerry Collins to start. He got hit, fumbled, and had it returned for a touchdown, giving the Texans a 7-3 lead. Matt Schaub then got injured on an interception and left the game. Rob Bironas had 5 field goals in the first half, putting the Titans up 22-7. When Bironas added his 6th field goal, Tennessee led 32-7.

The Texans mounted a furious rally to close to 32-22, when Bironas tied the NFL record with his 7th field goal. Yet Houston went 75 yards in 12 plays in under 2 minutes to close the game to 6 points with 1:37 left. The Texans recovered the onsides kick, but it was nullified by a penalty. The Texans then recovered the onsides kick again. Sage Rosenfeld…yes Sage Rosenfeld…threw a 53 yard bomb to Andre Davis for a touchdown and a 36-35 Houston lead with 57 seconds left. Yes, Tennessee led 32-7 in the 4th quarter. Tennessee still had all 3 timeouts, and Rob Bironas had a chance to make NFL history if he could nail an 8th field goal. Kerry Collins threw a 46 yard pass to Roydell Williams, and the Titans were in range. A 29 yard field goal attempt for the win and NFL history. Gary Kubiak called the timeout to ice a kicker who had made 7 field goals. Bironas nailed it. No matter what happens from here on out, Rob Bironas is now an NFL legend. Sage Rosenfeld had 4 touchdown passes in the 4th quarter alone, and the Texans almost overcame a game in which they had 6 turnovers Apparently the NFL Network missed the ending, because they had the Texans winning 36-35, with a big “Texans win” sign. Dewey also defeated Truman. Nevertheless, it was eventually corrected. 38-36 Titans

Baltimore Ravens @ Buffalo Bills–An ugly defensive game involving the Ravens…water is wet. This time it was the Bills kicking field goals, three of them in the first half for a 9-0 Bills lead. Willis McGahee scored on a 47 yard touchdown run before the half. Kyle Boller filled in for an injured Steve McNair, while Trent Edwards continued to make a case for keeping the job when J.P. Losman gets healthy. In the second half Lindell added a 4th field goal, and Buffalo led 19-7. At that point, both teams tried to lose. The Ravens drove inside the Buffalo 10 yard line and turned it over on downs, only to have Trent Edwards throw an interception to Samari Rolle. Although it set up a touchdown, it was not enough to overcome a solid defensive effort by Buffalo. 19-14 Bills

New England Patriots @ Miami Dolphins–The 6-0 New England Patriots, despite Tom Brady and Randy Moss, will at some point lose a game and fall short of the 1972 Dolphins. The 0-6 Miami Dolphins, Despite Trent Green out for the season, will at some point win a game and avoid duplicating the 1976 Buccaneers. Neither occurred today, and this is not why they play the games. Goliath beat up David, stole his girlfriend, and took his lunch money.

Brady threw 2 touchdown passes in the first quarter as the Patriots got off to a quick 14-0 start and never looked back. After the Dolphins actually drove and scored, Willie Anderson returned the ensuing kickoff 77 yards for a touchdown and a 21-7 lead. The game officially became “unfair” when Tom Brady threw a bomb into double coverage, and Randy Moss outjumped them both and caught it for Brady 3rd touchdown pass and a 28-7 Patriots lead. At that point Brady had a perfect 158.3 quarterback rating, which would be even more impressive if anybody knew what that meant or how it was calculated. A few minutes later the Patriots ran the exact same play, with the exact same result. I thought it was instant replay, but it was a second bomb, Moss out-jumping two defenders, and Brady’s 4th touchdown pass and a 35-7 lead. Even the rare time they punted, they downed it at the 2 yard line. Just before the half, Brady’s 5th touchdown pass gave the Patriots a 42-7 lead. At halftime, coach Cam Cameron called Norv Turner to get his old job back at San Diego. No, not really. Brady has 27 touchdown passes, and Randy Moss has 10 touchdown receptions. No, they did not all happen in this game. It only seemed like it. 49-28 Patriots

San Francisco 49ers @ New York Giants–17 years ago these teams played two of the greatest defensive games ever played. Today a pair of overrated teams played in a game that was noteworthy for Amani Toomer becoming the all time Giants touchdown receiving leader. His catch from Manning put the Giants up 6-0. A Trent Dilfer touchdown pass put the 49ers up 7-6, the missed extra point being the difference. Brandon Jacobs ran hard, and the G-men led 19-7 at the half. The game was never close, and the 49ers scored a garbage touchdown to fall way short. Dilfer was sacked 6 times, and had an interception returned 75 yards for a touchdown. 33-15 Giants

Atlanta Falcons @ New Orleans Saints–Last year guys named Gleason and Deloach were part of the greatest blocked punt in NFL history. The Saints were the feel good story of the year, and the Falcons, though underachievers, had the best quarterback in football. This year, with respect to Katrina victims, the levees have broken on the seasons of both of these very bad teams. Nevertheless, it was a seesaw game. Down 16-14, A drew Brees swing pass to Reggie Bush went for a few yards and a otuchdown. What made it impressive was that Bush was stopped cold at the 2 yard line, and suddenly morphed into the second coming of Mike Alstott. Then, for an encore, the 2 point conversion was electric, as he ran way wide and dove for the pileon. That was the difference. New Orleans has won back to back games. 22-16 Saints

Arizona Cardinals @ Washington Redskins–The Cardinals entire history was summed up on one play, that being the last play of the first half. Down 14-0, with 4th and goal at the 2, Kurt Warner threw a touchdown pass. The extra point was then blocked, and kicker Neil Rackers got into a fight with a Redskins player, with offsetting face mask penalties. Kurt Warner threw a 27 yard touchdown pass to London Fletcher. Unfortunately, Fletcher plays defense for the Redskins. Rod Cartwright returned the opening kickoff 80 yards to the Cardinals 21 yard line. Given the beauty of this game, it set up a missed field goal. The teams exchanged touchdowns, and with 2 minutes left, Kurt Warner had the Cardinals on the move. A swing pass went for 32 yards down to the Redskins 3 yard line. The Cardinals scored the touchdown to close within 2 points. The earlier blocked extra point loomed large. In one of the most bizarre play calls I have seen in some time, Kurt Warner remained on the sidelines for the conversion. Wide receiver Anquon Boldin lined up at quarterback, rolled out, and threw an interception. Yes, these are the Cardinals. Of course, 20 seconds was plenty of time for insanity. The Cardinals outgained the Redskins 364 to 160 in yards, but that does not equal points. Nevertheless, the Cardinals recovered the onsides kick, and with 10 seconds left, Neil Rackers was in range for a 55 yard field goal attempt.

On a side note, back in the 1980s, the Cardinals and the Redskins were playing for the division championship. On the last play of the game, the Redskins led 29-27, and the Cardinals had a 50 yard field goal attempt by Neil O’Donohue. The kick was way wide left, and the Redskins won the division. The Cardinals went 5-11 the following year, and have been terrible since.

As for the game today, the kick was barely wide left. Again, these are the Cardinals. 21-19 Redskins.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Detroit Lions–It seems like only like last year that these teams were fighting for the # 1 draft pick. It was last year, and both of them failed to achieve that. This year both teams are above 500, proving only that the season is still relatively early. Tampa Bay had the ball for almost 36 minutes, yet did nothing with it. Jason Hanson had 3 field goals, and the Lions led 16-7 at that point. Tampa Bay got the Lions one yard line in the 4th quarter, where they then fumbled the ball away. Detroit went down the field, and a great reverse play by Calvin Johnson went for a 32 yard touchdown and a 23-7 Lions lead. The Buccaneers, in a trend throughout the league this year, scored a touchdown, missed the 2 point conversion, and recovered the onsides kick. It set up a field goal, but the next onsides kick was recovered by Detroit. John Kitna completed 18 straight passes, and 37 of 45 overall, in a losing effort. 23-16 Lions

New York Jets @ Cincinnati Bengals–Two teams expected to go to the playoffs instead are having nightmarish seasons. Chad Pennington threw two touchdown passes to Laverneous Coles, one a 57 yard bomb and the other a short pass that was helped along with awful Cincinnati tackling on defense. The Jets led 20-10 at the half. A 23-10 lead evaporated in typical Jets fashion, and the Bengals led by a point early in the 4th quarter. Another touchdown with 6 minutes left put the Jets down by 8 points. An interception return for a touchdown with 37 seconds completed the New York meltdown. They did score a touchdown and a two point conversion on a Hail Mary on the last play of the game, which meant nothing. Kenny Watkins had three touchdowns on the day, and the Bengals 28 straight point stunned the Jets, but not anybody who follows football. Once again, J-E-T-S stands for “Just end the season.” 38-31 Bengals

Chicago Bears @ Philadelphia Eagles–This was not the Fog Bowl, so neither offense had an excuse for why they played in a fog. Nevertheless, Buddy Ryan must have been smiling somewhere as both of his former defensive teams slugged it out, with Philly leading a battle of field goals 9-3 at the half. Chicago added 3 field goals in the second half to lead 12-9, but Philly actually scored a touchdown with 5 minutes left. Chicago got the ball back with 1:57 left, no timeouts, and 97 yards to go, but two field goals, even on a day like today, was unlikely. They needed a touchdown of their own. There was no way they would drive the length of the field, except that they did. They got to the Eagles 15 with 15 seconds left. Griese threw a touchdown pass to Muhsin Muhammad with 9 seconds left. How fitting that shortly after Ramadan, a fellow named Muhammad had a feast against a normally good Philly defense. In a shocker, Chicago prevailed. 19-16 Bears

St. Louis Rams @ Seattle Seahawks–Matt Hasselbeck had a touchdown pass in a sloppy first half, and Seattle led 10-3 at the half. Seattle wide receiver Nate Burleson returned the second half kickoff 91 yards for a touchdown. Seattle coasted the rest of the way. 33-6 Seahawks.

Minnesota Vikings @ Dallas Cowboys–Tony Romo threw a touchdown pass to Terrell Owens, and Adrian Peterson ran for a touchdown in the first half. A fumble was returned by Cedric Williams 60 yards for a touchdown and a 14-7 Vikings lead. After Marion Barber ran it in to tie the game, the key play occurred later on. Minnesota had the go ahead field goal attempt, which was blocked and returned 68 yards for a touchdown by Patrick Watson. A shellshocked Minnesota team fumbled on their next drive, leading to a Cowboys field goal and a 10 point game. Tarvaris Jackson finished 5 for 17 for 59 yards. 24-14 Cowboys

Kansas City Chiefs @ Oakland Raiders–For further coverage of the game of the day, go to The most impressive Raider appeared in a commercial before the game. He had a guitar and sang, “Go to Free Credit dot com…I should have seen this coming at me, like an atom bomb.”

I remarked before the game that this was a winnable home game, and would make a difference in whether the Raiders went 6-10, or even 8-8, as opposed to 3-13. The first half was as ugly as expected. No, it was uglier. KC had a pair of field goals, but in the second quarter Culpepper led a sustained drive. On 4th and 1 from the KC 17, the Raiders ran off tackle instead of straight up the middle. Of course, the play got blown up in the backfield. The Raiders had as many first downs in the first half as punts, with four of each.

Raider punter Shane Lechler may or may not be Jewish, but he was the victim of a suicide bombing in the 3rd quarter. Not since Tony Siragusa belly flopped on Rich Gannon have the Raiders been victimized with such a bad hit and a non-call.

This game was so riveting that when I asked my friend, who was comfortable on my couch, his thoughts, he replied, “Do I have to have any thoughts?”

In the 3rd quarter, this hideous game got even more hideous when Larry Johnson broke off a 54 yard run. It set up a field goal attempt which may have iced the game, even though it was only the 3rd quarter. The kick was wide left. On the next play, Culpepper threw a 60 yard bomb to Jerry Porter. On the next play, Culpepper threw a 20 yard touchdown pass to Ronald Curry, who redeemed himself for an earlier dropped pass that could have been a touchdown. After 42 minutes of misery, in 2 plays the Raiders had taken a 7-6 lead.

Determined not to expand the lead, on the next series Raiders center Jeremy Newberry fumbled the ball against his own behind. Yes, you read that right. Culpepper was in the shotgun, and Newberry thought he was under center. I never want to know how this happens. Luckily, Culpepper recovered the ball. Unfortunately, Warren Sapp just missed a sack on Damon Huard, who then threw a 58 yard bomb to the Raiders 16 yard line. However, KC burned 2 timeouts on this drive. Larry Johnson plunged over from, a yard out, and the Raiders burned a timeout on the 2 point conversion attempt. It failed, and KC retained a 5 point lead with 11:30 left.

With 6 minutes left and the Raiders on the move, KC called their final timeout. Seabass kicked a field goal, and with 2 minutes left, the Raiders got the ball back, drove to midfield, and denied Sebastian Janikowski a winning field goal attempt when Culpepper threw an interception in the waning seconds. Only Marcus Allen could have loved this game. 12-10 Chiefs

Pittsburgh Steelers @ Denver Broncos was the Sunday night game. Pittsburgh jumped to a 7-0 lead, but by halftime Denver led 21-7. Pittsburgh trailed 28-14 in the 4th quarter, but rallied to tie the game at 28 apiece with 72 seconds to go. However, the last play of the game was a 49 yard field goal attempt by Jason Elam. As expected, he drilled it perfectly, and Denver won. Roethlisberger had 4 touchdown passes, and Cutler had 3. Both quarterbacks had 2 interceptions. 31-28 Broncos

Indianapolis Colts @ Jacksonville Jaguars was the Monday night game. This was the game that would tell if the Colts are too finesse to handle the physical Jaguars defense. The Colts are fine. This was the game that would tell if the Jags, a good team, are ready to be a great team. They are not. Also, for all the justified praise of Peyton Manning, Joseph Addai, Marvin Harrison, and company, this was the game that reminded everybody that the key to whether or not the Colts repeat as champions is defensive standout Bob Sanders. He was flying around the field all game, and the Indy defense shut down the Jags 17-0 at halftime. The only bright spot for Jacksonville was a 65 yard kickoff return in the second half that set up a touchdown to cut the score to 17-7.

Again, for all the talk of the Colts offense, Tony Dungy is a defensive guy at heart. A safety put the Colts up 19-7, and their defense harassed Jacksonville the rest of the game. The Colts offense has been great for years, but getting Bob Sanders back from injury last year keyed their defense, and that is why they are the defending champions. 29-7 Colts


Sam Brownback and Me

Saturday, October 20th, 2007

Campaigns recently came to an end for Sam Brownback, and for me. Mine may or may not have been triumphant, pending final results, while his was disappointing. Nevertheless, I learned a lot about the process from this experience.

First I want to say that I think that Sam Brownback is a decent, honorable, genuine human being. He has served the people of Kansas well, and could be their next Governor in 2010. He simply had no shot at being President. He did the right thing by dropping out.

He had every right to run. Yet the socialistic notion that all candidates deserve equal face time doesn’t wash. A person has to establish credibility first, and then they get the face time and the money. Sam Brownback came across as rigid. Even though he preached optimism, he sounded bland, if not dour. Even if the social conservatives were enough to win the nomination alone, which they are not, they simply felt other candidates were better. Unlike some people, who refuse to get off the stage, Sam Brownback showed class by accepting the results and leaving the race with dignity.

I have been thinking about this since I have been competing in the Bloggers Choice Awards.

I went to bed last night knowing that I was in the top 3, with the votes to be announced on November 10th in Las Vegas. Yet when I woke up this afternoon at 1:30pm (what a nice way to start the day), I noticed that the Daily Kossacks had a few more votes added to their total. The rules clearly stated the contest ended Friday, October 19th, at 11:55pm. Are we really at the point in society where possible controversy can erupt in a blogging competition for crying out loud?

If anybody still wants to vote for me, they can, but I am done campaigning. It is draining. When Sam Brownback dropped out, he got the ability to do something that the candidates still in the race have trouble doing…spend more time with their families. Mr. Brownback is a family man, and I suspect he would rather be with them in Kansas then touring around the country on a quixotic journey.

I say this because I entered the blogosphere on March 11th, 2007. I have only been doing this 7 months. I never wanted to blog. I am technologically incompetent. I got dragged into it by a hot, Jewish republican woman who told me I had to do it. I would rather she tell me I had to do…well, that can wait for another column. I do want to treat her like a ketchup bottle, but she hammered me in a car and told me I had a message and style worth spreading.

I sat down, over the next few days and had to figure out several things. I was not going to do this half-baked. Several questions needed to be asked.

First of all, would I enjoy doing this? I came to the conclusion that I would, and it has been a joy, The minute I will stop enjoying it I will cease doing it.

Secondly, what was the purpose of my entry into the blogosphere? What was my cause? I did not want to just have an online diary where I told people, “Today I had a piece of toast. It was delicious. I went with margarine instead of butter.” If I wanted to bore people with nonsense, I could spend time with family and friends, who tolerate me up to a certain generous point. It turned out that I did have one cause that I wanted to talk about, that being “ideological bigotry.” There is a hatred of people in this country just for being conservatives, or republicans, or religious in any way. I felt ideological bigotry was as poisonous as any other kind of hatred, and I wanted to try and stop it wherever I witnessed it. I was especially interested in ideological bigotry in my own Jewish community.

Third, I had to figure out a way to say the same things everybody else was saying, but in a different way. I figured my seriousness of purpose mixed with warped humor, with a splash of occasional inappropriate sexual commentary unbecoming a republican, would lead to a spicy column. However, my main thrust was that I was going to raise the level of discourse. I would be hard hitting against liberalism, but I would not take cheap shots against human beings. My disagreements would be political, and not personal.

The fourth goal would be to see if this could turn from a hobby into a successful business. I promised myself I would give it one year, and after one year, I would see where I was. I would either solicit advertisers, or fold the operation completely. Then I began blogging.

I would excitedly look at my counter, and notice that one day I had 12 hits, but another day I had 15 hits. Heck, one day I even cracked 20 hits. Yet as much as I felt confidence in my writing, I was not a salesperson. I was not a marketer. I had to do the one thing I hate doing, which is shouting to the world, “Hey, notice me.” As a WordPress guy, I contacted other political blogs on WordPress and asked them to notice what I wrote.

Then one of my friends suggested I start posting my columns on RealClearPolitics. I read that site every day, but did not know there was a place for bloggers.

One day a blogger named Snooper read some of my stuff and liked it, and asked if he could do a “pingback,” or “trackback.” I had no idea what he meant, but he explained that he wanted to put my words on his site, with a link to me to make sure I got proper credit. Other bloggers such as Spree, Blandly Urbane and the Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler noticed my stuff. I began to attract notice around politically conservative circles that I was a common sense conservative republican who wrote well.

Yet while that increased my readership, the next decision made an even bigger difference. I decided that I would embrace people who fiercely disagreed with me and encourage them to visit my site. They were not allowed to use profanity or engage in hate speech, but disagreeing with every word I said was within bounds. The point is I encouraged dialogue. I wanted to raise the level of discourse. For the sake of honesty, talking only among people who agree with me is not only boring, but it allows my razor sharp intellectual edges to go dull. Debate is healthy. Little by little, word spread among liberals that while I was definitely not balanced (heck my guidance counselor said I was unbalanced), I was fair. My site was the politically conservative republican site where liberal democrats could visit and be treated respectfully (at least by me, I give my commenters wide latitude).

I started getting over 200 hits per day within a couple months, and a friend of mine told me about a conservative blogging site called Townhall. I somehow managed to have one of my smart-aleck remarks published on their front page for three weeks. I then also set up a  blogspot site so that Google through Technorati would bring me up on searches.

Yet the real change came when I heard about the Bloggers Choice Awards. I decided to enter in the political category, and told myself I would only actively pursue it if I could win. I had no desire to waste time and energy.

I am not a campaigner. Asking people to vote for me is demeaning. I am just not a salesman. Yet I had enough support to make it into the top 20. Others knew about the contest months before I did. So for three months, I went full bore and asked people to vote for me.

Some would argue that winning this would just be a popularity contest, and was meaningless since there was not monetary prize. To me this is nonsense. The Iowa Straw Poll is the same thing, and some candidates even pay people $25 per person to vote for them. Also, like the Iowa Straw Poll, some famous bloggers did not actively solicit votes like I did. I was competing against people like Michelle Malkin, Arianna Huffington and the Daily Kos. They could snap their fingers and have more votes than me, so even if I beat them, they did not try to win.

This is false. In the last few days of the competition, people at the Daily Kos saw a spike in their votes. They were competing.

Ann Coulter’s people told me that putting a link to my blog was against the rules. Michelle Malkin’s site was much friendlier.

It is one thing to contact people and ask them to look at my blog. It is another to ask them to vote for me. Townhall people were supportive, and so were many on WordPress. Yet in the last month of the contest, I actually got banned from contacting people on the website Stumbleupon because three people complained I was a spammer. So what? I was polite, friendly, and yes, I was soliciting them to vote for me. A bunch of people liked me, and now I cannot even return their friendly messages. Oh well.

In the last few days, I even went on two sites I swore I would never go on…Facebook and MySpace. I was told anyone over 30 on those sites was a sexual predator, but I had an election to win. Facebook sent me a warning to slow down my contacting of people. MySpace was more lenient.

The Grizzly Groundswell Governors helped me out significantly during the final push, as did others. Pastor Ed Boston was very helpful.

I also changed my strategy from “vote for me,” to “vote for me and help me crush the Daily Kossacks.” I am sure I accidentally contacted a few liberals who then voted for Kos…oh well. Nevertheless, one day before the contest “ended,” I had surpassed the Kossacks. Whether I finish 1, 2 or 3, the Kossacks got knocked down to fourth. Thank you to all who helped!

Everything, however, comes at a price. As a single Jewish man, I have neglected Jdate lately. My recent trips to Atlanta and elsehwere had no romance because I was busy chasing votes instead of women. My goal in life is to impregnate a Jewish republican brunette, and putting that on hold at my age is not wise. In fact, the last two days there were plenty of social events, and instead I chose to stay home and solicit votes by telephone and email. For two days this is ok, but it will not become my way of life. I skipped a political forum Thursday night, a softball game Friday night, and several invitations to Temple that would have been so much fun.

I still have so much to learn. There are actually two different blogging conventions in Las Vegas back to back in the same convention center. One on November 8th and 9th will be led by Blog Expo and Media World, and Hugh Hewitt will be there. Yet the Bloggers Choice Awards is through PostieCon, and that will be November 10th. I might have to skip the first one. Yes, Mary Katharine Ham will be there, but no, even that is not enough to get me to miss two days off of work. I have only two vacation days left, and I want to see my parents in December. I might go to the second one.

After November 10th, win or lose in this contest, I have two more thing to figure out blogwise.  First, do I want to compete in the blogging competition again? I do not know. It starts the day after this one ends. I refuse to be a year round campaigner. I want my social life back. Some people begin running for president the day after a presidential election. That is not me. I will campaign four months, and that is it.

Secondly, and more importantly, can I charge advertisers? I have no idea how to do it. This conference will teach me. I was going to wait a year, but after 7 months, it is time to find out what my role, if any, in the blogosphere, awaits me.

I doubt I will disappear completely, since as I said, I enjoy it. I have made some wonderful friends. However, I have friends in real life, and I am looking forward to coming up for air today and seeing them.

Whether or not I won this contest, I will still have them. I will also feel more ocmfortable around them knowing I do not have to ask them for anything, even if they are happy to help me.

My obligations are to myself. My main obligation is to keep my integrity, and that includes the integrity of my column. Winning a  blogging award is meaningless if the quality of my writing slides.

So on November 10th, either, or me will be the 2007 Best Political blog at the Bloggers Choice Awards. I hope they are there, so I can get to know them. They were worthy competition, and if either of them win, I will have a hearty congratulatory handshake for them. I personally would prefer somebody that is already not a household name like Huffington or Kos win. New talent needs to be discovered to keep old talent from getting stale.

If I do not win, I am still proud of what I accomplished in the last seven months. Now I can go back to increasing my readership. If next year I am old news, and do not attract any support, I will not hang around. I will do the honorable thing, like Sam Brownback did, and return home to those who care about me whether or not I have a dollar to my name. I now top 500 hits per day, approach 1000 hits per day, and whether that goes to 4000 per day or zero, it has been a thrilling experience.

Thank heavens this contest is over. There are republican Jewish brunettes on Jdate and at social events, and they are not going to get pregnant by themselves (I should consult Feministing or Angry Harry on this one, maybe they can).

Off to play football, eat red meat, and pursue the aforementioned ladies. On Sunday it is watching football, and only Monday will I return to politicking.

Of course, when I say politicking, I mean blogging, not campaigning for myself. Ick!





RJC in DC–Mitt Romney

Friday, October 19th, 2007

Mitt Romney spoke at the Republican Jewish Coalition 2008 Candidates Forum. As always, he was engaging, funny, and deadly serious when necessary.

I had the pleasure of meeting Mitt Romney earlier in 2007 in Los Angeles at the California Republican Party Convention. I was unfamiliar with him, and he was barely above an asterisk in the polls. George Allen had just self-destructed, providing an opening for a fresh face. He had a couple of great lines I still remember.

“People criticize me for not getting along as well with the democrats in the Massachussetts legislature as Arnold Schwarzenegger gets along with the democrats in California. Of course Arnold gets along better with the democrats. He sleeps with one.”

“When I was asked to head up the Olympics, and my face was on the cover of magazines and sports pages, my sons came to me and express that in all their lives, the last thing they ever thought they would see is their dad anywhere near the sports section.”

I asked him a question at that event, but because it was not a serious question, I did so privately.

“Governor Romney, despite your willingness to be tough on crime, your state does not have tough drunk driving laws. Are you facing any opposition from anyone in your state with regards to strengthening these laws?”

He laughed and replied, “I just try to stay off the road when he gets in his car, and on the road when I get in mine.” 

I then took a picture with him with my surprisingly effective 18th century camera.

Before getting to the substance of Mitt Romney’s remarks, which were plentiful, a couple issues should immediately be confronted for good.

First of all, people refusing to vote for a man because of his being a Mormon are bigots. Period. End of discussion on this issue. Next, some people complain that he is too perfect. Yes, he looks like a prototypical successful management type out of “Dilbert.” His hair is perfect, his jaw is perfect, his wife and family are perfect. People who object to this are guilty of jealousy. I think we should celebrate the fact that a man in a career as tough as politics produced good children. Those who think he is all image, too “slick,” and “polished,” should remember that we live in a media driven world. We want candidates to look an act a certain way, but if they do it “too well,” we denigrate them. We criticize some candidates for marital problems, divorces, and even baldness, and then turn around and criticize a happily married man with good hair. Those who claim that he is “scripted” do not seem to have that objection to the democrats running for President, and they read off of scripts that were popular 40 years ago.

Mitt Romney is not a top tier candidate because of his style. His appearance before the RJC reflected a man who clearly “gets it” with regards to what America is facing. With that, here are the bulk of his remarks.

“I believe all Jewish liberals should be converted…to republicanism.”

“In Alaska, Jewish democrats pray at the Synagogue of the Frozen Chosen.”

“Boundaries are not the issue in the Middle East. A Palestinian state is not the issue…nor is Palestinian poverty. A lack of healthcare and housing is not the issue.”

“The Palestinians have their view and the Israelis have their view. Isn’t there some truth to both views on Israel? No!”

“Todays democrats are like Neville Chamberlain.”

Governor Romney then outlined four pillars of foreign policy.

“1), Sucess means no safe havens for Hamas and Hezbollah. We also should have refused to provide security for Khatami to the airport from Harvard. Armageddonijad (my spelling) should be indicted in New York, not invited to New York.”

“2) We need to ask the dmeocrats point blank…’Will you stop a nuclear Iran?’ I will.”

“3) We must pressure Arab states.”

“4) We must let the Iranian people know that being a nuclear power is not a source of pride.”

He continued with his remarks along the same lines.

“America will never allow the destruction of Israel.”

“Israel is a nation that arose (literally) from human ashes. Never again.”

“We must overwhelm global jihad…and add 100,000 more troops.”

“The United Nations has failed. Only free nations should work in a new group.”

“(With regards to) The U.N. Human Rights Council, the U.S. should end support for this sad spectacle.”

Governor then took questions. The first one was about fossil fuels. He stated that the President “must be the Educator in Chief, must show the horrors of $100 or even $150 per barrel of oil. We need more nuclear power, and more uses of liquified coal.”

One person asked a question regarding torture. It was a question I had thought of many times. The person wanted to know exactly what torture was, and what did not rise to that level (burning cigarettes as opposed to sleep deprivation, etc). The fellow listed many tiems, and Governor Romney jokingly interjected, “You need to add to that list.”

When the fellow asked the Governor to flat out state what was within bounds and what was out of bounds, Governor Romney replied, “I will not do that, no Presidential candidate should definte what torture is, because that will aid the enemy. America does not torture people, but we will not tell our enemies exactly what we will and will not do.”

Anybody who wants to accuse Governor Romney of pandering should reconsider, at least with this issue. I reversed my own view,and accepted his explanation as one I had not thought of before.

At one point his wife came slightly closer to him on the stage, and he asked, “Would you like to say something?” She replied, “I just want to stand next to you.” He responded, “You can always stand next to me.” Whether that was scripted or spontaneous should not diminish that they are a happily married couple, which again, in our society is something positive.

He then offered other responses to questions asked.

“President Bush has kept us safe for the last six years. He fought for the Patriot Act.”

“When captured, Khalid Sheik Mohammed said, ‘See you in New York with my lawyers.’ No, he did not go to New York with his lawyers. He went to Guantanamo Bay where he belongs.”

When asked about healthcare, he stated, “Higher regulations lead to higher premiums. We need to focus on private, market based solutions.”

When asked why Evangelical Christians might be hesitant to support a Mormon, he replied, “I don’t know, ask my neighbors.” The crowd laughed, and he continued. “Evangelicals share my values. Iowa has evangelicals, and the polls show me ahead in Iowa. I am doing well in New Hampshire. My own polls show me ahead in South Carolina, of course I make them up.” The crowd laughed again, and he got in a very subtle dig at his competitors. Actually, I would not even call it a dig it wa sso mild. “The issue is not Mormonism, divorces, or age. The issue is leadership.”

When asked why we would support Fatah, given that they are just as bad as Hamas, Romney did not tell the crowd what they wanted to hear.

“As for Fatah, I want more evidence about them. How can you have peace talks when there is no one to talk to?”

He ended with some remarks about the nobility of America.

“In the history of the world, people win wars and take land. America wins wars, but does not take the land.”

Mitt Romney is a self made millionaire with a clear grasp of the defining issue of our time, that being the War on Terror. He has never wavered on that position, and he clearly understands that everything our forefathers fought, bled and died for is at stake.

Governor Romney deserves to be a top tier Presidential Candidate.

Now if only I could only get my hair to be half as perfect as his is.

May God Bless his him and his family. Good luck on the campaign trail Governor.


RJC in DC–Fred Thompson

Thursday, October 18th, 2007

Fred Thompson was the last candidate to speak at the 2008 RJC Candidates Forum. As a tribute to liberals, I will be doing the reviews backwards. Before going over the substance of Thompson’s remarks, which were in abundance, let’s get the nonsense out of the way.

Every joke about him seems to involve canines. One reporter referred to him as “Deputy Dog,” and Stephen Colbert (a candidate himself…as Don King says, “Only in America”) referred to Fred as an “Alpha Dog,” due to his prowess with the ladies. Also, the lazy, plodding, lumbering bassett hound in “Smokey and the Bandit” was named Fred.

Now for those who actually care about serious, intelligent matters, let’s discuss the real Fred Thompson. When people say that he acts like he did not always have a burning desire to be president, he replies, “Yes, you’re right. I didn’t spend my entire life wanting to be president.” Just because the man does not rant and rave, or give fire and brimstone speeches, does not mean he lacks passion or fire. He simply conducts himself with dignity and class, which more people should do.

Having said that, the question would be if a southerner Christian driving a pickup truck could connect with a Jewish audience, many who were not from the South. Based on his performance at the forum, absolutely. Below are some of his remarks.

“As the last speaker of the day, I know I stand in the way of you and the refreshments. I’ll keep that in mind.”

“After hearing remarks from my spouse, I know I’m a comedown, there is nothing I can do about it.”

“Laws come from God, not government.”

“We (Americans) have shed more blood for other nations’ liberties.”

“The prosperity threat is the same old siren song of raising taxes.”

“The alternative minimum tax was supposed to affect 155 people. It affects 20 million people.”

“Under the left we will fall into a comfortable mediocrity and second rate status.”

“The liberal philosophy must be rejected at all costs.”

“This war will be with us long after Iraq is in the rearview mirror.”

“NATO is spending less and less on defense.”

“(With regards to) America and Israel, our cultural and religious ties are strong, our security interests are clear, and we share a common goal…peace.”

“Iran is the premier state sponsor of terrorism in the world today.”

“If we lose (in Iraq), we will have another Tehran, Gaza…another fundamentalist Islamic state.”

“We must do more to protect the next generation.”

“General Petraeus keeps warningus about Iran. We need to listen.”

“Lebanon is now a hostage state. Iran will not become a nuclear threat.”

“The nuclear option is never off the table.”

Senator Thompson then took questions, and I was the first person to ask him a question. I spoke quickly to pack many words in without droning on.

I stated, “Senator, it’s an honor sir.” He thanked me. I then continued.

“Senator, I am a republican blogger (yes, this was a shameful attempt at self promotion, and it worked) who understands that with freedom of the press comes responsibility. Are you willing to enforce the Bush Doctrine that anyone harboring or aiding terrorists is a terrorist, even if it means cracking down on our own cultural institutions? Two examples are Poison Ivy League universities doing Tea With Mussolini and Columbian Coffee with Armageddonijad, and our troops getting killed because their movements are being given up by the Jayson Blair Times (the crowd and the Senator cracked up at that point, where I said, “The Jewish fellow running that paper does not speak for me”)? How do you as a member of the media yourself balance freedom of speech with the fact that we cannot have our media getting our troops murdered, and we cannot have our students being lectured by a terrorist who belongs in Guantanamo Bay?”

Fred Thompson started out by wagging his finger at me in mock anger and indignation and said, “First of all, let me say that I resent being called a member of the media!”

The crowd erupted in laughter, and I said into the microphone, “I apologize.” The Senator then continued.

“I was once a member of the media. I did a little television and movies now and then. I will do what is necessary to keep the American people safe. Yes, I will put pressure on institutions that break the law. If they cross the line, I will get them. Political pressure can be applied, but so can market pressure. We believe in the free market, and we have a right to apply pressure. The wingnuts have a right to speak, but they fail to understand that normal Americans also have a right to speak. There are more of us, and we need to make our voices loud and clear that we will not tolerate violations of law. We have the power to vote with our wallets.”

I was thrilled by his answer, because he did not give the mealy mouthed tepid line about we cherish the Media’s right to absolute power under the first amendment to destroy anything else. Let them stop harassing my second amendment, and I might hold them in less miserable esteem. More questions followed from others.

One woman asked if there was such a thing as Moderate Arab governments. The Senator handled it deftly.

“Jordan is a moderate Arab government. Jordan is friendly. Saudi Arabia is not friendly.”

When asked a question about our violent culture, he replied, “Music and prime time television does factor in, but the big problem is the breakdown of the family. Blaming everything else is not the solution, and I am not going to legislate the second amendment.”

With regards to federalism, he stated, “People think a Federalist stance means a larger federal government. It doesn’t. I don’t like to use the phrase ‘states rights'”

When asked about the founding fathers, he pointed out that not everything is the same as back then. “For one, transportation and communication are different from when the founding fathers were around.” He explained that some issues do require flexibility with the changing times.

When asked about what joint operations the U.S. would undertake with Israel, in relation to a recent Israeli strike against Syria, Thompson was emphatic.

“Nobody running for President can reveal joint USA/Israeli strikes.”

For those who thought he was willing to pander to a Jewish audience, he laid down the law when asked about clemency for Jonathan Pollard.

“No. He spied on my country, and needs to serve out his term.”

Many in the audience, including myself, appreciated his candor. I also agree with his answer, to the consternation of others.

When asked about negotiating with North Korea, he replied, “North Korea has never lived up to any agreement.”

A softball question about Arthur Branch, and how they could beat Hillary, was answered humorously.

“I don’t like to brag…actually that’s not true, I do like to brag…When Arthur Branch is being warm, fuzzy, and lovable…that’s me. When Arthur Branch is being mean and surly…that’s not me.”

Thompson then went on to explain correctly that framing the election around Hillary is a mistake. It has to be about our ideas and principles, and when we adhere to conservative principles, we win. He said,  “I refuse to move to the middle like Hillary. I stick to conservative principles. Don’t react to Hillary, we have to focus on ourselves. The election is us and the people, not us versus Hillary.”

Sticking with that theme, he said, “We must elect judges who interpet the constitution, not make it up.”

When asked about Reagan as the geat communicator, Thompson replied, “Reagan was an actor, but that is not why he was a great communicator. Reagan was a great communicator because he was believable. He was believable because he truly believed.”   

When he was done, he did again warn the audience that he was perfectly willing to stay around, but that the refreshments had arrived if they didn’t. Many stayed. I managed to meet him personally. When I asked to take a picture of him, and he saw my disposable camera that I buy at the grocery store and throw out after using it, he replied, “Now that’s my kind of camera.” His wife was near us, so I asked that she be in the picture as well, and she happily obliged.

I have to say that while his intial remarks were funny, I was worried he might get off to a slow start when the laughter subsided. Fred is simply not flashy. Yet he got stronger as his speech went on. The crowd liked him, and respected that he was honest with us.

Fred is simply a very likable fellow, and I went into his speech not sure of what to make of him. Now I can say that heis presidential timber, and deserves his status as a top tier candidate.

To steal a line from “Die Harder,” all I can say is, with regards to the presidential primaries, “Back ’em, stack ’em, and rack ’em.”

This Alpha Dog has little bark, but serious bite.

Go get ’em Fred.


The Republican Jewish Coalition 2008 Candidates Forum

Wednesday, October 17th, 2007

I had the pleasure of attending the Republican Jewish Coalition 2008 Candidates Forum in Washington, DC.

This was not a pep rally. It was an ultra serious policy conference. It was also better than anything one will see on any debates.

Debates are set up so that candidates are prepared to give off snappy one liners and rehearsed jokes from the stump. This forum did not have the candidates on stage at the same time. Sam Brownback, Rudy Giuliani, John McCain, Mitt Romney, and Fred Thompson each addressed the crowd for about an hour. Mike Huckabee was unable to attend due to a scheduling conflict. The empty threats of protests from the Rupaul supporters never materialized. He was not invited due to this being a Jewish audience, and his record on Jewish issues is what it is.

There was also a breakfast for all women attendees featuring the wives of the candidates. It was well attended and well received.

The one thing I want to emphasize is that this was not a crowd looking for slogans, or condescending pablum about Israel being important. Yes, Jewish audiences are concerned about Jewish issues, but unlike a liberal crowd, the Republican Jewish Coalition sees a direct parallel between the survival of Israel, and America’s greater Global War on Terror. This audience considered the War on Terror to be the primary issue of our time.

To condense each candidate’s remarks would cheapen them, and the event itself. Therefore, over the next few days I will break down each candidate’s appearance. In addition, several U.S. Senators attended a midday luncheon, and their remarks will be covered as well.

Lastly, I want to take a moment ona  personal note to apologize to Sam Brownback. I was late attending the event due to taxicab problems, and when I arrived, I noticed others were late as well. I remarked that Sam Brownback was asked to speak first so that nobody would miss anything if they were late. I found out afterwards that Mr. Brownback was asked to speak first due to alphabetical order, and nothing more.

I have been very tough on the lower tier candidates, and I still belive at some point soon they should be banned from the debates. However, Sam Brownback was gracious and classy enough to attend this event, and what I did hear of his speech was passionate and sincere. He is a decent, thoughtful human being, and he deserved the respect of those that he addressed. I did not give him that respect, and for that I apologize to him.

Some of you after a few days will say, “Enough with the Republican Jewish Coalition.” People feeling that way should read my “about” page and see that my religious faith and my political beliefs comprise a large part of who I am. In addition, the RJC is an excellent example of a constituency that focuses on issues that matter to most Americans, not just narrow special interest group issues.

Lastly, the candidates did not pander to us. This is patently false. In fact, some of them said hard things we did not want to hear at all. Also, none of them advocated bombing Iran. They simply refused to rule it out.

The people who attended the event were an overwhelmingly diverse crowd, and they were also diverse in the one way that liberal crowds often are not…intellectually. There were sharp disagreements among the attendees on certain issues, but this was about an up close and personal look at several men, one of whom might be the next President of the United States.

The substance was overwhelming, and deeply relevant, and I look forward to the Tygrrrr Express bringing that to you over the next few days.


Westbound and Down

Wednesday, October 17th, 2007

The Tygrrrr Express made it’s way from Birmingham to Hotlanta to Washington DC.

I am now back in Los Angeles as of 20 minutes ago. Between my cell phone crashing, losing my charger, and my laptop working nowhere, society was spared my column for one day. Like Gloria Gaynor, I did survive.

I attended the Republican Jewish Coalition Candidate Forum, and it was spectacular. I took detailed notes, and took my picture with one of the top tier candidates. It will take me an entire week to discuss the whole event, because it was that meaningful.

For those used to rapid responses to your emails, and to your comments being approved quickly, yesterday was an aberration.

Ok, I have to be at work in 8 hours. Time to get some sleep.

Westbound and down.

Oh, and the Blo9gges Choice Awards ends in 3 days. Vote for me and have all your friends do so as well.


Blue State Alabama

Monday, October 15th, 2007

I had the pleasure of attending a Republican Jewish Coalition in Birmingham, Alabama. Yes, there are Jews in Alabama, and no, they are not to the left of Leon Trotsky. Yet in what appeared to be the reddest of the red states, things were not as they seemed.

Mike Hubbard is the Chairman of the Alabama Republican Party. I can say two things with certainty after attending the event he was speaking.

First of all, his assistant is stunning. My lord her fella is one lucky man, and I do hope a free trade agreement can be worked out to export more of these republican southern belles to California in exchange for some of our Birkenstock wearing tree huggers.

Secondly, and more importantly, Alabama is not as red as people think. Yes, Governor Riley is a republican, as are both U.S. Senators. So is the Attorney General. So why can’t Alabama proceed at warp speed?

Because the legislature is blue…and I mean heavily blue. True, the last few years have seen republicans win seats in areas that democrats held captive since reconstruction. However, Alabama is democrat country in terms of their legislature.

Some would say this does not matter, because Alabama democrats are conservative, and not Massachussetts democrats. People who think this have never been to Alabama. For one, like many Mid-Atlantic and New England states, Alabama democrats are held hostage by powerful teachers unions. According to Mr. Hubbard, several democrats want to support the republicans on education reform, but the Alabama version of George Soros attends sessions and stares at them from the gallery. Sometimes this fellow will point to his nose to tell them to vote “no,” and point to his eyes to tell them to vote “aye.”

One key group that agrees with Alabama republicans but does not always help them is the Alabama business community. Business tends to favor republican policies, but businesspeople are always willing to put pragmatism above ideology. I wish liberal politician would do that once or twice. The business community sympathizes with republicans, but makes sure to give to democrats that are already in power. It is almost a form of blackmail, even though most people see it as politics as usual. THe business leaders can elect democrats who might do them some economic harm in terms of taxes, or they can refuse to donate, at which point they can be even more harmed if the democrats win again and come after them.

Sucess feeds on itself, and the only way the republican party in Alabama can break this cycle is by showing that they have te ability to take over the legislature. Until this appears imminent, businesspeople will hedge their bets. As Mr Hubbard put it, “Business likes us, but they won’t do our job for us. We have to do it ourselves.”

Another aspect of the people I met, and there were plenty of them at this function, was that they were not the “bible thumpers” they were made out to be. For one, social issues were not even mentioned, and nobody…not one person…asked about them during the question and answer session that followed. There was nothing about abortion or gay rights. Those discussions happen when a party is in power and control everything. When a party is out of power, and needs to be united, they focus on what republicans agree on, in this case lower taxes, less regulation, and more freedoms. Heavy on the minds of people was the corrupt teacher’s union.

Another issue dealt with the Presidential race. People want to win, and they are deathly afraid of Hillary in Alabama. When I asked people who they liked, they did not immediately gravitate towards Fred Thompson. Apparently not all southerners are the same, which blue staters might be interested in knowing. Several people mentioned Mike Huckabee as a likable guy, but that he was not going to win. What really might surprise some is that the name bandied about most in a positive light was Rudy Giuliani. Yes, the twice divorced, pro-choice blue state Mayor was seen as somebody who could beat Hillary. The people I met knew his positions. They simply did not care as much as they did about winning the War on Terror, and preventing socialized medicine. Those were the two reasons given for wanting him. Duncan Hunter also got a couple of positive mentions, but it was acknowledged that rooting for him was wishful thinking.

I am not saying Alabama is California. God forbid. Mr. Hubbard laughed when, after he thanked me for coming from California, I replied, “I apologize for the 75% of Californians you read about in the paper.”

The truth is, there is no such thing as a hopeless county. Every are in America is up for grabs in the sense that even if republicans do not win, they can force democrats to defend once reliably safe turf.

As Mr. Hubbard reaffirmed, “Alabama is a red state, but now we need to make it redder.”

As for those on both coasts who like to sneer at the deep south, and how dysfunctional they perceive it to be, just remember…the people trying to pass all the laws are still democrats, and have been for some time. True, there are people trying to change things for the better, and, as with most places, much like Alabama, they are republicans.


NFL 2007–Week 6 Recap

Sunday, October 14th, 2007

From the land of red meat and football, Birmingham, Alabama, another exciting NFL weekend took place. The Oakland Raiders started in first place for the first time since 2002, when they went to the Superbowl. In addition to their showdown with the Chargers, a pair of 5-0 teams slugged it out. As always, it was an fantastic day for those who love the gridiron.

I will be the first to admit that college football does not inspire the same passion in me as the NFL or republican Jewish brunettes, but being in an Alabama household turned me into a fan for one day. One member of the household was attending the University of Alabama. Another member of the household used to attend Ole Miss. For those who do not know, an atheist in Alabama is somebody who does not believe in Bear Bryant. In a controversial ending, Alabama defeated Ole Miss 27-24. Another member of the household was attending Auburn, and in a defensive bonelock, Auburn defeated Arkansas 9-7. In an ariel show that went into triple overtime, Kentucky shocked # 1 Louisiana State University 43-37. Lastly, the USC Trojans barely survived Arizona 20-13. Other college football games were played, but then again, this column does not care. Apparently some baseball game went into about 20,000 innings. Each team had a couple field goals until one team scored a touchdown and an extra point to win it. That was even less significant. Now, for life, aka the NFL Recap.

Cincinnati Bengals @ Kansas City Chiefs–This was a battle of two inconsistent teams, with the Bengals being overrated and the Chiefs perhaps being underrated despite some miserable offensive performances. The teams combined for 727 yards and 5 turnovers, 3 by the Bengals. Damon Huard had 2 touchdown passes and no interceptions, and Larry Johnson ran for a tough 119 yards on 31 carries. KC held the ball for over 35 minutes. Tony Gonzalez had 9 receptions for 102 yards. For the Bengals, TJ Houshmanzadeh had 8 receptions for 145 yards and 2 touchdowns, with Chad Johnson adding 8 receptions for 83 yards. Yet Carson Palmer had 2 interceptions in addition to his 2 touchdown passes, and the Chiefs withstood a late rally to prevail and get their record to 3-3. 27-20 Chiefs.

Miami Dolphins @ Cleveland Browns–These teams combined for 740 yards of offense. Apparently Dorothy is no longer in Kansas, and Joey Porter is no longer in Pittsburgh. Derek Anderson had 3 touchdown passes and no interceptions. The Dolphins quarterback had two of each. Ronnie Brown had 101 yards on 19 carries, but the Dolphin defense, injuries notwithstanding, remains a sieve. True, the Browns offense was not as impressive as when they scored 51 points a few weeks back. However, their defense gave up less than 45 as well. Trent Green may never play football again, and the Dolphins themselves are on life support, remaining winless. 41-31 Browns

Minnesota Vikings @ Chicago Bears–This was not NFC Norris black and blue football. Adrian Peterson ran for 224 yards for the Vikings, including two long touchdown runs. Devon Hester remains the greatest show on Earth in Chicago now that Michael Jordan retired from the NBA. Hester ran another…yes another..punt back for a touchdown, this one for 89 yards. Down 31-24 late in the game, Brian Griese through an 81 yard touchdown bomb to…you guess it…Hester. However, The Vikings had just enough time in a game that did not have much defense. A 55 yard field goal by Ryan Longwell at the gun provided the difference. 34-31 Vikings

Philadelphia Eagles @ New York Jets–Each team had 3 field goals, with David Akers going 3 for 5 and the Jets kicker going 3 for 4. The Jets had zero penalties, and the Eagles only had 2 for 14 yards. Yet the Eagles did have one touchdown, which was the difference. With 3 minutes left, the Jets had 4th and 1 at the Eagle 14, and a pass fell incomplete. 16-9 Eagles

Tennessee Titans @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers–As expected, this was a defensive slugfest. Tampa Bay broke a 3-3 tie with a long touchdown pass, and Monte Kiffin’s Tampa defense harrassed Kerry Collins all game. Yet Collins, subbing for an injured Vince Young, still throws a gorgeous long ball. An 86 yard drive late in the game tied the game 10-10 with just over a minute remaining. However, Jeff Garcia had a critical scramble for a completion on 3rd and long to keep the final drive alive. The winning field goal with 11 seconds left ended a typical “Buc Ball” game. 13-10 Buccaneers

St. Louis Rams @ Baltimore Ravens–Gus Frerotte threw 5 interceptions, and the Ravens defense had a typical game we have come to expect of them in the last few years. The Rams remain winless. The Ravens offense continues to consist of field goals, in thsi case five of them. It was ugly, but good enough. 22-3 Ravens

Houston Texans @ Jacksonville Jaguars–This game had over 800 yards of offense, but 6 turnovers, 3 by each team. The difference in this game was the Jacksonville running game. Maurice Jones-Drew had 125 yards on the ground, and longtime stalwart Fred Taylor added 90 more. David Garrard had three touchdown passes. Houston scored late, but the game was a blowout nonetheless. 37-17 Jaguars

Washington Redskins @ Green Bay Packers–While Brett Favre did not have his best day statistically, he did manmage to break George Blanda’s all time interception record. Nevertheless, the Green Bay defense had a strong day. Down 14-10, Charles Woodsen returned a fumble 57 yards for a touchdown, which was the difference in the game. 17-14 Packers

Carolina Panthers @ Arizona Cardinals–This game actually had some interesting subplots. Both starting quarterbacks, Jake Delhomme and Matt Leinart, are out for the season. Carolina’s backup quarterback also got hurt, meaning Vinnie Testaverde, the ageless one, would be starting this week. He just joined the team, and was thrown into action. In the first quarter, Kurt Warner was hurt, which meant the Cardinals had to go with Tim Rattay. So both teams had 3rd string quarterbacks, but the mistakes were made only by one side. Rattay threw 3 interceptions, and Arizona had 5 turnovers overall. Testaverde was efficient, and made no mistakes. Steve Smith had 136 yards receiving, including a 65 yard touchdown, and running back Williams had a 75 yard run for a touchdown, with 121 yards overall. 25-10 Panthers

New England Patriots @ Dallas Cowboys–Yes both teams were unbeaten, but this was billed as the contenders versus the pretenders. The game went as expected. Tom Brady exploded for 5 touchdown passes and 388 yards passing. Dallas did lead 24-21 in the 3rd quarter, but New England simply has too much firepower. With the Patriots leading 31-24, a pass over the middle followed by a couple mistackles became the touchdown that salted away the game. Dallas has a decent offense, but their defense is suspect. As for New England, an AFC title game showdown preview with their archnemesis in Indy is only a few weeks away. 48-27 Patriots

Oakland Raiders @ San Diego Chargers–The Oakland Raiders had 2 weeks to prepare for the San Diego Chargers, but their one week reign at the top of the AFC West came to an end. Reality set in quickly, and The Chargers simply overmatched them. Ladanian Tomlinson had 198 yards rushing and four touchdowns. The Raiders had 3 turnovers, including 2 interceptions thrown by Daunte Culpepper. San Diego outgained Oakland 362 to 246. Lamont Jordan was stuffed throughout the day, gaining only 42 yards on 18 carries. The Raiders fell behind 14-0 early, and never totally recovered. San Diego was only up 21-14 late in the game, but with 3 minutes to go, Tomlinson broke through for his longest run of the day, a 41 yard burst up the middle. It was his last touchdown, and it iced the game. 28-14 Chargers

New Orleans Saints @ Seattle Seahawks was the Sunday night game. The teams combined for almost 800 yards of offense, and Matt Hasselbeck was 26 of 43 for 362 yards, 2 touchdowns and one interception. Seattle had only 3 penalties for 11 yards. Yet what is left off of the stat sheet is that the previously winless Saints, on the road, went into Seattle and beat the tar out of them. It was as unexplainable as it was thoroughly dominant. Hasselbeck was sacked 5 times, Shaun Alexander had 35 yards rushing on 14 carries, and Drew Brees and Reggie Bush had solid performances. The Saints led 28-10 in the fourth quarter before being given severl chances to make the score closer. They did get a touchdown with several minutes remaining, and their next drive went into field goal range before Hasselbeck threw an interception. With about 90 seconds left, Seattle had made it back to the Saints 14 yard line, where on 4th down, needing two scores, Seattle inexplicably passed up the chip shot field goal. They failed to convert, and the Saints ran out the clock, to preserve their first win. 28-17 Seahawks

New York Giants @ Atlanta Falcons was the Monday night game. I am not sure if the Giants are anywhere near as good as there record, but the Falcons really are that bad. The Falcons did have a 10-7 lead briefly in this game, but overall the team is a mess. Yes, one player can make a difference, and the best hope for the Falcons is Michael Vick getting time off for good behavior. 31-10 Giants

As for the football team I am on, I took the week off for business. I expect to play wel next week, but then again, I expect a lot of things.