Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Happy 31st Birthday to LeBron James

So, for guys who met my criteria as statistically top 100 NBA players while under the age of 31.5 (basketball-reference measures player age as "how old were you on February 1 of that season") we get these stats for the regular season:

Where does LeBron James rank on this list (he still has January, February, March, and most of April to play this year, so his raw numbers will likely go up)?

Regular Season Win Shares -- 2nd 0.2 behind Wilt, LBJ will likely be #1

Points -- 2nd, 133 behind Kobe, LBJ will likely be #1

Games Started -- 2nd behind KG, LBJ will likely be #1

FG made -- 2nd, substantially behind Wilt

Turnovers - 2nd behind Magic (he will not catch Magic)

FG attempted - 3rd behind Kobe and Wilt - he won't catch Wilt

Games Played - 3rd behind Kobe and KG, he won't catch KG

Minutes Played - 3rd, he will catch KG most likely and be #1

Assists - 6th, over 3,400 behind Magic

PER -- 6th this is a declining stat, he won't reach higher than 6th (Jordan #1)

WS/48 -- 8th see above (Jordan #1)

Steals 8th, over 400 behind Stockton

James 29th in blocks, 32nd in rebounds

Funny one -- he is only 67th in fouls, Shawn Kemp had over 500 more fouls by age 31.5 than anyone else on the list!


Playoff Win Shares - #1

Category finishes of 2nd place (before this set of playoffs, in some categories he can move up):  FG, FGA, Assists, Steals, Turnovers, Points, Games Started, Minutes Played

PER -- 4th (Jordan, Mikan Shaq)

Rebounds -- 5th

WS/48 -- 5th (Mikan, Jordan, Wilt, Kareem, LeBron).

Blocks -- 9th

I find it interesting that LeBron follows (in order) Jordan, Wilt and Kareem in Playoff WS/48 since I have him ranked as the #4 overall player in NBA history, behind those three guys, in that order.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Anthony Bennett - Sent to the D League

The first ever #1 overall pick to go to the D League

When Cleveland drafted Bennett at #1 overall, I was stunned.  I had never seen or read any draft preview that had him at #1.  (It was a terrible draft, but still, Bennett's name was top 5 or top 3, never #1).

I then, of course, went and looked at his highlight film, including a breakdown of strengths and weaknesses.  When your weaknesses are listed as "poor ball handler, selfish, overweight and undersized" then I am not sure how any team could pick you top 5, let alone #1.

Watching Bennett play in Minnesota -- he tries hard.  He could be a plus rebounder if given minutes.  He has good form on his jumper and can make a wide open shot.  He occasionally shows bursts of athletic ability where he will flash (block a shot, dunk on the break). 

The problems with Bennett as a player:

1) He has terrible shot selection.  He thinks he is a scorer.  He is not.  Therefore, when he gets the ball he thinks he needs to shoot it.  Guys can be 6 inches from him when he receives the ball and he will still shoot it.  There are no players in the NBA who can be effective as catch and shoot players when their guy is right up on them.  He never figured that out.

2) He has very poor agility.  This means that he cannot shot fake and do anything.  If he starts to shoot, just jump out on his shooting hand as hard as you can.  He cannot dribble, he cannot drive, he cannot escape dribble and re-set his feet.  He cannot do anything.  This means that he can only be an offensive option when left wide open.

3) He needs a running start to jump well.  I haven't gone through and analyzed tape, but I would guess that AB is a 2-foot jumper.  He needs some space and a run up to gather his body weight and get up in the air.  Look, Nique and KG are both two-foot jumpers also, but they are freakishly athletic and agile.  Bennett, on the other hand, being undersized and not agile, struggles mightily to defend inside or get his own shot off in the post.   So, if you are a poor interior defender and cannot score inside, exactly when can you play?   I guess if you are a 50% three point shooter like Matt Bonner, you can play.  But you need a great team to hide all of your weaknesses.

4)  He will always have the stigma of being a #1 pick.  Look, if you found a hard working 23 year old guy who was 6'8", occasionally athletic and who could hit an open shot, you'd work with him to see if he could be a contributor (Bennett is certainly no worse of a player than Adrian Payne, whom the Wolves traded a mid-one to get).    But there is a stigma to trading for a sucky failed draft pick.  People know his weaknesses and they see him on the court and go -- "Go right at him defensively and get up on him offensively".   Most mediocre bench players can get 4-8 points a game for a stretch simply because the other team's bench players don't spend any time studying their strengths or weaknesses.  Not true with failed high draft picks.

The saddest thing about Bennett is that he is not lazy.  He worked to get himself into better shape.  He works on his jumper.  He asked to be sent to the D League.  He wants to be good.  I saw him play for Team Canada.  Against poor athletes, his willingness to play hard and be active made him look like a better player than Andrew Wiggins (who always seems willing to float and do nothing if he can).  But Bennett is undersized and not agile and lacks judgment.  Wiggins is properly sized, unbelievably athletic and, if anything, does not try to do ENOUGH on the court. 

Good luck, Anthony Bennett.  Perhaps some day you will be a 10 point and 5 rebound guy off the bench for someone.  I will root for you because you try and because it is not your fault that someone picked you #1 overall.

A personal note -- I once was in a tennis tournament at an old law firm that I worked for in the summer of 1987.  I am not a good tennis player.  I try, and I have played a lot with my brother, but I am not good. But in 1987, I was 23 and a very good athlete (I could get the ball back in play).  As the tourney continued on, I was beating guys just because I could get the ball back and they were old and would make mistakes.  I reached the finals, where I was quickly dispatched 6-0, winning maybe 4 points all match.  The response?  "My lord, HM sucks.  How did he ever reach the final?  Good lord.  His presence just makes everyone look bad."  On Monday, the word around the office was about how badly I sucked in the final and how everyone was embarrassed for me. 

What was I supposed to have done?  Lose on purpose? I had reached the final.  I tried, but against truly good competition, I sucked.  I think, ultimately, Anthony Bennett may look back on his career and say the same thing. ala James Ingram, "I did my best, but I guess my best wasn't good enough..."

Friday, December 18, 2015

Bo Ryan -- Quitter

Things we clearly know about recent quitter Bo Ryan:

- He took a program in complete disarray (OK, so it was actually one year removed from a Final 4 appearance)

-- And with almost no talent (OK, he had two of the top 18 draft picks in the NBA draft)

-- And led them to a national championship (Oh, wait, no he didn't)

-- But when they lost the title game, he always acted with class - (Oh wait, no he didn't

Well, one thing can be said for sure -- he didn't worry about coaching a shitty team and was all too glad to take his lumps while the 2015-16 team rebuilt and went .500 in Big Ten play........oh, wait, no he wasn't.

One thing I commend Bo for:  when I coach basketball, I always tell my team it is bad luck to end warm-ups without making your last shot.  So if we simply cannot make a shot, I will send someone out to make a layup before we start the game.  Bo waiting to play crappy Texas A&M--Corpus Christie so he could get a win before quitting is the same thing I did by sending my point guard out to make a layup before tip off.   Meaningless gesture - made me feel better.

I will not miss Bo Ryan. 

Israeli Authorities Arrest Bar Refaeli for Tax Evasion, Take Away Her Passport

If she ever gets out of Israel and comes to Minnesota, I strongly suggest that Minnesota authorities do the same so we can have her walking around for 6 months.

One of my favorites.


Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Marco Rubio aka "Mr.Amnesty Is Great!"

So THIS guy wants to be the Republican nominee?  THIS is their savior?  A name born to non-citizens who is pro-immigration/amnesty? 

We will see if GOP voters can him rammed down their throats by their wealthy overlords, just like they did with McCain and Romney.

Chris Christie -- "I Will Be More Trusted By a Guy Dead Since 1999"

Well, in his defense, Chris had just been moved up from JV and was not used to people actually watching him debate. 

And I think he was probably really hungry.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Trump Up 25% in Zogby Poll

Here is what I do not understand about all of the hand wringing regarding Trump: 

1) According to THIS:, 20% of households make less than $42,000 a year, 49% of households make between $42K and $126K, and that leaves 31% of U.S. households making over $126,000 a year....31% seems high to me, but I guess that is how I am reading this.  (If 31% is high, that makes my pro-Trump point even stronger).

2) If you look at 2012 exit polls, Obama gets about 60% of votes in the sub-$50K area, 46% in middle class and 44% above that.

(I should note that I have seen some exit polls broken out by state and in the northern states Obama gets like 70% of the poor and in the southern states Romney gets over 55% of the poor -- southern poor folks vote more GOP than do northern poor least in 2012).

4) So, assuming that poor or middle class GOP voters = .4X20% plus .54X49%  --

about 35% of the country is poor or middle class Romney voters and the other 12% of the country that voted for Romney is rich GOP.

5) That means that there are at least 3 times as many GOP voters who will NOT benefit directly from tax breaks for the wealthy as there are GOP voters who WILL benefit from tax breaks for the wealthy.  (Recall that Obama only repealed the tax cuts of GWB above $250K for singles and $400K for married filing jointly, so the number is probably 4-5-6 times more non-tax-voters, but I will use 3X since I have to assume that the wealthy vote more often than do the poor).

6)  You have to assume, then, that 75% of GOP voters are people who care more about the other GOP party planks -- guns and God (including anti-abortion here) and overall hatred of minorities and immigrants.

Why would ANY of these 75% of voters prefer a candidate like Jeb Bush who is kinda weak and mealy-mouthed and talks about how tax cuts will lead to 4% compounded annual growth?  Would they not be FAR more likely to vote for someone who screams about how he will kill every enemy of the state and their families?  Trump should have at least 3 voters to every one for Bush....and he does.

The only real crack in Trump' political wall is the second G - God.  He is a many times divorced northerner who is not a born-again evangelical.  That is why his closest pursuers are usually Cruz and Carson, both of whom want the country run by their interpretation of the Bible.

Look, you may not like Trump, but he has a very solid appeal to 75% of the GOP base.  Unless he is shown trucking illegal immigrants and terrorists into the country in the back of a car stolen from Ted Nugent, I don't see any reason why his poll numbers should decline.  He epitomizes what 35% of the country loves the most.

Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Paige Spiranac -- Ridiculously Hot Golfer

Couldn't sleep, was flipping around the channels, saw this person playing golf in Dubai. I mean, uh, wow. She looks even hotter on TV.

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Things That Concern Me About the 2015-16 Timberwolves

The Wolves continue to give me (a 26 year season ticket holder) the giant middle finger by playing so awfully at home (2-8 versus 6-3 on the road).  But their apparent hatred for their home court/home fans is not what troubles me.  Here are some things that trouble me:

1) The failure of Sam Mitchell to find a rotation and 5 go-to guys.  Look, it is a basic element of any good NBA team that they have guys whom they can turn to at key times, including end of game, and say, "Go get em."  Now, the 5 guys may vary slightly (maybe you choose 5 of 6 or 5 of 7 depending upon who plays well) but it cannot just be a horrible jumble or grab bag where you go "Well, I guess Towns won't play at all in the 4th tonight....for some reason...."

As George Karl once screamed at Marcus Camby as he sulked off the floor at Target Center, "It is called a player rotation.  Get used to it."  The Wolves' players never have to worry about hearing that from Sam, as he appears to pick names out of hat throughout the game.

2)   Andrew Wiggins' Game Is Less Efficient and Overall Less Productive --  His shooting has actually gotten worse.  He percentage is down across the board, but he is taking more 3s.  His jumper is all kinds of crazy looking and he is squeezing off shots with absolutely no rhythm.  As a rookie he had a beautiful release and perfect rotation.  He now shoots the ball as if it were aflame when he receives it, often resulting in wild side spin efforts that clank harshly.

Add to this the fact that Wiggins (already sort of a Jeb Bush-ian "low energy" player away from the ball) has had his numbers in assists, rebounds, steals+blocks ALL go down this year.  How is that possible?  The guy to whom I most often compare Wiggy's upside is Paul George.  Paul George's rebounds and assists numbers are DOUBLE those of Wiggins.  It isn't like the Wolves are so awesome that there are just not enough stats to go around.  If Shabazz Muhammed can play 20 minutes and get 9 rebounds, certainly Wiggins could get his overall rebounding up to 6 a game.

3) The Tyus Jones Fiasco -- Look, the Wolves traded to get Tyus.  They obviously felt they had a player who could play in the NBA.  Now I realize that Flip (who loved Tyus) died, but the the situation in Minnesota just seems to scream out for Tyus to play the backup point guard.  LaVine is far more productive and happy playing off guard.  One of Rubio's best attributes is he can play 36-44 minutes a game.  So you play Rubio and you play Jones 4 to 12 minutes off the bench. 

The rap on Jones is that he is small and cannot defend.  The Wolves last year played Zach LaVine almost 2,000 minutes, often at starting PG.  He had negative Win Shares for the year.  His Offensive Rating was 19 points worse than his Defensive Rating, for the year.  Now, you take Tyus and you actually play him and you don't make him play out of position and you play him 6 minutes when he is awful and 15 when he is good.  How much worse could he be than LaVine was last year? 

Instead, what the Wolves have done is use LaVine at PG, a position where he will never be happy or particularly great, and send Tyus to the D League to languish in Boise.    All for.....what?  So they can solidify LaVine as Rubio's backup?  So they can get time for Tayshaun Prince? 

4) Kevin Martin May Have Just Straight Out "Lost It."  Not including his rookie year, when he played only 455 minutes, Kevin Martin's worst PER has been 14.8.  His PER this year is 10.8.  If Kevin Martin is a sub-par offensive player, you may as well release him, because he is a poor defender, he won't rebound, and he never gets an assist.  If you play him with Wiggins, you have two guys who may very well combine for fewer than 5 rebounds and 5 assists in 70 minutes of combined play.  That sucks. 

If Martin has "lost it" then you need to move him and get what you can.  But if you came into the season (as I did) thinking you have an above average off guard and now you have a terrible off guard, that is a huge problem.

5) End of Game Substitutions -- as a general rule, Kevin Garnett and Tayshaun Prince cannot score.  They should NEVER be in the game at the end when you need a basket to catch up or go ahead.  Yet Sam Mitchell, oddly, doesn't go offense-defense in late game situations and the ball will end up with one of these oldsters, who is often (wisely) left all alone by opponents.  Similarly confusing is Sam's insistence that Tayshaun Prince can still stop good offensive players.  If you look at his "Per 100" stats, Tayshaun Prince stopped being a good defensive player around 2008: which was the last full season where he posted a Defensive Rating of 106 or lower.

Prince will be 36 this coming year, so it really isn't his fault.  But why Sam consistently refers to him as "our best defender" is a mystery, as he ranks 10th on the Wolves in Defensive Rating, one spot behind Zach LaVine.

6)  History  If I know anything from watching sports for probably 47 of my 51 years it is that it is very easy to be a loser, and very hard to change a losing atmosphere/history.  When you are 8-11, it is far easier to drop to 8-15 than it is to rise to 12-11.

Saturday, December 05, 2015

Kobe's Historically Terrible 2015-16 Season Thus Far

Currently in the middle of the list of all-time shittiest Trash Heap seasons.

How to explain the historical crappiness of this Kobe season?   Well, Kobe is on pace to shoot the ball between 800 and 1200 times this year (depending upon injury and whether he ever develops a conscience)    If he reaches 1200 shot attempts and shoots his current 30%, or so, he will be performing at a level of inefficiency not seen since the late 1940s or early 1950s.   In fact, only Joe Fulks has seasons where he shot the ball so many times and had such a low percentage. Of course. When Fulks shot 30-33%, that was far closer to league average.

Kobe has negative 0.8 Win Shares and falling. Assuming he can manage to keep up this level of terrible play for the rest of the year (doubtful, but possible) he could register around 3 NEGATIVE Win Shares.  No player in NBA ABA or BAA history has ever registered negative 3 win shares.  Woody Sauldsberry had a year where he shot .299 and .560 from the line and registered negative 2.8 WS.  It is conceivable that Kobe (4-19 last night) could do worse in FG% and WS.  Woody played during the Kennedy Administration.

The names that start to come up when you start to estimate a Kobe season continuing on are frightening - Flynn, Beasley, Tskita, Donte Greene, DeShawn Stevenson, Marc Macon.   And a whole bunch of guys who played before the Korean War.

But even put to one side the shocking awfulness of Kobe's stats.  Let's consider what is going on in L.A.   A future Hall of Fame player is playing 33+ mpg a night, taking minutes from highly drafted younger players and also drawing $25m per year.   He is shooting a historically low percentage and yet he continues to shoot and the coach continues to play him and he is helping the Lakers draft lottery chances.   Yet there is no chance he gets traded and, at least it appears, no chance of having his minutes cut going forward.  

There are two HOF players in the Hall at least partially for their pro play (Ralph Sampson and Joe Fulks) who have registered at least 2 seasons with negative win shares.  Kobe has one such season already and he is headed for #2.   Fulks was an early pioneer of the game, and, if reports on line are accurate, probably a top 100 all-time player.  Sampson is not close to a too 100 all-time player.   Kobe, however, is my #18 and his fans suggest a top 10 or even top 5 status.

In light of Kobe's place in the history of the game, it is astounding that no one will step forward and say "you should not be doing this - get out" or "I am not playing you anymore" or even "I am going to stop passing you the ball".   But no one has, and it appears no one will.  So we are about to see the weirdest (and perhaps worst) season ever played

Friday, December 04, 2015

My Favorite Mitt Romney Exit Poll Answer

Most important quality in a leader:

(3 different ones listed -- Romney narrowly defeats Obama in all 3)

# 4. "Cares about People Like Me" -- of people who felt this was the most important quality --
Obama 81%, Romney 18%.

What does this tell you?  Perhaps the GOP has to come up with SOME platform piece other than cutting taxes for millionaires and taking rights away from women? 

We shall see.

Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Presidential Candidate Blasts Typical Republican Party Foreign Policy Plank

I do not believe that our foreign policy needs to be that "we've got to be these crazy neo-con invade-every-country-on-earth and send our kids to die in the Middle East.”

Pretty aggressive words by Bernie, I mean, TED CRUZ!!!!!!


Monday, November 30, 2015

Kobe Announces Retirement

In the midst of one of the worst statistical seasons ever put up by any player, Kobe finally decides to call it quits -- but he will keep chucking up shots until year end.

Look, this is certainly no great surprise.  I know I have a Blog entry about Kobe - Pre-Quitter somewhere.  What he SHOULD have done is just quit and get out of the way.  But then he wouldn't be Kobe.  Instead he played 33 minutes last night, went 4 for 20 and was a negative 12 in a game the Lakers lost by 4.

I have rated Kobe the 18th best player of all-time:  Nick Young says Kobe is #1 and Jordan is #2.  This demonstrates what an idiot Nick Young is.

If you allow a really broad filter (so as to insure that you get 95% of the players who were consistently good for a long time as an NBA or ABA player) you get this:

Then if you start clicking through for various rankings for Kobe, you get:

3rd in points
6th in turnovers
7th in steals
8th in assists
11th in games played
18th in Win Shares
21st in fouls
26th in Defensive Win Shares
30th in WS/48 and blocks
39th in TS%
46th in eFG%

Let's be blunt here.  These are not the sort of rankings you would expect from a top 5 or top 10 all-time player.   Certainly being 18th in WS and 30th in WS/48 is disqualifying.  If you cut off at a WS/48 ranking of #30 and then look below, only Moses Malone would be considered a top 20 all-time player.  But if you look at a ranking of #15 and above, probably only Barkley should be excluded as a top 15 player. 

Playoffs?  Nothing in his playoff stats indicates that Kobe should move up many spots.  3rd in Games, 8th in WS, 17th in WS/48.  Shooting percentages 15th and 16th place.

Kobe played a lot and took and made a lot of shots, but not at a  really high level of efficiency.  He has only 1 MVP.  What his stats tell you is that he was and is an overrated player.  He was, in my opinion, the 18th best player who ever played in the NBA or ABA, but he is rated far higher in many people's eyes.  I see two primary reasons for this -- he played in L.A. and he was an off guard.  There simply are not that many great off guards (make a list of all-time off guards, then make a list of all-time great centers - after Jordan v. Wilt and Kareem v. Kobe, you will get matchups like Shaq against Dwyane Wade and Bill Russell against Clyde Drexler and George Mikan against Ray Allen).

Good bye, Kobe.  I will not miss you.  But at least I did not just rip Kobe without any regard for his accomplishments, like this guy did:

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

How Did I Miss Scarlett Johansson's Birthday? Happy Belated 31st.

One of my absolute favorites.  And if you Google "Scarlett Johansson Cell Phone Pic" you may get my blog!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Active Career Leaders in Win Shares - October 29, 2013 Versus End of 2015

October 29, 2013 - active WS leaders.

KG 187.2
Duncan 184.2
Dirk 173.9
Kobe 173.3
James 152.6
Ray Allen 141
Paul Pierce 138.4
Nash 129.6
Chauncey 121.1
Marion 118.9

November 23, 2015 - active WS leaders.

Duncan 202.7     (plus 17.5 since 10-29-13)
Dirk 193.8          (plus 19.9)
KG 190.7            (plus 3.5)
LeBron 181.3      (plus 28.7)
Kobe 172.9         (NEGATIVE 0.4)
Pierce 149.3        (plus 10.9)
CP3  132.3          (plus 29.3)
P. Gasol 124.5    (plus 14.4)
Vince 116.6        (plus 5.3)
Wade 109.9        (plus 10.1)

Allen, Nash, Chauncey and Marion have retired, so the bottom 4 guys have moved up.  Vince and Wade have still not recorded as many career WS as Shawn Marion.

Belated congrats to LeBron for moving ahead of Dr. J's ABA/NBA total WS amount and into 12th place on the combined list.  With 2 good games, LeBron will move ahead of Shaq on the all-time WS list and be 11th in ABA/NBA combined and 10th in only-NBA. 

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Alexandra Daddario to star in Baywatch

based upon her work in True Detective and San Andreas, I can tell you with 100% certainty that I will be watching this movie.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Ben Carson's Campaign Shows What It Thinks the U.S. Looks Like

Albany, NY just became a lot closer to the ocean.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Tough Stretch for Minnesota Sports Fans -- Torii Hunter, Flip Saunders and Jerry Kill Say Goodbye

Torii Hunter and Flip Saunders are related in my mind because they took moribund franchises who had sucked for the better part of 10 years and turned them around into consistent playoff teams.  Jerry Kill was attempting to do the same thing at the University of Minnesota, and I guess the next 20 Gopher games will tell us whether he succeeded in doing so, or simply just couldn't quite get over the hump.

I will take the three guys in the reverse order of my fondness for them:

3.  Flip Saunders -- Philip Daniel Saunders was (I am told, I was 9 and living in western NY) an excellent point guard at the University of Minnesota.  He became a coach and was a successful coach on every level (college, CBA, NBA).  He was particularly good at offensive basketball.  The Wolves during Flip's first run were able to run sets that simply baffled opponents and resulted in good shots virtually every time down the floor.

Flip is regarded as a great guy by those who knew him well.  Oddly, despite the fact that I have been a Timberwolves season ticket holder for 26 years, I never met or talked to Flip.  Never once.  I saw him speak.  I know people who know him.  But I never shook his hand or had a conversation with him.  Even in my times around him or in listening to him speak to the media, his charm as an individual never really shined through to me.

As a coach, Flip was a huge upgrade from what we had with the Timberwolves (Jimmy Rodgers, Sidney Lowe, Bill Blair) but I cannot help but wonder why Kevin Garnett could go to Boston at roughly 75% of his Wolves Ability and win a title immediately and (but for injury) would have won two in a row.  Flip had Garnett at a point in time where he was a top 4 NBA player (Shaq, Duncan, Kobe, Garnett were the best 4) and certainly the most versatile player in the NBA.  However, KG in Minnesota won only 2 playoff series (both in 2003-04).  You can blame the organization or you can blame Flip, but I think there is enough blame to go around.

Flip in Detroit had great veteran teams -- never won anything.  In Washington, the Wiz actually got BETTER when they fired Flip and went to Randy Wittman.  Yikes.  I never felt Flip's teams were very tough - physically or mentally.

Anyway, you may wonder why there was not an immediate Flip tribute on the Blog.  I have always had really mixed feelings about Flip.  And I never was able to experience the greatness of his personality that everyone else described.  But it is safe to say that many, many people loved him and he reached a high level of success in everything he ever did.  So he will be greatly missed by Minnesota sports fans.

2.  Torii Hunter -- what I am most upset by regarding Torii's retirement is the number of people saying we should not honor Torii because he is anti-gay rights and make other comments that stated he was uncomfortable around gay people.  Look, he was a black kid who grew up in Arkansas and then spent his later formative years around professional baseball players.  Do you think with that upbringing and history that he will be a liberal?  I hate to tell everyone, but for people who are 40+ years old and from the South, being against gay marriage and generally anti-gay does not make you an outlier.

Here is what I do know about Torii Hunter - 1) he was a terrible hitter who made himself a very good hitter who amassed almost 2,500 hits along with decent power; 2) he was a multiple Gold Glove winner; 3) he was good in the clubhouse and cared for younger players; 4) he wasn't constantly in the training room or on the disabled list, his ass was available to play; 5) his teams generally won more than they lost; and 6) he cared a LOT about the Twins and the State of Minnesota and worked his ass off to promote the team and the state.

Democrats (and I am one) who promote "diversity" and "tolerance" are willing to go on Twitter and say that a man who reached the top 5-10% of his chosen field should not be honored AT ALL upon his retirement because he doesn't believe gay people should be married and has made anti-gay statements. That sucks.  I am glad that everyone is so perfect and has never said or done anything that would call into question their own character.  I have a number of Republican friends who believe stuff that I deem to be ridiculous.  They are still my friends because I recognize good things in them that I feel make them, on the whole, a good person.  We all have flaws.  But as Del Griffith once said, "It must be nice to be so perfect AND odor-free."

Again, I never met Torii, but his personality did come across to me as someone who cared a great deal for people (OK, at least most people) and his profession and who worked hard and wanted to win.  I will miss Torii.

1) Jerry Kill -- when I heard that Jerry Kill retired, I cried.  The primary reason for that is my daughter has epilepsy, and I had always held Jerry Kill up to her as an example of someone who could be a public figure and an important person and do his very difficult job despite epilepsy.  But the epilepsy and the job just could not co-exist.

A major side effect of epilepsy medication is drowsiness. My daughter struggles to make it through a day without 10 hours of sleep.  If you don't want to be drowsy all of the time, you can take less medication.  Of course, taking less medication puts you at risk of seizures.  How do you know the level of medication you can take and not have a seizure?  "Trial and Error." Great.  Imagine walking a tight rope and being told you can use a shorter balance pole.  OK, great, how much shorter?  Eh, get up there and we will see.

Now imagine that you have a job where working 12-18 hours a day is not unusual.  But you need 10 hours of sleep to feel good.  So you go to your doctor - "Well, you could take 20% less medication."  And then I will feel better?  Maybe, but you also may have a seizure.  And if you have a seizure, for example, while driving, you could die and/or kill someone else.  If you have a seizure at home while lying in bed with a doctor and a nurse there to monitor you, you will be OK, but you are not supposed to drive until you are 6 months seizure free.    OK, great. 

Kill has basically stated that when his team started to struggle in 2015 that he cut back on his exercise, dropped his dosage of medication, and began to work ridiculous hours.  People reported seeing him leaving the facility at 2AM and returning at 6AM.  He started to have seizures.  He was basically killing himself.

Listening to Jerry Kill's press conference, even setting to one side my personal experience with my daughter's epilepsy, my heart was breaking.  Imagine a man who came from little or nothing, chose a career in which he started out making little or nothing, excelled at that career for 30 years despite suffering from cancer and epilepsy....and then what he knows is all taken away at age 54.  He literally has never held any other job.  Truly sad.

The positive note with Jerry Kill is that he is still alive.  And he can be productive working (most likely) in a 9-5 job where he raises funds for the University.  He can find a way to get sleep and exercise and see his family.  He has the same opportunity you used to see portrayed in old films like "Baby Boom" and "Regarding Henry."   He has the opportunity to change his life and find a way forward that is far different from what he imagined, but. perhaps, far better in certain ways.

I am rooting for Jerry Kill. but I will miss him as a symbol for Minnesota and, more importantly, for my daughter.

Tough week.

Ben Carson -- For a Company Who He Had No Idea Was Using His Image

Look, the answer is "Yeah, I thought they were a good company. I enjoyed their products. I had no idea what was going on with them deceiving the public." Don't lie and say, "If they used my image on their Web site I had no idea!"

Monday, October 19, 2015

Stretching Is Important

I may have to buy the Michelle Jenneke stretch video.

Demi Lovato and Some Thoughts on Growing Older

Saturday night, I saw Demi Lovato absolutely slay her song "Stone Cold" on SNL.  If you want to see someone truly perform a song, watch this:

The next morning I saw a Dilbert cartoon on the drawback of "Experience" --
Interesting that I would see these two things back to back. I saw it said once that brilliance fades as we grow older. That the people who are the true innovators and creators are all under 30 years old. I think, perhaps, that people over 30, or 40, or 50, are all equally capable of creativity and genius, but they have just have too much experience to try to create. If you have seen something fail ten times, you probably don't want to try it for the 11th time. Which brings us back to young Miss Lovato -- what the video I have attached does not show is that after another 5-10 seconds the camera came back to her and showed her still, eyes closed, head on the microphone. Completely drained by her performance. There is something about being 23 years old that allows you to just give it everything you have and really not give a damn about what just happened. People who are 40 or 50 appear, well, insane, if they provide such a performance. But without a willingness to throw yourself into a wall with the hope that it might possibly break, the wall will always be there. You will never actually do the impossible or reach the number of people or entertain to the level that you could if you just looked, well, insane. Just some thoughts.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

My Early Goodbye to Lamar Odom

What I read tells me that Lamar Odom will not survive, and if by some miracle he happens to survive he will never be close to the same person again.  So, an early goodbye and tribute to Lamar Odom.

Lamar Odom was a great high school player who went to Rhode Island and was very good, but really never was the player there that most expected.  He then was drafted #4 overall in the NBA and, well, again, wasn't quite the star player that everyone expected him to be.  That said, the primary deficiency in Odom's game was that he was never a 20+ ppg scorer.  He was an excellent all-around player and he has a lifetime Defensive Rating of 104, which is excellent.

Lamar Odom had 8 seasons were he accounted for at least 3.0 Defensive WS, tied for 20th best all-time among non-centers.  In addition, his 41 career DWS ranks him 36th among non-centers.

In the 6 seasons 2005-06 through 2010-11, Odom rolled up roughly 48 of his career 77 Win Shares.  It is believed by most in today's game that 7.0 WS in a season is a border line all-star level of play.  Odom averaged 8 over his 6 best years.  Remarkably, however, he never played in an all-star game.  His only NBA award, other than 6th Man of the Year, was being all-rookie 1st team, 

Lamar was a very key cog in the Lakers teams who went to the finals 3 times and won twice during that period.   As stated above, he won 6th Man of the Year in 2010-11.

Odom was a perfect player to play with Kobe and Pau Gasol - he didn't need, or necessarily even want, to be a star.  His skills were sharpest as a passer, ball handler and defender.  In fact, if you review Odom's versatility by looking for seasons of 14-7-3 and 3 DWS, you see that Odom had 5 such seasons, the same as Magic Johnson and Scottie Pippen.    In the 3 Laker title appearance seasons, Odom contributed 6.4 playoff WS, which, if you follow this blog, you know is rare for a supporting player.  (Any team would be very happy to have its 3rd best guy getting 2+ WS over a playoff season.)

Once his nearly $9,000,000 contract was unloaded to Dallas for a #1 pick, Odom's career and life fell apart.  Fans of "Keeping Up With The Kardashians" heard all sorts of reports of Odom's drug taking and late night partying.  I have no idea what Lamar did or what caused it, but from a distance it almost appeared as if his heart was broken.  He was a key cog on a world championship team and once they stopped being world champions (being swept by Dallas in 2011) the Lakers dumped Lamar.  Again, this is pure speculation, but I think the decision by the Lakers to abandon him resulted in a downward spiral from which he never recovered.

Similar players from a statistical standpoint include Larry Johnson and Chris Webber and Terry Cummings.  So Lamar Odom was a very, very good player, a cog on two title teams, and most people seemed to think he was a good guy, before his trade to Dallas and ultimate downfall.

 Goodbye, Lamar. 

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Ten Least Productive Players 2010-11 to 2014-15 Seasons (Min. 8000 MP)

These are guys who have actually played a lot the past 5 years combined (minimum 8000 minutes) and have contributed the least (based upon being bottom 10 in WS, poor WS/48 and PER).

I give 10 points for being the worst in a category (WS. PER, WS/48) down to 1 point for being the 10th worst.

Here goes:

10th worst -- Vasquez (8 points)

9th Worst -- O.J. Mayo (10 points, wins tiebreaker due to more WS than....)

8th Worst -- Luke Ridnour (10)

7th worst Kirk Hinrich (15)

6th worst -- Al-Farooq Aminu (15, fewer WS than Hinrich, but more WS than....)

5th Worst -- Mo Williams (15 points, loses the tiebreaker due to fewer WS than the guys in 7th and 6th)

4th worst -- Brandon Knight (16 points)

3rd Worst -- Evan Turner (22 points)

2nd Worst -- John Salmons (25 points)

And, the least productive guy to play 8,000 minutes or more the past 5 years.....

#1 -- Wes Johnson (28 points, the fewest WS, the worst WS/48, and the 3rd worst PER of the group).


10 Statistically Best NBA Players 2000-01 to 2009-10 seasons

Cut off the list at top 10 Win Share performers so long as they did at least 15 PER and .15 WS/48.

Your answer:

10th best -- Ray Allen (5.5 points)

9 - Shawn Marion (7.5)

8 - Paul Pierce (9)

7 - Steve Nash (13)

6th best -- Chauncey Billups (13, beats Nash on total Win Shares)

5 -- Kobe (18)

4 -- KG (23)

3 -- LeBron James (24)

2 -- Tim Duncan (26, 2nd in WS, 3rd in WS/48, 2nd in PER)

1st -- Dirk Nowitzki (27 points, 1st in WS, 1st in WS/48, 4th in PER).

What we learned -- there are some REALLY good players 6-10, but they don't match up at all to the top 5. 

Also, Kobe does not match up to the top 4 guys statistically during this period.

Dirk has had an amazing career.

10 Statistically Best NBA Players of the 2010s

I sorted the stats so that exactly the top 10 Win Shares guys appear if they have a PER of at least 15 (league average) and a WS/48 of over .15 (a very good player on a per minute basis).

I wonder why Dwight Howard is not spit out as a result, but I can look that up. 

Then I gave one point for a 10th place finish in a category, up to 10 points for winning each category (WS, PER, WS/48).

Ten Best Guys
#10th best guy -- Marc Gasol (4 points)

#9 - Tyson Chandler (8.5 points)

#8 - Russell Westbrook (12.5 points, loses tie on total WS to....)

#7 Blake Griffin (12.5 points, wins tie over Russ)

#6 Stephon Curry (14 points)

#5 Kevin Love (15.5 points)

#4 James Harden (18 points)

#3 Kevin Durant (25 points)

#2 Chris Paul (26.5 points)

#1 LeBron James (29.5 points)

OKC had the ##3, 4, and 8 guys on the same team!

What Can We Reasonably Expect From a 19 Year Old Tyus Jones? History Says Not Much.

I am not sure why I am getting so few results, but of smaller rookie guards in their teens, the Basketball reference search engine spits out only 6 guys:

3.7 Win Shares by Stephon Marbury is BY FAR the best output of a rookie 19 year old guard under 6'3" tall.  Dajuan Wagner and (I had forgotten him) Eric Money registered positive Win Shares as 19 year olds, but just barely.

I suppose I should expand the search to 20 year olds - maybe guys graduate high school closer to 19?  So, we do that and............  Yep, that is the ticket.  Guys generally are 20 years old in their first NBA season.  Tyus will not be 20 until May 10, so he will play the entire season at age 19.

The five best young small point guards 20 and under have been Chris Paul, Derrick Rose, Brandon Jennings, Stephon Marbury, and Gilbert Arenas.  Three of the five have been all-NBA in their career. 

For Tyus - assuming that he is not Chris Paul (interesting note - the lovers of Tyus always compare him to Chris Paul) -- what is a fair expectation?  Maybe the 20th best season of all-time, so, 0.4 Win Shares?   That is pretty awful for a team that is trying to win games.  So as a Wolves fan I hope Tyus is top 10, but that would mean he would have a better rookie campaign than Russell Westbrook.  Hardly a "reasonable expectation." 

Best wishes to Tyus, but history teaches us that a 19 year old small PG contributing a fair level of wins has not been done since Stephon Marbury -- maybe it is time to make it a Timberwolves tradition? 

Jeb Bush -- My Brother Was a Liberal

Jeb (oh, I am sorry, he wants to be referred to as "Jeb!" complete with exclamation point) is trying  desperately to locate himself on the scale somewhere near the "severely conservative" Mitt Romney (whom everyone knew was just a flimflam man trying to get elected -- witness his 1st and 3rd debate with Obama where he basically espoused Democratic Party policies and often would just say "I agree with the President.") 

But the bigger concern that I have with this story is the statement that a recent poll found that 73% of people who identify as conservative have a favorable view of George W. Bush!!!

 In my lifetime, George W. Bush is the worst President, probably 10% worse than Jimmy Carter, who was second worst by a mile.  GWB did almost nothing well and almost everything extremely poorly.  Keeping us safe?  More dead of terrorism in the U.S. than any President.

Foreign policy?  Spent a trillion dollars on unnecessary Iraq War despite warnings that the war would destabilize the region (which it did).

Economics - led us into a stock market collapse and almost a second Great Depression.  This is true even though he took a balanced budget from Clinton and immediately ballooned it by huge tax cuts coupled with spending on programs like the military, wars and Medicare Part D, 

Foreign relations - everyone hated us.

Rule of Law -- no respect for the rule of law, set up torture sites, tortured, set up Guantanamo Bay detention area.

The guy was the absolute worst President of at least the past 70 years, and probably back to Harding (1920).  Clearly among the 10 worst Presidents in U.S. history, and battling hard for the bottom 5.  (I would imagine that guys like Zachary Taylor, Pierce, Buchanan, Harding, were worse, but I don't think you could locate 6 other guys who even are arguable worse.  Maybe Coolidge, maybe Hoover, maybe Andrew Johnson.  But I would not put those guys below GWB - I think he is probably 5th worst.

But honest to God, if conservative Republicans are so stupid that they cannot concede that GWB was a terrible President (and only 27% of them appear to have seriously qualms about him) then where does that leave us as a country?  We have basically reached a point where people live in their own private reality as defined by whether they watch Fox News or not. 

As a Democrat, I recognize that Jimmy Carter was an awful President (great guy, smart guy, has done very well later in life, but an awful President).  I also recognize that Reagan was a good President and Nixon, while a criminal, did a good job in most of his Presidential duties.  It really , really bothers me that 73% of conservatives feel GWB was a good President.  It is as if 73% of Vikings fans felt Spergon Wynn was a good quarterback or if 73% of Bears fans felt having Jimmy Clausen as a backup was good insurance in case Cutler got injured.  I mean, that would be a form of mental illness. 

But anyway -- I am glad that Jeb! Bush is now able to identify that his brother sucked.  Sadly, it appears that he is fighting uphill against a GOP primary voter who saw absolutely nothing wrong with GWB's performance and who will probably be a little hurt that Jeb! is going after him.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Right Wing Fears

This just about says it all.

Friday, September 25, 2015

John Boehner -- Quitter

He will not be missed.  He was SUPER ineffectual and allowed Ted Cruz to become the de facto Speaker of the House.  Probably the worst decision made by Boehner was to effectively remove earmarks for money to individual districts, thus allowing Congressmen to thumb their noses at him with no threat of reprisal.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Whose Butt?

We haven't had a "Whose Butt?" in a while, so some clues:

-- butt art itself gives a clue
-- appeared as a guest star on Nickelodeon show several years ago
-- Ben Affleck once was asked many questions about her during a media tour
-- appeared in one of the worst-grossing very wide release movies of all-time.

And, she is unbelievably built.


Jessica Simpson September 2015
There has always been a lot of body to the girl.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Ted Cruz - Natural Born Citizen?

The most hilarious thing about the whole deal is the Republicans were TRYING to claim Obama was born outside the U.S. to one U.S. citizen - his mom.  We KNOW that Ted Cruz was born outside of the U.S. to one citizen - him mom.  That is his official statement of his citizenship!

So, summary, Obama = black skinned = non-citizen.  Cruz = lighter skinned = citizen.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

George W. Bush v. Hillary Clinton

1) Intelligence failure and refusal to act upon threat of airplane-based terrorist actions results in the death of 2,600 people on 9/11/01.

GOP Reaction -- "George W. Bush, he kept us safe".

2) Intelligence failure and failure to see warning signs causes 4 deaths at Benghazi.

GOP Reaction -- "Criminal act by Clinton.  Disqualifies her from office; their blood is on her hands."

That is all you need to know.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

RIP Moses Malone

As stated elsewhere in the Blog:

1) My #16 best player of all-time.

2) One of 8 guys to win 3+ regular season MVPs and a title.

(The 8 are, in order, based upon my rankings:  Jordan(1), Wilt(2), Kareem(3), LeBron(4), Magic(6), Russell(8), Bird (13) and Moses (16).

-- Was once tossed out of a high school all-star camp for being too good (no one could compete against him).

-- First player in modern era to go from high school to pros (ABA Utah Stars).

-- 13 time all-star selection

-- 4X first-team all-NBA, 4X second team all-NBA as a center, 2X first-team all-defense

NBA/ABA Combined List top 10s

2nd in made and total free throws, 1st in offensive rebounds, 5th in defensive rebounds, 3rd in total rebounds, 7th in points, #2 in offensive rebound percentage, 5th in total rebound percentage.

Despite having only one title, is one of 25 players listed at as having a 100% Hall of Fame likelihood.

Caused of Death -- high blood pressure and being big, old and overweight -- died in his sleep at age 60.

RIP big fella.

Top 3 Katy Perry Pics

We had a tie for 3rd, so I will delete my vote for the tied spot and we end up with:

3rd Place, mostly naked Katy:

2nd Place - Cooking With Not Much On Katy:

And Our Winner, "Hands Down" the most popular pic:

Thanks to all who voted.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

12 Best Katy Perry Pics -- Vote on Your Top 3 (NOT a click-through!)

When you are discussing 12 just awesome Katy Perry photos and trying to pick the "top 3" I will concede that this is a tough task. But, I will set this criteria -- if you had 3 Katy Perry photos to take with you into the wilderness and you could never come back and see Katy Perry again, or ever get another picture, and the other 9 had to be burned in front of you while your eyes were held open so you had to watch, which 3 would you pick? Vote in the comments section.  I will post no more blog entries until the 15th or until I get at least 5 comments - which ever is later. 

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Why I Believe Tom Brady Will Eventually Lose On Appeal

The recent victory for Tom Brady provided by Judge Richard M. Berman, begins its legal analysis with this quotation:

"Although judicial scrutiny of arbitration awards necessarily is limited, such review is
sufficient to ensure that arbitrators comply with the requirements of the statute at issue." Gilmer v. Interstate/Johnson Lane Com., Ill S. Ct. 1647, 1655 (1991) (quoting Shearson/Am. Express Inc. v. McMahon, 107 S. Ct. 2332, 2340 (1987)). "The deference due an arbitrator does not extend so far as to require a district court to countenance, much less confirm, an award obtained without the requisites of fairness or due process." Kaplan v. Alfred Dunhill of London, Inc., No.  96 Civ. 259 (JFK), 1996 WL 640901, at *7 (S.D.N.Y. Nov. 4, 1996)."

It is rather clear that the good judge stated how he wanted the result to turn out and then instructed his clerk to find ANY case law (even 20-25 years old) that supported that ruling.  As recently as 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court in Oxford Health v. Sutter explained that an arbitrator's ruling should almost never be overturned:

So long as an arbitrator "makes a good faith attempt" to interpret a contract, "even serious errors of law or fact will not subject his award to vacatur."

Under the FAA, courts may vacate an arbitrator’s decision "only in very unusual circumstances." That limited judicial review, we have explained, "maintain[s] arbitration’s essential virtue of resolving disputes straightaway." If parties could take"full-bore legal and evidentiary appeals," arbitration would become "merely a prelude to a more cumbersome and time consuming judicial review process."  Here, Oxford invokes §10(a)(4) of the Act, which authorizes a federal court to set aside an arbitral award "where the arbitrator[] exceeded [his] powers." A party seeking relief under that provision bears a heavy burden. "It is not enough . . . to show that the [arbitrator] committed an error—or even a serious error." Because the parties "bargained for the arbitrator’s construction of their agreement," an arbitral decision "even arguably construing or applying the contract" must stand, regardless of a court’s view of its (de)merits.

So, the real question for the Second Circuit on appeal is whether there are two sets of standards for arbitration -- one for football arbitration and one for every other type of arbitration.  All arbitrators will get the benefit of the doubt, even if clearly wrong.....unless that arbitrator is Roger Goodell.

The fact of the matter is that the NFLPA bargained for arbitration.  Arbitration, by its very nature, allows a lot of terrible decisions to stand.  That is the entire theory of arbitration -- you agree on someone or some panel of people to tell you what your legal rights are.  They may be wildly wrong, but a court isn't going to overturn that result so long as the arbitrator tried to be fair.  As the Supreme Court added, arbitrator decisions generally get upheld whether "good, bad, or ugly."  If this isn't the rule for NFL players, then the courts should simply say that is the case - when they agree to allow The Commissioner to be an arbitrator they can still say he decided wrong. 

I would imagine that if  the NFL just simply argues the proper legal standard to the Second Circuit that the NFL will prevail. 


Friday, September 04, 2015

Monday, August 31, 2015

Jaye Marie Green -- the LPGA's Next Hot Thing

She is only 21, she wears braces, but I have a feeling that by 2017 folks are going to know her name.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Data Analysis -- Ashley Madison Was a Complete Scam -- It Had Almost No Women Users

It is an awesome scam.  20+ million plus men signed up hoping to have affairs, and perhaps as little as 12,000 women were ever on-line to respond.  Ashley Madison personnel created as many as 5.4 million fake female IDs, but the company was so lazy in its fraud that it didn't even bother to have someone occasionally engage the men in some harmless chit-chat and a gradual turn down.

Certainly some men had to be unhappy with paying to get laid but never getting laid, but what real alternative did they have?  "Hey.  No chick wants to do me!  Give me my money back."  Dude, you are a troll, of course no one wants to bang you.  "I am a catch!  I have a wife!  Give me my money back."  Look, we won't charge you going forward, OK?  "I want my money back!"  Sue us.  And when you sue us, we will send a subpoena out to depose your wife on whether you lost anything by not having sex with random women.
"Oh......OK....look, just close my account."  (Ashley Madison says it will, but doesn't).

Amazing stuff.  Great scam. Look for a Chapter 7 filing soon.

You wonder whether AM might have been able to operate more effectively as an escort service.  I mean, if you could recruit enough escorts (say 100,000) you might be able to keep up with some small amount of the pent up demand here.  And the women could, if they so chose, have a date with the guy, find him hideous, and not have sex at all.  (It is a dating service after all, AM is not claiming that you will always get laid - you just are supposed to find folks who want to "have an affair".  It isn't AM's fault if you cannot close the deal).  Of course hiring actual escorts would require the actual outlay of money, so it doesn't make for as profitable of a scam....and before the computer hack, no one ever complained that they were not getting laid. 

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Interesting TV Comment Regarding Republican Politics

I saw a guy on TV the other day (I do not recall his name, sorry) who was a big GOP operative and he stated that for the GOP to grow the party that they have to NOT try to reach out to women and minorities, but, rather, they need to be less about the rich and more about the working man.

The theory went as follows -- when there is something that will help the American working man, be for it, whether it is increased minimum wage or unionization or supporting Obama Care.  If you truly want the middle class to be Republicans, then your platform should be that you will help the middle class.

As I have said before, it USED to be that a thinking man who was making $35,000 a year in a union job could look 5-10-20 years down the road and say, "Well, some day I will be making $100,000 a year.  I ought to vote Republican because they won't tax me as much."  And when we had labor unions and basically lifetime employment, we had a lot of happy people who just wanted to live in a law and order society where they could safely raise their kids (key American values which have always been a big pitch of the GOP -- anticrime, protect the kids from strange liberal thinkers).

"Reagan Democrats" were a lot of union folks; blue collar workers who felt that Reagan would be a strong leader who would let them live their lives while Carter was a weak-need leader who insisted that everyone turn down the heat to 65 degrees and drive 55. 

The problem with being a Republican nowadays is that they stand for 3 things:  1) tax cuts for the wealthy; 2) going to war with everyone; and 3) hating minorities.  If you are some guy getting out of high school and you have a couple gay friends, know a bunch of Hispanic guys and really don't want to go to war with everyone, the Republican Party offers you nothing.  It used to be that a guy in Dundee, New York who graduated in 1955 could leave high school, get a union job, work for 40 years, retire at 58 and live on a pension.  He never had to worry about money and he never will.  How do I know this?  Because my father attended his 40 year HS reunion and learned this, "These guys were not even good high school students - they all have very good lives.".  That same graduating student in 2015 won't make $75,000 a year some day.  He won't have a pension.  He won't ever make enough that he ever pays federal income tax.  When he retires, he needs Social Security and Medicare.  He will probably be a Democrat.

Interestingly, this same guy will probably be very happy if illegal immigration slows.  He will have fewer competitors for his job.  His employer might actually have to pay him more to work. 

Just a thought.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Trump Comes Out In Favor of Taxing Rich Hedge Fund Managers

Trump, of course, is right.  People who make $300,000 a year should NOT get taxed at 39.6% while hedge fund managers make $300,000,000 and get taxed at 23.8%. 

That said, Trump better HOPE to God that one of three things happens:  1) he starts to decline in the polls; 2) he "evolves" on this position; or 3) he decides that he was misunderstood.  Because if none of these three things happens, I honestly fear for Donald Trump's life.  There is nothing more that Republican power brokers hate than a guy who will raise taxes on the wealthy.  If Trump is on his way to getting the GOP nomination and he is serious about increasing taxes on the wealthy.....desperate times call for desperate measures....  GOP power brokers do not give a fuck about social issues - they use the issues for votes.  Their daughters get abortions.  Their gay kids and relatives get married and they attend.  They love the cheap labor created by illegal immigrants.  But you start asking them to pay taxes?  Oh boy.

I am, in no way, advocating violence toward Mr. Trump -- as I have said, I agree with him.  But Jack Kennedy took on the mob and tried to cut off their sources of untaxed income.  Didn't end well for him.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

NFL's Tom Brady Brief

Go toward the bottom.

Summary -- 1) arbitrator is entitled to great deference; 2) court cannot reevaluate the findings of fact; 3) there is no such thing as "law of the shop"; 4) Brady did it, or at least there was enough evidence for Goodell to find that Brady did it.

The most interesting thing about the brief:

-- Brady's destruction of his cell phone was not known to the Wells Report folks, but instead the Union presented that piece of information in pursuing the appeal.  (Ooops).

-- Brady was asked for all texts or emails about the deflation of footballs at any time to anyone.  That is why he didn't want to produce the phone -- he was texting someone ELSE about football deflation.

-- Brady could not produce his phone since it was his standard practice to destroy his phones -- except he still had the phone from BEFORE the destroyed one.  Again, oops.  "Well, it is my standard practice.....this one time."

The union has argued "evident partiality" by Goodell.  Yeah, sure. 

Jared Fogle -- My Lord

For those of you so outraged with Adrian Peterson's whipping of his child -- those of you who wanted him basically banned from ever working again and thrown in prison -- how do you feel about the fact that Fogle will only see 5-14 1/2 years in prison?

Isn't this the sort of behavior (systematic child porn, violations of privacy for personal and pecuniary benefit actually soliciting and engaging in sex with minors) that should result in life in prison?  Just because Fogle has $1.4M to give victims, does this mean he shouldn't be put away forever?

Disgusting.  Al S. - I know you have thoughts.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Good article on the latest Fox News Poll

I would summarize it as this -- 56% of the GOP electorate is not currently following directions.   They are supposed to vote for Bush and let Walker and Rubio do well enough that they can be a good VP candidate. 

Instead, 56% say they will be voting for clearly unelectable options (Trump, Carson, Cruz, Huackbee, Paul).  Bush is plummeting, Walker has lost 1/3 of his support.  Rubio could not have done much better in the debate.....he dropped a point.    Rubio's debate performance was like when Corey BRewer scored 51 points in a game -- a reporter that night asked LeBron, "So, your thoughts on CBrew scoring 51 points tonight."  LeBron, "well, good for him......wait, WHAT!?!?!?!?"  Rubio is never going to be that good ever again - yet, rather than reward him for his effort (and his willingness to move even FURTHER right on abortion than FoxNews thought he was), the voters actually ran away from him.

Anyway -- go Trump!  And have you ever seen a guy who is around 65 years old who looks anywhere near as good as Ben Carson?  Whatever secret medical knowledge he has should be ferreted out and provided at no charge to short, portly 51 year old bloggers.

Jordan Spieth Goes 1-1-2-4 in Majors.

With Spieth winning 2 majors and adding a second and a 4th, if you add that up, he had a total score of 8 (1+1+2+4) and two wins.

The two greatest golfers of all-time are 2) Tiger Woods and 1) Jack Nicklaus.  Tiger is the only guy since WWII to have a better year in majors than Spieth:

Tiger in 2000 -- 3 firsts and a 5th (8 total points, beats Spieth on wins)
Tiger in 2005 also posted an 8 with 1-1-2-4,

Jack's best ever single year was 1975 where he went 1-1-3-7.

Why is Jack the greatest ever?  Look at the period 1971-1977.

Jack's total scores for those years:
1971 -- 10 (1 win)
1972 -- 16 (2 wins)
1973 -- 12 (1 win)
1974 -- 19 (0 wins)
1975 -- 12 (2 wins)
1976 -- 20 (0 wins)
1977 -- 17 (0 wins)

Did Tiger ever have a stretch of 7 years like that?  No.  Here is his stretch 2000-07
8, 67, 32, 78, 72, 8, (was cut at US Open, so his score would be above 80), 17.

Tiger in his best 8 years (2000-07) did have 12 major wins to Jack's 8 major wins in his best 8 year stretch (1970-77).  But Jack had a stretch 1962-67 in which he also had 7 majors.  Tiger will be 40 this year.  By age 39, Jack had 15 majors.  Tiger has 14.  At ages 37-38-39 Jack had 6 top-4 finishes in majors, including one win.   Tiger at ages 37-39 has had 1 top-4 finish (2013 Masters where he tied for 4th with Marc Leishman, losing to Adam Scott by 4 strokes) one top 6, and a ton of injuries and awful results.

Jack won 2 majors at age 40 and 1 at age 46.  So we shall see whether Tiger can step up and get it done, or whether it is time for him to fade away and allow Spieth, Day, McIlroy, etc. to take over.

Friday, August 14, 2015

I Love LeBron, But Folks, He ISN'T Paying for 1,000 Kids to Go to College.....

The LeBron James Family Foundation has announced that if the 1,100 kids currently in 3rd to 7th grade fulfill the elements of the "I Promise" program that the Foundation will pay their way through college.

This has led to claims that LeBron is paying to put 1,100 kids through college at a cost of $41 million.  I love LeBron, but people, this isn't "Scott's Tots" - he isn't going to be standing with his schlong in this hand 5 years from now hoping he still has enough money to write checks.

First -- the money is available only to kids who finish the Program.  Part of the Program is getting acceptable grades and adequate standardized score results and getting through school in Akron.  If you assume that 30% of the kids will not complete the program, I think you are giving the kids a lot of credit.

Second -- the money only goes to the kids if they go to the University of Akron.  Assume you are a poor kid from inner city Akron and you stay in school, stay out of trouble, and have, say, a 27 on your ACT.  You probably can go to most colleges for free or close to free, either on a need based scholarship or a merit based scholarship.  If you can go to Ohio State or Michigan, do you want to go to Akron?   Harvard or Akron?  Stanford or Akron?  You get the point.  Assume that the kids who can go to a better school will.  Let's say that is 10% of the remaining 750 kids.  So drop 750 to 675.

Third -- the Foundation is partnering with the University of Akron.  Do you believe that a poor inner city kid from Akron would be charged full freight for attending the U of A if he or she had stayed out of trouble, did well in school and had a decent ACT score?  I do not believe that to be the case, and the U of A web site states that it awards both merit and need based scholarships up to $10,000 (tuition is currently $9,500).  If LeBron approached the U of A, do you think that they screwed him and said, "Yeah, LeBron, a lot of these kids would actually go here for nothing or next to nothing, but if YOU will pay for them, we are going to charge YOUR FOUNDATION $10K/kid."  I really, really doubt it.  Therefore, LeBron probably said, "What would you charge a kid who was in this situation?" Around $3,500 on the average.  "OK, that is what I will pay." 

$3,500 X 675 kids = $9,450,000.

Fourth -- LeBron isn't paying the $9,450,000.  It is the Foundation that is paying it.  I seriously doubt that every dollar in the coffers of the LBJ Foundation is contributed by LeBron James.  If it is, great, but generally Foundations do fundraiser and get donations, etc.  Maybe not the case here, but, again, someone should at least look at the source of the funds at issue.  If Dan Gilbert gives $10,000,000 a year to LeBron's foundation it is one thing.  If Gilbert gives $0 it is another.

Fifth -- I doubt that anyone would be so stupid as to Michael Scott it and promise payment in the future without some clear source of payment.  It is possible that the Foundation gave U of A, for example, $6,000,000 today and said, "That is it.  That is all I will pay.  You invest it and you agree that these kids all go for free if they want."  Or you get someone like a bank or insurance company involved and buy some investment product today that they will guaranty will amount to the possible tuition payment in 4-5-6 years.

LeBron ain't paying $41M.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Tom Brady courtroom sketch

In her defense, the sketch artist had been hypnotized, ala "Shallow Hal," and drew what was inside of Brady.....

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Ranking Ten Women from "Bachelor In Paradise 2"

I am a huge "Bachelor" and "Bachelor In Paradise" fan, so I was chatting today in the office about favorites and least favorites and so I decided to break it down a bit more methodically.
The 9 main women thus far have been – Carly, Tenley, Ashley I, Ashley S., Lauren I., Jade, Juelia, Jillian, Clare, and I will throw in Samantha at #10 cuz she is really good looking

Obviously I have never actually met these women, so I can only go off what I have seen thus far on TV.  There are really only two ways to rate a potential date -- looks and personality (some women I know would add MONEY but I am a guy, I really do not care if they are poor).  
So, I rank them based upon Category 1 (which is basically personality) and Category 2 (which is straight out looks - they could reveal a love of Hitler and admiration of Sarah Palin and I could still rank them at the top of Category 2).  So, here goes. 

My rankings Category 1 (seems like someone who is nice and fairly normal)

1st Place Carly - seems like the nicest, most normal person in the world.  Hilarious, sarcastic.  How she got dragged into this ugly world of The Bachelor I have no idea. 

2nd Place -- Jade  - seems like a nice Midwestern girl who decided to sow her wild oats and take advantage of how hot she was/is.  Playboy deal bothers me not one iota.

3rd Place Tenley –  my law partner thinks she is manipulative and evil.  She seems pretty sweet and decent to me.  I mean, she got a guy to stay with her for 5 years recently.

4th Place -- Samantha   while she has said virtually nothing on her Bachelor episodes, she gains points because everyone below her is, in my opinion, kind of crazy.  Merely being "unknown/neutral" is good for 4th place.

5th Place -- Clare --  You just kind of feel bad for Clare because she comes from a family where she is like Marilyn Munster.  I mean, wow.  She is a 9 or 10 out of 10 for looks, yet she cannot find a man in the Sacramento/Bay Area metro areas?  She is just a little cray-cray and her mood snaps WAY too fast for me.

6th Place Juelia  I just don't care for her, and she obviously has poor taste in men

7th Place -- Ashley I.  How could you date a 27 year old virgin who cried ALL OF THE TIME!?!?  I mean, geez.  The thing that dives me most crazy is that happiness for her lasts 20 seconds and tears last hours.

8th Place Ashley S.   - may literally suffer from mental illness.

9th Place Jillian  If she just had a mediocre personality, and just seemed fairly normal, you would say "all-American girl."  Instead, she just bothers me and I think she may possibly, in my opinion, become a lesbian.  She was booted in show #1 and will not be missed at all.  Even being literally mentally ill is better than having Jillian's personality.

10th Place Lauren  Ashley's sister who dates a guy who is dating someone else (and calls herself a "mistress") commits the #1 sin that I cannot abide -- she refuses to try.  There is nothing more frustrating than dating a woman where you have to do everything to keep her interested in the date.  I dated a woman named Pam one time, end of the first date, Me, "Would you like to go out again?"  You can call me.  "And you would LIKE to go?"  Well, it depends on where we would go. 
We had 3 dates - never got any better.

My ranking Category 2 (just purely good looking without opening their mouth)

Samantha - strikingly beautiful

Jade -- she looks good with no makeup, she looks good made up, looks good classy, looks good dressed down, looks good in all circumstances.

Ashley I.  - give the devil her due, you'd want to kill yourself after a while, but there is no denying her amazing looks.

Clare -- 26 year old Jared said, "You are 34, but you still look really good."  Amen to that. 

Ashley S.  -- there is no denying that she has a pretty face and a very strongly built body with 3%body fat.

Tenley -- very attractive, like the girl you think you will surprise everyone with and say, "You know who is sneaky good looking?" and everyone in the group says at once, "Tenley."  Uh, yeah.

Lauren - not bad looking.  And you have to also say that she never tried, so she may be even better looking than she showed.

Juelia -- Not bad, above average.

Carly --  she has a poor self image and always complained on The Bachelor that she was overshadowed by the better looking girls.  She is correct.  She is a 5 1/2 on a show where the top 4 are clearly 9+ and the next two are 8s.   It is a tough league to play in.

Jillian - I find nothing about Jillian attractive.  Sorry.  I recognize that she could argue for a spot below Tenley, but I don't see it.

Giving 10 points for a 1st Place and going down by 1 point per position, down to 1 point for last, then adding two category scores together:

The Best Group - "Yeah, Like I Ever Had a Shot"
Jade - 18
Samantha 17
I Would Ask Them Out
Tenley 13
Clare 13
Carly 12
Ashley I. 12
I Might Go Out With If I Heard They Were Obsessed With Me.
Ashley S. 9
Juelia 8

Not At All Interested
Lauren 5
Jillian 3