Amato is rooting for the Ravens, simply because he hates Niners fans, but I gotta go with my homies. Go Niners!
Open thread below...
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Amato is rooting for the Ravens, simply because he hates Niners fans, but I gotta go with my homies. Go Niners!
Open thread below...
The above video is an ad that you'll see during the Super Bowl: "Demand a Plan" is a campaign of Mayors Against Illegal Guns -- a national, bipartisan coalition of mayors working to make America’s communities safer by keeping illegal guns out of dangerous hands. Co-founded in 2006 by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, the coalition has grown from a committed group of 15 members to more than 850 mayors, including Republicans, Democrats, and Independents, from major cities and small towns around the country. The group has more than 1.2 million grassroots supporters, making it the largest gun violence prevention advocacy organization in the country.
From Demand a Plan's website:
Our efforts cannot bring back the 20 innocent children murdered in Newtown, CT -- or the 33 people murdered with guns every day in America. But we can prevent future tragedies by passing common sense legislation that will:
Require a criminal background check for every gun sold in America
Ban assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines
Make gun trafficking a federal crime, with real penalties for “straw purchasers”
Demand that your members of Congress support these legislative priorities.
If you so desire, you can also sign their petition that calls upon Congress to come up with a plan to end gun violence.
Your open thread begins below.
David Cay Johnston on how sports are used as a tool to steal from taxpayers.
Even if you like football (I don't -- as far as I'm concerned, this week's game should be called the Concussion Bowl), you have to wonder why the owners get to make obscene amounts of money while taxpayers foot the bill for their cash-cow stadiums. Professional sports are the perfect illustration of the "socialize losses, privatize gains" principle so beloved of corporatists!
The tenth Super Bowl played in New Orleans, and the first since Hurricane Katrina devastated the city in 2005, will kickoff in a stadium that has received more than $470 million in public support since the storm, as taxpayers have footed the bill for renovations and upgrades in the face of threats from ownership and the National Football League to move the team to another city.
In the aftermath of Katrina, New Orleans was desperate to keep the Saints from skipping town. The NFL and Saints owner Tom Benson seem to have taken advantage of that desperation, leveraging it into hundreds of millions of dollars in public support — from the city, state, and federal governments — for renovations to the decimated Superdome, which housed Katrina refugees during and after the storm. In 2009, the state committed $85 million more to keep the Saints in town and attempt to woo another Super Bowl, all while signing a lease worth $153 million in a nearby building owned by Benson.
While investors and Benson have profited from the deals, taxpayers haven’t been as lucky, Bloomberg reports:
Talks headed by then-NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue led to a plan to fix and renovate the Superdome with $121 million from the state, $44 million from the Louisiana Stadium and Exposition District, which oversees the facility, $156 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and $15 million from the league. Blanco said a rushed bond deal followed.
Ultimately, the financing cost the district more than three times its $44 million commitment, according to data compiled by Bloomberg from state documents and interviews. [...]In April 2009, Louisiana negotiated a new lease to secure Benson’s promise to keep the team in New Orleans through 2025. The state made $85 million in fresh Superdome improvements, adding luxury seating and moving the press box. A company owned by Benson, Zelia LLC, bought the 26-story tower next to the stadium that had stood mostly vacant since Katrina and renovated it. At the time, Benson put the total cost at about $85 million. The state then signed a $153 million, 20-year lease for office space in the building, which now houses 51 state agencies, according to the Louisiana Administration Division.
[...]“A lot of folks in New York made a ton of money,” [former state Treasurer John] Kennedy said.
“Louisiana taxpayers didn’t do so well.”
The Superdome certainly needed renovations following Katrina. But its original construction was financed solely by taxpayers, and Benson, who is worth roughly $1.6 billion, didn’t contribute and repeatedly hinted that the Saints would move to San Antonio, Los Angeles, or another city unless taxpayers ponied up. Kennedy, the state treasurer, told Bloomberg he went into negotiations with the NFL and Benson “with a gun against my head.”
Mitt Romney thought we should let Detroit go bankrupt. Smooth move, Ex-Lax.
If Mitt had his way, Detroit wouldn't be repped by badasses like Eminem and Clint Eastwood. It'd just be some dude, chillin on the couch, dreaming what might have been.
But gosh, Mitt sure did feel strongly about that whole "Let Detroit Go Bankrupt" thing. Huh. Now that GM is the number one auto company in the world again and TARP funds have been repaid, do you think we'll hear anything about that call between now and November?
Michigan's electoral votes will be bitterly contested twixt now and then. It's important to remember the fate that would have fallen Detroit--and Dearborn, and Livonia, and Hamtramck, and all the other areas that rely on that industry--had Mitt been at the helm.
On a personal note, yes those are zits on my face, yes I am too old to be getting them. It's a hectic time dude, get off my back.
Are you ready for some football? Live streaming here.
Amato is rooting for his beloved Giants. How about you?
Bill O'Reilly has interviewed President Obama before and I covered all three days extensively on C&L in September, 2008.
FOX promoted this new interview heavily and on the whole, the President won this encounter easily. Bill O'Reilly did his best to try and remain civil throughout his pre-Super Bowl interview of President Obama because such a large audience tunes into the Super Bowl and he didn't want many Americans to see his true nature. But in the end, he couldn't help himself and had to turn nasty.
O'Reilly: Does it disturb you that so many people hate you?
What a stupid question. FOX News has done its best to promote the hatred of President Obama and it's surprising that his approval ratings are as high as they are after the daily battering he takes from them and every other member of the right-wing media establishment, which practically controls the daily narratives. Maybe he should have asked the President if it bothered him that FOX hates Obama.
At least our criticisms of the President are steeped in real-life debates about the direction his administration has handled itself over its first two years, but FOX acts like the propaganda arm of the Republican Party and treats his every move with disdain and with one goal in mind: defeating his presidency so that the GOP can win elections. And that's never happened before in the history of broadcast TV.
BillO cited a WSJ op-ed to call him a Big Government Liberal, which in reality is O'Reilly's opinion. For us, he hasn't gone progressive enough. And BillO asked Obama if he has moved to the middle, which Obama denied.
But when pressed Sunday during a live interview with Fox’s Bill O’Reilly on what political analysts say is a clear sprint toward the center, Obama dismissed the notion with a "no."
"I haven't -- I didn't move to... I'm the same guy," he said.
When O’Reilly said the president’s critics call him “a big government liberal,” Obama replied that he inherited a nation on the brink of an economic crisis. That situation required his administration to take a number of “extraordinary steps” to avoid a severe economic depression, Obama said.
Howard Kurtz saw the interview as a big win for the President:
Considering that his administration had once declared war on Fox News and boycotted the nation’s top-rated cable news outfit, the session’s final score added up to a big win for Obama—with a huge audience virtually guaranteed.
The end of the interview turned into a Barbara Walters segment, so I won't bother commenting on it.
The hammer came down from the NFL on Big Ben.
The bad behavior of Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger resulted Wednesday in a six-game suspension by the NFL and reportedly has triggered what once would have been unthinkable: The Steelers are testing the market to trade him.
According to an ESPN report, Pittsburgh has been contacting teams selecting in the top 10 of this year's draft, which begins at 4:30 p.m. PDT today, to gauge interest in the two-time Super Bowl winner.
What's clear is the league and the Steelers have all but run out of patience with Roethlisberger, who last year faced similar accusations by a woman in Nevada. That case also did not bring criminal charges. Since then, reports have swirled that there's a pattern of bad off-field behavior by the quarterback, once among the NFL's most popular players.
Roethlisberger will be suspended without pay for six games, losing $2.8 million in salary, for violating the league's personal-conduct policy, and he must undergo a "comprehensive behavioral evaluation by medical professionals," the NFL said.
Good riddance. He's lucky that's all that happened. I keep hearing from his defenders that the only side of the story we're hearing is from the young woman, but there's plenty of space available in the newspapers and online for Ben to tell us his side of the story. ESPN would be drooling to get him on air for an interview. Why the silence if Ben is being so wronged and there's nothing to what happened?
On another note, the NFL draft is here and yes, I am a draft junkie when it actually takes place. The NFL and ESPN are looking to line their pocket with more gold and have turned it into a three day extravaganza. Thursday, Friday, and Saturday are all being milked for everything they are worth---so for all you draftniks, put on your face paint or grab the nearest eye black---Tim Tebow Bible Verses. How interesting that the NCAA and the NFL outlawed the use of them after Tebow left college. It does look like these sports villagers have been reading my blog because I made this claim a long time ago.
Schuh denied that the rules committee wanted to ban the eye-black writing because they were worried about the kind of messages some players might try to use, such as someone protesting Tebow's Christian messages with a Muslim phrase, for example.
No Muslim phrases in the NCAA. I'm shocked Focus on Family of Falwell's people haven't tried to market the Christian Eye Black yet. Now, get your popcorn, boo the Jets draft pick...
...and hope the number 1 pick your team makes doesn't wind up to be Ryan Leaf.
By the way, he just got 10 years' probation.
Former NFL quarterback Ryan Leaf has agreed to plead guilty in his Texas drug and burglary case in exchange for 10 years of probation, attorneys in the case said Thursday.
Leaf's attorney, Bill Kelly, said his client has agreed to plead guilty to seven counts of obtaining a controlled substance by fraud and one count of delivery of a simulated controlled substance. Leaf would be on probation for 10 years and a burglary charge would be dropped.
That's what I'm talking about.
Matt Taibbi has written a guide which decodes the entire draft process. All NFL GM's should read it immediately.
For years I’ve been obsessed with what is surely the greatest spectacle in all of sports: the NFL draft. Now I’ve finally figured out how to put my fixation to good use. Listen up, GMs. By Matt Taibbi
I probably know more about the nfl draft than I do about any other single thing in life. I have first cousins whose names I can’t remember, and I forget the contents of pretty much every book I read the moment I’m finished. But for some mysterious and no doubt deeply psychotic reason, I have a virtually limitless ability to remember details about football’s annual meat market. I can recall what kind of car Seattle Seahawks pick Jerramy Stevens crashed into an old-folks home in his Washington Huskies days (a red Toyota pickup) or what a lumbering Auburn tackle named King Dunlap “ran” in his pre-draft 40 two years ago (a 5.28, I’m pretty sure). People in my parents’ generation remember where they were when Kennedy got shot; I’ll remember where I was when Andre Smith first bared his bouncing man-titties during a pro-day workout...read on.
He's right about the pot thing. The Giants drafted Mario Manningham on the 3rd round because he admitted to smoking some weed before the NFL
meat market, combine and slid into the Giants lap.
This is a DA that wasn't very happy about not prosecuting Ben Roethlisberger for rape.
One the evening of March 4 and into the wee hours of March 5, Roethlisberger was out bar hopping with his entourage. The 20-year-old "victim" -- Bright's word, not mine -- was doing with the same with her sorority sisters. The two parties met at various establishments along the way, where the quarterback and the co-ed made small talk.
"Some of a sexual nature," Bright said.
Finally, at Capital City's VIP room -- not for nothing, but how many VIPs can there be in the metropolis of Milledgeville? -- Roethlisberger summoned the sorority girls and "provided shots of alcohol." Bright's account fits nicely with an earlier report quoting the two-time Super Bowl winner as saying: "All you bitches, take my shots."
"Everyone agrees," Bright said, "that the victim was highly intoxicated."
Again, I'm shocked.
Next, the prosecutor said, "one of the bodyguards guided the victim down a back hallway. Mr. Roethlisberger followed her down the hallway into a small bathroom."
She sustained a "superficial laceration and slight bleeding in the genital area." A test performed at the hospital indicated the presence of male DNA.
That's not evidence of criminal conduct, or, rather, not nearly enough evidence to prove it. And so there's no reason not to accept Bright's representation -- what happened in that dingy bathroom cannot be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
The woman told some of her story, wouldn't pursue charges, but didn't back off.
Bright received a letter from the accuser, whose name has not been revealed, several weeks after the incident saying she did not want to proceed with prosecution. In the letter the student’s lawyer made it clear she was not recanting her accusation.
I can understand her reluctance to press charges. I've been in a few VIP parties in my life after a gig and it's a lot of fun, but just because you meet girls who want to talk and hang out with you, it doesn't mean they've given you permission to do anything else. I've also seen a number of fairly famous musicians have a great time after a show, but never cross the line.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying I've been a saint all my life, but it's really not that hard to respect women enough not to act in this fashion, even when there's alcohol involved. Roethlisberger is just a creep.
(I'm posting this only because I smell something rotten in Denmark, or rather, on CBS.)
Did you see the Tim Tebow ad that actually aired during the Super Bowl yesterday? The only one I saw was much different than what CBS told us was going to air during the game and which drew a ton of controversy all across the blogosphere and throughout the pro-choice movement. What I saw was not controversial and didn't even talk about the abortion issues that were supposed to be aired. The LA Times said: Tebow ad falls short of the hype
The 30-second commercial is expected to recount the story of Pam Tebow's pregnancy in 1987. After getting sick during a mission trip to the Philippines, she ignored a recommendation by doctors to abort her fifth child.
She later gave birth to Tim, who won the 2007 Heisman Trophy and helped the Florida Gators win two BCS championships.
CBS said Tuesday that the decision to air the Tebow ad reflected a change in its policies toward advocacy spots that has evolved over the past several years.
"We have for some time moderated our approach to advocacy submissions after it became apparent that our stance did not reflect public sentiment or industry norms," said spokesman Dana McClintock. "In fact, most media outlets have accepted advocacy ads for some time."
These ads had nothing to do with advocacy on the abortion issue. I think either CBS or Focus on the Family (or both) pulled a fast one on America and they should be called out on it. Not only that they should be panned roundly by the media for providing false journalism and advertising to drum up buzz for the commercial. Shameful, just shameful.
I saw President Obama talking to Katie Couric before the Super Bowl, and I didn't breathe for a few minutes as I took in what he was proposing. I guess they are spooked by the losses of the mythical independent voters in recent polling, but even if that's the case, it's a horrible idea from my perspective.
President Obama said Sunday that he would convene a half-day bipartisan health-care session at the White House to be televised live this month, a high-profile gambit that will allow Americans to watch as Democrats and Republicans try to break their political impasse.
Mr. Obama made the announcement in an interview on CBS during the Super Bowl pre-game show, capitalizing on a vast television audience. He set out a plan that would put Republicans on the spot to offer their own ideas on health care and show whether both sides are willing to work together.
“I want to come back and have a large meeting, Republicans and Democrats, to go through systematically all the best ideas that are out there and move it forward,” Mr. Obama said in the interview from the White House Library.
Mr. Obama challenged Republicans to attend the meeting with their plans for lowering the cost of health insurance and expanding coverage to more than 30 million uninsured Americans. Republican leaders said they welcomed the opportunity and called on Democrats to start the debate from scratch, which the president said he would not do.
I understand the strategy behind them doing this, but the country is too polarized at this point to really turn perceptions enough to make any difference.
This will accomplish nothing except to possibly empower Republican obstructionists even more. They will tell us what wonderful new ideas they have and that if only Obama opened up competition in all the states, it would solve all the problems in health care. Here's Crying Boehner's response:
"The best way to start on real, bipartisan reform would be to scrap those bills and focus on the kind of step-by-step improvements that will lower health care costs and expand access. The House Republican alternative, which would lower premiums by up to 10 percent while increasing access for Americans without health insurance, would be a solid starting point. I look forward to discussing these issues with the Democratic Leadership and the President."
America didn't elect President Obama so that Republicans could rule the legislative process, but through the guidance of David Axelrod and Rahm Emanuel, that's what's happening now. There is no way Republicans will sign on to anything at this point unless the president gives in to all of their demands.
Funny thing how Obama keeps reaching out to the other side instead of his own. I'd much rather have a liberal blogger meeting with President Obama instead of having to endure this.
Digby also adds a lot to this discussion and brings a really smart observation to the discussion. Much sharper than what you'd hear from the MSM.
It's fascinating, of course, because it's gossip and because some in the White House and others close to the administration have decided to try to dethrone these four. The courtiers are rebelling...read on
UPDATE: And here comes the reinforcements. There's and article in FT.com that says the Chicago team is hurting the Obama White House and I can't disagree on that one.
Financial Times Washington Bureau Chief Edward Luce has written a granularly informed insider account about those who hold the keys to the inner most sanctum of Obama Land -- Rahm Emanuel, Robert Gibbs, Valerie Jarrett and David Axelrod.
The article goes on to document how people like Health Secretary and former Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius were kept off television -- along with others like Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. Add to this others that Luce does not name -- including important voices like Paul Volcker and Austan Goolsbee on Obama's economic team, who saw their public voices choked off by a media-dominating Lawrencean Summers with support from Robert Gibbs and Rahm Emanuel.
I've been complaining about the lack of surrogate speakers to go out and sell his ideas and the lack of a cohesive legislative strategy and that's been a huge problem also. Read the piece---it's very good. Oh, and Obama is the president and isn't a child so he still has the ultimate say.