Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Obama Thoughts

No question he is going to be the nominee. That has not changed at all. He will still win North Carolina by at least 10 points and I believe he will win Indiana, but even if he loses, he won't lose by more than 5 points.

The last couple of days have been wasted with the distraction of his former pastor, Jeremiah Wright. The sad part about it was that Obama gave a masterful speech on race in Philly. He did not abandon his pastor, but tried to explain the context of race in America. This allowed Wright to rebuild his image and quietly slip out of sight. However, for some reason, Wright's ego is too big to avoid the limelight. His comments two days ago were ridiculous and Obama rightly denounced him. That should be the end of the story, but it will go on for another day or two.

If I were Obama, I'd get off the Wright story by simply getting back on message about the economy and Iraq. The media is going to push the story, but just like the ridiculous focus on the whether or not Obama wears a 10 cent flag pin, most Americans won't care in the end if they feel that he can bring about change. That is what made him popular to begin with and that is what he needs to get back to.

The bottom line is this - Hillary and McCain represent the Washington elite establishment. They have been in Washington forever and have not been able to bring about change. Obama needs to play up his populist message and his role as an outsider. If he does that, he will be fine in the general election (again, he is going to be the Democratic nominee).

Monday, April 28, 2008

Good Bears Draft

I loved the picks and think they addressed many of their need areas.

Chris Williams is going to be a very good NFL tackle. He has pass blocking skills and the NFL is now mostly a passing league. I read a comment somewhere that said that Williams only gave up 2 sacks last year playing the the SEC, but Jake Long gave up 2 sacks in the Ohio State game. If that is true, then it says something about his skills. From what I understand, he is going to have to work on his run blocking, but that is much easier to learn than pass blocking. This allows John Tait to move back to his natural right tackle position which will really help.

Matt Forte is a solid NFL running back prospect. He will put pressure on Benson to perform.

Marcus Harrison is a solid DT prospect who dropped because he tore up his knee last spring and he had a drug arrest (off-field issues can hurt guys), but he may end up being a steal in the third.

Earl Bennett is the all-time reception leader in the SEC. Good prospect who can slide into the role of third receiver and possibly higher.

Craig Steltz was a 2007 All-American safety at LSU. Special teamer.

With the other 7 picks, I am sure that at least 2 or 3 of them will contribute on special teams at a minimum.

I think this will end up being a very good set of picks. People who want to overanalyze the draft and/or who rely heavily on "expert" grades of the draft are just crazy. We won't know until after the season and over when we look over the next couple of years.

FYI, here is the consensus grades for last year's draft. The only playoff team in the NFC with a score above 3.0 (on the 4 point scale) was Tampa. The Giants were rated a 2.6, but I think it would be impossible to say they did not have an excellent draft class last year - probably the best in the NFL.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Pennsylvania Thoughts

Not surprising - Clinton won. Her margin was 10% which was more than I expected. But almost 70 percent of the voters in Pennsylvania were above 45 years old and 60 percent were women. Clinton also benefitted from having strong structural support from Governor Rendell and a lot of old-time Clinton supporters.

Obama was never going to win there. I expect Obama to dominate North Carolina and make up any losses in popular vote and pledged delegates from Penn in NC. Indiana becomes the next real bellweather state. If Obama wins there it is truly over.

Nothing has really changed in my mind. Obama is still going to be the nominee. Unless Clinton surprises in NC and totally destroys Obama in Indiana - which are highly unlikely to happen - there is no possible way that I can see her becoming the nominee.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Pennsylvania Primary Today

Finally, it is here. My prediction is that Hillary will win by about 6 percentage points. A couple of weeks ago she would have won by 25 points.

If Obama somehow wins (which I don't think he will), she will quit.

If Obama loses by less than 6 points, I think we will start to see a lot of superdelegates jump to Obama.

If Obama loses by 6-10 points, I don't think much will change and the race will continue as it has with Obama picking up more superdelegates, but there will be some who continue to sit on the fence.

If Obama loses by 11+ points (which is still a possibility), then I think Hillary and her supporters will really be energized. I don't think you would see superdelegates jump to Hillary, but more of them will then wait until Indiana and North Carolina before supporting Obama.

Should be interesting.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Chicago Bears Schedule

Sun 9/7 at Indianapolis 8:15 pm
Sun 9/14 at Carolina 1:00 pm
Sun 9/21 Tampa Bay 1:00 pm
Sun 9/28 Philadelphia 8:15 pm
Sun 10/5 at Detroit 1:00 pm
Sun 10/12 at Atlanta 1:00 pm
Sun 10/19 Minnesota 1:00 pm
Sun 11/2 Detroit 1:00 pm
Sun 11/9 Tennessee 1:00 pm
Sun 11/16 at Green Bay 1:00 pm
Sun 11/23 at St. Louis 1:00 pm
Sun 11/30 at Minnesota 8:15 pm
Sun 12/7 Jacksonville 1:00 pm
Thu 12/11 New Orleans 8:15 pm
Mon 12/22 Green Bay 8:30 pm
Sun 12/28 at Houston 1:00 pm

I love it - 5 prime time games, and on paper the schedule looks pretty favorable in my opinion, particularly the first half. Looking over the first 9 games, I expect the Bears to end up at least 6-3. I think the Bears should end up 10-6 or 11-5. It is early and we'll have to see what happens with the draft, free agents, and injuries, but right now, I have to say that I really like the schedule.

Poor Alberto!

Bushie's former lying sack-of-crap Attorney General, Alberto Gonzales, who was roundly criticized by both Republicans and Dems, and who resigned in disgrace and with his reputation in tatters cannot seem to find a job.

The guy is an idiot and is still under investigation. I wouldn't be surprised if he faces criminal charges at some point in the next year.

One Week Until Pennsylvania Primary

The media and chattering class tried to make a story out of some comments that Barack Obama made in San Francisco. What a joke! While he could have been more clear, I truly believe that many Americans are bitter and feel like their government has abandoned them. They don't feel any connection to government and do not feel that public policies will have any impact on their lives, so they fall back on wedge issues rather than the economic policies that really affect their lives.

Based on the poll numbers that show Obama steadily gaining on Clinton, and the reaction to a lot of folks in Pennsylvania, I think they largely agree with Obama.

Hillary is desperate to try to stop Obama's momentum, but it just isn't working. And, I think the fact that she is trying to label Obama as an elitist is just hilarious. Hillary is a Washington insider who comes from a wealthy family, went to great schools, and has made millions over the last few years. Her "elitist" label rings hollow and she should get off of it.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Kansas is the National Champ

Kansas was the champion that I picked in my NCAA bracket. I really like that team and feel like they really are the best team.

Two things really hurt Memphis. Free throw shooting and not having played as tough a schedule as Kansas. Let's face it, Conference USA is just not as good as the Big 12 (or many of the other conferences). Memphis is a great team, but they did not face a tough enough schedule to prepare them for crunch times.

Calipari should have called a timeout, set the D, and had his team foul. Just making one more free throw would have won the game. Not blowing the inbound and giving Kansas the ball back hurt. All of these things are still tied back to the fact that they did not have many situations to work on these in the season because their schedule was not as tough.

Clinton Slipping Further in Pennsylvania

There is no question the race is tightening. The latest Quinnipiac poll puts the race at 50-44 in favor of Clinton. Another 2 weeks before the the Penn primary and the ground is shifting. If Clinton loses there, she probably will quit. Her lead appeared safe 2 weeks ago, but now I am starting to believe she may lose. Should be interesting.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Lovie on Obama

Lovie's decisiveness in supporting Obama is getting more play with a new piece by David Haugh. I guess it must be a slow week in Chicago.

News and Notes

In another sign that we are likely in recession, 80,000 folks lost their jobs last month - the worst figures in 5 years. The unemployment rate rose to 5.1 percent.

With home values plunging, the credit crisis, and our worsening occupation of Iraq, it is no wonder that 81 percent of Americans now believe we are on the "wrong track."

All of this is leading Bushie's approval numbers to sink even lower. Bushie will leave office with an approval number in the low 20s as the economy and the occupation continue to worsen over the next couple of months.

This is all going to be a major drag on McCain who is the biggest cheerleader for the war in the Senate and who admits that he doesn't really understand the economics.

With the turnout numbers we are seeing in the primaries/caucuses, the general dissatisfaction among conservatives with McCain, and the fact that Wall Street and business interests clearly lining up for the Dems, I expect November to be a historic landslide event in favor of the Dems.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Pressure on Cedric Benson

Lovie gave an interview that was published in the Trib yesterday and he basically said that Benson needs to get his act together. He is still a young guy who can have a long career, but Lovie said he needs to prove it. I also liked that he explicitly said the guy needs to lose some weight to get quicker. The kid gloves are coming off and now Benson is going to have to live up to his contract.

As a side note, looks like Lovie is an Obama man. Another reason why I like him.

Obama Raised Another $40 Million

in March. It is simply remarkable. On top of that, there were 218,000 new donors and the average donation came out to $96.

What these numbers indicate is that he is building a broad base of support among the people. He has a steady reservoir of donors that he can go back to time and again. By law, no individual can give more than $2300 to a campaign (in a year I believe). Since his donors are giving far less, they can be called upon again in September and October to bolster his campaign cash.

I read that Hillary will raise about $20 million, and I am guessing that McCain will raise even less. We'll see.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

More Pennsylvania Polls

It certainly is looking more and more like the Pennsylvania race is tightening dramatically. Clinton had a huge lead about 2 weeks ago - more than 20 points in most polls.

The three latest polls have her ahead by 5, 9, and 12 points. I still think she is going to win, but it is getting interesting. If Obama can get to within 6 points in the final voting it will blunt any argument that Hillary can make about momentum. If she loses in Pennsylvania it will officially be over.

In another bad sign for Clinton, it looks like she is having trouble paying her bills and raising enough money. Frankly, I think it is over already, but if Hillary wants to keep up her quixotic quest, that is up to her.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

NFL First Weekend Games

I know it is early, but the first weekend of football will be awesome. I'll get to watch the Redskins lose to the Giants on Thursday night and the the Bears will beat Indy in their new home on Sunday night. I cannot wait!

Latest Pennsylvania Poll

The latest poll in Pennsylvania has Clinton ahead 47% to 42%. I believe she will win, but if she had a 25 point lead about 2 weeks ago. Obama is spending a few days in Pennsylvania and had 22,000 folks at a rally at Penn State. I believe he will lose, but the margin will only be about 6-8 points.

Then, he is going to go to North Carolina and win by 18 points and he will win in Indiana by 5 points. If that happens, the race is over. Frankly, it is effectively over right now, but Clinton wants to carry this further. It is pointless, but it is her right.