Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Losing Alex Brown

The Bears are parting ways with DE Alex Brown. Brown is a solid player and a good Bear, but he is overpaid. I would love to see him stay with the Bears, but at $5 million/year for his 6 sacks/year, it is hard to justify keeping him at that salary.

He plays the run well and is a hard worker. The Bears have tried to trade him, but the salary is too high and everyone knows the Bears will release him soon, so why given anything up for him? Just wait to sign him after his release.

I'd like to see the Bears try to re-sign him to a contract worth about $2 million/year. That would be worth it and he already knows the system.

Jobs, Jobs, Jobs

We are nearly out of the jobs hole that Bush dug us into. As I have said before, the U.S. economy lost 779,000 jobs in January 2009. In February, President Obama pushed through the Stimulus and the last couple of months have been pretty flat (back to about 0 job losses/gains).

On Friday, the March jobs report comes out. About a week ago, I predicted that it would show about 120,000 jobs created. I've seen some economists predicting 200,000 or 300,000 jobs - that seems a bit far fetched, especially in light of ADP's jobs report today that showed that private employers slashed 23,000 jobs last month. The BLS figures from the government are far more complete and comprehensive, but ADP's report is viewed as a barometer of how the government figures will shake out. Economists were expected ADP's figures to show 40,000 jobs created.

I'm comfortable with the 120,000 figure coming out this week. For the rest of the year, I think we will see steady growth. The second half of the year should show 200,000+ jobs created per month. If that happens, the Dems should do very well in the mid-terms.

Monday, March 29, 2010

God's Party

The Republican National Committee "spent nearly $2,000 for "meals" at a bondage-themed strip club in West Hollywood featuring topless dancers simulating lesbian sex."

How's that for good use of your money Republican donors?

Crazy Right Wingers

Oh those crazy Christian right wingnuts are plotting their violence against the people of the United States. These domestic terrorists will just keep getting rounded up. Of course they are going to pass along stories that the government is somehow rounding up innocent people because they have guns and will continue to spread their ignorance.

The problem with these wingnuts is that they think that there is going to be a second civil war, and what makes this particular group even more interesting is that they think they are in a battle against the anti-Christ and that when they win they will bring about their new Christian state.

I would not be surprised if they wanted to overthrow the government and make Sarah Palin their Queen.

Crazy stuff.

U.S. Treasury Selling Stake in Citi

The Treasury Department is selling its 27 percent stake in Citi over the next year. Taxpayers will profit from the intervention - we'll see what the final profit is, but today it is over $7 billion.

What? Obama is not a socialist? Shocking!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Individual Mandate from HC

These idiot AGs who are suing the federal government to stop HC from being adopted are doing so strictly for political reasons.

The supremacy clause gives them no standing. Federal law supercedes state law and since the government provides billions of dollars for Medicare, Medicaid, and hospital block grants, it is already a major national provider of health care. These AGs are wasting valuable state resources on a ridiculous political quest.

However, that said, the individual mandate - which many of these AGs argue is unconstitutional (it isn't) - was promoted for decades by Republicans. In fact, Mitt Romney's HC reform in Massachusetts required the individual mandate. I guess it was the Republicans who were for socialism.

As usual, the RepubliCANTs show that they are idiots. They loved it for 20 years, but then when President Obama adopted it, they immediately were against it. So much for principles.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Obama On GOP Running On Repeal: 'Go For It'

Pop in Polls

Rasmussen's polls show that President Obama's approval is up 6 points in 6 days.

Rasmussen is the conservative pollster that always overweights conservative views. But even they now have President Obama at 49 percent.

I usually use Gallup as the gold standard of polls. As of yesterday, President Obama was at 51 percent approval.

I expect it to be a point or two higher today when their daily tracking number comes out. Rasmussen is usually 3-5 points below Gallup when it comes to Dems.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Obama At Iowa Health Rally Part 2 of 3

I love the first couple of minutes of this -I watched it live today and laughed out loud.

RepubliCANTism

Elections have consequences and Barack Obama campained on HC reform. He delivered it this week and now RepubliCANTs are bitching and moaning. You have RepubliCANT AGs from across the country filing a lawsuit saying the individual mandate is unconstitutional - THIS WAS ORIGINALLY A REPUBLICANT IDEA. I guess it was when they were still RepubliCANs.

Dems are facing increasing violence and threats and the RepubliCANTs are just sitting back and egging these crazies on (see the Maddow post two down from this post).

See the video in the post just below.

RepubliCANTs are saying stuff like:

The wackos are getting crazier and Republican leaders are encouraging them.

"Don't Retreat, Instead RELOAD!" -- Sarah Palin

"Take Steve Driehaus, for example, he may be a dead man. He can't go home to the west side of Cincinnati." -- Republican House Minority Leader John Boehner.

"I want people in Minnesota armed and dangerous . . . Thomas Jefferson told us, 'Having a revolution every now and then is a good thing. We are at the point of revolution." -- Michele Bachmann (R-MN)

"Let's start getting Nancy Pelosi ready for the firing line this November." -- Michael Steele (RNC Chairman)

Words have meaning. RepubliCANTs have been lying for months about the HC reform and they are encouraging violence with their language. They don't have any ideas, the American people are benefitting from the Stimulus and will from HC reform, so they want to start a revolution? That is not leadership or patriotism, it is insurrection, the promotion of anarchy, and an effort spit on American values and tear down American democracy. These RepubliCANT degenerates need to come up with ideas, not push their stupidity and violence.

No You Can't (Featuring John Boehner)

John Boehner leading the charge for the RepubliCANTs.

Are WACKO Republican leaders encouraging violence??? -- Rachel Maddow

Republicants are clearly supporting the violence and racist imagery with their words and behaviors. It is feeding the crazies against the nation's best interest.

Sen. McCaskill Blasts GOP Obstructionism On Senate Floor

Republicants are holding up the Senate because they want to delay HC. They cannot repeal it, so they are acting like the village idiots that they have become and throwing their tantrums.

What a bunch of dopes - as the economy improves, people realize how good the health care reform is, and see how stupid Republicants are for opposing everything that has worked they are going to get wiped out in the upcoming midterms.

Jobs Info

Today, the Labor Department reported that those who filed initial unemployment benefits dropped by a surprising 14,000. These are the seasonally adjusted numbers but the real number was 30,000. The Labor Department "evens off" numbers so that when you look over the year and factor in seasonal hiring (e.g., big holiday hiring) the numbers are more representative of the annual jobs situation.

What this means is that when the March jobs number comes out next Friday, it is going to be a fairly strong number. I am going to go out on a limb and say that we are going to see 120,000 jobs created in March. This will be the best number since 2007.

I expect a pretty good day on the market today, and we will close above 11,000 on the Dow before the end of the month (probably today or tomorrow).

Today's info was great, and it is going to show up in the jobs number next week. Looks like the President's Stimulus and economic policies are working just as I have been saying they have been.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Obama Mocks 'Armageddon' Claims: Six Months From Now 'You Can Check It Out, We'll Look Around'

Short, sweet, and to the point.

Obama Poll Numbers

On March 16, President Obama's approval number was 46 percent in the Gallup poll.

Yesterday, it was at 51 percent.

As the HC myths fade away and Americans recognize how good the HC reform is, the economy continues to improve, and bank reform gets implemented in coming weeks, his approval number will pop back up.

HC Myths Will Fade Away

Already, the press is starting to focus on the actual provisions in the HC reform over the silly process/politics things they were so focused on. This will change public perception when the truth about the new law becomes clear and the myths fade away.

I read a comment on another website from some dude who said he was going to start a business that would employ 7-10 people making $9.50/hour, but has decided against it because of the new HC legislation. I doubt this person would have started a business, but is a good thing this person didn't start a business because he is an idiot and would have lost his money anyway.

The reason I say this is that there is no employer mandate to provide HC for firms with less than 50 employees. For those small businesses that do want to provide HC to employees, they will get tax credits to lower the cost of providing coverage. They will also be able to get cheaper HC because of the new insurance exchanges that will be set up which will allow small businesses to pool together and enjoy economies of scale. The exchanges also create competition among private insurers.

This is just one example of the kind of B.S. and lies that is being spread about the HC reform. But like I said, this will fade - quickly in my opinion - and people will recognize how good this is for most Americans.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Tea Party Idiots

These tea party folks make no sense whatsoever. They think Obama is like Hitler or Stalin. I saw someone screaming out that he is going to install gulags. WTF? Gulags? Really? President Obama wants everyone to have health care, but he is only doing it so that he can throw you into a gulag? Stupid.

You have Tea Party folks crying that President Obama is a Kenyan - they refuse to accept the Hawaiian birth certificate that has been released and confirmed by the State of Hawaii.

You have racists and homophobes - egged on by the fringe crazy Republicans in the House - yelling their slurs.

Other than their hatred of Obama, what do these people want? OK, let's say that they work hard for a repeal of HC reform - which isn't going to happen - but let's imagine that they do. Then what? What are they offering in its place? Nothing.

The thing about the Tea Party as near as I can tell is that they are a bunch of angry folks who don't offer anything constructive to solve the problems the country faces. They aren't going to draw anywhere close to enough voters to actually make any difference and will only serve to drive away moderate in the Republican Party as the Party foolishly embraces them.

As the American people see that HC reform is not a government takeover and that there aren't death panels or gulags or whatever the Tea Party folks have been spewing out, support for the reform will grow. It will take a generation for the Republican Party to live down their ridiculous positions and embrace of the Tea Parties.

Keith Olbermann Returns: 'GOP Self-Destruction Imminent'

Republicans Just Don't Learn

Let me make a basic proposition - most Americans really don't know what is in the HC reform bill because of the false claims of Republicans.

You have Republican state legislators and AGs looking at suing the federal government to try to prevent the bill from taking effect.

Here are some basic facts about the bill:

1. It reduces federal spending on HC by about $140 billion over the next 10 years and $1.3 trillion over 20 years.

2. It covers 32 million more Americans.

3. As soon as it is passed, small businesses get tax credits for HC for their employees and seniors no longer have to deal with the "donut hole" in prescription drug coverage, so they save money right away on their medicines.

4. Within 90 days anyone with pre-existing conditions will be able to buy HC coverage within high risk pool insurance plans.

5. Within 6 months, all kids will be covered and cannot be denied coverage because of pre-existing conditions. You cannot be dropped by your HC provider for being sick. There will no longer be any lifetime benefit limits. And, kids under 26 can stay on their parents plan (right now it is up to 21).

6. By 2014, 80-85 percent of HC premiums have to go tward health care (not company expenses, bonuses and shareholder dividends) and there will be an end to annual benefit limits imposed by insurance companies.

These are all things that I think most Americans want. It is just a matter of cutting through all of the Republican B.S. that is being slung around in an effort to gain an advantage for the midterms. If Republicans want to keep reform from happening and protect the current practices of health care firms at the expense of the American people that is fine, but all that will happen is we will suffer and Republicans will pay the price for their nonsense.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Boehner, Pelosi Make Final Appeal on Health Care

The Boehner gets a bit unhinged as he spits out his typical lies. Pelosi tells it like it is in a calm way. Ridiculous contrast between the Parties.

Senate Passage this Week

The Senate is looking to vote on the "fixes" to HC on Friday or Saturday. There is really nothing the Republicans can do to obstruct progress and the needed improvements to HC will be in place before Easter.

This is a huge win for the American people, President Obama, and the Dems.

As of 11:30 am today, the Dow is up 33 points. So the markets seem to be supportive of HC reform. I am curious to see what happens to all of the angry tea party folks when they realize that there are no death panels and people aren't losing their private health care. Then they will be forced to create some other imaginary boogeyman to fight in the name of.

Two Other Thoughts about HC

The stock market did not crash today with the passage of HC. It is fairly clear to the money people that HC reform was going to happen and that it had to happen.

There were some very ugly tea party protestors who were egged on by Republican House members. You had tea party folks on the Mall and on the Capitol premises calling black lawmakers, "N*****rs." You had these folks calling members socialists and communists. Let me say this. There were only a couple of thousand protestors. My guess is that most of these folks don't even know what socialism/communism is. But the thing that is foolish is that Republicans are embracing these radicals. They won't be able to control them and will only serve to embarrass Republicans in the end.

Health Care PASSED!

I watched late into the night as the Dems passed major health care reform. I was struck by the anger of Republicans versus the positive aura presented by Dems. John Boehner, the Republican Minority Leader, looked unhinged and wild-eyed as he gave his closing comments before the vote. Then you had Nancy Pelosi smiling and at ease as she talked about the huge benefits of the reform.

The Senate now needs to vote on the "fixes" that will part of a new bill that will eliminate the Cornhusker Kickback and special deals that make little sense. This is going to be done within the next couple of weeks.

The health care system is going to be improved, but there is still a need to work toward a public option and more cost control measures. But there is now a platform on which to improve health care.

As the economy continues to improve, the job numbers improve, health care improvements take effect, and the Republicans continue to sit around and complain as the Party of No, the Dems will benefit. We are months away from the mid-terms, but things are shaping up to the Dems benefit.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Growing Support for HC

It looks like Sunday is going to be a great day for Americans. We are going to get HC passed - although it will be a close vote in the House.

If it is such a terrible bill, Congress can always change HC or revoke parts it doesn't like. But, Americans are going to love the protections and will be more than happy to see their premiums increase at a more reasonable rate over the years - more in line with inflation.

One other major benefit is that federally-guaranteed student loans will only come from the federal government. No more private firms or banks as middlemen taking a cut saves $60 billion over the next 10 years.

This bill is the single largest deficit reduction bill in the history of the United States. It is going to save the American people more than $1.3 TRILLION in federal spending over the next 20 years, and you can probably double that in terms of private health care savings. Of course Republicans are out there trying to scare everyone as usual, but it won't work because Americans want and need health care to be accessible and affordable.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

CBO Score on Health Care

The non-partisan CBO just announced that the Health Care bill will reduce the deficit by $130 billion over the next 10 years and by $1.2 trillion over the next 10 years.

So the HC bill covers an additional 30 million folks, protects those with health care from abusive practices, and costs less than the status quo.

This CBO development is almost sure to pull over enough holdouts to ensure passage. On Sunday afternoon, the President is going to sign the Bill and we will get HC reform.

President Obama Interviewed By Brett Baier The Mass-Interrupter

Brett Baier is a complete arse. It is obvious he is injecting his own polical views and Faux News propaganda rather than actually allowing the President to answer. Baier proved himself to be an idiot parrot for Faux News talking points rather than an actual journalist. Baier needs to shut the F up and let the President talk if he wants to be considered a serious journalist. Oh wait, he is in Faux News so I guess he doesn't want to be an actual journalist.

John Stewart on HC Scare Tactics

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Health-Con1 - The Mediscarening
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorHealth Care Reform

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Rex is a Redskin

Rex Grossman signed to be the backup to JC in DC. Good move for the Deadskins. Rex can play and I'll be proven right. The bad part is it will be for the team I dislike more than any other in the NFL.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Health Care is Going to Pass

As I have predicted for months, we are going to get a major health care overhaul. Contrary to what Republicans have been crying out loud, the bill actually reduces government outlays over the next 10 years - it doesn't make things worse. The CBO - which is nonpartisan and is recognized as the "referee" for all government bills - has already said so.

The Republicans are whining that reconciliation - which will be used in the Senate to "fix" things like the sweetheart deals to Louisiana and Nebraska (they will be stripped out) - is some kind of weird process that should never be used. That is utter B.S. The Republicans used it time and again when they were in power in the Senate.

I love hearing Eric Cantor and Lamar Alexander warn Democrats that they are going over a cliff if they pass health care reform. I'm sure House Minority Whip Cantor or Senator Alexander who don't hesitate to criticize Democrats at every turn are so concerned with Democrats maintaining their majority that they are just offering objective advice. If it will kill the Dems so badly, they should be encouraging Dems to vote for it. What is going to happen, is that health care reform is going to pass, the increase in costs will start to slow, more people will get insurance (which will help everyone with insurance pay lower rates), and we will all be happier. Then we can thank President Obama for standing up to the Republicans and their insurance firm masters, and actually helping the American people.

Brackets are Out

I am no Duke fan, but when you look at the brackets I think it is clear that Duke has the easiest path to the Final 4.

You have to win on the court to get the national championship, but some teams (like Duke) have an disproportionately easy road.

Jason Whitlock provides a good argument for why Duke was treated as the number 1 team overall - MONEY.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Dems On the Move

It looks like the Dems finally are getting serious about pushing through their agenda. Health care reform is going to pass in a matter of days or weeks. The Senate Bill - which has serious flaws like sweetheart deals for Nebraska and Louisiana - is going to be accepted by the House. Then, the House will expect that the Senate adjust the bill in the Senate through reconciliation - which only requires a simple majority.

The reconciliation process is not unprecedented as the Republicans would have you believe. It was used by Republicans to pass the Bush tax cuts and to pass the enormously inefficient and expensive Medicare Part D program.

Basically with reconciliation, the Senate will eliminate the sweetheart deals - the elmination of which many Republicans should support. There is growing sentiment that the Senate could also pass through a public option plan. There may very well be more than 50 Democratic senators that support that.

The American people will then have improved access to health insurance and cost control measures such as eliminating the antitrust exemption for health insurance firms, allowing people to buy across state lines, and the public option which will get some of the exploding health care costs under control.

One other major piece of legislation is moving forward without Republicans. Financial reform has been stalled in the Senate because Republican Richard Shelby has refused to allow the debate to move forward (he wanted earmarks for his state). Then, Republican Senator Bob Corker started working with Dems, but he has been moving the target every time Dems make concessions. Democratic Chair of the Senate Finance Committee, Chris Dodd, got fed up and saw the same tactics that the Republicans used to extend the health care debate and just said he is going to move on his bill next week. Good for him and good for the country. Republicans have been dealing in bad faith for months and it is time to just get things done without them.

Mike Leach at Texas Tech

Leach was fired for abuse of players and there is a story out (with video) that he was berating his players.

I don't know all of the details, but from what I have read and heard, there isn't much that I see different between what Leach did/said and what top coaches do. I know Craig James' son was supposedly locked in a closet after he suffered a concussion and refused to practice. If that is true that is going over the line, but there is a fair amount of dispute about the details/accuracy of that claim.

In high school, after fumbling a punt on our 10 yard line I trudged over to the sideline and my coach grabbed my jersey and was yelling in my face about the mistake. I didn't like it, but I didn't see it as any big deal. I'm sure that some folks would watch a video of that and say that the coach was abusive - I wouldn't.

Football is an emotional game and if you are playing big time college football you are on scholarship to perform. Having a coach yell at you is part of the deal.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Peppers' Contract Good for Bears

Here is a good analysis of the Peppers Contract. Basically, because $20 million is paid out in the uncapped first year, there is relatively little risk for the Bears when/if the cap is reinstated.

It is also incentivized to push Peppers to play hard and not rest on the up front payoff.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Julius Peppers Factoids

Here are a couple of things that I like about Peppers and the Bears signing him. They come from a Sun-Times piece today.

1. Last year, the Panthers were 6-3 when Peppers had a sack and 2-5 when he didn't.

2. Peppers is more than just a sack guy. He had 10 tackles for loss, 18 QB hits, 5 pass breakups, 2 interceptions, and one fumble recovery last year.

3. Rod Marinelli is a motivational guy who is a D-line coach and the new D-coordinator. I'm sure he will maximize Peppers.

4. At 30 you have to wonder about mileage, but guys like Jason Taylor, Michael Strahan, Simeon Rice, Richard Dent (who should be in the Hall of Fame), and Reggie White all had 2, 3, or 4 years of double digit sacks after 30. Peppers seems to be in that category of player.

5. Peppers is fairly private and in Chicago he won't be the only "game in town" as he is in Charlotte. In Charlotte, there is nothing else to write about. In Chicago, there are the Cubs, Blackhawks, Sox, Bulls, cultural events, etc. Then you have Bears players like Briggs, Urlacher, and Cutler who take up a lot of press. Obviously his contract will draw scrutiny, but he can still be more private in Chicago. This is what he wants.

The contract was lucrative and may come back to hurt the Bears, but in an uncapped year, they are pushing half of the guaranteed money out next year. If he was a complete bust, the cap was reinstated similar to what it is now, and the Bears had to eat $20 million they could do it without major financial hardship as related to the cap (it would be a very expensive mistake from a money standpoint, but not from the personnel/cap side).

We'll see.

U.S. National Debt

Most Americans simply do not know what the facts are about our economy. For anyone who is interested in facts and is willing to look at actual numbers, here are the National Debt figures provided by the U.S. Treasury Department.

3/4/10 - $12.54 trillion (current as of this post)
9/30/09 - $11.91 trillion
9/30/08 - $10.02 trillion
9/30/07 - $9.00 trillion
9/30/06 - $8.51 trillion
9/30/05 - $7.93 trillion
9/30/04 - $7.38 trillion
9/30/03 - $6.78 trillion
9/30/02 - $6.23 trillion
9/28/01 - $5.81 trillion
9/28/00 - $5.67 trillion
9/30/92 - $4.06 trillion

Look it up for yourself at the U.S. Treasury Dept.


Under Clinton, the National Debt rose from $4.19 trillion to $5.74 trillion. Thus, it rose by a total of $1.55 trillion. This represents a 37% increase over Clinton's eight years in office [($5.74 - $4.19)/$4.19]. Keep in mind that by the end of Clinton's term we were making payments on the Debt and working to reduce the figure.

Under Bush, the National Debt rose from $5.74 trillion to $10.62 trillion, for a total of $4.88 trillion. This represents a 85% increase over his term in office [($10.62 - $5.74)/$5.74]. Making matters worse, he spent hundreds of billions at the end of his term bailing out AIG, GM, Chrysler, Freddie Mac, the big banks, etc.

Under Obama, the Debt has increased from $10.62 trillion to $12.54 trillion ($1.92 trillion). This represents an 18% increase. A true test of his presidenncy will be whether he can slow the rate of increase and get the explosion in Debt that he inherited back under control.

Obama Haters

For the last couple of weeks, I have been getting forwarded emails from a right wing gentleman who insists that Obama is horrible. This individual put me on his email distribution list after I published an Op-Ed in the Baltimore Sun that discussed the improving economy and job numbers. Just to give you an ideal of the list it includes local radio personalities, Baltimore Sun columnists, Maryland Congressional leaders, Bill O'Reilly, etc.

He will forward stuff about Obama tripling the national debt in his first year (he didn't), increasing taxes on the middle class (he didn't, he cut them), nationalizing Freddie Mac and AIG (he didn't, these were under George Bush).

Over the weekend, he sent me this note about how he is outraged that President Obama is demanding that the U.S. Postal Service create and Eid stamp to celebrate the Islamic holiday. I pointed out to him that the Eid stamp has been in place since 2001.

But today was the kicker. He sent a note that claimed that President Obama said the following during an appearance on Meet the Press:

"The Anthem itself conveys a war-like message. You know, the bombs bursting in air and all that sort of thing. The National Anthem should be 'swapped' for something less parochial and less bellicose.

I like the song 'I'd Like To Teach the World To Sing'. If that were our anthem, then, I might salute it. In my opinion, we should consider reinventing our National Anthem as well as 'redesign' our Flag to better offer our enemies hope and love. It's my intention, if elected, to disarm America to the level of acceptance to our Middle East Brethren. If we, as a Nation of waring people, conduct ourselves as the nations of Islam where peace prevails - - - perhaps a state or period of mutual accord could exist between our governments.

When I become President, I will seek a pact or agreement to end hostilities between those who have been at war or in a state of enmity, and a freedom from disquieting oppressive thoughts. We as a Nation have placed upon the nations of Islam an unfair injustice which is WHY my Wife disrespects the Flag and she and I have attended several flag burning ceremonies in the past.

Of course now, I have found myself about to become the President of the United States andI have put my hatred aside. I will use my power to bring CHANGE to this Nation, and offer the people a new path. My wife and I look forward to becoming our Country's First black Family. Indeed, CHANGE is about to overwhelm the United States of America
"

It is an absolute joke, but this right wing guy who sent me the email actually believes this quote to be true and is passing it along over the Web. It is obviously ludicrous but this is the kind of ignorance that exists among right wingers. I will say this for the guy. He seems to be open to discussion, because when I point out his errors and send him links to back them up, he actually apologizes and seems embarrassed. So maybe there is still hope for some of these folks.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Bears Big Signings

I've read about the signings and thought more about them. Basically it comes down to this. The Bears signed three players that they needed to sign. The absolutely needed Peppers because the Tampa-2 requires heavy pressure on the QB. Peppers has averaged 10 sacks per year for the last 8 years. He is a physical freak who still should have a few good years left in him. If he can produce 10 sacks a year that will really help this Bears team.

Did they overspend - probably. But, unlike the Deadskins signing of Albert Haynesworth, this is an uncapped year and Peppers is more likely to have an impact that will result in wins. The Deadskins signed Haynesworth when they really should have used the money to sign offensive linemen. The Bears absolutely needed Peppers. To get Jay Cutler they had to part with their first round pick this year - I have no problem with that. The Bears first pick in the draft is their 3rd round pick - so the draft was not likely to help them fill their defensive end issue.

The signing of Chester Taylor and Brandon Manumaleuna are also great pickups. Matt Forte seemed to regress a bit and in the NFL today you need two solid running backs. Taylor will push Forte and they will split time - I would not be surprised if Taylor becomes the feature back. Manu is the big blocking tight end the Bears have not had for years. It will help w/max protect schemes that can be used to set up long bombs and more innovative pass routes. Neither contract is unwieldy so they are not being overpaid.

Now, the Bears need to find a solid safety who is a ball hawk and can make plays. Such a safety should have opportunities with the pressure that the Bears front seven should be able to apply. If they get a safety, and then have a solid draft to build some depth in the secondary and offensive line, it will be a successful offseason.

Then, we'll see how it translates on the field. Ultimately, this is all that counts.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Bears in Free Agency

The Bears don't have a 1st or a 2nd round pick this year, so today is their draft. They have already picked up a good blocking tight end. Lovie is flying back to Chicago with Julius Peppers, so you have to believe that they are making a serious offer. Chester Taylor and Antrel Rolle are also in the mix.

We'll see what happens, but the Bears need to make some moves to get them out of the mediocrity they have played within for the last three years.

Jobs Report was Great

The economy lost 36,000 jobs in February. This was better than analysts expected, but I pretty much nailed it. Things are improving and it is another sign that the economy is getting back on track.

The fact is that unemployment and job losses have stabilized and we are on the cusp of growth as I have said all along. By the end of the year, we will be looking and a dramatically improved job market and next year we will see it explode.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Another Sign Labor Market is Improving

Yet again, we see more evidence that the employment situation is dramatically improved from a year ago. Today, a Challenger report showed private sector planned layoffs at their lowest levels since 2006.

This is yet another sign that things are improving.

For those who have followed this blog closely over the last year, you know that unemployment is a lagging economic indicator and that everything I have said about jobs has been true. We went from 779,000 jobs lost in January 2009 when President Obama took office to 20,000 jobs lost this past January. We are on the cusp of consistent monthly job creation for the first time since 2007.

The February number will probably show 35,000 jobs lost - snow and winter construction slowdowns can explain that. But I expect the March number to show job growth (perhaps about 40,000 net new jobs), and then by mid year we will see about 200,000 jobs per month for the rest of the year. By 2011, we will see even bigger numbers as the economy starts to roar back to life with real estate and construction growth.