Friday, January 28, 2011

Stewart on O'Reilly's Regular Nazi References

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FY 2011 Budget Deficit

I didn't get a chance to post on this, but yesterday the non-partisan CBO projected this year's budget deficit to be $1.5 trillion.

This is simply unacceptable - there is no other way to put it. When President Obama came into office he inherited a deficit for FY 2009 of about $1.25 trillion. This increased to $1.55 trillion with the passage of the stimulus. The deficit for FY 2010 shrank to about $1.4 trillion (the CBO hasn't posted the final figures yet).

With the economy now producing private sector jobs and GDP slowly growing, it appears that we have come through the major economic crisis that exploded in 2008. Now it is time to attack the deficit and try to bring a little more balance into the federal budget. This will send a signal to worldwide investors that the U.S. is a serious economic super power.

Instead, the tax "deal" that President Obama and the Republicans in Congress struck is the disaster I said it would be. About $350 billion of the FY 2011 deficit can be directly attributed to that "deal." Look, if we are going to get serious about deficit reduction, then tax increases (3-5 percent) for those making over $250,000 should be implemented immediately. We need to curtail and draw down our operations in Iraq and Afghanistan - this could save $100 billion/year. We need to shave at least another $100 billion from the defense budget. Longer term there is a need to shrink the federal workforce and reduce pension benefits for future government retirees. Within 5 years, this could save $30-$50 billion. Closing corporate tax loopholes and subsidies could save at least $50 billion per year. Just taking these steps would reduce the deficit by at least $600 billion per year - a $900 billion deficit is still unsustainable, but at least we could be moving in the right direction.

As the economy grows and jobs increase, there would be some natural reduction in the deficit with increased tax revenues, but there is no question that we need to be proactive now with the decisions on the spending and tax side in order to address the enormous deficits our government is now running.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

State of the Union and Republican Responses

Nothing really surprising last night. The President gave a good speech and I was struck by his ability to straddle the challenges while also being pro-America in referencing American exceptionalism. He gave a largely positive message of inclusion to address the nation's significant problems.

The "official" Republican response was given by Representative Paul Ryan. I actually like the guy and think he is a very thoughtful fiscal conservative. However, I thought his message was a bit flat because it unnecessarily took shots at the President. To say that the stimulus has failed is a political pot shot not based on reality. I'm quite sure that Ryan knows better and recognizes how serious the challenges are. He referenced the previous administrations failings and that the problems are decades in the making, but he still chose to play to his base and speak in ominous tones about Obama's policies rather than striking out on a higher plane that will be necessary to combat the fiscal issues facing the country.

Tea Party favorite Michelle Bachman gave her normal anti-Obama rant. I am struck by how dark and forboding her world view is. It was largely ineffective because the tone was neither serious nor constructive. She played to her base and it further demonstrates the split that is emerging between Republicans and the Tea Party folks.

The reality is that the fiscal challenges and big issues of entitlement reform and immigration reform need to get addressed. Republicans now have a responsibility to govern and will have to work with Democrats to solve the problems. It is inane to talk about such things as Health Care repeal and how Republicans are working to replace it. First of all it hasn't been repealed, nor will it be, so coming up with an alternative is just a simple waste of time. If there are fixes that make it better then fine pass those fixes, but stop playing to cameras and the base by talking about repeal and replacement - it is not going to happen. Work on things that need to get done, not on things that just cannot go anywhere.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Colbert's "Word" on Republicans Trying to Repeal HC

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State of the Union

President Obama has seen a bump in his poll numbers in recent weeks. He has shown bi-partisanship and leadership to get that bump. Tonight is his State of the Union address and it is likely that he will deliver another great speech which will keep his momentum going. That said, I would like to see some discussion of re-looking at tax cuts for the rich. I know that is not going to come up tonight, but if Congress is going to get serious about deficit reduction it is going to have to reconsider tax policy. Should be a good show tonight.

Jay Cutler

I cannot believe the kind of garbage players and some Chicago fans have spewed on an injured Jay Cutler. The guy has a Grade II MCL sprain. That means the MCL has a partial tear. The normal treatment/recovery is considered 4 weeks of rest - it is non-surgical. Anyone who thinks Jay Cutler just quit is an idiot in my opinion. There is no question he is tough and there is no question that he is a competitor.

The Bears got to the NFC Championship in large measure because of Cutler. I can only assume that players who criticize him are jealous and fans who want to turn on him are just not real Bear fans.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Tough Loss for Bears

The Packers beat the Bears. They deserved to win the game - they made one more play than the Bears did.

It was about as I would expect. Tough, tough game. Good defenses making plays on both sides of the ball. The Bears D really controlled Rodgers after the first third of the game. The problem was that the Bears offense did virtually nothing for three quarters. Before the game, I expected it to be about even but the Bears special teams would carry them. Hester got some chances but couldn't get past the Packers.

The speculation about Cutler's injury is just nonsense. I'm sure he was too hurt to play. In fact, I think he got hurt early because he just didn't seem to have anything on his throws through much of the first half. Cutler is a tough guy and questioning him at this point makes little sense.

Todd Collins is a waste of money. The dude cannot play.

I felt good when Hanie got in. I knew he could make plays and was relieved to see him come in. He did about as well as you could expect. He gave them a chance. On the Raji interception, Devin Hester was wide open on the crossing route, but Hanie was locked into Forte trying to get a first down. If he just looked right, Hester had a 20-30 yard play - instead it went for a Pick-6 and ended up being the difference.

Now the off-season hits and people will be bashing Cutler (as usual). I hope his knee is OK and nothing shows up in the MRI. If that is true then the pressure on him will be even worse.

Friday, January 21, 2011

The American Problem: Rising Debt

I had an experience day before yesterday that troubled me and really made me think about how serious the problems are that this country is facing. For those who know me and have read this blog over time, you know that I am concerned about long term debt issues. With President Hu visiting from China the fact that the U.S. government owes China $900 billion makes the National Debt situation more stark and ominous in my mind.

In any event, I was in Jiffy Lube having routine service performed on my car. In the waiting room, there was a small TV that was playing Faux News. Megyn Kelly was hosting a panel of typical conservative talking heads and they were discussing U.S. debt to China and how President Obama should deal with President Hu. Wild-eyed Steve Forbes argued that China needed us as a customer and President Obama should get tough with President Hu or we would destroy the Chinese economy by slowing our dealings with them. I am of course paraphrasing - but that was the gist of his talking points.

This type of denial of the seriousness of our debt situation only serves to confuse. I understand Forbes point, but people should hold no illusion that we actually can bargain from a position of strength and demand anything from China. They are already slowing their purchases of U.S. Treasurys and they are looking at other markets - including their rapidly growing domestic market to insulate them from an American collapse.

But, here is the kicker. While this Faux News discussion was droning on, there was a dude and his wife/girlfriend who were sitting in the waiting room also. The Jiffy Lube tech came in and told the guy he needed about $200 worth of transmission work done on his monster relatively new Ford pickup truck. The dude tells his wife/girlfriend to call the credit card company to see if they have the money to fix his truck. She calls, talks to someone, then gives it to the dude. The guy asks if he can increase his credit limit a bit so that he can borrow enough to pay for the repair (it was obvious he was maxed out). The company was denying the increase, so he asked for a manager. He started talking to the manager and literally burped, said "excuse me" and then without missing a beat proceeded with the conversation in which he explained that he was working with a credit counseling firm and that all would be well. It was like a scene out of a movie.

I just shook my head and in my mind thought about how much of this country is drowning in debt with no real or serious efforts to get control of it. It played out with the individual dude who is driving a monster truck that he cannot pay for while Faux News was promoting the false idea that the U.S. government is in a position of strength relative to China because we owe them so much that they cannot afford to let us default.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

House Republicans Vote to Repeal Health Care Reform

Silly, silly Republicans. They are just wasting time. They know it won't clear the Senate, and even if by some arcane rule it were to clear the Senate (this will never happen), the President would simply veto it. Health care reform is here to stay.

Beyond silliness of pursuing an impossible outcome and completely wasting time, Republicans don't actually offer anything of substance that is different or better than what is already in the reform.

They aren't going to re-create the "donut hole" for seniors. They aren't going to eliminate the tax breaks for businesses to afford coverage for their employees. They aren't going to re-institute rejection on the grounds of pre-existing conditions. They aren't going to go back to disallowing kids to stay on their parents' health care program until age 26. They aren't going to cut CHIP - which covers millions of American children. I could go on by why bother?

The only issue they are making hay about is the individual mandate. If you are serious about health reform then remove the individual mandate, make some improvements, and figure out how you are going to pay for it. I cannot wait to see what they actually want to offer. I am willing to bet that they will keep 90 percent of the reform in their own proposals. The most interesting part will be to see how they intend to pay for their proposals.

It is a simple fact that the health care reform as it now stands actually will cost less than going back to what we had before.

Year of Da Bear

The Chicago Bears have had a charmed run this year. After three years of playing .500 football and missing the playoffs each year, the team has had what most people would say is a surprising run.

I have not been surprised for one simple reason. They got Julius Peppers and Chris Harris and they stayed the course with Lovie Smith. The problem the last couple of years can be tied directly to the declining performance of the D. If you look back at the Bears the last three years, the D has been a mediocre to bad D. Even with the D playing so poorly over the last couple of years, they were able to play .500 ball.

The Bears recognized that they needed a pass rushing specialist and a safety to run their modified Tampa-2 D properly. They got Peppers - who should be considered for defensive player of the year - and brought back Chris Harris. Peppers has been worth every cent. The guy works hard and has an ever-running motor. On top of that, he is an unassuming guy who gets along well with his teammates. He is no diva. Chris Harris was traded after the Super Bowl to Carolina. It was a bad choice and it really hurt the Bears who have struggled mightily at safety the last few years. Harris has been a good tackler in run support and has been solid taking away the big plays. When the Bears have given up long passes - and it hasn't been often - it is usually away from Harris or when he is out of the game.

The real turn in the season came after the Deadskins shocked the Bears with DeAngelo Hall's 4 interceptions. That game had Cutler throwing 40 times and the Bears only rushing 13 times - not acceptable for a close game. The Bears went into the bye at 4-3 and their season on the line. Lovie had a heart-to-heart with Mike Martz and demanded changes in the play call selection so that there would be better balance. This would help protect Cutler, allow the young O-line to run block (which is easier than pass blocking), and keep defenses off balance. It has worked extremely well. The Bears ended up winning 7 of their next 8 and locking up the bye. They lost to the Pack to close out the season, but even that game showed the Bears to be a solid game. The Bears did no special game planning, they played base D and O and still played the Packers to a 10-3 game in a must game for the Pack.

The D and special teams have been great all year. The offensive line has gelled under the great job Mike Tice has done, the rushing attack has been solid, the receiving corps has shown itself to have talent, Cutler has been great in the second half, and Martz has become an effective play caller.

This Bears team has come together. There is a special unity that has emerged from the mix of players and coaches. I think it has to do with all of the criticism that this team has faced from the owner to the GM to the head coach and assistants to many of the players. Not many expected the Bears to be playing at home for the NFC title game, but through it all the team seemed to believe, and that has given them a chip on their shoulder that they have used to their advantage. I cannot wait to see what happens on Sunday - but I expect a Bears victory.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

U.S. National Debt Held By Foreigners

Americans should be concerned about the explosion of debt owed to foreigners. Like it or not, this will affect the future sovereignty of the United States. Decisions of national security will increasingly have to consider the impact on foreign entities who have a stake in our government/country.

In order to fund our massive deficits, the U.S. has had to borrow heavily from foreign governments and foreign central banks. The money we get to finance the Debt and deficits is raised through the sale of U.S. Treasury Securities (i.e., government bonds and government notes).

Currently, foreigners hold over $4.34 trillion in U.S. government debt (i.e. Treasury Securities). We owe them this money!

Back in January 2001 (when George W. Bush took office), foreigners held $1.01 trillion in U.S. government debt. By the time he left office this figure had ballooned to $3.07 trillion. Most of the tax cuts and wars in Iraq and Afghanistan was financed by debt owed to foreigners.

Of particular note, in China now holds $900 billion and OPEC now holds $210 billion of our debt.

The National Debt situation is bad enough, but the U.S. banking and financial industry is now completely infiltrated by foreign investors and relies on foreign investment in order to operate. I have my opinion about the risks and benefits of giving foreigners more control of our debt and thus more control of our economic independence. You can look at the numbers and decide for yourself if you think it is wise.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Bears - Packers III

The Bears and Packers play for the NFC Title next Sunday. The Packers rolled over the Falcons and the Bears breezed past the Seahawks.

This is the way it should be - the two best teams in the NFC, and the two oldest rivals in the NFL battling it out for a trip to the Super Bowl.

My early impressions are this - it will be a tough, hard fought, tight game throughout. These are division rivals who know each other very well. There won't be much new, it will come down to execution.

I don't expect the Packers to kick to Devin Hester and I don't expect either team to pull away with the passing game. It will likely come down to the running game, field goals and defensive stops and I think the Bears have the edge. Both defenses are playing well, but the running game and Robbie Gould give the Bears the early edge.

On top of that, the Packers are early favorites which will serve as motivation for the Bears. They will play up the whole "disrespect" thing. The other factor that will come into play is Julius Peppers. This is exactly why they got him and he is going to deliver a monster game. I cannot wait.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

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.

1/14/11 - $14.01 trillion (current as of this post)
1/20/09 - $10.63 trillion (President Obama Inaugurated)
1/20/08 - $9.19 trillion (1 year before President Obama took office)
9/30/10 - $13.56 trillion
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, and we had an annual budget SURPLUS of almost $240 billion.

Under Bush, the National Debt rose from $5.74 trillion to $10.63 trillion, for a total of $4.89 trillion. This represents a 85% increase over his term in office [($10.63 - $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., and he left behind his tax cuts, an unfunded Medicare Part D, and the ongoing wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. He left behind an annual budget DEFICIT of $1.2 trillion.

During Bush's final year, the national debt increased 16%. The end of President Bush's term ended with enormous structural deficits and the Great Recession that had to be dealt with.

Under Obama, the Debt has increased from $10.63 trillion to $14.01 trillion ($3.38 trillion) over his first two years. This represents an 32% increase. A true test of his presidency will be whether he can slow the rate of increase and get the explosion in Debt that he inherited back under control.

There is a need to cut spending and increase taxes - the structural deficits that are in place are far too great to deal with on the revenue or spending side alone.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Predictions for Bears-'Hawks and Other Games

Pats will roll up on the Jets, 27-7.

Green Bay's D will stop Roddy White and Rodgers will have a field day against a very suspect Falcons secondary. But it will be close. Green Bay 23 - Atlanta 17.

Ravens will win by 10 in a tough game against Pittsburgh (20-10).

The Bears will start slow as they shake off the rust. The D will force at least 3 Seahawk turnovers, Devin Hester will make a couple of big return plays, and the Bears will play an efficient game on offense - relying heavily on Matt Forte. Cutler will have about 210 yards passing, because the Bears won't need more than that. Bears roll 31-13.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Karma and LeBron James

LeBron is an idiot. One day after piling on to the Cleveland Cavs for getting blown away by the Lakers, LeBron sprained his ankle and the Heat lost to the Clippers.

Here is LeBron's tweet after the Cavs miserable loss: "Crazy. Karma is a b****. Gets you every time. It's not good to wish bad on anybody. God sees everything!"

How's that Karma working out for you LeBron?

Colbert on Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Angriness

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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

President Obama vs. Sarah Palin

President Obama gave a soaring speech at the Univesity of Arizona that was part sermon, part eulogy, and part thank you to the heroes who emerged from the tragedy. I was truly moved by his words. It struck a remarkable balance of appropriate sadness, honor, and hope for the future. I won't go into details but I would encourage people to watch replays of the speech.

It was a moment of clear presidential leadership that demonstrates his enormous talents as a communicator. He has the ability to rise up as the President and deliver for the entire country.

On the same day as this moving memorial that featured a wide range of speakers, Sarah Palin released her ridiculously inappropriate video defending herself and her violent imagery. For Sarah Palin it is always about Sarah Palin. She wants everyone to think she is a victim. I don't think she is evil, and I don't think she means to be an idiot - she just is. Her tone deafness to the meaning of the day and her ignorance about the term "blood libel" was just astounding.

Can you imagine the kind of nonsense that she would spew out if she were President? It was stunningly small and again showed how weak she is.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Bears Will Win Big

Seattle is a confident bunch - they have won two elimination games in a row and they beat the Bears in Chicago earlier in the year. I'm sure this is the matchup they would most like to have.

I think Seattle has a solid D and they do have some talent on the offensive side of the ball. Hasselbeck is a solid NFL vet who can play in big games. But, I think the Bears will roll this week. The Bears are rested and Seattle has a couple of lingering injuries that will likely slow them up. The Bears also play at home and Seattle is a different team on the road. They did win in Chicago earlier in the year, but that was one of only 2 road wins.

Frankly, the Bears are a different team than they were early in the year. They have found their running game, their offensive line is much improved, the D is playing very well, and Cutler has cut down on his mistakes. I think the emotional and physical play that the Seahawks have demonstrated in their last two victories - both at home - will end as the Bears cruise to a 31-13 victory.

If the Seahawks win and the Packers win, the NFC title game will be in Seattle. That would be an amazing story - but it won't happen. Chicago will be hosting an all NFC North NFC Championship in two weeks.

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Bears Get Seattle

The Packers beat the Eagles - as I expected. This sets up a favorable matchup for the Bears next week. The Pack get the Falcons in Atlanta - and I think the Packers will win.

The Bears get a rematch with Seattle. Seattle beat Chicago in Chicago in week 6 - but things are a lot different now. First the Bears are rested coming off the bye. Second, Seattle has had two great, emotional wins the last two weeks. Third, it is really cold in Chicago. I expect the Bears to roll next week and end up in the NFC Championship Game.

If all works out, we will see Bears-Packers III for all the marbles in the NFC Championship. Can't wait until next week.

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Great Football Games Today

I loved the Seahawks winning today. Everyone wrote them off and called that game the easiest pick of the weekend with the Saints as 10 point favorites. Colin Cowherd said the Saints would win in a route and said pick the points and forget the points. I really wanted to pick the Hawks because of their 5-3 home record and all of the disrespect they got all week. The Saints D just gave up way too many big plays and the Hawks took the game - they certainly earned their playoff slot with the win.

The Jets played a great defensive game. Vinatieri hit what looked like the game winner. You think it is over with just under a minute to go. But Cromartie got a big return. Sanchez hit three passes and Nick Folk hit what amounted to a chip shot field goal for the winner.

Now, I just need the Packers to win tomorrow and then it will set up a Chicago-Seahawks game next week that should favor the Bears.

Health Care Reform

Republicans in the House are going to have a largely symbolic vote to repeal health care reform - it won't actually make it through the Senate so it is just a waste of time.

I am not really sure what their objection is because they have not really articulated their problem with the reform. You get to keep your health insurance, it will help increase the number of folks who will use private companies, it closes the donut hole, it eliminates the practice of throwing people off of health care when their bills become too great, it helps seniors with additional screening options, it helps young adults who would otherwise not be eligible to stay on their parents' health care plan, etc.

On top of everything it saves over $100 billion over the next 10 years. I don't think it is perfect, and would like to see more done with a public option and severe penalties for doctors who commit Medicare fraud. I'd also like to see greater enforcement of Medicare-related rules to prevent fraud.

As near as I can tell the only major issue that Republicans have is the individual mandate. This isn't any different than state laws that require drivers to have auto insurance. It is also the same plan that was advocated for by former Republican governor of Massachusetts Mitt Romney. The idea is that with more people in the pool, you can reduce the costs for everyone and expand coverage.

The fact is that the individual mandate was an idea that Republicans pushed as a counter to the Clinton health care plan that was being developed by Hillary Clinton. You had Senators like John McCain, Orrin Hatch, Chuck Grassley, and Kit Bond all pushing for it 20 years ago as a way to reduce costs and increase private sector insurance - now forgetful Republicans call it socialism. It is complete nonsense - but that is what I expect from ignorant Republicans.

If they don't like the plan, provide an alternative and stop demonizing it. Let the battle of ideas play out - don't make stuff up and pretend that it is something that it is not. For goodness sake, it was an idea borne out of Right Wing think tanks and embraced by leading Republicans just a few years ago.

Congressman Giffords (D-Ariz) Shot

Not surprisingly, it looks like the right wing terrorists have finally struck their first victim. We'll find out more as details emerge, but it seems likely that some tea party ignoramus who doesn't actually know what is going on shot Ms. Giffords because of her support of health care and/or other progressive policies.

The ampped up rhetoric that most of these nut jobs spew out lathers up their crowd into a full foaming at the mouth frenzy. Then they think Dems are socialists trying to bring down this country and they think they are justified in their hate-spewing threats, and now violence.

The thing that bugs me isn't so much the nut jobs but the way the media pushes these fringe people and gives them a forum when they are obviously misinformed, and even more troubling is that Republican leaders play along to try to win a few votes. Words have consequences and the deliberate failure to correct the outright inaccuracies (e.g., Obama isn't a U.S. citizen, he is a secret Muslim, the health care plan is more expensive than the current system, death panels, etc.) by Republican "leaders" has allowed dangerous conditions to emerge. The shooting of Ms. Giffords was not surprising or shocking. It has been inevitable by the ridiculous failure of those on the Right to self-regulate themselves.

Jobs and Economy

The ADP jobs report on the private sector and the Department of Labor's jobs report this week both showed some progress. We are gaining jobs slowly. According to government figures, there was a net growth of 103,000 jobs and unemployment dropped to 9.4 percent.

We have had steady progress since President Obama took office. The jobs and unemployment figures were tanking horribly when he took office and any reasonable person should be able to understand that it takes time to turn such a situation around. In fact, the turnaround has been quite remarkable.

That said, I will reiterate that the new tax deal will undo the progress that has been made and make things even worse in many ways. Add to that the Republicans in the House wasting their time looking to undo health care reform, find more tax cuts, and look to increase military spending and what is sure to happen is the deficit - which was manageable and was projected to start to shrink will now just get worse.

As this happens, there will be a need to make even more serious adjustments to the U.S. government's spending and increase taxes to try to close the gap. Interest rates will have to rise to keep attracting foreign investment to fund the growing debt. The steady progress we have been making will give way to calamitous conditions in the very near future. President Obama should have fully rejected the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy - it is not too late but the task if far more difficult because now the Republican House is unlikely to budge.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Vince Young

The guy can play at a very high level and can lead an NFL team to the Super Bowl. He has some maturity issues, but I am shocked the Titans are parting ways with him.

If I were in charge of the Titans and I had to choose between VY and Jeff Fisher I would pick VY in a heartbeat. Fisher is a good coach but VY is a special talent and ultimately you win with talent.

VY has been mishandled by Fisher for years. The guy is a two time Pro Bowler, he has a 30-17 record as a starter. He was the AFC offensive rookie of the year. He came in last year after the Titans started 0-6 and saved Fisher's job by nearly putting the Titans in the playoffs.

If you look at Fisher's career record, it is good but not great. Good coach, and wins with some talent challenges, but they aren't going to win with Collins. VY is going to end up in Minnesota or Arizona or Buffalo and he is going to win. Fisher is going to continue to struggle in Tennessee.

Republicans Now Control House

It doesn't really matter - the Senate is the problem. That said, it is amazing how quickly they have backed away from their campaign promises. They now have the responsibility of governing. They cannot just sit back and complain and obstruct as usual.

They aren't going to change spending or earmarks, and it is likely that their proposals will worsen the deficit/debt situation. Making tax cuts for the wealthy permanent is not fiscally responsible - it is foolhardy given that we have seen what happens for the last decade.

They'll push for more defense spending and they'll have even larger earmarks, and their efforts to kill off health care reform will cost the country hundreds of billions of dollars. Frankly, it is a waste of time to try to take away very popular health care provisions like closing the donut hole, no lifetime caps, extending the age kids can stay on their parents insurance, etc.

Monday, January 03, 2011

Bears - Packers Thoughts

I think they are the two best teams in the NFC. Both have great defenses and offenses that can get very hot very quickly. The difference to me is special teams.

The Bears played their starters but by the time the game started Atlanta had already clinched the #1 seed and I think it must have had some pyschological impact on the Bears players. That said, the Pack had everything to play for and the Bears D came up big. The one 4th quarter TD the Bears D gave up was a result of a couple of substitutions that likely would not have happened if the Bears were truly playing to win. Rodgers threw a 40+ yard bomb to Jennings that placed the ball on the 1 yard line and they went in from there with the game winning TD. Chris Harris and Major Wright - both safeties - were sitting out as a precaution. Manning, who is more of a strong safety and Josh Bullocks were in playing deep safeties and Manning took a bad angle on the play. It happens.

I didn't like the play calling and did not like all the hits Cutler took. Forte was gashing a pretty good Packers D. He finished with just 15 carries for 91 yards. They needed to feed him and Taylor the ball more in a close game like that. It would have helped relieve some of the pressure on Cutler.

In the end, I suspect the Bears played a fairly conservative game. It is unlikely that they really came up with a complicated game plan. Very vanilla. So it is tough to draw much from the game.

I hope the Packers win this weekend and somehow the Seahawks beat the Saints. Then the Bears would get the Hawks. I expect the NFC Championship to be Bears-Packers III. Then, special teams and the home field will carry the Bears to the Super Bowl.