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Friday, December 28, 2007

Winter Break Update

Ok, Ok. So we haven't updated. I'm lazy (but I won't speak for Nick). However, definitely look for regular updates when we return from break after New Years. I know for sure I will have a review of Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare for PlayStation 3 ASAP.

So for all of our dedicated readers (all less than ten that there may be) please check back in after January 7.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

You would think the government would have learned by now

As an addition to SpeakGood, this post was written by our more liberal friend and Oakland University correspondent Mary Maloy. Any opinions expressed within are hers.

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You would think the government would have learned by now: the American Public gets antsy when you start editing recordings. The C.I.A, in a Nixon-esque fashion, destroyed two tapes of interrogations of terrorism subjects, including Zacarias Moussaoui, in which severe interrogation methods were used. Naturally, scandal has erupted.

A problem arises in the fact that these videos have been requested to be used as evidence in the terror suspect Moussaoui’s trial, but the tapes were destroyed even though they were requested. The CIA explained that the tapes were destroyed because they may endanger the safety of the undercover officers working, and that the tapes didn’t have any intelligence value. Somehow this isn’t legally considered “withholding evidence”.

CIA, is that the best you got? Surely you have learned from Nixon. Remember how he said by being president he had executive privileges to withhold the tapes from trial? He was the president, and he got denied. You are just an agency, and not mentioned in the Constitution. What powers do you have to wield?

Blog readers of SpeakGood, contrary to popular belief, I can and will defend a Republican from time to time –I really liked Lincoln- and CIA Director Michael Hayden isn’t to blame. I’ll give you a moment to let this sink in.

He was not the leader of the CIA when the tapes were produced. He wasn’t the leader of the CIA when the 9-11 Commission asked for those tapes. He was not the leader when the tapes were destroyed in 2005. In fact, he doesn’t have much to do with it, and from what the interviews have been reporting, he doesn’t seem to know much about it either. Maybe Mike isn’t the guy we should be going after. Sure, I’m upset he hasn’t been able to provide us with many answers regarding why the CIA didn’t tell anyone that they had records of these waterboarding interrogations, or who authorized the destruction, but he wasn’t in charge then.

I normally would demand more out leaders of massive intelligence agencies, but it seems mediocre performances out of political leaders is trendy, and I’m feeling forgiving. So maybe we should be giving these former leaders the third degree. George Tenet was the leader when the recordings took place in 2002, and Pete Goss was leader when the tapes were destroyed, and both knew that videos of interrogations were being collected. Why aren’t they being burned at the stake? I know Democrats love to bash Republicans, and God knows I do too, but we are going after the wrong guy, America. We aren’t going to get decent answers from this guy. How about seeing George and Pete sweating it out in front of a crowd of pseudo-shocked congress people?

Sunday, December 9, 2007

GVSU loses to Northwest Missouri State, record streak over

Northwest Missouri State finally got their revenge.

After losing the previous two Division II National Championship games to the Lakers, the Bearcats ended the nation’s longest winning streak in convincing fashion Saturday night, defeating GVSU 34-16. Leading the way for the Bearcats was senior running back Xavier Omon, who torched the Laker defense for 292 rushing yards and four touchdowns.

Though I did not attend many games this year, I was disappointed by the play of the Lakers on both sides of the ball. Our offense looked somewhat stagnant and predictable. Only when we were down late in the fourth quarter did we actually have success throwing the ball downfield. The defense was a mess. Whether it was the slick field or not, our players took terrible angles and attempted far too many arm tackles. With a top-tier running back like Omon you simply cannot have mistakes like that happen. For instance, Omon raced untouched 98 yards for a touchdown because of a bad angle taken by our safety. Other times, he broke numerous tackles before finally being hauled down.

In any case, NW Missouri simply outplayed GVSU. However, two good things can come out of this. First, the Lakers get their first taste of a loss in three years. Hopefully, this will light a fire under the returners and we should see another successful season coming next year. Second, it was a pleasure to watch Omon, and I’m definitely hoping that a team like the Lions will take a chance on him in the draft. He’s big, has decent speed, and can catch; something that would be a great asset in Mike Martz’s pass happy offense.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Never fear, Vista SP1 is here!


Maybe Microsoft can clean up this Vista fiasco after all.

The first service pack for the latest and often buggy Microsoft operating system is expected to be released as a public beta sometime next week. The update will address several bugs and also is anticipated to increase the overall performance of the OS.

Hooray! Maybe Vista will start to run at a decent pace again. Though it is not terribly slow on my laptop, Vista surely isn’t as fast as XP would be on lesser hardware. However, I still am far too in love with the look of it to shut off performance robbing features such as Aero.

Seriously though, SP1 should help out with many of the problems with Vista. It took two service packs to work many of the kinks out of XP and they still constantly are issuing updates to protect it from new threats. Since upgrading to Vista, I’ve only had to update the OS a handful of times, which I think is awesome.

Hopefully, the fixes will usher in a new wave of Vista installations because it is quite an amazing OS if you have the hardware to run it.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Tigers acquire Cabrera, Willis

It’s a great day to be a Detroit Tigers fan.

As a lifelong fan, I’ve come to enjoy the past two years of success that the storied franchise has given us. And, apparently, the Tigers are looking to make it three successful seasons in a row, with the prospect of many more to come. Let’s just say Christmas came a little early to Detroit.

Not only did the Tigers get one of the most prized diamonds of the offseason in Miguel Cabrera, they also got a spectacular pitcher in Dontrelle Willis.

Cabrera’s numbers compare well to Manny Ramirez and Alex Rodriguez, but he is only 24 years old. Dontrelle is 25 and is a very dominant pitcher when he’s at his best.

Sure, the Tigers give up quite a bit, including super prospects Andrew Miller and Cameron Maybin. But, what GM Dave Dombromski did is pure genius. He traded raw talent for two proven all-stars. Maybe Miller or Maybin work out, they both did show flashes of brilliance last season. But, the odds aren’t that great that Miller becomes the next Willis, or that Maybin becomes the next Cabrera.

The only thing that I dislike about the trade is that it may mark the end of the Brandon Inge era in Detroit. However, I would rather see Cabrera play left field and Jacque Jones become a backup than to see Inge get shipped out.

Now, if only Matt Millen would take a page out of Dave Dombrowski’s book. Then maybe the Lions could actually win a game here or there.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

New Mac ad is definitely pushing it

Yes, I wrote about this already in the past month. However, the newest Mac vs. PC ad absolutely pisses me off. In the ad titled “Misprint”, Apple makes a statement that their Macbook was faster at running Vista than all PC notebooks.

Personally, I do not understand the point of this advertisement. On one hand, Apple says their Macbooks are fast. Yes, but they are fast running VISTA of all things. Hmm… what does that say about OS X? Is it slower on a Mac than it would be on a PC? Oh wait, that’s right, Apple is so closed minded it won’t let OS X run on a PC without hacking it.

I’m sure the Macbook they tested was pushing nearly $2,000. Most PC laptops are far cheaper than that. Plus, current generation Macs are not very far at all from your everyday PC. Sure, the motherboard might be a bit different, but almost everything else is the exact same. A new Mac has essentially the same processor that Nick has sitting 10 feet away from me in his Dell.

So what if Vista runs a little faster. Isn’t the point of buying a Mac to get OS X? Or at least that is what I was led to believe by previous ads. What is the point of buying an overpriced Mac to run the supposedly failure that is Vista (according to Apple mind you) anyways?

Monday, December 3, 2007

Facebook continues to lose its luster

It is no doubt that Facebook is the most popular website around here at GVSU. However, it is slowly starting to go downhill, unbeknownst to many who use it.

A little while ago, Facebook introduced a new ad system dubbed Beacon. The purpose of the program is to broadcast products you buy or services you sign up for to your Facebook friends. And as a result, the program has been criticized heavily by groups that fight for privacy on the internet.

It turns out the Beacon system sends way more information than many thought. For instance, in the PC World article linked to above, an expert found that even if he was logged out of Facebook, information was still sent to Facebook that registered his activity on the internet. Also, the system is very hard to opt out of.

Like I’ve said before, Facebook has to start going back to what got it to the top: simplicity. All this over the top stuff like ads and applications are just slowing suffocating the site to death in my opinion. I cannot tell you how annoying some of these things are.

I’m still not to the point where I’m giving up on Facebook. But, they are beginning to walk the line between serious social networking site and MySpace. There are too many up and coming sites that could take over the number one spot around college campuses. To be completely honest, it’s all theirs to lose.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Sean Taylor revealed

The point of this blog is to post Nick and I's writing, not to link to others. However, in light of the tragic death of Sean Taylor earlier this week, I found this article written by Elizabeth Merrill that I believe to be excellent. It really makes you wonder how someone in the prime of his life could be struck down so quickly.

ESPN - In life, and in death, Taylor was a natural mystery

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Classic case of one-upmanship

Though I really don’t like either team, the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees sure make for good entertainment during the offseason. Every year it seems both teams are fighting for the top free agents.

What I find particularly amusing is that neither team really needs most of the players. If the Yankees show interest in a player, so do the Red Sox, and vice-versa. It’s all about keeping the good players from your enemy.

Currently, both teams are in the running for Twins star pitcher Johan Santana. As trade talks stand currently, the Sox would send four players to the Twins including the awesomely-named Coco Crisp and pitcher Jon Lester. The Yankees have made no real offer as of yet.

The funny thing is the Red Sox really do not need Santana. True, they would be much better with him, however they already won the World Series without him. The Yankees, on the other hand, desperately need Santana. A young Cy Young caliber pitcher would tremendously help their aging starting rotation.

Whoever does get Santana must also sign him to a new contract. It is expected that Santana will ask for six years and $150 million from his new club. Personally, I think Santana is worth every penny.

In the end, I would expect the Yankees to end up with Santana. They simply have endless pockets and also are not scared of trading top prospects for established talent.

Frankly, that’s the best case scenario for the Red Sox. Successfully scare the Yankees into trading away top talent and overpaying for someone the Red Sox really do not need.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Technology trends leaving some in dust

Technology is evolving far and away faster than it ever has before. Computers, MP3 players, video cameras and the like are undergoing major changes and seeing major improvements every couple of months. Thanks to this technological expansion, more and more people are getting left behind in terms of knowledge.

Several years ago I became very interested in computers and their inner workings. Because of that, I began taking computers apart and putting them back together, and in the process I learned a ton about how they work. Since then, I’ve built my own computer and have upgraded/modified numerous others.

In the past two years or so I’ve come to learn just how valuable tech skills are. I often get calls from my friends or from random people asking me for help with their computers. I usually can help, and I don’t usually charge any money for what I do (unless they insist on paying me).

What scares me about all of this is that most of the people I help are my age. Our generation is definitely the most familiar with these technologies and yet very few people know how to do a lot of things they should. As technology evolves, the majority of consumers should evolve with it. Unfortunately, this is not happening.

Problems like computer viruses prey on people who don’t know what they are doing. Unless people start to learn about what they do on computers, the problem will only get worse. Personally, I believe this is one of the main reasons why people use OS X over Windows. They simply just fail to educate themselves about how something works and then blame the operating system for problems that they could have avoided themselves.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

2007 will not go down as a happy year

I found myself in a state of shock this morning as I read the headlines.

Sean Taylor Dead at 24

I did a double take. Was it the Sean Taylor I was thinking about? Indeed it was.

2007 has not been a great year for sports period. With the ongoing sagas of Michael Vick and Barry Bonds, professional athletes have been getting their images dragged through the mud day after day. Unfortunately, 2007 might very well be remembered as the year where too many athletes died far too young.

Taylor’s murder is just the latest end of a young professional athlete’s life. Others include:

MLB Pitcher Joe Kennedy – November 23, Age 28
NBA Player Eddie Griffin – August 17, Age 25
MLB Pitcher Josh Hancock – April 29, Age 29
NFL Running Back Damien Nash – February 24, Age 24
College Kicker Mario Danelo – January 6, Age 22
NFL Cornerback Darent Williams – January 1, Age 24

Seven deaths from the major sports and most of them were in or just entering the prime of their careers and life in general. Their deaths are all terrible tragedies.

Rest in peace Sean. Hopefully they find your killer and bring him to justice.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Cute marketing ploys by Apple stretch the truth

Unless you’ve been living in a hole in the past year or so, the Apple computer ads should not be new to you. The ads star John Hodgeman as a PC and Justin Long as a Mac, and currently they are bashing Windows Vista, Microsoft’s latest operating system.

Sure, they’re cute and funny. However, Apple is starting to stretch the truth a bit with what it claims are problems with Vista, and Windows computers in general.

I’ll start with the ad titled “Tech Support”. The ad features PC, Mac, and an IT guy attempting to install a web camera on top of PC’s head. The point Apple is trying to make is that Macs come with a camera installed inside of the case. Whoo! Guess what? So do many PC laptops.

In the ad “Choose a Vista”, Apple pokes fun at the six different versions of Vista, claiming that there are far too many to choose from. Okay, six does seem like a lot. But, consider that Vista Starter isn’t sold in the US, and Vista Business and Vista Enterprise are intended for businesses (hence the names), leaving three versions to choose from: Basic, Home Premium, and Ultimate. I’ll admit that Home Premium and Ultimate should be grouped into one; nevertheless Basic is a good alternative for people who don’t want all the bells and whistles of those two, more expensive, versions.

What really has maddened me over the last couple of weeks is the fact that they are complaining about how Vista is supposedly so terrible, and how people are switching back to XP. True, some people had problems. True, Microsoft has extended the life of XP. True, weak machines can’t handle Vista. Regardless, Vista is a serviceable operating system.

Since turning off Sidebar, system performance has increased noticeably. Sure, some will be quick to point out that I shut off one of the key features of Vista, but once it was gone I didn’t miss it. What I really appreciate about Vista is the general look and feel, the cool and very useful start menu search (Apple has Spotlight, but it’s in a weird spot in my mind), and the great security. I still don’t update near as much as I have to with my desktop that runs XP. Vista does what it needs to do for me.

To be completely honest, I would love to own a Macbook Pro. They are awesome computers as far as design and I’ve used a ton of OSX over the past four years. I’m sure I would still find myself using XP or Vista through Boot Camp however. Ideally, OSX, Ubuntu, and Vista would all be installed on the Macbook. That would be a great day in my book.

Mac may have the cutesy marketing, but Microsoft has the name. And until a new generation grows up on the new and improved Macs, Microsoft will continue to own the computer world. Even if Macs sustain this popularity hike, they may never grab a decent chunk of the market share.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Bonds’ indictment finally comes

Barry Bonds was finally indicted this past week on perjury charges. If convicted, Bonds could spend up to 30 years in jail.

Okay, time for me to get blasted again. I still am not convinced that Bonds knowingly took steroids. Hopefully, this trial will give the world some hard evidence that he did. It better, or else the perjury charges are going to fall faster than Lloyd Carr’s approval rating in Ann Arbor. All it is going to take is a small seed of reasonable doubt to get Bonds off too. Don’t believe me? OJ Simpson was found not guilty of much more serious crimes, and got off scotch free in the criminal trial, all thanks to reasonable doubt.

Maybe Bonds did take steroids. But, there is still a big elephant in the room. He has never, I repeat, NEVER tested positive for any steroid, stimulant, etc. Many other players have. Why is Bonds a scapegoat? Why not pick on players that have tested positive for banned substances. It makes no sense.

Regardless, I am eagerly awaiting the trial, much like I am awaiting the Michael Vick trial. Two great sports trials in the next year or so. Yay.

And anyways, Bonds will probably get stuck with a couple hundred hours of community service. That’s what most celebrities get. And we all know the problems with celebs in prison. Paris Hilton anyone?

Friday, November 16, 2007

An Insider's Story

Michael Yon is a man who reports independently in Iraq. He posts his stories on his website, michaelyon-online.com. Yon, like many independent journalists in Iraq, offer a different more intimate perspective of Iraq. One of his posts has recently made it to Fox News. I believe that independents, like Michael Yon, will continue to grow as a reliable respected source of news. He is not the only one, and they offer something that the mainstream media does not. Many of their websites are linked under our blogroll. We do not receive any payment for your visits, it is merely out of my admiration for their work that I advise others to visit their sites.

The article Yon wrote presents an example of how Iraqis continue to rebel from the insurgents. He shows that not all Muslims are full of hate toward others. In Baghdad many locals sat through a televised catholic mass with the hope that their friends, who are christian, would see them on the television and return to Iraq. Since the civil war many had fled to other countries. Their Muslim friends claim they would like to see them come back. They had even protected the church against Al Queda when they were a threat to the neighborhood.

Stories, like this one, are rarely found on the mainstream's news. They can not continue with out help from private individuals. Yon receives his funding from a PayPal account where people make donations so that he can continue his work. He also has a self-published book and pictures he has taken in Iraq.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Kahn turns in good performance with Memories of Summer

It isn’t often that I get a chance to sit down and read a book that I choose, especially considering the volume of reading required by my classes. However, in the past month I’ve had the pleasure of reading two good books; Last Best League as I have already reviewed, and now Memories of Summer by Roger Kahn.

When I initially purchased Memories of Summer off of Amazon, I was expecting to get a book that covered the golden era of baseball, the 40s through the 60s. Although the book does do that, it does it through the eyes of Kahn himself. He manages to turn the pages of the book into a sort of autobiography, something that I was not expecting.

Kahn follows his life from the time he was growing up in Brooklyn to his life now as a prolific sports author. Through his accounts of his own life, he sheds light on what affected him most as a sports journalist. Breaking into the profession as a beat writer covering the Brooklyn Dodgers, Kahn retells the story of Jackie Robinson, and the numerous power house Dodger teams that could never quite climb to the ranks of World Champions. Following his stint as the Dodger beat writer, Kahn spent time with numerous other publications including the illustrious (or not so illustrious as portrayed by him) “Sports Illustrated”.

What really stuck out to me was Kahn’s amazing memory. To be able to recall conversations he had as long as 50 years prior to writing the book is definitely a bonus. Conversations with the likes of Robinson, Leo Durocher, and Mickey Mantle are just some of the content that makes this book a wonderful read as well as a learning experience. Through his dialogs with these baseball heroes, the reader can get a since of what they were actually like.

Also, as a journalism major, I really appreciated the behind the scenes views of what life working for a newspaper or magazine was like. Though much has changed since the time period he describes, it was particularly interesting for me.

Overall, I thought Memories of Summer was a very good book. The content of it surprised me a little, but in the end, Kahn’s writing style and knowledge made up for any disappointment I had. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who really wants to learn what real baseball was all about.

Since reading Memories of Summer, I have purchased another book by Kahn, called October Men, which chronicles the 1978 Yankees. This is the next book on my “to read” list.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

New helmet rule for MLB base coaches

MLB general managers have decided that first and third base coaches must wear helmets next season. The decision comes in response to the death of minor league base coach Mike Coolbaugh.

I really do not know where to stand on this issue. On one hand, you have the safety of the coaches in mind. On the other, I think the coaches should have a say in whether or not they are required to wear a protective helmet.

The incident with Coolbaugh was a freak accident. In all the baseball games I’ve watched and played in my life, I’ve never seen a base coach hit with a batted ball. Some close calls are inevitably going to happen but that’s the game of baseball. There are many more ways to get hurt than just off a foul ball.

The problem I have with such a measure is where do we stop? Do we make the field umpires wear helmets? What about infielders and pitchers? They all stand as close, if not closer, than a base umpire.

To me it comes down to the same issue as whether or not aluminum bats should be allowed in college and youth leagues. My response to that question is freak accidents do happen.

Unfortunately, what happened to Coolbaugh was terrible. However, I do not think one worst-case scenario requires action like that taken by baseball GMs.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Google sued over possible patent infringement

Google is being sued by Northeastern University for supposedly using university patented code in the web giant’s search system.

I for one think this lawsuit is ridiculous.

The lawsuit is fairly straight forward, and even believable. It is very plausible in my mind that Google’s search engine may contain some patent infringing code and concepts. Most big technological innovations do. Don’t believe me? Take a look at Microsoft’s court history. It is filled with infringement cases, perhaps most notably the “look and feel” lawsuit filed by Apple in 1988. Although Apple would lose this case, it proves my point. Infringement happens.

But what is different in this case is the timing of the lawsuit. The technology in question was patented in 1997, which is a full ten years ago. Worse, the president of Jarg Corp, the company in charge of licensing the technology, said they knew about the infringement for a long time.

Hmm, it sounds like a classic get rich quick scheme to me. Of course the university had to wait until now to sue, citing a lack of resources. Or was it the fact that Google has in the last couple of years become a corporate juggernaut? I just don’t believe that they had to wait until now. They simply waited because they stand to benefit more from a lawsuit now than they would have three or four years ago. Google’s stock is hovering well above $600 a share right now, and I believe that this group of people only wants a piece of the proverbial pie.

It is too bad really. I am getting so sick of these frivolous lawsuits where people just want to make a quick buck. Do I condone the fact that Google may be infringing on Jarg Corp’s patent? No, of course not. However, my response to Jarg Corp is that just because Google managed to make a ton of money using similar technology and you didn’t, live with it.

But, instead you’re going to be sitting pretty with a nice little settlement from Google.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Staged Questionnaires?...Big Deal

Hillary Clinton's campaign has been accused of planting people in crowds during her campaign stops. Presumably, they were meant to allow her to avoid the tough questions. Fox and CNN have posted articles as well as made the story a part of their broadcast. Anchors and reporters are making a big deal out of what should come to no surprise.

Mrs. Clinton is a politician, and no politician wants an embarrassing scene while on the campaign. I would be surprised if a presidential candidate did not have plants in the crowds. If they control the questions that are asked, then the candidate can guide the event to focus on their key issues. This strategy should be expected from both democrats and republicans, and it makes sense as bad publicity leads to bad pull numbers.

The news is reporting on the fact that Clinton's campaign has apparently been caught in the act. Much like Clinton wants to avoid tough questions, the news appears to be avoid tough reporting. Instead of finding real issues to talk about, they create issues out of what is probably common political ploy. The news will go on about the incident as if it is a shocking revelation that a politician would stage a public appearance, whereas I say, big deal.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Spygate does not diminish Patriots’ accomplishments

Don Shula's comments about the New England Patriots couldn’t be more wrong.

Yes, they cheated. That’s undeniable. However, what they’ve done since then says just how great of a team the Patriots are.

They are 9-0. Even if they did cheat during their first game that is 8 games where they’ve managed to win, for the most part pretty handedly. The Colts game Sunday just cemented my opinion that they are indeed the best team in football.

The conversation about who can remain undefeated comes up every time somebody starts a year with a string of wins. And every time it comes up, the team in question loses. However, this year the Patriots look poised to claim the second perfect record in NFL history.

Following their bye this weekend, the Patriots play the Bills, Eagles, Ravens, Steelers, Jets, Dolphins, and Giants. The combined record of these teams stands at a dismal 24-33, with only the Giants and Steelers having better than .500 records.

Despite their great chance to remain perfect, Bill Belichick must decide how much they really want the dubious distinction. If it means leaving Tom Brady, Randy Moss, and the like in the final game of the season, is the record really worth it? An injury to Moss, or Brady especially, would be catastrophic for the Patriots.

The Patriots have a good chance of going undefeated. Spygate or not, the deserve the honor if it does happen.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Improvements in Iraq come at a cost

2007 has become the deadliest year in Iraq for American soldiers since the war began. This is a result of U.S. forces setting up smaller stations for the soldiers instead of heavily fortified bases with thousands of soldiers. The surge has given generals the manpower to become more affective quelling insurgents in various neighborhoods. While this has made more areas of Iraq safer, it is a result of U.S soldiers becoming more engaged with the enemy. American forces have also created more relations with the people of Iraq. This has increased their trust of the U.S., which has also led to more help from the locals.

While any American death is tragic, I see the story behind the numbers as encouraging. While the risk is greater when our men and women are closer to civilians, it also gives of the opportunity to prove them that we are not the Great Satan that the terrorists accuse us of being. Also, it deters insurgents from returning to villages when our forces leave to return to one of the bases. Instead they find that our soldiers remain and even help the area rebuild. I believe that our soldiers will die less frequently as we gain the Iraqi's trust.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Lion’s start has me “believing”

To quote The Monkees, “I’m a Believer”.

True, the song is about a girl, but in my case, it applies to the Detroit Lions. Their 6-2 record certainly has me believing.

For a franchise that has had as little success as the Lions have in the history, the quick start is something unknown to a younger fan like me.

If someone had told me we would score 44 points against the Broncos, I would have cried blasphemy. Although the Broncos defense is surely no brick wall, an amount like that is nearly unbelievable. I have never seen such an impressive string of games from the Lions.

Now the real tests start to come. The rest of the season pits Detroit against better teams than they have played so far. But, in my opinion, no game is bigger than the Thanksgiving matchup against the Packers. The favorite to win the NFC North will be the victor of that game.

One thing is for sure. It’s way too much fun to be a Lions’ fan right now. Here’s to seeing them get ten wins or more, and make Jon Kitna’s prophecy come true.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Patriots vs. Colts: One for the Ages

With as much success as the Detroit Lions have had this season, it would be easy to forget (at least as a Lions’ fan who is still shocked by their 5-2 record) about the biggest story in the NFL this year. However, week nine’s matchup of the 8-0 Patriots against the 7-0 Colts should prove to be way too good to miss.

Never mind the week one spy scandal the surrounded the Patriots during the first weeks of the year, they are the best team in the NFL right now. Their steamrolling of opponents just goes to show that the tape had very little to do with their success.

Tom Brady is putting up numbers that even A-Rod’s salary would be jealous of. He is just shy of 2,500 passing yards already this season, not to mention he has thrown 30 touchdowns compared to only two interceptions. To say the least, I intend on riding him all the way to my fantasy league championship this year.

It’s amazing what some decent receivers will do for a quarterback. The New England offense has become so much more potent thanks to the additions of Randy Moss, Wes Welker (did I mention I have him in my fantasy league too?), and Donte' Stallworth. The trio has accounted for 20 of Brady’s 30 passing touchdowns. No offense to Patriots’ receivers of the past, but they simply didn’t have these types of playmakers before this year.

On the other side you have the Colts, led by another great quarterback in Peyton Manning. Though he only has 13 touchdowns, Manning can have a breakout performance at the drop of a hat. Throw in explosive receivers like Reggie Wayne, and second-year standout running back Joseph Addai and you have a scoring explosion waiting to happen.

The toughest part about this game is that someone is going to stay unbeaten and the other will suffer their first loss of the season. Both teams are so evenly matched that it is tough to pick a clear cut favorite.

As far as the offense goes, I think the Patriots have a slight edge. Though the Colts have just as great of an offense, the Patriots’ production has been better so far this year. In addition, the injury status of Marvin Harrison is still up in the air, and if he is limited, the Colts lose the great receiver that he is. However, if Addai is effective against the Patriots’ staunch defense, the advantage could swing to the Colts.

Both defenses are great as well. I’m not going to pick a better one, because they are both simply so good. Look for Bob Sanders and Mike Vrabel to be all over the field.

No matter what, the game is going to be spectacular. But, in my opinion, the Patriots are going to come out on top, keeping their momentum going all the way to a Super Bowl victory.

Zumaya hurt... again

Tigers' pitcher Joel Zumaya just can't get lucky.

Trying to save some of his father's things from the California wildfires, a box fell on Zumaya's shoulder, injuring it to the point that it required major surgery.

Zumaya's injury is a huge loss for the Tigers. Now they must work on resigning Todd "Blowns" (Jones) or look elsewhere for a closer. With a bullpen that was decimated by injuries last season (including Zumaya's first injury, a ruptured tendon), the Tigers were shaky late in games at best. The bullpen now becomes the major weak spot again.

I would look for the Tigers to resign Jones. He is a serviceable closer for the time being.

It's just too bad that this had to happen to someone as promising as Zumaya is.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

NY Knicks drop the proverbial ball

NBA commissioner David Stern has finally gotten around to blasting the New York Knicks for how they handled the Isiah Thomas sexual harassment lawsuit. The Knicks lost the lawsuit in October and were ordered to pay $11.6 million to the plaintiff, Anucha Browne Sanders.

Stern, displeased with the Knicks for not taking other actions, said this to ESPN:

"It demonstrates that they're not a model of intelligent management. There were many checkpoints along the way where more decisive action would have eliminated this issue."

It’s too bad this comes far too late. Had he said this before the trial happened, maybe the Knicks would have agreed to settle out of court.

In my opinion, some of the blame has to fall on Stern himself. Obviously, this kind of press is not good for a league that is trying to clean up its image, regardless if the matter was settled out of court or not. But, Stern could have stepped in and offered advice to the Knicks; advice that may have kept them out of court. A small win in the image department, but a victory nonetheless. I think we can all agree that the last thing the NBA needs is more legal problems than what it already has.

Rise of Russia

Ever since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia has been a shadow of it's former glory. They face a crisis of a rapidly shrinking population. Experts estimate that Russia is losing one million people a year. This problem began in the early 1990s, and Russian officials are frantic to solve it. The fall of the communist government was supposed to bring about democracy and industrial success, however the country has still struggled in the world markets.

Russian politicians long to regain the country's former standing in the international community. They have been envious of America's prestige as the sole world power on the globe. With Russia's greatly decreasing population it seems that the motherland will not regain what she had lost. Nevertheless, Russian activities are more frequently discussed as of late. Russian bomber planes have flown twice near Norway in a parade-like show of force. Admittedly, the planes remained over international waters, the incident caused quite a stir. Russian military recently tested what they claim to be the most powerful non-nuclear bomb.

Russia's increase in military activities has coincided with a rise in oil exportation. The country contains some of the largest oil fields in the world, and has begun to compete against Saudi Arabia as the leading provider of natural gases.President Vladimir Putin desires to head a revived Russia respected world-wide. Russia's weak democracy has become more of a pretense as Putin asserts more executive control over the country's policies. The parliament appears to be a rubber stamp for his wishes. Countries have a right to build up armies as they see fit, however Russia is worth watching in the near future. Russia's history is rich with intrigue, and the Russian machine seems to be building up steam again.

Monday, October 29, 2007

A-Rod, Boras, take a hike please

As little as yesterday afternoon I would have happily accepted Alex Rodriguez as a Detroit Tiger. True, it would have been nearly impossible for him to become a Tiger (impossible now that they have traded for Edgar Renteria), but I figured that Rodriguez’s greatness warranted my respect.

And with one announcement he lost said respect.

Rodriguez, and his media-whore agent Scott Boras, decided that the most-opportune time to announce his decision to opt out of his contract with the Yankees would be during game four of the World Series.

Way to go A-Rod. Let’s defile the greatest series in baseball. At least if you were going to do it during the game, couldn’t you have showed up to accept your award before it?

I know it must hurt that you’ve never been to a World Series Alex. But, in all seriousness, how do you expect to get to the Series when you’ve hit an anemic .136 in the postseason since 2004? Put up or shut up.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Mark your scorecards, Last Best League is a winner

In today’s high paying, steroid laced baseball atmosphere, it is often hard to imagine a league where players simply played for the love of the game. Players whine about the smallest things, and if they don’t get their way, trouble is sure to follow.

Jim Collins’ book Last Best League explores the ins and outs of the Cape Cod League, a NCAA sanctioned summer league that is filled with the nation’s best college baseball players. Collins covers the 2002 season from an insider’s prospective, offering not only the outcomes of games, but a deeper back story that draws readers in, and keeps them there.

The reader has the opportunity to follow around players as they endure not only a grueling schedule of games, but also as they experience a normal college summer. Partying, girls, and the like are not left out of the book. As they are not paid for their baseball services, many of the players also work summer jobs in addition to their commitment to baseball. And throughout all of this, they are trying to secure their futures in baseball by performing well for the numerous scouts that visit the Cape.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Last Best League. It is very detailed not only from a baseball standpoint, but also from a life standpoint. The back story that Collins includes throughout the book makes it what it is, a great piece of literature.

The book reads very similar to Michael Lewis’ book Moneyball, another one of my favorites. In fact, I believe any baseball fan would get a lot out of reading this book. Last Best League is definitely a must read.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

My World Series Preview

Being that I really am into the whole sports analysis thing, I could get way too far into detail about how this year’s World Series could play out. However, I think the more appropriate way is to remark just how great baseball is.

Take the Boston Red Sox for example. For years and years (and decades and decades), they simply could not win a World Series. Curse of the Bambino or not, they just did not have much luck. And yet, in the past 5 years they have managed to reverse years of bad fortune and turn themselves into a legit contender. Only in baseball could you reverse years and years of poor play.

The Colorado Rockies are a great example of just how funny of a sport baseball is. The Rockies were a long ways out heading into the last weeks of the season, and yet, here they are in the World Series. Their winning streak was spectacular and the Mets’ collapse was even more so.

I think this year’s series is going to hinge on the unknown. I don’t think it will come down to a David Ortiz or Todd Helton, but rather a Troy Tulowitzki or Jacoby Ellsbury. Baseball has a way of playing out like that.

All things considered, the Red Sox appear to be the stronger team on paper. Despite this, I think the Rockies take the series in 6. Their magical season will not stop without a win.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Steroid (witch?)hunt in baseball

***Edit: Since writing this article in the afternoon, Byrd has admitted to using HGH for a medical condition. His explanation does NOT change my views of the subject.***

Sometimes I wonder how legit steroid allegations are.

In game four of this year’s ALCS, Cleveland Indians pitcher Paul Byrd went 5 innings, giving up only 2 runs. His strong performance was key in securing the Cleveland victory.

Less than a week later, Byrd has been accused of buying human growth hormone (HGH).

I do not condone steroid use, period. However, I find all these accusations a little fishy.

Sure, it’s pretty hard to deny that Barry Bonds took steroids. I mean, he even says he never knowingly took steroids, but that doesn’t mean he didn’t take them unknowingly. But what really gets me about the Byrd accusations is that they come only after he has been placed into the spotlight.

Why release such information only now? It’s obvious whoever released it wanted a story. And, of course, all this information comes from an unidentified source. Hmm, even things that have supposed good sources can turn out to be false. Why should we believe this one?

And this isn’t the first time this has happened either. Just over a month ago, Cardinals outfielder Rick Ankiel was accused of purchasing HGH as well. It just so happens that this occurred less than a week after he homered twice in a game. Why is that a big achievement you ask? Because Ankiel was a pitcher, and this season was his first since coming back up from the minor leagues.

I just think it’s rather ironic that all these steroid allegations come out following the success of a player. It seems like it would be very easy to fake these accusations just for the sake of news. Hopefully, the results of the Mitchell Investigation will sort all of this nonsense out. Until then, I will be taking everything with a grain of salt.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Yes, I’m One Too (Please Facebook, Don’t Become the Next MySpace)

The college life, it’s awesome really. Take yesterday for example. I had no classes in the afternoon; hence I should have been doing something constructive. But, what was I really doing?

I was surfing Facebook.

Something about the site is so intriguing to me. Nowhere else can you have so much interaction with others with only a few clicks of your mouse. I love it.

What is beginning to irk me, however, is the amount of freedom Facebook has recently given to its users and developers.

Facebook originated as a college only site. It took awhile before high schools and workplaces were added to the system, and now it’s open to anyone with an email address. In my opinion, Facebook should have remained a closed system; that was part of its original beauty to me. A tight control on admission would have allowed them to stop some problems that other social networking sites (read MySpace) have had.

Perhaps the most annoying thing that Facebook has done is that it has allowed for third party applications to be placed on user’s profiles. Although I don’t find every application to be a nuisance (I personally use the myBlog, Top Friends, and Who’s Your Tiger applications), they start becoming a problem when users feel the need to proliferate their profiles with them. I don’t want to have to sift through a mile long block of applications just to get to somebody’s wall. Nor do I care who drop kicked, hugged, kissed, or bitch slapped someone else.

The last thing Facebook needs is to allow that much freedom to its users. Sure it’s kind of a socialist attitude, but in this case, it’s better for Facebook’s users and for itself. I’ve used other sites in the past where color schemes could be determined by the user, and let me tell you, there were some nasty ones. I don’t want to be distracted by an annoying animation or badly chosen colors each time I try to visit someone’s profile. If Facebook every does allow such leniency, I can tell you I will not frequent it as often as I do now.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Not the First nor the Last

President Bush has long been criticized for unprecedented abuse of American liberties. A year ago this month, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann accused Bush of killing Habeas Corpus saying, "The President has now succeeded where no one has before." He then continues on to explain how this eliminates all of the Bill of Rights except for the third. The third allows Americans the right not to house soldiers if they choose. It is a blatant and incorrect attack on Bush.

Olbermann gives President Bush undeserved credit, as the suspension of Habeas Corpus can be traced as far back as the Civil War when Abraham Lincoln issued the Proclamation Suspending the Writ of Habeas Corpus. Nor is he the first President to imprison people without due process, as FDR issued an executive order imprisoning tens of thousands of Japanese Americans.

The government will continue to take our rights away during times of uncertainty. The American people will make the sacrifice, but for only so long. We will demand that our rights be returned. This is the perpetual give and take between our two values; life and liberty. We expect that the government protects us from dangers to our safety. Those dangers include the government and the threat of losing our freedoms.

Many of President Bush's actions are not original in idea. Lincoln and FDR are but two examples of other presidents trampling on our rights. The insinuations about Bush ending our democracy expected, but incorrect. However, the fact that many people do accuse him, and repeatedly get away with it, shows that their rights are still intact. His actions are similar to many presidents before him and will be repeated by those to come.

What will the ‘next’ thing be?

Gatorade has just announced that golf god Tiger Woods will have his own sports drink by early next year. “Gatorade Tiger”, as it will be called, will come in three different flavors picked by Woods himself.

What other endorsements might we see? I understand that Tiger is a very marketable figure, but naming a drink after him? I think that’s going a little far. What’s stopping companies from coming up with these products:

Michael Vick Dog Treats – Your dog is guaranteed to like them, or else.

Online Poker sponsored by Tim Donaghy – Well at least it’s not an NBA game.

Barry Bonds’ 3-Step Workout for Athletes – Step 1: Cream, Step 2: Clear, Step 3: Repeat

Video Cameras endorsed by Bill Belichick – I can see it now, “This camera is the only one that I’d use to cheat!”

For those of you who haven’t noticed, we now have a new domain name: http://www.speakgood.net . Thanks for reading!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Microsoft: Please Get a Clue

Very rarely do I condemn the actions of Micro$oft (Yes, I spelled it with an $). After all, I use their operating systems, their software (this is being written in Word 2007), and their video game consoles. However, they really need to reconsider some of boneheaded decisions.

Recently CEO Steve Ballmer has said that Linux violates some of Microsoft’s intellectual property. He statements implied that he would eventually want compensation from the users of the free-operating system.

That’s what really makes me mad. People have their reasons for using Linux, and sadly for Microsoft, a big reason is because they hate the products that they put out. Don’t give them a reason to hate you more.

Honestly, I have even been stretched to the point of switching over to Linux. Currently I have Ubuntu running in Virtual PC on my computer. I love it. It’s fast, it looks good, and most of all, it’s free. Last time I checked, Windows Vista only had one of those three. In fact, Vista is sometimes reduced to crawling speeds even with my 2 gigs of RAM. I could shut off Aero but that completely defeats the purpose of Vista.

My message to Microsoft is this: Keep your mouth shut and fix your own problems. Just because someone else is taking your customers, don’t get mad at them, get mad at yourselves. You’ve managed to create the most bloated software around and expect people to stay happy with you.

Friday, October 12, 2007

GOP good chances in Michigan

Michigan has not gone to a Republican presidential candidate since 1988 when President George H.W. Bush ran for office. This year it might be different, as five Democratic candidates have withdrawn their names from the state's primary. Hillary Clinton and Chris Dodd have not removed their names from the ticket, but they have vowed not to campaign in Michigan. The withdrawals come as a result to Michigan Democrats moving the primary up to January 15 in the attempt to gain more attention to the state's issues and influence in the overall nominating process.

Democrats in Michigan might not feel so inclined to come out and vote next fall, as a result to the candidates decisions not to be on the Michigan ticket. They might feel that since the candidates did not feel it was worth coming to Michigan, then it is not worth electing them. This might be a boon to whoever becomes the Republican candidate in 2008, as it could very well be another tight race between the parties. The 17 electoral votes will be essential in deciding who the next president will be, as some are saying Michigan will be a key state in next year's election.

The democratic candidates decision could have little effect on the presidential candidate Michigan goes to. Hillary Clinton will very likely be their candidate with her strong lead above the others. Her decision to remain on the ballot in Michigan will likely earn her favor amongst the people of Michigan. However, as the GOP candidates have come to the Great Lakes State, their candidate could impress upon the fact that she had canceled her campaigning in Michigan during the primaries whereas they came.

With the mid-terms ending we plan to return to our regular posting schedule.

Monday, October 8, 2007

File sharing verdict causes uproar

For those who missed it, last week 30 year old Jammie Thomas lost a court battle against the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) concerning her alleged downloading of illegal music. It was ruled that Thomas would have to pay a $220,000 settlement to several big name record labels.

Today Thomas announced that she intends to appeal the court’s ruling.

I couldn’t agree more with her decision to appeal. This case is one of the lamest attempts by the RIAA to curb filing sharing on the internet. No matter what they do, it’s going to happen. An appeal by Thomas will probably only strengthen people’s opposition to the organization. Several comments left on stories about the situation prove my point.

What I find disgusting about the lawsuit is the fact that she is being forced to pay $220,000. The RIAA sued because of 24 illegally downloaded songs found on her computer. That works out to almost a $9,200 fine per song. How the RIAA can demand that much per song is beyond me. There is no way to prove that they lost that much profit just because Thomas downloaded those songs. The RIAA’s own stats (PDF) show that they still brought in over $11 million from music sales in 2006. The law suits sound like a great way for them to get rich quick. Too bad the RIAA has angered enough people to drive them to boycott it. I bet they lose more money from this than the file sharing.

Did I mention Thomas makes $36,000 a year? There’s no way she’ll ever be able to pay that amount back and still be able to live comfortably.

Though my story seems to imply otherwise, I’m actually against file sharing. Thankfully, GVSU uses Ruckus, so I can get music for free, legally. I don’t have a problem with small amounts like what Thomas is convicted of because those amounts do no noticeable damage to the RIAA’s finances. Large file sharers, however, should be stopped, or at least slowed. They could put a dent a into the music industry, and, as a result, the consumers could see higher prices on legit music.

If you interested in reading more about Jammie’s situation, visit her page at FreeJammie.com.

Sorry for the time in between posts. It’s mid-term week at GVSU and both Nick and I are really busy with studying and writing papers. Expect more stuff following this week.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Punter sentenced to seven years for stabbing of rival

Mitch Cozad, former backup punter for the Northern Colorado Bears football team, was sentenced to seven years in jail Tuesday for the stabbing of starting punter Rafael Mendoza in 2006. Cozad was convicted of second-degree assault charges, though he was originally facing attempted first-degree murder.

My question to Mr. Cozad is what he thought he would gain from getting the starting position. Pride? You just stabbed a man to get the starting job, try telling your conscience that you got it fair and square. Monetary gain? There are only 32 punters in the NFL. It takes talent to get there, and if you weren’t good enough to start in college, how do you plan to make it in the pros?

What I really don’t understand is why he was concerned about being the starting punter at a Division I-AA school. Although football is still big in I-AA, it’s not Division I caliber. Michigan did get beat by a I-AA school, but Appalachian State is an established powerhouse. Northern Colorado just completed the switch from Division II less than five years ago. Why risk everything to start on a team that is barely a Division I school?

I guess he’ll have seven years to figure that out.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Marriage as a Religious Sacrament

The issue of gay marriage has, for a while now, been politically charged. The religious right has been firmly against it. The progressive left has been okay with it, at least enough to please their far left base, but has not pushed for too much reform as it would distance them from the mainstream of American thought. The democrats were active enough to vote against a bill defining a marriage as strictly between a man and a woman that came though the senate in 2004.

I am a Catholic, and I stand by the beliefs of the Church. I believe homosexuality is a sin, much like a lot of other behaviors, such as theft or murder. However, America is a secular country, which means that it is of this earth and not ruled by the church. We all know the separation of church and state practice of the land; congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof (Bill of Rights). This goes both ways, and many people seem to forget that as they cry out that religion is intruding on our public life. This amendment, the first one by the way, was meant to protect churches from the state. In Europe, during the eighteenth century, the state governments were very involved in churches inside the country, and our founders did not want that.

Marriage has been a religious sacrament long before the beginning of this country, which is to say that it belongs on the church side in this debate. In my opinion, this country has no jurisdiction to call a marriage anything, as it is an institution of religions. I am okay with laws being created respecting civil unions, in fact I am in favor of them. While the U.S. has very christian tendencies, it has a very diverse population and as such the government does have the right to make laws in respect to civil unions. If homosexuals would like to be joined in a civil union, while it saddens me as a christian, it is fine by me as an American. However, I am against the federal government doing anything about laws respecting civil unions. The issue concerning homosexual civil unions, like so many others, should be left to the states. The national government involves itself on too many social issues better left to the lower levels, like state and local governments.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Steroids "effect" on home run totals

With Barry Bonds blasting his record setting 756th home run this season (the ball, by the way, is headed to Cooperstown with an asterisk on it), his supposed steroid use has been brought more and more into the public eye. And baseball’s recent foray into investigating the use of performance enhancers throughout the MLB has called into question the achievements of several big name players.

The recent increase in home run production is often attributed to these performance enhancers. But, if you examine statistics from the past 60 or so years, the numbers tell a different story.

If you compare the top home run totals in each league from 1940 to 2007, the numbers seem to prove steroids have had little effect on home run production. In that time span, 5850 home runs were hit by league leaders (multiple league leaders were not included). If you do the math, that works out to an average of 43 home runs a year.

Let’s assume that the steroid era began in 1986 (Jose Canseco’s first full season), so we’ll remove the numbers from ’86 and beyond. Evaluating and comparing these totals against the ones from our first calculations should tell us how much of an impact steroids have had on home runs.

From 1940 to 1985, 3724 home runs were hit by league leaders (again, multiple league leaders were not included), which equates to an average of about 40.5 home runs per season.

In essence, home run production has increased a mere 2.5 home runs on average since 1940. 2.5 home runs do not justify the argument that steroids bloated home run totals. Other factors, however, do account for this small jump.

For one, players are in much better condition today than back in the 40’s and even the 80’s. Though Babe Ruth’s career took place before the 40’s, his lack of conditioning is well known. Who knows how many home runs he could have hit if he was in top shape like today’s athletes. They spend hours conditioning to get stronger and faster. At one point, weightlifting was discouraged among baseball players, and it has now become common practice.

Hitting technique has also evolved since the 40’s. Today, people teach the rotational hitting approach, which basically involves dipping the back shoulder and having a slight upper cut. Barry Bonds, for example, employs this technique. Rotational hitting places an importance on the home run and numbers have risen accordingly. Before the rotational approach, people taught linear hitting, which results in more line drives and ground balls. Had the great hitters of the past used a rotational swing, it’s very likely that more home runs would have been hit.

Though it is often said that home run production has been extremely high in the past two decades, numbers say otherwise. A small increase in production is not the sole result of steroids, but one of better conditioning, technique, and other factors.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Democrats tax the poor

When the bill for increased coverage for children's health care passed, to the tune of 35 billion dollars, the Democrats realized they needed to add taxes somewhere. Heaven forbid they act within their budget. They decided that a 156 percent increase to the cigarette tax would be the appropriate decision. This would raise the federal tax from 39 cents to a dollar per pack. Even with the tax being raised significantly it is not enough to cover the new spending, but it does discourage smoking.

Cigarettes are used at a much higher rate among poorer citizens, then among the wealthy. This seems out of place for the great defenders of the poor. It is hard to believe the Democrats would even consider taxing them. I doubt very much that many people will cry out that the Dems are taxing the poor unfairly. After all, it is only the smoking poor that they are raising taxes on. As they already admit, their tax increase to cigarettes will not be enough to cover their plan, so where will the next tax be on?

People need to realize that cigarette tax revenue will continue to spiral and, as more people quit smoking, the social programs that it pays for will be further in the red. Now, instead of budgeting and working within their means, politicians on the Hill will put new taxes up. Taxes that affect more people so that they can have a larger revenue base, such as a tax on pop or bottled water. Before I am willing to give more money to the government, who takes enough of my pay check already, they need to show that they can manage what the already have.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Importance of a kick return game

First off, the Lions played a pretty good game against the Bears. Though their offense was stagnant for the majority of the game, they turned it on when they needed too. Thankfully the Bear’s offense was still pathetic, even with Brian Griese at quarterback.

But, what almost killed the Lions was the Bear’s return game. Devin Hester was absolutely amazing. If he makes one or two people miss (and he did that often), he’s got a great chance of taking it all the way. He single-handedly kept the Bears in today’s game.

Hester’s return game made me miss Eddie Drummond. The Lions simply do not have a good return specialist, and it is hurting them. But, in a larger sense, just how important is field position?

According to the NFL Stats blog, field position means more than some would think. Through their calculations, a 4-yard starting field position difference can mean up to a three percent difference in points score per game.

Because of the limited stats available for starting field position, let’s compare Hester’s average return yards to our average return yards. Though this isn’t the best comparison, it is a very telling one. Hester averaged 31.3 return yards on kickoffs and 19.0 yards on punts. The best Lion returner, Brandon Middleton, averaged 23.3 yards on kickoffs, and Troy Walters averaged 8.5 yards on punts. That’s a margin of 8 yards on kickoffs and 10.5 yards on punts, which equates to a roughly 13 percent difference in points score per game.

Obviously, other factors affect how many points a team scores. But for demonstrative purposes, that is a very scary realization that the Lions need to have an effective return game.

When will Americans learn?

According to a Rasmussen poll, 44% of Americans now support free health care for everyone. Of course this "free" health care would be provided for by our government (thus more taxes). It is surprising that so many people are willing to entrust yet another institution to the great bureaucracy in Washington, D.C. They have already showed their ineptness in running so many other programs, and yet a near majority of the population would be willing to allow the Feds to run our health care.


I am part of the shrinking majority in America who believes that the government does not have the constitutional duty, nor right, to butt in on our health care system. The liberals that support socialized health care have this inferiority complex as they seem to think they know best when it comes to living our lives. They seem to view the population of this country as children who need to be taken care of, instead of capable individuals who know how to take care of themselves. Americans do not need bureaucrats on Capital Hill deciding a one size fits all program that is inefficient, and in fact dangerous to the American public.


The enlightened country of France is a great example of a country with socialized (or universal) health care. The French have admitted that major reforms need to be made in light of the poorly governed government health care system becoming too costly. They cite reasons such as waste and inefficient managing for their need to have drastic change.



While my patriotism tells me that our government could do it better than the French, I still believe that our citizens can take care of themselves even better. We need to tell the already satiated federal government to stay out of health care and quit trying to find reasons to take more of our hard earned money. The more they make choices for us, the less free we are. We might make poor decisions, but that is what liberty is about; learning from our mistakes or repeating them.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Say hello to the iBrick

To begin with, I’m already not that big of a fan of Apple. I never have been, and never will be. I love the iPod, but their computers and other devices are worthless to me.

When Apple began running ads for the iPhone, I was intrigued. Its feature list is amazing to say the least. And really, it’s pretty; most stuff put out by Apple is. I thought they might have a winner on their hands.

But then out came the prices. 4GB of storage was going to run a costly $499; 8 GB would set you back $599. In other words, they were way too much money for me. However, I knew some people would be willing to pay these prices.

What really made me not like the iPhone was that it could only be used on AT&T’s network. Not only does this suck if, for instance, AT&T gets terrible reception at your place of residence, it is really a monopoly. If you get the iPhone you are forced to use AT&T.

Or so I thought.

Enter the world of iPhone unlocking. Since the phone was released, people wanted to figure out how to run it on other carriers’ services. Thanks to George Hotz, the iPhone was successfully unlocked on August 24. Though his method involved physically modifying the internals of the phone, many software only solutions (such as iPhoneSimFree) have been released since.

Thursday, Apple released an update to the iPhone that rendered the “hacked” units useless. In addition, units that had unsupported software and some perfectly normal phones were effectively turned into an expensive “iBrick”. Apple will not fix units that were hacked.

Although Apple has reasons to do such a thing (for example, fulfilling their agreement with AT&T), I’m of the opinion that they should fix the modified phones affected by the new software. It is absolutely wrong to tie users to just one carrier. If they paid $399+ for their phones, shouldn’t they have a right to use them however they choose? Unlocked phones from other companies work across carriers, why can’t the iPhone?

Apple has taken this approach far too many times throughout its product lines. Let the hardware be interchangeable! It can only help consumers by driving down cost and help you by increasing your market share.

Friday, September 28, 2007

The Open-minded Fallacy

Imagine you are trying to have an intelligent conversation with someone. Maybe you have never had an intelligent conversation, in this case skip to the next article. For those of you still reading let me present a situation to you. You and "Bill" have been discussing an issue important to both of you. You believe one way and Bill believes another. The discussion or argument, depending on who you ask, was getting heated. Bill explains his side, then you explain your view. Instead of offering an intelligent counter, he pulls the trump card; with the assurance of a veteran debater he calls you close-minded. It is interesting that this simple retort can turn an audience against an otherwise sound argument and it's presenter.

How come this term often used in political debates of the highest level seems to be a win all strategy? An opponent may use that term when he is in a desperate situation and all of the sudden the crowd is on his side glaring at the opponent as if he is some bigot. Before we look at what being close-minded is and what it implies, we must first look at open-mindedness. To be open minded is to be willing to consider new arguments or ideas. It can then be inferred that calling someone a name because of their viewpoints is not very open-minded; in fact it seems quite the opposite.

Open-mindedness is not what you believe, but rather how you deal with people who have beliefs different then your own. It has been a common misconception that if you believe a certain way then you are close-minded. By now the reader may be thinking about the political ideologies; conservative and liberal. Liberals are stereotypically the open-minded party, and conservatives are generally thought of as being closed-minded (the catchy phrase closed-minded conservative). I do not disagree that there are close-minded conservatives and open-minded liberals. But, the stereotype is wrong for there are many open-minded conservatives as well as many close-minded liberals. Also, the term wouldn't properly fit even if the majority of conservatives were in fact close-minded.

Close-mindedness is not adhering to a set of beliefs, but rather the refusal to listen or respect other people’s opinions. So, back to your argument with Bill, who was in fact close-minded? Needless to say, let’s think twice before we resort to name calling.

Vick Tests Positive for Marijuana

Honestly Mike, are you trying to set the record for the furthest fall in history?

After already pleading guilty to federal dog fighting charges, reports surfaced Wednesday that Michael Vick tested positive for marijuana in a test he took on September 13. Due to the positive test, prosecutors have tightened Vick’s freedom until his December 10 sentencing hearing.

The bad news for Vick is that Judge Henry Hudson could take his positive test into consideration when deciding Vick’s fate. Ouch.

I understand that this isn’t the first time that Vick has had an incident with marijuana, but I cannot believe that he would try to get away with something like that in light of all the scrutiny he is currently under. Not that I’ve ever been in his position, but if I was about to go to jail and the length of the sentence depended on a judge’s ruling, I would try to be the best person I could be until the sentencing hearing. Don’t give him another reason to put you away for a long time.

Amazing how things can go south in a hurry.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Military Service in question

As many may know, moveon.org ran a full page ad seeking to discredit General Petraeus' reputation as a military official. This shows such a blatant disrespect to not only this honorable officer, but the men under his command. As I have said before, the members of our military sacrifice more than any of us can ever know for the sake of this great country.

The ad is one of many from both sides, seeking to attack current or former members of our military. It follows ads questioning Senator John Kerry's service in Vietnam, as well former Senator Max Cleland(D) of Massechusetts. Max Cleland lost the lower half of his body in Vietnam, which is more than nearly all Americans can say they have done for the U.S. And yet his opponent sought to discredit him by running ads with him next to Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden, implying he was weak on foreign policy.

And while I may not have voted for John Kerry in the 2004 election, I am most grateful for his military service and respect him for it. I am sick of the personal attacks from the left and right; modern American politics is replete with examples of them. Politicians need to show more respect for opponents. Instead of winning elections by being the lesser evil, they need to try win by having the better plan.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Story questioning athlete’s attitude spurs thoughts about journalism morals

One of the toughest parts of being a respectable journalist, whether it is online or at an actual news outlet, is knowing where to draw the line. Sometimes these lines are drawn by our superiors, but a lot of them need to be drawn by our own morals.

While I was in high school there was a group of athletes on a highly ranked sports team that were caught talking about partying and drinking that they had participated in during the weekend. Although there was no proof of this other than what their coach overheard, they could have been punished for their actions immediately. However, the players were not immediately punished and a silent uproar began to spread around school.

At this point I was the Sports Editor for our high school newspaper. When the story got around, some members of our staff smelled blood and wanted to go in for the kill; conjuring up a story about athletes receiving special treatment. Obviously, as a high school publication we were regulated by our teacher and administrators, and the story never got off the ground. Instead, we published a story about athletic code infringements.

I bring this up in response to a story published by columnist Jenni Carlson about Oklahoma State quarterback Bobby Reid, which has drawn national coverage because of Carlson’s negative comments about Reid’s character and off-field attitudes. In the story, Carlson questions Reid’s dedication and maturity, among other things. Carlson even goes as far to admit that some of what she is writing is based completely on rumor.

“Word is that Reid has considered transferring a couple different times, the first as early as 2005. Reid, then a redshirt freshman, was facing competition from returner Donovan Woods, and apparently, Reid considered leaving OSU just because he had to compete for the spot.”

Anytime a journalist uses “word is” and “apparently” to introduce so-called facts you know something is wrong. If you read the column, there is very little actual reporting and mostly speculation. How Carlson can attack Reid’s character without cold, hard facts is beyond me.

Carlson’s actions violate my morals as a journalist, much like how I opposed running the story on our sports team without facts as to why the team members were not immediately published. It is one thing to speculate on the next head coach at Michigan or where A-Rod will be headed next year, but to question a player’s attitude with rumors is just plain wrong.

Thankfully, I’m not the only one who feels this way. Many comments opposed to Carlson’s story have been posted all over the internet, and OSU head coach Mike Gundy lambasted Carlson in his press conference last Saturday. Whether or not Gundy’s actions were acceptable is still up in the air, but I’m glad to see a head coach step up in defense of his quarterback.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Ahmadinejad is invited to Columbia University

It is interesting that an American college will host a man such as Iranian President Ahmadinejad, and yet they will cancel a speech to be given about protecting our borders from illegal immigrants. According to Foxnews.com, President of Minutemen Project Jim Gilchrist was originally scheduled to be hosting a discussion on the border security debate, but it has since been canceled. Furthermore, the military ROTC program is not allowed as part of the curriculum at Columbia University.

These decisions made by Columbia University cause me to question their loyalties to America. I am all for free speech and the rights of colleges, however it seems to me that they are forgetting what country gives them those rights. I have nothing against a university allowing anyone to speak, but I can't help but feel a certain anti-American message being sent by Columbia. Their reasoning for canceling Gilchrist's speech is that it would have caused too much outcry amongst students. That should be a reason to bring him, as it seems to be a hot topic.

I end this short blurb on their policy against the ROTC program. I do not understand why any institution in America, especially a place of learning, would carry such anti-military attitude. It is our military that allows Columbia to have the freedoms they have, and they should be proud to help in any way they can.

Build Your Own “Custom” PC

If you’re in the market for a new PC these days, you have a choice of many different manufacturers, all offering different options. These PCs can range from a few hundred to a few thousands of dollars. However, if you are somewhat tech savvy I recommend building your own PC. Although it is not necessarily cheaper, it allows you to customize every single part of the system to your liking. And, if it’s you first time, you can learn a lot as well.

Since there is already a lot of guides out there on how to do this, I won’t bother writing another. Basically, be sure everything is compatible and it should go together easily. However, here are a couple sources for information:

http://www.buildyourown.org.uk/ - This site has a step-by-step guide on building a PC, as well as a very active forum where members will gladly help you with your build.

http://www.newegg.com/ - Newegg has all the parts you will need for your PC. From my experiences, Newegg is usually the cheapest supplier also.

These are sites that helped me build my PC, but if you do a Google search for “Build Your Own PC” you will find many more sources that will help you out.

Oh, and if you’re wondering, my custom built PC cost me a little more than $300 and will surf the internet and run XP and Office with the best of them.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Lions burned by scoring explosion

With a rather impressive 2-0 start, I thought maybe, just maybe, the Lions might be turning things around. And in some respects they are.

Putting up a total of 432 yards is impressive, and definitely a good endorsement for Mike Martz’s offense.

Too bad the Lions just couldn’t play defense.

They gave up a total of 536 yards and seven offensive touchdowns. And a lot of those yards and touchdowns came on big plays. Kevin Curtis had 221 receiving yards and three touchdowns. Curtis only had four touchdowns all of last year!

Brian Westbrook was like Superman until he left in the third quarter. They just couldn’t stop him. For someone who was questionable throughout the week to run all over the defense is alarming. Could we please get some Kryptonite?

The secondary got burned all day, with Keith Smith, Stanley Wilson, and Gerald Alexander getting picked on heavily. Curtis was wide open for most of the game.

Jon Kitna had no time to pass. When he did have time, he was effective, however he still made mistakes that a veteran quarterback shouldn’t make. For instance, a poor decision to throw the ball into the end zone at the end of the first half resulted in a drive-killing interception.

Although losing 56-21 is somewhat of an embarrassment, at least I can say that the Lions never gave up. I was also impressed by a couple of players.

Calvin Johnson’s acrobatic catch in the second quarter was absolutely amazing. He is definitely a great player, and should get even better once he learns more of the offense. It’s too bad that on his great catch he also had to get hurt.

Though they lacked a running game again, Kevin Jones looked like his old-self. Considering he was not expected to be back this early or at all this season, that was a big bonus for the Lions.

Hopefully by next week they will have the defense sorted out when they take on the Chicago Bears at home.