Wednesday, February 28, 2007

NFL NEWS AND NOTES

The South Florida Sun-Sentinel speculates that if the Chiefs were interested in moving quarterback Trent Green, the Dolphins would be a potential suitor. This report could have been prompted by a report in the Kansas City Star citing team sources that the club has been open to talking trade involving Green. The veteran QB is scheduled to make over $7 million in 2007, and the club is expected to ask him to restructure is contract so that it is more cap-friendly. With backup QB Damon Huard signing a new deal this week (with nearly $3 million guaranteed), there is a notion that Green doesn't have the starting job locked up in Kansas City......

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that a source has confirmed that the Packers have inquired about trading for WR Randy Moss from Oakland, but are wary of bringing him on board for a number of reasons. The Packers would want Moss to restructure his current deal, making him more appealing salary-cap wise. Moreover, the paper cites several NFL sources who describe Moss as a declining, one-dimensional target whose best days are behind him. Speculation is that Moss can be had with a second-round pick, though teams may try to lowball the Raiders knowing that they want to move Moss.....

The Florida Times-Union has an interesting story on Byron Leftwich, who has been silent since being named the Jaguars' starting quarterback a week ago. Did the Jaguars name Leftwich the starter just so they could get the most for him in a trade? One rumor making the rounds is that Jacksonville will deal Leftwich to Oakland for disgruntled wide receiver Randy Moss.....

The New York Post reports that Giants PK Jay Feely has turned down an offer from the club and expects to hit the free-agent market as scheduled on March 2. "I'm definitely headed to free agency," the Giants kicker said. "There's no doubt in my mind. That doesn't mean I'm not going to be a Giant." The paper listed the Falcons, Cowboys, Dolphins and Chiefs as potential suitors.....


The New York Daily News reports that the Jets are expected to trade or release backup QB Patrick Ramsey before the start of free agency. Ramsey was acquired last offseason to provide competition for the starting QB spot, which was won by Chad Pennington. Pennington has already been named the starter for 2007, with Kellen Clemens backing him up.....

Calling no player "untouchable," Bills coach Dick Jauron said the team would consider trade offers for RB Willis McGahee. "It's in our best interest to listen to everybody, and no people are untouchable," Jauron said. "He's a good back. He's our starting running back right now. It's no surprise to me at all that people are interested." Asked specifically if McGahee is on the trading block, Jauron said: "Well, people talk. People talk in the league all the time." McGahee has one year left on his current deal; the New York Giants have publicly expressed an interest in acquiring McGahee.....

NFL Network's Adam Schefter reports that the Cowboys are expected to release backup QB Drew Bledsoe, a move that will save them over $5 million against the salary cap. He is due a $1 million roster bonus on March 2. Bledsoe started 2006 as the team's starter but was pulled in Week 7, not to return. He finished with 90-of-169 passing for 1,164 yards, seven touchdowns and eight interceptions with a lost fumble. He did add two rushing touchdowns and 28 rush yards.....

The New York Daily News reports that Giants DE Michael Strahan wants to meet with GM Jerry Reese to discuss his future with the club. Strahan has two years left on his current contract but wants to know how the club feels about him in the long term. He's also expected to ask for more money, which the club isn't likely to do considering he's missed 15 games over the last three seasons, including seven in 2006 with a Lisfranc foot injury.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Barack Obama's Father Was a Bigamist

A drunk and a bigot - what the US Presidental hopeful HASN'T said about his father...

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/news.html?in_article_id=431908&in_page_id=1770

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POWER: GORE MANSION USES 20X AVERAGE HOUSEHOLD; CONSUMPTION INCREASE AFTER 'TRUTH'
Mon Feb 26 2007 17:16:14 ET

Nashville Electric Service/Gore House

2006

High 22619 kWh Aug – Sept
Low 12541 kWh Jan - Feb
Average: 18,414 kWh per month

2005

High 20532 Sept - October
Low 12955 Feb - March
Average: 16,200 kWh per month

Bill amounts

2006 – $895.60 (low) $1738.52 (high) $1359 (average)
2005 – $853.91 (low) $1461 (high)

Nashville Gas Company

Main House
2006 – $990(high) $170 (low) $536 (average)
2005 – $1080 (high) $200 (low) $640 (average)

Guest House/Pool House

2006 – $820 (high) $70 (low) $544 (average)
2005 – $1025 (high) $25 (low) $525 (average)

The Tennessee Center for Policy Research, an independent, nonprofit and nonpartisan research organization, issued a press release late Monday:

Last night, Al Gore’s global-warming documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, collected an Oscar for best documentary feature, but the Tennessee Center for Policy Research has found that Gore deserves a gold statue for hypocrisy.

Gore’s mansion, [20-room, eight-bathroom] located in the posh Belle Meade area of Nashville, consumes more electricity every month than the average American household uses in an entire year, according to the Nashville Electric Service (NES).

In his documentary, the former Vice President calls on Americans to conserve energy by reducing electricity consumption at home.

The average household in America consumes 10,656 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per year, according to the Department of Energy. In 2006, Gore devoured nearly 221,000 kWh—more than 20 times the national average.

Last August alone, Gore burned through 22,619 kWh—guzzling more than twice the electricity in one month than an average American family uses in an entire year. As a result of his energy consumption, Gore’s average monthly electric bill topped $1,359.

Since the release of An Inconvenient Truth, Gore’s energy consumption has increased from an average of 16,200 kWh per month in 2005, to 18,400 kWh per month in 2006.

Gore’s extravagant energy use does not stop at his electric bill. Natural gas bills for Gore’s mansion and guest house averaged $1,080 per month last year.

“As the spokesman of choice for the global warming movement, Al Gore has to be willing to walk to walk, not just talk the talk, when it comes to home energy use,” said Tennessee Center for Policy Research President Drew Johnson.

In total, Gore paid nearly $30,000 in combined electricity and natural gas bills for his Nashville estate in 2006.

For Further Information, Contact:
Nicole Williams, (615) 383-6431
editor@tennesseepolicy.org

Monday, February 26, 2007

NFL COMBINE

The offensive guys have had their kick at the can at the scouting combine and it will be the turn of the defensive players to show their stuff starting later this morning. The defensive linemen and linebackers will go through their on-field drills today, while the DBs will go Tuesday. And the offensive players set the bar reasonably high for their defensive counterparts with some pretty good performances this weekend, highlighted by Georgia Tech WR Calvin Johnson’s impromptu 4.35 40 clocking.....


The NFL has finally released the composite selection order for the full seven rounds of the 2007 draft. http://www.nfl.com/draft/drafttracker/round/round1

It probably doesn’t have much to do with the outstanding performance Wisconsin OT Joe Thomas turned at the scouting combine in Indianapolis over the weekend, but both Oakland and Detroit, which have the first and second picks overall this year respectively, made announcements about their particular LT situations. Oakland, for example, has moved incumbent LT Robert Gallery, the second player taken overall at the 2004 draft, from the left side to RT; in his place, the Raiders will pencil in veteran journeyman Barry Sims at LT. Meanwhile, the consensus around the NFL is that Detroit would take Thomas with the second pick overall and then slide Jeff Backus, their returning starter at LT, over to the right side. Lions’ head coach Rod Marinelli is being quoted as saying that Backus will stay at LT no matter what Detroit does with the pick as it would be too unnatural of a move for Backus, who is signed through 2011. Neither move may say much about what either the Raiders or Lions have planned for the second pick, but Thomas certainly made the case that he is pick worthy when the 6-7, 311-pounder showed impressive athletic skills at the combine this weekend where he ran a 4.92 40......

Kansas City reportedly plans to tender restricted-free-agent-to-be DE Jared Allen at the highest level. That means that any team signing Allen would have to compensate the Chiefs with first and third rounds picks if Kansas City didn’t match the offer sheet. And Allen isn’t happy that talks on a contract extension with the Chiefs haven’t gone well. Indeed, Allen has reportedly formally requested a trade by the Chiefs, a request the Chiefs denied. Allen produced 27.5 sacks in his first three years with the Chiefs after being selected in the 4th round of the 2004 draft. The fact that Allen recently served a jail sentence for his second DUI arrest, however, hasn’t helped his case.....

While many of his former teammates are preparing for the 2007 draft, Notre Dame FS Tom Zbikowski will be heading back to the boxing ring for his second pro fight when he fights Kevin Murphy on March 6th in a heavyweight exhibition bout in South Bend. The fight will be a benefit for several local charitable foundations. In his first fight last June, Zbikowski defeated Robert Bell in a 49-second technical knockout at New York's Madison Square Garden. Zbitkowski, a 4th year junior, had been expected to enter the 2007 draft, but opted to return to school when he met Notre Dame’s academic requirements.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Beyond Bias: When the Media Fabricates News

A recent Gallup poll found that 56% of Americans think the media's coverage of events in Iraq is inaccurate, nearly two thirds of those believing that the media portray the situation as worse than it is. A biased, always bad-news-baring mainstream media trying to discredit our war effort is a disgrace. But worse is the blatant manufacturing of news through editorials disguised as reports.


A case in point was the "reporting" in the Los Angeles Times on the execution of Saddam Hussein.


While even liberal bastions such as the New York Times and the Washington Post ran objective headlines -- "Dictator Who Ruled Iraq with Violence is Hanged for Crimes Against Humanity," and "Saddam Hussein is Put to Death," respectively -- the Los Angeles Times loaded its headline with editorial content: "Hussein Executed -- And Iraq Braces."


Hussein was indeed executed, but the idea that "Iraq Braces" is pregnant with anti-war innuendo. A less subtle headline might have read: "Hussein Executed -- One More Bad Event In A Bad War."


To back that up, the Times ran a second A-section story headlined: "Impact of Hussein's death likely to be limited." Not even characterized as "analysis," this story "reported" that Hussein's execution "seemed to be much less than the historic turning point many once had anticipated." (As a former writing professor once counseled, beware the passive word "seemed.")


The Times -- perhaps following the example of the Iraq Study Group -- cherry-picked its experts to offer but one point of view.


It quoted a former State Department official that the Hussein execution was "not what it might have been."


And a spokesman for the U.S. Institute for Peace that "I just don't see this as a big turning point."


And someone from the Endowment for International Peace who called the execution a mere "sideshow."


And, as a topper, "Mideast specialist" Juan Cole, the ├╝ber-leftist University of Michigan history professor who has likened the state of Israel to a puppeteer with a fearsome "level of control over a branch of the United States government." Cole warned that Hussein's execution would likely provoke violence as, "To the Sunnis, it will look like just one more slap in the face."


Presenting a committed leftist like Juan Cole as an academic offering impartial scholarly analysis is bad enough. But the Times' "report" offers not one alternative view.


Couldn't find one? The Times could have asked former CIA Director Jim Woolsey, who called Saddam's execution "a positive watershed." Or military expert Ralph Peters, who characterized the hanging as "an important milestone." (As opposed to the grim milestones the MSM endlessly "reports.") One significant impact Hussein's execution will have, Peters wrote, is that "no dictator will sleep quite as soundly now."


The Times could also have included "man-in-the-street" opinions from Baghdad -- like that of Suad Shakir, who, according to the Washington Post, said that "People will be relieved" by Saddam's death. Or of a Baghdad barber who said of Saddam: "He does not deserve to be alive."


But when you're writing an editorial -- including one in disguise as news -- you seek authority in support of your view.


Let's concede that there's reason for bad feelings in your gut over the execution of Saddam -- and over Iraq generally. A video showing thugs of Iranian agent and terrorist Moqtada Sadr rebuking the former dictator as he stood on the gallows could make you wonder who we're fighting for. So could this recent report about our Iraqi "allies":
As politicians, religious leaders and other soldiers watched, five Iraqi soldiers bit the heads off live frogs while a sixth slit a live rabbit's stomach and "ate its heart before tossing the carcass to his comrades to chew on."
All in "a display of courage."

You can pardon Americans for a lack of enthusiasm at the thought of blood and treasure spent on liberating barbarians.


But none of that excuses an agenda-driven media nor rehabilitates the self-inflicted damage to that media's reputation.


In a footnote: Four days after the Times' report, the paper ran a small wire service story which contained this observation: In reaction to Hussein's execution, Sunni Arabs "have taken to the streets in mainly peaceful demonstrations."


So much for Juan Cole's Mideast expertise.

NFL COMBINE

Georgia Tech WR Calvin Johnson reportedly had not planned to take part in today's on-field drills for QBs, RBs, and WRs but had a late change of heart. Good choice. Johnson, considered by many to be the best prospect overall in the 2007 draft class, made a statement as he went out and posted a blazing 4.35 40 time running in borrowed shoes.....


Buffalo officials in Indianapolis are reportedly doing more than just assessing college football talent at this week’s NFL Scouting Combine. According to New York Giants new G.M. Jerry Reese the Bills have let it be known that starting RB Willis McGahee is available via a trade. Other NFL sources also confirmed that the Bills are actively seeking a trade partner for McGahee, Buffalo's 2003 first-round draft pick. It is not known if any teams have approached the Bills about McGahee, but at least one appears to have some interest. It is also unknown what the Bills' asking price would be, but it is unlikely they would get more than a late-round pick in exchange as McGahee as he is entering the final year of his original five-year contract and will be a free agent as the end of the year if he isn’t signed him to a long-term contract. McGahee is also coming off a sub-par season during which he rushed for 990 yards, the first time in three years he failed to top the 1,000-yard mark. McGahee also brought on some bad publicity after the season when he became the defendant in a paternity suit for the third time in two years. Then in an interview with Penthouse Magazine, he suggested the Bills should move to Toronto, though he later said his comments were taken out of context. The interested team appears to be the Giants who are looking for replacement for Tiki Barber to pair with Brandon Jacobs. And whether McGahee remains in Buffalo or not, the Bills appear prepared to draft a RB. The position isn't considered very deep this year and the top back, Oklahoma's Adrian Peterson, likely will be gone by the time the Bills make their opening round pick, however, Marshawn Lynch of California might be an option for the Bills at the 12th pick.....

In the wake of Cleveland’s ‘win’ over Tampa Bay in the coin flip that gave the Browns the 3rd pick at this year’s draft, the emerging consensus around the NFL seems to be that Cleveland is leaning toward taking Oklahoma RB Adrian Peterson with that pick. However, at a post-flip press conference Browns’ G. M. Phil Savage let it be known that the third pick could be for sale. “We're going to keep that option open to us" said Savage when saying that getting the third pick put the Browns in a better position to trade down. At the same time, there have been rumors that the Browns might also make an attempt to try and trade up in order to select LSU QB Jamarcus Russell who is expected to be the first player taken this year. Savage said that it was doubtful the Browns would move up, but wouldn’t rule it out. One team that might be inclined to move up to the third spot is Atlanta, which has the tenth pick overall, but would like to get hometown WR Calvin Johnson. The Falcons do have an extra 4th round pick to work with however the Browns may not want to drop down quite that far, if they did, though, Cleveland might still get a top offensive line prospect like Levi Brown of Penn State.....


Washington, which doesn’t have picks in the 2nd, 3rd or 4th rounds this year, may be another team looking to trade down. The Redskins have the 6th pick overall and have indicated they may be interested in moving the pick in order to order to acquire additional picks further down in the draft. In fact, there is an interesting scenario developing for the Redskins, especially if Notre Dame QB Brady Quinn is still on the board when the Redskins make the 6th pick. If Washington stayed at #6 the Redskins reportedly would be most interested in taking Clemson DE Gaines Adams. However, there is a better than even chance that Gaines will go earlier than that – either to Arizona at #5 or even Detroit with the second pick. And if Quinn were still available at the #6 spot the three teams that pick right after Washington – Minnesota, Houston and Miami which pick 7th through 9th respectively – are all reportedly interested in Quinn. That could open the door for Washington to trade the pick to the highest bidder, drop down several spots and still get one of the top defensive linemen in this year’s draft such as Michigan DT Alan Branch or Arkansas DE Jamaal Anderson.....


Everybody's got way too much time on their hands!" So said Tennessee offensive co-ordinator Norm Chow in response to stories that Notre Dame QB Brady Quinn has been falling on draft boards around the NFL since the end of the season… One of the most interesting players in this draft is Quinn’s Notre Dame teammate OT Ryan Harris. Harris converted to Islam early in high school and ended up at the nation’s pre-eminent Catholic university. And in interviews at the combine Harris has reportedly indicated he’d eventually like to run for governor of Minnesota his home state. While it makes a cute story, it also has some NFL teams wondering just how committed Harris is to football.

More Americans killed by illegal aliens than Iraq war, study says

Illegal aliens are killing more Americans than the Iraq war, says a new report from Family Security Matters that estimates some 2,158 murders are committed every year by illegal aliens in the U.S. The group says that number is more than 15 percent of all the murders reported by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the U.S. and about three times the representation of illegal aliens in the general population.

Mike Cutler, a former senior special agent with the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (the former INS), is a fellow at the Center for Immigration Studies and an advisor to Family Security Matters (FSM). He says the high number of Americans being killed by illegal aliens is just part of the collateral damage that comes with tolerating illegal immigration.

"The military actually called for the BORTAC team, ... the elite unit of the Border Patrol, to be detailed to Iraq to help to secure the Iraqi border," Cutler notes. "Now, if our military can understand that Iraq's security depends in measure on the ability to protect its border against insurgents and terrorists, then why isn't our country similarly protecting our own borders?" he asks.

"We are not five and a half years, nearly, after 9/11, and yet our borders remain open," the Center for Immigration Studies fellow observes. "We have National Guardsmen assigned on the border, but it turns out they are unarmed," he points out. "Their rules of engagement are very simple: if armed intruders head your way, run in the other direction."

This situation would "almost be comical if it wasn't so tragic," Cutler asserts. "If our borders are wide open, this means that drugs, criminals, and terrorists are entering our country just as easily as the dishwashers," he says.

The report from FSM estimates that the 267,000 illegal aliens currently incarcerated in the nation are responsible for nearly 1,300,000 crimes, ranging from drug arrests to rape and murder. Such statistics, Cutler contends, debunk the claim that illegal immigration is a victimless crime. "Then we even have another problem," he adds, "and that's the Visa Waiver Program."

The federal government's Visa Waiver Program enables nationals of certain countries to travel to the United States for tourism or business for stays of 90 days or less without obtaining a visa. According to the U.S. State Department website, the waiver program was established in 1986 with the objective of "eliminating unnecessary barriers to travel," stimulating America's tourism industry, and allowing the government to focus consular resources in other areas.

Cutler says the U.S. retains the Visa Waiver Program because the nation's travel, tourism, and hospitality industries want America's borders wide open. In other words, the former INS official contends, the nation's security is being compromised in the name of trade.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

NFL COMBINE

New Oakland head coach Lane Kiffin may be the youngest head coach in the league – he’s just 31 – but he sounded like an experienced pro when talking about the Raiders’ draft prospects at an impromptu news conference earlier this week. The Raiders of course hold the #1 pick at the 2007 draft and are widely expected to take LSU QB Jamarcus Russell with the selection. That speculation picked up steam yesterday when the Raiders opted not to pick up the option on veteran QB Aaron Brooks, the team’s starter last season, in effect making him a free agent. Despite the move Kiffin claims the Raiders draft options are wide open with “a number of players at the top of the draft that can change a team really quick. And a number of playmakers, especially on offense, that can come in right away and help. We'll evaluate all of that." Kiffin also stated that the Raiders were still "very excited” about 3rd year QB Andrew Walter whom the organization thought was their QB of the future, at least until he struggled through a dismal 2006 season in which he was 2-6 as the starter, completed but 54% of his passes, threw 13 interceptions, lost nine fumbles and was sacked 46 times. Meanwhile, while Oakland was downplaying the possibility of taking a QB with the #1 pick, Detroit has spent the week telling anyone who would listen just how interested the Lions are in possibly drafting a quarterback with the second pick overall this year. Head coach Rod Marinelli talked about it Tuesday. President Matt Millen did so Wednesday and offensive coordinator Mike Martz chimed in yesterday. Marinelli’s comments earlier in the week may have been the most telling. Marinelli has been a strong supporter of veteran Jon Kitna and while he confirmed that Kitna would be the starter next fall, but added that the team may also need to draft a QB for the future. Its not clear, though, whether the Lions are serious about taking a QB themselves or maybe just blowing smoke to increase the trade value of the pick, particularly if Oakland were to pass on LSU’s Russell.....

Sunday’s on-field combine workout involving QBs, RBs and WRs could have given NFL personnel people a chance to compare QBs Jamarcus Russell of LSU and Notre Dame’s Brady Quinn head-to-head, however, both have decided not to workout. Quinn will work out at the Irish’s pro day on March 4th while Russell will workout with LSU on March 14th. Russell, though, did raise a few eyebrows when he weighed in at 265 pounds earlier this week; for the record, that’s eight pounds more than his listed playing weight from college... This year’s combine has set a new unofficial record as 350 media members reportedly requested credentials for this year’s event… While WR and safety are the consensus positions of choice in the 2007 draft field, there are whispers that NFL personnel people are quietly very impressed with the interior offensive linemen with as many as 3-4 OGs and/or Cs likely to go in the latter part of the opening round. Names that are being mentioned in that regard as OGs Ben Grubbs of Auburn, OTs Arron Sears of Tennessee and Justin Blalock of Texas, both of whom project to OG at the next level, along with USC C Ryan Kalil.....


Former Florida DT Marcus Thomas may not be able to participate in on-field drills at the combine next week after he suffered what is being reported as a strained hip flexor. Thomas had been considered a second-round prospect before being booted from the Gators’ squad for reportedly failing a drug test late last season.....


The coin flip between Cleveland and Tampa Bay on Friday morning that gave the Browns the 3rd pick overall at this year’s draft highlighted a quirk in the NFL rules that the league reportedly look at later this spring. If Cleveland and Tampa Bay were in the same division the coin flip would have not have been necessary. The Buccaneers had beaten the Browns during the season and head-to-head results are used as one of the tie-breakers for teams in the same conference. However, for teams in different conferences, the only tie-breaker is strength-of-schedule. Reportedly this oddity will be addressed by the league’s competition committee at the NFL owners meetings late next month.....

The Baltimore Sun reports that Ravens RB Jamal Lewis is willing to re-work his contract and stay with the team instead of face being cut when they team has the option to do so or pay him a $5 million roster bonus on March 3. "Jamal would like to come back to play for the Ravens," said Mitch Frankel, Lewis' agent, "but we are going to have to wait and see what type of contract they're talking about." The Ravens would get over $8 million in cap room if they release Lewis.....


Jaguars head coach Jack Del Rio said at the NFL Combine that Byron Leftwich will return to his starting role, ending speculation about what the Jaguars would do at the position. "When you evaluate Byron and stack him up against the rest of the league, he's one of the young, really good, strong-armed quarterbacks out there," Del Rio said. "He's had some developmental setbacks the last two years because of injuries. But we really feel he's ready to take the next step and take it to the next level." Leftwich started the first six games last season, then was benched for Garrard -- a move Del Rio described as awkward. Leftwich eventually had ankle surgery and was placed on injured reserve. Del Rio said they talked for three hours after the Super Bowl in an effort to iron out their differences.....

The Chicago Sun-Times reports that Bears RB Thomas Jones has expressed to team GM Jerry Angelo that he either wants a contract extension with the team or be traded. Jones was nearly traded last offseason but never found a new home. "I'm going to do some more thinking about [Jones'] situation," Angelo said. "My understanding is he really enjoyed the season, really likes being a Bear and it has nothing to do with anything but what he feels might be in his best interest." Jones is in the final year of a very cap-friendly contract.....

Dolphins coach Cam Cameron told the media at the NFL Combine that he's seeing a great effort from QB Daunte Culpepper, who is rehabbing from knee surgery for the second offseason in a row. "I looked out my office ... and there's Daunte Culpepper out there doing his drills. Now for me to say he's 90 percent, 100 percent, 80 percent, I don't know. But here's what I do know, that he’s giving us 100 percent of his effort. He's where he's supposed to be when he's supposed to be there. He doing not only what our training staff is asking him to do, but within reason, doing things over and above that.....

The St. Petersburg Times reports that Bucs FB Mike Alstott has informed the team that he'd like to come back in 2007, and negotiations are underway for him to return.....


The Baltimore Ravens released a statement confirming that they will not use their franchise tag on any of their free agents, including LB Adalius Thomas, meaning that he will become a free agent on March 2. The Ravens don't have the salary cap room to keep Thomas, who would earn $7.2 million next year if he were franchised. The Packers, 49ers and Jets are considered potential suitors for Thomas.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Cheney Slams Iraq Plan Advocated by Dems

Vice President Dick Cheney on Wednesday harshly criticized Democrats' attempts to thwart President Bush's troop buildup in Iraq, saying their approach would "validate the al-Qaida strategy." House Speaker Nancy Pelosi fired back that Cheney was questioning critics' patriotism.

"I hope the president will repudiate and distance himself from the vice president's remarks," Pelosi said. She said she tried to complain about Cheney to President Bush but could not reach him.

"You cannot say as the president of the United States, 'I welcome disagreement in a time of war,' and then have the vice president of the United States go out of the country and mischaracterize a position of the speaker of the House and in a manner that says that person in that position of authority is acting against the national security of our country," the speaker said.

The quarrel began in Tokyo, where Cheney used an interview to criticize Pelosi and Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., over their plan to place restrictions on Bush's request for an additional $93 billion for the Iraq war to make it difficult or impossible to send 21,500 extra troops to Iraq.


"I think if we were to do what Speaker Pelosi and Congressman Murtha are suggesting, all we will do is validate the al-Qaida strategy," the vice president told ABC News. "The al-Qaida strategy is to break the will of the American people ... try to persuade us to throw in the towel and come home, and then they win because we quit."

In the interview, Cheney also said Britain's plans to withdraw about 1,600 troops from Iraq - while the United States adds more troops - was a positive step. "I look at it and see it is actually an affirmation that there are parts of Iraq where things are going pretty well," the vice president said.

Pelosi, at a news conference in San Francisco, said Cheney's criticism of Democrats was "beneath the dignity of the debate we're engaged in and a disservice to our men and women in uniform, whom we all support."

"And you know what I'm going to do? I'm going to call the president and tell him I disapprove of what the vice president said," Pelosi said. "It has no place in our debate." Bush had previously urged her to call him when a member of his administration stepped over the line by questioning Democrats' patriotism, she said.

Later, Pelosi said she had tried to reach the president but was only able to get through to White House chief of staff Josh Bolten.


Bolten said he was certain no one was questioning her patriotism or commitment to national security, she told reporters.

"I said to him perhaps when he saw what the vice president said he might have another comment," Pelosi said. White House deputy press secretary Dana Perino said Cheney "was not questioning anyone's patriotism." But she said Bush and Cheney believe that Pelosi and Murtha's "position to immediately pull out our troops would be harmful to our national security and that it is the wrong strategy to pursue."

As for Cheney's assertion that the partial British pullout is a sign that things are going well in Iraq, Pelosi said: "If it's going so well, we'd like to withdraw our troops as well."

Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., chairman of the Senate Armed Service Committee, said Britain's withdrawal, coupled with a Denmark's announcement to pull out its 460 troops by August, "accelerates the breakup of the coalition in Iraq."

He said the United States should reduce its forces "as a way of pressuring the Iraqis to take responsibility for their own future and to reach the political settlements that are essential to end the sectarian violence and defeat the insurgency."

Administration leaders, however, said Britain's decision was good news.

"The British have done what is really the plan for the country as a whole, which is to transfer security responsibility to the Iraqis as the situation permits," Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said at a news conference in Berlin, where she was in meetings on the Mideast peace process.

National security adviser Stephen Hadley, at NATO headquarters in Brussels, said the decision "reflects the progress that has been made on the ground in Basra and in the south," where British troops were stationed.

"So this is basically a good news story, an indication that progress is being made, and that events on the ground permit this kind of adjustment in forces," Hadley said. Still, he acknowledged the violence in Baghdad and said, "I'm not saying this is an unalloyed picture of progress."

Thursday, February 22, 2007

LETS SEE IF THE OLD MEDIA PICKS THIS UP!

POLL: AMERICANS 'WANT TO WIN IN IRAQ'
Tue Feb 20 2007 16:21:32 ET

In the wake of the U.S. House of Representatives passing a resolution that amounts to a vote of no confidence in the Bush administration's policies in Iraq, a new national survey by Alexandria, VA-based Public Opinion Strategies (POS) shows the American people may have some different ideas from their elected leaders on this issue.

The survey was conducted nationwide February 5-7 among a bi-partisan, cross-section of 800 registered voters. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percent. The survey was commissioned by The Moriah Group, a Chattanooga-based strategic communications and public affairs firm.

The survey shows Americans want to win in Iraq, and that they understand Iraq is the central point in the war against terrorism and they can support a U.S. strategy aimed at achieving victory, said Neil Newhouse, a partner in POS. The idea of pulling back from Iraq is not where the majority of Americans are.


By a 53 percent - 46 percent margin, respondents surveyed said that Democrats are going too far, too fast in pressing the President to withdraw troops from Iraq.


By identical 57 percent - 41 percent margins, voters agreed with these statements: I support finishing the job in Iraq, that is, keeping the troops there until the Iraqi government can maintain control and provide security and the Iraqi war is a key part of the global war on terrorism.


Also, by a 56 percent - 43 percent margin, voters agreed that even if they have concerns about his war policies, Americans should stand behind the President in Iraq because we are at war.


While the survey shows voters believe (60 percent- 34 percent) that Iraq will never become a stable democracy, they still disagree that victory in Iraq (creating a young, but stable democracy and reducing the threat of terrorism at home) is no longer possible. Fifty-three percent say it's still possible, while 43 percent disagree.


By a wide 74 percent - 25 percent margin, voters disagree with the notion that "I don't really care what happens in Iraq after the U.S. leaves, I just want the troops brought home."

When asked which statement best describes their position on the Iraq War, voters are evenly divided (50 percent - 49 percent) between positions of "doing whatever it takes to restore order until the Iraqis can govern and provide security to their country," and positions that call for immediate withdrawal or a strict timetable.


27 percent said "the Iraq war is the front line in the battle against terrorism and our troops should stay there and do whatever it takes to restore order until the Iraqis can govern and provide security to their country."


23 percent said "while I don't agree that the U.S. should be in the war, our troops should stay there and do whatever it takes to restore order until the Iraqis can govern and provide security to their country."


32 percent said "whether Iraq is stable or not, the U.S. should set and hold to a strict timetable for withdrawing troops."


17 percent said "the U.S. should immediately withdraw its troops from Iraq."

The survey also found that voters thought it would hurt American prestige more to pull out of Iraq immediately (59 percent) than it would to stay there for the long term (35 percent). Public Opinion Strategies "scored the best win-loss record among the major polling and media firms in the 2004 election" and was named Pollster of the Year in 2002.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Sirius plans to buy XM in $4.6 billion stock deal

By Franklin Paul and Dane Hamilton

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Sirius Satellite Radio plans to buy larger U.S. rival XM for $4.6 billion in stock to bring entertainers such as Oprah Winfrey and shock-jock Howard Stern under one roof, but a top regulator said the deal would face a tough time winning approval.

Under the agreement announced by the two companies on Monday, XM shareholders would receive 4.6 Sirius shares for each XM share held, or a 21.7 percent premium to XM's closing share price of $13.98 on Friday,

Sirius would be paying about $4.6 billion in stock for XM based on shares outstanding in the latest regulatory filings.

The deal would create a company with about $1.5 billion in 2006 revenue and an enterprise value of $13 billion, including $1.6 billion in net debt.

"This combination is the next logical step in the evolution of audio entertainment," Sirius Chief Executive Mel Karmazin, a veteran media executive who will lead the new company, said in a statement. He said it would create "unprecedented choice for consumers."

But the deal will likely face tough regulatory scrutiny and objections from terrestrial radio companies.

U.S. Federal Communications Commission Chairman Kevin Martin said the agency would review the deal but "the hurdle here, however, would be high as the commission originally prohibited one company from holding the only two satellite radio licenses."

Martin said the companies would have "to demonstrate that consumers would clearly be better off with both more choice and affordable prices."

Karmazin and XM Chairman Gary Parsons told Reuters in a phone interview that they hope to meet with the FCC "shortly."

XM and Sirius say they should be allowed to combine as they compete with every audio device that consumers use -- from typical car radios to digital music players. As one company, they said they can offer improved services at flexible prices.

"We are confident we will get this through the regulatory arena by the end of this year," Parsons said. "Over a decade ago when the first satellite licenses first came out, there were no iPods, there was no HD radio, there were no streaming music on cell phones."

Parsons said the merger agreement carries a break-up fee of $175 million.

"I think it's a close call, but more likely than not I think the Justice Department and the FCC approve it," said Blair Levin, an analyst at Stifel Nicolaus & Co. and a former FCC chief of staff during the Clinton administration.

The National Association of Broadcasters, which represents local broadcast radio stations, criticized the tie-up because it would concentrate the licenses into one company.

"Now, with their stock prices at rock bottom and their business model in disarray because of profligate spending practices, they seek a government bailout to avoid competing in the marketplace," said NAB spokesman Dennis Wharton.

Karmazin and Parsons said they planned to continue to support radio devices offered by both companies while developing a new product that would work on both satellite radio services.

While the companies called the deal a "merger of equals," Sirius would own about 53 percent of the shares of the combined entity and XM would own about 47 percent under terms of the deal and based on the companies' outstanding shares in the latest filings.

Parsons will be chairman of the merged company, but Karmazin will remain CEO -- a sign analysts and shareholders typically use when determining which company gets the upper hand in a "merger of equals."

The two companies said they would work together to determine the combined company's name and headquarters.

XM CEO Hugh Panero would continue in his current role until the merger closes.

(Additional reporting by Michael Flaherty in New York and Jeremy Pelofsky in Washington)

NFL NEWS AND NOTES

According to the Boston Globe, Patriots RB Corey Dillon is scheduled to have a $4.4 million salary cap hit, which is a bit high for a player who was used more situationally by the end of the season. So his presence on the roster isn't a certainty. The team has rookie RB Laurence Maroney and third-down back Kevin Faulk under contract for 2007, with Heath Evans and Patrick Pass scheduled for unrestricted free agency.....


The Tennessean reports that one of the first things new Titans GM Mike Reinfeldt wants to do is sign RB Travis Henry to a longer contract. He is not scheduled to be a free agent this offseason but has proven to be a key part of the Titans offense, and they want to keep him happy. "They want to re-do his deal and they want Travis back," Henry's agent said. "We talked about philosophies and Travis' interest in staying there and length of deals and other types of deals for players that have been recent free agents." The Titans are $36 million under the salary cap, so they have the room to give Henry a bigger deal.....

Arizona has reportedly told LT Leonard Davis that the team won't be naming him a franchise or transition player. That would make Davis, the second player taken overall at the 2001 draft, an unrestricted free agent when the NFL signing period starts on March 2nd. Teams have until Thursday to use the franchise and transition tags. Meanwhile, with Davis all-but gone, the Cardinals will be in need of a new left tackle. In fact, Wisconsin OT Joe Thomas is likely the player the Cardinals would love to get with the 5th pick overall this year, however, its unlikely that Thomas will last that long.....


NFL DRAFT 2007

Ohio State junior WR Ted Ginn will be in Indianapolis for this week’s NFL Scouting Combine but won’t be doing much on the field as his sprained left foot is not ready to be tested yet. Ginn, who figures to be one of the top 2-3 WRs selected this coming April, sprained the foot after returning the opening kickoff for a TD in last month’s BCS National Championship game. Ginn hopes to be ready for Ohio State's pro day workouts in Columbus on March 10, but if he's not by then will schedule a later workout for pro scouts. The combine starts Wednesday and runs through next Monday.....


Houston reportedly like to get a second round pick in exchange for QB David Carr, but likely would be willing to settle on a 3rd rounder. Carr was the first player taken overall at the 2002 draft, but the Texans have apprarently given up on the former Fresno State star after 5 inconsistent seasons. To replace Carr, the Texans are expected to look at acquiring a veteran QB, in particular Denver QB Jake Plummer who worked with Texans head coach Gary Kubiak for years when Kubiak was the Broncos’ offensive co-ordinator.....

Saturday, February 17, 2007

NFL NEWS AND NOTES

Saints RB Reggie Bush left the NBA All-Star Celebrity game in Las Vegas on Friday after spraining his right ankle. Bush remained on the ground for several minutes until limping off the court under his own power. He went to the bench and was in obvious pain holding his right ankle. Minutes later he got up and walked to the locker room. He still had a noticeable limp.....

According to the Boston Globe, Patriots RB Corey Dillon is scheduled to have a $4.4 million salary cap hit, which is a bit high for a player who was used more situationally by the end of the season. So his presence on the roster isn't a certainty. The team has rookie RB Laurence Maroney and third-down back Kevin Faulk under contract for 2007, with Heath Evans and Patrick Pass scheduled for unrestricted free agency.....

The Tennessean reports that one of the first things new Titans GM Mike Reinfeldt wants to do is sign RB Travis Henry to a longer contract. He is not scheduled to be a free agent this offseason but has proven to be a key part of the Titans offense, and they want to keep him happy. "They want to re-do his deal and they want Travis back," Henry's agent said. "We talked about philosophies and Travis' interest in staying there and length of deals and other types of deals for players that have been recent free agents." The Titans are $36 million under the salary cap, so they have the room to give Henry a bigger deal.....

In an interview with the New York Post, retired NFL RB Tiki Barber spoke favorably of former teammate Brandon Jacobs, who is expected to compete for the starting RB job in New York in 2007. "Brandon is a powerful, determined runner," Barber said. "What I will continue to work with him on is controlling and harnessing his emotions, because sometimes they get the best of him. He also needs to learn how to be a complete player. He's also got to run a little bit lower, because they're going to come at his knees since he's 6-foot-4. I think he can be a No. 1 back next year, but he has to win the job.....

While Jerry Jones expects Terrell Owens to still be with the Dallas Cowboys next season, the team owner stopped short of guaranteeing that. Jones said he was enthusiastic about Owens' phone call to Wade Phillips, the new coach who made a point last week during his introductory news conference to refer to the receiver by name. Owens is due a $3 million roster bonus in June, then a $5 million salary this season. Cutting him before then would save a lot of money. "He's part of our team, that's what I'm saying," Jones said. "I don't want the play on the words to look one way or another. We are evaluating everybody, but still, my plans are for him to be back.....

The Denver Post reports that the Broncos activated a clause in their contract with WR Javon Walker that keeps the star wideout with the team for the next five seasons. Walker signed a six-year deal with the club last season when the team traded for him, but they had the option of voiding the deal if they didn't want to keep him past the '06 season. After Walker's 69-catch, 1,084-yard, eight-TD season, it was a no-brainer for them to keep Walker.....

Detroit has granted two more veteran players permission to seek trades for themselves. DT Marcus Bell and DE James Hall are now free to see if they can find new teams. They join CB Dre Bly in looking for a new football home. Bly, who doesn’t fit the Tampa Two defense, a cover 2 system, the Lions was reportedly told earlier this week that he should look for another team willing to work out a trade, otherwise he would be released.....

Cincinnati has designated DE Justin Smith as its franchise player. Smith was the 4th player taken overall at the 2001 draft. By using the franchise tag, the Bengals have the right to match any offer sheet Smith would receive from another team, and if Smith were to sign with another team, they would receive compensation in the form of first-round picks in the 2007 and 2008 drafts. In turn, the team is committed to paying Smith a one-year salary equal to the average of the five highest-paid defensive ends in the league; that amount is $8.6 million, according to figures released by the NFL Players Association during Super Bowl week. Teams have until next Thursday to tag players. In tagging Smith, though, the Bengals have pretty much conceded losing OG Eric Steinbach once free agency starts next week.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

NFL NEWS AND NOTES

The Kansas City Star speculates that Chiefs RB Larry Johnson will receive a hefty contract extension sometime in the near future. However, such an extension -- which is expected to be lucrative considering Johnson's production -- would hamper the team's salary cap and make their rebuilding effort more challenging. The report also added that the team is planning on easing up on Johnson's reps (he had 416 carries and 41 catches in 2006), using either Michael Bennett, Priest Holmes or a rookie running back to pick up some of L.J.'s slack.....


The Philadelphia Daily News reports that in a television interview, Eagles WR Donte Stallworth, who is a free agent, said that he would prefer to stay with the team and sign a new contract. "I love the Eagles and I love being there, and I'm hoping that we can get things worked out," Stallworth said. "There are some other interesting situations that I have on the table, but as far as being with the one team, I definitely want to be with the Eagles." While saying that Philadelphia was "No. 1" on his list, he did point out that New England, San Francisco and Miami were appealing destinations.....

The Houston Chronicle reports that Texans GM Rick Smith said that he has received phone calls from other teams about the availability of QB David Carr. Smith was quick to point out that Carr is the Texans' QB at this point, but he did add the caveat that any player on the team is available for the right price. "I want to repeat what we said after the season: that David's our starting quarterback," Smith said. "But we're trying to improve the team, and I've fielded some calls about some of our players, including a couple of inquiries asking whether David might be available. If I believe improving our team involves a player on our team, a player on another team, a free agent or a draft choice, then I'll absolutely entertain (doing) it......

The San Diego Union-Tribune reports that Chargers RB LaDainian Tomlinson was shocked when he heard about the firing of coach Marty Schottenheimer, and is concerned that a fresh coaching staff in San Diego will hurt the club. "You get to a point where you hear or you see that Marty's going to be around, so you start to prepare yourself that Marty's going to be around and you're going to have the same coaches," Tomlinson said. "Then this happens and my first thought -- after Marty -- was, 'Are we going to have the same coaches?' Something like this happens and my first thought is, 'Are all the coaches going to be gone?' If so, you're looking at starting over with somebody else and that's a tremendous blow for our football team.....

The Detroit News reports that Lions CB Dre Bly has asked for a trade out of town. Bly is entering the final year of a five-year contract he signed as a free agent from St. Louis. Bly ended 2006 with 54 total tackles (46 solo), 15 passes defensed and three interceptions.....

The Packers have signed cornerback Al Harris to a contract extension, Harris told the Wisconsin State Journal. Harris, 32, said the new deal adds a pair of roster bonuses worth a combined $4.5 million and modest Pro Bowl incentives to his existing contract. He is considered one of the top coverage cornerbacks in the league, but his unhappiness with his contract became a distraction last year. Harris skipped the team's optional offseason workouts to show the team he wanted a new deal, but he showed up for training camp. "Like I've said the whole time, I wasn't trying to break the bank. I just wanted to be compensated for the work that I do," Harris said in a story posted on the newspaper's website. "I'm satisfied; I'm extremely satisfied.....

The Palm Beach Post is reporting that Miami is casting a covetous eye on Notre Dame QB Brady Quinn. Quinn will likely be gone when the Dolphins make their first-round pick with the 9th selection, although there is a chance that Quinn’s stock could drop, in part because he struggled at times in big games this fall. Still with just about every team picking ahead of the Dolphins in need of help at the position its likely Miami will have to trade up.....

Stanford WR Mark Bradford, who is on the list of players invited to next week’s scouting combine in Indianapolis, reportedly has withdrawn his name as he will be back at school next fall. Bradford played in just two games this fall because of a foot injury and took the year as a redshirt. Neither Bradford nor fellow WR Evan Moore, who also had a foot injury this year, are participating in team workouts and aren’t sure whether they'll be ready for spring practice.....

Tennessee has agreed to terms with Mike Reinfeldt on a contract that makes him the team’s new general manager. Reinfeldt had been vice president of football administration with Seattle Seahawks. Reinfeldt, who replaces Floyd Reese whose contract was not renewed, will be formally introduced by the team Tuesday at noon press conference.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

IRAN IS THE INSURGENTCY

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml;jsessionid=JPKY4R41A1KIBQFIQMGCFF4AVCBQUIV0?xml=/news/2007/02/13/wiran13.xml

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

NFL NEWS AND NOTES

The Chiefs signed the following players to two-year reserve/future contracts: DB Robb Butler, FB Greg Hanoian, DT Brian Howard, QB Omar Jacobs, TE Adam Johnson, DE Montez Murphy, CB Zach Norton, CB Dimitri Patterson, CB Justin Phinisee, LB Nick Reid, TE Keith Willis and LB Timi Wusu.....


Giants.com reports that the team has released LB LaVar Arrington and LB Carlos Emmons, moves considered to help restructure their roster. Arrington tore his Achilles in October in Dallas, ending his only season with the G-Men. Emmons missed four games with a chest injury but had been with New York for three seasons. "These are difficult decisions," Giants head coach Tom Coughlin said. "But as Jerry (Reese, the team's GM) and I looked at the roster, they are decisions we felt we had to make as we start to compose our team for the upcoming season. ... Carlos gave us everything he had, but his injuries the last couple years kept him from being the kind of player we know he is. LaVar was only here a short time, but as a coach, I couldn't have asked for more from a veteran player in terms of his desire and his enthusiasm.....

Seahawks president of football operations Tim Ruskell said the team is pleased with the progress its 2006 Super Bowl and Pro Bowl quarterback is making from shoulder surgery last month. After the Jan. 18 surgery that successfully reattached the torn labrum cartilage in Hasselbeck's left, non-throwing shoulder, Ruskell said he didn't expect Hasselbeck to miss the entire offseason. "We are very happy with Matt's rehabilitation," Ruskell said Monday, between scouting meetings at team headquarters. Ruskell would not elaborate on what exactly that rehabilitation currently entails or when Hasselbeck will be back on the field throwing. Hasselbeck was in Miami for Super Bowl week earlier this month for promotional appearances while wearing a brace on his left arm.....

The Ft. Worth Star-Telegram reports that the Cowboys are interested in signing QB Tony Romo to a long-term deal, according to an NFL source. Romo, who is slated to start for them in 2007, has a contract that pays him only through the upcoming season.....

There are conflicting reports on the status of Lions RB Kevin Jones, who suffered a Lisfranc fracture -- a major foot injury -- in Week 14 of the 2006 season. NFL Network's Adam Schefter reports Jones will now be out for at least half of the 2007 campaign, citing team sources. But Tom Kowalski, the Lions' beat writer for Booth Newspapers, a chain of papers in Michigan, disputes the report and says Jones remains on schedule to be ready for the start of training camp in late July, with the team not giving him a lot to do until mid-August. The reports did agree that the Lions are shopping for a veteran running back in free agency this offseason as an insurance policy.....

The Steelers signed kicker Connor Hughes to a one-year deal.....
Only weeks after assuring Marty Schottenheimer his job was safe, the Chargers fired him Monday, citing his 'dysfunctional' relationship with A.J. Smith, the team's general manager... A possible candidate is USC's Pete Carroll, who interviewed with the Dolphins in January and whose name has come up in connection with other NFL vacancies... Other potential candidates include Ron Rivera, Chicago's defensive coordinator; Mike Martz, Detroit's offensive coordinator, and Jim Mora, the recently fired Atlanta coach.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

NFL NEWS AND NOTES

49ers RB Frank Gore will get a second chance to learn under offensive coordinator Norv Turner in 2007, who was a candidate for the Dallas Cowboys coaching job but was not picked for it. The former Washington and Oakland coach was beaten out by Wade Phillips -- and Gore will welcome him back to Santa Clara for another year. "I'm happy, real happy, especially with the young team we have," Gore said. "All that progress we made toward the end of the year, that's just going to continue. We can just keep playing off of it. We can keep growing, working hard in the offseason, and next year is going to be crazy, just crazy.....

The Steelers signed QB Bryan Randall to a contract on Friday. Terms of the deal weren't disclosed. Randall has spent time with the Falcons and the Buccaneers......


During his introductory press conference new Cowboys head coach Wade Phillips specifically mentioned Terrell Owens by name -- something Bill Parcells didn't do often -- and seemed excited to work with him. "He is part of the Cowboys' family. He is part of my family," Phillips said. "What family means is trust, loyalty and a common purpose. Now I am in the Cowboys' family. It is the same way. We are going to trust each other. We are going to be loyal to each other and have a common purpose. ... My philosophy is to get the best players the football and get them in position to make plays. I think the most important thing is they know you are trying to get them the football.....

Oakland, which has the #1 pick at the 2007 draft, reportedly met with former LSU QB JaMarcus Russell, late last week. While there have been reports that Oakland owner Al Davis is not inclined to pay the price of signing a QB drafted first overall, the Raiders, who had the NFL’s worst offense this past season as they won just twice, are believed to have included Russell and Notre Dame QB Brady Quinn among targets for the top pick. The Raiders, though, are also thought to be interested in acquiring a veteran QB, either through a trade of free agency, to compete with returning pivots Andrew Walter and Aaron Brooks and then using the #1 pick on a position player like Georgia Tech WR Calvin Johnson or Wisconsin OT Joe Thomas.....

There will be more than one NFL closely monitoring which direction Oakland takes with the #1 QB at this year’s draft, in particular whether the Raiders take either of QBs JaMarcus Russell or Brady Quinn. Cleveland QB coach Rip Scherer, who was also recently named assistant head coach, for example, admitted that it's still too early to determine if the Browns will draft a quarterback with the 3rd or 4th pick at the 2007 draft, however, he sounded like someone who very much anticipated returning veterans Charlie Frye and Derek Anderson to have to battle for the starting job this coming season. The Browns will flip a coin with Tampa Bay later this month to see which of the two will pick 3rd and which 4th. Meanwhile, Minnesota head coach Brad Childress, whose Vikings have the 7th pick overall this year, said during a local radio interview late last week that he wanted to "retract" an earlier statement that suggested the team had ruled out taking a QB in the first round of this April’s draft. The consensus, though, still seems to be that the Vikings will enter training camp with Tarvaris Jackson and Brooks Bollinger competing for the starting job given that both of Russell and Quinn are expected to be gone before the Vikings make their opening round pick. For the record, Childress also reportedly downplayed the possibility of pursuing veteran Philadelphia QB Jeff Garcia when free agency opens next month. They are also reportedly thinking QB in Baltimore where veteran Steve McNair probably only has two or three years left in the tank. In a perfect scenario for the Ravens, they would reportedly like to bring in a young quarterback sooner rather than later to learn from McNair and also push back-up Kyle Boller. The Ravens, though, only pick 29th this year so would be looking at second-tier QBs like Troy Smith of Ohio State and Michigan State’s Drew Stanton in the opening round of this year’s draft.

Friday, February 09, 2007

NFL NEWS AND NOTES

The Broncos are expected to restructure Rod Smith's contract soon. He is due a $1 million roster bonus in March, but the team will ask him to take a pay cut from his $5.5 million salary.....

The Dolphins signed DT Steve Fifita, DE/LB Akbar Gbaja-Biamila, QB Gibran Hamdan, LB Iwuchukwu, PK Matt Prater, TE Jason Rader and WR P.K. Sam to reserve/future contracts. Fifita and Sam will play in NFL Europe.....

Among the tight ends who are likely to be unrestricted free agents are San Francisco's Eric Johnson, Seattle's Jerramy Stevens and New England's Daniel Graham......

Defensive tackle Ryan Sims is a prime target to be released. Sims, the Chiefs’ top draft pick in 2002, costs the Chiefs slightly more than $3 million now against their salary cap but would cost them about $2.3 million against their cap if released... Peterson has also said the Chiefs would negotiate a new contract with running back Larry Johnson, who otherwise has three seasons remaining on the deal he signed as a rookie in 2003.....

It has long been a foregone conclusion that 2006 was linebacker Donnie Edwards' last season as a Charger. Neither the team nor Edwards' side officially said as much, however, until yesterday. But with free agency looming, Edwards' agent confirmed yesterday the sides have not talked and that Edwards will leave when the free-agency period begins next month.....

During an appearance on KFAN-1130, Childress downplayed the possibility of pursuing quarterback Jeff Garcia when free agency opens next month... Also on KFAN, Childress said he wanted to "retract" an earlier statement that suggested the Vikings have ruled out taking a blue-chip quarterback in the first round of the April 28-29 draft.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

NFL NEWS AND NOTES

That hour wasn't bad for fans who know they will have to wait even longer for Garcia to make his decision on whether he will return to the Eagles next season or suit up with another team. Before his appearance, Garcia told reporters that he was staying 'very optimistic and open-minded' about re-signing with the Eagles, adding it will be hard for him to depart from a good situation... Reports have surfaced that Denver, Minnesota and possibly Chicago could be in the hunt to lure the three-time Pro Bowler, who threw for 1,309 yards and 10 touchdowns.....


The Dolphins on Tuesday signed seven free agents for the 2007 season, although none of them is named Vonnie Holliday. The Dolphins and Holliday's representatives have had discussions on at least two occasions since the season ended. Holliday, who finished 2006 with seven sacks, is Miami's prized free agent this offseason.....


Two-time Pro Bowl center Jeremy Newberry hopes to continue his playing career, preferably with the Raiders, after being told by the 49ers that they have no plans to re-sign him. Newberry, who is eligible for unrestricted free agency, said Tuesday that he received word of the 49ers' decision during a recent meeting with offensive line coach George Warhop.....

Negotiations between Tennessee Titans chief operating officer Steve Underwood and general manager prospect Mike Reinfeldt continued Tuesday, with hopes that a deal could be finalized soon.....

Michigan defensive coordinator Ron English refuted a national radio report Tuesday that he was interviewing with the Minnesota Vikings for their vacant coordinator's position.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

NFL NEWS AND NOTES

Among the quarterbacks expected to be available on the free-agent market this offseason are veteran Jeff Garcia of Philadelphia, Atlanta Falcons backup Matt Schaub, Kansas City's Damon Huard -- who actually outplayed starter Trent Green and had a 97.6 passer rating -- and Tampa Bay's Tim Rattay, who lit up the Bears' secondary in a 34-31 overtime loss at Soldier Field. Wide receivers include Philadelphia's Donte Stallworth, Tennessee's Drew Bennett and St. Louis' Kevin Curtis.....

Given Tiki Barber's retirement, the Giants might show some interest in Rhodes. And unlike Chargers restricted free agent Michael Turner, Rhodes wouldn't require any draft-choice compensation. Outside linebacker Cato June is almost surely gone now that his contract is up.....


The Colts' key free agent is a Pro Bowl talent, pass-rushing end Dwight Freeney. If the Colts can't work out a long-term contract, they plan to use the franchise tag on Freeney, effectively taking him off the market.....

For those that didn’t get the news, the Nation team hung on to defeat Team Texas 24-20 before a reported crowd of just under 22,000 in El Paso in Friday night’s Texas versus the Nation Classic. QB Jeff Smith of Georgetown College was the game's top passer, going 9-of-12 for 120 yards and an interception, while RB Paul Mosley of Baylor led all rushers with 37 yards on 7 carries including 2 TDs. And UTEP WR Daniel Robinson led all receivers with four catches for 65 yards, while Miami WR Ryan Moore had the game winning score when he hooked up with Maryland QB Sam Hollenbach with just under 10 minutes to play. The Nation also got a TB from Bethune-Cookman LB Taurean Charles who returned an interception 60 yards for a TD. Texas had a chance to win the game when they marched to the Nation 35-yard line with 32 seconds remaining, but a sack by Florida International DE Antwan Barnes ended the rally......

The New York Jets were cleared by the NFL on Thursday of tampering charges filed by division-rival New England in connection with the Jets’ talks with former Patriots’ WR Deion Branch, who was holding out last summer. The Patriots had given Branch permission to discuss terms of a contract with a new team, however, New England contended the Jets also told Branch what they would be willing to offer in a trade which the Patriots claimed was beyond what Branch had been given permission to do. Branch was eventually traded to Seattle. Had the NFL agreed with the Patriots, the Jets could have been fined or forced to forfeit draft picks.....




We have been able to update information on a couple or three trades in the process of trying to put together a full selection order for the 2007 draft. Tennessee appears to have San Diego’s 6th round pick from a deal involving former Titans’ backup QB Billy Volek who was sent to the Chargers last fall. That would appear to give the Titans a second late 6th rounder as they had acquired what is now the final regular pick in the round from Indianapolis in a 2006 draft-day trade. Meanwhile, several readers indicated that the pick Detroit gets from Miami for QB Joey Harrington will indeed escalate from a 6th to a 5th rounder after Harrington met playing time requirements. Several readers also noted that the Jets should receive a 6th round pick from Minnesota as part of a pre-season trade for QB Brooks Bollinger, however, we haven’t been able to confirm that one. It also appears that Atlanta gets what is being described as a ‘mid-round’ pick – possibly as high as a #3 – to complete that three way deal last involving the Jets in which DE John Abraham went to the Falcons.....

For the most part, personnel departments around the NFL are closed down for a week or two as scouts get a break after the end of the long college season and before the final sprint to the 2007 draft. And with the all-star games now in the books, the next stop on the draft calendar is the scouting combine in Indianapolis which kicks off on February 21st. For those who haven’t seen it all ready, here’s the list of players invited to this year’s combine. We’ll have a more detailed breakdown of the combine field once we get a little closer to the actual start date.....




* indicates underclassman
(X) indicates will or may not workout because of injury
(P) indicates player likely to be tested at position in addition to stated one

OFFENSE

Quarterbacks:
John Beck, BYU
Trent Edwards, Stanford
Luke Getsy, Akron
Matt Gutierrez, Idaho State
Kevin Kolb, Houston
Toby Korrodi, Central Missouri State
Chris Leak, Florida
Tyler Palko, Pittsburgh
Jordan Palmer, UTEP
James Pinkney, East Carolina
Brady Quinn, Notre Dame
Jeff Rowe, Nevada
Jamarcus Russell, LSU
Troy Smith, Ohio State
Isaiah Stanback, Washington
Drew Stanton, Michigan State
John Stocco, Wisconsin
Josh Swogger, Montana
Zac Taylor, Nebraska
Paul Thompson, Oklahoma
Jared Zabransky, Boise State

Running backs:

Lorenzo Booker, Florida State
Ahmad Bradshaw, Marshall
Eldra Buckley, Tennessee-Chattanooga
Michael Bush, Louisville
Thomas Clayton, Kansas State
Alonzo Coleman, Hampton
Jon Cornish, Kansas
Ken Darby, Alabama
Chris Henry, Arizona
Tony Hunt, Penn State
Nate Ilaoa, Hawaii
Kenny Irons, Auburn
Brandon Jackson, Nebraska
Marshawn Lynch, California
Ronnie McGill, North Carolina
Tyrone Moss, Miami
Adrian Peterson, Oklahoma
Antonio Pittman, Ohio State
Gary Russell, Minnesota
Kolby Smith, Louisville
Ramonce Taylor, Texas
Darius Walker, Notre Dame
Danny Ware
Garrett Wolfe
Dwayne Wright
DeShawn Wynn
Selvyn Young

Fullbacks:

Cory Anderson, Tennessee
Deon Anderson, UConn
Brian Leonard, Rutgers (FB)
Leron McClain, Alabama
Dante Rosario, Oregon (TE)
Jason Snelling, Virginia

Wide Receivers:

Aundrae Allison, East Carolina
Dallas Baker, Florida
David Ball, New Hampshire
Reggie Ball, Georgia Tech (QB)
Dwayne Bowe, LSU
Mark Bradford, Stanford
Steve Breaston, Michigan
David Clowney, Virginia Tech
Jemalle Cornelius, Florida
Chris Davis, Florida State
Craig Davis, LSU
Aaron Fairooz, Central Arkansas
Yamon Figurs, Kansas State
Joel Filani, Texas Tech
Ted Ginn, Ohio State
Anthony Gonzalez
Jarett Hicks, Texas Tech
Johnnie Lee Higgins, TCU
Jason Hill, Washington State
Jon Holland, Louisiana Tech
Drisan James, Boise State
Dwayne Jarrett, Southern California
Calvin Johnson, Georgia Tech
Jacoby Jones, Lane
James Jones, San Jose State
Onrea Jones, Hampton
Jordan Kent, Oregon
Mike Mason, Tennessee State
Marquay McDaniel, Hampton
Rhema McKnight, Notre Dame
Robert Meacham, Tennessee
Ryan Moore, Miami
Legedu Naanee, Boise State
Syvelle Newton, South Carolina (QB)
Jerard Rabb, Boise State
Sidney Rice, South Carolina
Laurent Robinson, Illinois State
Ryne Robinson, Miami (Ohio)
Bret Smith, Tennessee
Steve Smith, Southern California
Syndric Steptoe, Arizona
Chansi Stuckey, Clemson
Jason Swain, Tennessee
Courtney Taylor, Auburn
Matt Trannon, Michigan State
Mike Walker, Central Florida
Chandler Williams, Florida International
Paul Williams, Fresno State
D'Juan Woods, Oklahoma State

Tight ends:

Michael Allan, Whitworth
Kevin Boss, Western Oregon
Scott Chandler, Iowa
Dan Coats, BYU
Jonny Harline, BYU
Clark Harris, Rutgers
Zach Miller, Arizona State
Martrez Milner, Georgia
Joe Newton, Oregon State
Greg Olsen, Miami
Ben Patrick, Delaware
Anthony Pudewell, Nevada
Gijon Robinson, Missouri Western State
Derek Schouman, Boise State
Matt Spaeth, Minnesota

Offensive tackles:

Allen Barbre, Missouri Southern
Levi Brown, Penn State
Andrew Carnahan, Arizona State
Chris Denman, Fresno State
Tala Esera, Hawaii
Doug Free, Northern Illinois
Brandon Frye, Virginia Tech
Gabe Hall, Texas Tech
Ryan Harris, Notre Dame
Mario Henderson, Florida State
Stephon Heyer, Maryland
Chase Johnson, Wyoming
Adam Koets, Oregon State
James Marten, Boston College
Mike Otto, Purdue
Ken Shackleford, Georgia
Joe Staley, Central Michigan
Herbert Taylor, TCU
Joe Thomas, Wisconsin
Tony Ugoh, Arkansas
Dana Uperesa, Hawaii
Elliot Vallejo, Cal-Davis
Julius Wilson, Alabama-Birmingham
Mansfield Wrotto, Georgia Tech
Marshal Yanda, Iowa

Offensive Guards:

Andy Alleman, Akron
Josh Beekman, Boston College
Nathan Bennett, Clemson
Stephen Berg, Arizona State
Justin Blalock, Texas
Tim Duckworth, Auburn
Ben Grubbs, Auburn
Corey Hilliard, Oklahoma State (OT)
Mike Jones, Iowa
Paluani Ma Sun, Oregon
Uche Nwaneri, Purdue
Manny Ramirez, Texas Tech
Dan Santucci, Notre Dame
Arron Sears, Tennessee
Cam Stephenson, Rutgers
Kasey Studdard, Texas

Centers:

Doug Datish, Ohio State
Mark Fenton, Colorado
Dustin Fry, Clemson
Leroy Harris, North Carolina State
Ryan Kalil, Southern California
Enoka Lucas, Oregon
Drew Mormino, Central Michigan
Dan Mozes, West Virginia
Samson Satele, Hawaii
Scott Stephenson, Iowa State

DEFENSE

Defensive Ends:

Victor Abiamiri, Notre Dame
Gaines Adams, Clemson
CJ Ah You, Oklahoma
Ikaika Alama-Francis, Hawaii
Jamaal Anderson, Arkansas
Antwan Applewhite, San Diego State
Baraka Atkins, Miami
Dan Bazuin, Central Michigan
Larry Birdine, Oklahoma
Mkristo Bruce, Washington State
Noland Buchette, Virginia Tech
Adam Carriker, Nebraska
Tim Crowder, Texas
Victor DeGrate, Oklahoma State
Jacob Ford, Central Arkansas
Justin Hickman, UCLA
Xzavie Jackson, Missouri
Charles Johnson, Georgia
Ray McDonald, Florida
Jay Moore, Nebraska
Quentin Moses, Georgia
Jarvis Moss, Florida
Chase Pittman, LSU
Jay Richardson, Ohio State
Brian Robinson, Texas
Anthony Spencer, Purdue
Lamarr Woodley, Michigan
Abraham Wright, Colorado

Defensive Tackles:

Jay Alford, Penn State
Alan Branch, Michigan
Kareem Brown, Miami
Larry Brown, Oklahoma State
Jeremy Clark, Alabama
Joe Cohen, Florida
Quinton Echols, Kansas State
Justin Harrell, Tennessee
Keith Jackson, Arkansas
Antonio Johnson, Mississippi State
Derek Landri, Notre Dame
Ryan McBean, Oklahoma State
Turk McBride, Tennesee
Brandon Mebane, California
Amobi Okoye, Louisville
David Patterson, Ohio State
Quinn Pitcock, Ohio State
Clifton Ryan, Michigan State
Marcus Thomas, Florida
Matt Toeaina, Oregon
Tank Tyler, North Carolina State

Outside Linebackers:

Rufus Alexander, Oklahoma
Antwan Barnes, Florida International
Jon Beason, Mimai
Quincy Black, New Mexico
Stewart Bradley, Nebraska
Prescott Burgess, Michigan
Earl Everett, Florida
KaMicahel Hall, Georgia Tech
Rory Johnson, Mississippi
Stephen Nicholas, South Florida
Michael Okwo, Stanford
Sam Olajubutu, Arkansas
Paul Posluszny, Penn State
Dallas Sartz, Southern California
Tim Shaw, Penn State
Juwan Simpson, Alabama
Tony Taylor, Georgia
Lawernce Timmons, Florida State

Inside Linebackers:

Jon Abbate, Wake Forest
Desmond Bishop, California
HB Blades, Pittsburgh
Quincy Culberson, Mississippi State
Buster Davis, Florida State
Zak DeOssie, Brown
Justin Durant, Hampton
David Harris, Michigan
Nate Harris, Louisville
Zack Latimer, Oklahoma
Marvin Mitchell, Tennessee
Chad Nkang, Elon
Blair Phillips, Oregon
Brandon Siler, Florida
Kelvin Smith, Syracuse
Justin Warren, Texas A&M
Anthony Waters, Clemson
Patrick Willis, Mississippi

Cornerbacks:

Anthony Harline, Baylor
Tarvarous Bain, Hampton
Fred Bennett, South Carolina
Tyrone Brackenridge, Washington State
Tarell Brown, Texas
Michael Coe, Alabama State
Duane Coleman, Clemson
AJ Davis, North Carolina State
CJ Gaddis, Clemson
Dashon Golden, Washington
Corey Graham, New Hampshire
Leon Hall, Michigan
Chris Houston, Arkansas
Daymeion Hughes, California
David Irons, Auburn
Deandre Jackson, Iowa State
Tanard Jackson, Syracuse (FS)
Reggie Lewis, Florida
Trumaine McBride, Mississippi
Marcus McCauley, Fresno State
Brandon McDonald, Memphis
Darrelle Revis, Pittsburgh
Aaron Ross, Texas
Kenny Scott, Georgia Tech
Ryan Smith, Florida
Jonathan Wade, Tennessee
Chaz Williams, Louisiana-Monroe
CJ Wilson, Baylor
Josh Wilson, Maryland
Eric Wright, UNLV

Safeties:

Gerald Alexander, Boise State
Zach Catanese, Arizona State
Craig Dahl, North Dakota State
Jesse Daniels, LSU
Eric Frampton, Washington State
Josh Gattis, Wake Forest
Michael Griffin, Texas
Brandon Harrison, Stanford
Michael Johnson, Arizona
Laron Landry, LSU
Bramdon Meriweather, Miami
Nedu Ndukwe, Notre Dame
JD Nelson, Oregon
Reggie Nelson, Florida
Marcus Paschal, Iowa
Kevin Payne, Louisiana-Monroe
Leonard Peters, Hawaii
Sabby Piscitelli, Oregon State
Aaron Rouse, Virginia Tech
Brandon Sharp, Louisville
Daren Stone, Maine
Eric Weddle, Utah
John Wendling, Wyoming
Marvin White, TCU

Special Teams:

Jesse Ainsworth, Arizona State (PK)
Kody Bliss, Auburn (P)
Brandon Carney, Syracuse (P)
Matt Clark, Auburn (PK)
Mason Crosby, Colorado (PK)
Brandon Fields, Michigan State (P)
Nick Folk, Arizona (PK)
Adam Graessle, Pittsburgh (P)
Aaron King, UTEP (LS)
Nick Leeson, Virginia Tech (LS)
Justin Medlock, UCLA (PK)
Brandon Pace, Virginia Tech (PK)
Adam Podlesh, Maryland (P)
Jared Retofsky, TCU (LS)
Alex Reyes, Texas Tech (P)
Nic Schmitt, Virginia Tech (P)
Daniel Sepulveda, Baylor (P)

Sunday, February 04, 2007

TURNER TO BE NEW HEAD COWBOY

The Cowboys will hire Norv Turner to replace Parcells this week. But after the Super Bowl they plan to first interview Bears defensive coordinator Ron Rivera then Colts quarterbacks coach Jim Caldwell. Rivera's contract is up in Chicago and I hear he may not be back even if he doesn't get the Cowboys job.....


Cam Cameron was snubbed by a second candidate for the team's Coordinator/quarterbacks coach jobs when Pete Carmichael Jr. removed himself from consideration, a source said Saturday. Carmichael has opted to remain as New Orleans' quarterbacks coach.....


SUPER BOWL INJURY REPORT

CHICAGO BEARS (15-3) VS. INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (17-4) 6:35 PM EST

BEARS

Friday Update: #4 WR Mark Bradley (ankle) practiced again Friday and was removed from the injury report and will play.

Backup MLB Rod Wilson (hamstring) was limited Friday and was added to the injury report as questionable.

“I would assume we’ll have him,” head coach Lovie Smith said after Friday's practice. “It’s not like he pulled anything, just a little tightness.”

Second-year S Chris Harris will start again at SS over Todd Johnson. Harris is a liability in coverage so we expect the Colts to exploit that matchup. Harris, you may recall, was beaten out for the FS job by rookie Daniel Manning prior to the start of the regular season.

Thursday Update: The team had a brief workout in Miami on Monday and had regular practices this week so far on Wednesday and Thursday.

Backup WR Mark Bradley (ankle-questionable) practiced again Thursday and is expected to play. Bradley missed the NFC Championship game with backup WR Justin Gage filling in. With Bradley back, look for Gage to probably be inactive on Sunday.

COLTS

Friday Update: Backup OLB Keith O'Neill (rib-questionable) practiced again Friday and is expected to play.

Starting DE Robert Mathis (back) was added to the injury report as probable but is expected to start. He took in limited work as a precaution.

Starting FS Bob Sanders (knee-questionable) practiced again Friday and is expected to start.

Starting CB Nick Harper (ankle-questionable) was limited Friday and likely will come off of the bench on Sunday if he plays at all. Although the team lists backup CB Kelvin Hayden behind Harper on their depth chart, backup CB Marlin Jackson will likely start because he has the most playing experience of the two.

"We haven't had any problems with anyone else. Nick Harper has been rehabbing on a treadmill, that type of thing, hasn't done any practicing yet. Our doctors feel pretty confident that he's going to be able to go. What they aren't sure of is how long he'll be able to go at top speed. That's a decision we're going to have to make on Sunday after Nick warms up. I think he'll be very honest with me. He wants to play, but he knows we've got guys that will do the job if he's not able to go. I think that will be a game-time decision. But everyone else is fine and ready to go," head coach Tony Dungy said Friday.

Starting CB Jason David (abdomen) was added to the injury report as probable but is expected to start. He took in limited work as a precaution.

Thursday Update: The team practiced three days last week then had last weekend off. They practiced lightly on Monday morning before leaving for Miami late Monday afternoon.

Starting QB Peyton Manning (thumb) practiced all last week and is having no problems this week and will start. He's not listed on the injury report. Manning jammed his right thumb into the helmet of starting OLT Tarik Glenn in the third quarter of the AFC championship game with New England. Manning underwent an x-ray on his thumb, but the results were negative.

Backup WR Ricky Proehl (hamstring) returned to practice last week and practiced again Thursday and is expected to play. He missed the past five games but isn't listed on the injury report.

#2 TE Ben Utecht (sprained right knee) is practicing fully and will play. He's not listed on the injury report.

Backup OLB Keith O'Neill (rib-questionable) practiced again Thursday and is expected to play. O'Neill plays mostly on special teams.

Starting FS Bob Sanders (knee-questionable) practiced again Thursday and is expected to start. Sanders came through their game two weeks ago well and is ready to play.

Starting CB Nick Harper (sprained right ankle) missed practice again Thursday and remains questionable to play. Harper had been in a walking boot since last week but got out of it Thursday. He plans to test his injured ankle on Friday by running. If he can't do something on Friday, he'll likely be inactive on Sunday with backup CB Kelvin Hayden starting for him.


SUPER BOWL LOCK

TEASE THE COLTS -0.5 WITH THE OVER 41

Saturday, February 03, 2007

WESTBROOK TO RETIRE?

Brian Westbrook was on Radio Row yesterday in the Miami Beach Convention Center, and he didn't sound like a man who is ready to retire, a thought he raised Wednesday when asked whether he could do what New York Giants running back Tiki Barber did during the 2006 season. The Eagles running back said he could retire right now, but he obviously isn't going to do it.....


Patriots owner Robert Kraft yesterday guaranteed the team will spend to the salary cap in an effort to improve a squad that fell one minute short of the Super Bowl....


Unlike the past two seasons, when Atlanta spent roughly $24 million in guaranteed bonuses to acquire Ed Hartwell and John Abraham, Blank said the Falcons would be judicious in free agency and fortify the roster through the draft. Atlanta, which will enter free agency with roughly $10 million to spend against the $109 million salary cap, is taking this approach philosophically, not as a cost-cutting measure, Blank said.....

Dolphins coach Cam Cameron was noncommittal Friday about whether he would want Ricky Williams back with the Dolphins or whether his starting quarterback is currently on the roster.....

Giants middle linebacker Antonio Pierce said signing Bears outside linebacker Lance Briggs, a two-time Pro Bowl pick, is a good idea if his former college teammate at Arizona decides to pursue free agency... Center Shaun O'Hara, one of the Giants' key free agents, said discussions are under way to re-sign him and expressed confidence he would stay with the team......

Cook shares representation with Oakland Raiders receiver Randy Moss and said he'd love to see Favre get the opportunity to play with him. The Raiders have been rumored to be willing to trade the moody Moss, but no one knows for sure whether that's going to happen......

NFL DRAFT

There had to be some grinding of teeth in the Lions' personnel department a week ago when offensive coordinator Mike Martz was quoted as saying a quarterback did not figure in the plans for the first-round pick....

The highest-rated linebackers here, on many teams' boards, are Penn State's Paul Posluszny and Ole Miss' Patrick Willis. Eagles general manager Tom Heckert, who is here with head coach Andy Reid, team president Joe Banner and a phalanx of midnight green-clad scouts to inspect the prime beef, indicated that linebacker 'probably is not a major priority for us right now.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Global Warming Panic

It may well turn out that George W. Bush's greatest service to the country won't involve terrorism or Iraq at all, but his steadfast refusal to be buffaloed into joining the panicky consensus on global warming.
Rumor had it that Bush intended to embrace the warming thesis at last in his State of the Union address. Instead Greens nationwide went into depressed tailspins as he called for an attack on the problem by means of technical advances, a curve ball very much in the old Bush mode, of a type that we've seen too little of recently. Bush is acting in defiance of much of the civilized world, led by a former vice-president and including the media, the entertainment community, the Democrats, most of the policy elite, that peculiar and never-before-encountered group known as "mainstream scientists", and now even corporations, eager to clamber aboard the Kyoto wagon while there's still room.

As James Lewis recently put it on these pages, global warming is most likely a crock. Some of us are old enough to remember similar hysterics over air pollution, overpopulation, and universal famine, none of which ever came to pass. The science behind warming is so full of lacunae, speculation, and outright fraud (e.g., the famed "hockey stick chart" purporting to show temperature levels over the past millennium while conveniently dropping both the medieval warm period and the Little Ice Age) to be in any way convincing.

One curious element involves certain facts that, on first consideration, would appear to be crucial but never seem to come up in debate. I have spent several years trying to track down the actual values of two numbers - the annual amount of carbon dioxide emitted by all human activities, and the amount of carbon dioxide already present in the atmosphere. There are as many answers as there are sources, the first ranging from 3 billion to 28 billion tons, the second from 750 billion tons to 2.97 x 1012 tons, a number so large that there's no common English word for it. Variations of this size - up to three orders of magnitude - suggest a serious lack of basic knowledge. The fact that it never comes up suggests that scientists are well aware of this. (It's doubtful we'll see the question addressed in this week's IPCC report either.)


So it's something of a relief to turn to history. Despite the insistence of Al Gore and friends, this is far from the first time the Earth has ever passed through a climatic warming period. In fact, one occurred relatively recently, the medieval warm period, more commonly known as the Little Climatic Optimum (LCO), a period stretching roughly from the 10th to the 13th centuries, in which the average temperature was anything from 1 to 3 degrees centigrade higher than it is today. Several years ago, I covered the LCO in an article detailing the climatic history of the last millennium. But it's worthwhile to cover the highlights once more, to help put the contemporary panic into perspective.
* How warm was it during the LCO? Areas in the Midlands and Scotland that cannot grow crops today were regularly farmed. England was known for its wine exports.


* The average height of Britons around A.D. 1000 was close to six feet, thanks to good nutrition. The small stature of the British lower classes (and the Irish) later in the millennium is an artifact of lower temperatures. People of the 20th century were the first Europeans in centuries to grow to their "true" stature - and most had to grow up in the USA to do it.


* In fact, famine - and its partner, plague -- appears to have taken a hike for several centuries. We have records of only a handful of famines during the LCO, and few mass outbreaks of disease. The bubonic plague itself appears to have retreated to its heartland of Central Asia.


* The LCO was the first age of transatlantic exploration. When not slaughtering their neighbors, the Vikings were charting new lands across the North Atlantic, one of the stormiest seas on earth (only the Southern Ocean - the Roaring 40s - is worse). If you tried the same thing today, traveling their routes in open boats of the size they used, you would drown. They discovered Iceland, and Greenland, and a new world even beyond, where they found grape vines, the same as in England.


* The Agricultural Revolution is not widely known except among historians. Mild temperatures eased land clearing and lengthened growing seasons. More certain harvests encouraged experimentation among farmers involving field rotation, novel implements, and new crops such as legumes. While the thought of peas and beans may not thrill the foodies among us, they expanded an almost unbelievably bland ancient diet as well as providing new sources of nutrition. The result was a near-tripling of European population from 27 million at the end of the 7th century to 70 million in 1300.


* The First Industrial Revolution is not widely known even among historians. Opening the northern German plains allowed access to easily mined iron deposits in the Ruhr and the Saarland. As a result smithies and mills became common sights throughout Europe. Then came the basic inventions without which nothing more complex can be made - the compound crank, the connecting rod, the flywheel, followed by the turbine, the compass, the mechanical clock, and eyeglasses. Our entire technical civilization, all the way down to Al Gore's hydrogenmobile, has its roots in the LCO.
But in the late 13th century, it all came to an end.


The climate closed down. Rains ruined crops and washed away entire seacoast towns. Far to the north, the great colonies of Iceland and Greenland faltered and began to fade away. Famine returned to Europe, and with it the plague, in one of the greatest mass deaths ever witnessed by humanity. The bright centuries were replaced by the dance of death and a dank and morbid religiosity. The focus of culture shifted to the warm Mediterranean. It remained cold, within certain broad limits, for six hundred years. The chill only lifted in the 1850s, when our current warming actually began.


We look back to a world that was a far more pleasant place at the turn of the last millennium, with a milder climate, plentiful food, a healthy populace. A picture, needless to say, at some variance with the Greens' prediction of coming universal disaster. It also undermines one of one of the basic environmentalist tenets - that nature is in delicate balance that can destroyed by a hard look from any given capitalist, and that any such change leads inevitably to catastrophe.


The LCO suggests that a warmer world may well be more desirable than the one we have now. To go a step further, my research implied that the planet is in fact meant to be somewhat warmer than it is today, that the life-forms we see around us are in fact adapted to a warmer climate. The earth is, after all, stuck within a three-million-year glacial epoch whose origin and cause remain a mystery. (We're now in a brief "interglacial" - a warming period! - that began only 12,000 years ago and could end tomorrow.)


I brought this up with a friend, a noted NASA scientist -- who, due to the tenor of the times, shall remain nameless - and he responded, ‘Of course - there's more life at the equator than at the poles." (This, by the way, is a perfect example of how a capable scientific mind operates, an immediate, undistracted focusing on the most critical elements. It doesn't seem to work that way with the Greens' "mainstream scientists".)


If warming were currently the case, we'd more than likely be seeing an LCO situation unfolding - meliorating weather, fewer storms, and moderating temperatures. But instead we're enduring massive blizzards across the Midwest, single-degree temperatures in Central Park, cold currents embracing Australia (bringing with them a plague of great white sharks), and killer storms across Europe. Not at all what we'd expect from either the medieval or the environmental scenario. Whatever is happening to the climate, it appears that the scientists, mainstream and otherwise, have not yet put their finger on it.


Which is why we need to keep our options open, harboring our resources rather than blowing them on some wild-eyed Gore plan that may end up doing the exact opposite of what is required. And why GWB deserves a lot more credit than he's ever likely to get.

Titans Close

While there are still a number of NFL coaching vacancies out there, the only G.M. chair to be filled is in Tennessee where the Titans pared ways with Floyd Reese earlier this year. The Titans, though, have reportedly finished interviewing candidates for the job and are expected to announce a decision possibly by the end of the week. Among the candidates who have reportedly interviewed for the job include Jacksonville director of pro personnel Charles Bailey; Green Bay director of pro personnel Reggie McKenzie; Seattle vice president of player personnel Ruston Webster; Seattle’s VP of football administration Mike Reinfeldt; NFL vice president of football operations Ron Hill and two in-house candidates, Rich Snead, the Titans’ director of player personnel, and Mike Ackerley, director of college scouting. It's also believed the Titans acquired permission from Miami to speak with GM Randy Mueller who reportedly opted not to interview.....

Frank Leonard, a scout for New England, was named assistant tight ends coach for Kansas State. Leonard had been with the Patriots’ personnel department the past three seasons after coaching at Richmond for a decade.....

The NCAA has granted Vanderbilt OT Brian Stamper a medical red-shirt giving him a fifth year of eligibility after back surgery ended his senior season. The 6-5, 305-pound Stamper was a three-year starter with the Commodores.....

Charges won't be filed against star California junior RB Marshawn Lynch after an Oakland woman claimed that that he choked, slapped and sexually assaulted her. An Alameda County Superior Court judge had granted the woman a restraining order Friday to the woman, who described herself in court documents as Lynch's ex-girlfriend. However, prosecutors said a lack of evidence, including no visible injuries, a witness' statement contradicting the accuser and inconsistencies in the woman's own story meant the case couldn't go forward. Lynch is expected to be a first-round pick at the 2007 draft where he will likely be one of the top 2 RBs off the board.