2009 Super Bowl Edge Goes To…

Taliesin West, 1937

The Steelers.  They have the best defense.  Or maybe the Cardinals who have the better offense.  I don’t know.  So, I thought I would put the teams to a mostly non-football comparison.  I’ll look at politics, mascots, wine, film and other categories to help me determine which team has the edge.

POLITICS:  Arlen Specter vs. John McCain.  Both Republican Senators.  I used to like Arlen Specter until he went on a crusade to bring down Coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots during the infamous Spygate investigation.  Hey Arlen, Eagles fans and players out there still sore over losing to the Pats in Super Bowl 39;  get over it!

Surprisingly, or maybe not so, according to Rachel Maddow of MSNBC, as posted by John Christopher of the Political Machine,  John McCain ditched Barack Obama’s Super Bowl party declining a White House invitation, but I’ll cut him some slack, because, unlike Specter, he’s not a sore loser.  I didn’t vote for McCain, but I like him – he’s a class act.  By the way, Specter will be at the party even though he’s not a Steelers fan.  Check out the guest list.  Edge – Cardinals

CITY:  Pittsburgh is, Arizona isn’t.  In fact, no team named after a state has ever won a Super Bowl with the exception of New York, which in my view is a dual reference to the city and state, and Washington, which of course is a reference to DC and not the state.  Minnesota, Tennessee and Carolina have all been on the losing end.   Edge – Steelers

MASCOT:  Unless a flock of Cardinals were to rain down on a group of Steelers as in Hitchcock’s classic, The Birds, I’d have to say a Steeler is a bit more imposing.  Edge – Steelers

WINE:   Pennsylvania has over 100 wineries and 14,000 acres of grapes to Arizona’s 35 Wineries and 500 acres of wine grape production.  To be fair, a good chunk of Pennsylvania acreage is devoted to the production of grape juice, not wine.  I can’t attest to the quality of wines produced in these states,  but I would guess (and I’m sure I’ll get some flack for saying this) that wines from Arizona are of superior quality given 1) the proximity to California and 2) that Gary Vaynerchuck featured 4 wines from the state on episode #536 of his Internet wine tasting show.  Edge – Cardinals

FILM:  There have been some great films either set or shot in Pittsburgh including The Deer Hunter and Ground Hog Day.  And the same is true of Arizona with Little Miss Sunshine and Psycho.  If I were to compare these films, I don’t think I could determine a winner.  They are all brilliant.  After the two Arizona based films, there’s not much going on in the state by way of film tradition, ok – Raising Arizona and Bad Santa, if you must.  Whereas, in addition to the two films mentioned, there is a long list of Pittsburgh based films including, Lorenzo’s Oil, All The Right Moves and the Wonderboys.  Edge – Steelers

ARCHITECT:  Frank Lloyd Wright.  America’s greatest architect.  Born in Wisconsin, Wright lived in Arizona for the last 20 years of his life.  Two of his most notable designs are situated in Arizona and Pennsylvania respectively: Taliesin West, pictured at the top of this post, which became his winter home, and Fallingwater, Fallingwater, 1935a stunning house of incomparable beauty.  One of my favorites is the Gammage Auditorium Gammage Auditorium, 1964on the campus of Arizona State University. Edge – Arizona

MUSICIANS:  On the AZ side, Charles Mingus, Linda Ronstadt and 2007 American Idol winner Jordin Sparks.  On the PA side, Marian Anderson, Perry Como, Hall and Oates, The Dorsey brothers, Earl “Fatha” Hines, Stan Getz and Keith Jarrett.  Edge – Pittsburgh

QUARTERBACKS:  Both Roethlisberger and Warner have won a Super Bowl: Warner with the St. Louis Rams in 2000 and Roethlisberger with the Steelers in 2006.  Warner also guided the Rams to a loss in the 2003 Super Bowl against the New England Patriots.  Warner has the luxury of throwing to the best receiver in the game in Larry Fitzgerald, who, incidentally, attended college at Pitt.  Roethlisberger is tough and unflappable, and has some decent receivers, but can’t be expected to bring the team back from a early deficit.  Pittsburgh is 20th in the league in scoring; Arizona, 3rd best. True, Pittsburgh has the best defense in the league, but can they contain Fitzgerald? If they can’t – Edge:  Cardinals

Arizona CardinalsPittsburg Steelers

KEYS TO THE GAME:  If the Steeler defense can rough up the Cardinal receivers a la the New England Patriots strategy in their 2003 Super Bowl win over the Warner led Rams, they could win the game in a low scoring defensive battle.  Arizona needs to get out to a big lead early and try to hang on, keeping relentless pressure on Roethlisberger.

SUMMARY/PREDICTION:  While Arizona has a political, architectural, winemaking and offensive advantage, Pittsburgh is the favorite based on film production, musicality, mascot, city comparison and defense.  Super Bowl 44 won’t be the most exciting game ever played, but should be a good game.  I predict a low scoring affair in which the Steeler defense dominates.  Pittsburgh wins 17-10.

McCain Big Winner in Louisiana Purchase States

In an historic election, Senator Barack Obama won a landslide electoral victory and a clear mandate for his agenda. However, there is a bit of history on McCain’s side, a consolation prize of sorts – in a landslide, McCain won most of the states of the Louisiana Purchase! To be precise, McCain grabbed 12 of the 15 present day states that made up the Louisiana purchase: Louisiana, Arkansas, Texas, Missouri, Oklahoma, North and South Dakota, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, Montana and the southwestern portion of Minnesota, losing only New Mexico, Colorado and Iowa. If President Jefferson had not authorized the deal with the French back in 1803 which effectively doubled the size of our country, McCain would have earned only about 75 electoral votes.

finalmap1

2008 Election Results

400px-national-atlas-1970-1810-loupurchase-12

1803 Louisiana Purchase in Dark Green


McCain Camp Plays Blame Game

“Now is not the time to fix blame, it’s time to fix the problem” John McCain told reporters in Iowa.  Todd Spangler of the Free Press reported that at the same time, McCain’s campaign staff released statements blaming the Democrats for “partisan attacks….to gain political advantage during a national economic crisis.” Spangler points out that Douglas Holtz-Eakin holds Obama and the Democrats responsible for putting “politics ahead of country”.

There is that slogan again – Country First.  What could be more politicized than assigning blame to the Democrats when 133 Republicans rejected the bill?  What’s more, who suspended his campaign to help broker the deal – who by all accounts said little or nothing in meetings and was thought to be more a hindrance than help?  John, JMC, big John, Johnnie M going down to save the economy and his failing campaign.

I will have to give credit to McCain for saying that we should stop calling it a bailout and refer to it instead as a rescue package.  I think that would have allayed some concerns that the plan is nothing more than a golden parachute for the fat cats.  But why didn’t he push this idea when he had his Superhero robe on in Washington?  It sounds to me like McCain is suffering from a crisis of leadership.

I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of this Country First nonsense.  It’s time to put PEOPLE FIRST!

The Politics of Distraction – Are We Stupid?

Are we so stupid that we’ll let lipstick talk occupy our thoughts when we have so many important issues facing our country?  Senator Obama labeled the hype “phony outrage” on the part of the McCain campaign.  The suggestion here is that Barak Obama is sexist.  The very Obama who voted for equal pay for equal work.  What would you call McCain who refused to vote at all on the same bill?  Would you call him a maverick?  And his glass ceiling shattering, gun toting, lipstick wearing hockey mom of a running mate?  A feminist?  The name calling is utter nonsense, but it is effective at distracting our attention.  Brilliant Republican strategy?  Cynical to be sure.  If you have something to hide – let’s say the record – create a diversion.  You know the Republicans are ecstatic that CNN has devoted two entire days to lipstick on a pig.  At this rate Obama’s message will never take hold because it won’t be heard.  He’ll be on the defensive – no way to run a campaign.

Boycott the networks if they refuse to cover substance.  Flip the channel the next time you hear the phrase lipstick on a pig, or any other sensationalized tidbit.  If a newspaper runs trash talking headlines on the front page, don’t buy it.  Cancel your subscription.  We have a right to hear what the candidates have to say about the issues.

Actually, you don’t even need to listen to the candidates anymore.  Their views are a matter of public record. You can google McCain and Obama’s voting record.  We know all there is to know about Palin – which is to say not much or maybe too much, but whatever; I do know enough to know that she was tapped to get the Republicans re-elected.  She is no more qualified to run the country than I am – and trust me, I am not qualified – actually, I was on the student council in high school and an off-campus rep in College.  Maybe I am more qualified than her.  I passed legislation.  I did – legislation to provide more off campus bus stops.  Damnit I am qualified.  Ribbie for President!  Sorry I got a little carried away.  Ok, a lot carried away.  It’s late.  I’m tired.  And it doesn’t matter what I write, because no one will read this post anyway, nor will anyone comment.  Watch.

Are we stupid?  Are you stupid? – ok, maybe you are just lazy or too busy to think, so I’ll make it easy for you to decide who to vote for in November.

Do you like guns, want more of them – maybe a handgun…and not ever have to unload it – vote Republican, even though McCain doesn’t own a gun.  If you don’t like to hunt, but want a gun anyway, vote Democrat – Obama’s not big on guns, but he believes you have a right to yours.

Religious?  Tired of the separation of church and state?  Want prayer and creationism in schools? Fine.  McCain’s your guy.  But remember, you’d have to give equal time to all religions including atheism because we do live in a religiously diverse country.  Now a disclaimer; McCain believes in evolution – I don’t think Palin does, God had a plan in her view – but McCain would leave the creationism or intelligent design debate to the states.

Health Care?  The plans are fairly complex.  If you don’t have health care insurance, you are probably a Democrat.  If you’re not, maybe you should be.

Economy?  Taxes – if you earn less than 5 million, vote Democrat.

Energy?  Now everyone is for drilling, even the Dems.  We went to war for oil – well, I didn’t – I have always been opposed to war –  anyway, if we have been so victorious, as Palin suggests, and the surge so effective as McCain suggests, why are we paying $3.50 US at the pump and 10 billion a month in Iraq or is it 40? How about this – just don’t buy oil or gas? Go electric, go hybrid.  Lighten your carbon footprint. Bike, Subway, Bus it.  Walk baby walk!

Whatever you decide, take a real look at the issues and make an informed choice.  And do vote.  Don’t let the bastages get you down.  We’re better than that!

McCain-Palin: A Ticket Divided

Where would McCain take the country if elected? With the conservative base of the Republican party energized by his VP pick, the answer is not clear. What is clear is that McCain is no social conservative.

  • He has sponsored and voted for immigration reform measures that would provide a guest worker program and a path to citizenship for the millions of undocumented workers in the US.
  • He voted Yes on a bill to provide human embryonic stem cell research.
  • He believes in evolution but says let local schools districts decide whether to teach creationism.
  • He voted No on a proposed constitutional amendment that would have defined marriage as a union between a man and a woman.
  • He voted yes to a bill to increase funding for AIDS drug assistance programs.
  • He would allow, but not require school prayer.
  • He does not own a gun.

McCain’s Votes

McCain on the Issues

If I were a member of the conservative base of the Republican party (and I am not, nor am I a Republican) I would not be enthusiastic at all about John McCain. The nomination of Sarah Palin would not secure my vote either. How much influence on social policy will Palin have as the VP nominee, particularly when her views are at odds with McCain’s? How much pressure will there be on McCain to give in to the base or to flip flop on issues? His “Maverick” status will definitely be tested.

So, where would McCain take the country if elected? To the extreme right or to the center – this is the big unknown. McCain’s USA USA USA is simply not clear. The Republicans are a party divided by an energized conservative base with expectations on a “Maverick” moderate.

If I were a social moderate sitting on the fence, I would vote for Obama. Obama and Biden agree on the issues; no divisive tug-of- war going on in the party. The Democratics are United.

Ideas or Slogans at the RNC?

The 911 film at the RNC was used as propaganda to scare you; a base and shameless fear appeal.  Country First.  This slogan is designed to guilt you into questioning the wisdom of any US military action.  To be against spending 10 billion a month in Iraq is considered un-Amercian.  To argue that terrorism is an ideology, not a nation, and therefore very difficult to fight, is somehow a threatening idea.  Here’s a Big Idea:  We need to win the war of ideas.

Putting people first, now that’s a big idea Mr. Romney.  Why not spend those billions domestically to help struggling Americans, to invest in education, health care, renewable energy, a crumbling highway infrastructure, conservation measures, support for the arts.  Oh, but that would be putting country second.  How dare we invest money at home.  What was I thinking! Bring the troops home?  Not a chance.  Not until victory is ours, even if it takes a 100 years! There Sarah Palin, I said it – victory.

Last night MITT said it was “time for the party of big ideas, not the party of Big Brother.”  Consider the slogans from Orwell’s masterpiece, 1984 – War is Peace, Ignorance is Strength.  Right out of the Republican playbook.  Country First.  USA, USA, USA. Service.  Leave the thinking to Big Brother.  Obey and Be Happy.

Guiliani talks about Obama’s voting present (neither yes, nor no) 130 times in the Illinois Senate.  And yet Mcain failed to vote at all on legislation providing tax credits for solar and wind investments, known as the renewable energy bill.  He missed all eight votes on this legislation.  See article Eight Strikes and You’re Out

McCain also was a No show (he didn’t vote at all) on the equal pay for equal work legislation – while 6 of his Republican colleagues voted Yes.  Some maverick.

And with all this talk about drilling, let’s get one thing straight:  we can reduce our dependency on oil by using less, not drilling more.  Ride a Bike.  USA USA USA.

Reagan – McCain’s Hero, No Hero of Mine

According to Fred Thompson in his speech at the Republican National Convention, Ronald Reagan was a hero to John McCain. Here’s what I remember about the Reagan Administration: attacks on organized labor – remember the firing of striking air traffic controllers?; massive cuts in social programs and equally massive increases in military spending including the waste of billions on a futuristic Star Wars shield to protect against incoming missiles, which never worked; a swelling national debt; the support of a secret and illegal war in Nicaragua in which “contras” were armed with money from the sale of weapons to Iran (our enemy) which came to be known as the Iran-Contra scandal; the subsequent mining of the Nicaraguan harbor; support of repressive governments throughout Central America; and making William Rehnquist Chief Justice of the Supreme Court marking a conservative shift in the judicial system.  Big business benefited greatly from the Reagan tax cuts, while the Right championed his conservative social views – school prayer and creationism in the schools to dismantle the separation of church and state; “just say no” abstinence programs, and the emergence of the Moral Majority under Jerry Falwell.  And remember that great response found on bumper stickers and buttons- the Moral Majority is Neither.

Reagan may be McCain’s hero, but he’s no hero of mine.

McCain No Maverick on Equal Pay Legislation

Senator McCain claims to be in favor of equal pay for women, yet he helped defeat HR 2831 which would have made “discriminatory compensation…unlawful”  by simply not voting on the day it came up, while  6 of his Republican colleagues voted yes.  McCain explained his opposition by saying that what women really need is more education and training so that they can find higher paying jobs.

McCain Opposes Equal Pay for Equal Work Legislation

Governor Palin implied that her nomination brings women one step closer to breaking the glass ceiling Hillary Clinton and her millions managed to crack.  Given Senator McCain’s views, I would like to know how the Republicans plan to break the glass ceiling.  Maybe Governor Palin will blast it open with an assault rifle.