Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Kniceley Assaults Coach?

The "35th State" Blog and the Dominion Post are both reporting that Fairmont Police are investigating an alleged incident between Times-West Virginian editor Andy Kniceley and a Fairmont State University coach. Kniceley allegedly assaulted the coach because Kniceley's son was not getting enough playing time. According to the 35th State Blog, FSU plans to file charges against Kniceley.

Obviously, the Times-West Virginian has had no reporting of any incident. But what would you expect? The Times remains a small-time rag newspaper that reports only what they want the reader to consume. If you have the right connections and contact the right people, they will sweep a news story under the rug. Just look at the Daily Log...I know for a fact that certain people should have appeared in the Log but, due to the right words, those folks' names failed to appear. It will be interesting to see how the Times moves forward if FSU does indeed file charges.

In other news, the West Virginia Watchdog is doing great work tracking Obama's stimulus money and the jobs "created" in West Virginia districts that don't even exist. It is definitely worth the time to read the full story and find out how numbers are being skewed to justify the pork stimulus bill.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Football Predictions

We'll just get right down to it, shall we:

Bridgeport 42 - North Marion 13: Well, I must say I was impressed by the fortitude the Indians showed last week when they hosted Fairmont Senior. I'm not sure the Polar Bears played their best football but it doesn't matter now. Bridgeport completes an undefeated regular season.

Alabama 19 - LSU 14: Will Alabama find an offense that can score touchdowns? Will LSU find a way to get around this Alabama defense? This should be a heckuva game in Bama country.

Ohio State 24 - Penn State 17: I have some doubts about Penn State now. Ohio State has struggled but I think Jim Tressell and Terrelle Pryor figure out a way to beat the Nittany Lions and ruin PSU's chance for a BCS bowl.

Cincinnati 35 - UConn 17: It's been a bad couple weeks for Connecticut and it's just going to get worse. At least this one won't come down to a last minute heartbreaker like the last two. Cincy is winning the Big East.

And finally,

West Fairmont 56 - East Fairmont 13: Could West Fairmont put 100 on the board this Friday at East-West? Possibly but doubtful. Coming off the disappointing loss at Bridgeport, the Polar Bears assert their dominance early and cruise to a victory over the Bees.

West Virginia 34 - Louisville 21: I don't know about this Mountaineer team. Just when I think they've turned the corner, they look inept against South Florida. The only salvation is that Louisville is just plain horrible. The real test is the 3 games following this game at Mountaineer Field.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

A Weekend of Football

Oh, some exciting football this weekend. Including the dreaded Friday night WVU game. I really hate Friday night Mountaineer games because of the interference with high school football. I really wanted to go to the Bridgeport / Fairmont Sr. matchup Friday but guess I will skip it to watch WVU hopefully beat South Florida. So without further hesitation, some good matchups this weekend:

Fairmont Senior 35 - Bridgeport 24: I like the Polar Bears. They've played a rather challenging schedule that includes Morgantown and University. Bridgeport. Well, Bridgeport sits #4 in the state but might be propped up a bit by an easy schedule. It's worth nothing that South Charleston with one loss is actually ahead of the Indians because of the Indians weak schedule. I like Fairmont.

North Marion 13 - Elkins 6: North Marion grabs their 4th and final win of the season at Elkins on Friday (they play Bridgeport next week.) Finishing 4-6 sounds a lot better than their 1-9 record last season. Elkins has a lot of work to do before next year.

University 28 - Morgantown 24: Morgantown really needs this win to secure their spot in the playoffs. University really wants homefield for the first playoff round again this season. The Mohawk Bowl will be an exciting one with University squeaking out a victory. Morgantown will be the final team to make the 2009 playoffs.

USC 35 - Oregon 20: The Ducks have come a long way since losing to Boise State and the "punch heard 'round the world." But USC is still USC and they win the big ones. They might lose to Washington but they don't lose to top opponents. Add to this the fact that the Trojans are feeling a little disrespected by the polls and you have a USC victory.

Oklahoma State 20 - Texas 17: Oh, it's the big upset. Okie State without Dez Bryant and being looked down on plays the role of spoiler against Colt McCoy and the Longhorns. Mike Gundy finds a way to win this one for two reasons: 1) He's a man. 2) He's 40.

And, lastly,

West Virginia 42 - South Florida 24: I don't know that South Florida is really all that good this year. They had the benefit of a weak schedule to inflate their standing and now that standing is being exposed. Florida State isn't very good and that's their big win. WVU still has a great shot at the Big East crown and this game isn't going to stop them. Of course, it is South Florida on a Friday night so anything could happen but I like WVU. But I can promise you this: If WVU turns the ball over 5 times, they'll lose. Ball protection is key to this game.

And there you have it. Feel free to wager all you want...these are locks.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Football Picks

Another weekend quickly approaches which means it's time to discuss the winners and losers in this week's game of skill and luck known as football.

Fairmont Sr. 35 - Wheeling Park 17: This is a down year for Wheeling Park. Currently at 1-7 and on a 7 game losing streak, the Patriots won't get any relief this weekend. Since Park has such a dismal schedule, the win wont' necessarily help the Polar Bears in the polls but it will still be a victory. The big game is next week when Fairmont visits Bridgeport.

North Marion 24 - Nicholas County 21: An upset? Yep. I said before that once North Marion learned to win, they could easily win 3 in a row. And they did against Buckhannon, Preston and East. Playing Morgantown was tough but the Huskies can bounce back this week. The Grizzlies are shooting for the playoffs but North pulls off the upset and will finish the year 5-5.

Morgantown 38 - John Marshall 21: Morgantown beats bad teams and loses to good teams. Luckily for the Mohigans, John Marshall isn't very good this year. The Mohigans roll as they try to make the 16 team field for the state playoffs.

Penn State 17 - Michigan 14: Close game but as long as JoePa survives, Penn State will win. The Penn State defense clamps down on a "healthy" Tate Forcier and grinds out a victory in the Big House.

Alabama 32 - Tennessee 18: Lane Kiffin someday might be a great coach. Right now, he's just got a big mouth. Alabama's offense actually finds some rhythm and Saban and crew easily handle the Volunteers.

And then there's these two games:

East Fairmont 20 - Buckhannon-Upshur 16: It's going to be a rainy night in Buckhannon tomorrow and the raindrops will mix with the Buckaneers tears as the Bees find a way to win in a close one. I predicted 3-7 for the Bees and they need to win this game to make my prediction come true.

WVU 38 - UConn 24: This really could go either way. If WVU has cured their turnover problems, they can easily handle the Huskies. If WVU turns the ball over a few times, it could go the other way fast. Expect an inspired UConn team following the death of Jasper Howard. If WVU opens the door, UConn walks away with a win. Another rainy game...

Vikings 31 - Pittsburgh 17: I hate to predict a Brett Favre victory but Pittsburgh has really not shown me much that makes me believe they can win this game. Adrian Peterson is scorching defenses and the Vikings defense is good. The fact this game is in Pittsburgh could make a difference but I'd put my money on Minnesota.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

It's the Football, Stupid

Get your bets ready...here's the winners (and losers) this week:

Fairmont Senior 45 - Elkins 17: FSHS wins big and still drops to #2 in the state? Sometimes there's no justice. But that's a number. One or two doesn't matter...finishing in the Top 2 will give them homefield throughout the playoffs. The Polar Bears destroy an undermanned Elkins squad.

Morgantown 24 - Brooke 20: Big upset. Brooke is the #1 team in the state and safely in the playoffs while Morgantown is fighting to stay in the playoff hunt. This would be a huge win for Morgantown on the road if they can actually pull it off.

Cincinnati 28 - South Florida 21: Big East matchup between the two undefeated teams on Thursday night. Good game. Cincinnati has too much fire power for South Florida but you have to admit that USF's determination since the loss of Grothe has been impressive. The Bearcats win as they defend their Big East crown.

Oklahoma 35 - Texas 24: There's a rumor out that Colt McCoy might be injured. Mack Brown says there's no truth to it. Either way, Oklahoma pulls a huge upset and rights their ship. Bob Stoops wins the big, non-bowl games and this is no different. Oklahoma comes in with a chip on their shoulder and finds a way to stop the Longhorns' offense and wins this game.

USC 42 - Notre Dame 17: The demise of the Trojans has been greatly exaggerated. This is still one of the best defenses in the country and look for Matt Barkley to find his rhythm against the "lucky" Irish. Notre Dame has just been squeaking by opponents to create buzz for this matchup. The buzz dies quickly in South Bend this weekend.

And three games that I actually care about:

Steelers 24 - Browns 9: I don't know if Pittsburgh has righted the ship or not but it doesn't matter against the Browns. Cleveland is bad. Real bad. If Pittsburgh even shows up for the game, they win. That's how bad Cleveland is.

East Fairmont 14 - Preston 6: Can East Fairmont score 2 touchdowns? Maybe. They actually performed decently against RCB last week. If they can bring some of that momentum into this game, they should squeak by the Knights. Rain and snow are in the forecast so expect a low scoring affair.

WVU 52 - Marshall 24: West Virginia outmans the Thundering Herd just about everywhere. The attempts to build up this game as some great rivalry will be squashed early and often in this game. Noel Devine runs up a good 200+ yards and WVU doesn't turn the ball over and squishes Marshall in their preparation for the Big East schedule.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

"You Don't Pay Taxes!"

When Mayor Matt Delligatti said the road levy should not fall behind other levies the voters will be con­sidering this year, Debbie Seifrit shot back with "You don't pay taxes". Delligatti does not pay property taxes because he lives with his parents except when he is staying in Morgantown. And Seifrit is right. It is easy for someone who doesn't pay taxes to say "let's pass a levy."

When do you think the last time was that Jay Rockefeller personally wrote out a check to the IRS? Ever? What about Bob Byrd? Harry Reid? Alan Mollohan? These people are isolated from everyday life. It's easy to pass tax increases on the rich and poor as long as you're not footing the bill. It's easy to say "give health care of everyone" when you pass those costs along to the "rich" and "big business."

I digress...I'll write more on that at a later date. Back to the Fairmont levy argument. The Fairmont City Council passed a resolution to place a road repaving/repairing levy on the May 2010 ballot. The Marion County Library and Marion-Fairmont Transit Authority will also have levies on the 2010 ballot and it's possile the Marion County Board of Education may attempt another bond measure in the near future.

"Under a draft proposal gen­erated by city staff, a proper­ty owner whose property is assessed at $100,000 could pay an additional $75 a year. Homeowners who qualify under the homestead act — senior citizens and disabled people — could pay $50 more in taxes on a home assessed at $100,000. Commercial property owners would pay $150 more in taxes for property assessed at $100,000." - Times-West Virginian

With water prices soaring in the city and the increasing economic pressure, will the citizens of Fairmont be willing to stomach yet another levy? Will seeing 3 or 4 levies on the same ballot turn off voters who will reject all of them? And why is this levy necessary? The citizens of Fairmont, Marion County and West Virginia are already being taxed to death for education, roads, health care, unemployment, government officials and other items of which we may or may not benefit. And with the specter of universal health care taxing looming, who can blame citizens for being wary of another tax?

Debbie Seifrit, I applaud you for standing up for the taxpayers and raising a concern about yet another property tax on the citizens of Fairmont. More people need to stand up for the American taxpayer and show the ways that taxes are creating the dispair in this country. Robbing from everyday citizens is not creating a utopian society. Quite the opposite.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Coal Hypocrisy

I was struck today by an article I read in which Senator Jay Rockefeller and Representative Nick Rahall called upon Massey Energy to help move Marsh Fork Elementary School away from a coal processing plant. The article struck of such hypocrisy from the Senator and Representative that I had to laugh.

It amazes me that politicians from this state call upon the coal industry, or energy industry in general, to perform charitable deeds while attempting to put these industries out of business. They are essentially robbing these companies with one hand while begging for a donation with the other. With cap-and-trade and additional EPA penalties threatening all the coal industries in West Virginia, how can anyone expect them to make large contributions to charity? These companies are fighting for survival. The taxes on the energy industry is outrageous and new proposed taxes are being introduced everyday.

Massey Energy has a long history of charitable work. In May 2008, Massey donated more than $1 million to create a scholarship fund for college and post-graduate scholarships to help students from Central Appalachia communities pursue engineering and health care degrees. Massey Energy has donated a total of $80,000 to the struggling town of Cedar Grove. The town will use $75,000 to finish building a new park in the center of town, and the remaining $5,000 for athletic activities for middle school children and field trips for the grade school children.

That's only two examples of the charity work that Massey has done. There are several additional examples of the work Massey has done with charities. The same can be said with the other energy companies in the state. And yet the government continually attempts to punish these companies and undermine their ability to do charity work. How can a company that can't turn a profit continue to fund charitable events? It's not possible.

Oh, and for the record, the Senator and Representative were incorrect in their misrepresentation of Massey's position on a new Marsh Fork Elementary. Massey is willing to work with the Raleigh County BOE. The BOE hasn't decided to if they are pursuing a new Marsh Fork yet and will meet tonight to decide.

Friday, October 09, 2009

The Nobel Peace Fraud

The Nobel Peace Prize has long come under attack for some recipients who may not necessarily deserve the award, such as Yasser Arafat, Jimmy Carter, Al Gore and, obviously, Mother Teresa. But the awarding of the prize to Barack Obama is a curious choice. The President has been in office less than a year and has no single significant achievement towards peace.

Sure, the President campaigned on the promise to open dialog and has promised an end to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. He has promised deals to decrease nuclear arms. He has also promised to turn around the economy, give everyone health care and to personally massage my feet. None of this has come to fruition yet. And yet the Nobel Peace Prize Committee felt it necessary to award their Prize on the bluster of a man who has no accomplishments.

While talking of peace, Obama has had internal discussions of increasing the war on Afghanistan, which may include incursions into Pakistan. While promising direct dialog with Iranian dictator Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the administration is looking at options to strategically bomb locations in Iran.

No, this award isn't truly about peace. The left-leaning organization awarded this President the Nobel Peace Prize because he isn't George W. Bush and because he has been on a USA apology tour. The hope is that by awarding Obama for denigrating the United States, he will be encouraged to continue the practice. By making the US weaker, Obama is receiving the support of the world. At the end of the day, that Prize and million dollars is little consolation to the weakening position of this country in the world.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Amazing Football Predictions

Missed last week but I will not miss two weeks in a row. So, without further hesitation, here is some football predictions for this week:

Fairmont Senior 42 - Buckhannon - 13: Fairmont Senior has the opportunity to be the #1 seed in the state high school playoffs. I don't anticipate Buckhannon being able to trip up the Polar Bears this week. Good teams win the ones they are supposed to win and FSHS rolls at home on their way to an NCAC crown.

Morgantown 34 - North Marion 13: The Huskies have a few good wins this season but they are not ready to deal with a team like Morgantown. The Mohigans are fighting to get into the playoffs this year and they should take care of business at home this week.

Florida 24 - LSU 20: With Tebow or without Tebow, Florida finds a way to win. John Brantley is at Florida for a reason: He's a good quarterback. And Florida can win regardless of who leads the charge. LSU is somewhat overrated, especially considering their lack of offensive production. They got lucky last week. Not so lucky this week.

Steelers 24 - Lions 9: Pittsburgh has some issues but not nearly as many as Detroit. Whether Polamolu returns this week or not, Pittsburgh easily handles the Lions.

Robert C. Byrd 38 - East Fairmont 6: The loss to North Marion pretty much ended any dreams of a playoff berth for East. And this Thursday night game just screams blowout. RCB lost to cross-county rival Bridgeport last week and will be looking to roll up some big numbers at East-West Stadium to help their playoff hopes. RCB wins big.

West Virginia 45 - Syracuse 17: Shouldn't be much of a game. Especially if Syracuse commits seven turnovers this week. However, West Virginia could match them if they're not careful. WVU has to fix the turnover issue this week and next before they start facing teams that can beat them. USF, Cincy, Rutgers and Pitt remain the big tests for WVU. Marshall and Syracuse are the easy ones.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

A Quick Look at the NFL (Pt. 2)(

With four games down, you can get a pretty good idea where this NFL season is going for most of the teams in the league. So, here's a quick rundown of teams in the AFC and where I see them going.

American Football Conference

New York Jets (3-1): Dirty Sanchez is playing like a franchise quarterback and the Jets may challenge the Patriots for AFC East supremacy. Unfortunately for the Jets, if it's a close race, their last 2 games are against the Colts and Bengals.

New England Patriot (3-1): Looking at New England's schedule, it would be shocking if they don't get 11 wins. The Jets, Colts and Broncos are their biggest challenges. The showdown is November 22 against the Jets.

Miami Dolphins (1-3): Not what everyone expected this year. Pennington is hurt and Pat White hasn't brought much to the team. White may be obsolete with the recent arrival of Thigpen. Bottom feeding in the AFC again.

Buffalo Bills (1-3): Dick Jauron will likely lose his job after this season. The Bills 1-point loss to the Patriots looks like an abomination as they had to another losing season.

Baltimore Ravens (3-1): The Ravens may turn out to be the best team in the AFC this year. A great defense and a developing offense that looks better every game. Should win the AFC North barring injuries.

Cincinnati (3-1): How can you tell? It's a team that could beat Baltimore for the AFC North crown or could collapse and lose the next 12 games. They already have a huge win over Pittsburgh. A second date on November 15th could determine the final team in the playoffs from the AFC.

Pittsburgh Steelers (2-2): A Super Bowl hangover? Maybe. The loss of Troy Polamolu hurt the defense and the Steelers running game is non-existent. In the competitive AFC, 11 wins might not even make the playoffs. And 11 wins will not win the AFC North. An ultra-difficult schedule will make it a hard season for Pittsburgh to make a run at a repeat.

Cleveland Browns (0-4): Will Eric Magini make it to Year 2? Will Cleveland win a game? Those are the main questions out of the Browns.

Indianapolis Colts (4-0): Payton Manning doing what he does best: win. This team plays New England on November 15th followed by Baltimore on November 22nd. Come out with 2 wins and they control the AFC.

Jacksonville Jaguars (2-2): Nothing spectacular here...

Houston Texans (2-2): See Jacksonville. A good team but you have to be a great team to compete in the AFC.

Tennessee Titans (0-4): Will Jeff Fisher pack it in after this year? Will this team play Vince Young this year? Titans are underachieving after last year's run.

Denver Broncos (4-0): No one would have guessed the Broncos would still be undefeated but here they are controlling the AFC West. Unfortunately, they'll stumble and end up losing the AFC West to:

San Diego Charges (2-2): A disappointing start but they get a chance to jump right back into the race on October 19th when they host Denver for Monday Night Football.

Oakland Raiders (1-3): JaMarcus Russell is not a long term solution for their quarterback problems. Get a new quarterback in there now and tell your coach to stop punching people.

Kansas City Chiefs (0-4): Is it 2011 yet?

Monday, October 05, 2009

A Quick Look at the NFL

With four games down, you can get a pretty good idea where this NFL season is going for most of the teams in the league. So, here's a quick rundown of teams in the NFC and where I see them going. I'll get to the AFC tomorrow.

National Football Conference

NY Giants (4-0): Look to be on track for another good playoff run. Eli does what he needs to do to win football games. Some tough games down the stretch but they win the NFC East.

Philadelphia Eagles (2-1): Quarterback controversy before the end of the season. As Michael Vick improves, watch for Eagles' fans to demand him become the starter. All the ingredients for an implosion before the end of the year that will cost Andy Reid his job. No playoffs.

Dallas Cowboys (2-2): Tony Romo is feeling the pressure and not stepping up. The Denver game was a microcosm of the Cowboys problems. Plenty of opportunities but not enough execution. No playoffs.

Washington Redskins (2-2): A team with a bloated budget but little to show for it. Might sneak into the playoffs but they haven't proved anything yet.

Minnesota Vikings (3-0): I hate to say it, but the Vikings could be the best team in the NFC. Favre isn't making mistakes and they have a good defense and solid offensive line. Adrian Peterson is the best running back in the NFL. If Favre can refrain from throwing to the wrong team, should be a good year. Tonight's game vs. Green Bay will tell a lot about where this team is going.

Chicago Bears (3-1): Will be battling with Minnesota for supremacy in the NFC North. Should make the playoffs.

Green Bay Packers (2-1): A good team that will be left out because they have to deal with Chicago and Minnesota. But a solid showing despite missing the playoffs.

Detroit Lions (1-3): They have their win. Good for them!

New Orleans Saints (4-0): Drew Brees is a great quarterback. And they have the advantage of being in a division with Carolina and Tampa Bay. They easily win the NFC South.

Atlanta Falcons (2-1): Solid but not great. Matt Ryan is a good quarterback. Unfortunately for Altanta, their schedule doesn't give them much of a chance.

Carolina Panthers (0-3): Battling with Tampa Bay for the worst team in the NFC South. Their first pillow fight is on October 18th.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-4): See Carolina.

San Francisco 49ers (3-1): Will surprisingly win the NFC West. It's amazing what Mike Singletary has accomplished. They don't even need Michael Crabtree.

Arizona Cardinals (1-2): A very disappointing season after making it to the Super Bowl last year. Too much drama on this team to win.

Seattle Seahawks (1-3): When your quarterback is Seneca Wallace, things can't be going too well. No playoffs in Seattle.

St. Louis Rams (0-4): This is the team that has the best chance to go 0-16 this year. Bulger probably needs to pack it in and, chances are, he has. The Rams will probably stick with Boller, who really isn't much better. Too many problems to be successful.

Saturday, October 03, 2009


I forgot, or neglected, to make predictions this week. But it's already been interesting with West Virginia's attempt to literally fumble a game to Colorado, Fairmont Senior's double-overtime victory over NCAC foe University and East Fairmont's last minute loss at North Marion.

First up, West Virginia and the serious case of fumble-itis that has struck the team. Ten, count them, 10 turnovers in the last 2 games. Nothing alters the course of a game faster than turnovers. It cost West Virginia the game at Auburn and nearly cost them the game versus Colorado. If Colorado had a field goal kicker and took an early lead, it could have changed the playcalling and seriously affected the rest of the game. Luckily for WVU, they never fell behind and overcame serious problems with the ball.

If they do not remedy the turnover issue soon, it will cost them more games this year. Syracuse sounds like an easy game but with Paulus as QB, they have a shot at beating the Mountaineers. He won't panic in a "big game" because of this experience at Duke and, if WVU's offense gives them enough opportunities, the Orange will score. Bill Stewart must find a way to make Brown protect the ball and the other WVU players need to secure the football. WVU got lucky with Colorado...the talent WVU had far surpassed the Buffalos. The same can't be said when they play Cincinnati, USF, Pitt or Rutgers.

East Fairmont's early season woes have gotten worse. Between injuries and general lack of confidence, the Bees find themselves in a 5-game losing streak. It doesn't look promising to break that streak this week when RCB comes to town for a Thursday night Homecoming game. East Fairmont's offense did generate nearly 200 yards in offense but the Bees struggled with 3 interceptions and couldn't move the ball consistently against the Huskies. East Fairmont's lone score came on an interception return for a touchdown. On the flipside, I predicted that North Marion had confidence and knew how to win since their first victory and now they are on a 3-game winning streak. Probably not playoff ready but a team on the rebound. If they really want to prove North Marion is back, they have their opportunity next week when they visit Morgantown.

And, lastly, the team I predicted to win the NCAC is now in the driver's seat following their double-overtime victory over previously unbeaten University. Fairmont Senior made a huge defensive stop to beat the #4 Hawks and will remain the No. 1 team in WV High School football this week. The Polar Bears toughest tests have been passed with wins against RCB, Morgantown and University. The schedule is favorable for Fairmont to win out. Wheeling Park is down this year so the biggest test remains the Oct. 23 showdown against Bridgeport. Fairmont Senior has a good shot at ending the season as the #1 team in the state barring a mental lapse.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Chicago LOSES Olympics

Being the prohibitive favorite and having the President of the United States actually present wasn't enough to win the 2016 Summer Olympics for Chicago. It wasn't even enough to get them out of the first round. What does this say?

Well, first, the United States Olympics Committee obviously has some issues. They've made some people mad and those people have gotten even by eliminating the United States' best Olympic package ever. USOC has had some run-ins with the International Olympic Committee and, obviously, the IOC has gotten even.

Second, President Obama has to be embarrassed by this turn of events. To send Michelle out for most of the week and appear in person and still lose has to sting. Most people, including myself, didn't believe he would attend in person unless he knew it was in the bag. US President's don't like uncertainty...someone on his staff was obviously incorrect.

And, lastly, there's still a lot of resentment towards the United States out there. The "Era of Good Feelings" that Obama has supposedly brought with him wasn't enough to bring the Olympics here in 2016.

It will be interesting to see how Obama responds to this turn of events. In the midst of lowering approval ratings, higher unemployment, economic downturn, health care uncertainty and Afghanistan confusion, Obama desparately needed a victory somewhere. That's why he went to Copenhagen. He needs a win. Instead, he gets to come home without the Olympics and try to piece together a health care bill that it has become increasing obvious that no one wants. I guess it could be worse...he could be David Letterman.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Gambling Lines for This Week

I went 5-2 last week thanks to a disappointing showing by both Pittsburgh and West Virginia. I knew better than to pick WVU but Pittsburgh? Come on.

Anyway, without further adieu, I give you this week's winner...and losers:

North Marion 17 - Preston 13: Once a team learns how to win, it's impossible to stop them. Of course, it helps if they're playing Preston. North Marion follows their win over Buckhannon with a win over Preston in Kingwood. A winning streak for the Huskies!

Morgantown 38 - Buckhannon 6: I'm not sure Buckhannon has an offense. And Morgantown proved last week that they do, indeed, have a defense. I'm still in shock over East Fairmont's NEGATIVE 11 yards in total offense last week. Morgantown rolls.

University 45 - Hedgesville 17: I don't know much about Hedgesville but I know University is good. Real good. They continue to win this week.

Florida State 31 - South Florida 17: Grothe is out of the season and the Bulls will falter without him. Florida State showed they can score with their blowout win over BYU. South Florida's quick defense keeps this close but there's no real chance for South Florida to win this game.

Miami 38 - Virginia Tech 35: Virginia Tech got LUCKY last week. Bo Pelini needs to re-evaluate his defense. But not so lucky this week. Randy Shannon has turned the corner in the Miami program and they play with "swagger." So, Miami goes up to Blacksburg and steals one.

And, the two games that are my big picks since WVU is off until Thursday:

Steelers 24 - Cincinnati 13: Still the Bungles. I don't care if they did make the playoffs a couple years ago. Pittsburgh needs the victory to get the bad taste of the Chicago defeat outta their mouths. Jeff Reed...make a field goal dude. Seriously.

Bridgeport 42 - East Fairmont 7: Well, at least they break their scoreless drought. Two games in a row without a point sounds pretty bad. East scores but Bridgeport wins easily.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Windows 7

I started last week setting up the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit and trying to get everything up and running for successful deployments. I just completed my first successful deployment of Windows 7 that includes all of our applications, settings and joins the domain and is ready for a user to sit down and use. And I must admit I'm pretty excited about that fact. When we had our consultants here last year setting up Vista, it took them 3 months to accomplish a task that took me 1 week. I'm not saying I'm smarter, probably just not as thorough.

Anyway, Windows 7 holds a lot of promise for us. The 2-3 test machines we gave to use with Windows 7 Beta have received positive reviews. We are probably 2-3 weeks away from getting a test group together to begin testing the OS. The speed is the #1 reason we are anxiously awaiting moving away from Vista. But until we have actual everyday users beating on the OS and apps, I can't say we're 100% moving towards an immediate implementation.

My goal is to begin running a dual environment by next year. New machines will come with Windows 7 while we continue to support our Vista environment. But I am happy to be moving away from Vista with breakneck speed. Unless we hit a major snag, Windows Vista will be completely eliminated in our user environment by 2011. What a horrible experiment our Windows Vista time has been. Welcome Windows 7!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Weekend Roundup

Here are just a few observations from the weekend:
  • You can't expect to win very many games when you turn the ball over 6 times.
  • What was Jarrett Brown thinking when he threw it into a crowd of people at the line of scrimmage? Twice?
  • How do you go an entire game and gain NEGATIVE 11 yards? I knew Morgantown would win but I never thought East would go backwards. Not even a first down by penalty. Wow.
  • I was very close to making the 11-hour trek to Auburn. How happy am I considering the loss and rain?
  • RCB beat Liberty 76-0. Congratulations?
  • Why does Mickey Andrews (Florida State) always look like he's trying to eat his own face?
  • It is never acceptable for an announcer to not know what down it is, how many yards the team needs for a first down or how many yards were just gained on the play.
  • Announcers should not try to use "hip" phrases. Watching the Nebraska/Virginia Tech game, they tried to say someone was a "balla" except it came out "he is a baller." And they used the word "baller" five times. No, you're not cool. Announce the game.
  • Monte Kiffin is a defensive genius. Monte Kiffin is a defensive genius. Monte Kiffin is a defensive genius. OKAY...I get it: Monte Kiffin is a defensive genius.
  • Beamerball, Beamerball, Beamerball, Beamerball. That's not Beamerball. That is Beamerball. It's called Special Teams. Move on.
  • Oregon. Being different is cool. But being ugly is still just being ugly. Green, gray and white. Mr. Blackwell is turning in his grave.
  • Quit cross-selling other sports. College football analysts should not be talking about NASCAR since it absolutely obvious they have no idea of what they are talking. Stop it.
  • Notre Dame is NOT an elite team. Notre Dame is NOT a BCS bowl deserving team. They have the benefit of not playing in a conference. They would be at the bottom of the SEC or Big 12 South. And middle of the road everywhere else. Just because they get to play (and maybe beat) Nevada, Purdue, Washington, Washington State, Navy, Stanford and UConn doesn't give them a claim to a major bowl game. Play some real teams on the road. The Irish play 8 home games. Notre Dame deserves the same consideration that BYU, Utah, Boise State and TCU get. And maybe less because those teams are willing to go on the road and play real opponents. Other than USC and Michigan, the "Fighting" Irish won't play a ranked team unless Pittsburgh somehow moves into the Top 25. Pitiful and disgraceful that Notre Dame gets the reverence they don't deserve.
  • Tim Tebow is amazing. I don't care what anyone says. The guy is just simply amazing.
  • What is it about USC and horrible teams? Why can USC go to the Horseshoe and beat Ohio State but they can't beat Washington? It makes no sense. Pete Carroll?
  • Virginia Tech got lucky. Bo Pelini needs to be looking at his defensive coordinator and asking some serious questions.
  • BYU beating Oklahoma was a bit of a fluke really. I guess Florida State proved that...in a big way.
  • How much do you think Louisville fans would pay to get Bobby Petrino back? Louisville fell into the black hole when Bobby left. Professor Krang can't do anything.
  • Syracuse wins! Syracuse wins! How bad do the Northwestern fans feel?

That's just a few random observations from the weekend that I can remember. I had a few more but Jarrett Brown gave them to Auburn.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Get Out Your Wallets...

You can't beat these predictions:

Fairmont Senior 117 - Preston 4: I kid, I kid. But I do believe the Polar Bears could score 100 on Preston if they really tried. More likely it will be 42 - 13. West is playing good football and if they can put together a strong 4 quarters, Preston will be begging to hop on the bus and get back to Kingwood. Of course, Fairmont is coming off an emotional win over Morgantown so this could be a letdown and close. But Fairmont Senior still rolls.

North Marion 23 - Buck-Up 21: Yes, North Marion wins. They showed life against RCB last week and they get a victory this week. And North Marion could turn the corner and put together a few victories...especially with Preston and...ummm, East on the schedule.

University 35 - Elkins 6: Elkins beat Preston but they have no shot against University. The Hawks and the Polar Bears are on a collison course for superiority in the NCAC this year.

Virginia Tech 27 - Nebraska 24: This game is at Lane Stadium which is why Virginia Tech wins. The Hokies are a good team and Nebraska still is out in the woods somewhere. Virginia Tech should win...but it's gonna be close.

Steelers 24 - Bears 21: Without Polamalu, this game becomes scary. Pittsburgh needs to find a running game and an offensive line that can at least protect Big Ben on half the plays. If Roethlisberger goes down, it could be an ugly season. Charlie Batch, anyone?

And now, the big picks:

Morgantown 31 - East Fairmont 3: Morgantown is seeking some revenge for last week's loss to Fairmont Senior. And the Mohigans have struggled. But no one has struggled more than the East Fairmont offense. Maybe East sneaks into Pony Lewis Field and shocks the Mohigans...but I just don't see any way that is possible.

West Virginia 24 - Auburn 23: I just can't bet against WVU and Jarrett Brown. WVU will try to lose but somehow Brown will lead them to victory. If they can win this game, the WVU season begins to look very bright.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Football Roundup

Well, finished last week 6-1 on my predictions. ELKINS WINS, ELKINS WINS. What a disappointment for Preston. I thougth they were going to be decent. Maybe not. And, just like I said, RCB/North Marion was close. North had the victory in sight...only to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

Most impressive? West Fairmont over Morgantown. I went to the game and arrived early in the 2nd quarter. Morgantown was already winning 14-0 and West couldn't do anything. I don't know what happened at halftime but the Polar Bears came out fired up and put up 31 unanswered points. Sets up an epic Fairmont Sr. / University matchup for the NCAC. At least that's they way I see it right now.

Happiest moment? Michigan beats Notre Dame. I don't care about the Rich Rodriguez thing. I wanted Notre Dame to lose and it happened. Michigan isn't going to go undefeated this year. Notre Dame has enough cupcakes on the schedule to win 9 games. But what a great loss this was. I just hope Lou Holtz cried at the end of the game.

West Virginia did their best to lose to East Carolina but Jarrett Brown just wouldn't let it happen. How many punts can you fumble? If WVU thinks they're going to drive into Auburn and just beat the Tigers because they have a first-year coach, they better think again. Auburn is improved and playing well.

Should be interesting...we'll see how it goes.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

What Happened To...

If you know me, you know I love music. All day, everyday, that's what I do at work. I pick an artist or two, or perhaps a collection, and I listen. Non-stop music. And for the past 3 weeks, it has been nothing but non-stop Beatles. I think I'll move on next week...maybe.

Anyway, I was trying to think of some of the groups that were "popular" or that I liked in the 90s and what happened to them. Some of these groups I liked...some, well, not so much. But here we go:
  1. Nirvana. Nevermind came out in 1991 and "Smells Like Teen Spirit" became a big hit the fall of that year. Kurt Cobain took his life on April 8, 1994 ending the band. Courtney Love and the members of the band fought as both tried to gain control of the Nirvana legacy. Now you can find Cobain on Guitar Hero 5. I'm not sure that's what he would have wanted but Love needs money. Anyway, the death of Cobain led Grohl to make:
  2. Foo Fighters. This is one of my favorite groups then and now. I think the Foo Fighters ability to make great songs that cross-over to "pop" hits is unbelievable. They never lose their rock edge but can make radio-friendly songs. Foo Fighters was released in 1995 and is good but The Colour and Shape, released in 1997, remains one of my favorites albums. To everyone's benefit, the Foo Fighters are still out there making music.
  3. Celine Dion. Yeah, I know...this is about bands, or people, who were successful in the 90s. Not necessarily my favorites. Dion burst on the scene with "Where Does My Heart Beat Now" in 1990 and wailed out "My Heart Will Go On" in 1998. After a break from music, Dion peformed in Las Vegas from 2003-2007 and raked in over $400 million. She's back in the studio and producing music again. Yay?
  4. Whitney Houston. Whitney took the success she found in the '80s and kept it going in the 90s. 4 Number 1 hits been 1990 and 1995, including the unavoidable "I Will Always Love You" from the Bodyguard. It was unavoidable. Believe me, I tried to avoid it. After a marriage to Bobby Brown and a spiral into drug addiction, it looks like Houston is ready for a comeback. She just released a new album on August 31. We'll see...
  5. Pearl Jam. Just like Nirvana, Pearl Jam showed up in 1991 with the release of Ten. "Alive," "Even Flow," "Jeremy," etc., you can listen to those songs today and they sound just as good as they did nearly 20 years ago. The group continues to rock and release new works today. And tour. One of the hardest working acts out there.
  6. Oasis. (What's the Story) Morning Glory came out in 1995 and sounded a whole lot like The Beatles. "Wonderwall," "Champagne Supernova," "Don't Look Back in Anger," were all great songs and they quickly gained a foothold in the states. And they they kinda disappeared. They were still making music but you never knew if the Gallagher Brothers were still together in a band or not. I didn't pay much attention until Dig Your Soul was released this year. And then, shortly thereafter, Noel quit. The band is still together but there's too much wierdness there to start getting into them. But, they still released some awesome music.

Well, that's 6 groups/people. That's enough for today. I will pick up and continue at another time.

Friday, September 11, 2009

People of Walmart

If you haven't seen it yet, you definitely need to go visit peopleofwalmart.com. I had recent read an article about it online but forgot to check it out. Thankfully, someone reminded me today about it and I visited the site and had a good laugh.

The scary thing is that nothing on the site is actually shocking. Walking into the Wal-Mart in Fairmont or Clarksburg, I could easily see 90% of the people in these pictures. Wal-Mart brings out such a wide cross-section of society that you see a little bit of everything. And it is the most frustrating place in the world. I go out of my way to avoid going there but considering it is the mecca of everything, it is almost too convenient (and cheap) not to go occassionally. And I always leave vowing never to return.

Anyway, check out the site and enjoy the pictures. I spent a good hour or so going through everyone. And was glad I did.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Place Your Bets...if you're brave

Time for some predictions for this weekend in football action. Some good games...some not so good games; I just picked out the ones that intrigued me and here's some winners (and losers):
  • Fairmont Senior 27 - Morgantown 20. Maybe it's an upset. Maybe not. If Fairmont Senior is going to challenge for another NCAC crown, this is the year. The Polar Bears are scoring at will and Morgantown hasn't been nearly as productive. I like Fairmont in this one.
  • Robert C. Byrd 21 - North Marion 18. It's another long year for the Huskies. I wish I had better news for the folks in Rachel but I just don't see them beating RCB but they could keep it close. RCB is a perennial underachiever.
  • Preston 24 - Elkins 6. Poor Elkins. Circle October 30. That is when Elkins hosts North Marion. That could be a game for the ages...
  • Michigan 28 - Notre Dame 24. A big upset? Not really. Notre Dame, despite what Lou Holtz thinks, has not turned the corner. Sure, they shutout Nevada but they're playing at the Big House and I really think Rich Rod has found a QB. Huge win towards turning the Wolverines program.
  • USC 42 - Ohio State 28. Freshman quarterback? No problem. At the Horseshoe? No problem. USC is a better team than Ohio State and Matt Barkley is a better quarterback than Terrelle Pryor. The Trojans roll over the Buckeyes.

And the two games that really matter:

  • Nicholas County 30 - East Fairmont 20. I hate picking against my team but East Fairmont struggled against University. And by struggling, I mean was completely inept. Perhaps they find a way to turn it around this week and put some points on the board. I don't know much about the Grizzlies other than their victory over Buckhannon last week but Nicholas County has slowly been building over the past few years. The Bees may struggle on the road...
  • WVU 27 - East Carolina 24. Scary game. Skip Holtz has been building a program while Bill Stewart has been napping. West Virginia has to find a way to put the ball in the endzone and not settle for field goals. Kick coverage and containment of Pinkney will decide this game. I nearly picked ECU for the upset but I just couldn't make myself do it...but I won't be surprised if it happens. West Virginia wins thanks to the home field advantage.

And that's it for the weekend of September 11th. Happy Patriots Day and best of luck on your betting. If you win, split it with me. If you lose, hey, you shouldn't gamble.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Weekend Wrapup

I went 5-2 on the predictions this week but was pretty far off on some scores. Miami beating Florida State is a real shocker to me. I think Bobby Bowden sufferred a bit of a Bill Stewart moment down the stretch, failing to call a timeout and letting the clock run down to 19 seconds before Miami called a timeout. Had FSU acted quicker on a timeout, they possibly could have gotten 4 plays instead of 3. The other one I missed was the emotional victory Bridgeport gained over Wheeling Park.

Oklahoma losing Sam Bradford for a few weeks and then losing to BYU has to be the biggest shocker of Week One. As much as I dislike OU, I hate to see them lose Bradford and lose the game that way. But BYU won and OU is going to have to run the table to have a shot at winning a national championship.

Another shock was how easily Cincinnati dismantled Rutgers. I really thought Schiano would have the Scarlet Knights ready to play from the outset this year. Instead, it looks like another slow start in New Jersey. If Pike continues to play that well, Cincy has to be the favorite to repeat as Big East champ.

Some other observations:
  • I was actually glad to see Michigan find a QB and gain a convincing victory over Western Michigan. I really hope they beat Notre Dame this weekend...but that's a tall order.
  • Ohio State may have played the most uninspired football I have ever seen against Navy. Perhaps they're looking at that looming date with USC.
  • USC didn't have much trouble getting their new QB acclimated to the game. No one in the Pac-10 can touch USC. If they can avoid beating themselves, they should easily run the table.
  • Alabama and Florida in the SEC Championship Game again.

I think that covers it for today.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Instant Analysis: West Virginia's First Game

You can't stay undefeated if you lose your first game. That's what I expect Bill Stewart to say in his press conference when discussing WVU's 33-20 victory over FCS school Liberty. It's a victory and WVU is 1-0. Whether the final score was 70-0 or 3-2, WVU would still be 1-0 if their score was the greater number. That's what I would expect Lou Holtz to say if he talked about WVU. But inside the numbers of the game, you can't feel real great about what happened on Mountaineer Field on Saturday.

The defense gave up 20 points and nearly 300 yards to a team that plays in the Big South. This is a team that is going to play West Virginia Wesleyan this year. Early in the game it appeared the Flames were going to be able to match WVU score-for-score. Thankfully, the defense settled in and made a few stops but the game was never fully in hand until a late Flames turnover. Linebacker play was solid but the secondary seemed suspect. There were a few plays where Brandon Hogan was clearly beat but the Flames QB didn't have the ability to get the ball to the open receiver. A better quarterback would have made some plays against a defense that played rather conservatively.

Another area of disappointment was kick coverage. Mike Brown averaged nearly 36 yards per kick return on 3 returns and Aldreakis Allen averaged 23 yards on his 2 returns. Considering this was a special point of emphasis for WVU, it was rather disheartening to see the team plagued with the same problems. On a positive note, Tyler Bitancurt and Scott Kozlowski both kicked well.

On offense, Jarrett Brown threw the ball well and didn't make any egregious errors that could have made this game interesting. I was happy to see Tyler Urban catching the ball downfield. I think the team made a special point of trying to get a vertical game going instead of simply relying on bubble screens and simple crossing routes. Throwing vertically can open the field up for Devine to make some spectacular plays.

Speaking of Noel Devine, I thought he played well. Still a bit too much east/west running but he was looking for holes and not trying to make every carry be a homerun. Brown also tucked the ball when it was appropriate but continued to look upfield until he was forced to run. Lots of yards...unfortunately, not able to punch in touchdowns and had to settle for field goals which was a bit disappointing.

Overally, it was a good win and a good way to start the season. The real tests begin next week when ECU comes to town. WVU will need to play better defensively to stop Pat Pinkney and extract revenge for last year's debacle down in Greenville. And I'll be anxious to see how the WVU offense executes against a real FBS opponent. And, naturally, something must be down about the atrocity known as the WVU kick coverage. Should be interesting. Then again, it always is.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Place Your Bets...NOW

It's football season and, despite the fact I missed Week One predictions, it's time for me to predict the winners and losers for some games this week. Get out your wallets and put down money on these winners:

  • Fairmont Senior 49 - North Marion 13. North Marion might be improved this year but the Polar Bears are stacked. FSHS, Morgantown and University are going to be fighting for the NCAC crown this year...don't look for North Marion to derail the Polar Bears plans.

  • Morgantown 41 - Elkins 6. Elkins doesn't really have an offense. Elkins defense isn't all that great either. Morgantown could put up 70 but I think they'll call off the dogs early. Morgantown easily rebounds from the Week One loss.

  • Wheeling Park 28 - Bridgeport 17. This is going to be an emotional game for Bridgeport considering their recent loss of a player. But Wheeling Park is just too good. Expect a large crowd supporting the Indians but it won't be enough to overcome the firepower of WPHS. I wish the Indians the best, though.

  • Alabama 24 - Virginia Tech 20. What a great opening season game. That is unless you're Frank Beamer or Nick Saban. Both teams come in with great expectations and both could have their seasons shattered in Week One. Quarterback play for Alabama is key. Game is in Blacksburg but Alabama's defense finds a way to get the victory.

  • Florida State 31 - Miami 21. Randy Shannon has to turn the Hurricanes around in a hurry but it's not going to happen in this Week One matchup against Florida State. FSU looks like they could compete for the ACC crown and Miami is still a season away.

and the two games I care most about:

  • University 27 - East Fairmont 13. I'm concerned about the lack of a running game from the Bees against Elkins. And I'm not sure the Elkins offense really tested the Bees. This is the real test for East...if they can find a way to stay competitive with University, it might be a good season. If the Hawks just blow them out of the water...well, we'll see what happens.

  • West Virginia 52 - Liberty 6. WVU needs to come out and make a statement in this game. It's Liberty for goodness sake. If WVU can't put up 50 and hold them below 10, there's something wrong. This is a cakewalk...the only question is how easy it will be.

There you have it...place your bets today.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

It's Football Time (Part 2)

Well, we covered WVU who will finish 3rd in the Big East. What about the rest of the college football landscape? Can Florida repeat? Will Matt Barkley succeed at USC? Can Sam Bradford lead Oklahoma to the promised land? Is VTech for real?

Yes, Yes, No and No. Let's start with the Big East. Pittsburgh should win the Big East. Dan Wannstache has consistently out-recruited the other league schools. And yet Pittsburgh is unable to get over the hump and actually win the conference. This year will be no different. It's finally Rutgers turn. I don't like it either but Schiano finally gets rewarded for sticking with the Scarlet Knights by taking them a BCS bowl. No Big East team will make it through conference play undefeated but Rutgers Game 1 victory over Cincinnati is the tie-breaker.

Florida has the inside track for a repeat. The Gators have 8 home games this season. The toughest road game is at LSU on October 10th. The rest of the schedule lines up pretty easily for Florida. Even a loss to LSU may not derail their title hopes if they can beat Alabama in the SEC Championship game. Voters will reward Tebow and the Gators for their past deeds and put them in that BCS Championship game against...

Texas. The showdown is October 17th as Texas hosts Oklahoma. I give the edge to Colt McCoy and the Longhorns simply due to homefield advantage. The winner of this game has an inside track to the BCS Championship game and the winning quarterback gets rewarded with the Heisman Trophy.

And, just some quick guesses:
  • USC wins the Pac 10 with 2 losses.
  • Notre Dame disappoints and finishes 8-4.
  • Virginia Tech disappoints and finishes 9-3 and loses to FSU in the ACC Championship game.
  • Michigan State shocks and wins the Big 10.
  • Utah finishes undefeated...again.
  • And lastly, I was going to predict Michigan to turn it around this year and go 8-4 but Rich Rod's practice scandal and property lawsuit is very distracting. Another bad season for the Wolverines...and don't be surprised if Rich isn't looking for a way out of Ann Arbor soon.

It's Football Time

There's a chill in the air so it must be time for football. I missed Week One of high school football but that doesn't really matter. It's time for real football...and by real football I mean college football. Might as well start out with what really matter: WVU football.

No Big East team is in the pre-season Top 25. But there's quite a cluster of them right outside the Top 25 which means the Big East and the automatic BCS bowl is up for bids. And, of course, WVU is one of the teams predicted to be in the thick of the mess for that bid. It's also a year for Bill Stewart to prove himself as the head coach of WVU. Last season has to be considered a disappointment overall. This season could be do or die for the West Virginia coach.

The loss of Pat White is what makes this season so intriguing. Can Jarrett Brown step up and replace the legendary quarterback? How will Stewart handle a Brown injury, should it occur (and is prone to occur)? Will Noel Devine be able to break out of the backfield and can he be an every down back? Are the receivers improved? And can WVU rely on the defense to win games?

It won't take long to get answers. After the cream puff of Liberty, WVU faces ECU (which beat WVU last year), Auburn (at Auburn) and Colorado (which beat WVU last year). If West Virginia can win those 3 games, things look bright. If they lose 1, it's ok. If they lose 2 or more, look for Mountaineer fans everywhere to be calling for Stewart's head on a stick.

So, now it's prediction time. I think WVU loses 1 of the first 4 games. I'm thinking Colorado nips the Mountaineers. It's an important game for Dan Hawkins as he has to show improvement at Colorado this season and they'll definitely be up for beating WVU at Milan-Puskar. The game at Auburn is scary but a new coach and a so-so team equals a WVU win. At Syracuse and Marshall are victories. UConn doesn't have the team to win this year so WVU gets off to a good 5-1 start.

At some point, Jarrett Brown is going to miss a game or two. Might as well be at USF, which always seems to have West Virginia's number. Again, the Bulls pull the upset after Brown leaves in the first quarter. A win at Louisville and we set the stage for the 3 biggest Big East games of the season. At Cincy, Pittsbugh and at Rutgers could go either way. I think, and don't shoot me, we drop 2 of those last 3 games. An 8-4 season. Not great...not horrible. Just like the coach. Enough to keep his job but nothing spectacular. Another Car bowl.

That's my early season predictions without actually seeing the team. If we lose to Liberty, all bets are off and I get to update this prediction immediately. This is one of the few seasons where I come in completely without expectations. I have no idea what to expect...and, who knows, a break here or there and this team could be undefeated. But it could also be 6-6. That's why they play the games, I suppose.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Welcome Back, Brett Favre

I think I typed that title before...but I'm not going to check. Welcome back to the NFL, Brett Favre. You almost retired...almost. But, no, couldn't do it. You just wanted to raise the suspense. And just when it you had almost everyone convinced that you would actually retire, BOOM, you return.

I wasn't surprised. I had told people that he was returning to the Viking weeks before he actually did. Favre can't retire. Not until his arm falls off. And a chance to play for the Vikings and really stick it to the Packers was too much to resist. He couldn't come back during preseason workouts because, obviously, Favre is too good to actually practice with a team.

As I've said before, Brett Favre is all about Brett Favre. He worked with the Packers when it advanced his legacy. When it became apparent the Packers were done with his diva-like demands, the management kinda forced him out of town. He went to the Jets to try to make the Packers look idiotic for chasing him away. And now he's doing the same thing with the Vikings. Quite a risk...for Favre and the Vikings. Will be interesting to see how it plays out and whether Favre can usurp another NFL season with his drama. The only thing I know for sure: Somewhere John Madden is upset about retiring...

Monday, July 06, 2009

Sarah Palin???

I haven't necessarily been doing a great job of keeping up with the news but this Sarah Palin story has me completely confused. She resigning her job as governor of Alaska to ? Get ready to run for President? In 2012? Her term as governor was ending in 2010 so...

I'll be the first to admit that I wasn't completely overwhelmed with her selection as McCain's running mate last year. I appreciated the fact that she energized the Republican base for a less than energizing candidate but I was never convinced that she was the right person for the job. And now I'm even more convinced that she wasn't the right person for the job.

If this is some strategy to run for President, it's a very poor one. Quitting in office is not a virtue. Sure, some may say she's stepping down because her heart isn't in running Alaska but I find that hard to believe. I'm wondering if there isn't a backlash against her growing in Alaska and there's a fear that Sean Parnell could lose in 2010 and embarass her in her home state. Or is there something even more sinister at work? There have been several investigations in her activities...is there a bigger one coming down the pike or a bigger one that has been threatened?

I'm not sure what's going on but this is definitely bizarre and doesn't make me want her as the Republican nominee in 2012. Given the current state of affairs, should the party look for someone a little more stable and predictable? You betcha.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

So, I traveled out to Chicago for a few days of vacation. It was definitely an entertaining trip. The main objective was to visit Andrew, who has lived in Chicago for the past 6-months and is now moving to North Carolina. I flew out of Pittsburgh with Brian and Ryan on Thursday. Thursday evening, Ryan's brother Ben was meeting us. He was flying out of DC.

Upon arrival at the airport, we learned our flight was delayed 20-minutes. That was probably good since we cut it pretty close anyway and that gave us a little time to grab a bite to eat. We flew into Midway and caught the Orange Line into the city. We prompty checked into our hotel and, well, it was pretty awesome. Directly across the river from Trump Tower and an amazing view of Chicago River.

After spending a little time at the hotel, we decided to head out and catch some sites. The first location was the Millennium Park. They were setting up for "Taste of Chicago," so there wasn't any traffic to deal with for the most part around the park itself. One of the cool things in the park is Cloud Gate, better known as "The Bean", which gives visitors a very unique perspective of the Chicago skyline.

And then there was the Buckinham Fountain, which most people will remember from the opening scene of "Married...with Children."

After that, Brian, Ryan and myself went to Potbelly's for a sandwich and entertainment by the guitar player up in a perch. The debate ensued on whether he was paid to entertain or just received a free lunch. I'm betting on the lunch. Anyway, after eating, we headed down the street and essentially ran directly into the only person I know living in Chicago, Jason. I tried to figure out the odds of that occuring but was unable to come up with a formula. I figure it's pretty astronomical though. It was definitely cool that it happened, though, and we were able to make plans with Jason before leaving Chicago.

We decided to spend some time doing a little more site-seeing in the city since Andrew didn't get off work until 5:00 and it was 2:00 at this point. We headed down to the North Avenue Beach for a bit, which is very well developed and very cool. We then went to the Lincoln Park Zoo. Since it was in the 90s, not many animals were out and about to watch.

We finally met up with Andrew and had dinner. His apartment building was pretty interesting in that Charlie Chaplin and Bugs Moran had lived there and parts of Chucky were filmed in the building. After visiting a few establishments, we headed back downtown to the hotel. Upon leaving the train area and heading up the steps, we found that the City of Chicago was resealing the sidewalks. Since there was no other means of escape, we stepped on the freshly sealed asphalt where I promptly slid and fell.

That didn't really bother me too much over the course of the trip until the last evening. Then it hurt a bit. It's still healing. We stopped at a 7-11 on the way to the hotel where I made friends with crazy people, including a former lady security guard from Beumont and a Bohemian woman who just wanted toothpaste. All in all, it was an entertaining first day.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Death of an Icon

I was going to write about my Chicago trip but Michael Jackson died in the middle of it so I thought I would talk about that today and save the Chicago trip for tomorrow. It was easy to know something happened with Jackson since you couldn't walk a block in Chicago without hearing someone blaring Jackson out their car windows or through their portable sound system (80s-style) or out of nearby shops. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Jackson was quite a character. It was nearly impossible to listen to the radio in the 80s or early 90s without hearing a Michael Jackson song. Thirteen No. 1 hits and 5 No. 1 albums don't do justice to his musical contributions. He defined an entire genre of music, bringing incredible beats, energy and dancing with his voice. "Thriller" continues to be a musical marvel to this day.

Of course, you can't take the good of Jackson without the bad. The constant controversy surrounding him clouded his genius. Bizarre news stories about his daily habits were released at a pace that far surpassed his musical releases. He shot back at the tabloids in his song "Leave Me Alone," but his behavior was too eccentric to ignore. And the allegations of abuse was much more than most could handle. Whether innocent or guilty, Jackson's judgement was questionable, at best.

But I have to ask whether the public would be as mournful today if Jackson weren't so strange. His strange antics have kept him in the public eye far more than his music in recent years. If Jackson had simply grown old, looked normal and faded into retirement, would people be as moved by his death? Sure, they would mourn and listen to old Jackson tunes but would there be this type of out-pouring of grief? The public longed for Jackson's "crazy" habits as much as they longed for his terrific music. He became a reality show of sorts. His monetary woes, his custody issues, his ever-changing and more terrifying looks -- all part of the sideshow that was Michael Jackson.

I was in high hopes that Jackson would shock everyone and make a comeback following the 02 tour. I was in hopes he would actually be able to perform again. I had read several articles listing new artists, like Akon and RedOne, that were axiously hoping to work with the King of Pop following his concerts in the UK. That was all wishful thinking, I'm sure. But at least there was a hope of such a thing occuring. Now that hope is gone...at least Michael's music remains.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Dave Matthews Concert

After attending the Dave Matthews Band Concert on Saturday night, it's pretty easy to see why people travel all over to see the group and will go to multiple shows a year to watch the same group perform the same number -- they're awesome. Unfortunately I have no pictures as the event staff said "no cameras" and, like an idiot, I simply didn't take a camera into the venue. That hardly stopped the other 22,998 fans from bringing in a camera. How they accomplished this, I don't know -- nor do I really want to know. But I digress...

The Hold Steady opened for Dave. I purchased a Hold Steady CD a while back and never really got into it but couldn't remember why until last night. The lead singer, Craig Finn, doesn't really sing. He just kinda talks in a monotone way over the music for most of the song. There are very few lyrical pieces to the music. It's not bad...just not my cup of tea. After about 40-minutes, they cleared the stage and the giant curtain went up in preparation for Dave.

The venue filled in a hurry at 8:00 p.m., in anticipation for the opening of the show. We had seats in Row Z (26 for those with a math/alphabet issue) which had a decent view of the stage but I would have much rather been about 25 rows closer. The show started and everything was electric. The crowd was into it from the first notes and, well, it was just phenomenal.

They hit alot of their hits, like "Ants Marching," "Two Step," "Best of What's Around" and "Bartender" and mixed in a lot of stuff from the new album Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King. Maybe they jammed a tad too long on a couple songs but the jams were all cool, especially the prolongs "Ants Marching." No "Satellite," "Crash Into Me," or "Space Between," but they couldn't hardly play the entire collection (unfortunately). After 3-hours, they finally closed with "Halloween," which delighted the fans in attendance.

Needless to say, I probably could have stayed another three hours to listen to them play. They honestly sounded as good at Pittsburgh Post-Gazette as they do on a post-production live CD. Boyd Tinsley tore up the violin and Carter Beauford was amazing on drums. Really, the whole show was just amazing. And the crowd was well-behaved, which was nice.

Leaving the show was a spectacle as we sat in the parking area for a good hour hoping a group of people were going to fall out of a truck. It never happened unfortunately. However, the concert the girl in the next car over was putting on herself was definitely entertaining. Once we got on the highway, it was smooth sailing home except the downpours. The whole experience, though, was definitely positive. And I will most certainly be getting tickets to next year's Dave Matthews visit to the area.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

State of the Union

I'm just completely disgusted with the entire state of the current union. If you were upset with some of the hypocrisy of the Bush Administration, you would have to be absolutely pulling your hair out with the Obama Administration. This is a group that contradicts itself on a daily basis, from Guatanomo to bailouts to Iraq to national security. It's an administration adrift and confused.

Or is it? Perhaps confusion is how the Obama administration works best. Saturate people with conflicting stories until they have no idea what is really happening. We're shutting down Gitmo. No, we're keeping Gitmo open. We're restarting military tribuanals. We're trying them in the American judicial system. We're letting detainees go. We're transferring them to American facilities. It's a new story everyday. The Democrats relish in mis-direction and confusion.

The other thing the Dems are feeding on is pure fear. Swine Flu! Unemployment! Debt! Bankruptcy! War! Terror! Vaccines! Coal! Carbon! Global Warming! China! Dollar!

People accused the Bush Administration of playing on fears when it comes to terror. Well, the Bush folks were mere novices when it comes to playing the fear card. When people are fearful and not in control of their surroundings, they want to put their faith that someone will protect them. Obama has promised the government will protect everyone. The more fear, the more people look to the government to protect them. This plays right into their hands in the attempt to grow the government ever larger. And the media is right there to perpetuate those fears onto the American public and to further perpetuate the belief that only the government can protect folks from their fears.

The other thing I find extremely disgusting is the allegedly high poll numbers Obama receives. I have a hard time finding anyone that supports the Obama Administration policies. Even people who voted for him have gone out of their way to denounce the outrageous spending practices. I find it hard to believe that 70% of Americans approve of the direction this administration is taking us. Maybe 70% of those looking for a handout. Maybe that's the only people the press polls anymore.

I find it frustrating and, quite frankly, infuriating to watch the direction we are heading. That is the primary reason I have limited my writing. I find it hard to watch the news on a regular basis because of the constantly conflicting stories and the obvious Obama-worship that most newscasters display. I can only hope that we can rectify the issues that are being created. I'm not confident in that however.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Favre to Return...Again?

Brett Favre is meeting with Coach Brad Childress of the Vikings to discuss possibly returning to play yet another season. This is hardly a shocking development. As soon as the Jets released Favre, everyone saw the potential for yet another Favre comeback. And, of course, it would be with the Vikings since Minnesota is an in-division rival to the team that made Favre famous, the Green Bay Packers.

If Favre returns and plays for the Vikings, it would be the final finger to all Packers' fans and prove that Favre has always cared more about Favre than the fans of Green Bay. Over his many years in Green Bay there were plenty of spin doctors playing on Favre's team, convincing anyone who would listen that Favre only cared about Green Bay. Last year's debacle with New York and now this year's Favre tease proves that Brett Favre only cares about Brett Favre.

Personally, I don't care whether he returns or not. It's always nice to have Favre out there helping defensive backs pad their interception stats but, other than that, there's not much use for him. Favre might be a working stiff yet again...time to hang up the tiara until next year.

Monday, May 04, 2009

NASCAR at Richmond

Went to the Richmond to see the Crown Royal 400 this past weekend. Needless to say, it was an interesting experience. The most amazing part was the variety of people to see...and, well, there was a race too.

Being still considered a "southern" sport, we obviously saw our share of interesting people. The Confederate flag is still flown proudly in Richmond apparently...I imagine even more so the further south the race gets.

Yes, his leg says "Git 'er Done!"

This dude's back is a tribute to the Civil War with Generals Lee and Grant on the back.

And, well, I'm not going to say anything about this...

The facilities were what you would expect for about 90,000 people hanging out in a parking lot.

As you would expect with something as sponsor-oriented as NASCAR, there were booths setup everywhere advertising different products

But who really wants a sample of Hellman's mayonnaise???

And nothing really explains this guy...

Thankfully the it didn't rain during the race itself but we had a few good downpours mid-afternoon that sent the spectators scrambling.

Once inside, we found track drying was well underway. The sound of the track drying equipment is actually louder than the actual cars. It was painful listening to the blowdryers but at least they were able to get the track dry and start pre-race festivities on time. One of the more interesting aspects of getting into the track is that NASCAR actually allows you to bring your own food and drink into the track. So everyone had bags and coolers. It's pretty nice because you don't have to worry about excessive costs in buying a hotdog from a vendor. It's a very fan-friendly sport.

They parachuted in the American flag and there was a flyover. And the "The Commandant's Own" The United States Marine Drum & Bugle Corps performed the Star Spangled Banner.

Because of track drying, they actually started the race under the yellow flag to take care of any wet spots but it wasn't log before the green flag flew and we were racing.

Everyone there had their favorite drivers. Obviously, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. elicted the loudest applause while Jeff Gordon and Jimmy Johnson shared the title for most boos. The crowd was most pleased when Johnson wrecked in the latter stages of the race.

I think the race tied or surpassed a Richmond record for cautions and a few occurred between turns 1 and 2 where we were located but, for the most part, there weren't any major accident.

Kyle Busch won the race handedly and, surprising, the crowd wasn't too opposed to that outcome. It just happened to be Kyle Busch's 24th Birthday so that was interesting too...

All in all, it was an enjoyable experience. I think people take shots at NASCAR fans because of the redneck beginnings of the sport but the people at the track were really no different than the variety of people you would see at a typical Mountaineer game. I'm definitely going to have to go to another race at some point...it was an overall fun time.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Tea Parties

"It's despicable that right-wing Republicans would attempt to cheapen a significant, honorable moment of American history with a shameful polical stunt."

Those are the words of Rep. Jan Schawowsky (D-Ill.) regarding yesterday's nationwide "Tea Parties." These tea parties are in protest to the unreasonable amount of debt being run up by the newly elected president and the obvious future tax increases that must occur to pay for these new programs.

What is amazing to me is Schawowsky's protest of Americans using their First Amendment rights of freedom of speech and freedom of assembly. Where is Ms. Schawowsky when Americans assemble to protest our military or Americans assemble to give rights to illegal aliens in this country? Oh, that's right...those are noble causes to Rep. Schawowsky. Real working Americans standing up for their rights isn't noble. Only the jobless should be out protesting anything, right? I'm sure that's what Rep. Schawowsky believes.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

The Return of Tyranny

President Obama has been busy these past 3 months. He is slowly, but surely, pulling the country further and further left and doing everything in his power to create additional dependence on the state and government for day to day living. He has weakened America's standing around the world for apologizing for anything he can find. And he plunges the economy deeper in the tank while doing so.

There are so many things wrong with his agenda that it is nearly impossible to find one item in which to go in detail. I guess I will discuss his primary goal which is to create additional dependence on the state to accomplish his ambition of the redistribution of wealth and equal misery for all.

This country was founded on the belief that all were created equal and all have equal opportunity to succeed. There is no guarantee of equal results. Unfortunately, it appears that President Obama has never read the United State Constitution or Bill of Rights. Or he has warped their meaning to the point those documents are unrecognizable.

If President Obama succeeds in his goals, all results will be equal. The redistribution of wealth and private property will occur making all people "equal" regardless of their success. The only way this can occur if for a greater power, the government, to control everything. President Obama believes the government can better handle life than the person actual living. Obama believes the government is better equipped to run your life than you are. Does that make sense?

From health care to education to creating a world government, Obama wants the government to run every aspect of your life and give up American sovereignty. This is the path we are heading down. And this president has accomplished more toward pushing us to this way of life in 3 months than all liberals have since our founding days. This is the return to tyranny from our government. This is the antithesis of what our Founding Fathers envisioned. If America doesn't wake up soon, it will be too late to stop this runaway train.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

UNC = National Champs

No real suprise the North Carolina won the national championship last night. It surprised me more than so many people though Carolina might lose somehow. UNC has superior talent and a superior coach. Izzo might have good teams out at Michigan State but they hardly compare to the talent that Roy Williams can acquire at North Carolina.

The only bad part about last night's game was the lack of drama. North Carolina proved from the opening tip that they were there to win a championship and nothing short of that goal would be accepted. UNC dominated the first half of the game by out-hustling the Spartans in every aspect of the game. It was a magnificient performance.

Roy Williams has cemented his legacy as one of the all-time great coaches by destroying Izzo's Michigan State. Two championships down...who knows how many more before he finally leaves UNC. The sky is the limit...he is at North Carolina.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Obama's Administration - Taking Jobs

Unemployment is high, energy costs are going up and the government is trying to spend money it doesn't have. So, to make things better, we're going to shut down coal operations in West Virginia? How does this even make sense? Apparently West Virginia's unemployment rate isn't high enough for the Obama Administration. And cheap energy from coal? Well, why should Americans have any break on energy costs?

This Administration is proving to be so much more incompetent than I could have ever imagined. It would be almost comical if American's livelihoods weren't at stake. The damage being done now may never be undone. When the EU President is a voice of economic reason, there is something seriously wrong with the way things are being handled in the States.

Other countries are balking at buying American debt. The dollar is plunging amid fears of massive inflation and devaluing of American currency. Other countries are floating the idea of dropping the dollar as the world standard for currency. This is serious and has far more reaching implications than just high unemployment. But too many Americans are caught up in the euphoria from this "historic" administration to see the dangers that lie ahead. This administration is historic...but for all the wrong reasons.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Big East Rules

Five Big East teams remain among the final 16 in this year's NCAA tournament. Not bad considering only 7 Big East teams were picked. Compare that to the two from the Big Ten and ACC despite the fact they also received 7 bids each. Funny considering some pundits thought the Big Ten should have as many as 9 bids this season. At the end, I think it shows the Big Ten is pretty weak and the ACC is having an off year. The Big East is the best in college basketball. Whether that translates into a national title is yet to be seen.

Is anyone really suprised WVU lost the opening round game? I'm not. I had them beating Dayton but it definitely wasn't because I believed they would. Thankfully I had them losing in the 2nd round. There's something missing from WVU's play and it's just not that we don't have a big man inside. The offense is anemic -- we rely completely on offensive rebounds to win games. Poor shooting will lead to losses and WVU has shot poorly.

On the other side, was anyone surprised that Michigan advanced to the 2nd round and gave Oklahoma a run? John Beilein is a heckuva coach. It's hard not to continue to enjoy Beilein's style of play. Michigan will be a top tier team in the Big Ten next year.

Lastly, how much longer until the United State is bankrupt? Obama is now talking about another $1 Trillion dollars in bad debt acquirement by the government. Where is this money coming from? China is already balking at buying more American debt. The dollar is dropping. We're devaluing our currency and soon will be hit with crippling inflation. Or at least that's the scenario I'm starting to see develop. What is the gameplan of the Obama Administration? I don't see one. I can't understand a word this supposedly articulate politician says. His contradictions already define his administration. And Congress may be even more confused than the president. Say what you will but the Bush administration was far more transparent than this supposedly transparent administration.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Random Stuff

Haven't updated in a while...so, I'll just throw a bunch of things together real fast:
  • If George W. Bush made the "Special Olympics" joke that Barack Obama made on Leno, there would be marches in Washington DC by now. I'm not saying the joke was really that bad but I am saying there is a huge double-standard in how the press covers those types of events.
  • Perhaps this wouldn't have happened if Obama's Teleprompter had been used. It amazes me that the press has built this guy up as the most articulate president ever and he can't speak without the use of verbatim notes.
  • I dislike greatly Duke and Coach K but I have to give him props on recommending the president focus more on the economy than his NCAA picks. Perhaps he should spend more time on foreign relations than who is in his bracket.
  • Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has to love Barack Obama. The signals have been sent that the United States is weak on foreign policy and definitely doesn't have the backbone to backup rhetoric with force. We just want to play nice with everyone. Iran will have a nuclear bomb in a couple years...that will be nice.
  • I can't get WVU past Kansas in my bracket. I tried...just doesn't work. Hopefully they can get by Dayton today.
  • The AIG bonus mess has been projected through a very bias prism. If people were guaranteed money by a business, that business should pay that money. This is why the government should not be involved in private business. I am more offended by the corruption in Washington and the gifts our "representatives" receive. Perhaps those gifts should be taxed 100%. I would definitely be in favor of that course of action.
  • Lastly, is there any politician more disturbing than Nancy Pelosi? Google her...check her out. She's atrocious.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Burning Bridges

Obviously the British press isn't overly impressed with the "Chosen One":


Obama is over his head and drowning. He can't give a speech without a teleprompter. He can't figure out the economy. And it's becoming evident that he doesn't know what to do with foreign policy. And yet people in this country remain oblivious. Eventually the honeymoon will have to end...and it will be a rude awakening.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Jim Cramer's Response to the White House

I think this is all for today:


It's amazing that the White House is taking on individuals who disagree with their plans just to stifle opposition. And it's scary.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009


Conservatives are often labled as anti-green or anti-environment. I'm not sure that's a very fair assessment of the conservative position on the environment. I am very much in favor of clean air and water. I am very much in favor of not littering. I turn down the heat in the winter when I'm not home and turn off the air conditioner in the summer when I'm out. I bought rechargeable batteries and drive a car that gets 25 MPG. Shoot, I even bought those spiral lights that are environmentally friendly. But, I don't do those things for the right reason -- I do it to save money, not the environment. So that makes me anti-green.

My problem with the enviromental movement begin with the notion that we must suffer to make things right again. We must pay more for energy to right our environmental sins. We can't make the small changes that I said above but, instead, we must completely give up our way of life according to many environmentalists. Green has become a de facto religion for many on the far left with Man being a scourge upon the earth. We must either repent and suffer for our environmental sins or face an oncoming environmental apocalypse.

Personally, I just don't think that way. I am pro-environment as long as it makes sense. Obama's green initiatives are mostly subsidies for alternative energies that would lose money if they didn't receive subsidies. The long term plan is even more sinister. To force more people to use green energy, it must be cost effective. To make alternative fuels and energies more cost effective, Obama's initiative will find ways to raise prices on existing energies such as oil and coal. This, obviously, will be to the detriment of the American citizen since energy prices will sky rocket to give alternative energies some appeal.

Talk about destroying an economy. One of the few reliefs we have felt with this economy is the lower gas prices. If Obama has his way, those prices will return to $4 + or higher just to further the far left greenies. It is absolutely ridiculous to make people suffer just to satisfy a fringe group in this country. Progress can be made but we're not to a point that it is cost effective. Talk about taking a hit against the middle class...this will definitely hurt if Obama gets his way.

Why Limbaugh is Right

The White House is attacking Rush Limbaugh as the leader of the Republican Party. They're not exactly right. Limbaugh might have the attention of the Republican Party but Limbaugh has long said he doesn't lead the Republicans. Nor does he run for office. If anything, Limbaugh leads the conservative base in this country. Not necessarily Republicans but rather a principle that can be taken up by Republicans, Democrats or Independents.

Conservative people typically vote Republican because the Republican party has often stood for conservatism when compared to the Democrat party. However, there are liberal Republicans as there are conservative Democrats. Limbaugh, much like other conservatives, do not have to agree with the Republican party. When George W. Bush expanded the government, conservatives protested. Conservatives raised concerns about the first $700 billion dollar bailout. Conservatives did not like the choice of John McCain. Conservatives, including some Democrats in the "Blue Dog Group" are concerned about the latest "stimulus" bill.

I am a fiscal conservative. I believe in lower taxes and less government intervention. I believe government hampers business. I am not against oversight but I do not believe the government should be interfering in the day-to-day operation of any business. I believe in free enterprise and that America works best in the private sector. And these are things that Limbaugh also happens to believe. And I believe that it is an American citizen's right to voice that opinion. As does Limbaugh. And it's because I am conservative first, and not a Republican first, that I can criticize Bush's expansion of government and bailout plan. It is because I am conservative first that I can compliment Joe Manchin's fiscal conservatism in keeping West Virginia in the black. I don't care if he's a Democrat as long as he follows basic economic principles to keep the state in check.

On a social agenda, I find myself at odds with some in the conservative base. There are many social arguments in which I just don't have an opinion. So I base 90% of my votes solely on the financial policies of the candidate. And that's the Number One reason why I'm having a hard time with Barack Obama. I don't believe his policies are going to advance this country. And I believe we are heading down the wrong direction. And, like Limbaugh, I don't want to see this country turn into a welfare state where the redistribution of wealth becomes the primary job of the state.

Lastly, I don't like the policy the White House has taken in trying to bully and intimidate opponents. They have tried to distort the words of anyone who publicly disagrees with their policy. They have obviously taken on Limbaugh and Hannity and, by doing so, pushed many Republicans back to their conservative ideals (thank you, White House). And they have taken on other journalists who voice their opinions. They have attacked Rick Santelli for disagreeing with the "stimulus" bill on CNBC in his famous "Chicago Tea Party" rant and now they are taking on Jim Cramer because the believes the White House is destroying wealth.

Correct me if I'm wrong but doesn't the First Amendment guarantee Freedom of Speech and Freedom of the Press? Is it now not permissible to question the judgment of the White House? When the Press Corps was pushing a "Lose the War" agenda in Iraq and the White House called for a more balanced report, didn't the Press cite the First Amendment? Now the White House is trying bully the press even though a majority of the press has been favorable towards the "stimulus" bill. By calling out every critic and attempting to embarass their critics, they are trying to stifle opposition.

Anyway, I have strayed very far from my initial point. Limbaugh is right because he is standing up for conservatism. It doesn't matter whether it be a Republican or Democrat ideal...someone needs to stand up for conservatism and, for several months, he was the only person doing it. And that is the right thing to do...regardless of your party. In the next few days, I will try to explain what conservatism means to me...and why I'll vote for a conservative every time.