Friday, January 25, 2013

Super Bowl 47: The HarBowl

Next Sunday's Super Bowl has already generated the expected excitement and then some. With all the SB narratives, plots and subplots to fill an encyclopedia -- hopefully it will completely knock Manti Te'o and his hoax girlfriend out of the news.

Wishing for a tie?

First, the dueling Harbaughs: this game matches Jim Harbaugh against his brother John; and as one sports writer  called it, it is The HarBowl. My question: who do the parents root for? One son's biggest victory will accompany the other son's worst defeat. What's a mom and dad to do?

 Well if the past is's how the parents handled the first Harbaugh Vs Harbaugh contest.

After the Ravens defeated the 49ers 16-6, Jack Harbaugh said the parental instincts kicked in. He peeked into the Ravens locker room and the guys were jumping up and down. A smile was glued to John Harbaugh’s face.

“I thought to myself, we’re really not needed here,” he said.
Then, he went into the 49ers locker room. It was quiet and somber and Jim was alone in his office.
“That’s where we were needed,” Jack Harbaugh said. “The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat and we know we’re going to experience that next week.”
But when Jackie Harbaugh sits down to watch the game next week, she’ll be pulling for the biggest underdog in Super Bowl history.
“I know one is going to win and one is going to lose,” she said. “But I would really like it to end in a tie. Can the NFL do that?”  source

Ray-Ray's swan song
Future Hall of Famer, Ray Lewis is hanging up the cleats win or lose. Going out in a blaze of victory would put an exclamation point on the legendary career of Lewis. Lewis was a boy-man that had it all and seemed to lose it all in that infamous post-SB party of 2000 that left two men dead. 

The fact that Mr. Lewis has redeemed and transformed himself into a solid man, father, team leader, league ambassador and mentor is a remarkable feat. His tale needs to be told to all aspiring young athletes with big money, lot's of time and a menacing entourage of boys from the hood.

Rising stars: The New QB's on the block

In next week's SB we are sans a Brady, Manning, lil Manning, Rogers, Brees or Big Ben. We have fresh, upcoming QB's leading their respective team: The Ravens have the strong arm of Joe Flacco and 49ers have the exciting double threat (running and passing) of Colin Kaepernick. A new star will be born!

I will be tuned in.

Side-Bar: Is it me or does Tom Brady seem very average if you can put consistent pressure on him? He appears to tap, tap, tap like Mr. Bojangles when faced with a raging defensive rush. One other note, ever since spygate  the Pats have not hoisted the SB Vince Lombardi trophy in the air. Take nothing away from coach Belichick, Brady and team but, I am just saying...

GOP: If you can't beat them cheat them!

Once again, let the games begin. 

Apparently, the Republican national brand is so tarnished, bruised and unpopular these days -- they lost 5 out of the last 6 presidential popular votes -- some of them have decided to pursue rigging elections over refining their message:

Taking its cue from the likes of Lance Armstrong, dozens of Atlanta Public School teachers and Bernie Madoff, the Republican Party is embracing a bold new solution to its political problems:
If you can’t compete, cheat.
And cheat big.
In Virginia, for example, Barack Obama has carried the state and its 13 electoral votes in the last two elections, becoming the first Democrat to carry the state back-to-back since Franklin Roosevelt. But rather than work harder to win back the state, or adopt policies more relevant to the needs of its voters, Republicans are advancing another solution.
Under a bill passed out of a state Senate subcommittee this week, Virginia would no longer award its electoral votes to the candidate who won the most votes. Instead, the state’s electoral votes would be allocated by congressional district, which are heavily gerrymandered to favor the GOP.*
Had the bill been law in November, Barack Obama would have been awarded just four of the state’s 13 electoral votes, even though he carried the state.
Mitt Romney, who lost the state, would have won nine electoral votes, more than twice as many as the winner. As one observer put it, Virginia is in the process of moving from a winner-takes-all system to a loser-takes-most system. source
Larry Saboto, well respected (by Republicans and Democrats) political scientist and analysist, stated:
Republicans are struggling to right their ship after the defeat of 2012. The unfavorable demographic trends for the GOP that we describe in our new book, Barack Obama and the New America, have sunk in, and the party knows it must do something. 
We have solicited ideas ourselves, believing that it is vital for America to have vigorous party competition. You will see some of those ideas, offered by our readers and Twitter colleagues, here. But nestled among the constructive ideas is a truly rotten one, the proposal to fix and game the Electoral College to give a sizable additional advantage to the Republican nominee for president.
We have asked Crystal Ball Senior Columnist Alan Abramowitz, Alben W. Barkley Professor of Political Science at Emory University, to examine the proposal and outline its likely effects. As we suspected, it would permit a GOP nominee to capture the White House even while losing the popular vote by many millions. 
This is not a relatively small Electoral College “misfire” on the order of 1888 or 2000. Instead, it is a corrupt and cynical maneuver to frustrate popular will and put a heavy thumb — the whole hand, in fact — on the scale for future Republican candidates. We do not play presidential politics with a golf handicap awarded to the weaker side.
Republicans face a choice that can best be characterized by personalizing it. A healthy, optimistic party is Reaganesque, convinced that it can win the future by embracing it, and by making a positive case for its philosophy and candidates to all Americans. A party in decline is Nixonian and fears the future; it sees enemies everywhere, feels overwhelmed by electoral trends, and thinks it can win only by cheating, by subverting the system and stacking the deck in its favor. 
Whose presidency was more successful, Reagan’s or Nixon’s? Which man made the Republican brand more appealing? read entire article
Well stated, Mr. Sabato. It is most interesting to note, GOP plans in Virginia overlapped (and maybe overshadowed) a passionate appeal by Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal. In a Republican National Committee meeting in Charlotte, Jindal implored his fellow party members to stop being the party of  stupid.
In his own words:
Criticizing both his party's leadership and specific politicians, he said Republicans need to "stop being the stupid party" and "stop insulting the intelligence of voters."
"It's no secret we had a number of Republicans that damaged the brand this year with offensive and bizarre comments and I'm here to say we've had enough of that," Jindal said. "We need to trust the smarts of the American people. We've got to stop dumbing down our ideas and stop reducing everything to mindless slogans and tag lines for 30-second ideas." source
Let the church say amen!

But I fear -- even with big Republican elephant ears -- they a severely tone deaf. This condition results from living in the echo chamber that was created by the Conservative Entertainment Complex. And until this huge propaganda apparatus is dismantled/defeated the party faithful will continue to accept lies and distortions that peddle to their fears, hatred and prejudices.