“One Shot at a Second Chance.”

The Eagle has landed.  Vick will play in the City of Brotherly Love

The Eagle has landed. Vick will play in the City of Brotherly Love

Michael Vick returned to the NFL as a Philadelphia Eagle.

Let the howls of protest begin.

“He doesn’t stand a chance here.  He would’ve been better off somewhere else.”

~ Alfred Snolten, Eagles fan

“I’m really shocked that he’s coming to Philadelphia. He kept talking about second chances. His dogs didn’t have a second chance. … There are a lot of people out there who deserve second chances more than Michael Vick.”

~ Bill Smith,  founder of Main Line Animal Rescue in the Philadelphia suburbs

Of course, those headline-chasing publicity whores at People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) couldn’t wait to drop the hammer on Vick’s signing with the Eagles.

Dan Shannon, a spokesman for PETA, questioned the sincerity of Michael Vick’s expressed remorse hours after the quarterback was introduced Friday as a member of the Philadelphia Eagles.”Not quite comfortable is how we feel about it,” said Shannon. “It’s possible he’s on the right path and only time will tell. But we, as an organization, haven’t seen sufficient evidence of that.”

 Vick took an eight-hour course offered by PETA, Developing Empathy for Animals, on Sept. 18, 2007

According to Shannon, PETA’s discomfort stemmed from months of discussions with Vick about broadcasting public service announcements aimed at helping to eliminate dogfighting. He said PETA suspected that the former NFL star was more interested in repairing his image than the cause itself and ended the talks in late January.

“It’s hard to say what’s really going on inside the guy,” Shannon said. “Our worry was that he was doing it as a public relations move to try to regain his public image.

“We had concerns he was in it for personal gain rather than a genuine desire to help animals.”

Shannon said PETA asked Vick to undergo a psychiatric evaluation in order to eliminate those worries. He refused. The quarterback is, however, working with the Humane Society.     — USA Today

Think about that for a minute.  PETA wanted Vick to submit to a psychiatric evaluation before they would feel comfortable he was truly repentant for his crime.   Sports Illustrated reports the animal activist group also demanded Vick undergo a brain scan as well to prove he was a changed man.

PETA can kiss both my and Michael Vick’s ass. 

PETA are the same assholes who produced this “comic book” for the kiddies:

If what Vick did was cruel, how is PETA giving kids nightmares better?

If what Vick did was cruel, how is PETA giving kids' nightmares better?

You have to be really sick manipulative bastards to try and go through kids to get at their parents this way.

PETA also sexually exploits women with their “I’d Rather Go Naked Than Wear Fur” ad campaigns.

These sanctimonious jerks are trying to shove their morality down society’s throat and if you disagree with them that makes you some sort of animal-killing fascist.  PETA is the personfication of the liberal elite’s complete confidence in their own virtue and purity and  it is their holy mission to  impose it upon all the non-believing heathens.   PETA is the left-wing version of The Taliban. 

The people who don’t want to see Vick get another chance in the NFL wouldn’t have cared what team had signed him.   The pricipled puritans of PETA don’t give a damn about trying to reform or redeem Vick.   They see him as an excellent whipping boy.   As long as Vick remains a hissable villian PETA can wrap themselves in the bloodied carcasses of dead pit bulls and decry any attempt to allow Vick to reenter society. 

What has PETA ever done on a grassroots level to eliminate the popularity of dog-fighting in urban communities?   Throwing blood on wealthy White women imprudent enough to wear fur may intimidate the hell out of them, but trying that trick on some inner city Black or Hispanic teenager is a real good way to earn a serious beatdown.

If PETA wasn’t so concerned about trying to pimp Vick to raise their own profile and redeem their own image, they would see him for what he is:  a  possible spokesman against animal cruelty that has more authenticity with urban youth than any celebrity vegetarian.

It’s cool to be for the rights of animals, but not at the expense of a man’s right to attempt to pick up the pieces of his life after he’s done his time in jail and paid his debt to society.

That’s “debt to society,” not “debt to PETA.”

Vick said in a press conference flanked by  Eagles coach Andy Reid and his adviser, Tony Dungy, ” To this day, I can’t understand why I was involved in such pointless activities and why I risked so much at the pinnacle of my career.”

“You only get one shot at a second chance, and I’m conscious of that.”

 There’s no way to give the dogs Vick killed a second chance.  But despite what the PETA elitists might believe human beings do deserve  second chances.   

Even Michael Vick.   Maybe especially Michael Vick.

What matters most is heard the least.

Secretary of State Clinton visits a refugee camp in the Congo.

Secretary of State Clinton visits a refugee camp in the Congo.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is on a seven-state visit in Africa.   These are exactly the types of visits that the news media pays as little attention to as possible.  At least unless something happens to catch their attention.  Something silly, insignificant and utterly beside the point, but makes for a great soundbite.

Because the soundbite is supreme.  It rules the news cycle.

Here it is: 

Haw-haw!  Oh, that Hillary!  Why won’t she cut poor ol’  Bill a break?

But did anybody notice the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pledged 17 million in assistance to combat the plague of rape going on in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and was visibly moved by the story of one woman whom had been gang-raped when she was eight months pregnant?

GOMA, Congo — Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton came face to face with the consequences of the brutality in eastern Congo on Tuesday afternoon when she met a Congolese woman who had been gang-raped while she was eight months pregnant.

The fetus died, Clinton said, the woman was gravely injured and since there was no hospital nearby, villagers stuffed the woman’s wound with grass to keep her from bleeding to death.

“I’ve been in a lot of very difficult and terrible settings,” Clinton said later. “And I was just overwhelmed by what I saw.”

“It is almost impossible to describe the level of suffering,” she said. Eastern Congo’s rape epidemic, she added, “is just horrific.”


Did the substance of Clinton’s trip to the Congo get the same sort of notice as the superficial coverage of her terse exchange with the student?

Not so much.
Women are victims of sexual violence and brutalized daily in the Congo, “the rape capital of the world” the United Nations calls it and the Secretary of State’s dramatic face-to-face meeting is overshadowed by a silly question that was probably lost in translation.

Who gives a rip about a bunch of African women being brutalized and victims of horrific sexual violence when Hillary verbally lays the smackdown on some poor kid who admitted he was nervous when he asked his question.

Black women are raped in the Congo?  BOR-ING! What does she think about Bill showing her up with his little field trip to North Korea?  That’s what’s really important.    Stories about a bunch of Black women being raped by Black men?  Ho-hum.

At least that’s the way it seems.   It’s no wonder people hate the news media so much.  They’re too busy trying to make them giggle when they should be trying to help them think.

Then again,  my days in Journalism 101 were quite some time ago.  Maybe I’m the one who doesn’t understand how the news works anymore.

Maybe people these days would rather be amused like the Fox News anchor by a stupid story that will be forgotten tomorrow than be disturbed by an epidemic of rape.   For a real bad time, put the words, “Congo, rape” in a search engine and click.   Just be prepared to have your eyes opened  and your stomach turned.

But don’t worry.  The news media is here to take your mind off the depressing stuff and amuse you some more.   Just sit back and let them entertain you.

The Congo is called the rape capital of the world by the UN.

The Congo is called "the rape capital of the world" by the UN.

Sarah Palin still “making things up.”

"What the hell did I say now?"

"What crazy thing did I say this time?"

Healthcare reform is needed and necessary, but it’s not going to come easy and when it does it will have to survive a gauntlet of Republicans trying to kill it. 

Enter stage right the former governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin, who quit on the citizens of her state so she could move down to the lower 48 and lay the foundation for a presidential run in 2012.  In the meantime, Sarah likes to spend time updating her Facebook page about how President Obama’s healthcare program is “downright evil.”

“The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama’s “death panel” so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their “level of productivity in society,” whether they are worthy of health care,” Palin wrote. “Such a system is downright evil.”

Death panels?    The President of the United States wants to euthanize babies with Down Syndrome?   Umm…not really Ex-governor Palin.   However, you might want to look into seeking professional help dealing with your paranoia issues.  Hopefully, you were able to keep your health insurance coverage when you walked off the job.

The last time you heard a White woman publicly accuse a Black man of wanting to kill her child, Susan Smith was pulling this stunt.

If “levels of productivity in society” were the measuring stick for who lives and who dies,  Sarah Palin would take the dirt nap before Trig.    She hasn’t produced an original thought since John McCain inflicted her on America.

Of course Obama isn’t proposing any such thing  as Orwellian as  “death panels” but why should a little thing like the facts slow down a rabid Republican pit bull in lipstick engaging in fear-mongering?  It’s just when Palin does it she tries to couch it in terms of a loving mother defending her child, not a cynical politician throwing chum in the water for the faithful to chomp on.  She cynically plays the victim over how her enemies and the media try to get at her by attacking her children, but when the situation dictates, she pimps out her own kids and injects them into a political debate.

Former Democratic National Committee chairman, Howard Dean, a physician himself, sneered at Palin’s claims that Obama would set up panels to authorize euthanasia.

“About euthanasia, they’re just totally erroneous. She just made that up,” Dean said to CNN. “Just like the ‘Bridge to Nowhere’ that she supposedly didn’t support.  There’s nothing like euthanasia in the bill. I practiced medicine for a long time, and of course you have to have end of life discussions — the patients want that. There’s nothing… euthanasia’s not in this bill.”

As a private citizen, Palin’s opinion means no more than a loud drunk falling off a bar stool.  However  like Glenn Close’s nutball character  in Fatal Attraction,  she’s not going to be ignored.

One thing about politics is you never know who’s going to separate themselves from the pack. Who would have thought a skinny Black guy with a funny name would go from giving a well-received speech at the 2004 Democratic Convention to the White House four years later?

Palin is the closest thing the GOP has to a superstar.  The Southern, socially conservative base that makes up the most loyal base of the party certainly loves her and why not?   She’s a true believer same as them and she talks funny too.

"Thinkin' about voting for me in 2012?"

"Thinkin' about voting for me in 2012?"

It’s not that Palin couldn’t put herself into serious contention as a presidential candidate.  It’s just unlikely she could barring a major national catastophe and radical advances in brain transplant surgery.  Given her politically deaf decision to quit the position that gave her gravitas and stature her future moves make sense in only in her own whacky worldview shared by her mouthbreathing true believers.

Could it turn out to be? Certainly, but she would have to show she’s ready and willing to put the hours in and do the work to erase her “Paris Hilton of politics” persona. But Palin, being as shallow and craven as she is, isn’t nearly as interested in bettering herself as a future candidate for national office.  The path of least resistance is to sit in the cheap seats throwing spitballs at Barack Obama and making up bald-faced lies that the president wants to kill her baby.

Palin was dumb as a stick horse in 2008 and she’ll be even dumber as just another right-winger with a rotten book to peddle.  Can’t wait to see her on The View or Oprah acting as though she wrote anything more than a “X” on the advance check.

In her ghost of Richard Nixon farewell to the press as she ran out on Alaska she said,  “Democracy depends on you. That is why our troops are willing to die for you. So how about in honor of the American soldier, ya quit making things up?”

Amazing how it is those who go through life pointing the finger at others never notice how three more point back at them.

Dumb Jock of the Week: Michael Crabtree

If ego were money Crabtree would be a millionaire.

If ego were money Crabtree would be a millionaire.

When the San Francisco 49ers drafted Texas Tech wide receiver Michael Crabtree with the 1oth pick in the NFL Draft, the consensus was they were getting a pass catching machine.   From California to Columbus, every long-suffering member of the 49er Nation thought we were getting the best wide-out since Terrell Owens and Jerry Rice played in the crumbling stadium by the bay.

Instead of a perennial All-Pro it looks like we drafted a fucking idiot.

Crabtree is holding out of training camp because he hasn’t got his contract negotiated yet.   Fine.  Nobody’s got a gripe about a guy wanting to make sure he has his financial house in order before he puts on the pads.    NFL players have  short careers and that first contract with the signing bonus that comes with it is often their biggest payday and the only guaranteed money many will ever get.

Crabtree’s problem is he thinks he should be paid like a top five pick , instead of the tenth pick where he was picked.  His particular bitch is because in mock drafts he was expected to be the first received selected, but Al Davis and the Oakland Raiders chose Darrius Hayward-Bey at seven and Crabtree fell to the Niners instead. 

Now Crabtree is pissed.  His ego is telling him he deserves more than Hayward-Bey and like a dope, he’s believing it.

Some nobody named David Wells (identified as Crabtree’s cousin and “adviser”) told ESPN if Crabtree doesn’t get more money than Heyward-Bey he will sit out the entire season and re-enter the draft next year.  “We are prepared to do it,” Wells said. “Michael just wants fair market value. They took him with the 10th pick and you have Darrius Heyward-Bey getting $38 million? This week is crucial. Michael was one of the best players in the draft and he just wants to be paid like one of the best players. This week is very crucial.”

What’s crucial for Team Crabtree,  including his agent Eugene Parker (who denied Crabtree would hold out and try to re-enter the draft to be selected by another team) is to snap out of their mass delusion.  Instead of trying to play hardball with the Niners and demand a contract Crabtree doesn’t deserve, they need to face a few inconvenient truths.

The Mike and Mike Show has been delayed by the bay.

The debut of The Mike and Mike Show has been delayed by the bay.

The 49ers retain the exclusive rights to negoitate with Crabtree.  No other team would be able to speak with him, work him out or otherwise touch him with a ten-foot pole in fear of being accused of tampering.

Other NFL teams will come down on the 49ers like the wrath of God if they give in to one greedy agent and his diva client and pay a Top Ten pick like a Top Five.   If Crabtree is rewarded with millions more or equal to a higher pick, the already ridiculous rookie salary scale will run right off the rails.   Even as bungling and incompetent as the 49er front office are, they can’t give in to Crabtree and Parker’s absurd demands.

This isn’t the best time for Crabtree to pull this stunt.  For the first time in years, the Niners are well-stocked at wide receiver with Isaac Bruce who is aging but still productive, free agent acquistion Brandon Jones who is lighting up training camp, speedy Josh Morgan and Jason Hill, veteran Arnaz Battle  and the promising Dominque Ziegler.  

The team will probably keep five or six receivers.   As the first-round pick , Crabtree is guaranteed a roster spot, but missing a good chunk of training camp and the possiblity of the exhibiiton games means he’d be pretty much useless to the Niners this season.

A wide receiver is only as good as the play of the quarterback and nobody has confused the two incumbents, Alex Smith and Shaun Hill with Joe Montana and Steve Young.

But what Crabtree and Company really might want to think long and hard about is even if their screwball strategy works and they call the Niners bluff by sitting out the entire season to re-enter the 2010 NFL Draft, there’s no guarantee Crabtree will be picked any higher next year.

Every year the needs of NFL teams change.  What if nobody in the Top 10 needs a receiver who gives every indication of being a “me first” baller, a entitled, pampered spoiled brat who’s accomplished nothing in the pros, and who has previously flipped off one franchise that didn’t kiss his ass?   If Crabtree ended up the 15th pick in thenext  draft would he next demand Top 10 money?

At least Owens waited a few seasons before he turned into an insufferable, arrogant prick.  Crabtree seems to want to start off from the jump as a dick even before caught his first pass in the NFL. 

I’m tired of prima donna athletes who walk around thinking the world owes them something because they’re here.  Michael Crabtree can take his demands and shove it.   It’s been 15  years since the Niners were in a Super Bowl and they’re tied with the wretched Detroit Lions for the most losing seasons over the last six years.

The 49ers are perfectly capable of sucking without Michael Crabtree.   You can’t miss what you never had and thus far Crabtree hasn’t done a damn thing except prove how stupid and selfish he is.

Will MADDEN '10 be the only place Crabtree plays this season?

Will MADDEN '10 be the only place Crabtree plays this season?

Here’s some freed journalists for your birthday, Mr. President.

Reunited and it feels so good.

Reunited and it feels so good.

Remember during the presidential primaries when all the talk was over how much Barack Obama and Bill Clinton hated each others guts?

Maybe they’re still a little salty about how things went down last year, but this year, the former president gave the current one a very nice birthday present.

Clinton voyaged to North Korea to negotiate the release of Laura Ling and Euna Lee, two journalists whom had been captured and sentenced to hard labor for spying on the Communist regime.   After less than 24 hours on the ground, Clinton secured the freedom of the two women whom were facing 12 years in a labor camp.

The most important thing to occur here is the release of two innocents so they could be reunited with their families.  North Korea feigns indifference as to how they are perceived by the outside world, but they couldn’t be more aware of their rogue nation status.  This act wasn’t slightly motivated out of goodness, charity or mercy.  It’s a pure public relations move, but one they badly need.

As for Bill Clinton, his rock star status in the Democratic Party was diminished somewhat by the rise of Barack Obama and his defeat of Hillary Clinton for the nomination.   Everyone knows there was bad blood and hard feelings between the Obama and Clinton camps.   Even with Hillary accepting the Secretary of State role, there were questions as to what role Bill would play in a Obama Administration.

Now we know.  Bill Clinton still retains his global statesman stature and his role in freeing Ling and Lee only enhances it.   There will be the critics who grumble and gripe over how the North Koreans will spin this event for their own purposes of propaganda, but those mumblings will sound awfully tinny and muted compared to the sight of Euna Lee sobbing with joy as her 4-year-old daughter embraced her with a loving hug.

One big step in repairing the relationship between two presidents, a feather in the cap of  Secretary of State Clinton, a win for the Obama Administration and two families reunited.

As birthday presents go, Obama  couldn’t ask for a more satisfying one.

“Atlas Shrugged” and other exercises in wretched excess.

At over 1300 pages this is NOT "light reading."

At over 1300 pages this is NOT "light reading."

My son wants to read Atlas Shrugged for an essay contest sponsored by The Ayn Rand Institute. The problem for him is going to be the essay is due by September 17 and at over 1300 pages Atlas Shrugged is by no means “light reading.”

I fear my son has chosen a book waaay over his head. 

I haven’t read the book since I was in college and even then it was something I approached as a chore to get through instead of a pleasure to read. There are great books and there are long books and Atlas Shrugged is a very long book that has become great over the passage of time. I consider it to be in that pantheon of works which are admired more than they are read. 

I feel the same way about all the Toni Morrison novels my wife owns.   There was an amusing essay in The Guardian that observed, “Life’s too short for thousand page novels” and I couldn’t agree more.   Carrying around a book the size of the Yellow Pages will build up your arms, but writing a long book doesn’t mean it’s a  well-written book.

mumble...mumble...wheres my donuts...mumble...

"mumble...mumble...where's my donuts?...mumble..."

There are exceptions of course.  When I was into reading about World War II, one of my favorite books was The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by William L. Shirer, all 1,245 pages of it.  But I first read the book it when I was a teenager.  I’m 53 years old now.  I don’t have time to plow through a 1000 pages.   I doubt I’d even want to.

I used to be a huge Steven King fan.  Whenever he’d crank one out (and he cranks out a lot), it wouldn’t be long before it was on my bookshelf.  But Big Steve made the mistake of confusing long with good.  The Stand (823 pages) was one of my favorites.  But  It (1138 pages) wore me down.  I endured the book as much as I read and skipped a lot of pages trying to get to something readable.

When he was starting out King wrote lean and sparse (Carrie, 199) and once he broke through he began to stretch a bit (The Shining, 447 pages, Salem’s Lot, 439 pages) without losing his way.   Too bad went he became Stephen King the brand name anything he crapped out was sure to sell and that includes some of his absolute worst shit such as Insomnia (704 pages) and Needful Things (792 pages). 

When I was a Stephen King fanboy, I went through his books like they were Spider-Man comic books. I dug the hell out of The Stand in 1978 when it was 823 pages, but not as much when King came out when the complete and uncut version in 1990 that bulks up to 1153 pages.

Making a long book even longer doesn’t mean it’s better. Everything isn’t improved just because there’s more of it. Apocalypse Now is one of my favorite flicks of all time, but when Francis Coppola came out with Apocalypse Now Redux with an additional 49 minutes it just made a long movie longer and not a marked improvement over the admittingly flawed original. Marlon Brando still was a fat, mumbling, lumbering slob.

Yes, some books are as long as they need to be as for a rare few, that’s the only way they would work. Writing tight works in journalism, but in writing novels, less is not always more.

Still, my experience is inevitably the longer a book is the more likely it is to drag and meander at some point. When I read King’s longest book, IT, I found myself just flipping pages at times and when I finished, I knew I’d never read IT again.

"You try playing for six hours and you'll need a nap too."

"You try playing for six hours and you'll need a nap too."

But at 822 pages, Moby Dick remains The Book That Almost Made Me Hate Reading. I wouldn’t make my worst enemy read it. It’s duller than daytime television and kills more brain cells.   

 The only thing I can recall even close to that level of tedium are The Sun Bear Concerts by Keith Jarrett.  That’s TEN records of solo piano improvisation (now condensed down to six CD) and at 397 minutes in length it’s a great way to kill a slow day…very slowly.

Now I’ve never heard The Sun Bear Concerts, so I can’t comment on whether it’s any good.  For Jarrett fans I’m sure it’s a fun way to spend over six hours.   For everyone else listening to that much solo piano might get a wee bit boring around about the third or fourth hour. 

Reading a long book is a labor of love.  You have to invest a lot of time to go that deep into a novel and as my eyes grow weaker, the lenses stronger and my free time more scant,  I’d rather go through a few books that top out at 500 pages than one that goes over a thousand.  

I hope my son enjoys Atlas Shrugged, but I’d be surprised as hell if he does.  Ayn Rand’s writing is drier than toast.

Glenn Beck: Stupid White Man of the Week.

Wing-nuts are not funny or cute.

A Stupid White Man doing what he does best: Be Stupid.

Okay, this “Angry White Man” is getting a bit out of control.  It was never cute, but now it’s just tired.

The wing-nuts have stumbled into yet another truth: Barack Obama hates White folks!

Glenn Beck, right-wing talking head on the radio and his own television show on Fox, showed up one morning on another conservatives-on-crack show, Fox and Friends to comment on President Obama’s statements about the Cambridge police department in the arrest of Henry Louis Gates.

Beck said the president is a “racist” and believes Obama harbors  “a deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture.”

Right. White people like his mother, his grandparents, his vice-president and most of his Cabinet, advisors and aides. He hates their stinking, rotten guts.

You have got to be a special kind of a flaming asshole to think any Black man could have risen this far this fast with the support of so many Whites while all the while secretly despising them.

Or you could be Glenn Beck. But I repeat myself.

Playing the Angry White Man is Glenn Beck’s thing. Same as it is for Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’ Reilly, Lou Dobbs and Michael Savage on the right and Keith Olbermann and Ed Schultz on the left.

These guys don’t debate or reason with cool logic and dispassionate objectivity. They jab their fingers, wave their arms, pound the table and raise hell. Beck might be a decent human being when he’s not playing the fool in front of a camera or microphone, but it’s so much more profitable to babble incoherently about stuff he knows nothing about.

Playing the Angry White Man who’s mad as hell and isn’t going to take it was foreshadowed by Peter Finch as the insane Howard Beale.

It still seems pretty relevant today as guys like Beck are channeling Howard Beale, when they aren’t just stealing his riff outright.

The difference is Beale was stark raving mad.  Beck knows exactly what he’s saying when he calls the president a racist.  He just doesn’t care.   That makes him far more than  just another Angry White Man.  He’s a  Stupid White Man with a extra crispy bucket of crazy on the side.  

As far as loony tunes go, Beck is still a small-timer compared to major league assholes such as O’Reilly or Boss Limbaugh.  He’s down there in the barrel floundering around with the scuzzy likes of Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, Michelle Malkin and all the other crabby conservatives.   Every so often one of them scrambles out and draws some undeserved attention to themself.

Back into the barrel, Glenn with all the other Stupid White Men, but move over.   Lou Dobbs is on his way down.