Wednesday, December 31, 2014

What Exactly Do the Police Unions Want From de Blasio?

      The man is trying his best. I don't know what they expect from him. He speaks to them for 2 hours and then Patrick Lynch says 'Well actions speak louder than words?'

      What I don't get and none of the de Blasio bashers can explain is that while they feel the Mayor has somehow wronged them horribly what exactly was it that he did? It seems that it's certain words he has spoken. They apparently didn't like his campaign for Mayor because he called for the end of stop and frisk even though Lynch and the unions also criticized stop and frisk as 'quotas' being imposed on officers.

      They didn't like when he talked about his son and when he was critical of the Eric Garner grand jury decision. In the minds of Lynch and his union buddies this somehow constitutes a war on police. Somehow it's 'hate filled rhetoric' to question anything the police do.

      Meanwhile the only one who has really used hate filled rhetoric is Lynch who vilely claimed that de Blasio has 'blood on his hands.' N

      After a 2 hour meeting the police unions aren't happy. They 'expected more.'

       “I was expecting more,” a union official who was in the room said. “In fairness to the mayor, he is asking for conversation to move forward.”

      But when the discussion ended, the official said, “we were all scratching our heads over what is getting solved.”

       I'm glad they're scratching their heads, because I am too. What exactly were they expecting from the Mayor at this meeting? I guess they wanted him on bended knee, for the crime of what exactly? You never get any real answer here. I guess they think that he has to enter into some sort of voluntary lobotomy where he comes out and says the Eric Garner decision made perfect sense, anything less is 'throwing the police under the bus.'

      As I said yesterday the undercurrent here seems to be that we are no longer living in a democracy here in NYC as the police think that they serve Patrick Lynch not the people of the City who like it or not elected de Blasio.

       Now we have the spectre of the unions threatening a work stoppage by the police-which is totally illegal. 

       "The New York Post on Tuesday reported, and city officials confirmed, that officers are essentially abandoning enforcement of low-level offenses. According to data The Post cited for the week starting Dec. 22 — two days after two officers were shot and killed on a Brooklyn street — traffic citations had fallen by 94 percent over the same period last year, summonses for offenses like public drinking and urination were down 94 percent, parking violations were down 92 percent, and drug arrests by the Organized Crime Control Bureau were down 84 percent."

       "The data cover only a week, and the reasons for the plunge are not entirely clear. But it is so steep and sudden as to suggest a dangerous, deplorable escalation of the police confrontation with the de Blasio administration. Even considering the heightened tensions surrounding the officers’ deaths and pending labor negotiations — the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association has no contract, and its leader, Patrick Lynch, has been the most strident in attacking Mr. de Blasio, calling him a bloody accomplice to the officers’ murder — this action is repugnant and inexcusable. It amounts to a public act of extortion by the police."

       The NY Times as well finds the claim that de Blasio has attacked the police empty:

       "The list of grievances adds up to very little, unless you look at it through the magnifying lens of resentment fomented by union bosses and right-wing commentators. The falling murder rate, the increased resources for the department, the end of quota-based policing, which the police union despised, the mayor’s commitment to “broken-windows” policing — none of that matters, because many cops have latched on to the narrative that they are hated, with the mayor orchestrating the hate."

      "It’s a false narrative. Mr. de Blasio was elected by a wide margin on a promise to reform the policing excesses that were found unconstitutional by a federal court. He hired a proven reformer, Mr. Bratton, who had achieved with the Los Angeles Police Department what needs doing in New York. The furor that has gripped the city since the Garner killing has been a complicated mess. But what New Yorkers expect of the Police Department is simple:"

      "1. Don’t violate the Constitution."

      "2. Don’t kill unarmed people."

       "To that we can add:"

       "3. Do your jobs. The police are sworn public servants, and refusing to work violates their oath to serve and protect. Mr. Bratton should hold his commanders and supervisors responsible, and turn this insubordination around."

       "Mr. de Blasio has a responsibility to lead the city out of this impasse, and to his credit has avoided inflaming the situation with hasty or hostile words. But it’s the Police Department that needs to police itself. Rank-and-file officers deserve a department they can be proud of, not the insular, defiant, toxically politicized constituency that Mr. Lynch seems to want to lead."

Contrary to the Ny Sports Media, John Mara is not too Patient

     With the emphasis on too. I notice that the sports writers all framed Mara's press conference as laying down a 'win or you're done' scenario. I'm not so sure that this is what he said. In any case. He said he 'didn't disagree' that next year is a 'Win or else proposition for a lot of people in the organization.' 

    Maybe that's what he meant. In any case I think that there is too much hunger in the media for 'Win or else propositions.' All the writers in today seem to think that Mara has been perhaps patient to a fault and they all want to emphasize that this year is win or else-they had baptized this past year the same thing of course. 

    Here's Mike Vaccaro:

    "There are more than a few Giants fans for whom the Mara Way — on display Tuesday with the official retention of Tom Coughlin and Jerry Reese — is a frustrating way, a body-at-rest-tends-to-stay-at-rest endorsement of status quo. They are entitled to feel that way; even Super Bowl wins don’t eliminate statutes of limitations for executives or shelf lives for coaches."

     Let me just say this: I am one of the biggest Giant fans out there. Friends that go with me to Applebees on a Sunday afternoon can attest to that. I really don't feel 'frustrated' right now. I mean yes, the last 2 years have been disappointed. However, I do not feel frustrated like I wanted Coughlin's head on a pike. 

    I also want to say I don't think that we as Giants fans can in any meaningful way claim to be 'long suffering.'  Vaccaro likens Mara to 'Job.' I disagree. You know who is long-suffering and have to have the patience of Job? Jets fans. They haven't won a Super Bowl in 45 years. I would call myself a long-suffering Knicks fan, certainly with James Dolan owning the team. I mean this year as a Knicks fan I didn't expect much but 5-27?! 

    Even as a Ranger fan I remember when we overcame the Curse of 1940 but now it's 20 years-are we headed for the Curse o 1994? Still at least we went to the Stanley Cup last year. 

    I'm a Yankees fan and let's face it Yankees fans are anything but long suffering. It does seem like a long time since we won a World Series-2009- but only because this is the Yankees-we feel like it's supposed to be our title every year. Even our time in the wilderness lasted only 4 years-1989-1992. 

    As a Giants fan we were once long suffering, In the 70s after The Fumble when that plane flew over about 15 years of football-we inspired the Jets fans this year with the 'Fire Idzik' plane. 

   Let's be real though. Today we're not long suffering. Since The Fumble we got LT and Phil Simms and Bill Parcells and then Coughlin, Manning, etc. In the last 30 years the Giants have been as good as any NFL team. I mean we've had 4 Super Bowls and were in another one in 2000 even though we lost badly on that day to Baltimore-hey the Jets haven't even been to one since the Namath guarantee. So 4 wins in 5 Super Bowl appearances. 

   Meanwhile you have teams that have never been to one and many more teams that have never won one. So to me the talk about patience is a little overdone. What a lot of the media seem not to be able to get over is the idea that 'the Giants have missed the playoffs the last 3 years and 5 of the last 6.' 

   They are trying to spin the numbers in the most uncharitable way possible. I mean look at the Oakland Raiders in that same period. This year they were 3-13 this year and the talk around the league is 'Gee, the Raiders were a lot better this year.'

   It's not like the Giants have been a last place team every year during this supposed 6 year period of futility, like the Redskins-and during this futile period there was a Super Bowl win. To me in Oakland there should be impatience. I mean with the Bengals the knock is that they have made the playoffs the last 4 years but they never win a playoff game. So do you fire the coach? Well before he got here they hadn't made the playoffs in 20 years. 

       A little perspective is in order. I notice that no one every criticizes Bellichick and Brady though they haven't won a Super Bowl title since 2004. In that time the Giants have won 2-and the team they beat twice just happens to be the Pats. 

     So what do you say? Well, yeah but every year the Pats have a great record and are one of the top Super Bowl contenders? Yeah but they haven't gone all the way in 10 years. Should their fans be 'impatient?'  

     I'm just playing Devil's Advocate and trying to give the conversation a little perspective. In 2012 the Bears were tired of making the playoffs but going no further. The owner got impatient, which evidently is a great virtue. Meanwhile the team has missed the playoffs the last 2 years and this year was 5-11 and looked very bad getting blown away too many times to count. 

    If anything, it seems to me that in sports, certainly in the NFL, patience is a virtue. Obviously there is a time to pull the trigger-probably the Jets had to do so on Monday. 

   Still what is the characteristic of winning teams? Usually these teams have a head coach, a GM, and a franchise QB that are in place for a long time. Not every season will be a Super Bowl even in the best organizations. It's the nature of the beast. 
   As Vaccro does point out, this is not the first time there have been calls for Coughlin's head. We had them in 2006 and 2010. In those cases 'patience' turned out to be a virtue. In the NFL having a new coach every few years is not a virtue. 

   A lot of pundits seem offended that Coughlin is somehow living off his Super Bowl rings. As Mara said, if you really believed that the coach is past it it'd make no sense to bring him back no matter how many rings he had in the past as the future is what counts in the NFL. 

    Still, when making a decision, you always have to factor in the whole body of work. Coughlin's is impressive. The fact that he won it all twice before means you know he can do it again. 

     One knock as a Giants fan I often have heard-very often from disgruntled Pats fans-is that the Giants may have won those two years but they weren't the best teams in either year. It is interesting that both teams didn't have superb regular seasons and only came on late in the year. 

    Jerry Reese yesterday said he didn't think those were even the best Giants teams personnel wise. In 2011 the team was 7-7 after 14 games. If this is true that only makes Coughlin a greater coach. He was twice able to rally an underdog team that had to play a wildcard game to win 4 straight times-only 1 home game in the two campaigns-to win it all. If that's not the picture of a great coach I don't know what is. 

    So of course his past body of work is factored in when assessing him today. Often times you hear 'what if he hadn't won those two Super Bowls but only made the playoffs'-of course it'd be different as his record would be weaker. Obviously when assessing an 11 year record a better record will give you a better assessment I don't get the hangup. 

    So I'm glad he's back. I don't really see what's the use of characterizing this year as 'win or else.' I mean what do you mean by win? A winning season, a playoff season, a Super Bowl? To say win the SB or else is absurd. You know who used to do things like that? George Steinbrenner. Still the team only became great when he stopped changing the manager every year or even twice during the year. 

    I'm sorry but when you own a team in the pros, impatience is not a virtue, no matter what the pundits may want to think. 

    Look, I want next year to be better as much as any Giants fan and I think it will be. But I just don't see that making 2015 about 'Coughlin better win or else' is going to help the team play better. You don't want to create this narrative as it's not productive. There are too many factors that can come into play. You shouldn't tie your own hands and limit your own options for a new season 9 months away. 

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Is Jon Stewart Past His Expiration Date?

     When I first came across this title question in a Slate piece my first reaction was while not exactly 'getting my gun'-as in the old saying 'when I hear the world culture I get my gun'-at least to reach for my bullshit detector. I mean often you get this alleged for liberals from a friend-presumably a liberal too-who seems to be trying to help not liberals but conservatives.

      What made me rethink it and at least give the post a chance was that this was also a suggestion of Barney Franks-that liberalism needs to 'get over the snark' of Stewart and Stephen Colbert, et. al.

       "Barney Frank spent a whopping 32 years of his life as a U.S. congressman, and retired at a time when his party’s chances of retaking the House majority looked pretty grim. So when the onetime representative of Massachusetts’ 4th District announced in 2011 that he was calling it a career, I couldn’t really blame him. All the same, I must admit that as I read through his recent interview with Reuters — a wide-ranger in which Frank’s in his usualwitty, incisive and cantankerous form — I felt a bit melancholy over what the federal government, and liberalism itself, has lost."

      "The whole thing is worth your time, but if I had to pick one section of the interview that seemed the most distinctly Barney Frank-esque, it would have to be the moment when the former congressman takes aim not at favorite liberal targets like Chris Christie or Jeb Bush but at two liberal heroes: Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. “The press is very different today,” Frank told Reuters, comparing the current media landscape to the one of 20 years ago. Calling it “a major contributing factor to pro-right-wing, anti-government feeling,” Frank argued that the media had anything but a liberal bias. “[E]ven the liberal press is anti-government,” Frank complained. “Ever watched Jon Stewart say anything good about government?”

     "According to Frank, Stewart and Colbert go wrong by letting a general weariness of the corruption and plasticity of American politics blind them to recognizing the difference between the left and the right. Using Bill Maher as a contrast, Frank said that the HBO host is “very funny, but also has good and bad guys on the show.” As a result, Maher’s viewers, Frank argued, can determine for themselves which side they found more persuasive. On the other hand, Frank said, “You come away from Stewart and especially Colbert” believing that all politicians are “assholes.” Both sides are terrible, in other words, so why bother?"

      I think there is something in that possibly, though I actually prefer Colbert to Stewart. I think Stewart in particular really has this attitude of ''their all assholes' and I agree with Frank that watching it one might just conclude 'why bother?'

      Colbert-is great. Of course, he's gone in any case, but I really miss him. That time he roasted Bush in front of him at that correspondence dinner is just pure gold-The No-Fact Zone!

      Stewart on the other hand can actually be a real downer.

      Not Colbert-listening to him all I do is laugh. Listen-it's up to people if they want to still watch Stewart. I have no real horse in that race. I often have enjoyed him but unlike some of the young people out there I don't get my news primarily from him. In many ways the format is more palatable and less forbidding to what you might call the post MTV generation. I love MTV don't get me wrong but I remember the time before MTV-which admittedly wasn't so much fun. When I want to seriously know what's going on I don't go there.

      However, the fact that Frank-who I have a very high regard for-makes this complaint makes me think a little more about it. I think I got tired of Stewart after 2009. I'll admit it's partly because I'm an Obama supporter and I feel that while he's obviously a on the left-liberal said of the spectrum he seems to think that he has to criticize Obama as much as he did Bush because that is honest.

     You've heard 'a pox on both your houses?' Well Stewart seems to just be a pox on all houses. Plus I didn't like the time he took down Jim Cramer. In all fairness, I think he came from the stand point of someone who doesn't know anything about the market and how it works. He came at it in some hyper fierce moralistic terms but that's not what the market is.

     It's interesting actually to ask the Zizekean question: 'what does Stewart want?' A sympathetic book calls him 'the angry optimism.' I think I agree with a quote of something he himself says in this book: 'I'm probably too critical.'

     Yet, I think that you have to understand what the function of his show is. It's not just a straight news show but it's aimed at people who feel themselves to be disenfranchised. Looking at the world this way doesn't really appeal to me but there are a large market of such folks. Maybe the folks at Slate or even Frank thinks it's run it's course but does the Stewart audience think that? If it did it'd be over.  We'll see if and when that happens.

     UPDATE: My idea of the audience are kids who never cared about the news before as it's too boring and smarmy but find that Stewart makes it cool. As they, like Stewart, feel themselves disenfranchised in some deep social way they enjoy his throwing all these rhetorical spitballs-while of course it;s just for a comic effect.

    Look there are many things that other people like that I don't like. A lot of people don't like Rush and wish he were off the air-I don't like him but I don't spend time wishing him off the air. This will happen if it does if his fans ever start agreeing with his critics just like with Stewart. I mean I get that there's a market and there's no use in spitting into the wind.

    The question of the impact of Stewart is a different question. Actually I like the way the Slate writer-Elias Isquith-took Frank's comments:

     "I’m not sure Frank’s setup here can withstand strict scrutiny (if Maher’s establishing “bad guys,” can it really be said that he’s letting his audience make up its own mind?); and I definitely think it’s a mistake to lump Colbert and Stewart together as he does. But at least as far as Stewart and “The Daily Show” goes, I believe Frank’s got a point — and a good one at that. I’ve written previously about why I find Stewart’s habit of saying he’s “just a comedian” whenever he’s challenged so annoying. But what Frank’s getting at is different, and is more about Stewart’s overall approach. More than “The Colbert Report” or Maher’s stand-up and HBO series, “The Daily Show” tends to inspire glib cynicism more than outrage or understanding. But I’d argue it’s the show’s utter dependence on Jon Stewart, Media Personality — not an “anti-government” inclination — that explains the reason why."

     So he agrees with me that Stewart and Colbert are different-and that this criticism is more suitable to Stewart. I find Stewart on that link above where he ripped apart the old CNN Crossfire show as interesting. He plays the very same 'I'm just a comedian' game and it does seem a little disingenuous. After all, it enables him to criticize others and when they point out that it can also apply to him his answer is 'But I'm just a comedian, what's your excuse?' This is both a cop out and kind of literally makes him 'rubber and his opponents blue.'

       This question fascinates me: why is he so critical? His hypercritical posture makes one wonder if he's indeed 'just a comedian.'  In that Crossfire show the Zizekean question comes to us: What did Stewart really want from these two hosts he battered so much? i

       I think here, Isquith makes a very good point: Stewart's actual political analysis tends to be very superficial-which may be another reason I don't bother to watch him regularly. He kind of reminds me here of Saturday Night Live where the opening segment gives you hope in the show but by the end you realize it never really delivered on your hopes.

       "But much more often, the result of “The Daily Show’s” reliance on Jon Stewart, Media Personality, is to leave its audience with an understanding of politics that suffers from Stewart’s weakness for the superficial. Sen. John McCain, for example, may support myriad policies that Stewart finds objectionable — most especially those involving the killing and maiming of other people — but because McCain is witty, personable and seemingly forthright, he’ll always have a spot in “The Daily Show’s” heart (albeit one that’s less luxurious than it used to be). Along the same lines, Stewart has a penchant for sneering at political activists who promote all the same causes as he might, but do so without his signature (and glib) ironic distance. By focusing so heavily on the style of politics rather than the substance, Stewart leaves his audience with the mistaken impression that, ultimately, none of it really matters."

       This may be why he has often praised Fox News and treated Bill O'Reilly respectfully. It's funny as I mentioned Limbaugh previously but in a way Stewart's game 'I'm just a comedian' is sort of like what Rush does when he claims his job is to entertain-that you shouldn't take him for what he isn't. 

       Then Isquith touches on a central think I don't like about Stewart-besides the fact that he's really just too critical; I really find him to be personally quite unpleasant-he plays the 'both sides do it game.'

       "It’s the shallowness of Stewart’s politics that leads to his other notable weakness as a political pundit (which, “just a comedian” protestations aside, he clearly is); namely, his tendency to fall prey to the trap of blaming “both sides.” As the journalist Sasha Issenberg once snarked, there are times when Stewart’s desperation to maintain his cooler-than-thou remove from the political process ends up making him sound like “a David Broder column with punchlines.” Like Broder, the now-deceased legendary reporter who became known as the “dean of the Washington press corps,” Stewart can be so worried about sounding partisan, and thus losing his straight-shooter credibility, that he can make arguments and jokes that are insincere on their face. Predictably, this tic has been more obvious in the Obama years — like when he tried to give the conservative (and thinly veiled) Obama-needs-a-teleprompter meme a “Daily Show” spin."

        "Take a look at Stewart’s interview with President Obama in 2010 as a case in point. Aired around the same time as Stewart was organizing and starring in his “Rally to Restore Sanity” —  which asked tens of thousands of “Daily Show” fans to congregate in Washington in order to … ask both sides, politely, to adhere to an ill-defined, ahistorical standard of reasoned discourse —  he was venting to the president about all of his frustration and disappointment. “So here you are, you’re two years into your administration,” Stewart complained at one point, “and the question that arises in my mind [is]: Are we the people we were waiting for or does it turn out those people are still out there and we don’t have their number?” It was a decent zinger, hoisting Obama’s famous 2008 campaign slogan on its own petard. But coming as it did from a guy who mocks activists, ridicules earnestness and downplays the sincerity of the left and right’s political differences, it was annoying as well as hypocritical."

       UPDATE: Still, I have to say-having said all this-that Stewart did do a good job with those Bill O'Reilly; debates. They were interesting and informative-probably better than most real debates between politicians.





What Two People do Americans Admire Most?

      If you answered President Obama and Hillary Clinton, you'd be right.

       If you check that link you'll see there's a very cute picture of the two of them back when she was Secretary of State-I seem to recall some tabloid stories that he was cheating on Michelle with her-obvious hooey but they really did become very close friends and it's great to see.. This is not a new story. 

       "Americans continue to name Hillary Clinton as the woman living anywhere in the world whom they admire most, and name Barack Obama as the man they admire most. Clinton has held the top women's spot in each of the last 13 years and 17 of the last 18, with that streak interrupted only by first lady Laura Bush in 2001 after the 9/11 terror attacks. Obama has been most admired man in each of the last seven years, beginning with 2008, the year he was elected president."

      So while the GOP loves to snicker over the President's low approval ratings what do they have to say about that? It's not as if George W. Bush was the most admired American every year of his Presidency. 

     The GOP loves to tout Obama's low poll numbers and as usual for them, they've exaggerated here as well as while his his numbers the last year and a half have not been too exciting-consistently in the low 40s, they have never gotten as low as Bush did in his second term. 

     In fact, George W. Bush did have a great joke at a roast he told after Hurricane Katrina when he mentioned that at the time he had only a 38% approval rating-it would get 10 points lower-and that Cheney had asked him what his secret is.

      Now the GOP is left to wonder how they won a wave election and yet it's the President's popularity that is rising.

      Not to toot my own horn-but someone has to do it-this has been predicted.

       Meanwhile the GOP is left to defend the indefensible Steve Scalise, their number 3 man in the House-'He didn't know it was a Neo-Nazi rally and anyway it was 12 years ago'-time didn't stop them from talking about Jeremiah Wright or Whitewater of course. Still, he has some defenders.
       "It may be the least welcome endorsement ever: a white nationalist political operative, vouching for an embattled Congress, for speaking before a hate group.

Rep. Steve Scalise has a supporter in Kenny Knight, the white nationalist who invited the House Republican to speak at a Metarie, La. Best Western Hotel in 2002—the site of a racist conference.
       "Poor Steve Scalise is getting a bad rap,” Knight, a long-time aide to former KKK leader David Duke, told The Daily Beast.  “I don’t think Steve Scalise would come anywhere near a white hate group.”
         "It’s a bit of an odd statement, since Knight and his cohorts don’t consider their outfits to be hate groups, despite their stridently racist rhetoric."




Is New York City Now a Police State?

     This is what you have to wonder with the spectre of them publicly turning their backs on the Mayor of New York City. My old buddy and Diary of a Republican reader checked in with some real concerns:

     "Im really getting concerned about the behavior of cops..... everywhere. There seems to me to be no real interest in reigning it what looks like a policy of giving them a gun and letting them decide when to use it. They are not allowed to be questioned, they continually fall back on how "dangerous" their job is and act as if citizens should just STFU or they are gonna see what police brutality looks like. "

       "This, to me, IS the key issue of our time. This is how the neoliberal nightmare gets its chance to fully come to fruition. Once municipalities are starved of tax revenue and services are privatized, formerly public employees are now personal care assistants for the plutocrats. These cops will take their marching orders not from Mayors but from the guys who are really paying for things. "

      "The contempt for average people that these cops and their supporters are expressing lately is quite disgusting and this is coming form deep down too. We are a very sick nation and we are allowing many of our least democratic minded people carry guns and "enforce order". I'm getting VERY concerned."

      "How this all plays out in NY will be very important to what the rest of the country does I think. I hope deBlasio can hold up. He's got some sharks circling and they want more than him, they want every major metro area."

       What is going on is that the tragic murder of these two police officers is being used to advance a political agenda. De Blasio is being used as the lightening rod to advance this agenda. The police don't like the recent outpouring of concern and criticism of all these cases of cops who seemed like they might have used excessive force being giving a pass when the victim is a Black man. I mean it's more than just that you can't get a cop convicted of excessive force or wrongful death-you can't even get a simple trial.  While the grand jury system seems to be a major part of the problem, in Wisconsin they have a new process which recently yielded the same result. 

          A big part of the problem is this idea that has been deliberately developed by some of the police unions where 'you're either with us police or you're against us and with the Mayor and the protesters' which is really wrongheaded but again this is clever politics.  Again, it's changing the discussion from proper police procedure and the use of necessary but not excessive force to 'Why does de Blasio hate the police?' a scurrilous and baseless charge. 

        When those who claim that de Blasio has 'thrown the police under the bus' are asked what it is concretely that the Mayor has actually done or said wrong,  these folks never have a clear answer. Some say it goes all the way back to his campaign which they suggest somehow was virulently anti-police, some suggested that he was attacking the police in speaking out against stop and frisk. I find such a claim telling as stop and frisk was actually something that these same police unions criticized as onerous 'quotas' on the department when Bloomberg was Mayor. 

        I can't help but think of Zizek here where political debates aren't really about content but something else. How else can the police unions criticize stop and frisk but when the Mayor does it's anti-police? 

        What this all seems really about is to put a chilling effect on the ability of citizens to engage in lawful protests-by suggesting that all protests are really just about 'whipping up hatred of the police'- as well as perhaps hobbling a duly elected Mayor with a large amount of support from the people of NYC. 

        I share Greg's concern: for the conduct of the police: to refuse to recognize the Mayor seems like they don't recognize civilian control of the city and right of the people to elect their own Mayor. Do the police believe they serve not the people of this city but something else? If so then basically this is a police state. You can disagree with de Blasio as an officer but you don't have the right to put yourself above him and above the law. This is the heart of the protests-the police in enforcing the law must not put themselves above it. 

       I think the NY Times puts things very well here: the nefarious use of the two slain officers for a political agenda against de Blasio and the protesters has really hurt the reputation and standing of the NYPD. What should have been a time for the public to rally with in support with the cops has instead created a very nasty 'us against them' scenario. 

      "Mayor Bill de Blasio has spent weeks expressing his respect and admiration for the New York Police Department, while calling for unity in these difficult days, but the message doesn't seem to be sinking in."

    "When he spoke at a police graduation ceremony at Madison Square Garden on Monday, some in the crowd booed and heckled him. This followed the mass back-turning by scores of officers when the mayor spoke on Saturdayat the funeral of Officer Rafael Ramos; the virtual back-turning the day before by an airplane-towed banner (“Our backs have turned to you”), and the original spiteful gesture by officers on the night Mr. de Blasio visited the hospital where Officer Ramos and his partner, Wenjian Liu, lay dead."

   "Mr. de Blasio isn’t going to say it, but somebody has to: With these acts of passive-aggressive contempt and self-pity, many New York police officers, led by their union, are squandering the department’s credibility, defacing its reputation, shredding its hard-earned respect. They have taken the most grave and solemn of civic moments — a funeral of a fallen colleague — and hijacked it for their own petty look-at-us gesture. In doing so, they also turned their backs on Mr. Ramos’s widow and her two young sons, and others in that grief-struck family.

     "These are disgraceful acts, which will be compounded if anyone repeats the stunt at Officer Liu’s funeral on Sunday.

     "The New York Police Department is going through a terrible time, and the assassinations of those officers only underscore the dreadful dangers that rank-and-file cops face every day. And, in truth, there is some thanklessness to being a cop. Officers often feel beleaguered, jerked around by supervisors and politicians, obligated to follow rules and policies that can be misguided, held responsible for their mistakes in ways that the public is not, exposed to frequent ridicule and hostility from the people they are sworn to serve. It has always been that way with cops."

      "But none of those grievances can justify the snarling sense of victimhood that seems to be motivating the anti-de Blasio campaign — the belief that the department is never wrong, that it never needs redirection or reform, only reverence. This is the view peddled by union officials like Patrick Lynch, the president of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association — that cops are an ethically impeccable force with their own priorities and codes of behavior, accountable only to themselves, and whose reflexive defiance in the face of valid criticism is somehow normal.



Monday, December 29, 2014

David Duke Calls Steve Scalise a Fine Family Man

     Talk about damning with praise. Usually you hear about 'damning with faint praise' but in this case this is praise period is damning and the more praise the more damning. 

     Here’s an endorsement House Majority Whip Steve Scalise probably wasn’t looking for and doesn't want. In a comment to The Huffington Post, white nationalist and former Grand Wizard of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan David Duke called the Republican congressman “a fine family man and a good person.”

Duke was responding to a recently unearthed story that revealed Scalise had given a keynote address at a 2002 event hosted by the neo-Nazi’s white supremacist group.
     Scalise is trying to claim that he just didn't realize he was speaking at a David Duke bash back in 2002-even though the hotel for the bash basically censured the party as it didn't want any association with it. Yet Scalise just didn't know who he was talking to. 
      Still while he effects to not know who Duke is the Grandmaster of the KKK endorses him. 
      "But even as Scalise is working hard to distance himself from the neo-Nazis, Duke apparently has no problem endorsing him."
        Duke says that it was nothing unusual for Scalise to be there as Duke had a 'ton of Republican support' in Lousiana. Why is that? Is it that all those Republicans just mixed David Duke up with the Chamber of Commerce as Scalise did? Reading Huff Po, it gets better:
        "For his part, Scalise's office has said he was unaware of the white supremacist group's views when as a state lawmaker, he spoke at the 2002 conference. But in 1999, then-state Rep. Scalise told a Washington newspaper that he agreed with many of Duke's "conservative" views.
Duke told The Huffington Post that he doesn't remember speaking with Scalise before the conference. (He later told The Washington Post that Scalise was invited to the event by two of his longtime associates, Howie Farrell and Kenny Knight.) But it would have been nothing out of the ordinary for a Louisiana Republican at the time, Duke claimed.
"I literally defeated the Republican sitting governor of that state," said Duke, referring to the 1991 race in which he forced a runoff against Democratic candidate Edwin Edwards. "I had a huge amount of Republican support."
     Scalise was no different than all those other Repulicans in the state at that time. Seeing that they asked Allison Grimes who she voted for maybe they ought to ask who Scalise voted for back in 1990. 

The 2014 Giants: What a Difference a Year Makes

     Superficially this team's not only didn't have a better record than 2013, it was actually worse as the G-Men slip from 7-9 to 6-10 giving them their second straight losing system-worse year since 2004, Coughlin's first year-and the third straight year out of the playoffs. 

      Still, the feeling ending this year is quite different form last. Quite honestly, I already feel like I can't wait for 2015. Eli Manning had what arguably was his best season ever at least statistically, and the emergence of rookie phenomenon has totally changed the conversation around the team. What looked like such a disappointing season 5 weeks ago, now ends with optimism with the thought that next year a healthy Victor Cruz will join Odell, Eli, Randell-and Larry Donnell who certainly had his moments at tight end this year-remember that early Redskin game?

    I think most fans as well as players were very glad if not relieved to hear that Coughlin will not be fired-the only person who seems not to like him these days is Tiki Barber who has long since become a punch line

     "The 2014 season was a tough one for the New York Giants as the offense acclimated to new offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo, but there were some bright spots too. Big ones."

      "Eli Manning had a very good season after a sluggish start, and rookie wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. became a superstar thanks to his highlight-reel catches and consistency over the final 12 games. The trio of Manning, Beckham and the returning Victor Cruz is enough to give any Giants fan hope in 2015."

        "The defense needs help, and the offensive line is a question mark due to so many injuries in 2014. However, with Tom Coughlin coming back as coach next year, per's Dan Graziano, the Giants should find themselves right back in the thick of the NFC East race."

        Last year as Mara said we had a 'broken offense' which lead to Gilbride being fired for McAdoo who has been a huge success. Now the defensive coordinator seems to be the one to take the ax. Compare this year's points and points allowed vs. last year:

                      PF   PA

         2013    294  383

         2014     380  400

        It's clear that one unit's performance was much improved and that unit wasn't the defense. Similarly after finishing the season with over 500 offensive yards in the last two games of the year, the team ended up 10th in the league in total yards and 7th in offensive yards-what wasn't so impressive was rushing yards though Andre Williams had his moments this year as did Rashaad Jennings. 

        I've said before-the point differential was way down this year-from -79 to only -20 which suggests that this team was much better. This year it's the defense that is broken however, The team was near the bottom in most defensive areas-29th in total yards, 30th in rushing yards, 18th in passing and those 400 points-25 per game-puts them 22nd in points allowed. So it makes sense that this is the area that will have to be refurbished next. Also on the agenda is an offensive line with way too many injuries and bringing consistency to the running game. 

       Still, we have the pieces here on offense with Beckam, Eli, and maybe Randle and Donnell-what's so great about Beckam is he just makes everyone better around him as defenses have to focus on him so much. Other guys get open and this may even help the running game some as teams have to focus so much on ODB so much that they can't focus on stopping the run as much. 

      Gary Myers makes a good point here even though I'm so glad Coughlin is not fired. 

      "Mara is loyal to Coughlin and appreciative of the two Super Bowl trophies he’s won. But this is not a lifetime appointment. Mara is giving him the benefit of the doubt after three straight seasons without the playoffs, a six-game losing streak last year, a seven-game losing streak this year and two straight Decembers with no chance to make the playoffs."

      "He deserves another chance, but just one more chance."

       Still, I don't want to ever see him fired. Ideally the Giants will make progress next year and in about another year or two Coughlin can retire on his terms and then MCAdoo can take over for him. 


Carolina Panthers Prove That Sometimes a Loser Can Win

      Remember that Bee Gees song: 'how can a loser ever win?'

      Finally the Carolina Panthers give us the answer: play in the NFC South.

      So now you have the 7-8-1 Panthers hosting a playoff game with the 11-5 Cardinals coming to play next Saturday. I know it is what it is-you can only play the schedule they give you in the division they put you in but something seems askew here.

     Six weeks ago the Cardinals were 9-1 and at that point were the NFC number 1 seed. To be sure what killed them was Carson Palmer's injury followed by Drew Stanton's injury. Meanwhile the Panthers were 3-8-1 and on a six game losing streak-and including the tie a seven game winless streak.

    However, they came alive with a 4 game win streak to end the season including yesterday's 34-3 win over Atlanta for the division and a 41-10 win in New Orleans-who was also in the running for the NFC Least crown at the end of the year.

    While there is talk that the league may try to change the rules so we don't have the absurdity of a 11-5 team going on the road to play a 7-8-1 team, I notice that the Panthers are actually 4 and 1/2 favorites Saturday, in fact the line seems to be rising. I think that's a questionable call to say the least. I mean one big question is whether the Cardinals do get Stanton back or if they have to go with Lindley again.

     Still, while the Panthers have looked very impressive in this 4 game streak, this has been against its weak sisters of the NFC South-the two 31 point margin victories in Atlanta and New Orleans with a 2 point win against Tampa Bay thrown in.The other win was against the Browns who collapsed at the end of the year with the flop of Johnny Manziel.

    I don't think you can ignore that all 4 wins were against losing teams. Don't get me wrong a losing team can win a playoff team-the 2010  Seahawks won the NFC West with a 7-9 record and yet did win the wildcard game-they actually beat: the 11-5 New Orleans Saints who actually happened to be the Super Bowl champs from the year before to boot.

    Still, when I look at this line I wonder if the odds makers are factoring in the quality of the Panthers' opponents during this 4 game win streak. As for the Cardinals, I understand that they're on basically their 4th string QB at this point and their offense sue as looked anemic at times. Still, I think they're maybe a little underrated here as well. The were actually 7 point underdogs against the Niners-who ended up beating them by 3.

    I think that maybe what happened is that the Cardinals' offense looked so bad against Seattle a few weeks ago that people imagine that's how bad the Cardinals are now-but that game was probably more about how good Seattle's defense is than how bad the Cardinals' offense-though I admit it's not good with Lindley.