29 gennaio 2009

On Paul's Letters to Early Bishops

"Scripture Is Read Correctly by Putting Oneself in Dialogue"

VATICAN CITY, JAN. 28, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Here is a translation of the address Benedict XVI gave today in Paul VI Hall at the general audience.

* * *

Dear brothers and sisters:

The final letters of the Pauline collection, about which I would like to speak today, are called the pastoral letters, because they were sent to unique figures among the pastors of the Church: two to Timothy and one to Titus, close collaborators with St. Paul.

In Timothy, the Apostle saw almost an alter ego; in fact he entrusted him with important missions (in Macedonia: cf. Acts 19:22; in Thessalonica: cf. 1 Timothy 3:6-7; in Corinth: cf. 1 Corinthians 4:17; 16:10-11) and afterward he wrote flattering praise of him: "For I have no one comparable to him for genuine interest in whatever concerns you" (Philippians 2:20).

According to the 4th-century Church History of Eusebius of Caesarea, Timothy was later the first bishop of Ephesus (cf. 3,4).

Regarding Titus, he must have also been very beloved by the Apostle, who defined him explicitly as "full of zeal … my companion and collaborator" (2 Corinthians 8:17,23), and even more "my true son in the common faith" (Titus 1:4). He had been entrusted with a couple very delicate missions in the Church of Corinth, the results of which comforted Paul (cf. 2 Corinthians 7:6-7,13; 8:6). Straight away, from what we know, Titus caught up to Paul in Nicopolis of Epirus, in Greece (cf. Titus 3:12) and was later sent by him to Dalmatia (cf. 2 Timothy 4:10). According to the letter directed to him, he ended up being the bishop of Crete (cf. Titus 1:5).

The letters directed to these two pastors occupy an entirely unique spot in the New Testament. It seems to the majority of exegetes today that these letters wouldn't have been written by Paul himself, and that their origin would be in the "Pauline school" and reflected his inheritance to a new generation, perhaps integrating some brief writing or word from the Apostle himself. For example, some words from the Second Letter to Timothy seem so authentic that they could only have come from the heart and lips of the Apostle.

Undoubtedly the ecclesial situation that emerges in these letters is distinct from that of the central years of Paul's life. He now, retrospectively, defines himself as "herald, apostle and teacher" of the pagans in the faith and in the truth (cf. 1 Timothy 2:7; 2 Timothy 1:11); he presents himself as one who has obtained mercy because Jesus Christ -- he writes thus -- "might display all his patience as an example for those who would come to believe in him for everlasting life" (1 Timothy 1:16).

Therefore the essence is that truly in Paul, persecutor converted by the presence of the Risen One, appears the magnanimity of the Lord for our encouragement, to motivate us to hope and have trust in the mercy of the Lord who, despite our littleness, can do great things. Besides the central years of Paul's life, the [letters] imply as well new cultural contexts. In fact, there is allusion to the appearance of teachings considered totally erroneous or false (cf. 1 Timothy 4:1-2; 2 Timothy 3:1-5), such as those who professed that matrimony was not good (cf. 1 Timothy 4:3a).

We see how modern this concern is, because today as well Scripture is sometimes read as an object of historical curiosity and not as the Word of the Holy Spirit, in which we can hear the very voice of the Lord and recognize his presence in history. We could say that, with this brief list of errors in the Letters, an outline is appearing from beforehand of that successive erroneous orientation we know by the name of Gnosticism (cf. 1 Timothy 2:5-6; 2 Timothy 3:6-8).

The author confronts these doctrines with two underlying calls. One consists in a return to a spiritual reading of sacred Scripture (cf. 2 Timothy 3:14-17), that is, a reading that considers it truly as "inspired" and coming from the Holy Spirit, such that with it one can be "instructed for salvation." Scripture is read correctly by putting oneself in dialogue with the Holy Spirit, to take from it light "for teaching, for refutation, for correction, and for training in righteousness" (2 Timothy 3:16). In this sense, the letter adds: "so that one who belongs to God may be competent, equipped for every good work" (2 Timothy 3:17).

The other call consists in the reference to the good "deposit" (parathéke): It is a special word from the pastoral letters with which is indicated the tradition of the apostolic faith that must be protected with the help of the Holy Spirit who dwells in us. This so-called deposit should be considered as the sum of apostolic Tradition and as the standard for fidelity to the proclamation of the Gospel. And here we should keep in mind that in the pastoral letters, as in all of the New Testament, the term "Scriptures" explicitly means the Old Testament, because the writings of the New Testament either didn't exist yet or still did not form part of a canon of Scriptures.

Therefore the Tradition of the apostolic proclamation, this "deposit," is the reading key to understand Scripture, the New Testament. In this sense, Scripture and Tradition, Scripture and the apostolic proclamation as key for reading, approach and almost merge to form together "God's solid foundation" (2 Timothy 2:19). The apostolic proclamation, that is, Tradition, is necessary to introduce oneself in the understanding of Scripture and capture in it the voice of Christ. It is necessary in fact to be "holding fast to the true message as taught" (Titus 1:9). At the base of everything is precisely faith in the historical revelation of the goodness of God, who in Jesus Christ has concretely manifested his "love for man," a love that in the original Greek text is meaningfully designated as filanthropía (cf. Titus 3:4; 2 Timothy 1:9-10); God loves humanity.

Taken together, it is clearly seen that the Christian community goes configuring itself in very clear terms, according to an identity that not only stays distant from incongruent interpretations, but above all affirms its own anchor in the essential points of the faith, that here is synonymous with "truth" (1 Timothy 2:4,7; 4:3; 6:5; 2 Timothy 2:15,18,25; 3:7,8; 4:4; Titus 1:1,14).

In the faith, the essential truth of who we are appears, of who is God, and how we should live. And from this truth (the truth of the faith) the Church is defined as "pillar and foundation" (1 Timothy 3:15). In any case, it remains as an open community, of universal reach, that prays for all men of every class and condition so they come to know the truth. "God wants everyone to be saved and to come to knowledge of the truth" because "Jesus has given himself as ransom for all" (1 Timothy 2:4-5).

Thus the sense of universality, though the communities are still small, is strong and determinant for these letters. Moreover this Christian community "slanders no one" and "exercises all graciousness toward everyone" (Titus 3:2). This is a first important component of these letters: the universality of the faith as truth, as the reading key to sacred Scripture, to the Old Testament, and thus it delineates a unity in the proclamation of Scripture and a living faith open to all and witness of the love of God for all.
Another typical component of these letters is a reflection on the ministerial structure of the Church. It is these [letters] that present for the first time the triple subdivision of bishops, presbyters and deacons (cf. 1 Timothy 3:1-13; 4:13; 2 Timothy 1:6; Titus 1:5-9). We can observe in the pastoral letters the joining of two distinct ministerial structures and thus the make-up of the definitive form of ministry in the Church. In the Pauline letters of the central years of his life, Paul speaks of "episcopi" (Philippians 1:1) and of "diaconi": This is the typical structure of the Church that formed in the epoch of the pagan world. The figure of the apostle himself remains, therefore, dominant, and because of this only little by little are the rest of the ministries developed.

If, as I have said, in the Churches formed in the pagan world we have bishops and deacons, and not presbyters, in the Churches formed in the Judeo-Christian world, the presbyters are the dominant structure. At the end in the pastoral letters, the two structures unite: Now appears the "episcopo" (the bishop) (cf. 1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:7), always in singular, accompanied by the determinant article "the." And together with the "episcopo" we find the presbyters and deacons. Still now the figure of the apostle is determinant, but the three letters, as I have said, are directed not now to communities, but to people: Timothy and Titus, who on one hand appear as bishops, and on the other, begin to be in the place of the Apostle.

Thus is noted initially the reality that will later be called "apostolic succession." Paul says with a tone of great solemnity to Timothy: "Do not neglect the gift you have, which was conferred on you through the prophetic word with the imposition of hands of the presbyterate" (1 Timothy 4:14). We can say that in these words appears initially also the sacramental character of the ministry. And thus we have the essential of the catholic structure: Scripture and Tradition, Scripture and proclamation, forming a whole; but to this structure that we could call doctrinal, should be added the personal structure, the successors of the apostles, as witnesses of the apostolic proclamation.

It is important finally to indicate that in these letters the Church understands herself in very human terms, in analogies with the house and the family. Particularly in 1 Timothy 3:2-7, very detailed instructions for the episcopo are given, such as: "Therefore, a bishop must be irreproachable, married only once, temperate, self-controlled, decent, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not aggressive, but gentle, not contentious, not a lover of money. He must manage his own household well, keeping his children under control with perfect dignity; for if a man does not know how to manage his own household, how can he take care of the church of God? … He must also have a good reputation among outsiders."

One should note here above all the important aptitude for teaching (also cf. 1 Timothy 5:17), of which we find echoes as well in other passages (cf. 1 Timothy 6:2c; 2 Timothy 3:10; Titus 2:1) and then a special personal characteristic, that of "paternity." The episcopo in fact is considered as father of the Christian community (cf. also 1 Timothy 3:15). Futhermore the idea of the Church as "house of God" sinks its roots in the Old Testament (cf. Numbers 12:7) and is found reformulated in Hebrews 3:2,6, meanwhile in another place it is read that all Christians are no longer foreigners nor guests, but fellow citizens of the saints and family members in the house of God (cf. Ephesians 2:19).

Let us pray to the Lord and to St. Paul so that also today, as Christians, we can be ever more characterized, in relation with the society in which we live, as members of the "family of God." And let us pray also that the pastors of the Church have more and more paternal sentiments, simultaneously gentle and strong, in the formation of the house of God, of the community, of the Church.

27 gennaio 2009

Speaker Nancy Malthus

Pelosi should abstain from social engineering.
from the Wall Street Journal

One of the more curious items in the $825 billion House "stimulus" is $87 billion to help states with Medicaid, specifically including an expansion of family-planning services. The implication is that more people mean less economic growth.

Following a White House meeting with President Obama on Friday, Republican John Boehner, the House Minority Leader, asked how spending millions of dollars on birth control will help stimulate the economy. On Sunday, George Stephanopoulos of ABC's "This Week" repeated the question to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who responded that "family planning services reduce costs."

She added: "The states are in terrible fiscal budget crises now, and part of what we do for children's health, education and some of those elements are to help states meet their financial needs. One of those -- one of the initiatives you mentioned, the contraception -- will reduce costs to the states and to the federal government."

The notion that a larger population will produce a lower standard of living can be traced to the 18th-century economist Thomas Malthus. But during Malthus's own lifetime, his prediction was proved false, as he later acknowledged. Population and living standards rose simultaneously, and have continued to do so.

Ms. Pelosi's remarks ignore the importance of human capital, which is the ultimate resource. Fewer babies would move the U.S. in the demographic direction of Europe and Asia. On the Continent, birth rates already are effectively zero, and economists are predicting labor shortages in the years ahead. In Japan, where the population is aging very fast, workers are now encouraged to go home early to procreate. Japan is projected to lose 21% of its population by 2050.

The age and growth rate of a nation help determine its economic prosperity. A smaller workforce can result in less overall economic output. Without enough younger workers to replace retirees, health and pension costs can become debilitating. And when domestic markets shrink, so does capital investment. Whatever one's views on taxpayer subsidies for contraception, as economic stimulus the idea is loopy.

26 gennaio 2009

The Templars: The Mini-Series, The Myths, and the Truth

The Templars: The Mini-Series, The Myths, and the Truth
Sandra Miesel and Carl E. Olson | Ignatius Insight Podcast | January 25, 2009

Carl E. Olson, editor of Ignatius Insight, talks to Sandra Miesel, a medieval historian and co-author of The Da Vinci Hoax and Pied Piper of Atheism, about the NBC mini-series, "The Last Templar".

The mini-series, which airs Sunday, January 25th, and Monday, January 26th, is based on the 2005 novel, The Last Templar, written by Raymond Khoury. The novel was on The New York Times bestseller list for 22 months and sold over four million copies.

The novel is similar in many ways to The Da Vinci Code, including its use of the Templars, its reliance on the "Gnostic gospels," and its claim that ancient documents provide definitive proof that Jesus Christ was not divine. USA Today, for example, writes of the mini-series, "The last time you saw this template, it was called The Da Vinci Code."

The novel, according to its website, is "a thought-provoking exploration of religion in today's world, and of historic fact versus faith, particularly regarding the origins of the Catholic Church. Through the investigation into the Templars' history and their mysterious discovery, and though the interplay between Tess - the agnostic, scientific skeptic - and Reilly, who turned to the Church after his father shot himself when Reilly was just a boy, the book presents a spirited look at the early days of the Church and invites the reader to question matters which most of us take at face value."

Carl and Sandra examine some of historical claims of the novel and discuss the ongoing popularity of the Templar mythology.

To listen to the podcast by Olson and Miesel, click here.

Source: IgnatiusInsight.com

24 gennaio 2009

Draft Talk #3 - Senior Bowl live thoughts

Graham Harrel can't play in the NFL. Pat White is an offensive playmaker. If utilized correctly, he can be a unique star in the NFL. Mitch King is a playmaker on defense. BJ Raji didnt show up. Max Unger not as good as I thought. The Sam Houston QB has some potential. Didn't like Deangelo Smith at CB. Langster will make plays but not be consistent enough. Cullen Harper played well. Andre Brown out of NC State can run. So can Rashard Jennings out of liberty. Herman Johnson will have a long career at tackle. Despite the fumble I really like Cedric Peerman. Greg Carr wants to play in the NFL. Robiskie thinks it's owed to him. Not impressive to me. The FB from LSU is going to start next year, probably the first FB off the board. Cushing will bust. Haven't even seen Sintim yet. Maualuga will be great. Finally saw Barden on a nice catch. Peria Jerry playin nice in the 3rd quarter. I dont think Juaquin Iglesias will amount to much. Phil Loadholt did not play well. Got beat by Robert Ayers a lot, just like he got beat up by Trattou (Go Bosco!) in the Nat Champs. Peria Jerry playing really, really well. I hope the Giants dp not draft Loadholt. This guy Corey Sheets can run well, very dangerous in open space. Wow Harrell is just killing his draft chances. Making Colt Brennan look like Joe Montana.Stats would have looked worse if Smith pick sixed him. Mayock says Harrell only had one good throw on the night. Mitch King making plays again! Center Caldwell nothing special. Some heavy legged waist bending there! Barwin showing his versatility. Macho Harris is looking solid. Ramses Barden couldn't hang on. Sherrod Martin will stink at DB. Iglesias is playing better, much better, so I recant what I said earlier. Jerry making plays again. Great pass rusher. Ramses Barden quitting on a route, looked like it could have been a TD. He is not Giants material. Pat White should be MVP. Yup, he is! Great game, Pat! I wish him the utmost success. Unless of course, he lands in the NFC East with a team not from New York.

20 gennaio 2009

Draft Talk #2

Copied directly from DraftDaddy.com

2009 Senior Bowl

DD Comments live and direct from Mobile, Alabama

*********South Practice Notes Monday Afternoon: by Matt B. (DD) ********

A stiff wind tore across the field at Fairhope, helping the kickers but impacting the quarterbacks' collective accuracy on intermediate and long throws. The low level of quarterback play slightly affected the scouts' ability to properly evaluate the wide outs and defensive backs. Despite this less than ideal situation, several players stood out in practice today:

Southern Miss TE Shawn Nelson was a natural receiver, the most reliable of the South TE today in that aspect of the game. Nelson shows burst, crisp route running and separates from the coverage, without dropping any balls. Interesting side-note, former Carolina Panthers TE Kris Mangum (now a Southern Mississippi assistant coach) was in attendance, and it's apparent he's been sharing the tips of the trade with Nelson.

Liberty RB Rashad Jennings was very impressive today. He excelled in pass blocking, as a one-cut and go tailback, and also looked good running routes out of the backfield. As the weigh-in implied, Jennings is a premium athlete. Although he's a little taller and runs a little more upright than some teams would ideally like for the tailback position, recent rookies have shown that players like Jennings can be successful, even with an unorthodox style.

Wake Forest CB Alphonso Smith showed great awareness and football savvy, recording a pretty pick in 11-on-11s and several passes defended in drills. Smith showed today that his production at Wake was not an accident; he's a legit ball hawk whose stock is on the rise.

Ole Miss DT Peria Jerry was a beast in the pit 1-on-1 drills. His functional strength is simply on another level than the opposition, and one notable bull-rush became a reverse pancake with the offensive lineman flat on his back! Jerry has several pass rush moves, including an effective swim move, but he doesn't really need to get fancy to beat his man. Some reps he knows what he's gonna do, the other guy knows what he's gonna do and it still happens. By practice's end he was drawing double-teams in 11-on-11 drills. In the game, it will be interesting to see if the North's linemen can have better luck than the South's linemen had in trying to contain him.

The Pit battle of the day was between Ole Miss OT Michael Oher and Tennessee DE Robert Ayers. This was a back-and-forth bout, with early rounds going to Ayers and his quick first step. Ayers is a tough, feisty and competitive player, aggressive, showing good hands and a nose for the quarterback. After reps, Ayers would holler and clap, getting emotional and loud.

However, not to be out done, Oher rose to the challenge. He looked at Ayers, said "Ok let's get it [on]!" and ended the session by riding Ayers into the ground for a brutal looking pancake. Oher seemed to find his stride as the practice went on, and his potential is evident. His technique is spotty at times however and he needs to continue to work to bring his game to the point where it's not just physicality which carries him through.

Richmond DE Lawrence Sidbury is a very interesting prospect. He was a terror in pass rush, displaying an instinctual feel and timing in his moves. Sidbury can get around the edge, or he can change direction and break in another direction, leaving his man clutching air. However, Sidbury was washed out in run blocking, and seemed to be on his heels whenever the running back was headed to his side of the field. Obviously there is money to be made as a pass rusher, and Sidbury is clearly a player on the rise for those skills, but to be an every down player he needs to improve his stoutness against the run. As it stands however he's made an impressive leap from Shrine week to Senior week, and he keeps rising.

Florida OT Jason Watkins was a pleasant surprise all day. From his impressive physique at weigh-ins to his explosion off the ball in drills, he is a player teams will be looking at very closely as a possible swing player who can fill in at either tackle spot. In drills, Watkins was running as the right tackle in the first team offense and did an effective job keeping his opposing man from the ball carrier. He can be out-quicked however, and had some trouble with speed rushes in the Pit. It's questionable how many of these paths taken to the QB by opposing rushers are legit however.

San Diego State DB Coye Frances is a blanket in coverage, moves very well and had several passes defended. This practice coupled with his solid weigh in could make Frances a hot property in the coming weeks.

USC WR Patrick Turner displayed soft hands and had a crowd pleasing deep catch from Clemson QB Cullen Harper that got everyone buzzing. Turner is long and lean and can snag tough balls. While he's not going to convince anyone he's a track star, might be finally reaching the huge potential he's been associated with for years and might be a possession option at the next level. As for Harper, he's been the best of a bad group but needs to do a lot more to improve his stock to where it used to be.

Arizona WR Mike Thomas covers a lot of ground and is another player who has been improving his stock after a strong week at the Shrine game. Teams like his versatility, his hands and his return ability. South Carolina WR Kenny McKinley is also a smooth receiver, catching the ball with his hands, rather than trying to trap it against his pads. Timed speed will be paramount in determining both of these players' respective values.

Louisville OC Eric Wood played guard and center, was excellent in pulling, and impressed on lookers with his toughness, grit and coach ability. He's a smart technician who has real potential to start in the league. However, Wood was overwhelmed at the point of attack several times, and could stand to improve his core strength.

Southern California LB Clay Matthews shows signs of being a true football player and takes every opportunity to stick his face in the fan. He worked only at 'backer today and did a better than expected job in coverage.

Finally, although it's tough to judge in shells, LSU FB Quinn Johnson could be this year's LeRon McClain. Give Johnson the ball, he powers through the line and just doesn't go to ground easily.

*********North Practice Notes Monday Afternoon ********
by Scott Wright
President, Draft Countdown.com

The North squad, coached by the Cincinnati Bengals staff, came out in shells (shoulder pads and helmets) today but even though they weren't in full pads there was still plenty of hitting and physical play. It was a sparse crowd, with half of the scouts and coaches watching the South team in Fairhope, but those who did come to Ladd-Peebles Stadium were treated to a number of impressive performances.

The headliner of the day might have been Missouri DT Evander "Ziggy" Hood, who showcased his trademark hustle and tenacity. Hood's motor seemed to run non-stop and he was able to consistently make plays in one-on-one drills, dipping and getting past Alex Mack on more than one occasion.

Oklahoma OT Phil Loadholt had a good day. Loadholt was very physical and absolutely mauled defenders once he got his hands on them, which was to be expected from a guy who weighed in at 6-8 and 343 pounds. However, he also displayed good feet and showed the ability to handle speed rushers. Today at least.

One of the players Loadholt toyed with was Connecticut DE Cody Brown, who did not have a good day. In addition to getting absolutely mauled by Loadholt in drills Brown also received quite a bit of instruction from the coaches. On one hand you don't want to be too critical of Brown because he was going up against a guy who outweighed him by 100 pounds but at the same time those are the types of specimens he will see as a defensive end at the next level. After today something tells me Brown is thinking a move to outside linebacker sounds pretty good.

Boston College DT B.J. Raji had a good day, showing why he is one of the best defensive tackles in this draft. If not the best. Raji was singled out on quite a few coaching points but it was more a case of working with him than a negative thing. Raji was also noticeable quicker than his teammate Ron Brace, even though they are about the same size. Brace looked slow and lethargic.

Sam Houston St. QB Rhett Bomar easily had the best release and most velocity of all the signal callers on the North squad. He throws a real nice ball and it gets out of his hand very quick. His accuracy was relatively average today though.

Of all the wide receivers Penn State's Derrick Williams looked the most impressive today. He got off the line of scrimmage real quick and showed terrific acceleration. He was also quick out of his breaks and got good separation. He just looked like the best receiver out there. Williams did muff a punt and the ensuing scene looked like something straight out of "Football Follies" as he crashed into another player at one point while trying to pick the ball up.

Oklahoma St. TE Brandon Pettigrew really looks the part. I didn't get to see Pettigrew work as a pass catcher much today but as a blocker he was able to extend his arms and easily drive a linebacker out of the player.

Northern Illinois DE Larry English was more physically impressive than I anticipated and he drew praise from coaches for his technique.

I didn't get to see as much of Virginia LB Clint Sintim as I had hoped to today but in coverage drills he looked a little stiff. On the flip-side Oklahoma's Nic Harris looked very smooth and comfortable in ball drills, which was not much of a surprise since he was a safety in college.

I was pleasantly surprised with Iowa DT Mitch King, who always seemed to be around the action and drew a lot of praise from the coaching staff. Alex Mack was able to hold him in check for the most part though.

South Florida OLB Tyrone McKenzie looked real good on one play, reading the play quickly and attacking the ball carrier but then missed the tackle behind the line of scrimmage. I didn't see much of him but I liked what I saw.

Illinois OT Xavier Fulton
, showed the ability to easily get out to the second level. Fulton also surprised me when he was able to lock on and control his man.

Virginia RB Cedric Peerman's small hands were a point of concern at the weigh-in and when he bobbled a pass today those worries seemed to be validated.

Purdue RB Kory Sheets had trouble turning the corner and was strung out to the sideline by Ohio St. LB Marcus Freeman. That was probably more of a plus for Freeman than a negative for Sheets though.

There is no question that Connecticut OT William Beatty needs to pack some weight onto his 291 pound frame but he is very smooth and you can certainly see why many have him rated as a late first / early second round possibility.

Texas Tech QB Graham Harrell displayed good accuracy and didn't miss many throws but he didn't stand out when it came to his setup (dropback), release or velocity.

Central Arkansas QB Nathan Brown almost looked out of place and was a distant third when it came to the North quarterbacks. He just doesn't look very big out there and it would be hard to say he was better than average in any regard.

Oklahoma WR Juaquin Iglesias ran good routes and broke down well but he did miss a couple of balls that he should have caught.

Ohio St. WR Brian Robiskie
catches the ball well with his hands but didn't look very fast.

Washington St. WR Brandon Gibson looked slow on his routes and didn't accelerate off the line well. He didn't get much separation out of his breaks either.

North Carolina's Brooks Foster was probably the second best receiver after Williams, showing the ability to accelerate and separate. He also showed some craftiness as a route runner on vertical and deep crossing plays.

Cal Poly's Ramses Barden
caught the ball well and looked very athletic. He didn't necessarily look real fast but that could be deceptive because of his size.

The most impressive running back today was Oregon's Jeremiah Johnson, who looked noticeably quicker than his counterparts.

All in all there were a number of players who looked good and helped themselves today, most notably Derrick Williams, Ziggy Hood and Rhett Bomar, but there really wasn't an eye-opening, world-beating performance from anyone. The players were still getting comfortable and adjusting to their new surroundings though so that could all change tomorrow. The North may not have as many flashy, high-profile names as their South counterparts but there is plenty of talent and when all is said and done I would not be at all surprised if the North produces just as many first round picks as the South does.

*******Senior Bowl Weigh in Notes*******

North players that may have helped themselves:

Ramses Barden, WR, Cal-Poly: 6'6", 227, 10 5/8 hands, sculpted and jacked.

Connor Barwin, DE/TE, Cincinnati: 6'3", 253 33" arms very well put together with room on frame for more. We will report how he is used in practices today.

Darius Butler, CB, UConn: 5'10", 178 Buff & cut, well built, clearly works hard in the weight room.

Alex Mack, OC, Cal-Berkley: 6'4", 312, 33 1/4 arms, Same height as fellow North teammate Max Unger, taller than expected.

Keenan Lewis, DB, Oregon State: 6'0, 198 a physical specimen.

Jeremiah Johnson, RB, Oregon and Cedric Peerman, RB, Virginia; height in the 5'8" - 5'9" range, but both were in tremendous shape.

Kory Sheets, RB, Purdue: 5'11", 203: To paraphrase site friend Sigmund Bloom from NFL Draft Guys, Sheets has the upper body and calves of a wide reciever but the trunk of a tailback. Interesting hybrid prospect in excellent shape.

North players that may have hurt themselves:

Ron Brace, DL, Boston College: 6'3", 329: Sloppy, overweight looking, but coming in, no one thought he'd win a beauty contest.

Andy Levitre, OL, Oregon State: 6"2", 306 but doughy.

William Beatty, OT, UConn: 6'6", 291 skinny for an NFL OT prospect, needs to add bulk but has the frame to do so easily.

South players that may have helped themselves:

Rashad Jennings, RB, Liberty: 6'1", 234: Didn't look as heavy as he was, extremely low body fat, just jacked.

Brian Cushing, LB, USC: 6'3", 243, Bulky and ripped, as expected.

Several South DBs were taller than expected, will be interesting to see who works in at cornerback at drills, these players include:

Coye Francis, DB San Jose State: 6'0, 179

Michael Hamlin, DB Clemson: 6'2", 207

Domonique Johnson, DB, Jackson State: 6'1", 194

Sherrod Martin, DB, Troy: 6'0", 197

Ellis Lankster, DB, West Virginia: 5'9", 191

Derek Pegues, DB, Miss State: 5'9", 193

Both above defensive backs were extremely cut and strong looking. Will Pegues play cornerback?

South Players that may have hurt themselves:

Tyronne Green, OL, Auburn: 6'1", 305, 10 1/2 hands, big hands are a plus but shorter and sloppier than ideal.

Corvey Irvin, DL, Georgia: 6'3", 296: Unimpressive shape.

DD.comment: As a general note, no quarterback on either team measured at or over 6'3", which was clearly dissapointing to scouts....Another general note, while it is clear that some players pulled out to get healthy, and others pulled out because they are legitimate top tier prospects, certain players, especially certain offensive and defensive linemen, are participating in the game of managing expectations and putting the perception out they are higher graded than they are. This tactic might be proper in a political campaign but in the game of professional football, the trench warriors should want to play. An ideal NFL offensive or defensive lineman should live for days like today when the pit drills seperate the men from the boys. It is my belief that many skipped the game to not be proven boys. And as they are not here to defend that judgement, the assumption will stand, not just for this writer but for many of the decision-makers in attendance.

Following players have pulled out of the Senior Bowl:

RB Javon Ringer -- Injured/Recent knee scope

WR Louis Murphy -- Was injured in the National Championship game.

OT Jason Smith -- Thinks his draft stock is so high that he doesn't need to play.

OG Duke Robinson -- Rumor: Hurt in the National Championship game.

OT Eugene Monroe -- Thinks his draft stock is so high that he doesn't need to play.

DE Tyson Jackson -- No specific reason given.

DE Brian Orakpo -- Thinks his draft stock is so high that he doesn't need to play.

DE Michael Johnson -- No specific reason given.

LB James Laurinaitis -- Rumor is he battled nagging injuries all year and needs to time heal?

LB Aaron Curry -- Thinks his draft stock is so high that he doesn't need to play.

DB Malcolm Jenkins -- Thinks his draft stock is so high that he doesn't need to play.

Also, as we predicted months ago, Oklahoma safety Nic Harris has been moved to linebacker by N.F.L. scouts due to speed concerns. Also, while dynamic University of Cincinnati defensive end Connor Barwin, who led the Big East in sacks last year, has steadfastly said he wants to play defense in the N.F.L., some scouts are trying hard to skew him back to tight end, where he had only enjoyed moderate success during his college career.

Cardinal George's Letter to Obama

Great letter - bolding is mine.
We Will Consistently Defend the Fundamental Right to Life

WASHINGTON, D.C., JAN. 18, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Here is the text of the message Cardinal Francis George, archbishop of Chicago and president of the U.S. episcopal conference, sent last week to president-elect Barack Obama, who will take office as the president of the United States on Tuesday.

* * *

Dear Mr. President-elect,

As our nation begins a new year, a new Administration and a new Congress, I write to outline principles and priorities that guide the public policy efforts of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). As President of the Bishops' Conference, I assure you of our prayers, hopes and commitment to make this period of national change a time to advance the common good and defend the life and dignity of all, especially the vulnerable and poor. We continue to seek ways to work constructively with the new Administration and Congress and others of good will to pursue policies which respect the dignity of all human life and bring greater justice to our nation and peace to our world.

As Bishops, we approach public policy as pastors and teachers. Our moral principles have always guided our everyday experience in caring for the hungry and homeless, offering health care and housing, educating children and reaching out to those in need. We lead the largest community of faith in the United States, one that serves every part of our nation and is present in almost every place on earth. From our experience and our tradition, we offer a distinctive, constructive and principled contribution to the national dialogue on how to act together on issues of economic turmoil and suffering, war and violence, moral decency and human dignity.

Our nation now faces economic challenges with potentially tragic human consequences and serious moral dimensions. We will work with the new Administration and Congress to support strong, prudent and effective measures to address the terrible impacts and injustices of the economic crisis. In particular, we will advocate a clear priority for poor families and vulnerable workers in the development and implementation of economic recovery measures, including new investments while strengthening the national safety net. We also support greater accountability and oversight to address irresponsible abuses of the system that contributed to the financial crisis.

The Catholic Bishops of the United States have worked for decades to assure health care for all, insisting that access to decent health care is a basic human right and a requirement of human dignity. We urge comprehensive action to ensure truly universal health care coverage which protects all human life including pre-natal life, and provides access for all, with a special concern for the poor. Any such legislation ought to respect freedom to choose by offering a variety of options and ensuring respect for the moral and religious convictions of patients and providers. Such an approach should seek to restrain costs while sharing them equitably.

On international affairs, we will work with our leaders to seek a responsible transition in an Iraq free of religious persecution. We especially urge early, focused and persistent leadership to bring an end to violent conflict and a just peace in the Holy Land. We will continue to support essential U.S. investments to overcome poverty, hunger and disease through increased and reformed foreign assistance. Continued U.S. leadership in the fight against HIV-AIDS and other diseases in ways that are both effectively and morally appropriate have our enthusiastic backing. Recognizing the complexity of climate change, we wish to be a voice for the poor and vulnerable in our country and around the world who will be the most adversely affected by any dramatic threats to the environment.

We will work with the new Administration and Congress to fix a broken immigration system which harms both our nation and immigrants. Comprehensive reform is needed to deal with the economic and human realities of millions of immigrants in our midst. It must be based on respect for and implementation of the law. Equally it must defend the rights and dignity of all peoples, recognizing that human dignity comes from God and does not depend on where people were born or how they came to our nation. Truly comprehensive immigration reform will include a path to earned citizenship with attention to the fact that international trade and development policies influence economic opportunities in the countries from which immigrants come.

We stand firm in our support for marriage which is a faithful, exclusive, lifelong union of a man and a woman and must remain such in law. In a manner unlike any other relationship, marriage makes a unique and irreplaceable contribution to the common good of society, especially through the procreation and education of children. No other kinds of personal relationships can be justly made equivalent to the commitment of a man and a woman in marriage.

With regard to the education of children, we will continue to support initiatives which provide resources for all parents, especially those of modest means, to choose education which best address the needs of their children.

We welcome continuing commitments to empower faith-based groups as effective partners in overcoming poverty and other threats to human dignity. We will work with the Administration and Congress to strengthen these partnerships in ways that do not encourage government to abandon its responsibilities, and do not require religious groups to abandon their identity and mission.

Most fundamentally, we will work to protect the lives of the most vulnerable and voiceless members of the human family, especially unborn children and those who are disabled or terminally ill. We will consistently defend the fundamental right to life from conception to natural death. Opposed to abortion as the direct killing of innocent human life, we will encourage one and all to seek common ground that will reduce the number of abortions in morally sound ways that affirm the dignity of pregnant women and their unborn children. We will oppose legislative and other measures to expand abortion. We will work to retain essential, widely supported policies which show respect for unborn life, protect the conscience rights of health care providers and other Americans, and prevent government funding and promotion of abortion. The Hyde amendment and other provisions which for many years have prevented federal funding of abortion have a proven record of reducing abortions. Efforts to force Americans to fund abortions with their tax dollars would pose a serious moral challenge and jeopardize the passage of essential health care reform.

This outline of USCCB policies and priorities is not complete. There are many other areas of concern and advocacy for the Church and the USCCB especially: religious freedom and other civil and human rights, news media and communications, and issues of war and peace. For a more detailed description of our concerns please see Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship (USCCB 2008), pages 19-30.

Nonetheless, we offer this outline as an agenda for dialogue and action. We hope to offer a constructive and principled contribution to national discussion over the values and policies that will shape our nation's future. We seek to work together with our nation's leaders to advance the common good of our society, while disagreeing respectfully and civilly where necessary for preserving that same common good.

In closing, I renew our expression of hope and our offer of cooperation as you begin this new period of service to our nation in these challenging times. We promise our prayers for you, that the days ahead will be a time of renewal and progress for our nation and that we can work together to defend human life and dignity and build a nation of greater justice and a world at peace.

Sincerely yours,

Francis Cardinal George, OMI
Archbishop of Chicago

Google to Team Up With Vatican

This sounds really cool!!

VATICAN CITY, JAN. 18, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Google, a symbol of the seemingly endless possibilities of the Internet, will team up with the Vatican Television Center and Vatican Radio in a joint venture to give Benedict XVI his own YouTube channel.

According to the Vatican press office, texts and video footage of the Pope's speeches supplied by Vatican radio and television would be posted directly onto the video-sharing Web site.

Details of the initiative will be announced Friday in conjunction with the publication of Benedict XVI's message for the 43rd World Communications Day. Saturday is the feast of St. Francis de Sales, patron of journalists.

The theme for the day, which will be celebrated May 31, is "New Technologies, New Relationships: Promoting a Culture of Respect, Dialogue and Friendship."

Henrique de Castro, Managing Director Media Solutions for Google, will be present at the press conference to announce the initiative between the Internet company and the Vatican.

Also present will be Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli, president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, Monsignor Paul Tighe, secretary of the same council, and Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, director of Vatican Radio, Vatican Television Center and the Vatican press office.

15 gennaio 2009

Cardinal: Laws Reflect Confusion About Man, Woman

Canadian Prelate Addresses Family Conference

MEXICO CITY, JAN. 14, 2009 (Zenit.org).- The family crisis is not just a problem of morals; it goes much deeper and is rooted in misunderstandings about the very nature of men and women, says the archbishop of Quebec.

Cardinal Marc Ouellet affirmed this today at the 6th World Meeting of Families, underway in Mexico City.

He spoke of the disorder in values, saying it explains certain nations adopting laws that recognize homosexual couples as marriages, and even permit them to adopt children.

This "cultural battle," the prelate said, involves a "vision of the world without God that tries to replace the Judeo-Christian heritage," with grave consequences at the "human, social and religious level."

The result, Cardinal Ouellet lamented, is that added to the "growing fragility of couples are the education problems linked to the loss of models and the influence of currents of thought that reject the very bases of the family institution."

This anthropological crisis, he said, "particularly widespread in the West," has been promoted by the gender theory, which adulterates "the reality of matrimony and the family, re-proposing the notion of the human couple starting from the subjective desires of the individual, making the sexual difference practically insignificant, to the point of trying to equate heterosexual union and homosexual relations."

The cardinal noted that "according to this theory, the sexual difference inscribed in the biological reality of the man and the woman does not have significant influence in the sexual identity of the individuals because it is the result of a subjective orientation and a social construction."

"Under the influence of these sometimes openly anti-Christian ideologies, certain states move to legislation that reconsiders the meaning of marriage, procreation, affiliation and the family, without taking into account the fundamental anthropological realities that give structure to human relationships," he lamented. "Various international organizations participate in this movement for the destruction of matrimony and family for the benefit of certain well-organized pressure groups that pursue their own interests in detriment to the common good.

"The Catholic Church strongly criticizes these cultural currents, which too easily obtain the support of the modern press."

Faced with this panorama, the cardinal proposed a rediscovery of Pope John Paul II's "Familiaris Consortio," which defines marriage "as a personal union in which the spouses reciprocally give and receive."

It aims to reach "the very roots of reality," the cardinal said, affirming the link between the personal love of the spouses and the transmission of life.

In this way, he said, the three values of marriage -- procreation, faithful love and indissolubility -- find their "axis" in fruitful conjugal love.

Source: http://www.zenit.org/

09 gennaio 2009

Top 10 Lowlights of the New York Times from Campaign 2008

source: http://www.timeswatch.org/articles/2008/20081229082538.aspx

Posted by: Clay Waters, 12/29/2008 8:52:28 AM

10) Obama's Anti-War Op-Ed OK, McCain's Pro-War Op-Ed Rejected

In July, the Times refused to run an op-ed by John McCain that laid out recent successes in Iraq, said Obama was wrong in opposing the surge, and accused the Democrat of having "learned nothing from recent history."

Times' op-ed editor David Shipley emailed McCain's staff: "I'm not going to be able to accept this piece as currently written."

Yet the McCain op-ed was in response to one from Obama, "My Plan for Iraq," that had appeared in the Times July 14. Did the Times at least invite the McCain camp to submit an op-ed in defense of the war and the surge (to accompany Obama's call for withdrawal) before Obama's op-ed appeared?

Shipley said he wanted something more forward-looking that paralleled more closely with Obama's piece, which mentioned McCain only twice while sketching out a vision of withdrawing troops from Iraq. The piece McCain submitted to the Times attacked Obama on his past statements on the surge and also went after points from Obama's NYT op-ed.

Shipley laid out some pretty stringent demands on McCain:

It would be terrific to have an article from Senator McCain that mirrors Senator Obama’s piece. To that end, the article would have to articulate, in concrete terms, how Senator McCain defines victory in Iraq. It would also have to lay out a clear plan for achieving victory -- with troop levels, timetables and measures for compelling the Iraqis to cooperate. And it would need to describe the Senator’s Afghanistan strategy, spelling out how it meshes with his Iraq plan.

The last McCain op-ed to appear in the Times came in March 2003 -- ironically, a pro-war piece written on the eve of the Iraq War titled "The Right War for the Right Reasons."

A week later, The Columbia Journalism Review, no Republican stronghold, spotted liberal bias in the Times' rejection of the op-ed. Contributor Lester Feder wrote of Deputy Editorial Page Editor David Shipley's rejection:

Instead of making a statement about its judgment of McCain’s leadership -- a judgment that it could defend on principle -- the Times has only reinforced its reputation on the right as a biased liberal broadsheet.

It is unclear what detailed “plans” sounded new to the Times when it accepted Barack Obama’s July 14th submission.

Feder correctly pointed out:

The whole point of McCain’s rejected op-ed, published today in the New York Post, is that he doesn’t think it is wise to offer the kind of Iraq statement that would satisfy the Times. McCain declares that “any draw-downs must be based on a realistic assessment of conditions on the ground -- not on an artificial timetable crafted for domestic political reasons. This is the crux of my disagreement with Sen. Obama.”

9) Cindy McCain vs. Michelle Obama

On October 18 the Times ran an unsympathetic front-page profile of John McCain's wife Cindy under the byline of Jodi Kantor and David Halbfinger, "Behind McCain, Outsider in Capital Wanting Back In."

The story itself rehashed old controversies to little effect, but became worse in retrospect when it was revealed how the Times put it together -- trolling Facebook for classmates of McCain's teen-age daughter. Reporter Jodi Kantor's message to an unidentified person on Facebook included the charming requests, "we are trying to get a sense of what [Cindy McCain] is like as a mother" and "I'm trying to figure out what school her 16 year old daughter Bridget attends."

Facebook must have been a dry hole, but Kantor and Halbfinger did their best with old dirt:

She initially seemed like an ideal political partner, giving Mr. McCain a home state, money and contacts that jump-started his career. But as the years passed, she also became a liability at times. She played a role in the Keating Five savings-and-loan scandal, and just as her husband was rehabilitating his reputation, she was caught stealing drugs from her nonprofit organization to feed her addiction to painkillers. She has a fortune that sets the McCains apart from most other Americans, a problem in a presidential race that hinges on economic anxieties. She can be imprecise: she has repeatedly called herself an only child, for instance, even though she has two half-siblings, and has provided varying details about a 1994 mercy mission to Rwanda.


Mrs. McCain busied herself with the American Voluntary Medical Team, a charity she founded to supply medical equipment and expertise to some of the neediest places on earth, like Micronesia, Vietnam and Kuwait in the weeks after the Persian Gulf war.

When Mrs. McCain visited Bangladesh after a cyclone, she stopped at an orphanage founded by Mother Teresa, who was not, as the campaign has said, present for the visit. Mrs. McCain returned with two baby girls; Mr. Gullet later adopted one, and Mrs. McCain informed her husband on landing that they would adopt the other.

In 1994, Mrs. McCain dissolved the charity after admitting that she had been addicted to painkillers for years and had stolen prescription drugs from it. She had used the drugs, first given for back pain, to numb herself during the Keating Five investigation, she confessed to Newsweek magazine. “The newspaper articles didn’t hurt as much, and I didn’t hurt as much,“ she wrote in an essay. “The pills made me feel euphoric and free.”

The scandal broke just as her husband had been trying to rehabilitate his reputation. He had no idea his wife had been an addict, he told the press.

Kantor gave Mrs. McCain a level of scrutiny she withheld from her laudatory profile of the spouse of the Democratic candidate in which Kantor dismissed Michelle Obama's "For the first time...I am really proud of my country" statement as a "rhetorical stumble" and suggesting the media was overplaying it.

Along with colleague Michael Powell, Kantor helped Mrs. Obama soften her image in a big front-page interview June 18, "After Attacks, Michelle Obama Looks for a New Introduction." The long, laudatory piece was anchored with a large photo, taking up half the upper fold of the front page, of Michelle listening thoughtfully to her husband's famous race speech back in March.

The Times portrayed criticism of Michelle Obama as either hurtful or out of line. Her controversial comment in Wisconsin, “For the first time in my adult lifetime, I am really proud of my country,” which suggested for many both a lack of pride in America and an unpleasant self-absorption, was dismissed by the Times as a mere "rhetorical stumble," with the implication that the media overplayed it (the Times certainly didn't).

Conservative columnists accuse her of being unpatriotic and say she simmers with undigested racial anger. A blogger who supported Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton circulates unfounded claims that Mrs. Obama gave an accusatory speech in her church about the sins of “whitey.” Mrs. Obama shakes her head.

“You are amazed sometimes at how deep the lies can be,” she says in an interview. Referring to a character in a 1970s sitcom, she adds: “I mean, ‘whitey’? That’s something that George Jefferson would say. Anyone who says that doesn’t know me. They don’t know the life I’ve lived. They don’t know anything about me.”


Then came some rhetorical stumbles. In Madison, Wis., in February, she told voters that hope was sweeping America, adding, “For the first time in my adult lifetime, I am really proud of my country.” Cable news programs replayed those 15 words in an endless loop of outrage.

There was certainly no outrage pouring out of the Times' news pages -- only affection.

8) Larry Rohter's Phony Fact-Checking

Throughout the campaign, reporter Larry Rohter proved his pro-Obama bona fides in his slanted "Fact Check" stories, which under the guise of evenhanded analysis consistently tilted the scales toward the Obama campaign. Rohter really outdid himself in his October 6 post on nytimes.com, "Drilling Down on the Facts in McCain’s Speech."

Speaking in Albuquerque on Monday, Senator John McCain attacked Senator Barack Obama on several fronts that by now have become familiar. But many of his charges relating to the economic meltdown, taxation and health care contained inaccuracies or exaggerations of his own position or Mr. Obama’s.

For instance, Mr. McCain claimed that “as recently as September of last year,” Mr. Obama “said that subprime loans had been, quote ‘a good idea.’” But that quote is taken out of context and reverses the intent of Mr. Obama’s remarks, which were clearly meant primarily as a criticism of practices on Wall Street.

Rohter accused McCain of oversimplifying "a complicated situation" when he claimed Obama "was silent on the regulation of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and his Democratic allies in Congress opposed every effort to rein them in.” Rohter harrumphed:

But Republicans controlled the Senate and its agenda then. That suggests that Mr. McCain’s Republican colleagues, some of whom opposed regulation of markets on purely philosophical grounds, had at least in part a hand in the bill’s failure to come to a final vote.

Apparently nothing is ever a Democrat's fault. Then, it was on to taxes:

Mr. McCain also criticized Mr. Obama’s policies on taxes, in language similar to last month’s first debate, with a few new fillips. But fact-checking organizations have already repeatedly dismissed the bulk of the accusations he made as inaccurate or exaggerated.

One must perversely admire the way Rohter painted McCain's health care plan.

It is true that Mr. Obama’s health care plan envisions more of a role for government than does Mr. McCain’s, which focuses on individual or family credits and a larger role for the private sector in the name of deregulation. Mr. Obama would, for example, expand Medicaid and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, which Mr. McCain has opposed.

Does Rohter seriously believe McCain constructed a health care policy as some kind of homage to "deregulation," a term Rohter knows to be poisonous in the current financial climate?

Rohter's previous September 11 "Check Point" feature fiercely defended Obama from what Rohter called a "seriously" distorted attack, this time on Obama's position on Illinois legislation proposing sex education for kindergarten students, which Obama supported as a legislator. The headline made no room for niceties: "Ad On Sex Education Distorts Obama Policy."

Rohter's July 11 story, "The Candidates Speak Off the Cuff, and Trouble Quickly Follows," also clearly took Obama's side, with Rohter defending Obama's statement that "you need to make sure your children can speak Spanish" by accusing conservatives of misrepresenting his remarks.

Conservative and “official English” groups immediately interpreted Mr. Obama’s statement as an endorsement of the idea that “Americans should be forced to learn to speak Spanish,” in the words of the Americans for Legal Immigration PAC. But that not only misrepresents what Mr. Obama said, it also ignores the views he has expressed in the past on the proper role of English and foreign languages in American life.

7) Obama's Lincolnesque Race Speech Erased Rev. Wright's Wrongs

Barack Obama's friends briefly caused concern in the Barack Obama campaign when clips featuring Obama's minister Rev. Jeremiah Wright and his inflammatory anti-American preaching began circulating on the web. Obama was obliged to make a much heralded "race speech" in March, delivered in Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly Love. When Obama had finished, the media rose as one to applaud. The Times in particular assured its readers that Obama’s politically necessary speech in fact marked the second coming of Lincoln and JFK.

The Times treated the speech precisely the way the Obama campaign wanted it treated -- as a transcendent statement on race in America past, present, and future (with Obama's long connection to Rev. Wright a secondary consideration) and not a desperate response to the specific bizarre remarks by Wright, who ranted from the pulpit of Trinity Church in Chicago that America deserved 9-11 and that the government used the AIDS virus to wipe out minorities.

Janny Scott's "news analysis" of March 19, "A Candidate Chooses Reconciliation Over Rancor" compared the speech to Lincoln, JFK, and LBJ.

It was an extraordinary moment -- the first black candidate with a good chance at becoming a presidential nominee, in a country in which racial distrust runs deep and often unspoken, embarking at a critical juncture in his campaign upon what may be the most significant public discussion of race in decades.

In a speech whose frankness about race many historians said could be likened only to speeches by Presidents Lyndon B. Johnson, John F. Kennedy and Abraham Lincoln , Senator Barack Obama, speaking across the street from where the Constitution was written, traced the country’s race problem back to not simply the country’s “original sin of slavery” but the protections for it embedded in the Constitution.

Yet the speech was also hopeful, patriotic, quintessentially American -- delivered against a blue backdrop and a phalanx of stars and stripes. Mr. Obama invoked the fundamental values of equality of opportunity, fairness, social justice. He confronted race head-on, then reached beyond it to talk sympathetically about the experiences of the white working class and the plight of workers stripped of jobs and pensions.

The title of a hagiographic editorial that same day gushed about "Mr. Obama's Profile in Courage."

Larry Rohter and Michael Luo contributed to the glowing notices the next day with "Groups Respond to Obama's Call for National Discussion About Race." (Wasn't Obama's post-racial campaign supposedly part of his appeal?)

And the Times breached its usual concern about the separation of church and state in a front-page story by religion reporters Laurie Goodstein and Neela Banerjee on March 23, Easter Sunday. The Times canvassed pastors at mostly urban liberal churches to see how Obama's speech would politicize -- um, enrich -- their Easter sermons in "Obama Talk Fuels Easter Sermons -- Some Religious Leaders Interweave Race and Resurrection."

After quoting various preachers at urban churches, the Times praised Wright:

Television programs showed recorded parts of sermons by Mr. Wright, who is nationally known for his work in creating economic development programs in the inner city, inspiring many other black pastors to do the same, and for his fiery, prophetic preaching style. In the excerpts, Mr. Wright thunders that the government has inflicted AIDS on black people, and that the United States deserved the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11.

The Wright controversy may have wounded Obama among the electorate, but the Times saw smooth sailing. Not until Wright embarked on a media tour (including an embarrassing speech at the National Press Club) did Obama cut ties with him.

6) McCain Disqualified at Birth?

Soon after the paper endorsed John McCain, albeit in a hold-your-nose fashion, as its preferred Republican presidential nominee, the Times began to call McCain’s age and even his presidential eligibility into question. Reporter Michael Cooper got the ball rolling in a February 24 story, printed the week after the paper's notorious affair allegations: "McCain's Age, Analysts Say, Is Likely to Figure in His Selection of a Running Mate."

The quest to win the presidency at an age when he would be too old to be a commercial airline pilot or even a judge in some states has already led Mr. McCain to adopt a more grueling campaign schedule, and a more vigorous style, than several of his younger rivals. Now that Mr. McCain is the presumptive Republican nominee, political analysts say, his age will most likely factor into his selection of a running mate...But he does have white hair, scars from a bout with melanoma and limited flexibility from the injuries he sustained as a prisoner of war in Vietnam. And the fact remains that by the end of a second McCain term, he would be in his 80s.

Was the Times not aware of all that when it endorsed him?

Congressional reporter Carl Hulse went even further on February 28, reporting on a controversy over whether John McCain's birthplace (the Panama Canal Zone, where his Navy officer father was stationed in 1936) made the Arizona senator ineligible for the presidency. Article II of the Constitution declares that only a "natural-born citizen" can serve as president. Hulse reported the McCain campaign was researching the question due to "mounting interest" and "Internet buzz."

Mr. McCain’s likely nomination as the Republican candidate for president and the happenstance of his birth in the Panama Canal Zone in 1936 are reviving a musty debate that has surfaced periodically since the founders first set quill to parchment and declared that only a “natural-born citizen” can hold the nation’s highest office.

Almost since those words were written in 1787 with scant explanation, their precise meaning has been the stuff of confusion, law school review articles, whisper campaigns and civics class debates over whether only those delivered on American soil can be truly natural born. To date, no American to take the presidential oath has had an official birthplace outside the 50 states.

“There are powerful arguments that Senator McCain or anyone else in this position is constitutionally qualified, but there is certainly no precedent,” said Sarah H. Duggin, an associate professor of law at Catholic University who has studied the issue extensively. “It is not a slam-dunk situation.”

The story went nowhere, but legal reporter Adam Liptak's story July 11 resurrected it under the hopeful headline, "A Hint of New Life to a McCain Birth Issue," and detailed findings from a Democratic college professor allegedly showing McCain unable to satisfy the constitutional requirement of being a "natural-born citizen."

In the most detailed examination yet of Senator John McCain’s eligibility to be president, a law professor at the University of Arizona has concluded that neither Mr. McCain’s birth in 1936 in the Panama Canal Zone nor the fact that his parents were American citizens is enough to satisfy the constitutional requirement that the president must be a “natural-born citizen.”

The analysis, by Prof. Gabriel J. Chin, focused on a 1937 law that has been largely overlooked in the debate over Mr. McCain’s eligibility to be president. The law conferred citizenship on children of American parents born in the Canal Zone after 1904, and it made John McCain a citizen just before his first birthday. But the law came too late, Professor Chin argued, to make Mr. McCain a natural-born citizen.

In contrast, the Times never brought up Internet rumors about the validity of Obama's birth certificate.

5) Gaffe Machine McCain vs. Mistake-Free Obama

Throughout the long campaign, John McCain was portrayed as a gaffe machine, his every utterance scrutinized for potential mistakes, while Barack Obama ran a supposedly gaffe-free campaign yet got away with enormous factual whoppers.

The Times leaped on an apparent McCain mistake about troop levels in Iraq in "2 Campaigns Flare Up Over Iraq Troop Levels" by Michael Luo and Sarah Wheaton from May 31:

A fierce debate erupted on Friday between Senators John McCain and Barack Obama over whether Mr. McCain misspoke at a town-hall-style meeting the previous day when he said that American troops in Iraq had been reduced to “pre-surge levels.”

Mr. McCain has been hammering Mr. Obama on his judgment on national security and his comprehension of the situation in Iraq, noting that the Democrat last visited Iraq two and a half years ago.

The Obama campaign pounced Friday on Mr. McCain’s statement on troop levels, arguing that the Republican candidate was the one who was out of touch with the facts in Iraq. In a conference call, Obama aides reviewed a series of what they said were gaffes Mr. McCain had made talking about the war.

McCain's speaking struggles prompted a front-page analysis July 6 by Mark Leibovich, "McCain Battles a Nemesis, the Teleprompter." Leibovich forwarded insults of McCain from the liberal comedy show "The Colbert Report," then replayed some of the candidate's greatest gaffes.

There are any number of Web videos of Mr. McCain to prove the point. They include the moment he playfully called a young man a “jerk” at a town-hall-style meeting in New Hampshire last year after he asked Mr. McCain if his age made him a candidate for Alzheimer’s disease in the White House (Mr. McCain typically uses jerk as a term of affection), or when he suggested to Jon Stewart on “The Daily Show” that he brought him a special gift from Iraq -- an improvised explosive device.

Small misstatements become instant YouTube fodder -- as when Mr. McCain vowed to “veto every single beer” that included lawmakers’ pet spending projects (he meant “bill”) or when he said the government should have been able to deliver “bottled hot water” to dehydrated babies in New Orleans. (It is fortunate for Mr. McCain that there was no YouTube in the 1980s when he jokingly referred to the retirement community Leisure World as “Seizure World.”)

By contrast, the Times consistently ignored Obama's gaffes, like seeing fallen heroes in a Memorial Day audience, or counting up 58 states in the Union, or his evident belief that the climactic scene in Alfred Hitchcock's "North by Northwest" (in which Cary Grant hangs off Mt. Rushmore) was actually shot at Mt. Rushmore, asking a park ranger, "How did they get up there in the first place?"

"They didn't. It was a movie set," Jensen told him.

That sounds like a Dan Quayle joke waiting to happen, but the Times tossed the incident aside, a puzzle piece that didn't fit its narrative of a sophisticated Obama. Reporter Michael Powell even trailed Obama to South Dakota in early June and mentioned his late night visit to the national landmark without bringing up Obama's confusion.

4) Sarah Palin Meets the New Traditionalists at the New York Times

John McCain inspired the 2008 GOP National Convention in Minneapolis with his surprise selection of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate, and in the process turned some Times’ female reporters into social traditionalists, fretting whether Palin, a mother of five soon to be a grandmother, would be able to juggle the duties of mother and national office.

The Times' strange in-house social conservative backlash started with a September 1 "Political Points" podcast from the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minn, where listeners met the newly minted traditionalists at the Times, two female reporters who seem to doubt whether or not a woman could have it all -- at least if the woman was a Republican vice-presidential nominee.

The conversation was dominated by the news that Palin's daughter Bristol was pregnant, resulting in a richly hypocritical conversation in which two Times female reporters stated that the issue was fair game:

Host Jane Bornemeier: "Jackie, you were just talking to Steve Schmidt, the senior advisor for the McCain campaign. What does he say about how this will affect the convention going forward, and what the fallout is among Republicans?"

Reporter Jackie Calmes: "Well, to hear Steve talking, [unintelligible] think there will be no fallout, and that he attacks -- the questions -- as offensive, and that the American people will respect the privacy and will in fact turn against the media and anybody else who tries to make an issue of this. But it's a difficult argument to make, considering that in the days since Sarah Palin was announced as Senator McCain's running mate, the campaign has made a very big deal of every other element of her personal life, and her personality and her family life, and so it would be highly unrealistic to think that the public wouldn't be hugely interested in this."

Calmes blamed McCain and Palin for the attention the media was giving to Palin's pregnant daughter before reporter Sheryl Gay Stolberg chimed in:

"But I just want to say that one of the questions I put to Steve out there, when a lot of reporters had gathered around Steve Schmidt, was that, you know, there will be -- they're trying to appeal to women with her candidacy, women voters, and I do think there will be a number that will be against the media, there always are, for not respecting privacy. But at the same time there will be the question of why Gov. Palin and Senator McCain would embark on this campaign together, knowing it would subject this 17-year-old to having, not just national but international attention to her pregnancy."

Reporter Sheryl Gay Stolberg: "You know Jane, I think that the campaign was really calculating that the standard that was used for Chelsea Clinton and the Bush girls and now the Obama girls would be applied to the Palin family, which is that the kids are left out of it. But frankly I’m not sure that it will work this time, precisely because of what Jackie said, they've made a big issue of her personal life. She herself, Gov. Palin, has a new baby, and so one question that comes up, is this is a woman that has a lot going on in her personal life, she's got a new baby herself, her daughter's about to get married and have a baby, a lot going on there. I do think it's a fair question to ask how she will juggle those responsibilities. Maybe it's a question that wouldn't be asked of a man, as Steve Schmidt said, but it is a question that I think Americans will ask."

Stolberg's nytimes.com post on September 3, "DeLay Offers Advice to Palin: Be Yourself," showed she couldn't let Palin's daughter's pregnancy go. After quoting former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay giving Palin advice, she followed up by rehashing liberal media talking points about Palin and actually asked DeLay if Palin should talk about her husband's quarter-century old DUI:

But what about the business of Ms. Palin’s complicated family: her feud with her state trooper brother-in-law, which sparked an ethics investigation; her husband, who was arrested on drunk driving charges 24 years ago; her 17-year-old daughter, Bristol, whose pregnancy -- and decision to get married to keep her baby -- has prompted conservatives to rally around Ms. Palin as a woman who opposes abortion and practices what she preaches? Does she need to address all that?

“No,” Mr. DeLay said flatly.

Finally, White House reporter Elisabeth Bumiller launched this attack on Palin in a September 4 story after Palin's acceptance speech:

Ms. Palin's speech came after Rudolph W. Giuliani of New York launched a withering attack on Mr. Obama as part of a relentless assault by Republicans arguing that Ms. Palin, the former mayor of a town of less than 7,000 people who has been governor of Alaska for 20 months, had a more impressive resume than Mr. Obama.

3) A Stark Supreme Court Double Standard

A May 28 Supreme Court preview story by law reporter Neil Lewis warned nearly 20 times that McCain would appoint “conservatives” to the Court -- yet no labels were applied to Obama’s potential picks.

Lewis's report was headlined "Stark Contrasts Between McCain and Obama in Judicial Wars." But the truly "stark contrast" was in how Lewis treated the respective camps with regard to their hypothetical Supreme Court nominations. Lewis painted an uninvolved McCain as paying "fealty" to "the conservative faithful," while an engaged Obama would be merely trying to reverse the "current conservative dominance of the courts" without displaying any liberal ideological thrust of his own. While there were tons of "conservatives" (18 in all in a 1,400-word story) emanating from the McCain camp but not a single "liberal" to be found around Obama.

Senator John McCain of Arizona, the presumptive Republican nominee, has already asserted that if elected he would reinforce the conservative judicial counterrevolution that began with President Ronald Reagan by naming candidates for the bench with a reliable conservative outlook.

Senator Barack Obama of Illinois has been less explicit about how he would use the authority to nominate judicial candidates, but he would be able to -- and fellow Democrats certainly expect him to -- reverse or even undo the current conservative dominance of the courts.

Lewis implied Republicans were ignorant of the nuances of the law and mere puppets of conservative lawyers, as opposed to Obama's "long and deep interest in the courts and the law."

Like Mr. McCain, neither Mr. Reagan nor Mr. Bush was a lawyer and, adopting the same rhetoric as Mr. McCain is now using, they became enthusiastic instruments of those conservative lawyers who were diligent in choosing conservative judicial nominees.

Mr. Obama, on the other hand, is a lawyer and has had a long and deep interest in the courts and the law. Cass R. Sunstein, a professor at the University of Chicago Law School and an Obama adviser, said in an interview that because Mr. Obama had taught constitutional law for 10 years at Chicago, “he is immersed in these issues.”

Lewis went on to name five hypothetical Obama Supreme Court nominees, yet labeled none of them as liberal. He even got another unlabeled liberal to deny that Obama would be liberal, or as Lewis puts it, "ideological."

Prof. Charles J. Ogletree Jr. of Harvard Law School, who taught both Mr. Obama and his wife, Michelle, sought to dispel the idea that Mr. Obama's nominees would be especially ideological. "It seems likely to me that he won't have an agenda of trying to pack the courts to necessarily move it in a different direction," Professor Ogletree said in an interview.

2) Bizarre: McCain's Celebrity Ad Racist?

The Times reacted badly to an effective McCain camp ad likening Obama's "celebrity" status to lightweight celebrities like Paris Hilton and Britney Spears, suggesting the ad was not only silly and unfair but....racist.

The back and forth of racial accusations between the Obama and McCain camps made the August 1 front page ("McCain Camp Says Obama Plays 'Race Card'"). Reporters Michael Cooper and Michael Powell suggested it was the GOP, not Obama, injecting race into the campaign, and relayed some dubious anecdotes to suggest Obama was a victim of racist Republican attacks.

Senator John McCain’s campaign accused Senator Barack Obama on Thursday of playing “the race card,” citing his remarks that Republicans would try to scare voters by pointing out that he “doesn’t look like all those other presidents on the dollar bills.”

The exchange injected racial politics front and center into the general election campaign for the first time, after it became a subtext in the primary between Mr. Obama and Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton.

It came as the McCain campaign was intensifying its attacks, trying to throw its Democratic opponent off course before the conventions.

“Barack Obama has played the race card, and he played it from the bottom of the deck,” Mr. McCain’s campaign manager, Rick Davis, charged in a statement with which Mr. McCain later said he agreed. “It’s divisive, negative, shameful and wrong.”

In leveling the charge, Mr. Davis was referring to comments that Mr. Obama made Wednesday in Missouri when he reacted to the increasingly negative tone and negative advertisements from the McCain campaign, including one that likens Mr. Obama’s celebrity status to that of Paris Hilton and Britney Spears.

The Times then had the nerve to accuse McCain campaign manager Rick Davis of injecting race into the race, even though the paper itself had quoted Obama raising the race issue with his "all those other presidents on the dollar bills" comment.

With his rejoinder about playing “the race card,” Mr. Davis effectively assured that race would once again become an unavoidable issue as voters face an election in which, for the first time, one of the major parties’ nominees is African-American.

And with its criticism, the McCain campaign was ensuring that Mr. Obama’s race -- he is the son of a black man from Kenya and a white woman from Kansas -- would again be a factor in coverage of the presidential race. On Thursday, it took the spotlight from Mr. Obama when he had sought to attack Mr. McCain on energy issues.

Soon came this slanted stroll down campaign memory lane:

In the 2006 Senate race in Tennessee, Republicans ran an advertisement against a black candidate, the Democrat Harold E. Ford Jr., that featured a white woman saying, with a wink, “Harold, call me.” Some have drawn parallels between that commercial and the McCain campaign’s advertisement juxtaposing Ms. Spears and Ms. Hilton with Mr. Obama.

After accusing the McCain camp of having first "invoked race," Cooper and Powell continued:

Mr. Obama has been the victim of some racist and racially tinged attacks this year, particularly during the primaries.

Underground e-mail campaigns have spread the false rumor that he is Muslim and questioned his patriotism by falsely charging that he does not put his hand over his heart when the Pledge of Allegiance is recited. A button spotted outside the Texas Republican convention asked, “If Obama Is President…Will We Still Call It the White House?”

Islam is a religion, not a race. The Times obviously has a subtle grasp of race issues if it can tease race out of the "hand over his heart" accusation. And must black actor-comedian Chris Rock apologize for the tag line to his 2003 movie "Head of State," a comedy about a D.C. alderman who unexpectedly rises to the presidency: "The only thing white is the house."

The Times' editorial board went even further, posting a ridiculous entry on its "The Board" blog calling the "Celebrity" ad a "racially tinged attack" on Barack Obama:

The presumptive Republican nominee has embarked on a bare-knuckled barrage of negative advertising aimed at belittling Mr. Obama. The most recent ad compares the presumptive Democratic nominee for president to Britney Spears and Paris Hilton -- suggesting to voters that he’s nothing more than a bubble-headed, publicity-seeking celebrity.

The ad gave us an uneasy feeling that the McCain campaign was starting up the same sort of racially tinged attack on Mr. Obama that Republican operatives ran against Harold Ford, a black candidate for Senate in Tennessee in 2006. That assault, too, began with videos juxtaposing Mr. Ford with young, white women.

1) McCain Affair Allegations Backfire on the Times

Anonymous allegations of a John McCain affair with a telecom lobbyist surfaced in a February 21 front-page story and promptly backfired, as the paper did what McCain himself had been unable to do up to that point in the campaign -- rally conservatives to his side.

The bombshell fizzled out among conservatives and liberals alike, who dismissed the story from the Times' four-person team (reporters Jim Rutenberg, Marilyn Thompson, David Kirkpatrick and Stephen Labaton) as a strained mix of innuendo and old news:

Early in Senator John McCain’s first run for the White House eight years ago, waves of anxiety swept through his small circle of advisers.

A female lobbyist had been turning up with him at fund-raisers, visiting his offices and accompanying him on a client’s corporate jet. Convinced the relationship had become romantic, some of his top advisers intervened to protect the candidate from himself -- instructing staff members to block the woman’s access, privately warning her away and repeatedly confronting him, several people involved in the campaign said on the condition of anonymity.

When news organizations reported that Mr. McCain had written letters to government regulators on behalf of the lobbyist’s client, the former campaign associates said, some aides feared for a time that attention would fall on her involvement.

Mr. McCain, 71, and the lobbyist, Vicki Iseman, 40, both say they never had a romantic relationship. But to his advisers, even the appearance of a close bond with a lobbyist whose clients often had business before the Senate committee Mr. McCain led threatened the story of redemption and rectitude that defined his political identity.

Yet the Times could get no one on the record willing to allege an affair between McCain and Iseman. After dumping that innuendo, the Times waltzed down well-trod portions of Memory Lane to recap the Keating Five Savings and Loan scandal, reminding readers that Charles Keating, the notorious owner of Lincoln Savings & Loan Association, contributed heavily to McCain's Senate campaigns.

Not even the liberal New Republic was impressed:

So here's the essence of the Times' 3,000-word "bombshell" on John McCain.

John Weaver, whom McCain fired last summer (identified in the Times piece as "now an informal campaign adviser" to McCain, which sounds like a puffed-up euphemism for "unemployed") says that 8 years ago, he and two other former employees who have since "become disillusioned" (read: disgruntled), suspected that McCain was having an affair with a lobbyist.

The rest of the article, rehashing old news about the Keating Five, is, as Rich Lowry says, complete "window dressing." If you had been wondering whether the Times was in the tank for Obama, well, here's your answer.

Daniel Politi noticed the awkwardness in his "Today's Papers" column for Slate.

The story itself is rather odd because it begins with the explosive revelation that McCain might have had an affair, but it then tries to blend it in with a look back at the Keating Five scandal and other instances where McCain stepped away from his persona as a lawmaker who fights against special interests, which could have been interesting by itself as a mere memory-jogger. The NYT then waits until near the end of the story to go back to the relationship with the lobbyist. Overall, the paper presents surprisingly little evidence that there actually was inappropriate behavior beyond the concerns of some staffers, which makes one wonder what was left out of a piece that was undoubtedly heavily vetted by lawyers.

Not even the Times' often-toothless internal watchdog, Public Editor Clark Hoyt, thought the paper had delivered the goods, writing in the February 24 Week in Review:

A newspaper cannot begin a story about the all-but-certain Republican presidential nominee with the suggestion of an extramarital affair with an attractive lobbyist 31 years his junior and expect readers to focus on anything other than what most of them did. And if a newspaper is going to suggest an improper sexual affair, whether editors think that is the central point or not, it owes readers more proof than The Times was able to provide.

06 gennaio 2009

Draft Talk #1

I am obsessed with the NFL Draft. One of my hobbies. So I'll periodically be posting some of my thoughts and writings about the talent out there, and the Giants needs.

References to "the sim" or "the simulation" are from the draft simulation at DraftTek.com

(12/11/08): I say we keep Kiwi at DE. It is his natural position. He can excel there while he is in my opinion just average at LB. I like Toellefson a lot too. Wynn will be gone next year I think he is a 12 year veteran or something. I like the idea of LB as first, then WR, CB, OL etc. Makes a lot of sense. Might also want to grab a MLB… I think Pierce will be in the clear with this Plax thing but I don’t know if Blackburn is the type who could step in and run a defense. I honestly do not think Wilkinson will ever pan out. He has been given so many opportunities … in my opinion if he was going to be a starting LB on the Giants, he would have been already. Says something when 2 years in a row the team signs a veteran FA for a 1yr deal (Mitchell, now Clark) to compete with Wilk and he still can’t get the starting job…

(12/29/08): At the moment I think our top needs are OT, OLB, and WR.... I really don’t like Diehl at LT, he does an OK job but he gets beat up often by some of the elite pass rushers. He got destroyed against Dallas. And McKenzie’s back problems have definitely been affecting his play lately. With those 2 concerns I’d love to see a guy like Black in Giants Blue. As for RB, I agree, they’ll resign Jacobs and let Ward walk. And Ware looks like he could be the next Ward. A HB we sign off the Jets practice squad who rushes for 1000 yards for us! On some limited carries Ware was really impressive against the Vikings. And I really like what I saw out of him in the preseason too. I’d rather we grab a WR in the 3rd instead of a HB, but to be perfectly honest, Jerry Reese could draft a punter and I’d trust him.


(1/6/08): Thanks for the news on Weatherspoon. I’ll contact the site owner and make sure he takes him off the big board and out of the simulations. But yeah, OLB we need a starter. I’ve seen Blackburn in at OLB more and more…. Started a few games… he is not the answer. Good special teamer, but not a starter in my opinion.

I got a good look at LSU OT Ciron Black in their bowl game, and he had a hell of a game. One play that stands out was when LSU had the ball a couple yards short of the goalline… and Black blew his defender off the ball and pancaked him 5 yards deep into the end zone! His RB had a walk in TD as a result. Good stuff.

I think of those 3 LBs you mention, only Clay Matthews Jr (USC) would be available to us in the 2nd. I really think Brandon Spikes (Florida) will go in the first round and probably Clint Sintim (Virginia) too. But I like Matthews a lot. He is kind of an afterthought to Rey Maualuga (USC) and Brian Cushing (USC), but he is a gamer. He comes from a Hall of Fame family… great pedigree. If he is anything like his father then he is a strong character guy that the Giants like. And he had a great game against Penn State. I missed Iowa RB Shonn Greene, but I did DVR that game… I’ll be watching it soon.


(1/6/08): I like LSU's Ciron Black at OT a LOT. I watched him absolutely dominate Georgia Tech, including some matchups against Michael Johnson, the DE from Ga Tech who everyone is so excited about. Black would be an immediate upgrade over Whimper and I think he could be ready to take over for Diehl or McKenzie when the time comes.

I don’t really like us grabbing HB Javon Ringer (MSU) in end of the 2nd round, and I don’t understand why the sim did it. I had DT ranked as a higher need than RB, and a DT was selected right after us! It may be a value pick kind of thing…

My bowl scouting has been good. Caught a ton of games in the past two weeks.

You are going to think I am crazy but hear me out…. If Feagles retires, I say we draft this P/K out of Florida State, Graham Gano. I’m pretty sure he is a senior. Did you see the Citrus Bowl? In the first half, this guy dropped 3 punts INSIDE THE THREE! He is like a young Feagles! If he is around in the 5th, what the hell, let’s take him! A guy that can consistently get us amazing field position is valuable. I am always against drafting punters or kickers but in this case I make an exception.

I kind of like WR Greg Carr from FSU as well. Tall rangy guy. Would have had better stats if they had some QB stability at FSU. Could be Eli’s new fade man, and we might be able to grab him in the 3rd or 4th round. Tho Kenny Britt (Rutgers) is still my #1 man at WR. I don’t like Darrius Heyward-Bey that much, the WR from Maryland. He is highly ranked but I don’t think he can run block a bit. Saw him get blown up a couple times by the Nevada d-backs.

Hmmm who else caught my attention? Brian Orakpo, the DE out of Texas, had a hell of a game last night. He’ll never be around for us to draft, but the guy he beat up, Alex Boone (Ohio State), will be. Hope Jerry avoids Boone. Macho Harris, the CB out of Va Tech, he looks like a real gamer. Also good in the return game. It would be cool if we landed him, though we have much greater needs. It’ll be nice to not have to hold my breath every time McQuarters goes back to return a punt!


My sleeper of the draft is Ramses Barden, WR, Cal Poly, 6'6" 225+ and a 4.5 40.