Saturday, April 28, 2007

And the nightmare is over

Mercifully, the first day of the draft comes to an end.

After trading down to secure a total of four first-day picks, the Eagles managed to pick up four players with third-round grades. Kolb was a ridiculous decision - he would have been available in the fourth round, but instead the Eagles draft him at the top of the second. Their next two picks were wasted on a DE and a OLB who have below-average speed. Although they did come through with Tony Hunt at the end of the 3rd round, it's not nearly enough to recover from the disaster of this day.

The Eagles three biggest areas of need - CB, S, and TE, were not addressed. In a very deep WR draft, the Eagles passed on major value that fell into their lap. This is the worst draft I've ever witnessed for the Eagles. If even one of their top three picks is a starter within the next three years, I'll be stunned.

With their first-round pick, they passed over the #1 TE in the draft, Greg Olsen. They passed on the #3 DE, Anthony Spencer, and traded down with Dallas so that a division rival could draft him. With their first second-round pick, they passed on Eric Wright, Marcus McCauley, Eric Weddle, Tanard Jackson (it appears this guy isn't even on their board, since they passed on him 4 times), Dwayne Jarret, and Steve Smith, just to name a few. At the end of round two, they passed on McCauley again, Jason Hill, Jacoby Jones, Buster Davis...then in round three they passed on Daymeion Hughes, Audre Allison, and Antonio Pittman. All for some mediocre prospects who will barely make the team this season, and have little chance of developing into studs down the road.

I haven't evaluated every team yet, but just glancing at the board, I'd have to say that the Eagles managed to assemble the single worst draft class out of the 32 teams. Even Washington's single pick is more valuable than this motley crew.

All those scouts, all those hours watching film, all those plane tickets to visit with players, all the workouts, all the meetings, all the late nights...and this is the end result. If I had taken 60 minutes to assemble my top 100 players from the various mock drafts posted on the internet, and then thrown darts when it was my turn to pick, the class I would have drafted could not possibly have been worse. Just imagine all the money I'd have saved the Eagles, and I would have drafted players they actually could have used.

Seriously, if these picks were submitted by computer, I'd be willing to believe that the Eagles mis-clicked three times today. But since they have to write the player's full name on an index card and carry it to the commissioner, I am forced to accept that the Eagles actually picked these players on purpose.

I can't let this go. I waited months for this day. I look forward to the NFL draft, starting the day after football season ends in January. And here I sit in stunned disappointment. Andy Reid and Tim Heckert: I'm sorry, but you sucked today.

Stupidest pick ever

Nice work, geniuses. Fucking Christ. With Houston, Jackson, McCauley still on the board, with WRs like Dwayne Jarret and Steve Smith on the board, they take a fucking QB, and an overrated one at that. Kolb is a 3rd-round QB at best, and he's useless to the Eagles anyway.

Anthony Spencer should have a lot of fun sacking this waste of roster space. Jesus Christ.

Sometimes I hate being right

Exactly as I predicted, the Eagles traded down into the top of the second round when both Ross and Merriweather were off the board.

They got great compensation for their pick - adding a 3rd-rounder and a 5th-rounder for a drop of 10 spots - but it still may be something they live to regret. The player that the Cowboys picked in that spot is a good one. Anthony Spencer, DE from Purdue, was named as the toughest opponent faced by both top 5 OTs - Joe Thomas and Levi Brown. He's a real player, and someone whom I thought the Eagles would draft if he fell to them. Every time he knocks down McNabb, Eagles fans will think back to this trade and shake their heads.

I'm also very surprised they didn't pick TE Greg Olsen, since he had a mid-first-round grade, and L.J. Smith is in the last year of his contract. No one expected him to fall this far.

So is it a good move? I guess we'll find out a couple years down the road. The Eagles got great value, and still have a chance to snag Jackson/McCauley in the second round, but did they really have to trade with a division rival, and allow them to pick up a tremendous pass rusher?

Thursday, April 26, 2007


The Eagles drafted almost exactly as I hoped last year - snagging two of the potential first-round picks I projected for them - and yet the biggest contributor from that draft class was their 5th-round pick. While Bunkley and Justice could still develop into solid pros, I'm hopeful that this year's draft has more immediate impact.

First pick:
Brandon Merriweather - This safety fits the Eagles' defensive scheme the best. Can play the deep half, cover man-to-man in the slot, and throws his body around in run support. Doesn't have ideal size.
Aaron Ross - A tall corner who plays strong against the run.

If these two players are not available at 26, then expect the Eagles to try and trade down into the top of the second round. At the top of the second round, they'll target safeties Michael Griffin or Tanard Jackson, or corners Chris Houston, Eric Wright, or Marcus McCauley.

I'd be shocked if the Eagles didn't go CB or S with their first pick. There's a small chance they could take a DE or LB, but only if someone with a high grade unexpectedly falls into their lap.

Second pick:
The Eagles definitely like speed rusher Lamar Woodley, and despite the talent they have at DE, the Eagles will take him in the second round if he's still on the board. If he's gone, expect them to look at a WR like Craig Davis or Jason Hill, or safety Eric Weddle. I'd love to see them pick up DE Tim Crowder, who I expect to be an excellent pro, but he doesn't exactly fit the mold of recently drafted ends like Trent Cole and Juqua Thomas.

Third pick:
In the third round, I'll be crossing my fingers for RB Tony Hunt. Maybe I'm just being a homer, but after watching him run over people for years at PSU, I see him as a perfect complement to Brian Westbrook. The Eagles would love it if TE Ben Patrick was still on the board, but that would be an upset. They could also go with LBs Rufus Alexander or Buster Davis.

Just one more day til Saturday!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Is it time yet?

After another school shooting, are we finally ready to face reality?

As parents, as teachers, as administrators, and as a country, can we finally accept that these incidents will continue to happen, and prepare for them?

Is it time yet to start training our children how to survive a school shooting?

The Virginia Tech killings are absolutely tragic. While we frantically scramble for someone to blame, this time there doesn't seem to be a convenient target for our scorn. The teachers reported his disturbing behavior, the police were contacted, mental health professionals got involved, and even the courts ruled that he was a danger to himself and others.

But when an individual chooses to ignore help, and when that individual has not committed criminal actions, the freedoms of this country to do not permit authorities to lock him up, just in case he goes crazy someday.

What's striking to me, is how unprepared we continue to be for these events. How quickly the situation degenerates into panic and chaos. There are heroes, and those who play the deer-in-the-headlights role, but there is never a cohesive plan of action.

That has to change, and it has to change fast. We need to train teachers, administrators, and students how to increase their odds of survival, and we need to do it before more people die needlessly. Here's what the training should include:

1) Escape routes. Each classroom should have multiple escape routes mapped out, and just like fire drills, students can practice moving quickly toward these exits. They need to know that at the first sound of gunfire, option #1 is to get the fuck out of Dodge.

2) Locks/barricades. Classroom doors need locks, and training should include procedures for locking and barricading doors. If option #1 fails, then this is the best chance. Isolate the fucker in the hallway, and let him waste bullets firing at the door. At the very least, this buys the students time to either jump out the windows or wait for help.

3) Fighting back. This one is highly controversial, and schools refuse to endorse this option because of liability issues, but it is absolutely critical. When escape isn't possible, and the barricade breaks down, your odds of survival increase significantly if you fight. Requests to line up, questions about your belief in God, etc. are your cue that you and a whole lot of other people are about to die. Your best asset at this point is a readiness to die with your boots on.

Cho killed 30 people in the second building...if those 30 people had rushed him, would he have been able to kill them all with two handguns? If those 30 people had thrown their chairs or textbooks at his head, wouldn't one of them have found their target? Instead of 30 dead and 15 wounded, we'd be looking at two dead, two wounded. While the world would be just as bleak for two families, there'd be 28 others who would be thanking various gods that their children were still alive.

This is not meant to be a cut at the victims. I'm not assigning blame to them at all. We are not a society of warriors. We do not experience life-or-death situations on a regular basis. To be paralyzed with fear as your friends are killed is a natural, expected response. But we need to override this response with training and drill. We need to learn how to react quickly, decisively, effectively, and viciously.

Is it counterproductive to train students how to survive, when the would-be shooter is receiving this training too? That might mute the effectiveness of the training, but it won't mitigate it completely. Knowing that the doors will be locked and barricaded doesn't make it easier to get through them. Knowing that the chairs and books will be coming toward your head doesn't make it easier to avoid them. Anything we can do to increase our children's odds of survival is worth trying.

It's not ok to watch kids die anymore, in the name of liability. It's time to start facing reality.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

The Great Global Warming Swindle

Skip American Idol tonight and spend an hour watching The Great Global Warming Swindle. It was broadcast last month on BBC, but if you live in the USA, you didn't have an opportunity to see it.

This documentary doesn't just provide some conflicting evidence to the global warming debate, it decimates the entire argument. The most basic premise of the global warming swindle - the one thing that must be true for any of the conclusions to be logical - is patently false. Increases in atmospheric CO2 concentration do not cause warming temperatures. Read that again. If that statement is true, and this documentary provides an abundance of scientific proof, then there is no reason to even have a debate about global warming. It's an obvious deception.

Nobel prize-nominated Al Gore, who received my presidential vote in 2000, stands in front of a chart during his movie An Inconvenient Truth. It is one of the few (only?) moments where he is leaning heavily on science to make his point. The chart shows two lines: atmospheric CO2 concentration (determined from ice core samples) and temperature. These two lines, overlayed, show an amazing correlation. Al says that while the relationship between the two is "complicated", the correlation is clear. And he's right.

The "complication" that he's failed to mention, is that he shifted one of the lines by 800 years. And it's not in the direction you'd think...increased CO2 concentrations do not lead increased temperatures by 800 years, but increased temperatures actually lead increased CO2 concentrations. Yes, that's correct. Increased air temperatures cause the ocean to release CO2 into the atmosphere, while reduced air temperatures cause the ocean to absorb it. So the relationship between the two is exactly the inverse of what greenhouse "science" would lead you to believe. Mr. Gore, sir...while I don't regret voting for you in 2000 (considering the alternative), you are either one ignorant son-of-a-bitch, or you are a bold-faced mother-fucking liar.

You need to understand this, so that you can laugh about this with your grandchildren in 30-40 years, with a clean conscience. There is no science behind the global warming scare. None. Nothing at all. There isn't a little bit of contradictory evidence. There aren't a few unexplained holes in their theory. Their entire argument, their most fundamental premise, is not just wrong, it's the polar opposite of what they've led you to believe. MAN-MADE GLOBAL WARMING IS COMPLETE BULLSHIT. It's as real as the boogeyman in your closet.

Hard to swallow, isn't it? Billions of people have bought into this lie...led by scientists, politicians, religious leaders, and the media. Opposition has been ridiculed and silenced. Speaking up against the global warming mantra is equivalent to heresy today.

It's a self-sustaining myth because the media loves catastrophe and governments spend billions in scientific grants to research it. But it doesn't end there. Not only is it unscientific, but it's got nothing at all to do with saving the environment. It is a populist conspiracy embraced by every anti-establishment, anti-capitalist, anti-US, anti-globalist, and anti-developmentalist crackpot out there.

The co-founder of Greenpeace has one more word for the global warming movement: anti-human.

These fuckers aren't tree-huggers, they are misanthropes.

Every time your family, your friends, and your co-workers repeat the global warming mantra, they are unwitting tools of this hateful, socialist plot to destroy wealth and increase human suffering. You want catastrophe? How about forcing Africa to rely on solar power to industrialize instead of the coal and oil resources within their ground? Every day that developing nations are delayed from exploiting their natural resources to improve their situation is a day that more people die of malnutrition, disease, and other preventable consequences of poverty. The global warming movement has already killed more people than man-made global warming ever will.

Watch the movie. Spread the word. Stop the madness.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Clean up

Cleaned up the portfolio a little last week, dumping Commerce, Schering, and UPS. I bought a little Yamana, a gold company, on Cramer's recommendation. Yamana is the only gold company in the world opening up new mines, so there are actually two ways to win...growth and an increased price in gold.

Gold is bound to skyrocket once we go to war with Iran. Yes, they backed down from the hostage standoff last week, but that was due to a miscalculation of public (non-)support in their own country, not because they are afraid or unwilling to pull the tails of tigers. They'll continue fomenting unrest in Iraq, they'll continue making nuclear weapons, and they'll continue supporting Hezbollah in their war against Israel. Eventually, it all leads back to the same place: war with Iran. While I certainly hope I'm wrong, I'll position myself to profit if I'm right.

Speaking of Iraq, I suggest reading this blog post from someone who was there and experienced the mess first hand. Don't settle for my summary, but basically Iraqis don't know what they want...they just know they want something better. The U.S. has screwed up their opportunity to be "welcomed as liberators", and we've done a horrible job of stabilizing/rebuilding the country, but it may not be any worse than it was before we arrived. The Iraqis want us to provide security, disarm the militias, and rebuild the infrastructure, but they want us to leave too. Yes, there's a contradiction, but I might feel confused and conflicted myself after enduring the national traumas that have shaken Iraq.