Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Travel Site To Use One of My Pictures

I just secured an agreement for a new travel web site called Findmybeach.com to use a picture I took in France as part of their site.

Here is the picture they will use...

The picture is of a town called Villefranche sur Mer on the French Riviera. Diane and I stayed there in 2007 for our 10th wedding anniversary. It's a charming place that is equidistant between Nice and Monaco.

Findmybeach.com is scheduled to go live in December and focuses on travel and vacation information about European beaches.

NOTE: Use of this picture requires written permission from me.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Surprise! Palin Gets More Support Among Less Educated Republicans

Here is a surprise...

Turns out that Sara Palin gets very limited support among college educated Republicans, but more support among less educated Republicans.

The story is HERE.

I guess the silver lining here is that even with higher support among less educated Republicans, Palin is still under 20% total support among all Republicans...for now.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

What We Learned - Week 13 of Pac-10 Football

What we learned this week in Pac-10 football...

Oregon (11-0 overall, 8-0 in Pac-10 play) defeated Arizona (7-4, 4-4) by the score of 48-29 in Eugene. Well, the first and foremost thing we learned from this game is that the Ducsk are...for the second year in a row...Pac-10 Champions! Yes indeed, they win the league again and no matter what happens against the hated Beavers next weekend in Corvallis, the Ducks are at worst going to the Rose Bowl again. We also learned that with this win, if the Ducks beat OSU next weekend, they will be in the National Championship game as the #1 team in the land.

Getting to the game, we learned that there is nothing "wrong" with the Oregon offense as some speculated after the 15-13 win against Cal a couple weeks ago. Nope, other than two costly turnovers, the Oregon O was back on track against a good defense. We also learned anew may of the same things we've learned over the weeks about the Ducks...bend but don't break (too much) defense, turnover producing defense, quick strike offense, breakneck wear-you-down style, great special teams and - unfortunately - they have a habit of giving the ball away a few times each game. We also learned that the Ducks have A LOT of weapons. Josh Huff, Darron Thomas, LaMichael James, Kenyon Barnor, Jeff Maehl, Cliff Harris, DJ Davis and more. Each of these guys had a big impact on the game against Arizona. Speed, speed, speed. I don't see this from other top five teams like Auburn, Boise State or TCU.

From Arizona we learned that if Nick Foles could play every game against the Ducks, he'd be Mr. All World as he absolutely BURNED the Ducks again and  again and again and again and again and again and again and again with pinpoint passing. Oh well, the Duckies still won by a lot.

Since the Ducks are in the race for the national championship, it is also worth noting that we also learned that Boise State is no longer a threat to make that game because they lost Friday to Nevada. Bye, bye Boise State.

Washington (5-6, 4-4) defeated Cal (5-7, 4-5) by the score of 16-13 at Berkley. We learned that Cal's season is done. With only five wins, they are not bowl eligible and they have no more games to play in the regular season. So, they're done. Meanwhile, we learned that Washington manned up when they had to and got the job done late - on the last play of the game. While you will never mistake me for a Husky fan, you have to give it up to the team and their coach for deciding to go for the win on the last play instead of kicking a field goal to tie it and send the game into overtime. So, we learned that the UW still could make a bowl game if they can defeat WSU in the Apple Cup. That would give them the required six wins. Oh, and by the way, we learned that the first half of this game was probably the most boring display of football seen so far this season. 0-0 the whole half until right at the end when Cal kicked a field goal.

Stanford (11-1, 8-1) defeated Oregon State (5-6, 4-4) by the score of 38-0 in Palo Alto. We learned that Oregon State is "not ready for prime time" when it comes to playing the top teams in the Pac-10. Put simply, they were WORKED by Stanford. With their loss, we learned that the Beavers now need to beat Oregon next weekend in the Civil War game just to become bowl eligible. One thing I've learned over the years is that it dose not matter if the Beavers are a horrible team or not, they always get up for and play well in the Civil War. So, I expect their very best game of the year next week against the Ducks.

For Stanford, we learned that they have now clinched second place in the Pac-10. Their regular season is now complete and they await to see if they can sneak into a BSC bowl game or if they are relegated to the normal second place bowl for the Pac-10...the suddenly not-that-impressive Alamo Bowl.

Notre Dame (7-5) defeated USC (7-5, 4-4) by the score of 20-16 in Los Angeles. I did not watch this game nor have I seen highlights. So, all I'll say is that I think we learned that both these once great programs have lost the luster they once had and that whether it's ND winning by four or if USC would have won by four...it's oddly and now all-to-common that this game is irrelevant to the big picture of college football.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Week 12 Pac-10 Football Predictions

Here are my predictions for week 12 in Pac-10 football...

Oregon will defeat Arizona by the score of 34-24 in Eugene on Friday. I think the Ducks bounce back offensively from their 15 point output at Cal, but a stout Arizona defense "limits" them to 34 or so. Meanwhile, I think the Arizona O is pretty good and will probably score a few times. But, in the end, I think the Ducks are better and they are at home...so they win.

ASU beats UCLA by the score of 21-10 in Tempe. UCLA is in disarray. They have shown the ability to bounce back from horrible performances, and may do that somewhat coming off of their melt down vs. Washington. But, I do not think they will win this game. They just don't have the QB and incentive to. But, ASU is at home and still playing for a potential bowl appearance.

Cal will beat Washington by the score of 17-10 in Berkley. Cal is coming off an epic butt whooping at the hands of Stanford. But, they are also still in contention for a bowl appearance. And, they have shown a bizarre ability to play horrible one week and great the next (and vice versa), and I think they are due for one of those "play great" games. Also, this is the third week that new Cal QB has started since normal starter Riley's season ended with an injury, and I think he will finally put it together against a fairly weak but improving UW defense.

Stanford will beat Oregon State by the score of 31-17 at Palo Alto. OSU played great vs. USC and beat them in surprising fashion. But, that was last week and it was at home. This is on the road against a much better team that USC this season. Stanford is gunning for a first or second place finish in the Pac-10 and a BSC bowl bid...so they will be ready to go and they will win this one.

USC will beat Notre Dame by the score of 24-21 in Los Angeles. USC played horribly against the Beavers last week, but they are still - I know, I know you don't believe me - a pretty good team. Not a great team, but pretty good. And they are playing at home against a below average Notre Dame team having a poor season. So, I think it adds up to a win for the Trojans - even if backup QB Mustane must play for injured starter Barkley.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

What I Am Thankful For 2010

Here are the things I am thankful for:

  1. My wife Diane - simply said, my life. I lover her the whole world.
  2. My health and that of Diane - no substitute for being healthy. So far so good!
  3. Family - immediate and extended family bring us a lot of joy every year.
  4. Friends - all friends old and new add so much to our lives.
  5. Employment - hey, having a paycheck any time is good, but especially in these times!
  6. Travel - it gives us a new perspective no matter where we go - in the U.S. or overseas.
  7. Art - music, film, paintings, photography, sculpture or other forms of artistic expression are wonderful...either indulging us in something we already know and love or challenging us to think differently.
  8. Our cat Josie P. Jones - yes, she has her own full name. The "P" stands for "Pussycat."
  9. Good peripheral vision and quick reflexes - click HERE to read why.
  10. Humor - imagine trying to get through life without having a sense of humor yourself or being around people who didn't have one.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

What We Learned - Week 12 of Pac-10 Football

Here's what we learned from this week's Pac-10 football games...

Washington (4-6 overall, 3-4 in Pac-10 play) defeated UCLA (4-6, 2-5) by the score of 24-7 in Seattle. We learned that UCLA is in disarray. Penalties, fumbles, poor play, Neuheisel ranting at his own players on the sideline. Not good. Yes, they beat Texas on the road early, but they have virtually zero QB talent to throw the ball, rendering them one dimensional on offense and, therefore, easier to shut down. And that's what UW did. We also learned that UCLA will wilt. We saw it in their game vs. Oregon where after the Duck's initial onslaught they just kinda gave up. Same thing vs. Washington in the second half. All that said, I think we learned that UCLA is officially done this season and won't be winning any more games - like they still have to play against Arizona State and USC. No bowl for the Bruins.

We learned that Washington still has some life left in them and that if they win their last two games - one at Cal, one at WSU - they will make a bowl game. Granted, they were playing UCLA, but the UW defense came to play for real and did a very good job shutting down the Bruin offense. We learned that, despite Jake Locker being an all around good guy and having the potential to be an NFL QB, he is...much to UW fans' lament...not a very good college QB. Fewer than 100 yards passing, one interception, no TD passes...although he did run one in for a score.

And finally, we learned - or at least I did - that the UW looked good in those black uniforms. I say bring 'em out a few times a year you Dawgs!

Stanford (10-1, 7-1) defeated Cal (5-6, 3-5) by the score of 48-14 at Berkley. We learned once again how good, how balanced and how talented Stanford is. We also learned that Cal's defensive effort against Oregon last week was a "one-off" performance - part valiant effort, part Oregon not playing very well. Oh, and you cannot discount the "comedown" factor after a game like that. If just wasn't meant to be vs. Stanford. We learned that Cal needs to win its last game vs. Washington next week to get to a bowl. Same goes for Washington to keep its bowl hopes alive. I think we also learned that if Stanford wins its last game of the season, it will likely be in a BSC bowl. Lastly, we now know as a result of this game that Oregon still has to win one of its last two games to clinch the league title.

Oregon State (5-5, 4-3) defeated USC (7-4, 4-4) by the score of 36-7 in Corvallis. Well, the first thing we learned here is that I am not that good a predictor. I believed that a better USC team would roll into Corvallis and beat up on a downtrodden OSU team that just been beat by lowly WSU (sorry WSU fans), but I was wrong. Which leads to another lesson we learned anew this week...you cannot predict with much certainty what will happen in the Pac-10 from week to week. Teams look great one week and horrible the next and vice versa. Home, road, bye week? Not factors. Oh well. Although they still have to on the road to play Stanford next week, I fully expect OSU to use this win over USC to springboard into the Civil War at full strength.

Oregon, Arizona, Arizona State and WSU did not play this weekend, so we didn't learn anything about them...although we know if Oregon wins vs. Arizona Friday they will wrap up the Pac-10 championship.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Pac-10 Football Week 12 Predictions

Here are my predictions for this weekend's Pac-10 football games...

USC will beat Oregon State by the score of 35-21. USC has not fared very well in the state of Oregon over the past few years, losing to Oregon and Oregon State routinely there. I think this weekend breaks that streak. OSU is coming off a butt-whooping at the hands of none other than the WSU Cougars - in Corvallis! That's demoralizing, and sure, the Beavers will play better this weekend than last, but you don't often lose one week to the worst team in the league and then win against one of the better ones the next. And I don't think this happens here. Plus, USC has played well this  year and has really good talent...better than OSU overall. And by the way, whatever OSU does  against USC, I firmly believe they will play their best game of the season against the Ducks on Dec. 4 - no doubt in my mind.

Standford will beat Cal by the score of 31-17 at Berkley. Cal gave a great effort against Oregon last weekend, so you might say that they are improving, at home and barely lost to the #1 team in the league and in the country...so, certainly they should beat Stanford. But, I think they will not fare as well against Stanford. Call it a come down or simply not matching up as well vs. Stanford, but I don't see Cal winning this one.

I did not get a prediction in on Washington vs. UCLA as that game was played this week on Thursday. I will say that if I try to be objective I would have predicted a UW win - particularly because it was at home and senior day.

Oregon and Arizona have the weekend off, but play each other on Nov. 26. WSU and Arizona State also have a bye this weekend.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Health Insurers Spend $82 Million to Combat Health Reform

Health insurance companies spent $82 million last year to oppose the Federal healthcare reform last year.

At the very same time, they were working with Democrats to write the reform legislation.

Story here.

I think this story points out exactly the problem with our healthcare system. Ours is a system in which the number one goal is to make maximum sustained profit rather than provide quality care and coverage.

We see this clearly in this instance where the biggest profiteers from our system are working both sides of the issue when reform is on the table - they're spending huge money to combat the entire notion of reform, but just to cover their butts they are also working with the reformers (who they also donate campaign funds to) to influence (and minimize) the impact to their profit margins.

That's not healthcare...that's profit management.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Republican Grumpy He Can't Get His Socialized Medicine Fast Enough

A Republican who ran and won a Congressional seat in the recent election in part on his dislike for "Obama-care," protested loudly that he was not able to get his government-run healthcare coverage soon enough.

See the story here.

Many people, and in particular conservative politicians, argue that only the private sector can be trusted to provide care and coverage, but the moment they can get on a government program...they jump at the chance because it provides comprehensive care at less cost to them.

Do as I say, not as I do.

Keep supporting the for-profit system that helps those campaign donations coming it and my friends rich, but actually get care in a socialized system because it costs less and is equally good.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Here's Some Reality For You

 The New York Times has an excellent opinion piece today about the implications of the recent election, in particular the benefits the super rich will likely continue to see.

For example, they cite:
  • The top 1 percent of American earners took in 23.5 percent of the nation’s pretax income in 2007 — up from less than 9 percent in 1976. That's right. One percent of our population took in nearly a quarter of all income.
  • The top 1 percent of Americans now have tax rates a third lower than the same top percentile had in 1970.
  • During the boom years of 2002 to 2007, that top 1 percent’s pretax income increased an extraordinary 10 percent every year. Imagine if your income went up 10 percent a year for five years...in half a decade you'd be making 50% more. Wish I had that deal.
  • But the boom proved an exclusive affair: in that same period, the median income for non-elderly American households went down and the poverty rate rose. Oh surprise, the "trickle down" theory that if you give rich people money they will create jobs didn't pan out...again. Nope. Turns out not all boats rise with the tide. Rather, only the really big yachts do.

The point is, with a new Congress-elect starting to talk about extending the very policies that made this situation happen in the first place, can "the country can afford the systemic damage being done by the ever-growing income inequality between the wealthiest Americans and everyone else, whether poor, middle class or even rich"?

Sunday, November 14, 2010

What We Learned - Week Eleven in Pac-10 Football

A big week in Pac-10 football. Lets see what happened and what we learned...

Oregon (10-0 overall, 7-0 in Pac-10 play) defeated Cal by the score of 15-13 in Berkley. Wow. The Ducks barely survived Cal in this one. Oregon played by far its worst game on offense this season, but played one of its best on defense and came away victorious. When it's all said and done, they won on the road and are still undefeated and in first place for the Pac-10 title and still on track for an appearance in the national championship game. Sometimes games like this happen, and really good teams find a way to win. The Ducks did.

Here's what I think we learned:

  • We learned that the main threat to Oregon going undefeated is itself. Give Cal credit for playing hard, but penalties, turnovers and some overly aggressive play calling on 4th down basically gave Cal it's two touchdowns and helped put them in position for that ill fated field goal attempt that - had it been made - would have put Cal on top by a point.
  • We learned that the Oregon defense is better than it gets credit for. They won the game for the Ducks. After giving up a TD to Cal early in the first quarter, the Duck D held the Cal offense scoreless the rest of the game. And, they forced a fumble by Cal early in the second half that the Oregon offense then quickly cashed in for their only TD of the game. That's solid. And, that level of play by the defense WILL be needed to close out the season with two more wins.
  • We learned that the Duck offense can be held in check by an extremely aggressive defensive line and fast linebackers...all of whom do not over-react to Oregon's fake hand offs and misdirection. I am sure that Arizona and Oregon State are paying close attention to the video of this game as part of their preparation to play the Ducks in upcoming games.
  • We learned that the Oregon placekicker is not perfect. He had not missed any PATs or field goal attempts all season, but in this game missed two field goals that would have really helped Oregon's cause earlier in the game. 
  • We learned that teams will continue to fake injuries on defense as a way of slowing down Oregon's offense. This was VERY obviously happening during the game last night. And, since the refs didn't stop it, I imagine we'll see other teams continue to do this to the Ducks too. 
  • We learned, once again, how dynamic and valuable Mr. Cliff Harris is as a kick returner. His punt return for a TD was the Duck's only other score of the night. 
  • We learned that now the Ducks have to win one of their remaining two games to clinch the league title and an appearance in the Rose Bowl. If they win both their remaining games, they will appear in the national championship game. 
Washington State (2-9, 1-7) defeated Oregon State (4-5, 3-3) by the score of 31-14 in Corvallis. Again, wow. Who would have guessed this one? Kudos to the Cougs for taking it to the Beavers on their own field to break their LONG league losing streak. We learned that the WSU has a pretty dang good QB in Jeff Tuel and that the team has slowly but steadily improved all season...this being the payoff. Will they win again? Not sure, but we learned that if their remaining opponents take them lightly, they will make them pay. Meanwhile, we learned that OSU is suspect in pretty much every aspect of their game. We also learned that the Beavers have a very difficult road ahead to get enough wins to earn a bowl bid. They have to win two of their final three games to have a shot. They play USC, Stanford and Oregon. I don't see them pulling it off.

Stanford (9-1, 6-1) defeated Arizona State (4-6, 2-5) by the score of 17-14 in Tempe. In strikingly similar fashion as the Ducks game, Stanford had a poor day on offense, but made up for it with a stiff and turnover-creating defense and won a surprisingly close game on the road. So, we learned that Stanford also possesses the toughness and diversity of talent to overcome blunders that would sink most teams. As for ASU, we learned that their defense continues to stymie good offensive teams (Wisconsin, Oregon and now Stanford), but that they just cannot find a way to win close games. 

USC (7-3, 4-3) defeated Arizona (7-3, 4-3) by the score of 24-21 in Tucson. We learned that the Arizona defense has real trouble stopping a quality running game, and that this problem is acute enough that it cancels out a pretty dang good night by the very good Arizona offense. That could be interesting when the Wildcats visit Oregon in a week and a half from now. We also learned that rumors of USC's demise are premature. No, they're not going to overtake Oregon or Stanford for the best record, but they are...while not what they once were...still a team to be reckoned with.

Washington and UCLA did not play, so we didn't learn anything about them...except maybe UW QB Jake Locker will play in the Huskies next game.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Week 11 Pac-10 Football Predictions

My predictions for week eleven in Pac-10 football...

Oregon will defeat Cal by the score of 38-24 in Berkley. Cal is a very good home team and despite having to play their second string QB in this game, they have lots of talent on both sides of the ball. I think they will play well and may even lead this game going into the half. BUT...I think the Ducks will wear them down and by the late third quarter/early fourth quarter they will put the hammer down and score couple TDs to pull ahead for good. In the end, a closer game than people might think, but a road win none the less for the Ducks.

Oregon State will beat WSU by the score of 41-17 in Corvallis. OSU is just better than WSU and they are playing at home. The end.

Stanford will beat Arizona State by the score of 31-14 in Tempe. I don't see ASU stopping the Stanford O enough to win this one. Plus, Stanford is very motivated to keep only the one loss on their record to increase their chances of a major bowl bid.

USC will beat Arizona by the score of 27-21 in Tuscon. I'm calling upset here. Arizona is coming off a loss that puts them out of the running for the Pac-10 crown, and may be deflated. Meanwhile, USC is coming off a win that - while close - re-ignites their desire to finish strong despite not being eligible for a bowl or the league title.

Washington and UCLA do not play this weekend. They match up against each other next weekend in a battle that will eliminate one of them as eligible for a bowl game.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

What We Learned - Week Ten in Pac-10 Football

Here's what we learned this week in Pac-10 football...

Overall, we learned that Oregon is now firmly in the driver's seat for the league championship. Win two of the final three and the Ducks are in the Rose Bowl again. Win all three and they are in the National Championship Game. We also have learned that after Stanford, the rest of the league is bunch up of similar squads...save WSU who continue to struggle and have lost all but one of their games this season.

Oregon (9-0 overall, 6-0 in Pac-10 play) defeated Washington (3-6, 2-4)  by the score of 53-16 in Eugene. First, we learned that the Ducks continue to OWN the Huskies - winning their seventh in a row against the Dawgs and once again doing it by a lot of points (37). We also learned that even when Oregon is playing a bad game (fumbles, slips, bad reads, dropped passes, dumb penalties, etc.) they can still overtake and pull away from an opponent. We also learned that Oregon commits a lot of turnovers that, despite their ability to overcome them, give opponents undue opportunities to score...and at some point that will come back to haunt them big time. But, not this week. We learned that QB Darron Thomas has more and perhaps faster wheels than originally imagined. And, we learned once again that Oregon's speed in all three phases of the game (O, D and special teams) is a killer. And, unfortunately, we learned that valuable backup QB Nate Costa may be lost due to a knee injury, so by extension we learned that the Ducks just lost one insurance policy for continuing their winning ways if Thomas goes down.

On the Washington side we learned that backup QB Price may be very good in the future with his elusive moves and decent passing. But, at the same time, we learned the UW running game is quite limited and their defense - while certainly throwing down in the first quarter - is not sufficiently stocked with athletes who can compete at a high level for more that about a half. And, very painfully for Husky fans, we learned that UW kick coverage is horrible. And finally, we learned that now the Dawgs have to win all three of their remaining games to be considered for a bowl. This may be possible with opponents like UCLA, WSU and Cal still on the slate, but it is no guarantee.

Stanford (8-1, 5-1) defeated Arizona 7-2, 4-2) by the score of 42-17 in Palo Alto. We learned that Arizona now does not pose a serious threat for the Pac-10 crown as they now have two losses in conference. It's not likely that Oregon or Stanford are going to lose two games to change that situation. We learned that Stanford may not lose again this season now that they have played their stiffest competition (Oregon, Arizona, USC). We learned that Arizona, despite losing, will still be a challenge for anyone on their remaining schedule - including Oregon - but now we wonder aloud as the team that Oregon beat badly (Stanford) just beat Arizona badly. Hmmm.

Cal (5-4, 3-3) defeated WSU (1-8, 0-6) by the score of 20-13 in Pullman. Once again we learned that Cougs played with heart and made a game of it, only to fall short. This has been a pattern now for several weeks. Meanwhile, with Cal...we learned that they can win on the road as they have not thus far pulled that up this season. Meanwhile, we learned that their backup QB is decent.

USC (6-3, 3-3) defeated Arizona State (4-5, 2-4) by the score of 34-33 in L.A. Not sure what we learned here. That USC can bounce back after a big loss? That ASU can play well against a good USC team? I guess. Perhaps what we learned here is that, as mentioned before, once you get past Oregon and Stanford (and excluding WSU at the bottom of the league) the remaining seven teams are about the same - mediocre to decently good teams that can beat each other on any given weekend.

UCLA (4-5, 2-4) defeated Oregon State (4-4, 3-2) by the score of 17-14 in L.A. We learned that, assuming Oregon enters the Civil War game with a Rose Bowl berth on the line, OSU now cannot knock Oregon out of that game even if they beat the Ducks as the Beavers now have two league losses.  We learned that UCLA is somehow fighting back to try and piece together a six or seven win season and make a bowl after some pretty bad play earlier in the season. And we learned that the Bruins have a very good field goal kicker who, in this instance, won the game for UCLA on the last play of the game.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Memories of the Oregon-Washington Football Rivalry

With the Oregon-Washington football rivalry coming up Saturday not expected to be a competitive game (we'll see), I began thinking about past games in this series...that for the most part had been competitive until recently. Since attending the University of Oregon starting in the fall of 1988, I've seen quite a few of these games. Here are some memories...

1988 - Oregon wins on an end-around (in person). Thrilling! What can I say. A cool way to start my four years on campus at Oregon.

1990 - Oregon gets pummeled to death at Husky Stadium (in person). This was the second of FIVE years in a row when the rivalry was played in Seattle. That's right, five years in a row at Husky Stadium...all losses. Years later, Husky fans moaned pretty loud about having to go to Autzen three years in a row, but conveniently forgot about this stretch where the Dawgs had home field advantage. Anyway, I remember dressing up in an obscene amount of Duck gear, going to the game with my dad, the fact that it was cold and that the Ducks were beaten badly.

1994 -" The Pick" game (TV). I was not at this game, but saw it on TV. Obviously, a major big deal game, interception and win. This one has been covered to death. I'll just leave it as...wow!

1995 - Oregon wins at Husky Stadium for the first time in forever (in person). This is something that I never thought I would see. Oregon wide receiver Pat Johnson took the game-opening kickoff back for a TD and the Ducks scored enough points in the first half and hung on with the defense in the second half to win. I also remember the Huskies had a chance to tie or win the game a couple of times with relatively short field goal attempts, but missed both. After the game, walking excitedly out of the stadium and some Husky fan near me said, "man, we killed those guys in the second half!" and I said, "yeah, but not in the fist half...we win!"

1997 - Oregon wins AGAIN at Husky Stadium (in person). I remember sitting in the U-shaped end zone seats at Husky Stadium...which are horrible seats generally, but pretty close to the west end zone. This turned out to be a great vantage point to see Oregon WR Pat Johnson sail through the air to haul in a last minute, diving TD catch to win the game over a highly ranked Husky team. Sweet! Never thought I'd see the Ducks win in Seattle, and now I was witnessing it again! Seeing the purple crowd deflate was pretty neat too.

1999 - UW wins in a comeback in Seattle at night (in person). I remember going to this game with friends and the excitement of seeing the Ducks take an early and impressive lead...only to see them lose that lead and the game as the Dawgs came back and scored while shutting down the Ducks. This is the game where Oregon QB Joey Harrington took over the reins from previous starter A.J. Feely...never to relinquish them again. It's also a game where the backup QB for Washington (can't remember his name) had his one and only good game.

2000 - Oregon beats UW at Autzen to hand the Huskies their only loss of the season (in person). Diane, me and her parents went to this game and watched it from the standing room area. Luckily, it was bright, sunny and warm. I remember a lot of hype for the Huskies that season and feeling really good that my Ducks shot them down...as it turned out for the only loss of UW's season. I also remember before the game a very young UW fan saying something like, "man this is a small stadium...my high school had a bigger stadium" only to be subject to the deafening roar af the Autzen crowd all day long.

2002 - Washington wins impressively in Eugene (TV). I remember high expectations of winning this game, only to be treated to a UW beat down of the Ducks. As the game unfolded, I also remember thinking I was really glad I had not made the trip down to Eugene to watch that crap in the rain. This is also the game when, after winning the game, Husky players went out to the middle of the Oregon field and danced around on the Oregon "O"...setting up more hate for the Dawgs in future years.

2003 - UW wins in a comeback in a Seattle night game, again (in person). Three main memories here: 1) going to the game with our neighbors and walking from Gasworks Park to the game on the Burke Gillman trail, 2) it was an eerily similar game to 1999 in which the Ducks took the early lead only to see the Dawgs come back and win pretty handily, and 3) horrible treatment by some Husky fans. I'll give you two examples:
  • Walking into the game before kickoff, there was the usually huge, swirling crowd inside the ticket gates on the concourse. In this crush, I was wearing my green Oregon sweatshirt, so obviously I was a Duck fan. From out of nowhere, a guy dressed in a purple and yellow robe and carrying a large cross with a green and yellow rubber chicken stretched across it crucifixion style comes up to me...sticks the crucified duck in my face and simply yells, "Fuck you!"
  • During the game, a Husky fan a few rows away and down from us clocked that there was a Duck fan nearby - me - and every time the Dawgs would do something good, he'd yell an obscenity at me. Mind you, I did not bait him or anything. This was his own decision. Finally, after three or four of these instances, I stood up and yelled something at him like, "Yeah, all I hear is how classy UW fans are. Nice way to represent. I bet you didn't even go to UW did you?" Didn't hear a peep out of him again.
2005 - Oregon wins handily (in person). The main memory here is that my buddy Sean and I did the trip down and back to Eugene on one day! Yes, we hit the road early Saturday morning with a stop over in Chehalis for breakfast, got to Eugene, went to the game and pre-game festivities, ate dinner in Eugene and then drove all the way back to Seattle arriving about midnight. A VERY long day, but fun. Also, it solidified my decision to not do a game weekend like that again...too long on the road for one day.

2007 - A close game through three quarters and then BOOM...Oregon blows the Huskies away in the fourth quarter to win by three touchdowns in Seattle (in person). My memories of this game are: it was great to see Dennis Dixon run the Oregon offense to perfection, the UW crowd cheering what the thought was a tackle on the Oregon running back only to be horrified that our QB actually still had the ball and was streaking down the sideline for a big gain, it was cold, and my wife Diane was a saint to go with me.

2008 - Oregon kills UW at Autzen in a night game (in person). This one wasn't close. My main memories of this one were actually about before and after the game than anything else. Since kickoff was at 7 p.m....or was it 5 p.m.?...all fans of both teams had all day to, well, drink. My buddy Sean and his crew of Husky fan friends stationed ourselves on the sunny deck of Taylor's bar right off campus and had a good time talking with new friends and fans. However, when the time came to walk over to the stadium, my Husky buddies got some pretty disgusting behavior thrown their way by some young and very drunk Oregon fans. Suffice it to say, the F-word was used liberally. You can read more about this unfortunate 30 minutes from my blog post from that time by clicking HERE.

2009 - Oregon pummels UW to death at Husky Stadium (in person). For this one, several friends from Portland came up for the game and we took the Husky Boat from Ballard to the stadium on a beautiful fall morning. This really added to the fun as neither Diane and I had ever done that before. The game itself was pretty much a brutal beat down by the Ducks on the Huskies with QB Masoli starring.

Week 10 Pac-10 Football Predictions

Predictions for week ten of Pac-10 football...

Oregon will defeat Washington by the score of 52-17 in Eugene. This one won't be close. Oregon is a vastly superior team, playing at home against a hated rival. That right there would probably be enough. But, throw in that the Huskies are a dismal team coming off one of their worst performances ever AND their starting quarterback is out of action due to injury...and, well, this one could get ugly fast. My hope is that Oregon can handle this game easily and nobody gets injured.

WSU will beat Cal in Pullman by the score of 17-10. I will once again go out on a limb and pick the Cougs. They're at home and motivated while Cal is a horrible road team, coming off a bad loss and without their starting QB.

Stanford will defeat Arizona by the score of 28-21 in Palo Alto. Home team wins in this battle of closely matched teams.

Oregon State will defeat UCLA by the score of 24-21 in L.A. I think this one will be close for some reason. UCLA is inconsistent, but played pretty well last weekend against Arizona. This week they are at home against the Beavers...not a great road team this year.

USC will defeat Arizona State by the score of 34-17. USC is just better and they are at home.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Concequences of the Election - Predictions

Congratulations America, you have now given power in the U.S. House of Representatives back to the very people and political agendas that put us in the historic world of hurt we find ourselves in. Nice going.

Economist Paul Krugeman had an article just before the election that's worth a read if you're interested in knowing what the next two years will be like.

Meanwhile, with the House now controlled by the Republicans, here are some of my political predictions:

The House of Representatives will attempt to impeach Barak Obama...especially if they feel he is a threat to win again in 2012. You think that's crazy? Well, the last time a Democrat was president (Clinton), a Republican controlled House did impeach him. They did it in Clinton's second term, so it wasn't even an attempt to take him out as a contender for the next election - something the Rs would be able to do with Obama now. And, back then, they impeached Clinton on pretty flimsy grounds...that he lied under oath about getting a blowjob from Monica Lewinski. Only a slightly less crazy Republican-controlled Senate decided to not ratify. The Rs will find something about Obama and trump it up as impeachable and then go from there. Again, remember, Republicans like Michele Bachmann from Minnesota have said on the record that if they were in power, they would investigate Democrats for "un-American" activities.

The House will attempt to repeal the healthcare reform law. Mark it down. This will happen. Obama won't sign such a repeal of course even if the Senate goes along with the House, but there is SO MUCH MONEY in healthcare that even some House Democrats and Senators might be convinced to change their votes to get up to a veto-proof majority so they can continue to get campaign funding from big pharma and insurance companies. Such a repeal would be a crippling blow to the economy and the overall quality of life for U.S. citizens. Oh, and if Obama stymies the Rs on this, I refer you back to my first prediction above...impeachment. Perhaps even using the argument that healthcare reform is "unconstitutional" (which of course is bunk) and since Obama took an oath to uphold the Constitution he is therefore, now, impeachable. Remember that lawsuit that some state Attorneys General filed against the reform law? Remember who sits on the Supreme Court and who put them there? It all comes together.

The deficit will not be any better in two years than it is now. If anything it'll be worse. Why do I cite a two year time frame? Well, that's all we've had since Obama was elected in November 2008 (actually he's only been in office since Jan. 2009 - a total of 21 months). So, if the public is angry that Obama couldn't fix the spectacular deficit he inherited from the Bush/Republican government in the 2000s in just 21 months, then they for sure will be equally angry if it's not fixed or on the right track by October of 2012, right? They must think a different Congress can get it done that fast, right? Somehow I think a far more likely scenario will be that magically the"anger" will suddenly be turned into "deficit spending is good for the economy" talk. Putting it another way, it's easy to yell about vague notions like "cutting spending" or "overspending" during a campaign, but if you get power...what are you going to do? What are you going to cut?

This brings us to...

Attempts will be made to change or eliminate Social Security. Citing a combination of factors such as how big a piece of spending this program accounts for, along with scary forecasts for when it will "fail," conservative power will attempt to change or eliminate Social Security in the name of "fixing" it and in the process handing over a windfall in money management to big banks and Wall Street. The positioning for this will again be along the lines of the individual having "ownership" over their future...giving people "freedom to chose" how they save for retirement or an unfortunate setback instead of "the government." Conservatives have been itching to delete Social Security since five minutes past the moment it was signed into law back in the 1930s. With power again, they will try again. Oh, and they feel the exact same way about Medicare and Medicade. We really could be looking at a Congress that eliminates social programs this country has relied on for 80 years. Think of the devastation and poverty such moves would bring upon the American people.

There will be no change in terms of social policy, immigration or "liberty" issues that Tea Partiers crow so much about. Listen up. Once again, I will tell you...conservative politicians USE social issue voters to get elected. The gin up interest and controversy on issues such as abortion, gay rights, immigration, guns, etc. to get conservatives to turn out in droves...and then when they get in office, they certainly do not push through legislation on these matters. No. They instantly go into "serve big business and the rich" mode. The end. Not sure how many times I have to say all this, but it is INVARIABLY true.
Unemployment will stay about the same as it is now - 7 to 10 percent. Why? Well, the big reason is that good, sustainable jobs are created by businesses - not government. And, big numbers of jobs are created by big businesses as they innovate, change and compete. But here's the thing: big business is not doing most of those things. They've "wrung out" costs, outsourced jobs overseas, benefited from major tax windfalls and deregulation (thanks to W and team) and, now, have cut back staff severely during the recession but survived. What motivation do they have to spend money to find "the next big thing" that will usher in huge numbers of new jobs (or, as business sees them, expenses) when they can simply sit back, enjoy tax laws that enable them to keep most of their profit and continue to downsize people and costs? The Republicans are not going to mess with that. If anything, they'll make it even more the case.