" That's just the sort of blinkered, Philistine Pig ignorance I've come to expect from you non-creative garbage!"

John Cleese

Friday, October 31, 2008

Okay. I Broke My Promise.


But for good reason.  This is the dumbest thing I've seen since the pilot episode of quarterlife.

From ABCNews.com via Salon:
In a conservative radio interview that aired in Washington, D.C. Friday morning, Republican vice presidential nominee Gov. Sarah Palin said she fears her First Amendment rights may be threatened by "attacks" from reporters who suggest she is engaging in a negative campaign against Barack Obama.

Palin told WMAL-AM that her criticism of Obama's associations, like those with 1960s radical Bill Ayers and the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, should not be considered negative attacks. Rather, for reporters or columnists to suggest that it is going negative may constitute an attack that threatens a candidate's free speech rights under the Constitution, Palin said.

"If [the media] convince enough voters that that is negative campaigning, for me to call Barack Obama out on his associations," Palin told host Chris Plante, "then I don't know what the future of our country would be in terms of First Amendment rights and our ability to ask questions without fear of attacks by the mainstream media."
I changed my mind.  We need her in 2012.  If anything is going to completely obliterate the Republican Party as we know it, it's her.

Please.  Pull a Norm Coleman.  I want Sarah Palin to sue the media.  Nobody specifically.  I just want her to file a lawsuit with the defendant listed as 'The Media'. 

It wouldn't be out of character.

And if anyone reading this is undecided about who they will be voting for this election, you're a moron.  


Friday Isn't For Thinking


I have been completely under the weather this week and it really helps that I have a massive move ahead of me tomorrow. Actually, I don't think it will be all that bad but I definitely want it over. I'm sick of dealing with it. It'll be nice to get in there and not have 40 boxes of shit laying around and/or having some bullshit to do every damn weekend.
With all this going on I almost forgot that Halloween is upon us.
I hate Halloween. Even when I was a kid I sort of only kinda dug it. I'm just not that into dressing up. I always feel bad for the people that get all dudded up in these elaborate costumes and then after the initial 15 minutes of attention (which is what it's about, let's face it) they have to lug around some party with an incredibly uncomfortable get up.
I last dressed up for Halloween a few years ago at the last minute. Excruciating. I vowed then and there to never do it again. It's really a holiday for kids and gay guys.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Can we just get this election over already?
Every 4 years the worst in people is brought out due to this shit. It's been embarrassing. I know perfectly intelligent people on both sides of the aisle that just say some of the most outlandish and stupid ass shit during an election. Really. Obama is Muslim? Really? Do you really believe that? Come on. Really?
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Iowa plays Illinois tomorrow. I've outgrown alot of things but my hatred for anything Illini is not one of them. Fuck 'em.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Village Where the Idiot Came From


Poll: 23 Percent of Texans Believe Obama Is a Muslim
A University of Texas survey finds that 23 percent of registered voters in the state still believe Barack Obama is a Muslim, though the Democratic nominee for president is Christian.
FOXNews.com
Thursday, October 30, 2008

A new poll finds that 23 percent of registered voters in Texas believe that Barack Obama is a Muslim, even though the Democratic candidate has repeatedly explained that he is a church-going Christian.
The poll, conducted by the Texas Politics Project and Department of Government at The University of Texas in Austin, showed Obama trailing John McCain by 11 points in the Lone Star State.
Forty-five percent of those polled accurately described Obama as a Protestant. But the 23 percent who identified his religion as Islam is about twice as high as in typical national polls.
Throughout his presidential campaign, Obama has been fighting false rumors, largely hatched on the Internet, that he is secretly a Muslim.
On Obama's Fight the Smears Web site, which his campaign set up to battle harmful claims, it says that Obama is a "committed Christian" who regularly attends church with his family.
The Texas poll interviewed 550 registered voters in Texas from Oct. 15-22, and had a margin of error of 4.2 percent.

Joe the Assface a No Show at McCain Event


Maybe he heard there were IRS agents there seeing as he owes back taxes. Or maybe a rep from the Plumber's Union seeing as he's unlicensed.
Oh, well. In 5 days he'll be in the rearview along with Kiki Dee and the Charleston.

JOE A NO SHOW
DEFIANCE, Ohio -- Sen. John McCain, running through Ohio on a daylong bus tour, introduced Joe the Plumber at his first stop of the morning at an outdoor rally in this tiny town not far from where Joe Wurzelbacher confronted Sen. Barack Obama about his tax plan.

"Joe's with us today. Joe, where are you? Where is Joe? Is Joe here with us today?"

The problem? Joe wasn't here.

McCain aides scrambled; one ran past reporters in one direction, then back in the other, talking frantically into her portable radio. Reporters streamed up to other aides asking if the world's most famous plumber was indeed here.

"Joe, I thought you were here today," McCain said as the crowd murmured. After half a minute of silence, as everyone in the crowd scanned for Joe, McCain tried to make the best of it. "All right, well, you're all Joe the Plumber so all of you stand up and say -- I thank you," he said as the crowd applauded.

Afterward, one McCain aide sought to downplay the misstep. "It was a metaphor; they're all Joe the Plumber."

But reporters weren't buying it. "This is going to make every network news channel tonight," one said a few minutes after the goof. Another joked: "Are you kidding? It's already got 100,000 hits on YouTube."

Here's the clip:

Since Youtube isn't working here's the link.
http://abcnews.go.com/video/playerIndex?id=6147331

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Has Time Stopped?


Can we just get this over with, for criminy's sake.

But given that, here's a pretty good little ad from Obama:



And we here at BRE headquarters have been working long into the night in an attempt to calculate how this election will fall. 

After Christo's visit to the voting booth last Tuesday and the intense running of numbers and careful analysis of vectors and probability charts, we have the election currently at:

2-0 for Obama.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Mate's Electoral College

A week before the election. BARRING A HUGE EVENT this is how I see it happening.
So, here goes:

Popular vote:

Obama 52% McCain 47% Other(s) 1%

House: Dems pick up 24 seats

Senate: Dems pick up 8 seats falling 1 shy of the magic "60", which was bullshit anyway.

Upset: Elizabeth Dole loses in NC

Electoral map will look like this:



Yep. Obama wins in Montana. Why? Ron Paul is on the ballot there and will get 5-7% of the vote.
Also, Georgia will be closer than expected. I just can't see North Carolina going for Obama but that's the one state I feel least confident about in my projection.
Ohio and Florida will be close but Virginia will be a surprisingly wide margin for Obama. It'll be over before the West Coast polls close.

It's Been A Few Days


Spent the weekend in Waterloo, Ontario at a wedding. This was my first time in Canada other than a brief excursion over the border into Windsor just to say I was in Canada. Sad.
Very nice people but the town we stayed in was basically one gigantic strip mall. Trying to find some sort of local flavor then giving up, the wife and I just ended up eating dinner at Applebee's. Sigh.
It's also odd being somewhere where hockey is huge. No ESPN. They have TSN which is basically Hockey 24/7. Fine. I appreciate hockey and get that it's the national sport in Canada but on a Saturday in the Fall I'm kinda wanting college football. The World Series was on, however. Got to see about 3 pitches before I passed out BECAUSE....
At the reception I drank about 7 beers and mixed it with wine. Bad fucking idea. The 9 hour drive home on Sunday was...difficult. When I'm taking a crap at a disgusting roadside Rest Area that gets cleaned every 3rd Thursday of the month you know it's an intestinal emergency of massive proportions.
Alcohol and I are just gonna have to agree to be occasional friends and in small doses. I was still feeling the effects of it MONDAY.
---------------------
4 days and the move will be over. Thank God.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Back Tomorrow

Sorry about the lack of posts lately. Been a little crazy. Back with more rollicking laughter packed squalor tomorrow...

Friday, October 24, 2008

Going Out With Their Usual Grace


Aaaahh, Newt. I've Missed You, You Big Lug.

Some highlights:  Newt says that Tina Fey's impersonation of (I'm not blogging about her per se) Palin is slander and grounds for a lawsuit while saying the media's treatment of Palin is reminiscent of the Polish media's treatment of (whaaaa?) Lech Walesa.

(Cue Walton's music)  I.  Miss.   The.  90s!




Woman Attacked For Being A McCain Supporter. Or Was She?

Seems a 20 year-old woman in Pittsburgh said she was attacked for being a McCain supporter and called it a hate crime.

Unfortunately, there seems to be some inconsistencies in her story.  So many that the Pittsburgh police needed to hook her up to a lie detecting thingy to see if she's on the up and up.

My favorites parts (and there are many):  

#1  Her MySpace profile quote at the top:
"Lying is the most fun a girl can have without taking her cloths [sic] off, but its [sic] better if you do." 
#2  Why is the 'B' backwards?  Looks like a self-etched mirror job to me.  

UPDATE:  She made it up.  Really?  Who would have guessed?  Sounded plausible to me.


This Week's Nomination For the Cuckoo For CoCo Puffs Award

I'll just let the AP story speak for itself.  WOW!

Reed compares Harkin to 'Tokyo Rose'

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Republican U.S. Senate challenger Christopher Reed accused fellow Navy veteran and Democrat Sen. Tom Harkin of aiding the enemy because of his call to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq on a scheduled timetable.

In a taped debate that aired Thursday night on Iowa Public Television, Reed called Harkin the "Tokyo Rose" of al-Qaida and Middle East terrorism.

"We're taking advice from somebody who has an eight-year history of becoming the Tokyo Rose of al Qaida and Middle East terrorism," Reed said.

The term refers to Japanese women who broadcast anti-American messages in English to U.S. troops during World War II.

"The white flag of surrender, accusing our Marines of torture, voting to defund our troops while they are in harm's way, those are all records of having an anti-American policy," Reed said.

Reed specifically said Harkin was "providing aid and comfort to the enemy," language consistent with the U.S. definition of treason. When asked by the moderator whether he was accusing Harkin of treason, Reed replied, "No. I'm accusing him of giving our enemies the playbook."

Reed is in a tough race against the four-term incumbent as polls indicate Harkin has a strong lead over the Marion businessman.

After the debate, Harkin called Reed's comments "beyond the pale." and says Reed has lost his bearings.



WOW x 8,439

Remember the crazy lady from Minnesota who said Obama held anti-American views?  Yeah, that one.  Her.  

Here's a 2005 clip from said crazy lady.  



Um, she's good people.  That's the kind of mind I would want representing me.  Best part is the disbelief she shows over poor people in the suburbs of Paris daring to have cable TV.  Those fuckers.  How dare they?!

Himmler's on line two, Mrs. Bachmann.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Phil Watch: Phil's Baaaaack!

See.

Off-season Phil is da bomb!  

Christo's gonna need something to get himself through another winter and Phil's going to be his chenille throw blanket providing a reassuring warmth on those cold wintry evenings.

Let's get started.

Could Manny Ramirez join the Cubs?

It's a long shot, but don't count out Hendry's go-for-broke approach

Let's rephrase that.  The Cubs already have almost $130 million committed before making pitches to Dempster and Wood.  $150 million after that.  The Cubs are about to be sold, the economy's in the porcelain poop dispenser and the stadium revenue streams are maxed out.  

Hey, let's write a completely nonsensical article about the Cubs' chances of signing a 36 year-old left fielder demanding a six-year contract at $20 million per year.  With another wildly overpaid and untradeable player currently occupying his position.

I'll say this.  Phil knows these internets.  I can only imagine the number of people clicking on this one just to see how stupidly stupid it might be.  It's about page hits, people.  Shrewd devil, that Phil.      

Manny Ramirez won't be going to Boston for the World Series. No one knows where he will wind up in 2009, including Ramirez or his agent, Scott Boras, both of whom are the cleanup hitters of their businesses.

Despite unprecedented production under the brightest lights, the baggage Ramirez carries is so heavy that it's unclear if the Los Angeles Dodgers will pay to bring him back. His fit elsewhere is equally unclear, as is the outlook for improving a Cubs team that has gone 0-6 the last two Octobers.

Could those uncertainties merge?


Ooooh, Phil Game!  Pick two uncertainties in life and ask if they can somehow merge.  No criteria and critical thinking needed.  Just think of two things and ask if it will get Joe The Ass Picker from Cicero to read your column.  Points for coming up with an enticing headline.

It's uncertain right now if Green Party presidential candidate Cynthia McKinney will win the election.  People are uncertain about the economy and want a new face.  

Will those uncertainties merge?


With the aggressive nature of general manager Jim Hendry and the anything-to-win approach in the Lou Piniella era, don't rule this out—not if the Dodgers would take on a big contract or two from the Cubs.

Every big contract the Cubs have right now includes...(drumroll)...A NO-TRADE CLAUSE!  And why specifically the Dodgers?  Manny's a free agent and the Dodgers get two draft picks if they offer and he walks.  

Soriano?  Where does he fit with the Dodgers?  They have 5.4 billion outfielders right now, including two with bad contracts (Pierre/Jones) and two leadoff hitters (Furcal if signed and Pierre).  Why, exactly would the Dodgers bite, Phil?  So far, you sound like a Score caller.

Ramirez?  He's less than two years away from being a 10-5 player.  Why is he waiving his no-trade clause?

Lee?  Loney equals his production and is 42 years younger and $8 billion cheaper.  

But before getting all speculative, let's revisit Ramirez's impact after being traded from Boston to the Dodgers at the July 31 deadline.

Let's.

Baseball's most dreaded hitter, he batted .520 with four homers, 10 RBIs, nine runs and 11 walks in eight postseason games. He played 61 games in all for Los Angeles, a team that was punchless before adding him, and delivered a .410 average with 21 home runs and 63 RBIs.

But...but...but...that doesn't tell me why the Dodgers would take a couple of big (see:  Bad) contracts from the Cubs.  Does Phil know Manny's a free agent?

He had a .513 on-base percentage and a .783 slugging average—numbers that combine for a 1.296 OPS. He has played in 108 career postseason games for Cleveland, Boston and the Dodgers and delivered a .286 average with 28 homers, 74 RBIs and a .949 OPS.

Phil did math!  It wasn't Phil-Math.  Just regular, logical math.  Still don't know why the Dodgers are taking on Cubs' contracts. 

Ramirez gave up a $20 million option in Boston to become a free agent after this season. 

Whew!!  Phil knows it.  I was worried.

Wait a minute...that makes this even stupider!  

He is 36 and, according to Boras, deserving of a six-year contract that will pay him top-of-the-scale money until he's 42, as Alex Rodriguez will be and Barry Bonds was in his last contract. Boras points out a quality that separates Ramirez from those other elite hitters.

Well, shit.  If Boras said it, it must be true.  Always trust guys in life who are looking to get paid.  Trust everything out of their mouth without question.  That's today's life lesson from Christo.

"He not only gives you performance of the highest level during the season, but in the postseason he just carries a team," the agent told ESPN Friday.

Are quotes from Boras supposed to buttress this argument?  Still don't know how Manny fits into the Cubs scheme and why the Dodgers and specifically the Dodgers are taking Cubs' contracts.

Boras believes this quality trumps questions about Ramirez's on-again, off-again effort and the selfishness that eventually made him persona non grata after two World Series parades in Boston. It's unclear whether Hendry or executives with other teams will bite.

Wait just one moment.  I say again.  Phil posited the question, "Could Manny Ramirez Join The Cubs?" and we're 1/2 of the way through this shit and he still hasn't even formed something resembling an argument that would hold up to the scrutiny of my four year-old nephew.  Well, that nephew might be six...or ten by now, but you get my drift.

If there's a fan base ripe for that pitch, it's the fans in the bars in Wrigleyville. 

Ka-boom!  There we go.  That's his argument right there.  The Cub fans might want it so it could, should and will happen.  Because the economics and rationale of baseball moves don't even enter the picture in Cub fan fantasyland.  It just should happen.  

Just like the last caller on the Holmes & Hampton show that said the Cubs should trade Fukudome, Fontenot and Howry to the Orioles for Brian Roberts.  Forget the fact that Howry's a free agent.  Angelos should do it because the Cubs deserve a World Series and any player that once put on a Cub uniform is as valuable and the most valuable valuables on the planet.

They have watched Alfonso Soriano and Aramis Ramirez go a combined 5-for-51 in the crushing first-round losses to the Dodgers and Arizona and are hungrier than ever for the full ride, not just the big tease.

I would pay money to see the Cubs only acquire players that have had post-season success.  Craig Counsell, Tito Landrum and Scott Brosius are looking for work, I'm sure.

There's no way the Cubs can play two left fielders, so Soriano would have to go for Ramirez to come. 

Whhhhaaaaa?  Phil's addressing actual issues?  Let's see where this goes.

Soriano seems to be essentially an immovable object with six years and $106 million left on his contract, but the Dodgers will need two things if they don't re-sign Ramirez—power hitting and another buzz guy.

And too tweaky, moody and demands to lead off or he'll pout.  Forgot that, Phil.  

Could Soriano soften the blow of losing Ramirez?

Yeah, the Dodgers need more guys prone to missing baseball games to injuries.  And what baseball fan doesn't know what Soriano really is?  Buzz guy?  Last time I checked, the Dodgers don't have problems putting butts in seats.  Who in their right mind would make a decision whether to go or not go to a baseball game based on the presence of Alfonso Soriano?

"I have a lot of work to do and a lot of decisions to make," Dodgers GM Ned Colletti told the Los Angeles Daily News last week. "I'll do a lot of listening."

And if Coletti takes Soriano's contract, he will not be a GM much longer.  Even the lame-ass LA media will eat him alive. 

If Hendry, who still needs his own contract extension, decides to make major changes, the Cubs and Dodgers could have lots to talk about.

Again.  WHY DO THE CUBS AND DODGERS SPECIFICALLY HAVE ANYTHING TO TALK ABOUT!!!!!!   

With Derek Lowe eligible for free agency and Brad Penny and Jason Schmidt physical wrecks (Penny has a $9.25 million option that might not be exercised), the Dodgers likely will be in the market for starting pitching. The Cubs have it to trade, especially if they keep Ryan Dempster and Kerry Wood off the free-agent market.

Who...what the...why....how would...?????  WHO'S BEING TRADED FOR WHO AND WHAT DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH MANNY AND THE DODGERS????!!!!!! 

They could move Soriano or Aramis Ramirez to address the Dodgers' need for power hitting, although like Carlos Zambrano both have full no-trade clauses that would have to be waived. Both teams have bad contracts they might be willing to discuss to try to get a deal done (most notably Kosuke Fukudome, Andruw Jones, Juan Pierre and Schmidt).

Phil had to be drunk when he wrote this.  I bet he woke up the next morning and had some vague memory of doing something last night.  He clicked on the Trib site and saw it.  

And then I bet he was proud of himself that he didn't, in his mind, embarrass himself.

It's a sliding scale when taking into account everything he's written.

I ask again/again/again/again.  How would the Cubs trading for Andruw Jones, Juan Pierre and/or Jason Schmidt help the Cubs SIGN MANNY RAMIREZ?!%^&#%AA@

JHC, this is a rambling, incoherent piece of poo!

Manny Ramirez's first option is to go back to the Dodgers. But if owner Frank McCourt isn't willing to make that happen, all bets are off.

Ending with 'all bets are off' is like those people that posit a stupid-ass argument and reply to logic that debunks said argument with a "You neeevvveeerrr kkkknnnoooowwww..."

I tried to put together a scenario using Phil's logic here.  I took a shower, ate some lunch and pondered anything in the same universe as rational and I couldn't come up with anything.  Could the Cubs acquire Pierre and Jones and trade Soriano and Zambrano to make room (?) for Manny?  There were charts and graphs and logarithms and tarot cards and I came up with nothing.

I did come up with one thing.

Phil's back.  It's going to be a good winter.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

I Knew It Would Be One Idiot But I Didn't Know It Would Be Their Leader


Yesterday several polls were released (like every day when we get this close to the election) showing Obama with anywhere from a 4 to 13 point lead. The truth is that it probably is closer to 4 than 13 but nonetheless when you see poll after poll showing the same thing it's what we Political Science majors call "a trend".
Of course when there are so many polls there is always one or possibly two that are kind of out of whack. In the polling world they're called "outliers". Usually they have a weird flaw in their system or they scewed the party ID or something.
When this happens the Whackos on both sides will take that poll and somehow scew it to show that their candidate is indeed catching up and this race is "far from over". It happens every year. Shit, Dukakis did it. It's called "cherry picking": grabbing one poll that shows what you want or gives you a small glimmer of hope and completely fucking ignoring the 10 others that show you're going to lose and lose badly.
I knew when I saw a Battleground Poll (a poll that is considered by those in the polling industry as erratic at best--they don't for some reason poll on Fridays or Saturdays--huh?) yesterday that showed Obama up only 48-47 that some Republican Dickhead would take it and run with it to show that McCain is winning or somehow reversed the trend.
I had no idea it would be King of the Dickheads, though.

http://www.rushlimbaugh.com/home/daily/site_102108/content/01125106.guest.html

Douche.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Another New Asshole


One of the things about an election is that you get to discover new bloggers and politicos. And sometimes that's a good thing. Sometimes it leads you into some really dark and awful writing.
Here's some hipster ass bag named Greg Gutfeld. Apparently he has some late night show on Fox News that noone watches. Oh and he also was the editor for that bastion of family values journalism Maxim (UK edition).

Anyway, he gets PAID for this.

http://www.dailygut.com/

It's All Those Gays and Leprechauns


2004 county by county election results. You can decipher where Sarah Palin and the McCain camp think "Real America" is.

Otherwise known as where "where there aren't alot of Blacks and Mexicans."


Petty, Vindictive Assholes for $2000, Alex.


You go Brett.  Keep us here at BRE rethinking the winner of August's Tournament of Awful.  

From Yahoo!:

Jay Glazer of FOX Sports reports that Brett Favre called the Detroit Lions earlier this year to give them a scouting report on his old team, the Green Bay Packers. 

Writes Glazer:
Several sources have told FOX Sports that Favre earlier this year phoned the Detroit Lions prior to their battle versus Favre's old team, the Green Bay Packers, and gave them a rundown of the nuances of what Green Bay does on offense. According to the sources, Favre actually spent over an hour on the phone with Lions coaches, who were connected with Favre by then-team president Matt Millen.
Favre has allegedly done this with a number of teams, but his chat with the Lions was more in-depth than any other, reports Glazer. Despite the Favrian tips, Detroit still lost that week 2 matchup, 48-25.

The hour long call to Detroit higher-ups came during the week Favre and the Jets were preparing for the Brady-less Patriots. Up until that point, Favre had played just one regular season game in New York. One can't help but think that the quarterback's time might have been better spent learning his new team's playbook instead of discussing his old team's playbook.

Such insider trading isn't against league rules; teams often sign players recently cut by an upcoming opponent in order to get some insight into formations and schemes. But for Favre to call up the Lions, apparently unsolicited, to divulge information comes across as petty. Although, petty as it may have been, I'm sure Brett Favre sold out his former club like a little kid having a lot of fun out there.


OHIO: America's Head Wound

Another story of open minded political discourse from a McCain-Palin supporter.
The fact that he spells Hussein phonetically and nowhere near correct just puts a nice bow on this one as well.

Hanging 'Obama Ghost' Riles Butler Co. Neighborhood
Police Ask Man To Take Display From Tree
FAIRFIELD -- A Butler County man says his hanging "Obama ghost" is a political statement, but admits it might appear racist, too.
The ghost was sitting in Mike Lunsford's Fairfield front yard on Monday morning because he took it down from the tree it was hanging from after police asked him to. The rope still hangs from the tree in front of the Symmes Road duplex.
Lunsford's family said some people had threatened him over the display.

The ghost doesn't have an image of presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama on it, but has "Hussain" written in green ink on the front, referring to Obama's middle name, Hussein.
Lunsford said he might put it back up again soon.
When News 5's Karin Johnson asked if the display was political or racist, Lunsford said it was a political statement.
But when pressed, Johnson said Lunsford admitted it might be racist, too.
Johnson will have more on this story later today.

Life-Affirming Air In...Negative Nancy Air Out.


Good Weekend.

I successfully re-caulked my tub, Colin Powell endorsed Obama, the Hawks got a completely satisfying win over a suddenly awful Wisconsin team and...

The Red Sox can now officially suck my left nut!

And while they're down there, Chip Caray can also go have intercourse with himself.

Yeah, I said it.  I let an announcer get to me.  And yes, much of it has to do with the fact that the Angels crapped themselves yet again against the Red Sox.

But when an announcer says after Papelbon gets his first out in the eighth inning of Game 1 of the ALDS, "And Papelbon perhaps setting himself up for another magical postseason," it tends to stick in the proverbial craw.  First out.  First game.  I'd hate to be the janitor of the TBS broadcast booth.  That's a lot of Red Sox jizz to clean up.

Red Sox.  Take your 'baseball magic' and magically go away now. 

I also work with a few Cub fans.  Inexplicably, they were pulling pretty hard for the Red Sox.  Why?  No answer.  But when Big Red Egg gets around to compiling a comprehensive profile of the quintessential Cub fan, item number one on the agenda will be the fact that they might not really root for the Cubs per se.  Just 'baseball magic'.  They root for the idea of sprites, fairies and unicorns.  In short, kneel at the altar of a bogus baseball mysticism.

But I'm not wildly judgmental (ahem).  Just relieved that the baseball gods (ahem) didn't allow for such silliness to continue to perpetuate itself.

There.  I got that off my chest.

But what do I know?  I don't even live in 'Real' America. 


Inter Alia

The New Yorker has a great piece about how McCain picked Sarah Palin (that's not blogging about her...that's linking, that's passing along info.  I didn't break my promise).

New York Magazine profiles Nate Silver, editor of Baseball Prospectus and founder of fivethirtyeight.com, a site attempting to build a better political prediction beast and largely succeeding.

Speaking of beast, Tina Brown (yes, that Tina Brown) just launched a new site to ostensibly ride the coattails of Huffington Post.  The Daily Beast is worth a look, if only for the impressive collection of writers she got to launch the web mag (Christopher Buckley of the Buckley Buckleys endorsed Obama there last week).

Okay.  I'm usually not one to watch such things but Shone Greene has a shot at the NCAA (of FBS, whatever the kids call it these days) rushing title.  He's 25 yards off the leader and goes up against four fair-to-middling rushing defenses to close out the year.  To save you a licky-type jump, Illinois (#72), Penn State (#22), Purdue (#99) and Minnesota (#42).  There.  Don't ever say I never did anything for you.

And...ummmm...Kyle Orton looks like a legitimate quarterback.  Who knew?  Does this mean I never have to hear Rex Grossman's name ever again?  Is it Christmas?  And if it is, what happened in the election?

Programming note:  New Phil Watch coming.  Phil examines the possibility of Manny Ramirez becoming a Cub.  In a parallel blog universe, Christo examines his chances of winning the Chicago Marathon next year.  Should be good. 

Fox News Not Even Pretending Anymore


Headline on Foxnews.com at 9:56 AM: Polls Show McCain Narrowing Gap

Yes, in ONE poll he has managed to shrink Obama's lead from 7 points to 5.

Oh, and he has shaved a whole point off his deficit in a Rasmussen poll. Rasmussen is in partnership with...wait for it...FOX NEWS.

Here's Real Clear Politics (hardly a Democratic leaning website) and their daily poll trackers.

McCain may be enjoying a slight tightening of the polls but come on! A one point swing in one poll somehow justifies a headline like that?
God, I've officially waste 5 minutes of my life bitching about Fox News. Why even bother anymore?

Friday, October 17, 2008

Negra?

More interviews with the Republican base. This one is in Podunk Crackerville, Ohio.




God, I hate Rednecks.
The Blacks are gonna take over?! Negras?! Am I in some sort of time warp? Oh, wait. It's Ohio, America's retarded brother.

Umm...I Won't Say It's Over But....


if this happens Joe the Plumber will be thrown away like a three dollar whore by the media and whatever debate "bump" McCain got (if any) will be erased. Buh-bye.
And then I'm sure Rush Limbaugh will question his patriotism.

Signs that Republican Colin Powell will support Barack Obama for president
By THOMAS M. DeFRANK DAILY NEWS WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF
Updated Friday, October 17th 2008, 1:29 PM
Miller for News
Colin Powell
WASHINGTON - After months of playing political Hamlet, Colin Powell is finally ready to tell America who he likes for President - and the smart money says Barack Obama is Powell's choice.
Sources close to the retired four-star general and American icon cautioned that Powell's support for Obama over John McCain might stop short of a formal endorsement when he's interviewed on NBC's "Meet the Press" Sunday.
Given Powell's cautious nature, he might decide to make his endorsement of Obama implied, rather than explicit. Even so, a well-informed source told the Daily News:
"After Sunday people aren't going to have any doubt who he's voting for."

I'll Pass

Y'know I am no fan of George W. Bush and you would think I would be jumping at going to see this thing but I fucking hate Oliver Stone.
'Platoon', 'Talk Radio', and to a lesser extent 'Wall Street' and 'Born on the 4th of July' are movies I enjoy and I felt were very well done. But he lost me with 'JFK'. I don't trust a fucking thing he puts in his movies. And he's the last guy I would get to do a biopic..of anybody!
The film 'JFK' is something I've harangued on for many years so I won't go into it here except to say that it's approximately 1.6% accurate ad 98.4% made up bull shit passed off as fact. (Read this book if you still cling to the "Conspiracy" theory, which I fervently used to. )
So, call me crazy that I don't really trust his portrayal here...


Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Ride Continues


Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!
Oh, shit. I don't feel so good.....

The Returns From Illinois Are Coming In


and it's 100% Obama and 0% McCain. How do I know? I voted yesterday.
I gotta say it's pretty nice. I think it helps participation and it will make the actual Election Day a little more efficient by cutting down lines. Some estimates have as much as 30% of the vote already done by November 4th.
One problem I have with it has nothing to do with me or anyone under the age of 55. It's all done by touch screen.
I, personally, thought it was great. Easy to read, quick, efficient. However, I know 5 people in my family alone that I can see being completely intimidated by the thing. Fuck, my grandmother is baffled by a cell phone and got rid of it. Same with my in-laws.
There was no alternative at my polling place. No one offered me a paper ballot (I was by far the youngest person there and I was done voting before 7 people who had started before I even walked in the door) and I was given a card to put in the machine like a ATM.
Again, good for me. I like it but we need to give an alternative to people who are not exactly a child of the Internet Age.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Oh, Thank God It's Over! (A Joe The Plumber-Free Review)


I felt a little chunk come up into my mouth when McCain attempted to turn himself into a victim of racism during his Lewis 'interpretation'.  Lil glurp.  Jus' a lil.

And vouchers?!  We're still talking about fucking vouchers?!

But the most knee-slapping, drop-to-the-floor hilarity from the debate came when McCain said he wouldn't use a litmus test to appoint justices to the Supreme Court. 

From the transcript:
Schieffer: But even if it was someone -- even someone who had a history of being for abortion rights, you would consider them?

McCain: I would consider anyone in their qualifications. I do not believe that someone who has supported Roe v. Wade that would be part of those qualifications. But I certainly would not impose any litmus test.
Um...what?  If McCain doesn't think someone is 'qualified' if he/she supported Roe v. Wade, then THAT IS A LITMUS TEST!  It's the definition of a litmus test, especially when he actually uses the term 'qualified' to define it.

You could tell McCain knew as he was speaking it that it was a load of bullshit circular logic.

Some other thoughts:

Palin's son has Down Syndrome, not autism.  More blatant pandering on the part of McCain to try to tie things together as autism is the medical condition du jour right now in the news.  

Obama didn't vote against Justice Breyer.  He voted against Alito and Roberts.  McCain said he did twice.  Twice.  Interesting that McCain mixed up one of the more liberal justices on the Court with a conservative not once but twice.  Get.  Older. 

McCain said flex fuel should be part of his energy policy yet previously railed against the use of ethanol.  They're the same thing.  Flex fuel is ethanol, a blend of gasoline and ethanol-based fuel.  I learned that from TV commercials.  You think he'd know it.

And using Canada and England's medical system as some 'bad model of healthcare' is soooo 1992.  I think we as a society have changed our minds a bit on that issue over the last 16 years.

McCain, in a truly bizarre attempt to pack as much as he could into every attack, on more than one occasion came off like this guy:


 
Mostly though, and probably in this debate more than the last two, I really got an even more true idea about who McCain is.  After spending the greater part of the 90s thinking this guy would be a good President and should run, I've realized he's just a old curmudgeon, the kind of guy who knows he's right because he thinks it.  

Early in the campaign, I simply thought that this wasn't the guy I thought I knew as a politician.  
Maybe he was - a hardcore vindictive Conservative whose absolutely convinced he's right...on everything.

From invoking 'nutrition and fitness' as the primary answer to obesity to using the tired 'tax and spend liberal' moniker, I felt like I was transported back to 1988.  And not in a good way.  Cripes!  It's the 21st fucking century!  At least vouchers was a topic from the last 15 years.  

Mrs. Ney put it perfectly.  He's pasty, he's pinky and he's held together by pins.  

Obama simply held serve.  I wish he wouldn't keep using platitudes as segues and point finishers but, sandwiched between the platitudes, he expanded on his plans in a way not seen in previous debates.  

I don't know if Obama would be a great President.  I want to truly understand how he plans to implement all of this and I don't know how 'pay-as-you-go' addresses the deficit.  He's banking on a huge economic upturn in the next couple of years to generate the kind of new tax revenue to tackle it.  Like something Clinton saw in the 90s.  I don't know.

But it looks like we're going to find out.  

Late Night Quick Hit


Amid the billions in capital gains tax cuts, reductions in corporate taxes and a deepening of Bush's tax cuts, McCain yesterday threw the middle class a bone in his new economic plan.

Unemployment benefits won't be taxed.

So when you have to go through the gut-wrenching torture of losing your job and destroy your last bit of dignity left by going to the unemployment office and collecting a check equivalent to Sonny Shroyer's residual check from Enos, take solace in this fact:  It won't be taxed.

Thanks, John.  That's some mavericky-ass straight talk.  

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

New Idiot Discovered


Discovered this today by accident. I had never heard of her but apparently she's pretty well known in the Conservative circles. Sort of a "Why I Hate Brown People" essayist.
(That's her with Gigantic Fuck Bag Sean Hannity)
And the long spiraling death of the GOP continues...


Let's Stick With The Theme


A compilation. 

McCain's little retorts at a rally last week weren't nearly enough.  It kept up this weekend.  If Obama holds his lead through Election Day and becomes President, McCain becomes the ringleader for what could be an ugly first year.  It's about what was allowed to grow.



And those Evangelicals and their crazy signs!


On another note:

Chunk, chunk, chunk, chunk, ooooohhhhhhhhh, wwwwwweeeeeeeeee, oooooooooohhhhh, chunk, chunk, chunk, ooooooohhhhh, wwwwwwwwweeeeeeeee!!!!!!!


In Case You Needed More Evidence

More racist, hillbilly dipshit idiocy from a McCain-Palin rally.
Yes, folks, that's a CURIOUS GEORGE doll he's got there.



I posted about this earlier. And here. (Pats self on shoulder)

Monday, October 13, 2008

The Good, The Bad & The Ugly


Hoping for a new feature here at BRE.  

It will be something along the lines of mini-reads,  a cobbled together roundup of fascinating/probing/dumb-ass/inexplicable articles from the internet/print/tv media over the last week.  

2-1 odds it's dumped after two weeks and I just go back to mocking Phil.  The off-season is coming and that's when Phil really turns into a boob.  So I got that goin' for me...which is nice.

Let's get started with the dumb-ass:

I'm No Fan Of The Cubs But...What?

Tim Marchman of Slate posits the theory that the fans of the Tampa Bay Rays have suffered more than the fans of the Chicago Cubs.  Why?  Because for decades, the Bay Area didn't even have a team.  Here's the crux:
Enough is enough: The poor, beleaguered Rays fan deserves a defense. The mistake here isn't to sneer at expansion teams—to be uncomfortable with a team whose color scheme involves teal or magenta hoisting a World Series trophy is just to be a baseball fan. Rather, it's to regard duration, rather than intensity, as the proper measure of baseball suffering. By a standard that holds that a team deserves to win in proportion to what it's endured, the Rays have as great a right to a trophy as anyone else. Cheering for the Cubs is like carrying on with a rotten tooth; cheering for the Rays has, until this year, been like being stabbed in the face repeatedly with a butter knife.
Now it's useless to berate Slate for their sports coverage.  To call it brutal offends the very essence of brutal.  For a further example, check out their annual "How to Fake Your Way Through The Playoffs" feature where they instruct a person who knows absolutely nothing about baseball in the ways of the baseball literate.  Huge problem, though.  The writer unfortunately knows absolutely nothing baseball.  It's the blind leading the blind.  


The Loss Of Pluralism Defined

Mr. Snrub over at All You Care To Eat bemoaned the loss of true pluralism yesterday.

To that, I say "Amen, Brother!"

Piggybacking that notion was a thoroughly fascinating article in the New York Times Magazine last week about former rising star and moderate Republican Representative Tom Davis giving up
“When you get the majority, the leadership team sits around the table, and the first question the winners ask, sitting in this ornate room, is ‘How do we stay in the majority?’ ” he said. “Now the members, a lot of them, are willing to tackle these issues, but they elect leaders, and the leaders’ report card is: Do they get their members re-elected? You see what I’m saying? And the minority, by the way, sits in a little less ornate room, a little smaller room in the Capitol, and they say, ‘How do we get it back?’ And so for every issue it’s ‘Do we cooperate or do we try to embarrass them?’ Very few times they cooperate.”
Check it out.  It's long, detailed and completely icky.  For more reading on the loss of pluralism in American society, check out Bowling Alone by Robert Putnam.  It's a seminal work that examines the loss of social networks over the last 40 years.  A bit laborious to read but entirely worth it.


Yes!  We Have Some Bananas!  We Have Some Bananas Today!

While Rep. Davis spends much his time railing against the idiotic ceremonial votes that take up way too much time on the House floor, Christopher Hitchens last week took it one step further in Vanity Fair and declared the U.S. a banana republic:
And still, in so many words in the phrasing of the first bailout request to be placed before Congress, there appeared the brazen demand that, once passed, the “package” be subject to virtually no more Congressional supervision or oversight. This extraordinary proposal shows the utter contempt in which the deliberative bodies on Capitol Hill are held by the unelected and inscrutable financial panjandrums. But welcome to another aspect of banana-republicdom. In a banana republic, the members of the national legislature will be (a) largely for sale and (b) consulted only for ceremonial and rubber-stamp purposes some time after all the truly important decisions have already been made elsewhere.
Hitchens, always a great read, tends to get a little polemicy for polemicy's sake on occasion. 

This one, though, is more hit than miss on so many fronts.  It's classic Hitchens in that the premise resonates days after you read it.   His exile from the left-wing world of writers after supporting the Iraq War was ugly but that hasn't made him any less of a unique voice worth reading. 


Chockablock With Good Goodness With A Side Of Good

It sat on my TiVo for two months, just staring at me, mocking me with it's obvious goodness.  I hesitated jumping in as my brain was consumed by the Angels and their eventual "crapping of pants".

But I finally got around to Generation Kill, the seven-part miniseries on HBO this summer about the invasion of Iraq by David Simon and Ed Burns, the men behind The Wire.
 


Following the United States Marine Corps' 1st Reconnaissance Battalion from the beginning to the end of the actual invasion, it never wanders into the shallow preachiness that the trailer seems to touch on.  It's just more of Simon and Burns at their best.  Impossible to package into a tight synopsis, they once again bring you something so nuanced and genuine that you immediately know you just saw something strikingly great.   

DVD release is scheduled for December 16.

  

Random Thoughts on a Monday


Can we stick a fork in this story , please? Jesus. Every time I turn on the radio I gotta hear about this cop who got wrongfully imprisoned and let go. Yay! Great. Who cares? Makes up for the abundance of planted, bogus, trumped up charges CPD has manifested on the public over the years. Consider us even.
Don't get me wrong he seems like a nice guy and his sentence was way too harsh but come on! The Chicago media has jumped all over this like a cheetah on a baboon.
I heard an interview with this guy on every goddamn radio show in Chicago Friday and then this morning AGAIN!
And the fake outrage over the court system in Iowa is hilarious. Because y'know the courts here in Illinois and Chicago are so on the up and up. (Eye roll followed by deep cough). And, no, I'm not defending them because it's my home state or whatever, I'd say the same thing if it happened in Alabama or Florida or Kenya.
I'm bored with this. Let it go.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------
Is Columbus Day a fucking holiday or isn't it? America needs to pick a lane on this. Banks are closed but the Stock Exchange isn't. Some schools are open, some aren't. No mail but I have to go to work. WTF?
Shit or get off the pot.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Hey, the stock market is up 400 points today! All is well. Right? Watch the RNC will paint this as some sort of sign the economy is turning around. One good day. Watch.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
In the middle of a move. It's going relatively smoothly but I'll be glad when it's done. But for the first time in my life I've hired movers. God, it takes the stress away I gotta tell ya. When you see a bunch of boxes laying around and you know YOU don't have to haul them down the stairs it's a little victory.
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Any time a Republican bitches about the "Left Wing Media" have him take a stroll down the radio dial to WLS (890 AM). It's Mussolini's favorite radio station!
Roe Conn?! Don Wade and Roma?! Jerry Agar is quite possibly the most vile human on the radio.
Station is owned by that evil, Leftist juggernaut ABC BTW...
---------------------------------------------------------------

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Ummmm....Yeah....So This Happened.




At least it's an effort to douse the potential flames. This was getting Uuuuuuuuugly.

Friday, October 10, 2008

First David Brooks, Now Buckley!


Yes...that Buckley...of the Buckley Buckleys.

Brooks chewed up McCain two days ago and now this.

Christopher Buckley endorses Obama
Joining the steady drumbeat of conservative pundits giving up on John McCain today is Christopher Buckley. Unlike, say, David Brooks or Charles Krauthammer, Buckley doesn’t merely lament the nasty turn McCain’s campaign has taken, or predict a Republican defeat. Instead, he goes so far as actually promising to vote for Barack Obama, and offering praise for the Democrat.

To demonstrate the magnitude of this heresy, a bit of background: the son of modern conservatism’s patron saint, the late William F. Buckley, Christopher remains a columnist for the National Review, his father’s magazine. He announced his endorsement in Tina Brown’s Daily Beast, however. Buckley wrote:

[H]aving a first-class temperament and a first-class intellect, President Obama will (I pray, secularly) surely understand that traditional left-politics aren’t going to get us out of this pit we’ve dug for ourselves. If he raises taxes and throws up tariff walls and opens the coffers of the DNC to bribe-money from the special interest groups against whom he has (somewhat disingenuously) railed during the campaign trail, then he will almost certainly reap a whirlwind that will make Katrina look like a balmy summer zephyr.

Obama has in him — I think, despite his sometimes airy-fairy “We are the people we have been waiting for” silly rhetoric — the potential to be a good, perhaps even great leader. He is, it seems clear enough, what the historical moment seems to be calling for.

So, I wish him all the best. We are all in this together. Necessity is the mother of bipartisanship. And so, for the first time in my life, I’ll be pulling the Democratic lever in November. As the saying goes, God save the United States of America.

Meanwhile, at the Corner, one of the National Review’s blogs, Andy McCarthy speculates on whether Obama’s sympathies are more Maoist or Stalinist. The American Right truly is a many-splendored thing.

― Gabriel Winant
Oodles of blogging this weekend for Christo.  It's our 4th anniversary here at the Ney household.

And here's David Brooks on the new Republican Party.

I'm Tending To Agree


This shit now is these traders not having any stones. Grow a pair you fucking Nancys! I thought the market was all about risk or is it about sitting around and waiting for the government to save your ass? I'm starting to get pissed about this.
Down 500 again today.
Assholes.
(I do like how someone had to tell them how to spell "Fuckers", however.)



Which One?

Headline from CNBC:


Bush Says US Has Tool to Solve Market Crisis





He's Angry and He Doesn't Like Upitty Blacks

This ain't anger. It's fear.
The Bat Shitters are turning on McCain and I love every minute of it. They don't like the idea of a Black man with a funny name running the country. Don't give me the Bill Ayers/Rev. Wright shit. These fuckers don't like Black people who are smarter than them. Not exactly a high bar I know but still...
And John McCain (who I have lost a TON of respect for over the last 3 months) knows better. Why? Because he was a victim of the same tactics by the Karl Rove Asshats who ran the Bush campaign in 2000. The same douchebags McCain has hired to run his current clusterfuck.
via Dallas Morning News:

"McCain was the target of a whisper campaign in 2000 implying that he had fathered a black child out of wedlock. (McCain's adopted daughter is a naturally dark-skinned child from Bangladesh). Voters in South Carolina were reportedly asked, "Would you be more likely or less likely to vote for John McCain if you knew that he fathered an illegitimate black child?". McCain would later lose the South Carolina primary, and the nomination, to George W. Bush."

In addition, on the week of the nomination vote, dozens of radio stations were called on the same day asking talk show hosts what they thought of McCain's having fathered a black child out of wedlock.

McCain later said of the incidents: "There were some pretty vile and hurtful things said during the South Carolina primary. It's a really nasty side of politics. We tried to ignore it and I think we shielded [our daughter] from it. It's just unfortunate that that sort of thing still exists. As you know she's Bengali, and very dark skinned. A lot of phone calls were made by people who said we should be very ashamed about her, about the color of her skin. Thousands and thousands of calls from people to voters saying, 'You know, the McCains have a black baby.' I believe that there is a special place in hell for people like those."


The people introducing McCain are emphasizing Obama's middle name (Hussein), people are yelling out "Traitor!" and "Kill Him!" at rallies and Senator McCain and Governor Golly Gee say nothing. I had higher hopes for McCain but he's just employing the same race baiting tactics that the GOP brings out of the back pocket every election.
I'm going to say it and it pains me: FUCK JOHN McCAIN.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Is Obama a Terrorist?

Reponses recorded after a McCain rally in Ohio. Kind of speaks for itself.



And how'd ya like to be married to the Blonde? That voice. Man. Make sure the dogs are out of the room.

In Soviet Union, Banks Bailout You!


Do we all get a free house now since we own all the mortgages? To quote the Simpsons again
Lenny: It's like a sweepstakes to reward stupidity.
Capitalism was nice while it lasted.
Guess who's next? These guys.


US to Start Buying Stakes In Banks by Month's End
By Reuters 09 Oct 2008 12:53 PM ET

The U.S. Treasury plans to start injecting capital directly in U.S. banks as soon as the end of October in exchange for passive investment stakes, according to a financial policy source familiar with Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson's thinking.

Under authority granted to it by last week's $700 billion market rescue legislation, Treasury would get common or preferred shares from the banks it capitalizes, the source told Reuters Thursday.
The government does not intend to seek board seats in the voluntary capitalization program.
White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said later Thursday that Paulson is "actively considering" capital injections into troubled U.S. banks.
"Secretary Paulson is looking at all the different tools to figure out which ones should be used at what time and how robustly and how much money to put into each," she said.


The source said the injections would likely be made public, which could cause some reluctance on the part of banks to use the capital program for fear of exposing more vulnerabilities.
Paulson said Wednesday that Treasury has wide latitude to buy or insure troubled assets, provide guarantees and inject capital.
"We will use all of the tools we've been given to maximum effectiveness, including strengthening the capitalization of financial institutions of every size," he said.
Copyright 2008 Reuters.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Let's Start The Off-Season Talk!


Why not?

This could be a tremendously interesting off-season in all of baseball.

And nowhere more interesting than on the south side of Chicago.

While the 2009 free agent class doesn't even touch the realm of intriguing, there are some gems to be had.  Just not for the White Sox.  No true fits.

'No true fits' seems to be the mantra around the league as well, making this off-season a potentially huge trade market, bigger than any year in recent memory.


So let's do some updates and speculate where things will go.

Pitchers - Starting Rotation

Mark Buehrle: $14 million annually through 2011. (2009 - July 15, 2010: limited no-trade protection allowing Buehrle to block trades to certain unspecified clubs. A trade triggers an escalator paying $1M raise to $15M annually, plus a guaranteed fifth year paying $15M for 2012)

Update:  15-12  3.79 ERA  1.34 WHIP  4-1  2.29 ERA in September  Really decent #2 starter.  Pretty high dollars for what the Sox get but not debilitating and with the guaranteed fifth year kicking in if he's traded, he's not going anywhere.

Javier Vazquez: 09: $11.5M, 10: $11.5M (Will not except a trade to the West Coast)

Update:  I say dump him.  And eat some money if you have to.  Might be a big chip to be dangled for Brian Roberts given the state of the farm system.  Has no real upside anymore at 33, making a move almost imperative.

Jose Contreras: 09: $10M

Update:  Ugh.  Probably the biggest clusterfuck w/r/t payroll.  Best case scenario right now is Contreras returns in August of 2009.  

Jon Danks: Under control for next three-plus years. (Arbitration eligible in 2010 provided he doesn't qualify as a Super-2 sometime in mid-2009).

Update:  Both Danks and Floyd, 24 and 26 respectively, should approach Super-2 status with both having superior years.  Each pitcher's statistics put them in the top 17% of starting pitchers this year, but Super-2 takes everything into account, not only career stats but post-season performance, awards, the team's payroll, revenue and attendance.  Each should approach $5 million per year with the Sox probably signing both to three year contracts.  With Buehrle, Danks and Floyd, this is where the starting staff begins and ends if the Sox are smart.

Gavin Floyd: See Danks.

Update:  See Danks

Total commitment for starting rotation: 09: $40.5 M 10: $26.5 M

Update:  09:  $44 M with a Vazquez trade and a $10 M signing.  This is where it could get interesting.  The Sox won't outbid anyone for Sabathia, so forget that.  An oft-injured Sheets?  Could be relatively cheap.  If the Sox plan to compete, a #4 and #5 of Richard and somebody like Carrasco isn't going to do it.  Sleepers could be Oliver Perez and (gasp) Jon Garland.  They need an innings eater that can be had for around $10 M.  A real sleeper and someone I think the Sox should take a look at is Brad Penny.   

Pitchers - Bullpen

Bobby Jenks: $500,000 this year. Arbitration coming and it will cost the Sox a chunk of change, probably $8-9 M to start in '09.

Scott Linebrink: 09: $4.5 M 10: $5 M 11: $5.5 M Full no-trade clause

Octavio Dotel: $6 M

Matt Thorton: $1.325 M with club options for 2010 and 2011 ($2.25 M and $3 M respectively)

Nick Massett: See Danks.  (Gone)

Mike MacDougal: Still on the books for $2.65 M  (Correction:  MacDougal will have to be dealt...for a box of baseballs if they have to.)

Total commitment for bullpen: estimated $24 million with Jenks getting about $9 M market value deal for 2009. Figure $9 million annually for four years, 2010 has a total commitment of $16.5 M

Update:  No movement here.  A core of Jenks, Linebrink, Dotel and Thorton is solid.  Went from dead last in '07 to a respectable 12th in the league this year.  A solid long reliever and a defined situational guy would have pushed that ranking much higher given that the four core guys had a collective ERA of 3.16, a mark that would have been second in the league this year, behind only Toronto.  They need a Darren Oliver-type and a good LOOGY.  Figure the money owed MacDougal this year equals the new money spent for '09 needs.  A lot to like going into next season.

Infielders

Jim Thome: Sticky issue. If Thome gets 564 plate appearances this year, a $13 option for 2009 is guaranteed with no more money coming from the Phillies. If he doesn't, the club has a $3 M buy-out.  

Update:  Met the requisite plate appearances.  Like it or not, he's here next year.  There are worse DHs in the league and he still OPS+ed 124.  Not terrible.  

Paul Konerko: $12 M annually through 2010. 10-5 player 

Update:  He's not going anywhere, especially since he hit .294 with 13 HR and 27 RBI in the last two months.  Still marginal upside here in my opinion if healthy.

Alexi Ramirez: $1.1 M annually through 2011.

Update:  New shortstop next year and that will automatically jettison him into the position of being best offensive shortstop in the American League.  For $1.1 M per year.

Ozuna: $1.2 M club option ($200,000 buy-out) - Gone

Pierzynski: $6.5 M through 2010.

Update:  Cheap for the most part.  Please work with the pitchers at holding on runners next year, though.  That got to the point of embarrassing.  And take a pitch, A.J.  5 walks after the All-Star break for a .294 OBP.  19 walks on the year.  That's your #2 hitter for a good part of the year?

Hall: $2.25 M club option ($200,000 buy-out)

Update:  They'll re-up him.

Crede, Uribe and Cabrera are unrestricted free agents after 2008.

Update:  All are gone, gone, gone.

Total commitment for infielders: Thome's projected to get the requisite plate appearances based on current statistics extrapolated out to the end of the season. Hall and Ozuna's options will most likely be picked up given how reasonable they are. With Thome/Hall/Ozuna, the commitment is at $36.05 M. Without Thome, $23.05 M. 2010 commitments total $19.6 M.

Update:  About $30 M with no second baseman, third baseman or utility player.  If the Sox compete next year, infield is where the movement will happen, not the outfield.  Again, Roberts solves so much as he can leadoff, gives them bona-fide speed and fills the second base spot.  Third base is an interesting issue.  Resigning Uribe solves nothing.  Sure, decent defense is his trademark but it doesn't make up for his huge lack of plate discipline.  Two possibilities are Casey Blake and Garret Atkins.  Blake's unrestricted and Atkins seems to be destined out of Colorado with Spilborghs/Stewart in the wings.  But both don't solve the inherent problems with the Sox offense:  slow, feast-or-famine type hitters who are too strikeouty.  Atkins' home/road splits are ugly and Blake is susceptible to prolonged slumps.   Bet most Sox fans are screaming they didn't get Aubrey Huff at the deadline last year.  So there's the rub.  If they go get Roberts, they would have to sign him to a long contract and quickly because a lot of signs point to next year being a transitional year for the team.  Third probably should be Fields.  A surprise might be Figgins in a big swap.    

Outfielders

Jermaine Dye: 09: $11.5 M 10: $12 M mutual club option, full no-trade in '08 becomes limited no-trade in '09.

Update:  The limited no-trade clause next year is key.  It's probably time to move him as well.  Swisher's a cheaper option and it would be a good idea to give him one more year before determining him a failure.  If the team expects to have any flexibility w/r/t payroll, Dye should probably be a casualty given his age and commitment.  Tough decision but necessary.

Nick Swisher: 09: $5.3M, 10: $6.75M, 11: $9M,
12: $10.25M club option ($1M buyout)

Update:  Brutal season.  Just brutal.  Again, one more year before dumping him, though.

Carlos Quentin: See Danks. If he continues his current level of hitting, he'll easily be a Super-2.

Update:  Left field is not a worry for years to come.  Interesting to see how this contract plays out.  Should be Super-2 given everything.  $5 M per seems reasonable.

Brian Anderson: See Danks.  

Update:  Is an Anderson/Owens platoon in center acceptable?  We'll find out.  There's nothing on the free agent worth the money and given the needs in the infield, the Sox will not go after a center fielder.  

Josh Fields: See Danks.

Update:  If this off-season becomes a transitional year, Fields is your third baseman.  It's smart, it's prudent and could pay off big.  

Jerry Owens: See Danks.

Total commitment for outfielders: $22.3 M total for 2009 with Quentin getting an escalating multi-year contract starting at $5 M for '09 and the last three getting $500,000 each. 2010 sees a $15.25 M commitment with a $7 M Quentin escalator and a decline on Dye's option.

Update:  If they dump Dye, put Swisher in right and platoon Anderson and Owens in center, that comes out to $11.5 M committed to outfielders.  And that's why it's probably necessary.  It's cheap.  Putting Owens in the nine hole and leading off Roberts certainly creates a whole new dynamic to the Sox lineup that was missing this year.  Owens isn't great but he's cheap.  Dewayne Wise is just a guy.  Fifth outfielder.

Total Commitment Overall Update

Expect the Sox not to exceed $125 million in 2009.

So here's where the team stands with these potential movements:

SP - Buehrle - $14M
SP - Danks - $400,000 (should see extension sometime in '09.  Probably $5M)
SP - Floyd - $400,000 (should see extension sometime in '09.  Probably $5M)
SP - Free Agent (Sheets, Penny, Perez, Garland - types?) - $10M
SP - Richard - $400,000/Contreras - $10M

RP - Jenks - $9M
RP - Linebrink - $4.5M
RP - Dotel - $6M 
RP - Thorton -  $1.325M
RP - Long Reliever - Free Agent (Gaudin/Oliver-type) $2M 
RP - Situational Guy - Free Agent/Trade - $1M

C - Pierzynski - $6.5M
1B - Konerko - $12M
2B - Roberts - $8M
SS - Ramirez - $1.1M
3B - Fields - $400,000
DH - Thome - $13M
Utility - Free Agent/Trade - $3M
Back-Up C - Hall - $2.25 M

LF - Quentin - $5M after new contract
CF - Anderson/Owens - $800,000 total
RF - Swisher - $5.3M
OF - DeWayne Wise - $400,000

The last roster spot would be filled with a rotation of a twelfth pitcher or bench player as needed from the minors while Contreras is on the 60 day DL.

New payroll with moves:  $125.975 M.  

It fits, they get younger, faster and, most importantly, set themselves up for being a player in the much more loaded 2010 free agent market.  With Contreras and Thome off the books and figuring in an extra $4M for Roberts, the team will have $19M in play given no impending arbitration cases.  And that's if they hold steady at $125M.  

Thoughts?