Monday, July 30, 2007

Freddie Adieu

I took a vote and elected major league soccer the worst managed team sport in North America. That thought comes with news that Freddy Adu, late of Salt Lake and DC United, is negotiating to play for Binfica in Portugal.

That whole Freddy Adu episode made no sense to me; but then, soccer itself makes no sense to me. Adu was the latest attempts by soccer club owners to ignite more interest in the game by the American audience. Instead of setting an audience foundation, soccer takes short-cuts and is surprised when they get a house of cards.

In an earlier day, the sport lured Pele (Edson Arantes do Nascimento) to play for the New York Cosmos of the North American Soccer League. Pele was arguably the greatest futbol player ever. Playing in the NASL's most important franchise in the country's largest city did not grow the paying audience enough to save the league. Make that to save the league from its own excess.

Importing foreign stars to play a foreign game here is not a formula for success. Those who are already fubol fans appreciate seeing players from other countries who they've heard of, but the audience soccer was try to build, Americans with disposable incomes, yawned. Bringing in bigger names at higher salaries did little to raise revenue. The NASL folded for that reason in 1985.

Fast forward to 2004 when Major League Soccer, the latest attempt to build a soccer audience, takes another short cut by signing 14 year old phenom Freddie Adu to the most lucrative contract in the league. Fourteen, and he's paid more than any adult player; more than any coach, as though one man-child could win team-oriented game. There is an economic term for paying a price far beyond its value: stupidity.

The problem with signing Adu is that teens grow at different rates. Adu was head and shoulders ahead of any player his age, but not good enough to start on a team of men. DC United did not need him to win championships. The fans who bought the hype and paid to see Freddie, wondered who all those other guys were on the field - while the boy was on the bench. We don't know yet whether Adu will remain head and shoulders ahead of his peers when he and they reach adulthood.

Rather than take such a risk, wouldn't MLS have been better served by seeding school and AAU programs to grow a generation of stars and audience who are culturally invested in the sport, as Americans are invested in football, baseball and basketball? That's the long, slow way to grow, but a much firmer foundation than shortcuts with the star system, using stars unfamiliar to the American audience.

You want stars? How about luring athletes like Deion Saunders and Michael Jordan to the sport. Their play would be inferior to pro soccer players, no doubt, but they have a following and would draw more audience and coverage than imported stars. What do you really know about Beckham? That his name figured in a movie (Bend It Like Beckham); that he has a hot wife, and that you probably won't pay more than once to see him play.

The money the MLS invested in Adu was not well spent. By all accounts, Freddy is a good, decent, talented kid who was a lot smarter to take the money than the MLS was to offer it. So adieu, Freddie Adu. Best wishes for your career in Portugal, where futbol is part of the fabric of life. You are where you need to be: set for life and gone from the idiots running American soccer.

Now, leave me alone to enjoy football American style.


Landry signed

The Washington Redskins signed LaRon Landry, their number one draft choice, to a contract today.

See the story at Hog Heaven.

Bill Walsh passes

Bill Walsh lost his battle with leukemia today. The Hall of Fame coach of the San Francisco 49ers died this morning. He was 75.

Walsh was the major proponent of the "west coast" offense. His record with the 49ers was 102-59-1. Walsh led San Francisco to three Super Bowl wins following the 1981, '84 and '88 seasons. The 49ers won the unofficial title "Team of the Eighties." Many of his disciples -- Steve Mariucci, George Siefert, Andy Reid, Mike Holmgren, Dennis Green -- went on to successful NFL careers.


Why Michael Vick is worried - III

Only a few days after pleading "not guilty" to conspiracy charges, Tony "T" Taylor changed his mind and his plea. Taylor is accused of being a partner with Michael Vick in the Bad Newz Kennels operation for large scale dog-fighting and gambling.

In his plea agreement, Taylor alleges "Michael Vick supplied most of the money to run and bet on dog fights at a Virginia property he owned."

What's ominous is that Taylor isn't "copping a plea" in return for a promise of a light sentence. According top the news report, the Feds did not offer a deal. Taylor is falling on the mercy of the court in return for his testimony against the other defendants.

Without knowing anything about Taylor, I'm going to guess that he has credibility issues -- just because I think dog fighters have "credibility issues." Had he pled out to get a lighter sentence, a sharp attorney like Billy Martin could savage him for self-serving interests. Now, Taylor has no incentive for hiding the truth, and a good deal of incentive to avoid perjury. If the judge senses "T" is untruthful, the sentence will be harsher.

Vick assembled a superlative legal team to represent him. That indicates he intends to fight the charges, which is entirely within his rights. At the moment, he is innocent. The evidence and testimony has yet to be challenged. But, the longer this goes on, the more comes out, and the more Ookie twists in the wind.

When the case was led by Surry County, Vick had little to worry about, since he had more financial resources (I suspect) than a backwater county. Once the feds took the lead, starting with their search of the property on Moonlight Road, things rapidly spun out of control for Vick. The best course of action for Vick would have been to cop a plea for lesser charges with the County, and suppress a lot the evidence before the feds turned up. Too late for that now.

But, what do I know? I'm no lawyer. I just watch them on TV.

Photo: who oppose eating or wearing animal products and any activity that exploits animals.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Another blow for Vick

I'm trying to imagine what Michael Vick is going through now (doing for him than he allegedly did not do for his dogs. But then, they're just dogs.) One day you are on top of the world with a $100 million income stream. Next day, your secret life comes out and you lose everything in the blink of an eye. This is when you find Jesus. Someone asked Mother Theresa why there was suffering in the world. Her reply, "so you can share the suffering of Jesus Christ" (stay with me folks). I didn't understand that answer. Then, when facing my own troubles (nothing like Vick's), I found that people tend to pray more, pray harder with more sincerity than when things are going good. You get a Divine reminder that you don't really control your life, usually just when you think you do.

I'm sure Michael's praying now, and those prayers are going to be answered; but he's going to walk the Via Dolorosa first. And just maybe come out of this a better man.

An AP story in USA Today says Vick's legal team faced a daunting P.R. challenge. No kidding. The story named Michael Vick's legal team and it included James "Butch" Williams of Durham, North Carolina. Williams' web site profile describes his expertise as contract negotiations and legal advice for athletes. His clients include Alge Crumpler (Falcons), Greg Ellis (Cowboys) and Rasheed Wallace (Pistons). Oh yeah, he represented the captain of the Duke LaCrosse Team, so he knows a thing or two about daunting p.r. challenges. Williams will likely face-off with the NFL on Ookie's behalf.

Lawrence H. Woodward Jr. and Thomas B. Shuttleworth II, both of Virginia Beach law firm SHUTTLEWORTH, RULOFF, SWAIN, HADDAD & MORECOCK, P.C. round out the team. Woodward and Shuttleworth will have local knowledge with the District Court. Vick better hope there is no "I" in this team.

Meanwhile, Tony "T" Taylor, one of Vick's co-defendants, will return to U.S. District Court Monday for a plea hearing. That didn't take long. A plea bargain in return for what?

Photo: Butch Williams on

Offseason over; preseason begins

Like the Sun crossing the Equator, we've changed seasons to "football" from "waiting for football."

Well, not quite; but Redskins training camp is open so the offseason is gone, so we can get some real football news.

Over at Hog Heaven, check out Redskins: Five Questions for the Offense. has a story about the second year of the "Joe CEO" experiment. "This Year, Onus is on the Assistants" points big, bloody fingers at Gregg Williams and Al Saunders for their play-calling last season. With Gibbs as the "executive" leaving on field operations to his coordinators, both these guys must do better. That word onus is close to anus. That's how Williams and Saunders will look with a repeat 5-11 season. has 5 things to look for as the season begins. It's worth a look.

Steinberg at D.C. Sports Bog has comments up from the first day of training camp. Read the 7/27/07 posts.

The Redskins Report has The Friday Round-up, with some thoughts on Corey Bradford, signed by the Redskins yesterday, and Simeon Rice. You know the drill: aging star; Redskins free agent aggression; Daniel Snyder interest, yada, yada, yada.

I'm a great admirer of Ben Folsum's writing. He posted an anti-dog-fighting editorial on The Curly R, relieving me of my Vick duties for the day. Whew.

The season tix arrived this week. Oh yeah. The season is here.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

NFL selects Holder for Vick inquiry

The Washington Post reported that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell tapped former U.S. Deputy Attorney General Eric Holder to head the inquiry into Michael Vick's activity.

"According to league officials, the review will be conducted by members of the NFL's security staff and D.C. lawyer Eric Holder, a partner with Covington & Burling. Holder formerly was the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia. He was appointed deputy attorney general by President Clinton in 1997, and served briefly as the acting attorney general under President Bush. Holder's firm is the NFL's outside counsel. He is the second prominent D.C. lawyer to become involved in the case this week. On Monday, Vick hired William R. 'Billy' Martin to represent him."

Holder is a New York City native and graduate of the Columbia Law School. He joined the Public Integrity Section of the U.S. Department of Justice in 1976. In 1988, Holder was nominated by President Reagan to become an Associate Judge of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. In these divided political times, I didn't know that Reagan-Clinton appointments were possible!

Holder's profile at the Covington & Burling web site describes him as "a litigation partner who handles, among other matters, complex civil and criminal cases, domestic and international advisory matters and internal corporate investigations."

Covington & Burling is one of the most prestigious of Washington, DC, law firms. Their partners are regularly tapped for federal appointments and high profile cases. Covington's Chuck Ruff represented President Clinton during the impeachment process. Covington is also the legal counsel to the NFL, the NBA and the NHL. Former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue was a partner at the firm.

There is a racial undertone to the Vick case, with some of Vick's supporters and bashers saying dog fighting is part of an "urban culture," with "urban" a code word for African-American. I can assure you that dog fighting is not part of the Black culture. It does seem to be the hallmark of low-life culture. But, I digress.

The NFL's is inquiring whether there is "indisputable evidence" that Vick's activities violated the league's personal conduct policy. Selecting Holder to lead the investigation will offset some of the suspicion that the league is just trying to take down a successful Black man. With Holder's reputation, I expect an accurate, thorough investigation without slipping into a "get Ookie outa here" tone -- even if that's what the league wants to do now. I'm not sure the NFL thought of Holder that way; or, perhaps they did.

Photo: Deputy Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr. in 1999 (Ray Lustig — The Washington Post)

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Vick hires legal gunslinger

Johnnie Cochran is gone, so Michael Vick hired Billy Martin, one of the best defense attorneys around, to represent him against federal charges.

Martin came first came to national prominence as one of the attorneys representing Monica Lewinsky's mother during the Clintongate scandal. He also represented former Atlanta mayor Bill Campbell on corruption charges. Other clients include NBA stars Allen Iverson, Juwan Howard and Jayson Williams, and Chandra Levy’s parents. His wife, Michel Martin, is a correspondent for Nightline on ABC.

Martin is a partner at the law firm of Sutherland, Asbill & Brennan, LLP, where he heads the White Collar Criminal Defense Practice. His profile on the Sutherland, Asbill web site describes him as "a skilled negotiator whose experience includes bringing diverse constituencies and interests together—despite highly charged political circumstances—to resolve community conflicts." The profile describes his growing reputation with professional athletes:
"Billy also maintains an active sports and entertainment practice. In addition to serving as an advisor to organizations such as the NBA and NFL Players Associations, Billy has advised numerous clients on the scope and meaning of the NCAA rules and eligibility requirements. He has represented professional athletes and entertainment industry figures in their public and private business dealings."

Involvement in dog fighting might have been the dumbest of the dumb things Vick [allegedly] did. Hiring Billy Martin may be the smartest.

Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank wanted to suspend Vick for four games, until the League office ordered the team not to take action until their investigation is complete. A story in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that the Falcons considered dropping Vick. They turned from that path to avoid the grievence Ookie was sure to file through the NFLPA. The team was prepared to live with the salary cap hit, according to the article.

Meanwhile, residents of Vick's boyhood neighborhood are puzzled by his apparent interest in dog fighting since the activity was not common there. Pit Bull dogs were not seen in the area until about five years ago.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Vick Benched

The National Football League has ordered Michael Vick to stay from the Atlanta Falcons training camp while they review the dog fighting accusations swirling around the embattled star.

"While it is for the criminal justice system to determine your guilt or innocence, it is my responsibility as commissioner of the National Football League to determine whether your conduct, even if not criminal, nonetheless violated league policies, including the Personal Conduct Policy," Goodell said in a letter to the quarterback.

The NFL will talk to federal officials to assess the strength of the evidence against Vick, according to the story on

Goodell instructed the Falcons not to take disciplinary action against Vick until the league office completes its review. Vick will receive his preseason pay during the investigation.

The Falcons open training camp this Thursday. Vick will be in Richmond, Virginia, to answer charges in the federal indictment.

Ookie Vick might have expected this development. I'm sure it's not one he welcomes. The football field and locker room must look like safe havens to Vick, whose fate is largely in the hands of others. To sit home to dwell on his legal and career jeopardy is not the take control scenario athletes cultivate.

Meanwhile, Surry County (VA) Commonwealth Attorney Gerald Poindexter confirmed that local charges would not be filed against Vick in deference to the federal prosecution. This is not a surprising development. The county's investigation was "deliberate," that is to say "suspiciously slow." Still, local charges could be percieved as piling on. The development means that Vick is charged for illegal activities across State lines, but not for the underlying crime of animal cruelty. Sorta like Scooter Libby's situation. If convicted, there will be no Republican presidential clemency for Ookie. There is a story of federal-State contention in there somewhere that will emerge in time.

David Steele at the Baltimore SUN, citing Ray Lewis as an example, reminds that the NFL "forgives quick." If Ray Lewis can recover his reputation, so can Ookie who faces a less dire situation that Lewis in 2000.

Photo: Sun photo by Gene Sweeney Jr.( November 19, 2006)

Friday, July 20, 2007

Why Michael Vick is worried - II

Michael Vick draws a "no-nonsense" judge, according to Jeremy Redmon's story in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
"RICHMOND, Va - The judge assigned to preside over Michael Vick's sensational dog-fighting case is a tough jurist who has a history of exceeding federal sentencing guidelines to make a point, criminal defense attorneys here said today."

The story describes Judge Henry E. Hudson as a highly respected jurist "who affords everyone equal respect." However, on sentencing, Judge Hudson, a former prosecutor, considers the impact of the crime on the community. Hmmm. In a Surry County court, Mike could come off as the local boy made good. In the federal court, before this judge, Mike's celebrity could work against him.

You can read the rest of the story here.

Well, Ookie, if you didn't do this thing, and the dog fighting was done by your low-life relatives like you said, who surprisingly are not listed in the indictment, then remember ILLEGITIMUS NON CARBORUNDUM. If you really are guilty, cop a plea now, Dawg, and take whatever you can get.

We already know that the biggest news in football this Thursday won't be the opening of training camps. It will be Ookie Vick's court appearance. Ookie, shave and wear a suit. Smile to the people and the cameras. No, I'm serious. SMILE when the cameras are on you. Start winning people back to your side. You are in danger of becoming this year's T.O.

Photo: Rogelio Solis / AP file

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

United States of America v. Ookie

The Smoking Gun published the bill of indictment against Michael "Ookie" Vick and three other persons for "Conspiracy to Travel in Interstate Commerce in Aid of Unlawful Activities . . . ." Vick's street name in this venture was "Ookie."

Vick said he was not aware of dog fighting taking place on property he owned at 1915 Moonlight Road, Smithfield, Virginia. The indictment alleges that Vick bought the property in 2001 specifically to be the site for dog fighting, and that he was actively involved with his partners in the venture, identified as Bad Newz Kennels.

The indictment catalogs instances when Vick and his Bad Newz partners staged dog fights year-by-year. The feds list the dogs by name (Jane, Maniac, Tiny), but, at this point, identify cooperating witnesses as "CW."

Defendants are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law; although that doesn't work so well in the court of public opinion. We've seen the charges, but have not heard the witness testimony. The evidence has yet to be challenged. And yet, I have to wonder why Vick, with everything he had going for him, would put himself in the situation to be even tainted. That was incredibly poor judgement. Not that we all aren't guilty of poor judgement; but Vick had -- has -- so much more at risk. That name "Ookie" might just as well have been "Stoopid Fool."


Yesterday, I suggested that Vick come forward now, cop a plea, and tell what he knows. It may be too late. The indictment refers to a number of cooperating witnesses who are already pointing fingers at Vick. Ookie is scheduled to appear in court to answer the charges on July 26, which is also the first day of the Atlanta Falcons training camp.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Feds bite Michael Vick

"Falcons quarterback Michael Vick was indicted Tuesday on one felony count related to dogfighting.

"Vick is charged with conspiracy to travel in interstate commerce and aid of unlawful activities and to sponsor an animal fighting venture.

"The grand jury indictment charges that Vick and co-defendants Pernell Peach, Quanis Phillips and Tony Taylor spent six years 'knowingly sponsoring and exhibiting in an animal fighting venture.'

"The grand jury also charged the men with establishing a kennel to represent dogfighting competitions, purchase and train pitbulls in dogfighting competitions and 'destroying or otherwise disposing of dogs not selected to stay with the ongoing animal fighting venture.'

"The Falcons will issue a statement later Tuesday as owner Arthur Blank and president and general manager Rich McKay were traveling via airplane, according to a Falcons spokesperson."

ESPN just posted a longer version of this story. You can see it here.

There's a back story buried somewhere in this development. These are federal charges. The investigation started as a Commonwealth of Virginia show, when Vick's cousin, Davon Boddie, came to local police attention on suspicion of selling drugs. The dog kennel was discovered during a raid on the property owned by Vick. County authorities were the first to investigate animal cruelty charges, but it's the feds who bring the first indictments -- for unlawful interstate activity.

How that came about will make very interesting reading someday.

If I were Vick, and I knew I was guilty, I would cop a plea now. Doing so might hurt his street cred, but save his career and his income stream. A conviction would devastate everything, not to mention the sense of pending doom that will hang over him all season. Oh, I would walk away from dog fighting, too. Invest in race horses instead.

If he's innocent, he should fight the thing all the way and plea to nothing.

Needless to say, he won't be on my fantasy team this year.

Photo: Harry Howe, Getty Images

Owners of the NFC

Passing the time waiting for the start of Redskins training camp, I came across this post on the Atlanta Falcons message board. It picks up a story assessing National Football Conference owners, with a focus on front office personnel decision-makers. The full read is interesting (to me), but here are the snips on Daniel Snyder and Jerry Jones.

"Owner Daniel Snyder has the final say on every personnel matter, and even though many don't like his style, it's hard not to be impressed with his commitment to turning his franchise around. He doesn't have a great football background in terms of watching film and evaluating players, so he leans on Vinny Cerrato, the vice president of football operations, who often speaks for Snyder and the organization. However, Cerrato's relationship with coach Joe Gibbs and the coaching staff is in question. Don't be surprised if Gibbs tries to take a more active role in personnel decisions, and that could lead to some clashes. The Redskins have a solid scouting staff, but they are only information gatherers and have not had a lot to do on draft day because of numerous trades involving draft picks.

"Owner, president and GM Jerry Jones is more involved in personnel matters than any other owner in the NFL. He attends all-star games and the combine, he watches film and he is directly involved in every player acquisition. In the past, he respected then coach Bill Parcells' opinion on the type of player Parcells wanted, and they seemed to have a good working relationship. It will be interesting to see whether new coach Wade Phillips has the same kind of influence on Jones. The scouts are information gatherers. Although they have a voice, they are not decision makers. CEO and executive vice president Stephen Jones handles the salary cap and player negotiations."

The rest of the article is a good read. Go see it here.

Hmmm. I should do a feature on cheerleaders of the NFC East.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Happy anniversay Washington Redskins

On this date, 1932, the NFL award a football franchise to George P. Marshall, who moved the team to Boston and played as the Boston Braves. The rest is history.

See the rest of the story at Hog Heaven.

Photo: George P. Marshall's Hall of Fame photo,

LaRon Landry pain/t ball incident caught on tape; actually on

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America

Inspiration for today's post comes from Joe Bryant and David Dodds at Enjoy the holiday.



The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

John Hancock
New Hampshire:Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton
Massachusetts:John Hancock, Samuel Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry
Rhode Island:Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery
Connecticut:Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott
New York:William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris
New Jersey:Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark
Pennsylvania:Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross
Delaware:Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean
Maryland:Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton
Virginia:George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton
North Carolina:William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn
South Carolina:Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton
Georgia:Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton


Photo: Thomas Jefferson, Signer, Declaration of Independence, Third President of the United States (1801-1809)

Photo: George III, King of Great Britain and Ireland (1760-1820), Ann Ronan Picture Library/Heritage-Image

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Redskins-Ravens scrimmage on cable TV

MASN will air the scrimmage between the Washington Redskins and the Baltimore Ravens on August 4 at Noon, according to a story in the Baltimore SUN.

This is a boon for stir-crazy football fans. Preseason games begin the following week.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Football Outsiders

Skin Patrol at Hogs Haven touts these guys all the time. Greg Trippiedi's recent post at Hog Heaven finally convinces me. I've got to pay more attention to those wonks at Football Outsiders.

There are "lies, damned lies and statistics." The origin of that phrase is open to argument, but I can tell you that it was me after looking at exam grades for my undergrad stat classes. I just couldn't grasp it, despite the valiant effort of the cute blond grad assistant who took me through the concepts while using little words. I was distressed to be informed that I would have to retake statistics in grad school. I no longer recall exactly what the prof said, but one day in that hated classroom in Madison, Wisconsin, a light bulb came on. I not only understood everything the prof was saying, but everything the other prof said in those undergraduate statistics classes that remain anchors on my GPA. Although I nailed three out of four grad level stat exams, the whole experience left an emotional scar about statistics buried deep in my easily bruised psyche.

Football Outsiders apply statistical concepts to challenge conventional wisdom about about pro football teams and their performance. They developed measures like Defense-adjusted Value Over Average, or DVOA, to analyze individual players and squads. Trippiedi's article assessing the Redskins O-line was an example of applying the stats to reach logical conclusions. I can see that I'll have to overcome my fear and loathing of statistics and pay attention to DVOA and the other measures at Football Outsiders. (another example of the artist suffering for his art.).

So, dear reader, in this lull before training camp, I'll be spending time at the FO site to understand what the numbers say about about the Redskins and the NFC East. I'm only posting about once a week anyway.

Football Outsiders is now added to the Running Redskins blogroll. Also added are those funny, irreverent writers at Kissing Suzy Kolber.

Losing my Redskins special priviledge

I have Redskins season tickets to lower bowl seats at FedEx -- tickets that have been in my family for four decades. I've always felt like minor royalty with those tickets in my possession.

One of the neat things Daniel Snyder did was to introduce the Forward Pass card that was tied to a personal credit card. With it, the carrier could stand in a special line, just for Forward Pass carriers, at concession stands, place their order, wave the Forward Pass card near a proximity reader for payment and walk away with their food & beer. Short wait. Fast service. quick transaction. Snyder genius. By making the whole transaction so damned convenient, I and a lot of Forward Pass users, visited the food and beer stands more frequently and bought more stuff. It was a special privilege to go along with the privilege of holding season tickets.

Two seasons ago, the Redskins tried to force season ticket holders to charge their tickets exclusively to a Redskins MasterCard. Ticket holders squawked and the practice violated MasterCard's business practice. The Redskins relented. Now they are back with a more subtle approach. Master4caster received this email from the team last week:

"With the opening game less than 60 days away, the Redskins are getting ready for the new season on the field and in the stadium. One change that directly affects you is that as of July 1, the Redskins Forward Pass program is being discontinued. Forward Pass cards will not be valid at FedExField this season. All outstanding rebates will be calculated in July and disbursed in August. These rebates will be good for 6 months.

"The great news is you can still “Tap and Go” AND earn rewards on purchases at FedExField and almost everywhere else, with the Redskins Extra Points™ MasterCard with PayPass®! As a Forward Pass member, you’re invited to upgrade to the Redskins Extra Points card, provided by Bank of America."

So my Forward Pass card is dead, and so is my fast path in the food line. Maybe some people sign-up willey-nilley for credit cards based on promotions, but I learned the hard way to limit the number and use of credit. So, I'm going to pass on the Redskins Extra Points™ MasterCard with PayPass® and stand in line with the common people. I'll be in that line less often and spending less when I do, because I'll be using cash. I doubt I will be the only one taking that approach. Maybe the Redskins will make up for the loss with interest income from the card.

Promoting your affinity card is one thing. Restricting services exclusively to an affinity card is usually a bad business idea. That's unlike Snyder. Your customers will smell a rat, and they will think it's you. The better practice is to allow any PayPass enabled card at the concessions while promoting your own Redskin affinity card.