Archive for January, 2012

NBA RANKINGS – Week of January 29, 2012

January 30, 2012

I’ve received several emails with the same question being asked in various forms: “Hey Chuck, where the ‘F’ are your ever popular and always spot-on NBA rankings?”

My answer is that I was waiting for the season to get to about ¼ of the way through before opining on the lockout mandated truncated season. The truth is different; I’ve been too busy doing other things during my break between semesters to focus on a bunch of overactive pituitary gland victims. I was also holding an unpublicized yet totally committed boycott of the LA Times’ rankings because they got rid of veteran NBA columnist Mark Heisler in yet another “downsizing” and by God, somebody had to stand up with him!

BUT, because you asked, here’s goes something (my comments, as always, in italics): 

The Times’ NBA rankings

Bulls, Thunder and Heat remain the league’s elite teams

Chicago Bulls Pre-Game Circle – United Center 

By Ben Bolch Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

January 28, 2012, 9:23 p.m.

BEN BOLCH’S RANKINGS, COMMENTS THROUGH SATURDAY

THE HAPPIEST DAYS OF OUR LIVES

1. CHICAGO (17-4) Bulls circle birthdays, anniversaries and rematch with Indiana on calendar. (1)  Funny coincidence here and in Boston; the Hall of Famers – Jordan and Bird – are owning/running teams in their home states with varying degrees of success while former key contributors John Paxson and Danny Ainge respectively, are head of contending franchises.

2. OKLAHOMA CITY (16-3) Seattle called; it wants its franchise back. (2) There ain’t enough Starbucks in all the world to make that happen.

3. MIAMI (14-5) Dwyane Wade thanks James Jones for filling in, asks who he is. (3) You’re D-Wade one of the top 5 players in the NBA, you won full custody of your sons, you’ve won one title and are contending for another, your woman is Gabrielle Union and you live/work in Miami. Could it get any better?

WISH YOU WERE HERE

4. DENVER (14-5) If signing results in that kind of output, put Danilo Gallinari on 10-day deals. (4) Riddle me this Batman; how does a team get BETTER by trading its best player?

5. INDIANA (12-6) Pacers no longer granted entry to Sears Tower, Navy Pier after Bulls flap. (6) This is getting interesting.

6. PHILADELPHIA (14-6) Exciting team gives fans something to ponder besides Geno’s vs. Pat’s debate. (7) He may be intensely crazy, but damnnit, Doug Collins can coach! Sudden thought: is Allen Iverson still alive?

7. ATLANTA (14-6) Spurned owner Alex Meruelo keeping tabs on Mater Dei instead of Hawks. (8) His pizza is terrible too.

8. ORLANDO (12-7) Hornets, Celtics losses show Dwight Howard needs help or needs out. (5) Paging Deron Williams! Please answer the white courtesy phone.

9. SAN ANTONIO (12-8) You’re still here? Spurs somehow impervious to age, injuries. (9) It’s the magical healing power of Lone Star Beer. Or voodoo. Take your pick.

10. CLIPPERS (10-6) Rubber match with Lakers to be held in a cage, sanctioned by WWE. (10) At any moment, I expect Hulk Hogan, Sgt Slaughter, Ric Flair and the Rock to suit up for one of these games.

11. LAKERS (11-9) It’s status woe as team goes from title contenders to playoff contenders. (11) Struggling to win games on the road and trying to decide who’s actually coaching the team, Kobe or Mike Brown.

12. DALLAS (12-8) Ring and banner ceremonies over, Mavs can focus on being average. (14) When your starting point guard played against people already in the Hall of Fame, you’re an old team.

13. UTAH (11-7) Goldman Sachs awards Jazz “buy” rating, except when playing Lakers (0-2). (12) Ever wonder how many black people that don’t play for the Jazz show up for the MLK Day parade in Salt Lake City?

14. PORTLAND (12-8) Erratic Blazers make as much sense as ordering diet cola with Big Mac. (13) Or 2% milk at Krispy Kreme.

15. MEMPHIS (10-9) Green-and-yellow ABA jerseys are a sight that leads to sore eyes. (15) I thought it was a rec-league team sponsored by a bail  bondsman.

16. HOUSTON (12-8) Pretty decent liftoff for a team that was nearly blown up. (16) Sometimes, the best trades are the ones that never go through.

17. BOSTON (9-9) Celtics still kicking amid “Bring out your dead” chant. (21) Based on his post-game interview with TNT’s Craig Sager last week, Kevin Garnett is certifiably insane.

COMFORTABLY NUMB

18. MINNESOTA (9-10) Extension is great, but T-Wolves can’t take “All you need is Love” approach. (22) K-Love’s signing an extension just another example of the new CBA working to keep stars with original teams as long as possible.

19. MILWAUKEE (8-11) Forbes: Bucks worth NBA-low 268 million. Is that in dollars or Pick Up Stix? (18) Why Brandon Jennings is never mentioned as a point guard the Lakers should be pursuing is beyond me.

20. CLEVELAND (7-11) Surprise, surprise: Cavaliers playoff contenders in weak East. (17) Calling the East “weak” is like calling Chris Christie “fat” – too easy.

21. PHOENIX (7-12) Double trouble: Nash, Gortat only players averaging at least 10 points. (19) I have no idea who “Gorat” is and I’ll bet you don’t either.

22. NEW YORK (7-13) Just when it seems Carmelo Anthony gets the point, Knicks regress again. (20) See #4 (Denver) above.

23. GOLDEN STATE (6-12) Warriors would be OK if they could play every game at home versus Portland. (24) Reverend/Coach Mark Jackson praying more like a Muslim every day – fives times daily.

24. NEW JERSEY (7-13) Looks like there are two reality TV disasters unfolding along Jersey shore. (27) Does the world’s tallest rich Russian still own this team?

25. SACRAMENTO (6-14) Might have trouble beating Sacramento State. (23) “Might?”

26. TORONTO (6-14) NBA accreditation in jeopardy when team plays without Andrea Bargnani. (25) Isiah Thomas cursed this team years ago and it’s still in full effect.

DARK SIDE OF THE MOON

27. NEW ORLEANS (4-15) The Clippers Curse, now playing nightly on Bourbon Street. (26) Is it Mardi Gras yet?

28. DETROIT (4-17) Rooting for a recount of player, owner votes so lockout can resume. (28) And yet, Joe Dumars still has a job.

29. WASHINGTON (4-16) Wizards need to flip more than their coach to get this mess turned around. (30) If Wes Unseld was dead, he’d roll over in his grave at what’s happened to this once-proud franchise.

30. CHARLOTTE (3-18) Autopsy reveals deficiencies in heart, talent, ownership. (29) All of which His Airness had in spades when he was winning championships with ‘Da Bulls’.

NBA NEWS

Clippers may be interested in free-agent Kenyon Martin

Marc: The “Other Gasol”

NBA Coast-to-Coast

Quotes of the Week

DUNK OF THE WEEK

D-Wade over Knicks’ Landry Fields

 

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Random Thoughts – Sunday, January 29, 2012

January 29, 2012

According to Newt Gingrich on today’s FOX News Sunday, he’s counting on the support of Herman Cain, Rudy Giuliani, Sarah and Todd Palin, “Pretty Ricky” Perry and Fred “Am I Still Alive?” Thompson to convince Florida’s voters that he’s their man in Tuesday’s primary. Talk about your “Living Gallery of Losers.”

Can anyone tell me why Kevin O’Neill is still the men’s basketball coach at USC when Michael Cooper, a true Laker legend and 5-time NBA champion, is already on campus (head coach of the women’s team)?

Don’t tell my AA sponsor, but I’ve become seriously hooked on white popcorn.

Early voting and Mitt Romney’s well-organized and financed ground game may have already clinched the Florida primary for him.

First England gives us Adelle, now there’s Rumer. Where are the black female souls singers from this country?

For me, the best part of the UNCF Evening of Stars is the student’s first names: Delrisha?

Google “Crazy-Ass Republican Negro” and I’ll bet you dollars to donuts that Allen West’s picture pops up.

Hearing Newt “3 Wives So Far” Gingrich call Mitt Romney “dishonest” is like walking into a nutritionist’s office and finding Chris Christie working there.

Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich are the “Heckle and Jeckle” of politics.

How many chances does Katherine Heigl get to prove that she can’t “open” a movie?

I don’t seem to recall anyone from FOX News or the GOP complaining about the number of Democratic debates during the 2008 primary campaign, do you?

I had no idea that Christina Aguilera is such a big Etta James fan and I’ll bet you didn’t either.

I swear, if I see the promo for Smash one more time before the Super Bowl…

Is it just me or does Herman “Cornbread” Cain’s voice sound a lot like Michael Irvin’s?

It’s a good thing that Newt Gingrich found another religion before he ran for president. I mean, can you imagine him without God in his life?

Laker head coach Mike Brown is Shannon Sharpe with proper grammar.

Newt Gingrich is quickly running out of ethnic groups on Earth to offend so that’s why he’s looking to the moon as a future home.

No matter how many times they try or who they install as co-hosts – this time around it’s Erica Hill, Gayle King and Charlie Rose – CBS News still can’t get it right with a morning show.

Obama will beat Gingrich because, well, because he’s Newt Gingrich and he’ll beat Romney because Americans remember what happened the last time a governor with ZERO foreign policy experience was in the Oval Office.

Speaking of Gingrich, if somehow he were elected president – I’ll wait for you to stop laughing…and we’re back – wouldn’t Callista technically be the “Third Lady?”

Speaking of Ms. James’ passing, what a relief to see a black star die and funeralized in the same week without public family bickering and rancor.

There’s a better chance of Jesse Jackson being named Grand Dragon of the Klu Klux Klan of America than there is of Newt Gingrich being elected POTUS.

Too bad ABC doesn’t have the guts to make Jake Tapper the permanent host of This Week: he’s really good.

When was the last time Newt Gingrich actually lived in Georgia?

Why does anyone with the sense God gave a seedless grape care one whit what Donald Trump thinks about anything pertaining to presidential policies?Without any debates until February 22, Newt Gingrich will have to find another avenue of getting his special brand of nuttiness out to the aluminum foil hat wearers of America. 

 

 

 

WHAT WE LEARNED THIS WEEK

January 27, 2012

 HUG OF THE YEAR!

As the case of Heidi Klum and Seal shows, sometimes, love just isn’t enough.

Bob Dole and practically every Republican who either worked or served with Newt Gingrich in Congress hates him with the gusto and passion of Chris Christie heading to the dining room when the dinner bell rings in the New Jersey governor’s mansion.

Chris Paul plans to be in  LA for a while – he and his wife spent $8.5 million on a house in Bel Air.

Clippers shouldn’t trade Mo Williams.

Demi Moore is in a bad, bad way.

Ellen Degeneres really loves her some Earth, Wind & Fire.

Frank McCourt is going to walk away from the sale of the Dodgers with a few chips after all.

Green Berets may have the better known name, but Navy Seals Team 6 is the real deal!

Herman Cain has no shame.

Jan Brewer is an out-of-control she-hag.

John Boehner is the phoniest human being in Congress; crying like a baby at Gabby Giffords resignation ceremony, but he attended a fundraiser in DC instead of the public service in Tucson after last year’s shootings.

Los Angeles Trade Technical College’s financial aid department doesn’t have a clue about what’s on their website (that’s a personal lesson).

Michelle Obama is the classiest First Lady ever and second place ain’t even close.

Mitt Romney is the highest paid “unemployed” person in America and doesn’t know what’s in all of his own ads.

Newt Gingrich is even crazier than anyone thought –a moon colony; really? – and wouldn’t know the truth if it walked up and smacked him in both of his faces – his staff admitted that he lied about offering ABC News more witnesses than just his daughters in trying to refute the “open marriage” accusation of his second wife – and handed him a business card that said “I am the truth!”

Orlando isn’t going to trade Dwight Howard and is willing to call his bluff to walk away after the season and leave $25-30 million dollars on the table.

Peyton Manning is as duplicitous in dealing with the media as any pro athlete has ever been.

Republicans just can’t deal with Barack Obama on his level.

Rick Santorum and Ron Paul don’t have anything better to do with their time.

Sarah Palin is in love with the sound of her voice and may have voices in her head.

Terrell Owens is friendless and damn near moneyless.

The Clippers definitely have the Lakers’ full attention now.

Wolf Blitzer is not John King.

The State of the Union

January 25, 2012

He shall from time to time give to Congress information of the State of the Union and recommend to their Consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient. – Article II, Section 3 of the U.S. Constitution.

Last night, for the third time since his inauguration on January 20, 2009, President Barack Obama gave his “State of the Union Address” to Congress and the country. And, as has been the one constant throughout the first three years of his first term, reaction to it can be summed up in six words: Democrats loved it; Republicans hated it.

Remarks by the President in State of the Union Address

United States Capitol
Washington, D.C.

9:10 P.M. EST – January 24, 2012

THE PRESIDENT:  Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, members of Congress, distinguished guests, and fellow Americans:

Last month, I went to Andrews Air Force Base and welcomed home some of our last troops to serve in Iraq.  Together, we offered a final, proud salute to the colors under which more than a million of our fellow citizens fought — and several thousand gave their lives.

We gather tonight knowing that this generation of heroes has made the United States safer and more respected around the world.  (Applause.)  For the first time in nine years, there are no Americans fighting in Iraq.  (Applause.)  For the first time in two decades, Osama bin Laden is not a threat to this country.  (Applause.)  Most of al Qaeda’s top lieutenants have been defeated.  The Taliban’s momentum has been broken, and some troops in Afghanistan have begun to come home.

These achievements are a testament to the courage, selflessness and teamwork of America’s Armed Forces.  At a time when too many of our institutions have let us down, they exceed all expectations.  They’re not consumed with personal ambition.  They don’t obsess over their differences.  They focus on the mission at hand.  They work together. 

Imagine what we could accomplish if we followed their example.  (Applause.)  Think about the America within our reach:  A country that leads the world in educating its people.  An America that attracts a new generation of high-tech manufacturing and high-paying jobs.  A future where we’re in control of our own energy, and our security and prosperity aren’t so tied to unstable parts of the world.  An economy built to last, where hard work pays off, and responsibility is rewarded. (Full text and video at http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/01/24/remarks-president-state-union-address).

Anyone who knows me knows that I am an unabashed, unapologetic supporter of the president and his overall policies and vision for America so, there’s really not much for me to say about what I feel was an eloquent and passion “call to arms” for our nation. For me, the best parts of the night were when President Obama forcefully defended his administration’s accomplishments thus far and how he planned to keep moving forward with or without Congress, his impassioned declaration that “The state of our Union is getting stronger.  And we’ve come too far to turn back now.  As long as I’m President, I will work with anyone in this chamber to build on this momentum.  But I intend to fight obstruction with action, and I will oppose any effort to return to the very same policies that brought on this economic crisis in the first place”, the statements “No, we will not go back to an economy weakened by outsourcing, bad debt, and phony financial profits.  Tonight, I want to speak about how we move forward, and lay out a blueprint for an economy that’s built to last -– an economy built on American manufacturing, American energy, skills for American workers, and a renewal of American values” and “Now, this blueprint begins with American manufacturing.” (something I’ve been saying and writing about for months) and his full-throated, proud defense of the Affordable Healthcare Act of 2010 and the bailout of the auto industry – “On the day I took office, our auto industry was on the verge of collapse. Some [Republicans including current presidential candidate Mitt Romney] even said we should let it die. With a million jobs at stake, I refused to let that happen…”Today, General Motors is back on top as the world’s No. 1 automaker,” the president said.

My other favorite part was the pained visages of John Boehner, Eric Cantor and Mitch McConnell throughout the speech. It was funny as hell watching them grimace, writhe and wince their way through the president’s address as if they had a mouthful of cod liver oil that they couldn’t wait to spit out.

The Problem with Mitt Romney

January 23, 2012

What Mitt Romney is trying to be: just a regular guy.

What Mitt Romney really is: a very wealthy guy. 

In The Last Great Ride, a book about his years in network television, the late programming genius Brandon Tartikoff told the story of how The Cosby Show, the biggest sitcom of the 1980s, went from an idea on paper to airing on (and saving) the NBC network. During what is known as the “development process”, Tartikoff had several long conversations with Bill Cosby over the characters and general direction of the show. At one point, Cosby presented the idea of his character being a chauffeur in Atlanta with his wife working a regular 9 to 5 job and them struggling to make ends meet for their family.

As Tartikoff told it, he said he took a deep breath – after all, this was BILL COSBY that he was talking to – before carefully shooting down what he felt was an utterly ridiculous premise. He told Cosby that America knew him not as a great actor, but as a very successful and rich comedian and product pitchman who had earned a college degree in the days since I Spy and other shows and movies. He said that asking America to forget everything they knew about him as a person and to imagine him, Dr. William H. Cosby, Jr, Ed., going around pitching pennies, just didn’t make any sense and would doom the show.

It was an angry Cosby who hung up the phone – stars don’t like hearing their ideas turned down politely or not – but within a day or so, he called back to tell Tartikoff that he’d thought about it and saw his point. And as we all know, Cliff and Clair Huxtable were a doctor and attorney respectively, who lived in an elegant and well decorated brownstone in New York City’s Brooklyn Heights.

I wrote all of that to say that Mitt Romney, if he wants to have any chance of winning the Republican nomination, has to relax and just be who he is: an extremely successful and wealthy former businessman who’s also a Mormon.

If I had the chance to talk to Mitt, I’d tell him to drop the pretense of trying to be a “regular” guy because HELLO, you’re not one. You’ll never be the guy voters feel like they can have a beer with because you DON’T drink alcohol. You’ll never be comfortable in a Pentecostal church, signing old-time gospel songs because you are a Mormon. You don’t hunt, fish or smoke cigars with your buddies. You don’t head down to Dennys for the “Grand Slam” special to save a few bucks when the grandkids are in town. You don’t fly Southwest when you’re not on a private or charter jet. YOU’RE WEALTHY!

So, unless you’ve broken any laws or cheated anyone while amassing your fortune, have a secret second Mormon wife and/or love-child stashed somewhere, or have a secret gambling or drinking habit, drop the pretense of trying to fit in and just be who you are. I’ll let you in on a little secret: the right-wing of the GOP and the Tea Party are never, ever, ever going to like you. I hate to break it to you like that, but it’s the truth. They’ll never accept you as a conservative because HELLO, you’re not a conservative! They’ll never forgive you for having been a moderate whose Romneycare became the template for Obamacare so stop wasting your time, money and energy trying to change their minds.

Play to your strengths. Talk about how while it may be convenient and possible for a career politician to never change their mind about something, a businessman who wants to be successful can’t afford that luxury. You, while not abandoning your core beliefs and principles, had to be open to changing markets and trends, new information both practical and scientific, and adapting your philosophies if you wanted to stay in business. Explain that you can’t afford to be locked into clinging to outdated positions and business models just so you can say, “I haven’t changed in 30 years and by God, should he let me live another 30, I won’t change then either.”

Philip Rosenthal, creator and executive producer of Everybody Loves Raymond, said in his book, It’s A Good Thing You’re Funny, that the best career advice he ever got came from another writer/producer, Ed. Weinberger who told him: “Do the show you want to do, because in the end, they’re going to cancel you anyway.”

Mitt, run the campaign you want to run, because in the end, it’s your name on the ballot. You may not win but, you’ll know that you ran the campaign you wanted to run and at the end of the day, that’s all that matters.

What We Learned in South Carolina

January 23, 2012

We learned that no one is better positioned and emotionally equipped to tap into the virulent racist undertones of this election cycle than one Newton Leroy Gingrich.

We learned that the well-organized and financed Mitt Romney who hoped to control the narrative and tempo of the 2012 primary campaign, instead staggers into Florida and a debate on Monday night that he simply must win in order to stem the bleeding.

We learned that no one knows what’s going to happen from hour to hour, let alone day to day, in the GOP race this year.

We learned that Mitt Romney isn’t a “street fighter” and Newt Gingrich is.

We learned that the hardest working people in America over the weekend were Mitt Romney’s accountants.

We learned that “Super Pacs” are going to play an even bigger role in this year’s campaign than anyone could have imagined when the Supreme Court ruled in favor of them a few years ago.

We learned that Herman “Cornbread” Cain is such a self-absorbed media whore that he doesn’t mind being the butt of Stephen Colbert’s joke.

We learned that Rick Santorum is a robo-tron with one message who on occasion, can go off that message and really get under Gingrich’s skin.

We learned that Ron Paul is running not because he thinks he has a real chance of winning the nomination, but because he wants to advance his “cause” and stir up the convention this summer.

We learned that a rookie governor, Nikki Haley who with her endorsement of Romney spit in the face of the Tea Party that elected her in 2010, didn’t have the political sense of Senators Jim DeMint and Lindsey Graham and Representative Tim Scott who all declined to endorse a candidate in the primary. Consequently, Haley, whose popularity has been slipping in recent months, returned to the governor’s mansion Saturday night a weakened chief executive with a lot of hard work ahead of her.

We learned that Jon Huntsman and Rick Perry can read the “handwriting on the wall” that said both were in over the heads before either entered the race.

We learned that once you drop out of the race, you may as well have dropped off the face of the earth (anyone seen Michele Bachmann since Iowa?). Well, unless your name is Herman “Cornbread” Cain.

Most importantly, we learned that the GOP race is down to two candidates, Gingrich and Romney, and Ron Paul and Rick Santorum are officially just wasting time and money from this point forward.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

January 22, 2012

“For I am the ‘Prophet Newt’, and I’ve come from a far-away planet to save America from the evil that calls itself Barack Obama!” 

9 TAKEAWAYS FROM SOUTH CAROLINA

N. Gingrich 40.4% 243,153
M. Romney 27.8% 167,279
R. Santorum 17.0% 102,055
R. Paul 13.0% 77,993
H. Cain 1.1% 6,324

 

R. Perry 0.4% 2,494
J. Huntsman 0.2% 1,161
M. Bachmann 0.1% 494
G. Johnson 0.0% 213

 Newt Gingrich: The Angriest White Man in America

A MORMON IN MOURNING

“I can’t believe I’m losing to somebody named ‘Newt’!”

RANDOM THOUGHTS

Memo to Ron Paul and Rick Santorum: you can go home now. Your participation in the 2012 Republican Primary Campaign is no longer needed and anything either of you do from this point forward, will just be a further waste of everyone’s time. We thank you both for your participation and don’t forget to pick up your lovely parting gifts on your way out the door. Toodles.

Mitt Romney wants to be the nominee, Gingrich needs to be the nominee. Big difference.

In a normal election year, when the economy is the #1 issue, an uber-successful businessman running for the GOP’s nomination would be the logical choice. But, the 2008 election of an African-American named Barack Hussein Obama changed EVERYTHING for the Republican Party and no one is better positioned and emotionally equipped to tap into the virulent racist undertones of this election cycle than one Newton Leroy Gingrich.

The next biggest loser in South Carolina after Romney is Governor Nikki Haley whose endorsement angered the very Tea Party supporters who swept her into office in 2010. Haley, who now returns to the governor’s mansion with a considerable loss of political clout, has learned the hard way what more seasoned politicians in her state such as Senators Jim DeMint and Lindsey Graham already knew; never put yourself on the line in a presidential primary race in your state because the potential for defeat is far greater than it is for victory.  

FINALLY

From a potential 3-0 opening streak that was supposed to lock up the nomination for him before Super Tuesday to a 1-2 record after a recount in Iowa took away his win and a come from ahead thrashing in South Carolina on Saturday, a suddenly on-the-ropes Mitt Romney finds himself at the crossroads of his political career.

The well-organized and financed Romney who hoped to control the narrative and tempo of the 2012 primary campaign, instead staggers into Florida and a debate on Monday night that he simply must win in order to stem the bleeding. Newt Gingrich beat Romney in every single demographic group in South Carolina and as the race heads into the Deep South, all of Romney’s weaknesses – Mormon religion, immense wealth, past record as a moderate, a sense of no feel for the ‘common man and woman’ and a perceived lack of deep conservative convictions – will be on display and open for attack by Newt Gingrich.

For many reasons, but most importantly because he simply can’t match Newt Gingrich’s anger-fueled passion, self-righteous indignation – “How dare the media bring up my tawdry martial history!” – and bombastic pomposity, Mitt Romney must decide if he’s going to succumb to pressure from both inside and outside his campaign and release his tax returns now instead of April as he’s said he will and if he’s going to fight for the nomination everyone assumed was his when this all started.

Moments like this in a campaign are where candidates and voters find out who really has the “game” that’s needed to win. In March 2008, Senator Barack Obama found himself caught up in the swirling vortex of Reverend Jeremiah Wright’s fiery old sermons and preening, self-promoting  media appearances. With his campaign hanging in the balance, Obama wrote and gave a speech on race from Philadelphia’s Constitution Hall that is widely credited with saving his bid for the nomination. Whether or not Mitt Romney has something like that in him is what we’ll be looking for in the next few days.

But, one thing is certain: Newt Gingrich is the great white shark of the 2012 Republican nomination race and now that there’s blood in the water, all bets are off on how and where he’ll strike next.

TWO CARTOONS

January 21, 2012

 

Friday, January 20, 2012

January 21, 2012

The Reverend Barack Obama

“I….so in love with you.”

THE YUCK FACTOR – MARIANNE GINGRICH’S NIGHTLINE INTERVIEW: “Marianne Gingrich says Gingrich asked her for an ‘open marriage’ so he could be with his then-mistress Callista without getting a divorce…She said Gingrich asked for a divorce shortly after she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. The pair had been married for 18 years…Marianne Gingrich said she found out, during discussions about a divorce, that Newt and Callista had carried on their affair in the Gingriches’ Washington apartment. ‘I found out during our conversations that it was occurring in my bedroom in our apartment in Washington,’ she said. ‘ He always called me at night, and always ended with ‘I love you.’ Well, she was listening.'” Emily Schultheis’ story about the interview: http://politi.co/yNd3oX. Watch the full 8.5-minute segment that aired on Nightline: http://abcn.ws/y1XBB2.

NEWT FOUGHT BACK AT LAST NIGHT’S DEBATE – HOW DAMAGING WILL THIS BE? “With a rousing denunciation of the news media right out of the gate, Gingrich electrified the conservative audience here and temporarily defused an issue that poses a lethal threat to his campaign ,” Jonathan Martin and Alex Burns write. “His blistering response to CNN’s John King about the accusations lodged by Marianne Gingrich might even offer a short-term lift. ‘Watch it help Newt,’ predicted former South Carolina GOP chair Katon Dawson…likening the Marianne Gingrich’s claims to the unproven 2010 accusations that South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley conducted an extramarital affair. ‘It looked like they were picking on her.’ http://politi.co/xdqjvS

MARIANNE spoke to THE WASHINGTON POST after Gingrich implicitly called her a liar: “After Gingrich’s comments at the debate, Marianne Gingrich declined to directly respond to the denial, other than to say she was sticking by her story, which she said is ‘the truth.'” More from James Grimaldi’s interview with her about the circumstances surrounding the dissolution of the candidate’s second marriage: “Marianne said her husband told her, ‘In a few years I’m going to run for president. She’s going to help me become president.’ … She said Gingrich has not spoken to her since the divorce.” http://wapo.st/AA3oS1

HERMAN CAIN defended Gingrich on Fox News this morning: “I loved Newt Gingrich’s response because that’s the same crap that they pulled on me, and that’s what’s wrong with politics. This is what’s turning the American people off.” http://politi.co/wooedx

JENNY SANFORD, the ex-wife of Mark Sanford, told Chris Matthews on Hardball: “As a voter…if you’re going to overcome somebody’s moral failings or infidelities, you have to also look at where they stand ideologically and how much does their rhetoric match their reality. In my mind, Gingrich falls short on both fronts. So, he wouldn’t get my vote.” http://on.msnbc.com/yUPYEp

“Pretty Ricky” Perry’s  Final Indignity Where The Crusade Began

 “Oops. I can’t remember why I decided to run.”

N.Y. Times’ “Check Point,” “Romney and his Money,” by Michael Barbaro: “Mitt Romney said during Thursday night’s debate that he did not inherit any money from his parents. … In an interview with C-Span in March 2006, Mr. Romney said that upon the death of his father, George, the former chief executive of American Motors, he received an inheritance. But he quickly donated the money to Brigham Young University. … Mr. Romney benefited from his father’s wealth in another way: he relied on George Romney for a loan that he used to buy his first home, in Belmont, Mass., for $42,000.”

PERRY: Dallas Morning News, “After failed presidential bid, what’s in Perry’s future?,” by Gromer Jeffers Jr. and Terrence Stutz: “The questions now swirling in Austin are how he responds and whether rivals – including fellow Republicans – will try to capitalize on his national fall. … [O]thers wonder whether Perry, after the rough outing for a man who had never lost a campaign, will have the enthusiasm to stay. … Many Texans were surprised in 2010 when Perry opted to seek re-election, ultimately thrashing Republican Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison and Democrat Bill White, the former Houston mayor. He will face a similar decision in 2014, when foes will renew attacks that dog him in the presidential campaign. If Hutchison gunned for him last time, he’ll certainly draw opposition again. … Perry, 61, does have other options. He could remain a conservative voice for state rights, get another job somewhere, or maybe make another run for president.” http://dallasne.ws/ADYM 3 j

Santorum: I’m the Goldilocks candidate

Santorum’s newest analogy for the GOP race: South Carolina voters are Goldilocks, and the candidates are the three bears: Newt Gingrich is too hot, Mitt Romney is too cold and Santorum is “just right.” Funny how the most homophobic presidential candidate chooses to identify himself!

Romney campaign trying to lower South Carolina Primary expectations

Catholic leaders tell Gingrich Santorum to stop perpetuating ugly racial stereotypes

Newt Gingrich: Phoniest Presidential Candidate Ever

Some of Newt Gingrich’s Grandiose Thoughts

NEWS

POLITICO glossy magazine out today, previewing the State of the Union

Jay-Z Anthem to Fatherhood is Music to the Ears of Black Family Advocates

Bill “Sports Guy” Simmons all football mailbag

Russell Westbrook signs 5-year extension with Thunder

Well, that should take care of those “Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook Can’t Get Along” rumors for the next, I don’t know, 5 years.

Kobe Bryant loses three mansions 75 million divorce settlement

I’ve got three words I bet Kobe Bryant has learned in the last 10 years: Pre Nuptial Agreement.

RANDOM THOUGHTS

I don’t understand how someone as smart as Mitt Romney seems to be can be so dumb about releasing his tax returns.

Whoever your guy is, does it not seem at this point that President Obama is more likely to be re-elected than it did a month ago?

Speaking of President Obama, after last night’s impromptu Showtime at the Apollo performance, is it proper to refer to him as the “Crooner in Chief?”

Well, that should be a wrap on functioning illiterate Texas governors running for president.

Speaking of “Pretty Ricky Perry, I wonder what happens now as he returns to the relative anonymity of being “just a governor” and not on the national scene with all the attention that brings. Will he throw himself back into his work with gusto and try to restore the luster his long career in Texas politics once had or will he pull a “Palin” and quit in a few months?

Am I the only one who notices that when a GOPer mentions a former Republican president these days, it’s always Reagan and almost never a Bush? And if it is a Bush, they make it clear that they’re talking about Bush 41 – George H. W. – and not Bush 43 – George W.

When Mitt “Suge” Romney says he’ll release his tax returns in April, just like “John McCain and George W. Bush did when they were the nominee”, what he’s really saying is, “Look, if I’m the nominee, I’ll release my tax returns and if I’m not, I won’t.” In other words, he’s probably worth a lot more than the commonly believed and oft-reported $250 million and doesn’t want the American public to know that unless it’s absolutely necessary.

I guess Herman “Cornbread” Cain is such a self-absorbed media whore that he had no problem being a stooge in Stephen Colbert’s “Political Theater of the Absurd” in South Carolina today.

JUST FOR THE HELL OF IT

            Jay-Z and Warren Buffett at Wednesday’s reopening of Jay’s “40/40 Club” in NYC 

FINALLY

AFC – Patriots over the Ravens by 10

NFC – Giants over the Niners by 6

HOW I MET MUHAMMAD ALI

January 17, 2012

I was a high school senior in March 1973 when Ali and Ken Norton fought in my hometown, San Diego CA. One morning, while reading the Union Tribune newspaper before class, I discovered that Ali had a workout scheduled at Golden Hall auditorium that day. Because my mother worked at the City Administration Building, our version of City Hall, and I’d spent a LOT of time around the area, I knew how to sneak into the place without getting caught and that’s exactly what me and several of my buddies – I’ll never tell their names – did.

Keep in mind, this was almost 40 years ago and much like the movie, “Let’s Do It Again”, security, even around Ali, was nothing like it is today. Not only did we get in, we watched the entire workout and got to shake hands with Ali afterwards. We also met Bundini Brown and legendary trainer Angelo Dundee.

Lord only knows what happened to the autographs we all got that day. But we got to see “The Greatest of All-Time” up-close and personal, and all it cost us was a few missed classes and some gas.