Friday, March 31, 2006

Michael Eisner as NFL Commissioner? Just Say No

Some silly goose with a sports mag I will not name floated former Disney head Michael Eisner as a candidate for the NFL Commissioner's job.

Please don't hire him.

Eisner's not in the NFL tradition of politically adept negotiation and positive relationships. He's a man with a public reputation for boardroom combat. Witness his high-profile tussles with his "former friend" Mike Ovitz. Can you see that played out in the NFL? I can, and with terrible results.

Stick with COO Roger Goodell as the next Commissioner. Roger's in the mold of Pete Rozelle and really understands what the NFL is all about.

Hiring Mike Eisner -- and this is not personal -- would be a major mistake. It's not his flair for producing good entertainment programs I question -- though others may considering his latest programming flop -- but his ability to get a diverse group of NFL owners to agree. My fear is tha Mike will take sides openly -- if not hostages.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Raiders In Hunt For...Joey Harrington!? Can You Say "Trade Bait"

If the Oakland Raiders do strike a deal with Detroit Lions quarterback Joey Harrington, it will give them a set of four quarterbacks, all of which can start for the Silver and Black: Harrington, the recently signed Aaron Brooks, second-year man Andrew Walter, and sixth year man Marquez Tuiasasopo.


The Raiders will almost certainly keep three quarterbacks, so one has to think that they're going to use one of the others as trade bait to move up in the draft. It's the only logical move.

Stay tuned.

Raiders get OK to meet Harrington
Oakland already has three QBs signed
By Bill Soliday, STAFF WRITER
Oakland Tribune

Having signed Aaron Brooks, are the Raiders still in the market for a quarterback?

That possibility was raised when the Detroit Lions said the Raiders were one of several teams that had requested permission to speak with Joey Harrington regarding a trade.

Harrington, the Lions starter since his rookie year, remains on the Lions roster, and Detroit is expected to explore a trade after adding Jon Kitna and Josh McCown in recent weeks. Failing to trade Harrington, it is believed the Lions will give him his release on June1.

The Raiders had no comment on the Harrington report.

The Raiders acquired Brooks earlier this month as a free agent who was formerly the starter in New Orleans. He joins holdover quarterbacks Andrew Walter and Marques Tuiasosopo on the Raiders roster.

Coach Art Shell, speaking with reporters at the owners meetings in Orlando, Fla., said nothing was concrete in terms of which of the current three quarterbacks would be designated the starter.

"He (Brooks) is coming in to compete against the two kids," Shell said, noting that the new Raider was not opposed to trying to win the job.

"The job has not been given to him. We went to dinner together, talked about a lot of things, and he said, 'Coach, all I want to do is compete.' The biggest thing for him is to get away from where he's been. Mentally erase as much of what happened and just dive into what we're doing with the Raiders. Come in, have fun, compete and he'll have success."

As for the holdover quarterbacks, Walter and Tuiasosopo, Shell said, "We feel pretty good about (them). Those two kids are outstanding talents. With the competition at that position, I think we're pretty solidified at that position. But we're always looking to upgrade in all different areas."

Addressing speculation the Raiders might be inclined to draft a quarterback on April29, Shell deferred comment for the moment.

"We don't know who we're going to draft, to be honest with you," he said. "We don't know how this thing is going to go (and) won't rule anything out. The Raiders' history is take the best player available, and (with) the draft, it changes every day."

During his meeting with reporters, in his first public comments since a press conference upon his hiring on Feb.11, Shell said the decision to hire Tom Walsh as his offensive coordinator was based on a comfort level he felt with the man who held the position throughout his first tenure with the Raiders.

Walsh has not coached in the NFL since 1994 and in recent years has been out of football totally while running a bed and breakfast and serving as mayor of a small town in Idaho.

"He's a great football mind," Shell said. "He's a smart guy. He knows what I want, how I want to do things. He knows the system I like to run.

"He hasn't been involved in the NFL, but he's been involved in football. We've been talking for about two or three years now about football. I told him if I ever got back into this thing, I want (him) to come with me. I really feel good about him. He's going to do well. Having Tom back is a real plus to me because he knows me."

EXTRA POINTS: Confirming earlier reports, the Raiders will play in the Hall of Fame game in Canton, Ohio, on Aug.6 against the Philadelphia Eagles. The 5 p.m. game will be televised on NBC. Former Raiders coach John Madden and the late Reggie White, who played for the Eagles (as well as the Green Bay Packers), are scheduled for enshrinement. ... The remainder of the Raiders' exhibition schedule finds them playing the Vikings in Minnesota on Aug.14. Specific dates for home games against the 49ers and Detroit that follow have not been set, nor has the exhibition finale at Seattle. ... The Raiders have played in the Hall of Fame game twice, defeating Dallas 20-13 in 1979 and Green Bay 19-3 in 1993.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Ravens and Steelers Lead NFL in 2006 Compensatory Draft Picks


NFL-18 3/27/06

A total of 32 compensatory choices in the 2006 NFL Draft have been awarded to 19 teams, the NFL announced today. Under terms of the NFL Collective Bargaining Agreement, a team losing more or better compensatory free agents than it acquires in a year is eligible to receive compensatory draft picks.

The number of picks a team receives equals the net loss of compensatory free agents up to a maximum of four. The 32 compensatory choices announced today will supplement the 223 choices in the seven rounds of the 2006 NFL Draft (April
29-30). This year, the compensatory picks will be positioned within the third through seventh rounds based on the value of the compensatory free agents lost.

Compensatory free agents are determined by a formula based on salary, playing time and postseason honors. The formula was developed by the NFL Management Council. Not every free agent lost or signed by a club is covered by this formula.

Three clubs this year (Buffalo, Seattle and Washington) will receive a compensatory pick even though they did not suffer a net loss of compensatory free agents. Under the formula, the compensatory free agents these teams lost were ranked higher than the ones they signed (by a specified point differential based upon salary and performance).

The following 2006 draft picks have been determined by the NFL Management Council:

3 33-97 New York Jets
4 33-130 Denver
4 34-131 Pittsburgh
4 35-132 Baltimore
4 36-133 Pittsburgh
5 33-165 Green Bay
5 34-166 Baltimore
5 35-167 Pittsburgh
5 36-168 Philadelphia
5 37-169 Tennessee
6 33-202 Tampa Bay
6 34-203 Baltimore
6 35-204 Philadelphia
6 36-205 New England
6 37-206 New England
6 38-207 Indianapolis
6 39-208 Baltimore
7 33-241 Tampa Bay
7 34-242 St. Louis
7 35-243 St. Louis
7 36-244 Tampa Bay
7 37-245 Tennessee
7 38-246 Tennessee
7 39-247 Detroit
7 40-248 Buffalo
7 41-249 Seattle
7 42-250 Washington
7 43-251 Houston
7 44-252 New Orleans
7 45-253 Green Bay
7 46-254 San Francisco
7 47-255 Oakland
Picks 251-255 are supplemental compensatory picks (based upon draft-order formula) to fulfill the number of draft choices
permitted by agreement with the NFL Players Association in the Collective Bargaining Agreement.
Following are the compensatory free agents lost and signed by the clubs that will receive compensatory picks in the 2006
NFL Draft:
BALTIMORE Lost: Bennie Anderson, Gary Baxter, Marques Douglas, Edgerton Hartwell, Casey
Rabach, Travis Taylor
Signed: Tommy Polley, Keydrick Vincent
DENVER Lost: Reggie Hayward, Kenoy Kennedy, Donnie Spragan
Signed: Stephen Alexander, Keith Burns
DETROIT Lost: Stephen Alexander, Stockar McDougle, Mike McMahon
Signed: Rick DeMulling, Kenoy Kennedy
GREEN BAY Lost: Bhawoh Jue, Marco Rivera
Signed: Adrian Klemm
INDIANAPOLIS Lost: Rick DeMulling
NEW ENGLAND Lost: Joe Andruzzi, Adrian Klemm, David Patten
Signed: Monty Beisel
NEW YORK JETS Lost: Anthony Becht, Jason Ferguson, LaMont Jordan, Kareem McKenzie
Signed: Derrick Blaylock, Barry Gardner, Lance Legree
PHILADELPHIA Lost: Derrick Burgess, Jermane Mayberry, Ike Reese
Signed: Mike McMahon
PITTSBURGH Lost: Kendrell Bell, Plaxico Burress, Oliver Ross, Keydrick Vincent
Signed: Cedrick Wilson
ST. LOUIS Lost: Bryce Fisher, Matt Lehr, Tommy Polley
Signed: Chris Claiborne
TAMPA BAY Lost: Keith Burns, Cosey Coleman, Chartric Darby, Dwight Smith
Signed: Anthony Becht
TENNESSEE Lost: Andre Dyson, Shad Meier, Antowain Smith

Baltimore -- 4
Pittsburgh -- 3
Tampa Bay -- 3
Tennessee -- 3
Green Bay -- 2
New England -- 2
Philadelphia -- 2
St. Louis -- 2
Buffalo -- 1
Denver -- 1
Detroit -- 1
Houston -- 1
Indianapolis -- 1
New Orleans -- 1
New York Jets -- 1
Oakland -- 1
San Francisco -- 1
Seattle -- 1
Washington -- 1
TOTAL -- 32

Dallas -- 25
Green Bay -- 24
Philadelphia -- 23
Buffalo -- 21
Baltimore -- 20
St. Louis -- 20
Tennessee -- 17
Pittsburgh -- 16
New England -- 15
New York Giants -- 15
Arizona -- 14
Jacksonville -- 14
Tampa Bay -- 14
Minnesota -- 12
Detroit -- 12
San Francisco -- 12
Seattle -- 12
Kansas City -- 11
Miami -- 11
Chicago -- 10
* 1993 was first year that compensatory draft choices were awarded.
# # #

Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez Calls Lou Dobbs "CNN CHIEF DUMBASS" - Film At 11

The New Mexico Latina Blogger is serious in this post on the US Media's approach to the news on the immigration policy matter. And I'm inclined to agree with her on several points.

...While I'm not touching the "dumbass" comment regarding Lou Dobbs, I think his approach on this matter is really a bit much. He looks like Archie Bunker on this matter, and it may be that CNN cast him in the roll of a kind of "Bunker" for ratings. But to fan the flames of race hate is a terrible way to make money. It's bad public policy too.

Check out her view by clicking on the title of this post.

80,000-Volt Shocking Suitcase

And it only costs $1,000! No kidding. Just click on the title post link to read about it

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

'Marriage Is for White People'...And Dreamers Like Me

Joy Jones (pictured) wrote this for the Washington Post. I must offer that it's a very good work, even though I don't agree with the idea that many African Americans don't want to marry. I do. I wonder if Ms. Jones was referring to black / black relationships, or interracial ones as well, since its seem that so many black women in the Bay Area seem to want white men now. (I've got no problem with that; just stating an observation. It could be because professional black men here -- like me -- date interracially as well.) But the Bay Area makes it hard to find someone stable. I'm serious. More on that later. Here's the article below, as well.

By Joy Jones
Sunday, March 26, 2006; Page B01

I grew up in a time when two-parent families were still the norm, in both black and white America. Then, as an adult, I saw divorce become more commonplace, then almost a rite of passage. Today it would appear that many -- particularly in the black community -- have dispensed with marriage altogether.

But as a black woman, I have witnessed the outrage of girlfriends when the ex failed to show up for his weekend with the kids, and I've seen the disappointment of children who missed having a dad around. Having enjoyed a close relationship with my own father, I made a conscious decision that I wanted a husband, not a live-in boyfriend and not a "baby's daddy," when it came my time to mate and marry.

For years, I wondered why not. And then some 12-year-olds enlightened me.

"Marriage is for white people."

That's what one of my students told me some years back when I taught a career exploration class for sixth-graders at an elementary school in Southeast Washington. I was pleasantly surprised when the boys in the class stated that being a good father was a very important goal to them, more meaningful than making money or having a fancy title.

"That's wonderful!" I told my class. "I think I'll invite some couples in to talk about being married and rearing children."

"Oh, no," objected one student. "We're not interested in the part about marriage. Only about how to be good fathers."

And that's when the other boy chimed in, speaking as if the words left a nasty taste in his mouth: "Marriage is for white people."

He's right. At least statistically. The marriage rate for African Americans has been dropping since the 1960s, and today, we have the lowest marriage rate of any racial group in the United States. In 2001, according to the U.S. Census, 43.3 percent of black men and 41.9 percent of black women in America had never been married, in contrast to 27.4 percent and 20.7 percent respectively for whites. African American women are the least likely in our society to marry. In the period between 1970 and 2001, the overall marriage rate in the United States declined by 17 percent; but for blacks, it fell by 34 percent. Such statistics have caused Howard University relationship therapist Audrey Chapman to point out that African Americans are the most uncoupled people in the country.

How have we gotten here? What has shifted in African American customs, in our community, in our consciousness, that has made marriage seem unnecessary or unattainable?

Although slavery was an atrocious social system, men and women back then nonetheless often succeeded in establishing working families. In his account of slave life and culture, "Roll, Jordan, Roll," historian Eugene D. Genovese wrote: "A slave in Georgia prevailed on his master to sell him to Jamaica so that he could find his wife, despite warnings that his chances of finding her on so large an island were remote. . . . Another slave in Virginia chopped his left hand off with a hatchet to prevent being sold away from his son." I was stunned to learn that a black child was more likely to grow up living with both parents during slavery days than he or she is today, according to sociologist Andrew J. Cherlin.

Traditional notions of family, especially the extended family network, endure. But working mothers, unmarried couples living together, out-of-wedlock births, birth control, divorce and remarriage have transformed the social landscape. And no one seems to feel this more than African American women. One told me that with today's changing mores, it's hard to know "what normal looks like" when it comes to courtship, marriage and parenthood. Sex, love and childbearing have become a la carte choices rather than a package deal that comes with marriage. Moreover, in an era of brothers on the "down low," the spread of sexually transmitted diseases and the decline of the stable blue-collar jobs that black men used to hold, linking one's fate to a man makes marriage a risky business for a black woman.

"A woman who takes that step is bold and brave," one young single mother told me. "Women don't want to marry because they don't want to lose their freedom."

Among African Americans, the desire for marriage seems to have a different trajectory for women and men. My observation is that black women in their twenties and early thirties want to marry and commit at a time when black men their age are more likely to enjoy playing the field. As the woman realizes that a good marriage may not be as possible or sustainable as she would like, her focus turns to having a baby, or possibly improving her job status, perhaps by returning to school or investing more energy in her career.

As men mature, and begin to recognize the benefits of having a roost and roots (and to feel the consequences of their risky bachelor behavior), they are more willing to marry and settle down. By this time, however, many of their female peers are satisfied with the lives they have constructed and are less likely to settle for marriage to a man who doesn't bring much to the table. Indeed, he may bring too much to the table: children and their mothers from previous relationships, limited earning power, and the fallout from years of drug use, poor health care, sexual promiscuity. In other words, for the circumspect black woman, marriage may not be a business deal that offers sufficient return on investment.

In the past, marriage was primarily just such a business deal. Among wealthy families, it solidified political alliances or expanded land holdings. For poorer people, it was a means of managing the farm or operating a household. Today, people have become economically self-sufficient as individuals, no longer requiring a spouse for survival. African American women have always had a high rate of labor-force participation. "Why should well-salaried women marry?" asked black feminist and author Alice Dunbar-Nelson as early as 1895. But now instead of access only to low-paying jobs, we can earn a breadwinner's wage, which has changed what we want in a husband. "Women's expectations have changed dramatically while men's have not changed much at all," said one well-paid working wife and mother. "Women now say, 'Providing is not enough. I need more partnership.' "

The turning point in my own thinking about marriage came when a longtime friend proposed about five years ago. He and I had attended college together, dated briefly, then kept in touch through the years. We built a solid friendship, which I believe is a good foundation for a successful marriage.

But -- if we had married, I would have had to relocate to the Midwest. Been there, done that, didn't like it. I would have had to become a stepmother and, although I felt an easy camaraderie with his son, stepmotherhood is usually a bumpy ride. I wanted a house and couldn't afford one alone. But I knew that if I was willing to make some changes, I eventually could.

As I reviewed the situation, I realized that all the things I expected marriage to confer -- male companionship, close family ties, a house -- I already had, or were within reach, and with exponentially less drama. I can do bad by myself, I used to say as I exited a relationship. But the truth is, I can do pretty good by myself, too.

Most single black women over the age of 30 whom I know would not mind getting married, but acknowledge that the kind of man and the quality of marriage they would like to have may not be likely, and they are not desperate enough to simply accept any situation just to have a man. A number of my married friends complain that taking care of their husbands feels like having an additional child to raise. Then there's the fact that marriage apparently can be hazardous to the health of black women. A recent study by the Institute for American Values, a nonpartisan think tank in New York City, indicates that married African American women are less healthy than their single sisters.

By design or by default, black women cultivate those skills that allow them to maintain themselves (or sometimes even to prosper) without a mate.

"If Jesus Christ bought me an engagement ring, I wouldn't take it," a separated thirty-something friend told me. "I'd tell Jesus we could date, but we couldn't marry."

And here's the new twist. African American women aren't the only ones deciding that they can make do alone. Often what happens in black America is a sign of what the rest of America can eventually expect. In his 2003 book, "Mismatch: The Growing Gulf between Women and Men," Andrew Hacker noted that the structure of white families is evolving in the direction of that of black families of the 1960s. In 1960, 67 percent of black families were headed by a husband and wife, compared to 90.9 percent for whites. By 2000, the figure for white families had dropped to 79.8 percent. Births to unwed white mothers were 22.5 percent in 2001, compared to 2.3 percent in 1960. So my student who thought marriage is for white people may have to rethink that in the future.

Still, does this mean that marriage is going the way of the phonograph and the typewriter ribbon?

"I hope it isn't," said one friend who's been married for seven years. "The divorce rate is 50 percent, but people remarry. People want to be married. I don't think it's going out of style."

A black male acquaintance had a different prediction. "I don't believe marriage is going to be extinct, but I think you'll see fewer people married," he said. "It's a bad thing. I believe it takes the traditional family -- a man and a woman -- to raise kids." He has worked with troubled adolescents, and has observed that "the girls who are in the most trouble and who are abused the most -- the father is absent. And the same is true for the boys, too." He believes that his presence and example in the home is why both his sons decided to marry when their girlfriends became pregnant.

But human nature being what it is, if marriage is to flourish -- in black or white America -- it will have to offer an individual woman something more than a business alliance, a panacea for what ails the community, or an incubator for rearing children. As one woman said, "If it weren't for the intangibles, the allure of the lovey-dovey stuff, I wouldn't have gotten married. The benefits of marriage are his character and his caring. If not for that, why bother?"

Joy Jones, a Washington writer, is the author of "Between Black Women: Listening With the Third Ear" (African American Images).

NFL Owners Start Commissioner Search - Gary Myers, NY Daily News

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - Paul Tagliabue had just finished an emotional speech to owners, coaches and front office executives summing up his nearly 17 years as commissioner when he was given a spontaneous sendoff, which served as a way of saying thanks for making the rich even richer.

"He probably got close to a five-minute standing ovation," Falcons owner Arthur Blank said yesterday.

Now the 32 owners must find his replacement without tearing the league apart, like they almost did in 1989 before picking Tagliabue to replace Pete Rozelle. This will not be a quick process. There is no sense of urgency after Tagliabue promised he would stick around, if needed, past his preferred departure date of late July.

Tagliabue is holding off naming the owners committee that will conduct the search, but did indicate an outside firm will be hired to interview owners to get their perspective on the structure of the league. A firm will also recommend candidates.

But the owners will do the hiring and Tagliabue will not endorse any candidate.

"I think we need to look at everybody," Jets owner Woody Johnson said. "You have to open it up."

The early leader is Roger Goodell , the league's highly regarded executive vice president and chief operating officer. "I think it's wide open," Texans owner Bob McNair said. "It can be someone no one even knows. The main thing is to get the right person for the position, whoever they might be."

Tagliabue likely will construct the committee to represent a cross section of the league: long-time owners and relatively new owners; big-market teams and small-market teams; influential owners already on powerful committees and owners who haven't had an opportunity to have their voice heard.

The six-owner committee in 1989, which included Wellington Mara as co-chairman, consisted only of owners who had been in the league at least 20 years. That infuriated many of the newer owners and created a "new guard" vs "old guard" split. The new guard became known as the Chicago 11, because there were 11 of them and they came together at what was supposed to be Jim Finks' coronation in Chicago.

But they all abstained, which prevented Finks from getting the required 19 out of 28 votes. It eventually led to two new committees being formed - Mara was on both of them - and Tagliabue being elected on the 12th ballot three months after Finks was rejected.

Steelers owner Dan Rooney was a peacemaker in 1989. Asked yesterday if this process can be as contentious, he said, "I sure hope not."

Monday, March 27, 2006


This was in an email from my friend Beth


Essential vocabulary additions for the workplace (and elsewhere)!!!

1. BLAMESTORMING : Sitting around in a group, discussing why a
deadline was missed or a project failed, and who was responsible.

2. SEAGULL MANAGER : A manager, who flies in, makes a lot of noise,
craps on everything, and then leaves.

3. ASSMOSIS : The process by which some people seem to absorb success
and advancement by kissing up to the boss rather than working hard.

4. SALMON DAY : The experience of spending an entire day swimming
upstream only to get screwed and die in the end.

5. CUBE FARM : An office filled with cubicles

6. PRAIRIE DOGGING : When someone yells or drops something loudly in a
cube farm, and people's heads pop up over the walls to see what's going on.

7. MOUSE POTATO : The on-line, wired generation's answer to the couch

8. SITCOMs : Single Income, Two Children, Oppressive Mortgage. What
Yuppies get into when they have children and one of them stops working to stay
home with the kids.

9. STRESS PUPPY : A person who seems to thrive on being stressed out
and whiny.

10. SWIPEOUT : An ATM or credit card that has been rendered useless
because magnetic strip is worn away from extensive use.

11. XEROX SUBSIDY : Euphemism for swiping free photocopies from one's

12. IRRITAINMENT : Entertainment and media spectacles that are annoying
but you find yourself unable to stop watching them. The J-Lo and Ben
wedding (or not) was a prime example - Michael Jackson, another...

13. PERCUSSIVE MAINTENANCE : The fine art of whacking the crap out of
an electronic device to get it to work again.

14. ADMINISPHERE : The rarefied organizational layers beginning just above
the rank and file. Decisions that fall from the adminisphere are often
profoundly inappropriate or irrelevant to the problems they were designed
to solve.

15. 404 : Someone who's clueless. From the World Wide Web error Message
"404 Not Found", meaning that the requested site could not be located.

16. GENERICA : Features of the American landscape that are exactly the
same no matter where one is, such as fast food joints, strip malls, and

17. OHNOSECOND : That minuscule fraction of time in which you realize
that you've just made a BIG mistake. (Like after hitting send on an e-mail
by mistake)

18. WOOFS : Well-Off Older Folks.

19. CROP DUSTING : Surreptitiously passing gas while passing through a
Cube Farm.

Da Vinci Code Movie May Be Blocked Due to Lawsuit

'Da Vinci Code' Film To Be Blocked?

LONDON, Feb. 27, 2006

(CBS) "The Da Vinci Code" continues its controversial ways, and the newest flare-up over the book may result in trouble for the upcoming movie.

CBS News Correspondent Richard Roth reports that "Da Vinci Code" author Dan Brown (pictured) came to court in London Monday with a confident smile and a team of lawyers who'll be arguing you can't claim ownership of history, even when it's controversial, disputed history.

Roth explains that the historic cover-up, portrayed in the book and movie that's supposed to be coming soon, is of the theory that Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene married and had a child, whose descendants are still around, and still supposedly threatened by the Catholic Church.

The tale's made a fortune for Brown, whose book acknowledges the controversial theory isn't his alone, and even mentions a book that got there first, "Holy Blood, Holy Grail," published more than 20 years ago, but as fact, not fiction.

The authors of that book are suing for infringement of copyright, claiming "The Da Vinci Code" didn't just borrow a theory, it stole the whole thrilling jigsaw puzzle they created.

And, in a response Roth notes has no suspense at all, Brown's publisher calls the claim nonsense.

Observes media lawyer Paul Herbert, "The publishers of 'The Da Vinci Code' are saying, 'Look, all we've done is take the basic planks in the original work, the premise about Jesus and Mary Magdalene, and turn it into a novel. There is no copyright in the facts that we based it on, so where's the claim?' "

The claim, Roth says, is that about $18 million of what the book's already earned and the movie's expected to make ought to go to the authors who are suing. The legal wrangling could even jeopardize the film's opening in London, slated for May.

The movie was expected to be one of the summer's biggest hits.

Brown's book, Roth points out, has already survived a copyright challenge from another author in the United States who claimed plagiarism.



Joe Browne, Executive Vice President-Communications
Greg Aiello, Vice President-Public Relations

NFL-15 3/27/06


Paid attendance for all NFL games set a record for the fourth consecutive year, the NFL announced today.

NFL paid attendance for all 2005 games was 21,792,096, an increase of nearly 84,000 (83,472) over the previous record total of 21,708,624 in 2004. It marked the fourth year in a row -- and only the fourth time in league history -- that the 21 million paid attendance mark was reached.

The 2005 NFL regular-season total paid attendance of 17,012,453 and the average of 66,455 per game were both all-time
records as well.

A total of 3,977,388 tickets were sold for 66 preseason games for an average of 60,263. Twelve postseason games produced a sale of 802,255, including 68,206 for Super Bowl XL.

For the sixth consecutive year, the Washington Redskins led all teams in regular-season home paid attendance. The Redskins drew 707,614 for their eight home games, the second highest total in NFL history to their 707,920 of 2004.

Three other teams topped the 600,000 paid total at home in 2005: the New York Giants (628,527), Kansas City (625,081)
and the New York Jets (619,842).

Eight teams drew more than 1.1 million paid attendance home and away during the regular season, led by Washington(1,240,223). The others were: New York Jets (1,197,224), Kansas City (1,177,580), New York Giants (1,152,672), Denver (1,147,265), New England (1,146,847), San Diego (1,108,840), and Miami (1,105,023).


From and The NFL Network



The Denver Broncos will battle the Kansas City Chiefs in the inaugural regular season game on NFL Network November 23 at 8:00 PM ET (live), it was announced today by NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue.

NFL Network will broadcast primetime regular season NFL games in 2006 as part of the new NFL "Run Up to the Playoffs" package. The remaining games will be announced next month.

"We are ecstatic to have a great AFC West rivalry to kick-off NFL Network's primetime live game telecasts," said NFL Network President and CEO Steve Bornstein. "Being part of a new Thanksgiving Day tripleheader is an honor and we can't wait to get to KC."

NFL Network's Broncos-Chiefs coverage will include a pregame and postgame show emanating live from Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City on Thanksgiving night. The Broncos/Chiefs game on NFL Network is part of a new NFL tradition, turning
Thanksgiving Day into a football tripleheader.

The Miami Dolphins visit the Detroit Lions at 12:30 PM ET on CBS and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers travel to Dallas to face the Cowboys at 4:15 PM ET on FOX before the Chiefs host the Broncos on NFL Network at 8:00 PM ET.

NFL Network's eight-game package consists of primetime games airing from Thanksgiving to the end of the regular season on Thursday and/or Saturday nights. NFL Network game dates are: Thursdays: 11/23; 11/30; 12/7; 12/14 and 12/21.
Saturdays: 12/16; 12/23 and 12/30.

NFL Network's game telecasts will also be available to the participating team markets via an over-the-air station.

NFL Network airs seven days a week, 24 hours a day on a year-round basis and is the first television network fully dedicated to the NFL and the sport of football. For more information, log onto

NFL Network. All Fans Welcome.



March 27, 2006


Commissioner Paul Tagliabue opened the 2006 NFL Annual Meeting in Orlando, Florida with a 30-minute review of overall league affairs for a group of approximately 300 owners, club presidents, head coaches, front-office employees, and league officials. Following are excerpts from the Commissioner's review:

- "The 2005 season was the kind our fans have come to expect, filled with extraordinary team and individual performances, intense competition, and lots of excitement and unpredictability."

- "In 2005, you set a paid attendance record for the third year in a row; your stadiums were filled again to 90 percent of capacity; and television ratings continued to deliver unmatched audiences. The Super Bowl was the second mostwatched
program in television history with 141 million viewers. For the season, ratings for NFL games on broadcast television were 60 percent higher than the primetime average for the broadcast networks. In December, the Harris Poll showed pro football's lead as the No. 1 sport continuing to widen."

- "This week's annual meeting is my 17th as commissioner. But I first started attending these NFL annual meetings 34 years ago this month when I was a young and starry-eyed attorney. Three years before that 1972 meeting, I first met Pete Rozelle. It was the early summer of 1969 and he was considering whether to require Jets quarterback Joe Namath to divorce himself from a watering hole in New York City that didn't have the greatest reputation. I was a young attorney sitting in the back of the room. In the 37 years since 1969, I have been privileged to serve the NFL and its teams with – by my count -- about 80 different principal owners of NFL teams. Then in recent months, my wife Chan pointed out that we now have head coaches in the league who were not yet born when I got started with the NFL."

- "The league is a very special institution and it works because the game continues to be great, because of thousands of talented people, and because of great teamwork across the entire league. That's what we have and must continue to have. I want to thank all of today's owners plus everyone in the league, plus all former owners, for giving me the opportunity and responsibility to be part of the NFL. It's been a tremendous experience."

- "The extended CBA is complicated and presents a unique set of challenges, but we can now build on what we have accomplished in recent years, including shared investments with the Players Association in important initiatives such as
stadium construction, youth football, and NFL Europe."

- "The league is well-structured, complex business partnership. Thirty-two strong, independent franchises operate in different ways. This diversity is one of our great strengths. But, as different as your teams may be, there is far more that unites you and the league than separates you. We will strive in the months ahead to focus on our common interests and objectives."

- "Now we enter a period of transition for the league. The critical elements of success are in place. This should enable us to accomplish twin goals. The first is to present great football to the fans in 2006, while maintaining the momentum we have created on all business fronts, both domestically and internationally. The second goal is to manage the search for a new commissioner in a well-organized, inclusive way that will strengthen the league and underscore that the NFL is indeed the world's preeminent sports organization."

Debra Lafave - "Where was Debra Lafave When I Was In Junior High School?" - A Provacative Article I Found: Sick Florida Cops Take Pictures of Her

The article I found and both linked to and posted below is the definitive work on the case of Debra Lafave. The author is David Steinberg, and his text file is buried so deep in their directory it would suffer the indignity of a very low Google search rating -- until now. This post will most certainly turn up in searches. I'll see to that.

David Steinberg should be congradulated for giving this case the true "face" it needs. In what you're about to see, both Ms. Lafave and her student come across as...human. People who have not just the "hots" for each other, but a true interest fueled by a surprisingly immature and naive collective view of what they were doing.

While she's 25 it could be argued that she's not much beyond 17 in her development.

What's equally shocking is the little-known revelation that the Florida cops in the prison where she was held took pictures of her private parts while she was in stirups. That alone should be grounds for their dismissal, but it didn't happen; the cops still have jobs. Unreal. Sick. Wild. And shocking.

Also, the statistics he sites are shocking. But read the text.

Here's the article:

[ Comes Naturally ] - 01.20.06 - by: David Steinberg
(email this article to a friend)

Boy: So what time are you planning on heading over?

Debra: Are you sure? Like, I just feel...I mean, I don't want you lying to your mom. I mean, it's like...

Boy: No, it's all right. She's gone in a sales meeting, like all day.

Debra: You're sure?

Boy: Yeah.

Debra: All right. Promise?

Boy: Yeah.

Debra: Pinky promise!

Boy: Yes.

Debra: Say pinky promise.

Boy: Pinky Promise.

Debra: All right. Well, tell me a time.

On June 21, 2004, police in Temple Terrace, Florida, a suburb of Tampa, arrested Debra Jean Beasley Lafave, then 23 years old, a strikingly attractive remedial reading teacher at Greco Middle School. She was charged with four counts of lewd and lascivious battery against a minor and one count of lewd and lascivious exhibition.

Lafave had been engaged in a brief but consuming sexual relationship with one of her 14-year-old students. She and her student had sex five times, all within a week of the time Lafave was arrested. They had sex at Lafave's home, in her classroom, and three times in the back of her SUV while the car was being driven by the student's intrigued and impressed 15-year-old cousin.

"It was awesome!" the student exulted unambiguously to his cousin immediately after one of the sexual drive-arounds, while Lafave was in the bathroom. Sex with Lafave was the first time the student had had intercourse, according to his statement to police.

Awesome or not, Lafave could have been sentenced to up to 75 years in prison and fined $50,000 if convicted on all five counts. Her lawyer, John Fitzgibbons, initially announced to a fascinated world press that he planned to enter an insanity plea in her defense. "Debbie has some profound emotional issues that are not her fault," he explained. Lafave's older sister and close confidante, five months pregnant, had been killed by a drunk driver in an automobile accident three years earlier. According to testimony by Lafave's mother, in the wake of her sister's death "Debbie [has been] pretty much of a basket case."

In the end, Fitzgibbons chose to negotiate a plea bargain rather than go to trial. Neither Lafave, nor the student, nor the student's mother, nor County Prosecutor Mike Sinacore, wanted to endure the circus of a media-blitz trial. On November 22, 2005, Hillsborough County Circuit Court Judge Wayne Timmerman accepted a plea bargain agreement negotiated by Fitzgibbons and Sinacore, an agreement that set off a new flurry of press excitement because it allowed Lafave to avoid serving any prison time. Lafave, her lawyer argued, was simply too attractive to be put in jail.

"To place Debbie into a Florida state women's penitentiary," Fitzgibbons said, "to place an attractive young woman in that kind of hellhole, is like placing a piece of raw meat in with the lions. I don't think Debbie could survive it."

Judge Timmerman apparently agreed.

Lafave pleaded guilty to two counts of lewd and lascivious battery for which she was sentenced to three years of partial house arrest (a nightly curfew from 10 pm to 6 am), followed by seven years of probation. She was also required to complete an outpatient sex offender program, pay for the cost of any psychological treatment for the student, avoid contact with the student, stay away from places where kids congregate, and not possess any pornographic, sexual, or obscene material.

All parties to the case were pleased. The student's mother, in particular, was happy to see an end to the media celebrity that she seemed to feel was more of a problem for her son than the fact that he had had sex with Lafave.

"It's a very big distraction for him at school," the mother told Tampa television station WTSP. "He just wants to focus on school and having fun with his friends, and just living a normal life."

Speaking to the Lakeland (Florida) Ledger she repeated, "He deserves to have a chance to live a normal life, graduate high school and then move on to college without everyone knowing him as the 14-year-old boy in the Lafave case."

Asked how she felt about Lafave, the mother responded that she had forgiven her son's teacher, adding, "I pray she gets the help she needs."

Indeed, no one involved in the case seems to wish Debra Lafave any harm. Her husband, Owen, to whom she been married only 11 months when she became involved with the student, told Larry King, "I don't wish her any ill will....She was an excellent teacher. She was very well respected. She had received awards based on her teaching ability....She's very compassionate. She's a very sweet person, intelligent and obviously beautiful. There's a lot of great qualities about Debbie. That's why I married her....I hope she doesn't go to jail." He was, however, suing her for divorce.

Unfortunately for everyone who wanted to put the tempestuous affair behind them, the Hillsborough County plea bargain was not to be the end of Debra Lafave's legal story. Because Lafave and her student had sex in two counties, Marion County (Ocala) Circuit Court Judge Hale R. Stancil needed to approve Lafave's plea bargain as well.

On December 8, Stancil, known for being tough on defendants, rejected the plea bargain, and set April 10, 2006, as the date for Lafave's trial. Beauty, it seems, can cut both ways in courts of law. Ocala defense attorney Charles Holloman was not surprised by Stancil's stern ruling.

"Every time I have had an attractive white woman [client] and there has been a chance of jail time," he told The Ocala Star-Banner, "Stancil throws her under the bus."

* * * * *

The case of the beautiful young teacher and her enthusiastic, even-younger student has captured the erotic imagination of a good deal of the national and international press, and the erotic fantasies of a good number of American males as well.

Google Zeitgeist reports that, for the weeks ending November 28, December 5, and December 12, 2005, Debra Lafave ranked first, sixth, and fifth among all gaining Google queries -- outpolling such then-hot topics as Xbox 360, box office hit "Chronicles of Narnia" and Oscar hopeful "Brokeback Mountain."

If surfing the extensive network of Debra Lafave-infatuated websites and chat rooms provides any indication of how American men feel about Debra Lafave having sex with her student, the feelings of American men can be summed up in one, rather simple, collective thought: "Where was Debra Lafave when I was in junior high school?" Lafave's young student, rather than being perceived as the victim of a predatory adult, seems to have become one of the most envied males in the country.

"If they had 'em like that when I was in school I would have failed the eighth grade, several times, on purpose!" exults one respondent in The Boston Herald's Talk Back section.

"All of my female teachers in high school looked like Ernest Borgnine...This kid hit lotto!" says another.

"Remember when you were in high school, fantasizing about that one afternoon where your hot Spanish teacher would keep you after class got out and the two of you would have wild, passionate sex right on her desk? Well this kid actually fucking did it! He had sex with the hot teacher!" swoons a blogger on

"This lucky 14-year-old little bastard got to knock boots with his fantasy teacher," notes a blogger in The Toronto Globe and Mail. "Lucky little [expletive deleted]."

Sensational stories about Debra Lafave and her student quickly spread throughout the national and international press, focusing as much on Lafave's appearance as anything else. Photos of a bikini-clad Lafave sitting rather demurely astride a motorcycle were publicized widely. Tales of a sexual relationship between her and another woman were publicized, denied, and confirmed.

Officers of the Temple Terrace Police Department proved to be as susceptible to Debra Fever as their non-professional counterparts. While Lafave was in custody, three detectives from her case arranged to have a series of nude photographs taken of her -- close-ups of her genitals (described meticulously in one police report as "a shaved pubic area leaving a strip of hair") while Lafave was in stirrups. The officers allegedly intended to shoot a series of close-ups of her breasts as well, but were interrupted before that could occur.

It was only when Lafave's attorney learned of the photos and complained to Judge Timmerman that the photos were seized and sealed. Under Florida's liberal public access laws, they would otherwise have been available to any and all interested parties, which is to say they would have been all over the Internet.

"The officials from the Temple Terrace Police Department took photos of the genital area of my client," Fitzgibbons angrily told an attentive and fascinated press. "Very explicit photos, pornographic photos, and then attempted to photograph her breasts...She's not even safe with the police."

The media, delighted to have new lurid details in the case, were given yet more grist three days later when one of the detectives who authorized the photos of Lafave was arrested during a sting operation by Tampa police, allegedly offering a woman $140 for sex.

* * * * *

Public appreciations of the supposed good fortune of Lafave's 14-year-old student turn out to be very much in tune with the student's own view of his situation. Statements taken by police from both the student and his cousin show that both boys considered themselves to be blessed, and certainly far from victimized, by their contact with Lafave, at least until they got caught.

In his statement to police, the student notes that he was pleased when Lafave began paying special attention to him toward the end of the school year. At first, he told police, he and Lafave had what he called a "hi/bye" relationship. The student told police he sat next to his attractive teacher on one school field trip. "They talked," he said, "nothing exciting. Just them getting to know each other." The two got to know each other more at a student's party on the last day of school, to which a number of teachers were invited. Lafave was the only teacher who showed up.

Lafave invited the student to spend time in her classroom after school, which he often did. She gave the student her cell phone number. One time, in her classroom after school, Lafave told the student "she had been thinking about him a lot and had feelings that made her smile when she thought of him." They kissed for the first time.

The student called his cousin and close friend to tell him about the "hot teacher" at school who liked him. The cousin told the student he didn't believe him. The student said he would prove it.

Thus it was that, when the student and Lafave decided to have sex for the first time, the student arranged for them to first pick up his cousin in Ocala -- 100 miles away -- and bring him along to Lafave's apartment in suburban Tampa. The cousin watched a video downstairs while Lafave and the student had sex in her upstairs bedroom (oral sex -- Lafave was having her period). Afterwards, all three watched television together before taking the cousin home to Ocala. On the way back to Ocala, the student and Lafave had oral sex again in the back of the car, while the cousin drove. Early the next week, Lafave and the student arranged for the cousin to drive Lafave's SUV around Ocala on two separate occasions while the student and Lafave had intercourse in the back.

Indeed, the student and Lafave only had sex one time without the cousin. That was in Lafave's classroom when Lafave "sat down next to [the student] and asked him if he wanted to have sex. He told her he did. While he was sitting on the couch she straddled him, facing him, and asked him if he was sure. He said yes."

Both boys were clearly excited by the whole caper. Their statements to police are peppered with references to "hot teacher" Lafave. It was when the cousin's mother overheard her son excitedly telling a friend about the student and his "hot teacher" that she first got wise to what was going on. She confronted the cousin who first lied but then confessed. The cousin's mother called the student's mother who confronted the student. The student admitted that he had been having sex with Lafave. Presumably he didn't tell his mother how "hot" Lafave was, or how "awesome" the sex. The student's mother called the police and the party was definitely over.

Up against both his mother and the Temple Terrace police, the student cooperated in trying to get Lafave to incriminate herself on the phone. The student called Lafave several times in the next few days, asking questions designed to get her to acknowledge that they had had sex, while the police recorded the calls. Perhaps the student was bad at entrapment. Perhaps he didn't really want Lafave to get busted. In any case, Lafave does not say anything unambiguously incriminating on the phone. Portions of the tape, released by the police, quickly became available on the Internet, along with a complete police transcript of the recorded calls.

On the tape, Lafave sounds surprisingly young, even younger than the student. She expresses concern for the student several times, not wanting to put him in a situation where he has to lie to his mother for them to be able to meet. She asks him, "Are you ok?" and "What's the matter?" and "Did you miss me last night?" She calls him "honey" and "my dear."

She asks if he enjoyed himself the last time they had sex. (He assures her he did.) She asks, "Are you freaking out?" and "Everything's good with you?" and "Everything's cool?" She asks about his well-being so often that the student gets perturbed. "I'm just making sure you're all right," she explains.

She talks about how she called the student's mother the night after their last sexual encounter, apologizing for keeping him out late. She tells how she told her husband "pretty much the whole story...except, you know, why we went to Ocala." She notes that her husband "actually gave me advice on what to say to your mom." She asks if the student had gotten to play in the school basketball game after their sexual encounter (he did), and if he had had a hard time concentrating on the game. ("A little," the student admits, adding, "I did pretty good though.")

* * * * *

While it's hard to compose any meaningful or detailed picture of the quality of the relationship between Debra Lafave and her student, what's striking about the information publicly available is the extreme innocence and naiveté of both parties, particularly Lafave. In the public mind, sex between teachers and adolescents is assumed to be an interaction between a manipulative, predatory adult and an innocent, traumatized victim. Transcripts of the phone calls between Lafave and her student, statements given to police by the student and his cousin, and Lafave's childlike voice on the tape recordings, make it difficult to view Debra Lafave as a devious predator. If anything, she seems astoundingly immature, and remarkably unaware of the gravity of her situation, or the dire consequences that will result if she is discovered. She seems genuinely concerned about the student's frame of mind, and checks with him several times about whether he's sure he wants to have sex, or to see her again.

Beyond the glare of media sensationalism, the Debra Lafave story raises a number of complex questions about sexual relationships between teachers and adolescent students and, more broadly, about sex between adolescents and all adults.

What is the nature of the sexual relationships that occur between adolescents and their teachers? Are most of them intentionally manipulative and/or abusive, or are they, by and large, innocent, if misguided? Are relationships between female teachers and male students categorically different in tone from those between male teachers and female students? What about same-sex relationships between teachers and students?

Are these relationships inherently harmful to the students? When there is emotional damage to the student, is that damage a consequence of the sexual contact itself, a consequence of the guilt and secrecy connected with having a sexual relationship disapproved by society and peers, or a consequence of the emotional storms generated when such relationships become publicly known and subject to the glare of media attention? Is it possible that some relationships of this sort might actually be beneficial to the student?

Research suggests that sexual relationships between adolescents and their teachers are surprisingly common, and often difficult to categorize as simple sexual abuse -- evincing immature, reckless tenderness and infatuation more than any kind of obvious power manipulation.

A 2003 study by Charol Shakeshaft, analyzing data from an extensive earlier survey of high school students by the American Association of University Women, found that fully 6.7% of the high school students had had relationships involving physical sexual contact with one or more teachers. The study also found that 43% of the teachers involved in those relationships were female.

An equally surprising study by Temple University psychology professor Bruce Rind and others, published in 1998 in Psychological Bulletin, reported that sexual contact between adults and minors is extremely diverse in nature and spirit. The study, a statistical analysis of 59 surveys of college students who had been sexual with adults while they were minors, found that the assumed negative effects of sexual contact between adolescents and adults are "neither pervasive nor typically intense," especially for boys.

Equating "the repeated rape of a 5-year-old girl by her father with the willing sexual involvement of a mature 15-year-old adolescent boy with an unrelated adult" makes little sense, say Rind and his co-authors. Simplifications such as these, they argue, only interfere with the development of effective responses to both truly abusive adult-child sex and arguably consensual sex between adolescents and adults.

Judith Levine, author of Harmful to Minors, a thoughtful and comprehensive look at the effects of public policy on the sexuality of children and adolescents, notes that "almost all of the teachers [who engage in sexual relationships with high school students] are young. They're not that far from the kids in terms of life experience. The impulsiveness is typical of people that age. It makes perfect, non-pathological sense that they should be attracted to these students. It's probably unethical, but its not pathological, and certainly shouldn't be criminal."

* * * * *

When I was in high school, there was one teacher who stood out from all the others in a way that I'm imagining Debra Lafave stood out from the other teachers at Greco Middle School. She was young, attractive, vivacious, full of energy that she expressed with her body as well as with her mind. On top of everything else, she didn't maintain the professional aura that seemed so much a part of all the other teachers' personalities. She was down-to-earth, she talked to us students about her personal life, she didn't create a sense of separation between herself and us.

She was, well, sexy, although I never would have thought of her in that way then. I don't think any of us would have thought of her in those terms then. But we all knew that there was a special energy about her and we enjoyed being near her so we could feel the radiance of it, share it, reflect it, imitate it to some degree.

She had a boyfriend, I think he was her fiancé, whom she adored. She was quite open in talking to us about their relationship, about their being in love, about places they would go and things they would do together. Through her we got a sense of what it was like to be 25 years old, in love, and excited about life.

I remember one time when Miss Klein (not her real name) was telling a group of us, with much gesturing and excitement, about a restaurant she and her boyfriend had gone to over the weekend. It was an Italian place, she told us, and as you entered there was a big fountain with a statue in the middle of it, a statue of a cherub, and the cherub was holding his penis and the water in the fountain poured out of his penis. She thought the fountain was the coolest thing in the world, and of course we all did too. We laughed. We looked at each other with wide eyes. Miss Klein was talking to us excitedly about outrageous fountains full of peeing cherubs!

We all knew that she enjoyed our company, enjoyed joking with us, enjoyed telling us stories, enjoyed telling us stories about sexy things, enjoyed hearing our stories, enjoyed us. And I knew that, of all the students, I was her favorite. There was something special between us, powerful and unnamed, a vibrant mutual appreciation. It was exciting and it felt good.

Fortunately, it was a time before concern about teenage-adult sex had been raised to the level of mass hysteria. As a result, Miss Klein was able to be personal and real and vibrant and sexy and emotionally expressive to me and to many of the other students in a way that would be professionally dangerous today.

I remember at least one time when Miss Klein came to my house after school. I have no idea how she came to be in my house, but that's where she was. The one thing I remember about that time is that I took the opportunity to play her the music that I found the most thrilling in all the world -- the pure liquid voice of Joan Baez, and the majesty of Handel's Messiah. Playing that music for Miss Klein was my unconscious, unspoken way of showing her what I had discovered so far about the wonder of ecstatic feeling. Somehow I knew that she would appreciate what this was about for me.

We lay side by side, stretched out on the living room carpet, close in front of the speakers, sharing a feeling that I would later learn to literalize and express explicitly as sex. Miss Klein grinned at my passion for the music and I felt confirmed, felt that she understood and respected my pubescent passion, and could see that my passion was not entirely unrelated to the passion she experienced in her life, in her body, with her fiancé, even though it expressed itself in very different ways.

Miss Klein and I never expressed our appreciation for each other, or our shared appreciation for passionate life, in any kind of directly sexual way. I was very young at 15, had not so much as kissed a girl in a sexual way. It never would have occurred to me that the bond I felt with Miss Klein had anything to do with sexual attraction, although I can clearly see it in retrospect. I certainly never experienced any kind of sexual energy coming from Miss Klein toward me.

But what if she and I had taken our mutual excitement and appreciation into the realm of physical sex? What would have changed for me, in terms of my subsequent sexual development, self esteem, personal identity, and experience? What if I had been more mature sexually, more interested in physically exploring my sexual feelings, as Debra Lafave's student clearly was? Would the forbidden nature of sexual contact with an older person, with a teacher, have shrouded any sexual activity in guilt and shame, or would the outrageousness of such a connection have been a source of additional excitement and attraction? Would a sexual overture from a teacher have felt like an intrusion, even if she genuinely cared about me and understood the distance between her life situation and mine? Would it have felt like a demand that I could not say no to? Or might I have experienced it as a positive statement about my desirability, a confirmation to hold up against sexual self-doubt as I began to be sexual with other people my own age?

I have heard many stories from people whose first sexual experience was as teenagers with adults, many of whom have said that these experiences taught them things and gave them positive feelings about themselves that served them well throughout their lives. One woman friend talks of a middle-aged man who hung out in the park next to her high school when she was a girl. All the girls at her school knew that this man enjoyed initiating girls into sex. Those girls who wanted to be initiated by him would approach him in the park and see what would develop. My friend had her first sexual experience with this man who, she says, was sensitive, caring, considerate, and knowledgeable. She credits her still vibrant sexual relationship with her longtime husband to this man, who would certainly have been locked up for life if he had ever been discovered.

For better or for worse, Miss Klein and I kept our delight with each other strictly in the non-sexual realm. When I graduated from high school (still not quite 16), Miss Klein wrote in my yearbook: "David, keep enjoying life, people and discoveries always as you do now -- life will be great." She was right about that.

Under the yearbook photo of the cheerleader squad, she felt free to add: "I wish you great success here too!"

* * * * *

In a thoughtful article in The New York Times ("The Siren Song of Sex With Boys," December 11, 2005), Kate Zernike writes that, in cases like that of Debra Lafave "because many of those named as victims refused to testify against the women in what they said were consensual relationships, not everyone agrees that the cases involve child abuse."

Zernike cites the Rind study and notes that in Canada and in much of Europe, the age of consent for sexual relations has been lowered to 14, following the recommendations of a series of national commissions studying the subject. Harmful to Minors author Judith Levine agrees that age of consent laws are often arbitrary and run contrary to what is known about adolescent sexuality and the psychological effects of sexual relationships between adolescents and adults.

"Age of consent laws," says Levine, "have very little to do with scientific research. They're really about the preservation of feminine purity. People are not worried about boys in the same way that they're worried about girls. People consider it unimaginable that a girl would have a similar experience to that of a boy -- a sense of conquest, of excitement, a learning experience, or that the victim would be resilient."

Perhaps the much publicized story of Debra Lafave will have more impact on American sexual culture than providing a momentary boost to the fantasy lives of several million American men. "If what comes out of this is that there is some sort of reexamination of age of consent in general or even a small shift of opinion," says Levine, the Debra Lafave case "might in the end have some sort of positive effect on public policy."

Copyright © 2006 David Steinberg

Sunday, March 26, 2006

How The Atlanta Falcons Landed DE John Abraham - From The AJC

This is a great article and a careful study in deal-making in business, period. A great read, and an insight into why Falcons President Rich McKay is one of the most successful NFL executives.

The art of John Abraham's deal
How the Falcons signed a Pro Bowler on their terms

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Published on: 03/26/06
The hard part was getting John Abraham on Falcons owner Arthur Blank's private jet.

The Seattle Seahawks had their claws deep into the New York Jets free-agent defensive end. There was a dazzling visit, a contract offer that supposedly was more lucrative than the 6-year, $45 million deal the Pro Bowl defensive end signed with the Falcons this week. And, the Seahawks had just played in the Super Bowl.

John Abraham liked what he saw and held little hope of getting to his desired locale, Atlanta, where he owns and condo and is near his family in South Carolina. His agents called the Falcons at the outset of free agency to gauge their interest and were told the team loved him but didn't know if it had the means to acquire him.

"Oakland actually was pressuring us to come there too," said Rich Rosa, who represents John Abraham along with Tony Agnone. "We were in Seattle and we had every intention of going to Oakland and maybe, maybe going to Atlanta.

"Then it took a 180-degree turn. We were done in Seattle [Falcons president and general manager] Rich McKay and [senior personnel executive] Billy Devaney tracked us down. They called us and said, 'We've got the plane fueled up and Arthur Blank said to send it out there and get you guys.'

"We all looked at each other and said, 'All right. I think we got a good game going on here.'"

Said McKay: "When we got him on the plane, I felt pretty comfortable, given that he'd expressed an interest to come to Atlanta. From that stage, it took on another life."

Homework done

By this point, the Falcons had looked well beyond Abraham's 53 1/2 sacks in six NFL seasons. His on-field production spoke for itself, as did visions of him bolstering a defense much in need of his pass-rushing skills.

His injury history -- he's missed portions of three seasons -- turned out not to be an issue. In 2003, Abraham was charged with drunk driving and was suspended for a game. The team needed to know if that was an isolated incident or if there was more there. They had the inside help they felt they needed. Strength coach Sal Alosi and director of player development Kevin Winston, both hired this summer from the Jets, shared everything they knew.

Everyone, including Blank, as image and character conscious as there is among pro sports franchise owners, gave the all clear.

"Like any player, we look into their background on both the personal and football character side," McKay said. "Kevin Winston, our new player development director, was with John in New York and, therefore, very familiar with him. We are very comfortable that John fits what we want our players to be about. He made a mistake a few years ago and learned from that mistake."

The game plan

With Abraham and his agents en route from Seattle March 15, the breakdown of duties among the Falcons' brass for the next day's recruiting visit kicked into high gear.

The negotiating teams were dispatched. Since the Jets' held Abraham's rights by designating him their "franchise player," he needed to reach contract terms with his suitor and compensation to the Jets had to be arranged.

Backup quarterback Matt Schaub or Atlanta's first-round pick (No. 15 overall) in the April draft were the demands. The Falcons weren't going there. A second-round pick (No. 47 overall) was Atlanta's counter.

McKay admitted this week he knew that might not be enough, but that was the card he would play — at the time.

The pitchmen, including coach Jim Mora and his staff, prepared to ramp up the charm to convince Abraham this was the place for him. That part, wasn't hard at all.

When the 6-foot-4, 258-pound Abraham got within Georgia state lines, he was closer to his mother and his daughter and his grandparents, who had never been to any of his pro games. He could hear them screaming his name in the Georgia Dome.

"When I got here, it was done," Abraham said. "There were no visits after that."

The sell

When Abraham got to Flowery Branch Thursday, March 16, Mora, Winston, McKay and Blank -- especially Blank -- put on the full-court press. Defensive end Patrick Kerney, who shares the same agents as Abraham, had already been recruiting. A licensed pilot, Kerney said he would have flown the plane to retrieve Abraham.

"I was pretty psyched," Kerney said. "I talked to John a couple days before everything came together and let him know how excited we were that they were going to make it happen."

That night at dinner, while the wooing of Abraham continued, McKay, Agnone and Rosa acknowledged they reached contractual terms in less than an hour.

The deal, to those at dinner, was done. Abraham would replace Brady Smith at right end and join recently acquired safeties Chris Crocker and Lawyer Milloy on Atlanta's beefed-up defense.

The risky bluff

The optimism was doused less than 24 hours later when Seattle and president of football operations Tim Ruskell, McKay's longtime wingman in Tampa Bay and for a season in Atlanta, offered the Jets' their first-round pick (No. 31 overall), satisfying the Jets' wishes. New York, which, according to Agnone, tried to sign Abraham to a long-term contract throughout this whole ordeal but was rebuffed, because Abraham wanted out, agreed to trade Abraham to Seattle.

While openly expressing dismay that Seattle may have trumped him, McKay privately hoped he'd forced the Seahawks into showing their entire hand.

The King, some Falcons' employees call him, hadn't lost his touch.

Seattle could not acquire Abraham without getting him to sign a contract and Abraham gave his word to the Falcons that would not happen. So Atlanta's personnel department had time to find a way to sweeten its deal to New York without giving up the 15th pick or Schaub.

"There was a lot of poker that was played," Blank said. "There also was a lot of tenacity and patience exercised."

Atlanta called at least eight teams, McKay said, to try and construct a rare three-team trade. Denver, which had two first-round picks, wanted in.

The Broncos, who held the 22nd and 29th picks in the first round, were willing to part with their later first-round choice, a third-round selection in this draft and a fourth-round pick next year, for the Falcons' first-rounder this year. McKay, who has acquired some pretty impressive mid-round talent -- Ronde Barber and John Lynch in Tampa Bay, Schaub, Chauncey Davis in Atlanta -- felt that was enough to execute the first trade.

When the Falcons extended the 29th overall choice they'd just acquired to New York, the process was complete. The Seahawks, Rosa said, tried to stay in the ball game until Monday night when the Jets and Abraham's agents told them it was time to end the saga.

"I was at peace the whole time," Abraham said.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Vince Young - The Mistakes Continue

I could care less about the Wonderlic score of Texas QB Vince Young, who will be a first round draft pick, but what concerns me are the growing number of business mistakes "Team Vince" is making.

First, there was the decision to hire his family members as agents and business managers. There are many more experienced and talented sports agents, like Leigh Steinberg, who can make sure that Vince not only gets a great deal with a good team, but terrific sponsorship deals and TV guest spots as well. His family can't do that. They're banking on the idea that people will come to Vince, when they have to be agressive on behalf of Vince, who's now their client.

I can see a day when Vince fires his family. It's not desireable, but given that he hired them, the prospect is not avoidable.

Second, there's the down right stupid mistake of standing up key corporate sponsorship managers assembled for a meeting by former Dallas Cowboys Personel Director and now Analyst Gil Brandt during the week of Super Bowl XL. By stark contrast, USC Quarterback Matt Leinart attended those meetings, and undoubtely came away having establshed some very lucrative relationship.

Third, there's the choice not to perform at the NFL Combine. That's a far better place to show what one can do that the Wonderlic or Texas Pro Day, which leads me to...

His less than stellar performance, as reported by several news outlets, is not good for his draft prospects. I'm not focusing so much on his 4.58 in the 40-yard dash, so much as I am his throwing show. He reportedly waited for his receivers to come out of their breaks on patterns he's familar with, rather than showing that he could take direction by throwing on time to catchers he doesn't know, and running pass patterns he's not comfortable with throwing.

With all this, my unfortunate prediction is that Vince Young will fall to the middle of the draft. He'll fall right into the arms of the St. Louis Rams, though the Oakland Raiders could snap him up at the 7th spot. But if the Silver and Black don't take Vince, he's going to drop.

Oakland Raiders First: Black Head Coach, Black Offensive Line Coaches, Black Quarterback

I've checked with friends who cover the NFL to confirm this, but I can't remember a time when one team had an African American head coach, quarterback, and offensive line coach until now: the Oakland Raiders.

Earlier this year, the Raiders re-hired Art Shell to be their 15th head coach in the organization's storied history. Shell then went out and pulled in LA Rams Hall of Fame Offensive Tackle Jackie Slater (pictured in his Rams uniform) and Pro Bowl Tackle Irv Eatman (photo at left, from his days with the Chiefs) to coach the offensive line -- both are black. (While some reporters note that Slater has not coached for an NFL team, this does not mean he hasn't coached offensive linemen. He's ran his own clinic for several years.)

Noticing the New Orleans Saints gave up on a very good, capable, and mobile quarterback in Aaron Brooks, Shell and Oakland Raiders Senior Assistant Mike Lombardi went out and made a deal to dress him in the Silver and Black.

Now, the Raiders have African American representation at three of the organizational positions generally considered the most mentally demanding. It also bucks the current pattern of African Americans seemingly being "slotted" to defensive coach positions in college and the NFL. (And in baseball, where then-LA Dodgers General Manager Al Campanis made his now famous "blacks lack what it takes" comment on ABC's Nightline, no organization has had a black general manager, manager, and pitching coach at the same time, with the exception of the Negro Leagues).

In the NFL's past, the positions of quarterback, head coach, and offensive line coach were commonly held by European Americans, and while there have been and are black head coaches, offensive line coaches, and quarterbacks, never before has one organization had all three.

I personally think this is a major sign of tremendous social progress that should not go unnoticed.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Tampa Bay Bucs' To Meet With Charles Woodson' and Resign OT Kenyatta Walker

From the Tampa Tribune. The Bucs did resign the man known for three false start penalties in one drive last year. But that written, he's a solid blocker and leader. On the matter of leaders, former Raiders DB Charles Woodson is to meet with the organization. See below.

Bucs Say Walker Is Right On Line

TAMPA - After spending more than a week searching for upgrades, the Bucs have decided to stand pat at one of the most important positions on the field.

Less than 24 hours after they lost a bidding war for free-agent Tom Ashworth, the Bucs decided Friday to once again entrust right tackle Kenyatta Walker with protecting quarterback Chris Simms' blind side.

The signing of Walker comes just two days after the University of Florida product made what is believed to be his only free-agent visit. That was to Atlanta, where he met with Falcons general manager Rich McKay, the man who as Bucs GM traded up to get him 14th overall in the 2001 draft.

In the eyes of many, including several inside the Bucs camp, Walker never has justified the decision to draft him so high. He has, however, consistently outperformed all the players who have been brought in to challenge him, starting 77 of a possible 85 games since entering the NFL.

"Kenyatta started every game last year and helped us make the playoffs," Bucs coach Jon Gruden said in a statement released by the team. "We made great strides on offense last season and it was our goal to keep everyone on board so that we could continue that improvement."


Bucs Will Meet With Woodson

Published: Mar 24, 2006

TAMPA - The Bucs don't appear to be in need of a starting-caliber cornerback, but one of that ilk apparently is headed their way.

The agent for four-time Pro Bowl corner Charles Woodson confirmed that Woodson arrived in Tampa late Thursday for a meeting with the Bucs today.

Woodson, 29, had his best years while playing under Bucs coach Jon Gruden in Oakland, making the Pro Bowl in each of his first four seasons. Since 2002, however, Woodson has struggled to stay healthy and play up to the level of some enormous contracts.

Woodson made $10.5 million after being named the Raiders' franchise player for the second consecutive year last season, but for the fourth consecutive year he failed to turn in a complete season, missing the final 10 games because of a broken leg.

The Bucs appear set at corner, with starters Ronde Barber and Brian Kelly and backup Juran Bolden, who recently was re-signed to a multiyear contract. They are, however, in need of an experienced free safety, so the Bucs may plan to ask Woodson to consider a move there.

Rice Removes Name From NFL Commissioner Consideration

Well, at least we can put this matter to rest:

(AP) Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, a huge football fan, ruled out applying for the newly opened post of NFL commissioner Wednesday.

"Unfortunately, it came open at the wrong time," said Rice, who was clearly amused when a reporter posed the question. "Obviously, I'm very busy as secretary of state, and I intend to continue to be secretary of state as long as the president of the United States will have me."

Bengals May Land Redskins LB Lavar Arrington

Personally, I think the Bengals need a wrecking ball of a defensive tackle and a new scheme, but if you can land a guy like Arrington, you do so.

The additiion of Arrington would give the Bengals one of the best linebacking corps in the NFL. But he's got to visit the team, first.

"Raider Nation" Upset and Confused By Team's Latest Moves

On message boards and email posts everywhere, Oakland Raiders fans are expressing an all too noticeable lack of joy and pleasure over the team's free agent signings.

While former Saints QB Aaron Brooks is actually considered by many to be a great addition (Dave Del Grande of the Oakland Tribune called him "Kerry Collins with legs.") the source of the displeasure is the signing of former New England Patriots defensive backs Duane Starks and Tyrone Poole.

One fan wrote this:

OK, lets review the acquisition of these 2 New England Chowder Pat Rats.

1) Starks: The words " lone season " scares me, not to mention a shoulder injury. On a positive note he is a 6yr veteran, a CB with decent stats, and has about 5 to 6 months to heal his shoulder and get his ASS in gear to developing a Raider mentality!

2) Ty kwan Poole: Big AL, I hope you were not on the SAUCE when you made this choice..!!! I'm believing in you!

He's a name I'm familiar with, but he has 11 yrs. of miles on that injured ankle, and has only played six games in the last two yrs. with just one game last year HMMMM!..

Granted he has 11yrs under his belt and I hope it's tight enough when he's on the field defending the top veterans, and the rookie youngsters with an attitude.Trust me they will only try to embarrass him!.. An injured Wing is different from a bad Wheel out of balance!! We'll see..

I'm hoping that Fabian Washington, is over the rookie jitters, and will show us the speed and talent he demonstrated in college.

Nnamdi Asomugha, has already proved himself, and the strength and contributions of his fellow CB's and Secondary Will only add fire power and prevent them from getting BURNED!!!!!

Your thoughts my Raider brothers and sista's who care! Raider Bob!

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Will Katie Holmes Play Wonder Woman?

You never know, but she'd be better than Lohan in my view. Still, Holmes is not the best choice in my view.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Lindsay Lohan Wants To Play Wonder Woman

Personally, I'm not hot about the idea. I think a really buffed actress should play her


Herbie: Fully Loaded star Lindsay Lohan is desperate to play Wonder Woman in the forthcoming movie version of the comic book superhero. The 19-year-old Freaky Friday actress admits she'd like to showcase her talents outside of kid and teen films, but feels the role would be too fun to turn down. She says, "Wonder Woman would be cool. I'm trying to find roles right now that are different to anything I've done to show my abilities, to show that I have some sort of stretch in me. Because most of the things that I've done so far are aimed at younger girls and are light-hearted."

Wonder Woman Script Should Be Finished By Now According to Sci-Fi Wire

Not too long ago, I got after Josh Whedon, the writer / director for the new "Wonder Woman" movie, for seemingly dragging his feet on the project. Now, he tells Sci-Fi Wire that it should be finshed by this week.

This is what he said:

"I'm probably going to turn it in in a few days," Whedon said of his Wonder Woman script. "It's coming along. ... There will be all of the expected stuff. Of course there will be the bracelets; there will be the invisible jet, the lasso, all of that."

Whedon likened the character to another one of his creations, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, adding: "It's about girls maturing, a rite of passage, that kind of thing."

Whedon said it's too early to speculate on casting for the project. He will be turning the script in to Warner Brothers and hopes to begin production later this year.

Adam Vinatieri's Clutch Kick Experience Comes to the Colts

This is an awesome trade for the "We're not going to do much in free agency" Colts -- as GM Bill Polian said this year. If the Colts had Adam Vinatieri against the Pittsburgh Steelers, they may very well have been in the Super Bowl against the Seawhawks.

Wednesday, March 22

By John Oehser -

Vinatieri’s Ability Under Pressure Key in Colts’ Decision
INDIANAPOLIS – At first, Bill Polian said, it didn’t seem likely.

Adam Vinatieri, after all, had been a member of the New England Patriots for 10 seasons. His clutch kicks made him a legend in the Boston area, inexorably linking him with that franchise’s success over the last half decade.

Then word came:

Vinatieri, one of the most reliable postseason kickers in NFL history, was almost certainly not going to re-sign with the Patriots. And Indianapolis was among the teams in which he was interested.

Vinatieri, 33, helped the Patriots win three of the last five Super Bowls, and his late-game heroics in the post-season have earned him a reputation as one of the NFL’s top big-game performers.

In the 2001 post-season, Vinatieri’s 45-yard field goal in a driving snowstorm helped the Patriots force overtime against the Oakland Raiders in an AFC Divisional Playoff. His 23-yard overtime field goal gave the Patriots the victory.

Vinatieri, the NFL’s leading scorer in 2004, is a career 81.9 percent field-goal kicker, having made 263 of 321 attempts. He also has handled kickoff duties throughout his career and has 61 career touchbacks.

“What you’re excited about is you have a guy who has been in those situations and you don’t have to guess how he’s going to respond,” Colts Head Coach Tony Dungy said. “That’s really the biggest thing from our standpoint. Whether he’s from New England or anyplace else, you’re getting a Pro Bowl caliber guy, a guy who’s done what he’s done.

“The exciting thing for us is when you lose a really good player at any position and replace him with another player of the same caliber, that’s always fantastic.”

Former Saint's QB Aaron Brooks Now An Oakland Raider

Personally, this is a very exciting and dramatic development. It means that the Raiders are going to install an offense that takes advantage of his special tatents of mobility and arm strength. The Raiders have never had a quaterback quite like Aaron Brooks. If they can correct his tendency to throw off his back foot -- get him to set his feet before he throws -- he will be something to watch.

Raiders sign QB Brooks to two-year contract wire reports

ALAMEDA, Calif. (March 22, 2006) -- The Oakland Raiders found their replacement for Kerry Collins, signing quarterback Aaron Brooks to a two-year contract to compete for the starting job.

The 29-year-old Brooks was cut last week by New Orleans when the Saints signed Drew Brees, one of the most coveted free agents available this year.

After a disappointing 2005 season, Aaron Brooks will look to revive his career with Oakland.
Brooks started 13 games for New Orleans last season, completing 240 of 431 passes for 2,882 yards and 13 touchdowns against 17 interceptions.

"Oh, sweet," receiver Alvis Whitted said in a phone interview. "I'm glad that we do have a new quarterback. I'm sure he'll fit right in with what we're trying to get done here. I'm sure the coaches are excited. From what I've seen of him play, he's done some great things. He's very athletic, a mobile quarterback and very intelligent, too. He's a great fit for us, and we're happy to have him."

Brooks, who had started 82 straight games before being benched for the final three games of 2005, spent the past six seasons with the Saints after playing for Green Bay in his first NFL campaign in 1999.

Brooks, a fourth-round draft pick by the Packers out of Virginia, was one of few capable quarterbacks left on the market this offseason.

"Aaron gives us great depth at the quarterback position and provides us with a veteran presence," new Raiders coach Art Shell said.

Oakland parted ways with Collins on March 10 in an expected salary-cap move.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Debra Lafave - Hot Blonde Gets Off - Charges Dropped In Sex Case

This is freaking unbelieveable. I mean, you gotta be kidding, man! She got off.

Remember Debra Lafave, the totally hot (ok, too skinny for me) blonde teacher accused of having sex with a 14-year-old boy?

Well, today, Florida state procecutors decided to drop charges against her. Dropped them like a hot potato.

The AP reports:

(AP) State prosecutors decided Tuesday to drop charges against a former Tampa teacher accused of having sex with a 14-year-old middle school student.

The decision, announced hours after a judge rejected a plea deal for Debra Lafave, means the victim won't have to testify.

Prosecutors and defense attorneys had urged the judge to accept the deal for the sake of the boy involved. A psychiatrist who examined the teenager told the judge at a previous hearing that the boy suffered extreme anxiety from the media coverage of the case and does not want to testify.

Marion County Circuit Judge Hale Stancil, however, said the lack of prison time for Lafave under the plea deal "shocks the conscience of this court," and he rejected it.

Assistant State Attorney Richard Ridgway, in explaining the decision to drop the charges, said: "The court may be willing to risk the well-being of the victims in this case in order to force it to trial. I am not."

Lafave, 25, already faces three years of house arrest and seven years probation in Hillsborough County, where she was charged with having sex with the same boy in a classroom and her home. She pleaded guilty Nov. 22 to two counts of lewd and lascivious battery under a plea deal there.

In Marion County, she was accused of having sex with the boy in a sport utility vehicle.

Lafave said at a news conference later Tuesday that she has bipolar disorder, and her attorney said she was getting treatment.

"I have a lot of things in my past that have unfortunately become public," Lafave said.

Man, does this ever happen to a black man? Ok...maybe. Yeah, it does. But from another perspective, she also must have been a nice person who did something weird. If she were a jerk, they'd have locked her up.

South Park's Trey Parker and Matt Stone Launch Jihad Against Scientology

According to this NPR story, Trey Parker and Matt Stone, the creators of "South Park", issued this statement upon learning that a re-run of their now infamous "Scientology" episode (which makes fun of Tom Cruise who's pcitured at left)-- the one that caused singer and pop icon Isaac Hayes to quit his role as "Chef" on the show -- was cancelled, issued this statement:


Scientology, you may have won THIS battle, but the million-year war for Earth has just begun! Temporarily anozinizing our episode will NOT stop us from keeping Thetans forever trapped in your pitiful man-bodies. Curses and drat! You have obstructed us for now, but your feeble bid to save humanity will fail! Hail Xenu!!!

-- Trey Parker and Matt Stone, servants of the dark lord Xenu

My question is can Parker and Stone live for a million years to continue the battle?

Monday, March 20, 2006

"ClooneyGate" - Arianna Huffington Puts Words Into George Clooney's Mouth

This following column has cause a lot of controversy as it was never written by Mr. Clooney, even though he agrees with the message. The New York Times picked up this story of miscommunication and intrigue in the blogsphere. After some thought, I am a bit confused that Clooney would approve this story, then back away from it. He knew it was being done and could have simply discouraged it without this silly drama.

George Clooney: I Am a Liberal. There, I Said It!

HUFFINGTONPOST.COM - March 12, 2006 -

I am a liberal. And I make no apologies for it. Hell, I'm proud of it.

Too many people run away from the label. They whisper it like you'd whisper "I'm a Nazi." Like it's dirty word. But turn away from saying "I'm a liberal" and it's like you're turning away from saying that blacks should be allowed to sit in the front of the bus, that women should be able to vote and get paid the same as a man, that McCarthy was wrong, that Vietnam was a mistake. And that Saddam Hussein had no ties to al-Qaeda and had nothing to do with 9/11.

This is an incredibly polarized time (wonder how that happened?). But I find that, more and more, people are trying to find things we can agree on. And, for me, one of the things we absolutely need to agree on is the idea that we're all allowed to question authority. We have to agree that it's not unpatriotic to hold our leaders accountable and to speak out.

That's one of the things that drew me to making a film about Murrow. When you hear Murrow say, "We mustn't confuse dissent with disloyalty" and "We can't defend freedom at home by deserting it at home," it's like he's commenting on today's headlines.

The fear of been criticized can be paralyzing. Just look at the way so many Democrats caved in the run up to the war. In 2003, a lot of us were saying, where is the link between Saddam and bin Laden? What does Iraq have to do with 9/11? We knew it was bullshit. Which is why it drives me crazy to hear all these Democrats saying, "We were misled." It makes me want to shout, "Fuck you, you weren't misled. You were afraid of being called unpatriotic."

Bottom line: it's not merely our right to question our government, it's our duty. Whatever the consequences. We can't demand freedom of speech then turn around and say, But please don't say bad things about us. You gotta be a grown up and take your hits.

I am a liberal. Fire away.