Saturday, October 17, 2009


by TJ Rosenthal for Football Reporters Online

The dust has settled since Ronnie Brown powered his way into the end zone Monday night for the Wildcat happy Dolphins. The Jets were unable to stop the Fish on offense in their last second 31-27 loss on Monday but will take that experience, to paraphrase the words of coach Rex Ryan, help "figure out who they want to be."The next phase for any team with physical talent is communication, comfort, and familiarity with each other. The Jets look to take that next step in their next AFC East battle with the Buffalo Bills at home on Sunday. At 3-2 the Jets remain tied with New England for the division lead and can ill afford a poor performance and a third straight loss. 

The 1-4 Bills have struggled to say the least on offense. QB Trent Edwards can't get the ball to speedy WRs Lee Evans and Roscoe Parrish and Terrell Owens has been a disappointment to say the least. His ten year streak of catching a pass a game ended games ago, a telling sign that Owens and the rest of the Bills passing game has yet to get on track. Star RB Marshawn Lynch returned last week from a league suspension but a 6-3 home loss to the woeful Browns is proof that not even a top back in Lynch can resuscitate an offense in disarray.

The Bills defense lost two starting LBs for the season last week as well including former Giant  Kawika Mitchell. Jet WR Jerricho Cotchery is out with a hamstring injury but Braylon Edwards who had a great game in his Jet debut (5-64yds 1td) will look to pick up the slack. TE Dustin Keller (0 catches last week) could have a big game as well. Mark Sanchez rebounded beautifully in Miami after throwing 3 picks in New Orleans. His bomb to WR David Clowney could be a sign of things to come for an offense craving for a speedy threat. The rookie's ability to hold onto the ball was key and will continue to be as the season progresses.

The Jet run game got going a little bit last week finally and have added RB Danny Woodhead to the roster. Woodhead had a monster final preseason game and will add depth to a team that could hit its stride against Buffalo and Oakland the following week. Any added injection to the Jet ground game will be an added plus. The Jet defense gave up 413 yards to the Fish last week. It will be interesting to see how the unit responds from such a humbling experience that saw the Wildcat dominate and the inexperienced QB Chad Henne have his way when he was asked to make third down throws.

Sunday at home is a big opportunity for the Jets to get back on track and begin what could be a two game win streak that could land the club at 5-2 before a week 8 rematch with Miami. The weather will be harsh as a winter storm has rolled in this October. For the Jets to be playing meaningful games when the real winter comes around, they'll need to take care of business and win the games they're supposed to win. Starting with Buffalo on Sunday.


1-The return of the Jet Defense: This unit dominated Matt Schaub , Tom Brady, Kerry Collins  and Drew Brees  before last weeks hiccup. Trent Edwards has struggled. Now's the time to regain that swagger.

2-Dustin Keller vs Bills LBs: Two Bills starters are out, so is Cotchery. Keller can help provide alot in the passing game and with bad weather in the forecast will need to be a security blanket for Sanchez in the passing game.

3-Jet secondary vs Lee Evans and Roscoe Parrish: The Bills haven't gone deep all year. At some point they'll have to try. Ted Ginn Jr beat the Jet secondary last week for a big TD. That can't happen if the game is tight late in the second half tomorrow.


By William Queen for Football Reporters Online
Panthers running back DeAngelo Williams has perhaps the most potential of any player in the NFL this week; taking the spot of this week’s fantasy sleeper.
Williams came into the season with remarkable expectations for just a 4th-year back, but has come out flat in the Panther’s opening games. Averaging just over 50 yards rushing per game, Williams has Carolina fans wondering where exactly their offense went.
However, he has a huge opportunity this Sunday, facing off against the Buccaneers; the 5th worst rush defense the NFL has to offer. So if there’s one game that Williams should step up in, it’s this one. Looking back to 2008, the last time that Williams lined up against Tampa Bay, he broke out for 186 yards and 2 touchdowns on the ground. Look for him to do the same this Sunday.
DeAngelo Williams is only one piece to puzzle in Carolina. Quarterback Jake Delhomme has thrown only 3 touchdowns in compression to an embarrassing 8 interceptions, leaving head coach John Fox with practically no other option but to hand it off to Williams. Besides, Delhomme threw 2 picks vs. Dallas, the 28th ranked pass defense; he doesn’t have anything on the Buccs.

DeAngelo Williams has a chance to tear the Buccs up this weekend, it's just a matter of if he can seize that chance and take full advantage of it. If all goes well, then look for Williams to have a solid 18 fantasy points this week.

Fantasy Football Fire & Ice (Your weekly Stock Exchange)

Fantasy Football
Fire & Ice
(Your weekly Stock Exchange)
By David Ortega for Football Reporters Online

The Hottest Stock this week

Last Sunday we saw some old stock rebound off the market floor and regain new life when quarterback Matt Hasselbeck took the field. Against the Jaguars, the Seahawks quarterback was silky smooth passing for 241 yards and tossing four touchdowns to lead his team to a much needed win.

Hasselbeck played like a savvy and crafty veteran last Sunday completing 60 percent of his passes averaging eight yards per pass and his 35 fantasy points were tops among all quarterbacks last week.

Week Five’s “Mr. En Fuego”

QB-Matt Hasselbeck (Sea)
30 pass attempts, 18 pass completions,
241 yards passing, four touchdowns!!
3 runs, 23 rushing yards.

Aside from your normal weekly studs, when playing with the fantasy football stock market, the key is always finding great value and knowing when to drop dead weight. After five weeks now of gridiron action there are plenty of stocks on the move;

Week five Stock Exchange Notes:

How your fantasy stocks are doing as of last Week…

The Quarterbacks...
Fire (Rising stock): The Texan’s quarterback Matt Schaub is on the move again with his stock on the rise. Last week Schaub complete 70 percent of his passes for 371 yards and tossed two touchdowns.
Fire (Rising stock): The Beagle’s quarterback Donovan McNabb has only played one game in the past several weeks, but his 264-yards passing and three touchdown passes performance last weekend has his stock on the rise.
Ice (falling stock): The Titan’s quarterback Kerry Collins has been off target this season completing just 54 percent of his passes. Collins also has five turnovers in his last three games and passed for only 164 yards and no touchdowns last week.

The Running Backs...
Fire (Rising stock): Last Sunday against a very tough Raven defense, Cedric Benson did where 40 others had failed. He rushed for more than 100 yards, totaling 136 yards on the day.
Fire (Rising stock): The Bronco’s rookie runner Knowshon Moreno had a solid day as the starter last week totaling 124 yards of offense against the Patriots.
Fire (Rising stock): The Giants shifty small running back Ahmad Bradshaw was dynamite a week ago against the Raiders, doing most of his damage in the first half. Last week Bradshaw scampered his way to 110 yards on 11 carries with two touchdowns.
Ice (falling stock): Against the Browns last week, running back Fred Jackson was just a shell of himself. The Bill’s back gained only 30 yards on the ground and added a just a mere 17 yards receiving.

The Wide Receivers...
Fire (Rising stock): Last week no receiver was as hot as the Cowboys Miles Austin. The speedster blew past the Chief’s secondary for 250 receiving yards with two touchdowns.
Fire (Rising stock): Owners were waiting and he finally arrived. Last Sunday Falcons wideout Roddy White exploded for 210 receiving yards and tow scores catapulting his way up our stock charts.
Fire (Rising stock): The Cardinal’s receiver has been up and down a bit this season, but no question last week Larry Fitzgerald was hot. The wideout grabbed five passes for 79 yards, including two touchdowns.
Ice (falling stock): The Bengals receiver Laveranues Coles was held without a catch last week against a shaky Baltimore secondary ranked 26th against the pass.
Ice (falling stock): The Patriots receiver Julian Edelman had only 15 yards receiving last week; something he’s likely to see reoccur more with the return of Welker.

The Tight Ends...
Fire (Rising stock): The Buccaneer’s tight end Kellen Winslow Jr. blew up for big numbers last Sunday as did his stock. Winslow had a huge game catching nine passes for over 100 yards and scored twice.
Fire (Rising stock): The Texan’s tight end Owen Daniels, after a slight stumble is climbing up the charts again coming off his eight receptions for 94 yards last week.
Ice (falling stock): The Jet’s second year tight end Dustin Keller is not having quite the season most thought. Through five games this season he has just 12 catches, including the infamous donut on Monday night.

Pure Speculation

With Fred Taylor out indefinitely, it appears the running duties will belong to Sammy Morris. Last Sunday against the Broncos Morris toted the rock 17 times (2nd highest total of carries in a game this season for a New England running back) for 68 yards. Morris also adds the dimension of a pass receiver with 134 receiving yards this season. With no other runner in the Patriot’s backfield having quite the same success, this could be the Morris show looking ahead.

The Ram’s offense has yet to get anything going this season other than running back Steven Jackson. Last Sunday quarterback Marc Bulger made his return to the field and seemed to click with his number one wideout Donnie Avery. Bulger could be playing for a job as the season goes and Avery could benefit. These two made a few highlights last season for the reel and with a favorable matchup this Sunday, both could be looking to repeat. Avery has big play potential, but we have yet to see it; Sunday could be a good day to be looking.

It doesn’t take a genius to see a big arm with a talented wideout equals great things. In Miami this appears to be the potential with wide receiver Ted Ginn Jr. and the team’s newly discovered passer. Quarterback Chad Henne and Ginn Jr. connected on one big play for a 53 yard scoring strike against the Jets. If Henne is as good as he looked Monday night, with still 11 games left on the schedule Ginn Jr. could be hooking up with his field general for several more strikes along the way.

This Week’s “Stock Trends”

Need to know what stocks to play?
Here’s how they are doing;

(thumbs up)
Peyton Manning, QB-Colts
The best of the best, Manning’s stock has been riding a whirlwind; this season he’s thrown 12 touchdowns and passed for over 1,600 yards (329 yards per game) in his five starts this season.
Kyle Orton, QB-Broncos
Over the past several weeks, Orton’s numbers have gradually getting better. In his last two starts Orton has completed 55 passes for 573 yards (286.5 yards per game) and thrown four touchdowns.
Ben Roethlisberger, QB-Steelers
Not normally a big stats guy, the Steeler’s big armed quarterback has been pretty warm over the past several weeks. In his last three starts Big Ben has 886 yards passing, six touchdown throws, and just two picks.
Steven Jackson, RB-Rams
His stock is not great yet, but the Ram’s running back seems to be one of the safest. Despite an inept offense, he’s averaging 108 yards per game of offense (rushing and receiving).
Michael Turner, RB-Falcons
With his three touchdowns last week, Turner is one of the hottest stocks on the market. Turner has now scored in his last three starts and is averaging 86 yards on the ground over the same span.
Hines Ward, WR-Steelers
The All-Pro Receiver has been locked-in and steady the last two weeks with 15 receptions, 198 receiving yards, and a touchdown.
T.J. Houshmandzadeh, WR-Seahawks
The Hawks high priced free agent has been doing his best the past two weeks to earn his keep with 13 receptions for 180 yards, including two touchdowns last week.
Brandon Marshall, WR-Broncos
The 4th year wideout from Central Florida has been on the move up the charts over the past couple of weeks. Marshall has 17 receptions for 222 yards and four touchdowns in his last three games.
Vernon Davis, TE-Niners
The 4th year tight end has re-emerged as a playmaker this season, 15 receptions for 190 yards receiving and three touchdowns in his last three games.
Brent Celek, TE-Eagles
This season the Eagle’s tight end has been a steady play and in his last three games he’s caught a total of 20 passes for 266 yards and a score.
Dallas Clark, TE-Colts
Perhaps one of the best stocks on the market today, Clark is averaging eight catches for 73 yards per game in his last three starts.

(thumbs down)
Trent Edwards, QB-Bills
The Bills quarterback is just back stock this season. Even with two talented wideouts like Owens and Evans, Edwards can only muster five touchdowns to six picks. In his last three starts he thrown five picks to just one touchdown and averaged a meager 166 yards per game passing.
Jason Campbell, QB-Redskins
Campbell has regressed in his last two starts completing just 27 passes for a total of 315 yards with three touchdowns and four turnovers.
Larry Johnson, RB-Chiefs
The running back has been receiving a steady diet of carries, but just can find any holes. In his last three games he’s averaging more than 19 carries per game, but just 42 yards on the ground.
Brandon Stokley, WR-Broncos
The Bronco’s slot receiver has been missing in action in his team’s last three games. Stokley has only six catches this season and has gone without a grab in his last three games.
Michael Clayton, WR-Buccaneers
The sixth year receiver has been anything, but reliable this season. Clayton has just 10 grabs and has gone without a catch in two of his five starts this season.
Zach Miller, TE-Raiders
Clearly the team’s best pass receiving option, Miller has just 15 receptions this season stuck on a struggling offense. His 69 yards last week was his best production thus far this season and through the team’s first five games, he has yet to score.
Brandon Pettigrew, TE-Lions
The rookie tight end has yet to record more than four catches in any one game and is averaging a paltry 31 yards receiving per game.

Remember to check back every week for more "Fire & Ice!”



Flying A Mile High-By David Ortega for Football Reporters Online

When NFL Training camps opened back in late July, very few people, if any thought the Broncos would have a 2009 season to savor. With a new regime taking over and many changes taking place this team had more of the look of rebuilding, than contending.

Following what could only have been described as a disastrous and tumultuous beginning with the trading of former franchise quarterback Jay Cutler, the Broncos new Head Coach Josh McDaniels appears to have made a complete one-eighty. After all McDaniels was replacing what some may have considered to be one of the leagues best head coaches and offensive masterminds (Mike Shanahan). Shanahan had led the Broncos to back to back Super Bowl victories with the last coming in 1999, but after a decade of struggling it seemed change was overdue.

When Pat Bowlen made the decision to go in a new direction this past offseason, even with his credentials McDaniels hardly seemed to be the right fit. The young up and coming offensive coordinator was busy making a name for himself in New England as an offensive guru himself.

For the past several seasons one of the Broncos major deficiencies and their biggest Achilles heel last year was the defense. A season ending meltdown (three game losing streak), culminated by a 52-21 loss that ended any postseason hope told Bowlen all he needed to know; new blood was in order.

Enter the young Mr. McDaniels, whose youthful exuberance and charismatic spirit has breathed new life into the franchise and the city. With his arrival came difficult, but needed changes. One of his first and perhaps least publicized (at least didn’t cause much of a stir), yet key decisions that has this team riding a wave of orange was the hiring of Mike Nolan.

A New Improved D…

Nolan brings with him the pedigree of winner as a defensive coordinator. His defenses of the past have built a reputation for being aggressive, bringing pressure, and most critical causing turnovers; all areas that the 2008 Broncos lacked. This season playing a new 3-4 scheme under Nolan the defense has racked up 16 sacks, held their opponents to 43 total points this season, and recorded 11 takeaways.

Of course Nolan is only as good as the talent he coaches and another credit to McDaniels, the key free agent signings made in the offseason. Like a glove Andra Davis (former Brown), Renaldo Hill (former Dolphin), and Darrell Reid (former Colt) have all stepped in to play a big part in the defenses turnaround. Without question the biggest signing was the acquisition of former Eagle’s safety Brian Dawkins. His leadership and infectious sell out attitude has this defense playing at a level like the city hasn’t seen in some time.

Offense is coming around….

Just as the firing of Shanahan was blasted in some circles, McDaniel’s hiring came with its’ own criticism. A franchise that needed a defensive injection instead brought in the next Mike Shanahan. The comparisons were obvious; McDaniels had accomplished great things as the offensive coordinator in New England with Tom Brady and helped a seeming mid-level talent like Cassel blossom. It was McDaniel’s offense that Brady ran in 2007 when he rewrote the record books with 50 touchdown passes.

With the defense suddenly playing inspired ball this season, it has taken McDaniel’s “Patriot’s West” offense a little more time to get simmering. Only last Sunday against the Patriots did the Bronco’s offense start to resemble something of what many that they would see in 2009. In their win over New England the Broncos had 27 first downs, ran up 424 yards of offense, and held the ball for over 36 minutes; characteristic of a McDaniels offense. The next step in their evolution will obviously be more points.

With players like Marshall and Royal beginning to hit their stride in the passing game and the rookie Knowshon Moreno anchoring the ground game (when he holds onto the ball), the Bronco's have what appears to be a potent-ed offense. And with a supporting cast of Gaffney, Scheffler, Buckhalter, and Hillis; these guys are only going to make for long days for opposing defensive coordinators. If last Sunday against the Patiriots is any indication of the potential of this unit, their ceiling appears to be a mile high.

A Big Test Lies Ahead……

With everything starting to click in Denver and McDaniel’s team 5-0, there is still much to prove for this highly scrutinized over-achieving ball club. In the first couple of weeks, it was “they haven’t played anyone” and then last week, well they’re always better at home. This may very well be a recurring theme all season long, but one fact that is hard to escape, this coming Monday night is going to be a tough road test no matter how you look at it. In recent history, the Chargers have owned the Broncos and with their team sputtering, this divisional matchup will be critical.

So far the Broncos have yet to be perfect this season, but with a little luck they stand 5-0 and atop the AFC West with a two and a half game lead over the Chargers. Monday night is another test for McDaniels and his boys, but one if passed should not only satisfy the critics, but legitimize this team as the real deal.

That’s my take.

FRO's NFL Performance Rankings for week 5

FRO's NFL Performance Rankings for week 5
By Jon Wagner, Sr. Writer At-Large football Reporters Online

While there are many power rankings out there based as much on hype, expectations, and too often, unrealized and inaccurate projections, at Football Reporters Online, we prefer to rank NFL teams on what's actually happened, taking into account only how teams have performed on the field and who they’ve played. At F.R.O., you won’t find yet another power ranking that doesn’t tell you much. Instead, here are the F.R.O. NFL Performance Rankings:

Week 5:


#1 NEW ORLEANS 4-0 -- Week 5: Bye
Coming off a bye, the Saints host the Giants next, in a showdown that could decide the top seed in the NFC playoffs.

#2 NY GIANTS 5-0 -- Week 5: Beat Oakland, 44-7
After four bad teams and the mediocre Cowboys, the season starts for real, as Manning returns home to New Orleans.

#3 INDIANAPOLIS 5-0 -- Week 5: Won at Tennessee, 31-9
Behind the other Manning’s five straight 300-yard games, the Colts have been rolling since a comeback win in Miami.

#4 DENVER 5-0 +1 Week 5: Beat New England, 20-17 (OT)
At 5-0, the Broncos are the early surprise of the league, mainly because of a defense that’s allowed just 43 points.

#5 MINNESOTA 5-0 -1 Week 5: Won at St. Louis, 38-10
The Brett Favre decision has paid off thus far, as the Vikings have scored at least 27 points in every game this year.


#6 CINCINNATI 4-1 +6 Week 5: Won at Baltimore 17-14
The Cardiac Cats have gone to the wire in all five games, but they’ve managed to pull four of them out of the fire.

#7 ATLANTA 3-1 +4 Week 5: Won at San Francisco, 45-10
After a 16-point loss in New England, the Falcons used the bye week to prep for crushing the Niners in San Francisco.

#8 PHILADELPHIA 3-1 +6 Week 5: Beat Tampa Bay, 33-14
Three easy wins against bad teams and a blowout loss to the Saints: it’s hard to figure how good the Eagles are yet.

#9 CHICAGO 3-1 +1 Week 5: Bye
The Bears responded after losing in Green Bay with three solid wins. Tough roads tests in Atlanta and Cincy are next.

#10 PITTSBURGH 3-2 +3 Week 5: Won at Detroit, 28-20
Getting the running game going with Rashard Mendenhall has resulted in two straight wins.

#11 NY JETS 3-2 -5 Week 5: Lost at Miami, 31-27
After looking great for four weeks, Miami’s wildcat and a sharp Chad Henne exposed Rex Ryan’s defense.

#12 NEW ENGLAND 3-2 -5 Week 5: Lost at Denver, 20-17 (OT)
This is still not the Tom Brady-led offense that we’ve been accustomed to seeing. New England could easily be 2-3.

#13 BALTIMORE 3-2 -5 Week 5: Lost to Cincinnati, 17-14
The Ravens have gone from an elite 3-0 team to losing two straight, and a tough stretch (at MIN, DEN, at CIN) is next.

#14 SAN FRANCISCO 3-2 -5 Week 5: Lost to Atlanta, 45-10
As good as the Niners looked in nearly starting 4-0 is how pitiful they were in getting thrashed at home by the Falcons.


#15 ARIZONA 2-2 +5 Week 5: Beat Houston, 28-21
The Cardinals’ inconsistency is typified by their L, W, L, W result so far. The defense stepped up late to beat Houston.

#16 DALLAS 3-2 -1 Week 5: Won at Kansas City, 26-20 (OT)
Despite three wins, the Cowboys looked their best in a loss to the Giants. Romo has been struggling with T.O. gone.

#17 SAN DIEGO 2-2 -- Week 5: Bye
The Chargers’ defense has underperformed. Already down 2½ game in the AFC West, San Diego hosts Denver next.

#18 GREEN BAY 2-2 +1 Week 5: Bye
The Pack hasn’t protected Aaron Rodgers, but coming up, besides a rematch with the Vikes, they get DET, CLE, & TB.

#19 MIAMI 2-3 +3 Week 5: Beat NY Jets, 31-27
Lose one Chad and start 0-3? No problem. Try another Chad, unleash the wildcat, win 2 straight, and save the season.

#20 SEATTLE 2-3 +4 Week 5: Beat Jacksonville, 41-0
The Seahawks are good enough to humiliate losing teams 28-0 and 41-0, but they’re 0-3 against winning teams.

#21 HOUSTON 2-3 -3 Week 5: Lost at Arizona, 28-21
The Texans have the talent for a playoff push, but they’ll have to be a lot more consistent than: L, W, L, W, L.

#22 JACKSONVILLE 2-3 -6 Week 5: Lost at Seattle, 41-0
After a 1-2 start, the Jags had a 61-point difference by following a Week 4, 20-point win with a Week 5, 41-point loss.


#23 CAROLINA 1-3 +4 Week 5: Beat Washington, 20-17
Need a win? Play Washington. The Giants, Lions, and Panthers all got their first wins of the year against the Redskins.

#24 WASHINGTON 2-3 -3 Week 5: Lost at Carolina, 20-17
The Redskins will be the first team in NFL history to play six straight winless teams, and they’re STILL only 2-3.

#25 CLEVELAND 1-4 +5 Week 5: Won at Buffalo, 6-3
So what if their quarterback went 2-17 for 23 yards and their punter was their MVP. The Browns gladly took the win.

#26 DETROIT 1-4 -1 Week 5: Lost to Pittsburgh, 28-20
So far, the only team the Lions’ defense can stop is Washington (allowing 14 points)… 37 ppg allowed otherwise.

#27 TENNESSEE 0-5 -1 Week 5: Lost to Indianapolis, 31-9
From 13-3 to 0-5? That’s hard to fathom, especially with talent in Tennessee.

#28 BUFFALO 1-4 -5 Week 5: Lost to Cleveland, 6-3
The Bills looked good in New England and against Tampa, but they scored just 20 points in losing their next 3 games.

#29 OAKLAND 1-4 -1 Week 5: Lost at NY Giants, 44-7
Jamarcus Russell has 51 completions and 606 yards. That’s 2 games for Peyton Manning, who makes $5 million less.

#30 KANSAS CITY 0-5 +1 Week 5: Lost to Dallas, 26-20 (OT)
Even though they lost to Oakland, the Chiefs are higher for outplaying the Raiders and taking the Cowboys to OT.

#31 TAMPA BAY 0-5 -2 Week 5: Lost at Philadelphia, 33-14
Aside from a 3-point loss in Washington, the Bucs have lost by 13 twice, 19, and 24, while allowing 28 points per game.

#32 ST.LOUS RAMS 0-5 -- Week 5: Lost to Minnesota, 38-10
The Rams have scored a TOTAL of 34 points, which is less than what they’ve allowed in EACH of their past 3 games.

Tom Hayes: Not this time!

"For the first time ever, all five committees in Congress responsible for health reform have passed a version of legislation," President Obama said in his weekly radio address on October 17, 2009.

He went on to note that despite hurdles, "we are closer to reforming the health care system than we have ever been in history."

In response to massive lobbying and advertising efforts, the President said,
"They're filling the airwaves with deceptive and dishonest ads. They're flooding Capitol Hill with lobbyists and campaign contributions. And they're funding studies designed to mislead the American people..."
There are 6 health care industry lobbyists in D.C. for every single member of Congress. Combined, the special interests are spending over $1,000,000 every day to defeat reform, to keep things as they've been while close to 14,000 Americans a day lose their coverage, and over half of all personal bankruptcies are triggered by uncovered medical expenses.

In what may be the best turn of phrase yet in this battle for votes, Obama also noted,
"Every time we get close to passing reform, the insurance companies produce these phony studies as a prescription and say, 'Take one of these, and call us in a decade.' Well, not this time."

Read the transcript, or watch the video (below) and learn about the deceptive schemes and techniques being used by those who want you to tune out and stop listening so their profits and bonuses will remain undisturbed.

Got four minutes? Watch a quick video that sums up the President’s plan to provide security and stability to those who have insurance and coverage for those who don’t.
Watch the video Learn more


Thomas Hayes is a political analyst, journalist, and entrepreneur who contributes regularly to a host of web sites on topics including economics, politics, culture, and community.

Meghan McCain photo scandal - leave her alone please

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Meghan McCain's gotten quite an Internet going-over, mainly by conservatives shocked that she actually took a photo of herself and put in out via Twitter this week.

Then on Thursday and to a lesser extent on Friday, more television coverage of the matter. Unbelievable. It's upset her to the point of posting this column at the Daily Beast with the title "Don't Call Me a Slut".

Don't. Please. Do. Not. Do. That.

Can't we just let Meghan McCain be? Here, again, is my take:

Raj Rajaratnam, billionaire Sri Lankan, arrested for hedge fund insider trading

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Today I saw a rather interesting sight that shows how diverse our World has become: an rather large man, Indian, named Raj Rajaratnam, was perp-walked by law enforcement officials. (Video from Hulu.)

Mr. Rajaratnam, billionaire founder of hedge fund firm Galleon Group, who's the richest Sri Lankan in the World, is charged with hedge fund insider trading. But before I get into that, the scene today reminded me of the insider trading arrests of the 1980s which formed the basis for the movie "Wall Street" by Oliver Stone.

Back in the 80s, the people in handcuffs were white and male; now it doesn't matter what color or sex a person is in the financial world as five men (including Raj Rajaratnam) and one woman are being accused of insider trading: there are people who work within the law and those who operate outside of it. Apparently, Raj Rajaratnam worked outside of it.

What's a hedge fund?

The stories on this start without explaining what a hedge fund is. A hedge fund is an agressively managed set of investments that are designed for high-net-worth people of generally over $1 million in annual income.

The idea of a hedge fund is to have an at times constantly moving set of investments designed to essentially take advantage of Worldwide price movements. The idea is to have a constantly moving "Net Asset Value" and fees are paid to managers like Raj Rajaratnam from that increasing Net Asset Value.

There are a large number of ways to achieve that objective, from long equity / short selling (where stocks may be sold one hour after, say a company goes public, thus taking advantage of what's called a "pop", where other stocks with more robust prices are held for longer terms, like oil and utility stocks) to investments in undervalued companies who's bonds may be at "junk" levels (the bet here is that the company will take off and provide a higher return on investment).

The hedge fund industry has been for all practical purposes the "wild-west" of the financial world, with more liberal regulations and little scrutiny - or so it seemed until today's developments.

Fees of over $20 million

Raj Rajaratnam generated fees of over $20 million, making this the richest case of its kind in history.

What Rajaratnam is accused of doing is insider trading in several tech funds he started which included the stocks of Google, Polycom, Hilton Hotels, Sun Microsystems, Advanced Microsystems and International Business Machines. Insider trading is buying and selling stocks based on information not available to the public.

Basically, Rajaratnam, Rajiv Goel, the managing director of strategic investments at Intel, Anil Kumar, a director at management consulting firm McKinsey & Co., and Danielle Chiesi of New Castle, which is the equity group of Bear Stearns Asset Management with Mark Kurland, the senior managing director of Bear Stearns Asset Management and IBM’s Robert Moffat are accused of sharing information on companies and that led to the complaint filed by Preet Bharara, US Attorney for the Southern District of New York.

Insider trading and record profits

Is there any connection between this kind of alleged activity of insider trading and the record Wall Street profits by banks that received bailout funds?

That's not clear, but one obvious advantage of the bailout, according to the NY Times and Talking Points Memo, is the new ability of traders to take bigger investment risks, which is a common practice in the hedge fund industry, because their money is leveraged.

But this insider trading case had nothing to do with the bailout system. The wiretaps used to collect the evidence go back to 2006. That written, this is only the tip of what seems to be a large iceberg of possible future complaints. The AIG bailout helped a number of hedge funds. Business Insider reports:

Documents reviewed by the WSJ reveal that some of the banks listed as the beneficiaries of the AIG bailout were themselves middlemen for hedge funds. So AIG is a conduit to conduits to hedge funds. It seems that the investment banks sold credit default swaps on mortgage backed securities, and then hedge their risks by buying CDS from AIG. The swaps payoff if mortgage defaults rise above a certain level.

Did anyone of the hedge funds know the bailout was coming and profited from it? The US Attorney General, the FBI, and the SEC sent a powerful message to the hedge fund community that they are watching its moves.

Stay tuned.