Tuesday, October 27, 2009

NFL - Larry Johnson, KC Chiefs RB, suspended for gay-slur use

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It was just announced that Kansas City Chiefs' Running Back Larry Johnson was suspended by the organization for using a gay-slur on his Twitter account @ToonIcon (which has been set to private) and then on Monday to reporters, according to TMZ.com. He can't participate in team activities while a team investigation into his use of a slur is ongoing according to the Associated Press.

Johnson issued this apology:

First of all, I want to apologize to the fans of the Kansas City Chiefs and the rest of the NFL, Commissioner Goodell, the Chiefs organization, Coach Todd Haley, his staff, and my teammates for the words I used yesterday"

"I regret my actions. The words were used by me in frustration, and they were not appropriate. I did not intend to offend anyone, but that is no excuse for what I said. "

"I also want to apologize to all the kids who view athletes as role models. I was not a good role model yesterday and hopefully I can become a better role model. We all make mistakes, and the challenge is to learn from them. I will do my best to learn from this one as I move toward becoming a better person, teammate, and member of the Kansas City chiefs team and community."

Larry Johnson, upset with the teams 1 win, 6 loss performance, his own, and dealing with his dislike for Head Coach Todd Haley, let loose with an ill-advised tweet on Sunday after they were pasted by the San Diego Chargers 37 to 7, then popped-off to reporters verbally on Monday.

According to the Kansas City Star, Johnson got a bit testy with the press:

Then Monday in the Chiefs locker room, Johnson used another slur after saying he wouldn’t speak to reporters.

Johnson, sitting down, told reporters that “I’m not talking till Thursday,” his usual day of speaking with the media.

Then Johnson turned away and whispered, “Get your f_____ ass out of here.”

On Twitter, Johnson wrote a storm of words that were listed in chronological order by Yahoo! Sports' Charles Robinson (the words in the quotes below that are not Johnson's are Robinson's and set the story):

• “my father got more creditentials than most of these pro coaches. … google my father!!!!!!!”

• “My father played for the coach from “rememeber the titans”. Our coach played golf. My father played for redskins briefley. Our coach. Nuthn”

Following those messages, an exchange appeared between Johnson’s account and another Twitter user, in which the other user made a reference to an incident in which Johnson pled guilty to disturbing the peace after allegedly spitting into the face of a female patron at a nightclub. A message on Johnson’s account referred to the other Twitter user’s profile picture with a homophobic slur, calling it a “[expletive] pic” and called the user a “Christopher street boy.” Christopher Street is a well-known New York City street which became famous as a symbol for the city’s gay-pride movement.

The message posted in Johnson’s account containing the homophobic slur read:

• “think bout a clever diss then that wit ur [expletive] pic. Christopher street boy. Is what us east coast cats call u.”

The final message of the night on Johnson’s account read:

• “Make me regret it. Lmao. U don’t stop my checks. Lmao. So “tweet” away.”

Well, it's clear the Chiefs, are stopping his checks for a while. The lesson here for any public official is to hold their temper and measure what they say or tweet. But the larger issue of Johnson's overall conduct comes up again, as reporters, tweets, and chats remind all of his various arrests and conflicts over the years.

By comparison to his past, this episode is smaller, but still important. Johnson must get his temper under control and assess his issues with gays and get over them.

Then there's the Todd Haley issue and in more detail his coaching style. I'm not a fan of Haley's approach, as much as I like some of his game plans. More on this later.

BCS Standings - Cal Golden Bears, Notre Dame in; USC moves up

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In the second week of the BCS (Bowl Championship Series) Standings, two teams not in the BCS the first week have broken into it this week: The California Golden Bears and The Notre Dame Fighting Irish at 24 and 23 respectively.

Cal got in with its blow-out win over Washington State, 49 to 17, while Notre Dame entered after just barely getting by Boston College, 20 to 16. But there were other notable movements as well. Southern Cal went from seventh to fifth position while Arizona moved from 22 to 20. Kansas has dropped out. TCU is now at sixth position. But the three constants at the top, Florida, Alabama and Texas, remain at one, two, and three respectively.

Notre Dame breaks into the BCS for the first time since 2006, when Brady Quinn was their quarterback and Head Coach Charlie Weis was in his second year with the Fighting Irish. Notre Dame is now at 5 and 2 and at 23, just needs to move up nine spots to reach the place for at-large bowl consideration.

Here's the list for the second week of BCS Standings:

1. Florida
2. Alabama
3. Texas
4. Iowa
5. Southern Cal
6. TCU
7. Boise St.
8. Cincinnati
9. LSU
10. Oregon
11. Georgia Tech
12. Penn St.
13. Virginia Tech
14. Oklahoma St.
15. Pittsburgh
16. Utah
17. Ohio St.
18. Houston
19. Miami
20. Arizona
21. West Virginia
22. South Carolina
23. Notre Dame
24. California
25. Mississippi

Ares Rocket launch postponed today; were vibration problems solved?

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According to Reuters, the planned launch of the Ares Rocket was postponed today due to bad weather on the Central Florida Coast. It will be retried tomorrow, Wednesday, at 8 a.m. EDT.

The Ares Rocket program is designed to (sadly) replace the Space Shuttle Missions program by 2015 and take crew to the Moon by 2020. According to the NASA website, the rocket will use an updated version of the engines originally developed for the Saturn V Rocket used to carry astronauts on missions to the Moon in the 60s.

Tomorrow's planned launch - if it goes as intended - will be an interesting rebuttal to the reports of problems with thrust-induced vibrations, and other technical problems that have made Ares a lightening rod for criticism. Originally budgeted at $28 billion, it now costs $44 billion as of this writing.

And regarding the thrust vibration problems, which start with the energy from first-stage engine thrust causing small rapid motion that (if you remember the physics formula for "simple harmonic motion") can become larger and so pronounced if it is not dampened that physical damage to the space frame - or worse for a vehicle carrying people - could happen.

In September, NASA reported a solution to this problem in SpaceNews.com:

Dale Thomas, deputy program manager of NASA’s Constellation program, said officials reached a key decision in early September to pursue a so-called “dual-plane isolator” system to address the issue. The system consists of springs that will be inserted between the Ares 1 first stage and upper stage, and between the upper stage and the Orion crew capsule, to keep the violent shaking originating in the rocket’s main stage from reaching Orion and its crew.

I will monitor Wednesday's launch with interest to learn if this "fix worked well. Even if the rocket takes off successfully, the inability to get the problem under control will ignite project critics (who want a cheaper rocket used for passenger missions) and hamper the program's future.

NFL: Rush Limbaugh blaming Rams owner, NFLPA, cements his ouster

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Even though this was reported by ProFootballTalk.com's Founder Mike Florio on October 15th, it bears a look back for me because I don't listen to Rush Limbaugh and Rush made some statements that assures the NFL will not come to call him again.

On his website, now housed by NBC Sports, Florio claims that Rush Limbaugh's headlong pursuit of being on an NFL ownership team was a P.R. stunt from the start because Forio claims Limbaugh knew they didn't like his politics.

He did it because he knew damn well what he was getting into, and he voluntarily went along for the ride because he knew it would bring him plenty of publicity -- and because it ultimately could be shoehorned into his broader message.

I really disagree, Mike.

Rush Limbaugh did it because he now has the cash to be at least a co-owner of an NFL team. His $400 million contract signed two years ago puts him in near-billionaire status.

Given his proven interest in the game of football, its logical that he would be interested in joining an NFL ownership group and confirmed that on his show.

Enter St. Louis Rams owner Dave Checketts, who was warned about the "possible media reaction". But while Rush knew that, he also was aware that it could go the other way and he would be part of the group. But that didn't happen. Checketts got rid of him after tremendous pressure from a number of people both inside and related with the NFL:

But it was Dave Checketts who pulled the trigger and let Rush go. The worst move Rush could have made was cementing himself from ever again being considered for an NFL ownership group by blasting Checketts and other potential new members of his ownership group on his radio show:

Reuters had a story that George Soros is one of Dave Checketts's partners. I did not know that. I wasn't told that. Mr. Checketts is not the primary partner here. The NFL has a rule that the primary owner has to have 30% equity in the team, and our group lost our 30% equity guy, and we had to scramble and find a new one, and I was told who it was, but now I'm wondering if it was Soros and I wasn't told. Soros and Checketts did, I have learned, partner together previously to try to buy the Los Angeles Dodgers. Mr. Soros, of course, is well known politically for his left-wing slants, his politics fit in perfectly, apparently, with what the National Football League is becoming. But I wonder if they know that he is also involved in the movement to legalize marijuana and how that will play as the owners decide whether or not he's fit.

What Rush proves is that if you don't include him, he'll try to wreck your NFL ownership plans by tossing dirty laundry on you and your crew. That's what he did to Checketts.

Limbaugh also continued his really racially ugly theme of basically saying the problem with America is that it's becoming too minority and too black. But he does his with code words and terms like "Obama's America" and setting up the view that there's a black power structure in the NFL Players Association that's against him, which is against an America that Rush implies is white.

The only group Rush gets support from with talk like that are White Supremacists, who have a really cockeyed view of America to such a degree that some are part of domestic terrorist groups.


Rush Limbaugh can't get what he wants in owning an NFL franchise, or understand that most blacks and Latinos too feel that he does not like them, so he tried to torch everyone, including the NFL.

I think one day, perhaps when he's retired from broadcasting, Rush will gain a heart and realize how many people he's hurt. If he does, he should cry. What he's doing in trying to divide America is terrible and shameful.

Michael Jackson 'This Is It' Movie: Michael Jackson's busy

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That Michael Jackson's not with us is still shocking to me and as we move to one day before the premier of the movie "This Is It", I can't help but go back to the day he died and the day after June 26th. I went to ask people what they thought:

Lately I wonder if our World in a way has become so cynical and cruel that there's no room for anyone like a Michael Jackson anymore. A person revealed to be really a good person after his passing was painted as anything but in the later years of his life.

It seemed the desire to demonize him was just overwhelming with some people. And yes,it was split along racial lines, black and white. Not any more.

That will stay with me forever. Beyond, even, my own death. That we as a people can be so ugly to each other that it blinds us to see a person's true good soul because our own is so dark (and such people have no problem hiding behind the terrible thoughts they express online as one example).

There's a reason my video on the possibility that Michael Jackson could be alive is up to over 49,000 views as of this writing. People want to believe he's still here; I want to. I'll be honest, the mere possibility lifted my spirits for that day. It's also why faking the story was the work of evil. If you don't know what I'm writing about, here's my video:

The Rev. Al Sharpton was right on when he said to Jackson's kids at the Memorial "There was nothing strange about your daddy. What was strange was what your daddy had to go through."

Michael Jackson is resting now, but at the same time, he's busy. Real busy. Stay tuned.

Oakland Purse Snatching October 23 early evening - Lee Street

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I saw this over at the Yahoo Group Message Forum called "Adams Point Action Council". I posted it because the person who did this is still at large in the area. I did not make any corrections to the note so as to preserve its authenticity.

Hi Neighbors,

Last Friday night I heard a woman yelling (in a serious way) and my husband and I went out (as did quite a few of our neighbors) and found that a woman who was walking with her young child had had her purse snatched. No weapons were seen but he did push her down as he grabbed the purse. Another witness corroborated the account that it was a young african american man wearing a white t-shirt and a black hoodie (but not pulled up over his head). The victim had noticed something odd about him just before but thought he was just going to ask her for money. The police came out and took the report but the guy had disappeared down Vernon St.

Be careful and aware of your surroundings. This didn't happen late at night (I'm guessing it was about 8PM) and there were people out and about. Luckily she and her child are OK but it's never a "pleasant experience" to be mugged.

Name out

Brian Westbrook, Byron westbrook's Brother, hurt; NFL must upgrade helmets

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The ESPN Monday Night Football contest between two NFC East foes the Philadelphia Eagles visiting the Washington Redskins wasn't that at all. The Redskins lost a game they could have won 27 to 10, but for their sloppy play. But there was a more important story.

Unfortunately Redskins cornerback Byron Westbrook and the Eagles, the Eagles' Running Back Brian Westbrook suffered a major concussion and did not return for the game. He should not have.

Westbrook was on the ground for a while - an eternity it seemed - before he got up. His brother Byron Westbrook came over to be by his side. I hope I never in my life see a player die on the football field, especially on national television.

What this points to is the need for new helmet technology. What I don't understand is why the NFL uses basically the same helmets as were employed 20 years ago. Why can't someone make a helmet that can compress an impact and stop or at least slow it before it harms the brain?

According to my Internet research, Riddell's "Revolution" helmet is the first one designed specifically to reduce or eliminate concussions. While that comes from the helmet maker, it's not hard to be concerned over the news that its the first new helmet technology in a quarter century.

We as a culture and the NFL and NCAA have to make the creation of a helmet that comes as close to making concussions a thing of the past a top priority. Today's football players are amazingly fast and strong; so much so that they seem to have pushed the limits of what's currently used. Let's hope we never see a day when those limits are reached.