Thursday, November 8, 2012

8 comments If Only There Were a Way to Vote Gregg Easterbrook Out of Office

Gregg Easterbrook demanded more realism in his zombie movies last week and wondered how viruses in movies spread so quickly, since the Black Plague didn't spread quickly. Perhaps he had not remembered we now have modern transportation which helps viruses move from continent to continent in a much more efficient manner. Gregg also requested that the Rams jam Rob Gronkowski on the line of scrimmage since this will obviously prevent him from scoring a touchdown ever again. I bet NFL coaches wish they had the simple answers to their problems like Gregg seems to have. I'd like to see Gregg get a shot to coach an NFL team for a few games. This week Gregg wants everyone to vote and does his typical criticizing of NFL head coaches. Those who can't do, write a weekly column about what others should do.

The contemporary world is obsessed with gauging people's sentiment. Polls, surveys, trending -- we seem to want to know precisely what's flickering through people's heads at any given instant.

Yet we don't vote. Far too many Americans don't go to the polls for the most consequential expression of public opinion there is. Only 57 percent of eligible voters cast ballots in the 2008 presidential election,

If you think about it, 57% isn't bad. I would rather 57% of informed, eligible voters vote rather than more people vote when they aren't informed enough about the issues to feel like they can make a good choice. There's nothing worse than ignorant people voting and even the 57% contains a large sample of people who probably don't even have an idea about the main issues in this election. So I think 57% of eligible voters isn't too terrible and I'm fine with that percentage voting if those are the people who feel confident they can make an informed choice.

versus a peak of 82 percent in 1876.

The 57% of eligible voters was the highest total to show up at the polls since 1968. This is the kind of information that Gregg routinely leaves out of TMQ in order to make his point look better. He tends to give no perspective on statistics he shows and claims he makes in order to deceive his readers. So Americans have gotten better about going to the polls over the last 40 years and the 57% in 2008 was the highest amount in 40 years.

Mitt Romney and Barack Obama offer a clear, consequential choice in governing philosophies. Across the nation, Senate, House, statehouse and ballot initiatives offer clear, consequential choices.

They do offer clear, consequential choices in governing philosophies but that doesn't mean they will be able to get done what they claim they want to get done. Americans can make choices in who they vote for, but this doesn't mean the politicians will achieve their intended goals.

And if you don't vote today, promise never, ever to complain about anyone in office, any laws they enact or anyone they place on the courts.

So it is better to make an uninformed decision or vote for a candidate you don't truly support than to sit out the election? I'm pretty sure this point could be debated. I vote, but if someone isn't informed enough to vote or doesn't vote because they don't like their options, then I would have no issue with this person complaining about the options given.

In football news, the New Orleans Saints are giving up nearly 500 yards per game -- which would be considered awesome defense in the NCAA. With the notable exception of the SEC, college football is embracing the fad for putting the best athletes on offense, then running an Xbox attack. Not only did the Oregon-USC and Tennessee-Troy games this weekend break 100 points, in other college action it was Colgate 65, Lafayette 41; Knox 63, Lawrence 42; Carson-Newman 66, Tusculum 36; Augsburg 58, Macalester 41; Ripon 50, Monmouth of Illinois 47.

I am not sure if Gregg realizes how many football games are played on a weekly basis. Nearly every single week there will be a college football game where the two team's combined scores exceed 100 points. There are a lot of football games played in Division I, FCS, Division II and Division III conferences. The odds are good that some of these games will have combined point totals between the two teams that exceed 100 points.

It also appears Gregg Easterbrook is struggling with math. 58 plus 41 does not equal 100 points and 50 plus 47 does not equal 100 points. Both of these games did not exceed 100 points so I don't know why he would include them on this list. In his defense, lecturing everyone to vote and criticizing others is easy, while math is hard.

Victory was sweet for the vagabond Steelers -- the home team looked like the ones who had left at 4 a.m. that day because they had no hotel. In the fourth quarter, the Pittsburgh offensive line took over, dominating the Jersey/A front seven and helping undrafted Isaac Redman of Division II Bowie State to a career day.

There is the obligatory mention of Isaac Redman's draft position. As always, Gregg leaves out a player's draft position when discussing a player if that player was taken early in the draft. He will do anything to mislead his audience into believing undrafted free agents and lowly drafted players perform better than highly drafted players. For example, when making a list last week of the Falcons top players he completely left out that they were all first round draft picks. If these players were undrafted free agents then Gregg would certainly not fail to mention this. You can't trust a writer with an agenda.

Unified Field Theory of Creep: Many, many readers including Marcia Bowen of Menlo Park, Calif., noted that Mercedes began running Santa-themed television ads on Nov. 1. Not only that, but the ads proclaimed the start of a "Winter Event" sale -- seven weeks before the beginning of winter in North America.

Is Gregg really such a mental midget that he can't understand it takes more than one day to purchase a car? I would love to know when exactly he thinks the correct time for a car dealership to start a "Winter Event" would be. He will never tell us because he just likes bitching about issues like this that have very obvious and easy explanations. It took me nearly a month to buy my last car. I did research, compared it to other cars, and started to negotiate the price. So to have a "Winter Event" for a high ticket item like a fucking Mercedes makes a lot of sense. This isn't an impulse buy. It is a "Winter Event" because once a person gets around to purchasing the car and giving to his/her husband/wife/girlfriend/mistress then it will be Winter. It's a marketing tool and it makes sense in the context of what is being sold. Why is Gregg so willfully stupid?

Has there ever been a talented team as messed up as the Eagles?


Philadelphia gained 447 yards yet lost badly. The Eagles have the NFL's most elusive quarterback yet surrendered seven sacks.

I don't think Mike Vick is the NFL's most elusive quarterback. He may be the NFL's most running backiest quarterback, but he isn't the most elusive quarterback. Sometimes I wonder if Gregg Easterbrook watches entire NFL games or just watches the highlights.

Eagles first-and-goal on the Sinners 8. Philadelphia went incompletion, sack, incompletion, field goal. Didn't even try to run! On the sack, the Eagles were in an empty backfield -- which works for the Green Bay Packers in this situation, but the Green Bay offense is far more disciplined.

Well, plus the Packers have a better quarterback, offensive line and set of receivers...but I am sure discipline is really the main difference in these two teams when it comes to an empty backfield in the red zone. 

With starting head coach Chuck Pagano ill, Colts backup head coach Bruce Arians has guided the team to a 4-1 record, plus a rookie-record 433 yards passing for Andrew Luck against the Dolphins on Sunday.

Who is Bruce Arians? The former offensive coordinator of the Steelers, fired (officially: asked to retire) after Pittsburgh's defeat at Denver in the playoffs last January. Tuesday Morning Quarterback noted at the time that the Steelers needed a scapegoat. It couldn't be Hall of Fame defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau. It couldn't be head coach Mike Tomlin. That left Arians, who was blamed for the defeat -- and now chortles, doing a fine job at Indianapolis.

Pittsburgh has a record of 5-3. Pittsburgh averaged 372.3 yards per game and 20.3 points per game last year under Arians and 367.3 and 23 points per game under Todd Haley this season. I don't know if anyone should be chortling or this is any evidence the Steelers shouldn't have let Arians go. It seems like a win-win situation to me. Arians gets to go to a team that wants him and the Steelers haven't seemed to drop off offensively.

Then Gregg criticizes the Electoral College, which I can sort of get behind. I would prefer a simple popular vote to elect the President and get rid of the Electoral College. It just seems like relying on the popular vote makes more sense to me. Maybe I am oversimplifying the issue. Sure, if the United States went to a direct election then smaller states would have fewer votes than bigger states, but at least it would prevent a situation where a candidate wins the popular vote, but loses the Electoral College (not that it happens often). Of course this issue only crops up every four years, so I probably won't care as strongly about this issue a year from now.

Arizona faced fourth-and-2 on the Niners' 10, and kicked a field goal. Let's hope the football gods had no Internet service and missed that awful decision by Ken Whisenhunt...As the field goal boomed, TMQ wrote the words "Cardinals season over" in his notebook.

And yea, verily, Arizona went to Green Bay and played like a team that has already quit on the year.

Yes, but verily, the Cardinals season isn't over yet. So the fact the Cardinals lost their next game to a very hot Green Bay team doesn't mean when Gregg wrote "Cardinals season over" in his Selena Gomez Trapper Keeper notebook is an accurate statement. Maybe the Cardinals aren't going to make the playoffs, but since half of the season still remains their season isn't over.

As a slight variation on what Gregg says about comebacks in the NFL, remember that the Cardinals have as much time left to win games as they had to lose their games.

Ye gods, San Diego-Kansas City was a terrible game.

And glacial, too -- only 107 offensive snaps, versus 140 snaps in Virginia Tech-University of Miami happening at the same time.

In the realm of great comparisons that prove a point, this is not a great comparison that proves a point.

The college contest had an announced gate of just 37,219. With Thursday night NFL ratings struggling and a big-deal college pairing faring poorly at the box office, are these the leading indicators of football fatigue setting in?

Possibly not. It could be more of a sign that the Thursday night NFL game matchups haven't been very exciting or sexy this year. The lack of attendance at the Miami-Virginia Tech game is just a sign that this "big-deal" college pairing isn't really a big deal since both teams were 4-4 coming into the game and have underachieved this football season. It's pretty lazy and easy to say these are indicators of football fatigue, so let's just let Gregg assume the answer he gives is the correct one, even though there are better explanations.

Washington leading 3-0, Carolina's DeAngelo Williams took a toss toward the sideline than turned up the field, when he might have stepped out of bounds around the 20. The line judge on that side blew his whistle, but Williams had not hit the white line; he continued for a 30-yard touchdown run, which officials let stand on the grounds.

Well, Williams didn't really take a toss, it was more of a hand-off. I know, I know details are secondary to Gregg making his point.

The NFL rulebook states, "When an official sounds his whistle erroneously while the ball is still in play, the ball becomes dead immediately." Referee Carl Cheffers later told pool reporters that Williams was scoring anyway as the inadvertent whistle sounded, so the ball would have become dead in the end zone. But the whistle sounded when Williams was around the 20. And the league has been (rightly) telling defenders to pull up when they hear the whistle; had a Redskins defender slammed into Williams after the whistle sounded, he might have been flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct. This was a badly botched call, and one that provided the victory margin in a game the Cats won 21-13.

Yes, this was a terribly botched call and did provide the margin of victory. The officials did get the call correct though, since Williams never stepped out of bounds. So they were wrong to blow the whistle and the play should have been dead, but if they had not blown the whistle then the Panthers possibly still could have won 21-13 because Williams never stepped out of bounds and I am not sure the Redskins defender would have gotten to Williams. So my point is the officials screwed up by blowing the whistle and it never should have been a touchdown, but in screwing up and pretending they didn't blow the whistle, the officials actually made the correct call.

TMQ is following the fourth-down results at Pulaski Academy in Little Rock, Ark., where head coach Kevin Kelley has eschewed the punt for years.

It hasn't even been a decade since Kelley stopped punting. Let's not use the term "for years" too liberally here.

Friday, Pulaski finished its regular season 8-2, winning the first seed in its conference. Pulaski did not punt in the regular season. Friday's fourth-down results:

As usual, Gregg doesn't give us any perspective on who Pulaski played or what that team's record was. It turns out they played a team from Jacksonville, Arkansas who were 6-3 on the year and ranked #70 in the state. This doesn't sound like the stiffest competition to me. Pulaski won 51-7, while rushing 24 times in the game and throwing the ball 57 a 51-7 game. See, these are the details that Gregg doesn't want his readers to know because it makes Kevin Kelley seem like a bully coach who runs up the score on the opposing team. It is clear Pulaski didn't just run the ball in the second half because the second and third string quarterbacks have 9 pass attempts between them and Pulaski also never punted in the game.

This is the type of writer that Gregg Easterbrook is. He plays favorites. He doesn't mention Kevin Kelley was essentially running up the score on another high school team by not punting and throwing the football. Gregg also intentionally leaves out information that may give the reader some perspective on Pulaski's opponent or would go against the point Gregg is desperate to prove. For a guy who spends a lot of TMQ complaining about politicians lying and misleading the public, Gregg sure does a lot of those same things in TMQ.

By the way, Pulaski was six of seven on fourth downs. They did well on fourth down in this game.

Now let's see Gregg make excuses for why a college team that went for it on fourth down (FORTUNE FAVORS THE BOLD!...unless it doesn't) went on to lose the game. There's always a horseshit excuse Gregg has when one of his claims turns out to be incorrect. The claim never fails because Gregg is full of shit. No way. How could that be? There is always an extenuating circumstance as to why Gregg's claim turned out to be untrue and it is never because the claim is a bunch of horseshit.

A key moment in Alabama-LSU was a failed LSU fourth-and-1 attempt on the Alabama 24. 

Fortune favors the bold! Let me guess, LSU converted and went on to win the game?

Spoiler alert: LSU lost this game. 

But the Tigers were facing the top defense in the country, plus had problems with place-kicking, later missing a short field goal attempt. If the other team is better, no tactic may work. 

Oh ok, so if the other team is better, then no tactic may work. I'll keep that in mind. Let me ask, if I may, how we knew Alabama was better than LSU considering LSU was winning the game at the time they went for it on fourth down? Riddle me that. LSU was winning the game, so clearly they were the better team at the time, but they should have looked into the future knowing they were going to eventually lose the game and then decide to kick the field goal (or punt? Gregg seems to indicate neither kicking the field goal nor going for it on fourth down are good options) for that very reason. Is that what Gregg would have us to believe?

Fun fact: Alabama gained 259 yards on offense in the first 58:26 of the contest, and 72 yards in the final 1:34.

Oh, and the LSU defense had also done a good job of stopping the Alabama offense, so naturally it made sense for them not to go for it on fourth down in this situation. By saying LSU should not have gone for it here, Gregg is completely contradicting his prior opinion in nearly every single previous TMQ about going for it on fourth down. If LSU had not gone for it then Gregg would claim the football gods punished LSU for not being bold and trying to win the game, and he would say Les Miles was telling his team that he was playing to lose. Since LSU went for it on fourth down and failed, Gregg has to think of a horseshit excuse for why LSU failed.

I don't know how Gregg continues to get TMQ published and what kind of idiots read it and think he is smart. He tells everyone who can read that going for it on fourth down gives the sign that a head coach is playing to win the game, then when this tactic fails, he comes up with bullshit excuses as to why this tactic failed. He can't just admit going for it on fourth down doesn't hold magical powers that helps a team win, there has to be a bullshit excuse for why going for it on fourth down didn't work. In this situation, LSU should have known Alabama was the better team (even though LSU was winning the game at this point) and apparently should have given up and conceded the game to the Crimson Tide.

Trailing Minnesota 17-14, Seattle went for it on fourth-and-1 from midfield late in the second quarter, converted, scored a touchdown on the possession and did not look back.

But how did Seattle know that Minnesota wasn't the better team and no tactic would work? How did Seattle know going for it on fourth down wasn't doomed for this very reason? I want Gregg to explain how Seattle knew Minnesota wasn't the better team, even though the Vikings were currently winning the game. Can't he just admit he makes things up? He's a liar and deceiver who somehow got a weekly football column on

Oregon's Blur Offense is putting up a hard-to-believe 54 points per game -- hard to believe owing to strong opponents, and that the Ducks show good sportsmanship in that they stop trying to score once a second-half lead is insurmountable.

Sort of the opposite of what Pulaski Academy does you mean?

When TMQ watches the Blur Offense, I don't watch the razzle-dazzle, I watch the blocking. A team does not rush for 426 yards against a ranked opponent on its own field without terrific blocking.

This is the kind of expert analysis you can only get while reading TMQ. If a college team runs for 426 yards then they must have had good blocking. Wow, more obvious words have never been written.

Even on good teams, offensive linemen usually make an initial block, then just stand there watching the play.

No, they don't. Stop lying.

Oregon blocks so well that it can use two linemen pulling one way as a misdirection, and the three linemen on the play side still clear a path.

This makes sense. If the misdirection is done correctly, then the three linemen on the play side don't have to block very many defenders. Hence why they are "misdirecting" to clear out the defensive players on the play side.

Knox 63, Lawrence 42. Located in Galesburg, Ill., Knox College is seeking an orderly transition for its football head coaching vacancy rather than boosters and the athletic director screaming at each other at 3 a.m., as is the norm at BCS schools. 

I have no idea where Gregg is getting that sentence from since I don't see it appear in the job description in the link. I'm confused.

Next Week: Who do you like for president in 2016? Pundits will weigh in any day.

It's Presidential Election Creep! We shouldn't hear anything about the candidates until two days before the 2016 election, at which point there is no longer a threat of "creep" and we are free to learn what each Presidential candidate wants to do while in office and what he/she stands for. 


HH said...

Yet we don't vote. Far too many Americans don't go to the polls for the most consequential expression of public opinion there is. Only 57 percent of eligible voters cast ballots in the 2008 presidential election, versus a peak of 82 percent in 1876.

Low voter turnout is a sign that the country is not divided. It's actually a good sign - the highest turnouts historically happened during the Civil War and Reconstruction (like the 1876 example). History buffs will recall that the 1876 election may or may not have been stolen.

If you think about it, 57% isn't bad. I would rather 57% of informed, eligible voters vote rather than more people vote when they aren't informed enough about the issues to feel like they can make a good choice. There's nothing worse than ignorant people voting and even the 57% contains a large sample of people who probably don't even have an idea about the main issues in this election.

True. Bryan Caplan's book "the myth of the rational voter" shows that it's in fact the most ignorant who are least likely to vote, probably saving us from some terrible policies.

And if you don't vote today, promise never, ever to complain about anyone in office, any laws they enact or anyone they place on the courts.

I'll say it again: if you're informed and involved, not voting is a choice in itself. Why should I give a candidate I don't like another vote and legitimize his positions I don't agree with?

The college contest had an announced gate of just 37,219. With Thursday night NFL ratings struggling and a big-deal college pairing faring poorly at the box office, are these the leading indicators of football fatigue setting in?

Couldn't be that people work on Fridays and can't devote 5 hours to a late game in person? Or that Thursday is the best TV night so people watch other things on channels more accessible than NFLN?

waffleboy said...

"versus a peak of 82 percent in 1876."
Another fact Gregg is leaving out of the discussion, serious civil service reform began in the 1880's. Government workers didn't have to belong to the party in power to keep their jobs any more.
Also, Gregg using the word chortle. I always thought chortling was only done by the subject of Thomas Nast cartoons. Either Gregg was born in the wrong century or I need to stop watching Gangs of New York when nothing else is on TV.

"Sometimes I wonder if Gregg Easterbrook watches entire NFL games or just watches the highlights."
Gregg watches games until he sees a kicker and then after scribbling in his Selena Gomez traperkeeper he delves deeper into the oeuvre of the new Hawaii 5-0. He's the Punxsutawney Philof football commentators. Well, if Punxsutawney Phil were human. And someone you'd never want to get stuck talking to at a cocktail party.

Eric C said...

HH - I was coming here to point out the same thing - NFL ratings are struggling because not everyone gets the NFL network. How does Gregg miss that?

A quick Google search shows results from 2010, that the NFL network is in 55 million+ households, compared to 99 million for ESPN. As of 9/1/2010, there are 115.9 million households with cable.

Given, these numbers are two years old, but I can't imagine the NFL network has higher cable penetration rates than ESPN or the network channels.

Even with that, the latest Nielsen ratings I could find list the NFL network game from the week of 10-15 (49ers/Seahawks) as the 5th most popular show on cable for the week.

Ben, the use of the quit misleading your readers is apropos.

Eric C said...

Nielsen source:

rich said...

versus a peak of 82 percent in 1876.

To add my own comments on top of HH and waffleboy, this isn't that impressive because only white males were allowed to vote back then.

To put the number of votes into perspective, 59.9M people voted for the guy who lost that year, while the 1876 election had 8.2M votes total.

Across the nation, Senate, House, statehouse and ballot initiatives offer clear, consequential choices.

This is bullshit. My choices for the House of Rep: all uncontested. My choices for the Senate? A raging bitch and an opponent she donated to. That's right folks, Claire McCaskill donated money to Todd Akin's primary campaign so that he would be her opponent.

What great options - someone who rigged an election vs. the man bad enough to be hand picked by his opponent.

the home team looked like the ones who had left at 4 a.m. that day because they had no hotel.

Ya, maybe because many of the Giants' homes were fucking underwater.

It was a team that was able to sleep in their own homes and took a 50 minute flight in the morning versus a team whose players mostly live in areas that had no power and were underwater.

"Winter Event" sale -- seven weeks before the beginning of winter in North America.

What an out of touch moron. Winter is defined by when it gets really fucking cold outside, not when the winter solstice is, just like how summer is typically considered to start in late May despite the summer solstice being in June. The solstice's are scientifically important, but completely useless when talking about the seasons.

It just seems like relying on the popular vote makes more sense to me.

As much as I hate the electoral college, the best part about it is that we know who the president is right now. If the popular vote were used, then we'd still be waiting for Florida to tally their votes.

Then you also get into issues of recounts (120M votes were cast - that's a lot to recount) and voting conditions (long lines, early voting, etc.)

No other country has the sheer volume of votes that we do, not even Russia whose 2012 election ran about 75M total votes, so going with just a straight popular vote presents massive challenges.

Although it would be nice to not hear about how a vote is considered a "landslide" when the popular vote is within 2% points.

The college contest had an announced gate of just 37,219

Miami hasn't been a big deal in a decade. This is like pointing to the attendance of the Royals and wondering if baseball is in trouble. The fact that 37,000 showed up to a game between a 4-4 Miami team and a 4-4 VT team...

For comparison, 73,000 showed up for the Miami-FSU game the week before.

Bengoodfella said...

HH, I wasn't sure if the high turnouts during the Reconstruction and Civil War was more of a result of more people being able to get involved with the voting process or is a result of the division in the country during that time.

If someone isn't knowledgeable on the issues and doesn't want to vote, that makes sense to me. Stupid people voting isn't what I want to see happen.

I just got NFLN and I will watch some of the games, but Thursday is a pretty good night for television. If I had HBO or Showtime it would be hard for me to watch any of the Sunday Night Games since Boardwalk Empire, Walking Dead, Dexter, and Homeland are all on right now. So I don't think a lack of people watching the Thursday night game has much to do with football going through a as Eric pointed out even with "only" 55 million households the Thursday night game seemed to do pretty well.

Waffle, I don't know who chortles or uses that word. I feel like it is a word Peter King would use as well, especially since he seems to be morphing into Gregg Easterbrook.

I would probably leave a party if I ended up having to talk to Gregg. Actually, we would probably get in a heated discussion about football that would eventually result in someone asking us to not talk about football anymore.

Eric, it is probably in more than 55 million houses now, especially TWC got it, but I really, really doubt it is on par with ESPN. I can tell you the reason for the college football game not having great attendance and that reason is Hurricanes fans haven't shown up very much for games this year. It's a school used to winning games, not barely making a bowl game.

Here is a pic of the stadium on September against Bethune Cookman.

Here is another entire article on the Hurricanes and their difficulty getting attendance to games. Thursday/Saturday night in Miami, if I am a college student am I going to a football game? Maybe.

Gregg loves misleading his readers by leaving out important parts of a discussion or simply only taking an overhead view of a subject. If he went more in-depth, he would see there is more to what he is discussing, but it could also prove him wrong, which isn't worth the risk to him.

ivn said...

At Snoopy Stadium, Pittsburgh's fake field goal attempt was stopped at the Jersey/A goal line when backup corner Michael Coe did not fall for the fake. But the call was promising, since it was only fourth-and-1

No it wasn't. Instead of trusting Redman (who was tearing up the Giants defense) or Roethlisberger (who's 6-5 and could pick up a yard by falling forward on a sneak), the Steelers pitched the ball to their kicker and forced him to run about ten extra yards. it was a bad playcall regardless of if it worked or not.

Last season the Raiders were 4-2 when they handed the reins to Carson Palmer, newly acquired for a king's ransom in draft choices. Since then they are 8-11.

how is this possible? fewer draft picks mean fewer football factory glory boyz.

Bengoodfella said...

Ivn, Gregg just liked that the Steelers were aggressive at that point. Running Redman probably was the better move. So I guess when caught between two aggressive play calls Gregg goes for the more nonsensical aggressive play call.

Great point. Don't know how I missed it. Getting ready of high draft picks is the way to build a team, right? You get fewer glory boys and more hard working players willing to do whatever it takes to win. It's almost like when Gregg leaves his guard down he lets us know he thinks he is full of shit and contradicts his own beliefs.