I never knew Bob Owens. Given how my Konservative Kool Kidz Klub application was stamped Return To Sender years ago, this is no surprise. He was one of the early conservative new media types, first blogging and later developing a more traditional media business model. He was quite the Second Amendment aficionado. Owens was a family man; wife, three kids. He was known and loved, personally and professionally, by many within CNM, including several people I know as friends.

Earlier this week he left a cryptic note on Facebook about being a coward and a failure.

He then blew his brains out.

An overriding theme in the reactions to Owens’ death is that no one, not even those closest to him, had the slightest inkling this was a possibility. There was nothing in his demeanor, nothing in his words and/or actions, giving any indication he was troubled unto death by his own hand. Owens’ suicide has been met with complete astonishment. The words from those who knew him have both poured out and fallen in shocked silence.

Being one who knows the dark side as something utterly removed from George Lucas’ film franchise, I speak with uncomfortable authority about depression. It is an irrational, illogical assassin; the father of lies’ most hideous, insidious lie. It blinds its victims to reality, convincing them there is no hope when in fact hope abounds. Depression tells the irreplaceable all would fare better without their presence spoiling life’s soup. It declares self-destruction’s broad road as the only road, doing its damnedest to block salvation’s narrow path. Depression is Satan’s scalpel, seeking only to cut out life itself instead of cutting out the cancer it forms on the soul.

While there can be, at least in some cases in part, an understanding of why someone would take their own life, suicide stands in direct opposition to God’s will and Word. No one has the right to dismiss God’s gift of life to us and/or destroy the Holy Spirit’s temple He made for us in His image. The forgiveness made available to each of us through Christ’s substitutionary death on the cross is never a license to sin. While faith alone cannot always completely counteract depression’s lies, it is a vital element in the fight. There are no echoes of throne checks or any other variation on “are you really saved” in asking someone not just how they are, but how is their soul. This said, God alone truly knows the soul. He will have mercy on whom He will have mercy, and He will have compassion on whom He will have compassion. We are His voice and hands on this earth; we must act and speak accordingly.

John Donne was right; no man is an island and the death of one diminishes us all. It should make us stop and take stock of priorities. Nothing exposes our online world’s triviality, the futility of our pursuit within our phonebooth kingdoms echo chamber of hyperlink and hashtag love as validation, like staring at a loved ones’ headstone. Today, now, is the time to preach in word and deed Christ crucified and risen to family, friends, and strangers alike.

I sympathize with Bob Owens’ friends. I grieve for his family. I pray God will have mercy on his soul. And I pray all the more the next Bob Owens among us will never be known as the next Bob Owens because someone reached out, and the person reached cried out to Jesus for the strength to live.

A couple of days ago, Breitbart published a story concerning how, in recent months, some Oreo cookie devotees have complained the flavor has changed, and not for the better. Said story insinuated the reason behind this, if in fact this be truth, is Mondelez, parent company of Nabisco (maker of Oreos) having moved production of said sandwich cookie to a plant in Mexico. Maybe the manufacturing process has crossbred with Pelon Pelo Rico. But I digress.

The story includes this as part of its case making effort:

Some companies are even willing to admit there is a difference in product quality — Fender offers Stratocaster guitars made in Mexico at a much lower price than their made in America product line — recognizing a difference in quality and materials.

At this point, I am reminded of a moment involving Drew Remenda, former NHL coach who currently works as an analyst for Edmonton Oilers televised games; previously he spent many years doing the same for the San Jose Sharks. During the latter stint, for a couple of seasons Remenda hosted an after-game call-in radio show. One evening, as a caller was railing against a Sharks player Remenda liked, he had had enough and cut off the caller with a simple statement: “You do not know what you are talking about. I do.”

Now, I play guitar. While I hardly give Eric Clapton anything to lose sleep over, I get by. My electric guitar brand of choice? Fender. The sound, the feel, the look … love ’em. As have other true guitar legends – the aforementioned Mr. Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Rory Gallagher, Stevie Ray Vaughn, and multitudes more.

Over the years I’ve been fortunate enough to own a few Fender guitars. Some were basic models, some were upper end. Some were made in Fender’s factory in Ensenada, Baja California. Some were made in Fender’s factory in Corona, California. All had, and have, one unifying factor beside the name:

They were all top notch instruments.

The only major difference between American and Mexican models of the Stratocaster and Telecaster is the former having twenty-two frets, whereas the Mexican ones bear the traditional Fender twenty-one fret neck. They are made from the same kinds of, and quality, wood. Many share identical electronics. They have the same design. They work the same way. In short, they are all Fender guitars.

Yes, most of the high end models are made in Corona. There are also high end, superb models made in Ensenada, some with features unavailable on any American made model. And yes, the Mexican models almost always cost less than their American counterparts. Because of lesser quality materials used in the manufacturing process? No. Shortcuts in manufacturing? No. Poorer overall quality? No.

Try significantly lower labor costs.

That is all.

It is irksome when someone purporting to be a journalist, particularly one writing for a site devoted to exposing fake news, makes a false assumption in order to push a meme. It spreads incorrect information. It reinforces the stereotype of conservative websites perpetuating falsehoods and stereotypes. It is an unfunny joke. And it needs to stop. However, as long as partisan hackery takes precedence over professional journalism, it won’t.

Now if you’ll excuse me I’ve got some guitar to play.

Honey Badger don’t care, and neither does Mike Huckabee – and for that, we thank him.

Today is the fifth day of May, which means tequila and margaritas are flowing in American bars, to celebrate a Mexican holiday that few really know anything about. Mike Huckabee offended the perpetually outraged by saying on Twitter that he would celebrate Cinco de Mayo by drinking salsa and watching Speedy Gonzales cartoons. Hysteria ensued, of course!

The former Arkansas governor quickly drew criticism comprised mostly of howls that he is raaaaacist, but some people hope he will post video of his festive activity.

Remember last year when Donald Trump tweeted about a taco bowl on this day? Snowflakes got all worked up over that one, and they are all worked up over Huckabee’s tweet today. Trump and Huckabee seem friendly with each other and neither one of them seems to really care at all if they tick off the tolerance mob; I wonder if they are engaged in a competition to see who can get the most histrionics out of the SJW crowds with the least amount of effort? I’m pretty sure my Donald is winning that contest, but it’s not for lack of trying on Mike Huckabee’s part, and I hope the games never end because every time the left loses its collectivist mind, an angel gets its wings another American realizes that the petty leftist temper tantrums are never ending and of no importance other than being nuisances.

Here is the “controversial” Huckabee Tweet:

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When I saw the uproar I said to myself, “I hope he doesn’t apologize, the right needs to stop apologizing for trivialities while the left runs roughshod over us with impunity!”, and I am delighted to report that The HuckaBadger ain’t backing down:

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Right on, Mad Mike, sock it to ’em!

*******

MJ Stevenson, AKA Zilla, is best known on the web as Zilla at MareZilla.com. She lives in a woodland shack near a creek, in one of those rural parts of New York State that nobody knows or cares about, with her family and a large pack of guardian companion animals. 

As I type this I’m watching Dana Bash “Bash” rep Tom MacArthur for his efforts on the Obamacare repeal. They (and MSNBC) have gone all in on the “GOP is risking their majority by doing this” and telling their viewers that this is going to make all the difference to Democrats.

For those of you who might actually be foolish enough to believe them let me remind you of something.

Seven years ago we were told by CNN and the MSM how popular Obamacare was going to be, how Republicans were fools for not joining Democrats in supporting it and reacted in disbelief when they lost the House of Representatives over it. And insisted that regardless of the results Obamacare was popular.

The best answer to this was given by Ted Cruz during the 2016 primaries in New Hampshire when he said:

Ted Cruz: Think about this for a second Since President Obama was elected we’ve had 3 elections. Two of them 2010 & 2014 the number one issue was repealing Obamacare and we won historic tidal wave elections that shattered the history books. In between, in 2012 we searched out and found the one person on the face of the planet who had actually designed & implemented a program just like obamacare and that’s who we nominated as our presidential candidate. Literally there are seven billion people on the planet and you could walk up to anyone one of them and say “Excuse me Sir have you designed and implemented a program like Obama care”

Man in Crowd: Not lately

Cruz: Then you would make a much better candidate. Lunacy!

Here is the video, exclusively from DaTechGuy who was the only reporter there btw

Now we have those same media who told us how Obamacare was going to guarantee a Democrat majorities for years. The same media that told us that Obamacare was going to become more and more popular, the same media that told us that this president couldn’t win the nomination, or the election and couldn’t get this bill passed, that same media spent a good amount of time on Thursday insisting that repealing this bill was going to be political suicide for the GOP.

Now in fairness said media will be doing all they can to help the Democrats advance this meme and will expend time and treasure to do so, but let me say one thing here.

If you are a member of the GOP stupid enough to believe this, then you deserve to lose your seat.

Now I admit, I would have liked a better bill, I admit that the Senate’s bill will be a different one and it would not surprise me to see it take six months or more for the final bill to get to the president’s desk.

But believe me the people worried should not be the GOP members decided if they should replace Obamacare with this bill (a bill they can tweak all they like later) but the people worried should be red state dems in the Senate who had not voted for Obamacare put in the position where they have a choice to keep Obamacare or replace it.

Those are the folk in danger and nothing the MSM says will make it otherwise.

Don’t be a sucker.

Closing thought, the fact that any repeal bill was passed is almost miraculous, stuff like this never gets turned back, the day before Scott Brown was elected I predicted on a live podcast that if Obamacare passed it would stay. I”m happy to be wrong.

Update Powerline gets it:

HOUSE VOTES TO REPEAL AND REPLACE OBAMACARE; DEMOCRATS LOSE BIG AND SPIN FURIOUSLY

and Don Surber notices something:

By a 217-213 vote, the House passed a trillion-dollar tax cut on Thursday and sent it to the Senate. Every Democrat voted against it, as did 20 turncoat Republicans.

You probably think I am daft for writing that, but that is exactly what happened when the House voted to replace Obamacare and replace it with something saner. Rolling back Obamacare also rolled back the taxes the Democratic Party imposed.

Americans for Tax Reform added up the taxes repealed and the total was a trillion-dollar boost to the economy over the next decade.

Maybe it’s just me but I think people like having their taxes cut


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Olimometer 2.52

If you are not in the position to kick in your funds we’ll always accept your prayers.

Far be it from me to give ideas to the president’s opponents in the media (not that they’d listen to me anyways) but there is one card that I don’t see them playing.

The expectations game.

There are several things that people who voted for Trump are expecting, the wall, the vetting, the tax cuts, Obamacare repeal, Defunding Planned Parenthood etc.

Two of them, the wall and the repeal of Obaamacare are from my data, particularly important.

Oddly enough the GOP which spent years arguing for the enforcement of immigration law, and for the repeal of Obamacare have shown a real reluctance to come through. When it comes down to actually legislating when they are in a position to make law rather than just oppose others they have colder feet than an Eskimo taking a foot bath in the Arctic.

While a few anti-trump folk on the right seem to grasp this the left and the media doesn’t seem to understand this. Instead they keep highlighting silly protests, attempts to silence conservatives and push memes suggesting that the media will be silenced not grasping how odd that meme sounds when it is the lead every single day on every single media platform that exists to the point where you can’t avoid it.

Now it’s true that said message plays well to their shrinking customer base and to the left institutions that provide funs and manpower to the left, but in terms of bringing down this president it’s silly.

Instead of getting out of the way and letting Trump the Dealmaker try to move the cowards of congress with all the hassle and potential for failure this involves and trying to get things done (which is a lot harder than just speaking it) they are thanks to the courts and protests and obstruction providing an excuse for every item that doesn’t get checked off.

Despite excellent defenses of reality of just how hard it is to do things by folks like Don Surber The “Trump the Failure” card has a real potential to hurt the president with his base, but to the media and the left it’s not as sexy as the “Trump the Evil” or the “Trump the Hitler” or the “Trump the Dictator” card which while cathartic, only cements his support further.

If the elites who claim to be so bright were really as smart as they claim, they would see this and pivot and perhaps in time they will, but there is one other factor that might be holding them back.

For all their mocking of Trump, I suspect they fear that if given the chance, he WON’T fail.

I suspect this fear, which is even larger than the fear that is paralyzing the GOP in congress, is what drives them even more than their anger.

If I was President Trump and his team, I’d exploit this fear whenever possible.

Remember the  HuffPo article asking that men be denied the right to vote? Not all men, only white men, and not forever, just for twenty years?

Yeah, the article supposedly written by the female philosophy student?

That article.

Well, the writer was not a female named Shelly Garland but a guy named Marius Roodt, who succeeded in outing the HuffPo’s political bias. I certainly was outraged at the proposal, but thought that sort of asininity is almost in keeping with the HuffPo daily fare.

As it turns out,

The CEO of Media24, which operates HuffPost in South Africa, issued a statement calling the article’s publication “hugely damaging” to their reputation.

Back at the farm they call that “closing the barn door after the horse ran away,” especially since it took some doing from an outside ombudsman:

South African press ombudsman Johan Retief found that the controversial blog post was both discriminatory and constituted hate speech.

Verashni Pillay, the editor who first approved the article,  resigned but (oh yes, but) in a post where she bemoaned “our lack of racial healing,” she declared,

Despite the pressure for me to recant my thoughts in my initial response I cannot, authentically, do that.

I still believe that despite the gains for equality and universal human rights in the last century, the fact is that white men still enjoy disproportionate power. And yes, I believe that a loss of oppressive power is necessary to create a truly level playing field.

This will come about through

more honest, inclusive conversations, fewer accusations and growing suspicion of each other and eventual, authentic healing.

Because nothing leads to “honest, inclusive conversations” that reduce suspicion which bring about “authentic healing” like denying men of any race their unalienable rights to vote, to own property, to legal representation and to anything that Marxists don’t agree with.

In other words, standard feminist theory’s idea of “authentic healing.”

$5 says Ms Pillay lands a better-paying job at a liberal entity before the month is over.

Fausta Rodríguez Wertz writes in U. S. and Latin America at Fausta’s blog.

For the next three days I’m going to be flat out.  Fr. Stephen Imbarrato of Priests for life who you’ve seen hosting EWTN’s series Defending life, will be doing several events in several cities for WQPH 89.3 and I’ll be covering him and those who attend the various, events, masses and dinners over Divine Mercy Sunday.  You can get tickets for the various dinners and lunches here and the events are open to the public so I hope to see you in Boston, Malden, Medford and Fitchburg particularly at the Eucharistic Procession on Saturday in Fitchburg.

If you are only interested in mass there will be four two of which he will be the celebrant.

Sat 8 AM  St. Joseph’s Church Medford  Fr. Imbarrato celebrant

Sat Noon St. Bernards Church at St. Camillus Parish Fitchburg

Sat 5 PM Madonna of the Holy Rosary 118 Theresa st. Fitchburg 

Sunday 4:30 PM  Madonna Queen of the Universe Shrine Boston Fr. Imbarrato celebrant

(the Final Mass will be preceded at 2:30 by confession and a Holy Hour)

Full details are here.


Speaking of life the most pro-life president of my lifetime has once again taken concrete action defending it.

America’s largest provider of terminations, Planned Parenthood, described the new measure, which has delighted pro-life conservatives, as “designed to undermine women’s health”.

The new law nullifies a rule finalised in the last days of the Barack Obama administration that effectively barred state and local governments from withholding federal funding for family planning services, regardless of whether groups offering these services also performed abortions.

The new measure cleared Congress last month with Vice President Mike Pence casting the tie-breaking vote in the Senate.

The Yahoo article describing this drips with contempt but this was also a win for States as Hotair noted:

When the vote was cast, Senator Joni Ernst praised the bill. “It should be the right of our states to allocate sub-grants under the Title X program in the way that best fits the needs of the people living there,” Ernst said according to a report in the NY Times. She added, “Unfortunately, like many other rules issued during the Obama administration, this rule attempted to empower federal bureaucrats in Washington and silence our states.”

I think it’s really something that the items this president has managed to advance have been pro-life.  I’m ecstatic.


Also at Hotair it seems like the most prolife president in my lifetime will be meeting with Pope Francis after all:

Just to John Gizzi’s point, I just want to make sure I note that we will be reaching out to the Vatican to see if a meeting, an audience with the Pope can be accommodated.  We’ll have further details on that.  Obviously, we’d be honored to have an audience with His Holiness.

Gronk scores? (Well, we’re used to that.) What’s odd about this is that several questions had come between Gizzi’s exchange and this later answer. The question on the table when Gronkowski interrupted was about NAFTA. No one had followed up on Gizzi’s question, but Spicer returned to it anyway. Hmmm.

At least as late as last night, the Vatican still hadn’t heard from the White House, either. America Magazine’s Gerard O’Connell reports that the Holy See’s diplomatic office is happy to arrange the meeting if they get the request:

While Francis has been a mixed bag great on confession and the danger of the devil and weak on Dogma (we still haven’t seen an answer to the four Cardinals dubia on the Amoris Laetitia footnote concerning marriage and communion)  on the issue of abortion he has been very clear in both speeches and encyclicals condemning it, although if you listen to democrats and the media it’s as if he never has.

Meanwhile Trump has so far been falling on the Paul of Tarsus vs the Simon the Magician side of the conversion scale.

They should have a lot to talk about.


Speaking of life guess what’s alive again? An Obamacare repeal compromise:

You can understand why the compromise might appeal to both the conservative and moderate wings inside the GOP. For the Freedom Caucus, it means red states will be able to shed onerous federal regs and offer a greater variety of health-care plans, replete with lower premiums for consumers. For the Tuesday Group, the fact that waivers are available but not mandatory means that blue states will be able to keep the more robust ObamaCare rules intact if they like. In that sense, the plan bears a slight resemblance to Bill Cassidy’s and Susan Collins’s proposal, which would have repealed ObamaCare and then let each state choose whether to “reimplement” it or to build their own tailor-made system. The new GOP deal doesn’t go that far but it’s a step in that direction vis-a-vis EHBs and community rating. If you believe a Freedom Caucus source who spoke to CNBC, there are 25 to 30 FC members ready to flip to yes to vote for this deal — a bit surprising given libertarian suspicions that waivers will be harder for states to obtain than everyone thinks.

And of course if it defends Planned Parenthood as well that’s going to be a biggie too.

There is a lot of talk about the first 100 days but I think that’s arbitrary, I’d just worry about getting it done period because it it gets done then we can always do more later.


You know what might also be alive again?  Ann Coulter’s speech not just At Berkeley but invited BY Berkeley which claims they have…

identified an appropriate, protectable venue that is available on the afternoon of May 2. While it is not one we have used for these sorts of events in the past, it can both accommodate a substantial audience and meet the security criteria established by our police department. Earlier today, we informed both the Berkeley College Republicans and the Coulter organization of this development, and we look forward to working with them. We will disclose the exact location of the venue once we have finalized details with both organizations.

Hotair explains the volte face:

She was going to show up anyway and create a security clusterfark for them when the usual suspects inevitably started smashing windows. That was the nuclear option. Berkeley doesn’t care about bad press from the right; the fascist left wears that as a badge of honor. They don’t care about First Amendment lawsuits either. But if the town is going to burn on the 27th and they’re going to get sued by the victims for not having done more to provide security, then sure, they’ll spring into action and find a “protectable venue.” If this standoff is destined to happen, better from the school’s perspective that it happen in an environment they can sort of control than one they can’t. Coulter forced them to choose. Any other conservative speaker with the guts and the dough to provide their own security, just in case, can probably get other public universities to back down with the same threat.

Coulter has told them they can go pound sand she’s coming the 27th anyway:

Hours later, Coulter shot down the invitation in a series of tweets and said she will speak at Berkeley on Thursday as planned not only because she “can’t do May 2,” but “THERE ARE NO CLASSES AT BERKELEY THE WEEK OF MAY 2!!!”

That week is “Dead Week,” a time when classes are suspended so students can study for exams.

“It’s at an awful time,” said Naweed Tahmas, 20, of the Berkeley College Republicans student group that invited Coulter. Also, the last day of instruction is three days later.

“Do not fall for b.s. Berkeley press release claiming they ‘rescinded’ cancelation,” Coulter tweeted. “GOOD NEWS FOR CA TAXPAYER! You won’t be required to pay $$$$ to compensate me & my crew for rebooked airfare & hotels. I’m speaking on 4/27.”

Your move Berkeley.


There was an interesting piece on Jake Tapper in the Washington Free Beacon worth quoting:

In a candid interview with GQ published Tuesday, Tapper acknowledged that after his tough interviews of administration figures like Kellyanne Conway, he picked up a following from many critics of President Donald Trump.

“It’s nice to be recognized, but I also know that a lot of the people who are happy with me now are not going to be happy with me in four to eight years,” he predicted.

Tapper said that he was just as tough on Obama, and earned his share of grief for it at the time.

“A lot of people sending me nice tweets today were cursing me when I was asking questions about Benghazi in 2012,” he said.

“President Obama was not friendly to the press, but the press was very friendly to President Obama,” Tapper told GQ. “I mean, President Obama did not like me, and I understand why. I was a pain in his ass and I didn’t drink the Kool-Aid, and, you know, a lot of other people did.”

This is what I’ve been saying for years, that once a Republican was elected, conservatives would think Tapper had turned on them, but he’s never been with us, he’s just been a reporter who actually reports.  Yeah he’s gotten a thing wrong or two on Trump (who he clearly doesn’t like) but I’m not going to throw Jake out of the bus for being what he’s always been, a journalist who asks a lot of tough questions that make people in power uncomfortable, whoever they are.


Some culture?  Olivia De Havilland (who I think my wife resembles) is the last great star of Hollywood’s golden age still alive, from Captain Blood (1933) to Gone with the Wind (1939) she’s done it all and this week demonstrated the class of that bygone generation in reply to questions concerning a new mini series Feud about Hollywood circa 1963.

De Havilland is played on the series by fellow Oscar winner Catherine Zeta-Jones as a regal friend and supporter of Davis, but she was not consulted by the show’s creators — Murphy recently told THR that he “didn’t want to intrude on Ms. de Havilland” — so THR emailed her (yes, she uses email) to ask for her thoughts about the show and the women at the center of it.

“I have received your email with its two questions,” De Havilland replied. “I would like to reply first to the second of these, which inquires of me the accuracy of a current television series entitled Feud, which concerns Bette Davis and Joan Crawford and their supposed animosity toward each other. Having not seen the show, I cannot make a valid comment about it. However, in principle, I am opposed to any representation of personages who are no longer alive to judge the accuracy of any incident depicted as involving themselves.”

Added De Havilland, “As to the 1963 Oscar ceremony, which took place over half a century ago, I regret to say that I have no memory of it whatsoever and therefore cannot vouch for its accuracy.”

I’m with Vulture.com here

Now, time to find a throw pillow large enough to embroider with every word of this email.


Susan Sarandon is one of the Stars of that series playing Joan Crawford.  She is an ultra leftist but as this story shows, she is an honest one:

“It doesn’t matter if you’re outspoken about Trump, because Hollywood hates Trump,” she says. “But it was brave of Richard to say what he said. He was drawing attention to the things that everyone has agreed not to pay attention to. That’s the sin.”

She’s talking about Richard Gere who has been blacklisted in Hollywood for the crime of Supporting Tibet and criticizing China and even indy films are iffy now:

Gere is now appearing in “Norman,” the story of a Jewish “fixer” who gets involved with an Israeli politician. He’ll soon star in “The Dinner,” a modest story about two couples arguing over their adult children’s troubles.

Pure indie filmmaking. Yet even some indie films are off limits to him now.

“There was something I was going to do with a Chinese director, and two weeks before we were going to shoot, he called saying, ‘Sorry, I can’t do it,’” confides Gere. “We had a secret phone call on a protected line. If I had worked with this director, he, his family would never have been allowed to leave the country ever again, and he would never work.”

It’s a reminder that China is the same dictatorship it always was, but just imagine if they told Hollywood to lay off of Trump or no $.  It would be fun to see which Hollywood types would bite their tongues off.  Sarandon wouldn’t, that’s why I respect her.


An earlier item mentioned Gronk that is Patriots Tight End Rob Gronkowski who was part of the Pat’s continent that visited the White House and caused the Patriots to call out the New York Times for Fake News:

and they posted a tweet comparing two compatible super bowl win visits

If you want to know why so many non-New England fans hate the patriots it’s because most can only dream about tweets that say “The last time the [insert their home team here] won two Super Bowls in three years”

and while the NYT has offered a mea culpa (via hotair)

You’ll notice that the 800+ retweets that got is a lot less that the Times original 50,000+


Finally while the Boston Bruins (down 3-1) and the top seeded Boston Celtics (down 2-0) are nearing first round playoff elimination and the Boston Red Sox season just starting (10-6) 3rd place in the East have are all newsworthy I think the big story is the real likelihood that Superbowl Hero Malcolm Butler might be done in New England:

New England Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler has signed his restricted free-agent tender, which opens the possibility that the team could trade him.

Because a player can’t be traded unless he is under contract, Butler’s status was in limbo until he signed the $3.91 million tender.

Here’s why it makes it likely that he’s done here

The thinking would be similar to what the club did in 2016 when it shipped defensive end Chandler Jones to the Arizona Cardinals in exchange for a late second-round pick. The Patriots knew they were unlikely to sign Jones to a big-money extension after the season when he became an unrestricted free agent, so they decided that getting something valuable for him one year earlier was a worthwhile investment. They ultimately turned the pick they received for Jones into two players — starting guard Joe Thuney and promising receiver Malcolm Mitchell — en route to a Super Bowl championship.

Butler might even bring the Patriots a greater return in a year in which the club’s earliest selection in the draft is currently early in the third round, No. 72 overall. If the Saints were willing to return the first-round pick they received from the Patriots (No. 32 overall) in the Brandin Cooks trade, that might be enticing for Bill Belichick. Or a combination of high second- and third-round picks might even be viewed as more valuable to Belichick for a player who is unlikely to return to the team in 2018 after New England invested five years and $65 million in free-agent cornerback Stephon Gilmore.

Of course they might just decide they want to extraordinary CB’s this year to make the defense even more airtight.

He’s one of the few people to whom a Superbowl victory can be directly traced and is rightly considered by the NFL as the top Interception of all time:

I’d be sorry to see him go but if he ends up with a big contract elsewhere I’m happy to see him cash in, he earned it.


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Olimometer 2.52

If you are not in the position to kick in your funds we’ll always accept your prayers.

Chances are I wouldn’t recognize Susan Slusser if she passed me by on the street. I’ve seen her photo online and her on local sports television a few times, but given how I’m the living embodiment of jokingly stating the reason retail workers wear nametags is so we can remember our own, it should come as no surprise I’d most likely miss her if she was tap dancing in front of me. In a duet with Stomper.

Ms. Slusser is a superb sports reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle. Her main assignment since 1999 has been my beloved (albeit sometimes bedraggled) Oakland A’s. She writes with crisp, clean accuracy, covering the team’s ups and downs while drawing little if any attention to herself. It’s said the best referees and umpires are the ones you never notice due to their calling the game correctly. Similarly, in today’s world where reporting and opinion are far too often mixed in an unwieldy, unsatisfactory in both areas whole, Ms. Slusser is admirable in keeping the two separate, never tipping her hand or interjecting herself into the story. She is informative, in depth, and invisible.

Like most every media person in any field these days, Ms. Slusser has a social media presence. Unlike most every media person in any field these days, using said social media as something other than sheer self-promotion she engages with her readers, or at least the ones with a few synapses firing in coordinated fashion. I’ve exchanged a few tweets with her in recent months, and she has been unfailingly polite and informative. In like fashion, I have always addressed her with completely deserved compliments, respect, and consideration, often looking for a way to insert something she hopefully finds chuckle-worthy into the conversation. I gotta be me, after all.

I’m quite certain that Ms. Slusser and I voted for different Presidential candidates last November. Which is fine. Politics aren’t everything; I’d much rather chat about what the A’s are doing to address their defensive deficiencies or my beloved classic Christian rock artists. I don’t need to debate every policy and platform with everyone. Sometimes – most all of the time, in fact – I’d rather find common ground and not mix politics with everything else. I’d rather enjoy a ballgame. I also figured out quite some time ago that no one in Washington DC was refreshing any given blog site where I write fifty times a day, trembling with anticipation of my next great pronouncement so they’d know which policies and platforms to pursue. Something others, given their predilection for incessant self-righteous babble, have apparently yet to learn. But I digress.

There are many on my side of the political aisle who live for open combat with one and all in mainstream media. It works for them. It generates heat; it creates a scenario in which the fearless flamethrower, backed by gallant retweeters and such, speaks truth to power hiding behind corporate walls. Makes for great spectacle. Hail the conquering snarknado master!

If someone isn’t doing their job properly because of implied or overt bias, fine. Call them out. They deserve it. But with this duly noted, is it impossible to praise, and treat the same way you and I wish to be treated, reporters who regardless of their political beliefs do work of the highest quality? Or for that matter, members of any given profession?

Certainly engaging people as, well, people is far less exciting and attention-drawing than treating others as raw meat designated for tossing to your wolfpack fan club. But does the latter genuinely accomplish anything? Sure, you look like the tough guy or mucha macha chica on Twitter et al. You’ve also alienated, probably permanently, a whole lot of people you’re supposed to be trying to reach for your cause who, astonishing as it may seem, aren’t that interested in your totem pole positioning within their echo chamber. Why not for once try being respectful to another human being possessing the same dignity and worth as you? If it doesn’t work, you did the right thing. But if it does …

… you too can exchange tweets with the Susan Slussers of this world.

For the third straight year, I am headed to China, where I will teach students at the International School at Jinan University in Guangzhou, formerly known as Canton in South China.

The trip allows me an opportunity to travel throughout China, Thailand and Myanmar, where I continue my own “Asia pivot” after years of reporting on terrorism and the Middle East.

I will keep you up to date, with my travels and travails. I start in Xi’an, the one-time capital of China, where the Terra Cotta warriors were found in the 1970s. I visited Xi’an two years ago, but I wanted to travel to a nearby locale, where the only empress of China, Wu Zetian (624-705), is buried.

Wu was the concubine of Emperor Taizong. After his death, she married his successor—his ninth son, Emperor Gaozong, in 655. After Gaozong’s debilitating stroke in 660, Wu Zetian became administrator of the court, a position equal to an emperor, until 705.

She is buried in the Qianlong Mausoleum, which is something I’ve always wanted to see.

A mural in the Qianling Mausoleum

Hangzhou, the Venice of China, is my next stop. That’s where the G20 met last year. The city is known for its key role in the early canal system of the country.

Hangzhou

After that, I head out of China as it celebrates May Day, and millions of people throughout the Communist world launch some sort of remembrance for International Workers’ Day.

In Thailand, which has no May Day parties, I will head to the north, where I will stop in Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai, the locale for the famed Golden Triangle.

After a few days, I head for Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, which is being ruled rather poorly by Aung San Suu Kyi, the Nobel Peace Prize winner who ousted the longtime dictatorship.

But I’m not there for the politics; I am visiting for the famed Buddhist shrines in Bagan and Yangon.

Buddhist shrines in Myanmar

Then it’s back to southern China, where I will teach Journalism Research and In-Depth Reporting for sophomore students. Here is what my class produced last year: www.writingforjournalism.com. The stories include some about abortion, the elderly, urban policy and more.

The Chinese students are among the best and the brightest, and it’s an opportunity for me to see what the next generation from the Middle Kingdom will be like. For the most part, they resemble my students from the United States, but the work ethic is much stronger.

I’ll keep my head down as North Korea, the South China Sea and other issues swirl around me.

 

Some kind of mask at the Chicago Moons the Trump Tower rally two months ago

By John Ruberry

On Saturday, three days before the deadline to file 2016 federal income tax returns, there were a couple of dozen rallies across the nation that called for President Donald J. Trump to release his returns to the public.

The republic somehow managed to survive nearly 200 years before Richard M. Nixon, under pressure by the way, became the first president to release his federal tax returns.

Yesterday I worked. I was building my income for next year’s tax deadline date, so I cannot pass on my eyewitness observations on any of yesterday’s anti-Trump rallies. But as with another tax-related anti-Trump gathering, one that I did see in person, Chicago Moons the Trump Tower, according to media reports, there were many colorful costumes, including masks, as well as meticulously designed signs. Leftist rallies are part protest and part Mardi Gras. For the progs these festivals are nothing more than a way to blow off steam, and a less expensive method than a session at a shrink’s office, unless, of course, you spent a lot of money on your Trump mask with devil horns, bright orange hair, and a Hitler mustache.

The mainstream media, that is the anti-Trump media, fawned over this springtime Festivus, unlike the dismissive tone they took with the 2010 Tax Day Tea Party rallies, which were arguably the halcyon moment of the Tea Party movement, that is, until Trump’s election last year.

Blogger running the Boston Marathon in 2004

“Someone should look into who paid for the small organized rallies yesterday. The election is over,” Trump tweeted this morning. And yes the election is indeed over. Despite last year’s haranguing by the Democrats and their media allies, Trump still won the presidency even though he didn’t make his returns public. That bus left the station. Very few Americans passionately care about Trump’s tax returns, unlike such concerns as keeping more of their income.

But there is an upside to Saturday’s frivolities. At least those leftists who designed those striking Trump masks already have their Halloween costume in hand. Make Halloween Great Again.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.