Life is a Highway

Life is a Highway
Source: Haiku Deck

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Joan Jett: Do You Wanna Touch Me & Androgynous, In Concert: Joan Jett, the Rocker Chick For All-Time

Source: Joan Jett-
Source: This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat

Joan Jett hasn't been a great rocker chick for the 1970s, or the 1980s, or the 1990s, the 2000s, or today. She's been a great rocker chick for all of those decades and times, because she has a style and brand that is of her own that she has perfected and made work for going on forty years now. She first hit it big in 1977 or 78 when she was still a teenager and has been going on ever since. And her music is about herself and her own life and what she has experienced. And is real and she isn't someone who tries to be anyone else or has copied anyone else, or has needed to. She's the ultimate American original.

Songs like Hate Myself For Loving You and I love rock and roll, are about her and her own life. Her own experiences and not some copycat of some other performer that has made it big, or has just made it big and trying to copy of that so they sound hot or cool as well. She'll never be mistaken for a girl band performer, the female version of a boy bander that became popular in the late 1990s. Because she has her own act and her own style. And wouldn't want to be part of that anyway.

Joan Jett is the ultimate rebel with a cause, because there really isn't any other rocker chick you can compare her to. Not least as one who has been nearly as successful and has been as successful for as long as she has. I'm not a huge fan of hers, I like a few of her songs, but the thing I respect most about her is how real she is and original she is. Who does her own thing whether it is considered hot or awesome by the pop culture establishment, or not. And she's taken a lot os risks and has been very successful as a result.
Joan Jett: Do You Wanna Touch Me & Androgynous Live

Monday, September 29, 2014

Alannah Myles Vevo: Alannah Myles- Official Black Velvet Video

Source: FRS FreeState Now Plus- Alannah Myles-
Source: The New Democrat

I first saw Alannah Myles black velvet in late 1990 or early 1991 when I was a freshmen in high school. And I was blown away by the video. The blues rock sound was about as good as anything I've ever heard from Eric Clapton and Bruce Springsteen, my two favorite blues rock artists. I was also blown away about how sexy Alannah looked in the video. The concert footage of the video with her in that black leather motorcycle jacket and the black leather chaps over black denim jeans and the black leather biker boots. She looked like a classic rocker chick in the video and way rocker chicks should look.

VH1 played this video from when it came out in 1989-90, to early 1992 or so and the song did very well. But the thing that I've never understood about Alannah is how come her career isn't bigger. With that beautiful blues sounding voice that goes great with blues and classic rock and how well written Black Velvet was written. I'm not an expert on the music business obviously, but you would think those qualities and her beautiful sexy look, would've led to more opportunities.

Alannah Myles career to me at least is a "what could've had been". Because she is a talented writer and singer, but her career just quite hasn't taken off. Joan Jett who I do like, whose been in the business going on forty years now, is not as good as Alannah. They have slightly different sounds and Joan is more of punk rocker than Alannah. But Alannah has a better voice and has better music, but right now over twenty years later , she's basically a one hit wonder. She is known for Black Velvet and that is about it.
Alannah Myles Vevo: Black Velvet Music Video

Friday, September 12, 2014

IronWorker Jeff: Video: NFL Films: The Chicago Bears 46 Defense, What Was it

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger

I wouldn't call former Bears defensive coordinator Buddy Ryan the father of the 46 Defense, but he certainly was one of the fathers. You could make a case that what former Atlanta Falcons defensive coordinator Jerry Glanville is the father of the 46 Defense. They just didn't call it that in Atlanta in the mid and late 1970s and even into the 1980s when Glanville was still coaching the Falcons defense before he moved on to Houston. In Atlanta this defense was called the Grits Blitz.

But what is the 46 Defense and why is it called that when the Bears didn't even line up four men up front and six right behind the defensive line. The Bears would line up four DL generally, two defensive ends and two defensive tackles. With Otis Wilson and Wilbur Marshal who were normally linebackers would line up next to either defensive end Dan Hampton or Richard Dent. With middle linebacker Mike Singletary covering the middle of the field almost by himself.

The 46 Defense to paraphrase Buddy Ryan was based off of a simple mathematic proposition. That if the offense lines seven up front and we line eight up front, at least one defender will always go unblocked and free to either rush the QB or stuff the runner. Which meant the Bears on defense would generally have eight guys lined up in the box. Not all of them on the line of scrimmage. Four down front, two linebackers again right next to one of the DE's, Mike Singletary right behind the DT's and a safety right near the line of scrimmage as well.

What also made the Bears 46 special was just because they generally lined up eight guys in the box, that didn't mean eight guys were always rushing the line of scrimmage. They wanted the offense to always believe that was a possibility and have to prepare for that. Most offenses fell for that trap and played the Bears 46 conservatively and tried to keep more guys in for protection and run blocking. Leaving fewer people in the play that the QB can throw the ball to and also making it harder to run the ball. Because instead spreading the 46 out, you leave everybody in making things very crowded.

The opposite is true in how you attack the 46. You don't go conservative especially if you are a good offensive team with a good QB and passing game. You bring in extra WR's and spread the defense out, which gives you more room to operate on offense. And once you establish the passing game and can even hit a few passes deep, now you got the Bears thinking about the passing game. Which gives you room to run the football.

As I mentioned last night, the Dolphins were the only team that figured out how to attack the Bears 46 in 1985 and have the personal to do it on offense. The Redskins studied that and used their own variation of that in 86 and 87. By using maximum protection, but not to run the football, but to hit big passes down the field. And spread the Bears out as well to throw short and that is how they beat the Bears in 86 and 87 in the NFC Playoffs. As well as being good enough on defense to stop the Bears.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

NFL Network: Video: NFL 1985: The Dominance of the 85 Chicago Bears 46 Defense

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger

The reason why the Bears 46 Defense isn't ranked as high at least by a lot of NFL historians as lets say the Steel Curtain Pittsburgh Steelers of the 1970s or even the Ravens of the last decade or so, is because the Steelers and Ravens were great on defense for a decade and not just one season or a few seasons. After the the Bears lost to the Redskins at home in the 1986 Divisional Playoff, the dominance and fear of the Bears I wouldn't say was gone, but teams knew how to beat them now. Which is what I'm going to get into.

I have a friend on Facebook who I met on YouTube who actually who disagrees with this. But Don Shula and the Miami Dolphins figured out how to beat the Bears defense in 1985 and not just figured it out, but had the offensive personal to get it done. And the Dolphins were the only team that beat the Bears in the 1985 season. Most NFL teams believed the way you beat the Bears was establishing the run so they can't kill you with the blitz. Well there are a couple of problems with that. The Bears were excellent against the run. Second with always having seven guys if not eight in the box, it makes it very difficult to run against that formation especially with the size and strength the Bears had on defense.

The Dolphins approached the 46 differently. One for strategic reasons that they had a great QB in Dan Marino with a very quick and accurate release who got rid of the ball quickly. They also always had at least three very good wide receivers in the 1980s with Marino when you are talking about Mark Duper, Mark Clayton and Nat More. The other reason being practical for the Dolphins. Lets be real here, the Dolphins didn't have a running game other than maybe Tony Nathan. Who was better suited as a change up back and a wing back, hybrid between a halfback and wide receiver. Someone who catches a lot of screens and passes out of the backfield and runs draws.

So what the Dolphins did is what they did better than anyone else in the NFL back then except for maybe the San Francisco 49ers was throw the football and throw it a lot. And just didn't throw the football a lot, but threw it very well. They spread out the Bears and threw a lot quick short routes to the guys I've already mentioned and forced the Bears with all of their big men to play a lot of pass coverage. So their horses upfront didn't have the time to get to Marino who was getting rid of the ball on quick drops anyway. The Dolphins turned their Monday Night game against the Bears into a shootout. Thinking the Bears couldn't keep up on offense and they were right.

I'm not saying the Bears secondary was a weak link and their linebackers sure as hell weren't. At least one more of their linebackers should be in the Hall of Fame, Wilbur Marshal comes to mind real fast. But they didn't have that one strong cover corner like a Rod Woodson or a Mel Blount. And they didn't have lot of speed and range with their safety's. Which meant they played their coverages and their assignments, but when something broke down, or they had to cover one-on-one against a very good or great WR, their defense became exposed.

The Dolphins beat the Bears in 85 by spreading the 46 out and throwing a lot of quick passes. The Redskins beat them in the 86 and 87 defenses by going maximum protection and taking shots downfield against single coverage with WR's Art Monk and Gary Clark. The Bears linebackers were hitters and stuffers first, but could get exposed when it came to pass coverage because of a lack of running speed and the fact they didn't play a lot pass coverage. There job was to hit and to destroy, not cover.

Now the positive aspect of the 85 Bears. If I had to take one defense for one season as far as how dominant they were, I take the 85 Bears over everyone else. Because of how dominant they were not just in the regular season, but in the NFC Playoffs not giving a single point against two good teams in the LA Rams and New York Giants. I think the 86 Giants had better overall personal on defense especially in the secondary and that their linebackers could play pass coverage as well. But nobody was more dominant on defense for one season than the 85 Bears.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

CBS Sports: NFL 1984-Green Bay Packers @ Chicago Bears: Fourth Quarter

Source: CBS Sports-
Source: This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat 

Here’s and example of why the Bears-Packers rivalry is so great. The Packers didn’t even make the NFC Playoffs in 1984. I think they finished 8-8 under their first-year head coach Forrest Gregg. The Bears were 10-6 and got to the NFC Final where they lost to the San Francisco 49ers, who were the eventual Super Bowl champion that year. And yet the Packers come into Chicago and not only beat the Bears, but beat them in dramatic fashion at the end of the game. Costing the Bears 2nd place in the NFC and forcing them to win at least one playoff game on the road to get to the conference final.

The Packers not only beat the Bears in Chicago, a game the Bears needed to win, but they beat them without their starting quarterback Lynn Dickey. Who was a Pro Bowl caliber quarterback for the Packers in the 1970s and 80s. And beat them with a third-string quarterback. Now of course the Bears didn’t have Jim McMahon or even Steve Fuller as their quarterback for this game. But they still had their 46 Defense and were healthy there. Playing a Packers team that didn’t have any great players on offense, other than maybe wide receiver James Lofton.
CBS Sports: NFL 1984- Green Bay Packers @ Chicago Bears: 4th Quarter

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

NBC Sports: Video: Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears: A Rivalry Through the Years

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger

Similar to the Redskins-Cowboys rivalry or the Steelers-Browns rivalry or the Raiders-Broncos rivalry, the Bears-Packers rivalry is not as great as it use to be. For one thing, the Packers have dominated this rivalry really the last twenty years or so when the Packers became a regular playoff team and divisional champion, as well as Super Bowl contender and champion. The Bears have been in, well hibernation (pun intended) really since they fired Mike Ditka in 1993. And have not found that one head coach who can not only make them consistent winners again, but champions as well.

But even with the Bears lack of success on the field in the last twenty years or so, because of all the games they've won in their history, including championships and of course with all the success that they Packers have had the last twenty years and throughout their history and with all of the history between these two great franchises, you'll have a real hard time finding a better rivalry in the NFL and probably a better rivalry in pro sports in general. I mean we are talking about Michigan-Ohio State as far as all of the history, games and championships won between these two great franchises.

Monday, September 8, 2014

The Coaster Nerds: The Tonight Show With Johnny Carson- Da Coach Mike Ditka From January, 1987

Source: The Coaster Nerds- Da Coach Mike Ditka-
Source: The New Democrat

Here's a great comedy duo for you. Da Coach perhaps better known as Mike Ditka the former head coach of the Chicago Bears in the 1980s and early 90s. And of course The King of LateNight Johnny Carson. In January of 1987 and I only know that because they were talking about the upcoming the Super Bowl 21 between the New York Giants and Chicago Bears. The Bears sort of had a disappointing season in 1986 which is why they weren't back in the Super Bowl that season.

Johnny Carson seem more interested in at the time Bears quarterback Jim McMahon than anything else. And of course Coach Ditka's famous temper as a head coach. And not talking about the Bears 86 season where they didn't even get back to the NFC Final that year and instead lost the divisional playoff to the Redskins. I think Ditka pretty much nailed it when he said that "it is not that Jim McMahon doesn't like him personally, but that Ditka is the coach and McMahon doesn't like authority figures at all". And Ditka was McMahon's head coach that McMahon was directed by.
The Coaster Nerds: The Tonight Show With Johnny Carson- Mike Ditka in 1987

Friday, September 5, 2014

HBO: Real Time With Bill Maher- Penn Jillette Explains His Libertarian Philosophy

Source: Real Time With Bill Maher- Penn Jillette-
Source: HBO: Real Tim With Bill Maher- Penn Jillette Explains His Libertarian Philosophy

If you listen to the Republican Party in recent years, like the Tea Party movement, you might think they are the individual freedom, limited government, anti-government political party. "Let free people live their own lives and be free, we shouldn't spend more than we take in. And should only spend more than we need to". Unless you focus on social issues like marijuana, abortion, gay marriage, practice a non-Christian religion or no religion at all, sleep with or pay a prostitute, sell yourself for sex, gamble your own money have an adulterous affair, because you aint getting enough at home, check out pornography etc.

And if you have a pretty good understanding of American politics you might think, actually they sound more like an authoritarian big government party to me. What happened to the limited government individual freedom of choice party. If you listen to the Democratic Party at least the activists in the party except for the Progressive Caucus and their allies you might think they are the individual freedom, limited government party. "Let free people live freely and live their own lives". If you hear their positions on gay marriage, immigration reform, civil rights, anti-war, drug reform, decriminalization of Marijuana.

All issues I tend to agree with the Left and Right on as a Liberal Democrat. Until you get to the Progressive Caucus and their positions on economic policy with all the tax cuts they want to repeal and new taxes they want to pass to double the size of the Federal Government. Take away our freedom of choice in health insurance if not health care all together, as well as all of the high taxes they would impose.

If the Progressive Caucus/Progressive Party bringing their version of what progressivism is building a Great Society through government and high taxes people "don't worry about living your own lives and making it on your own. We'll do that for you by taking your money away and giving you back what we feel you deserve" ever got into power and you may say to yourself, again if you follow American politics. "Wait a minute these Progressives aren't big believers in individual freedom, limited government, freedom of choice either".

At least not on economic policy, I don't like big government socialism either. And if you're a Liberal such as myself or a Libertarian, you take the positions that you get to keep most of the money you earn. Smoke a joint, be in love and marry someone of the same sex. Defend yourself, watch a porno flick, pay someone to have sex, sell yourself for sex. Without your big Uncle Sammy getting on you about it and grounding you and locking you in a room until you learn your lesson.

If you're a believer in individual freedom and freedom of choice, great we have a big club, but we are always looking for new members. Membership is free and you won't have to pay taxes on it, as long as the Progressive Caucus is not in power and you won't have Uncle Sammy breathing down your neck because he thinks you might be a terrorist because you support Individual Freedom, as long as long as Neoconservatives aren't in power either.

Uncle Sammy has already been banned from our club anyway, we just have one rule though and you have to pass a test first. You have to know what limited government and individual freedom are before you can join the club.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Reason: Nick Gillespie- The 2000s, Worst Decade Ever

Source: Reason Magazine- Gore V Bush-
Source: Reason Magazine: Nick Gillespie- The 2000s, Worst Decade Ever

I'm going to try to get through this blog without sounding like a partisan hack which will be difficult. Because if you're on the Right and ideologically disagree with me, you're probably going to disagree with this blog. Call it a hunch, but think about these facts for a minute, I know thinking for a whole minute thats like 60 seconds how do you get through that sober, but think about these things for OK 60 seconds and then take a deep breath.

When we close out the 1990s (and yes you're correct if your thinking 20th Century) America was at peace, we had a booming economy of something like 5% economic growth and a 4.5% unemployment rate, record low poverty level in the United States of around 13%, we just balanced three straight Federal budgets. The first balanced budget since 1969 and we haven't balanced one since. Our Federal Government only spent around 18-19% of GDP, instead of 25% like today. (A number I would like to get back to in a future blog)

The stock market hit 10K for the first time in American history I believe in 1998 and as powerful as Monica Lewinski was, she wasn't able to stop any of that success. We got through a Gulf War, the Balkan Wars, the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993, the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995 by an Anglo-Saxon Christian man, not by a Middle Eastern terrorist that was stereotyped. The 1995 Federal Government shutdown, deficit reduction, two East African embassy bombings and America remained the Land of the Free, unless you were gay or smoked or sold pot.

Now lets move ahead to a completely new century and decade which sounds like forever right, actually move ahead from December 31, 1999 to January 01, 2000. You can literally get their in a second where we have a presidential candidate whose famous thanks only to his father in George W. Bush and the other presidential candidate who on paper looks like has the qualifications to be President of the United States. But can't beat the guy who had to cheat off the person who could barely speak english to graduate high school. (Paper doesn't win elections candidates and incumbents do)

Better known as Bush V. Gore or Gore V. Bush you get the idea and we were treated to new phrases like hanging chads, dimple chads, over-votes, under-votes, not knowing who the next President was going to be a month after the election. A 50-50 Senate in 2001 basically favoring Senate Democrats, a divided Congress with a Democratic Senate and a Republican House from 2001-03. Two unpaid for tax cuts, two Middle Eastern wars where we've borrowed all the money to pay for them now 2T$ and counting, a 500B$ Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit again all borrowed money.

Kerry-Bush in 2004 where again a schmuck for a President who locks himself out of his own Oval Office who declares Mission Accomplished and Victory in Iraq, just one problem there. President Bush was 8 1/2 years early, ah damn I forgot about 9/11, the Republican Party losing Congress in 2006. Thanks to the Afghan and Iraqi Wars all this happening in ten years and there's more. I disagree that the 2000s are the worst decade of all time or either in my lifetime, I believe the 1970s was worst even though I was only alive for four years of it. And actually only remember 1978-79 parts of it because I started nursery school then.

But the 2000s if I wasn't a political, current affairs and history junky I wouldn't want to relive or go through another decade like that because we've paid a heavy price for it and have had some of our individual liberty taken away from us. With things like the Patriot Act and is a decade that we'll be paying for at least another decade if not two decades with all of the money we've run up on the national debt card.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

The Young Turks: Cenk Uygur- President Obama Rips Governor Romney in Final Debate: The Best Lines

Source: The Young Turks-
Source: The Young Turks: Cenk Uygur- President Obama Rips Governor Romney in Final Debate: The Best Lines

Trying to tell the difference between RomneyCare and ObamaCare is like trying to tell the difference between a couple of lemons. You have to feel each of them, look closely, get into the details. But on paper they are essentially the same plans. Expanding private health insurance through tax credits, patient protections and requiring that all Americans pay for their share of their health care.

But other than health care reform, telling the difference between Mitt Romney, depending on which Mitt he decides to be based on what day it is, how the wind is blowing, how the weather is, which clone he decides to be that day, it can be very difficult without x-ray vision. They are very different on Iraq and Afghanistan and Iraq. Mitt believes we should stay there, Barack believes we should get the hell out.

Mitt and Barack are different on deficit reduction. Mitt apparently believes that we can cut the debt and deficit, raising taxes on the poor and focusing on around 15% of the Federal budget. Or 555B$, he doesn't want to eliminate all of that by the way. Thats the non-defense and entitlement parts of the Federal budget. President Obama believes everything should be on the table, except raising taxes on the poor.

They are different on growing the economy. Mitt believes in more tax cuts and subsidies for corporate America and rich people. I don't have a problem with the tax cuts, if it comes with eliminating tax loopholes. Which Mitt views as tax hikes. Apparently Mitt believes that if you eliminated all taxes on the wealthy and corporate America. And then eliminate all of the tax loopholes as well, Mitt would call that tax hikes, because you would be giving them less money. ( Talk about fuzzy math ) I believe thats what would come under George W. Bush's definition of fuzzy math.

The President believes the way to grow the economy is to rebuild the country, its public infrastructure, infrastructure investment. Developing a national energy policy that would expand and create new energy industries in America. Putting millions of Americans back to work, as well as incentivizing people to spend money in the country. Including tax cuts for the middle class that need tax relief. Here a few areas where Mitt and Barack unfortunately are similar and why I'm disappointed with President Obama as a Liberal Democrat and it relates to social issues and civil liberties.

Mitt and Barack both support the Patriot Act, indefinite detention and the War on Drugs. You expect Republicans today to take these Big Government positions. If Mitt Romney was truly a Liberal as critics in the GOP call him and if he's a Liberal, the majority of people living in the Bible Belt are Muslims. If this was the case, then Mitt Romney would be against these things. If Barack Obama was a real Liberal and not a Moderate Liberal he would be against these things as well. And this is where the President has been disappointing and why Liberal Democrats are taking a look at Gary Johnson the Libertarian Party nominee for president.

There's plenty of differences between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama that Ray Charles could see. I just wish there were a hell of a lot more. So to call them twins or clones, is inaccurate. Mitt Romney already has a clone but his name is Mitt Romney as well. And thats the only twin or clone that he needs.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

FORA-TV: PJ O'Rourke- Conservatives and Fiscal Responsibility

Source: FORA-TV- Political humorist P.J. O'Rourke-
Source: FORA-TV: P.J. O'Rourke- Conservatives and Fiscal Responsibility

What is fiscal responsibility, well to me that means spending what you have and can afford and nothing else. You don't have to be a Conservative to believe in that, just have common sense. Just like you don't have to be an American to like apple pie, but if you are an American you probably have more access to apple pie than lets say if you're a Chinese living in, I don't know lets say China just to use as an example. But you would think Conservatives would believe in fiscal responsibility, because how often they preach about responsibility. But of course New Gingrich has preached about family values in the past, haven't heard one of his sermons lately, no idea why. Perhaps it had something to do with the fact he had an affair with one of his staffers when he was Speaker of the House.

Well the right-wing will say that President Bill Clinton had an affair with a White House intern. But Bill Clinton doesn't preach about family values, kinda the way Fidel Castro doesn't preach about the need for democracy in Russia. His consistency would be severely lacking there for obvious reasons which gets me to the point about the current Republican Party, the Party of Reagan. Low taxes, economic liberty, individual responsibility, they use to be the party of fiscal responsibility. Until they woke up and realized they had a Republican President and Congress back in 2003.

Then the Republican Party decided who needs fiscal responsibility, Congress has the authority to borrow at will. "If its legal, then it must be the right thing to do". Kinda like someone using the logic "everyone else is doing it, (fill in the blank) it must be all right". Well if all these people (not everyone literally, I hope) stuck knives up their noses until they were massively bleeding, would you do that to. Sometimes you have to use your own judgement and not play follow the leader like a six-year old.

By the way the Republican Party woke up again in 2009 and noticed that there was a Democratic President and a Democratic Congress with a 10T$ federal debt and a 1T$ deficit and decided, "oh boy (or something to that affect) well, they are republicans, perhaps they did say 'oh boy, now we'll be the party of fiscal responsibility and blame Democrats for the problems we created! Thats our ticket back to power!' Or at least some power and it worked. The GOP won back the House of Representatives in 2010. In case you've been in a coma for a few years, or vacationing in a cave in Afghanistan, if you were doing those things, I hope you have some pictures or brought back some kabob. Or even survived the experience, I heard there's a war going on over there or something.

I'm not saying the Democratic Party is innocent here, even though I'm a Democrat we have what's called the Progressive Caucus made up of a bunch of 21st Century Socialists and want to move America to Sweden. Well actually design our Federal Government around the Swedish Government and double the size of our Federal Government. And if you think you pay too much in taxes right now, move to Sweden because your taxes would be lower there if the Progressive Caucus/Party ever came to power in America.

What was great about America back in the day lets says 1980s and 90s, is you had a real Conservative Republican Party in the classical sense and a real Liberal Democratic Party again in the classical sense. And of course you had your whack jobs, that would escape from the mental institution or get released by a drunk doctor and run and get elected to Congress. But those people weren't in charge, the adults in both parties were. Today the whack jobs in both parties have enough power, that if you don't do exactly what they want.

You may lose your job and face a primary challenge which is why almost nothing gets done anymore because the adults in both parties don't have enough power to do what they want to do. And are afraid to work with the other side and if you're a believer in limited government like myself thats not always a bad thing. The least the Federal Government does, the more power the people have.