Archive for January, 2012

By: Martin Rand, III
Date: January 25, 2012

Last night, President Barack Obama delivered his State of the Union address. According to him, the union has come a long way since he took and office and it’s only going to get stronger.

“The state of our Union is getting stronger. And we’ve come too far to turn back now,” said President Obama. “As long as I’m President, I will work with anyone in this chamber to build on this momentum. But I intend to fight obstruction with action, and I will oppose any effort to return to the very same policies that brought on this economic crisis in the first place.”

President Barack Obama (center) delivering his 2012 State of the Union address (Vice President Joe Biden (left) and Speaker of the House John Boehner).

This was the most he talked about the present state of the country. He spent the majority of the speech telling Congress his vision for the future of the union. His overall vision is equality across the board, creating a stronger economy with more jobs and less debt and building innovating technology for the future.

The way he plans on making these dreams a reality is by getting rid of the value system of politics and getting back to American values.

“So it is with America. Each time I look at that flag, I’m reminded that our destiny is stitched together like those 50 stars and those 13 stripes,” said President Obama. “No one built this country on their own. This nation is great because we built it together. This Nation is great because we worked as a team. This Nation is great because we get each other’s backs.

And if we hold fast to that truth, in this moment of trial, there is no challenge too great; no mission too hard. As long as we’re joined in common purpose, as long as we maintain our common resolve, our journey moves forward, our future is hopeful, and the state of our Union will always be strong.”

Of course, all these promises of a better country with politicians of different parties working together was greeted with rows of applause. However, what wasn’t answered was how exactly was it going to change? What is going to make the two parties actually work together and build a better country for the poorer majority and not the richer minority?

Since Obama has been in office, the two sides have bickered and fueled the perception that politicians only care about themselves and their rich constituents.

I want to hear about what the government is going to do to change the mindset and operate effectively and efficiently. Not just a “leaner, quicker, and more responsive” government, but a government with reasonably thinking heads on capitol hill.

In case you all forgot, this is the major reason why the US credit rating was lowered for the first time ever last year.

According to, Standard&Poor (S&P) lowered the rating because “political brinkmanship” in the debate over the debt had made the U.S. government’s ability to manage its finances “less stable, less effective and less predictable.”

It said the bipartisan agreement reached that week to find at least $2 trillion in budget savings “fell short” of what was necessary to tame the nation’s debt over time and predicted that leaders would not be likely to achieve more savings in the future.

It rarely, if ever, happens the two sides work together to get things accomplished; and, just like S&P, I don’t see that changing anytime soon.

I did notice, throughout the speech, President Obama spoke about getting rid of $2 trillion worth of debt as if it was a good thing though. Huh?

From the education system to the national debt to financial discrimination, America has a lot of problems. However, that’s just what’s on the surface. The underlying problem is how the republicans and democrats cling to “rigid ideologies instead of building consensus around common sense ideas.”

Once that problem is fixed, everything else will make a turn for the better also; and, until that problem is fixed, all of President Obama’s other dreams for the future of the union will not come true.

To see the whole State of the Union address go to Pyrate TV.

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By: Martin Rand, III
Date: January 24, 2012

If you haven’t heard by now, the New York Giants have beaten the San Francisco 49ers in a thrilling overtime game 20-17.While Eli Manning, Victor Cruz and the rest of the offense played nearly flawless and Justin Tuck, Jason Pierre-Paul and the rest of the defense played very well (only giving up two huge touchdown plays), majority of the sports world seems to think the reason the Giants are going to the Superbowl is because of 49ers wide receiver/punt returner Kyle Williams.

Kyle Williams (above #10) trying to block out the crowd noise after a hard day on the job. However, I don’t think it is going to be that easy to block out the fans on Twitter.

You don’t believe me when I say almost everyone blamed Williams for the Giants victory. Just look on Twitter. The tweets that were being sent out Sunday night were numerous and continued on until through Monday night; and all of them said pretty much the same thing– YOU SUCK!!! (for 49er fans) and THANK YOU!!! (for Giant fans).

More Than Just A Game

Now, I read through a lot the mentions about Williams and some were actually hilarious and creative for the moment. However, others were a little shocking to say the least.

The thing I found most interesting was other people tweeting the fans that were threatening Williams were taking things a little too far. They said it was just a game and shouldn’t be taken that seriously.

I’m sorry to say but sports it’s not just a game. Not in the United States of America anyway. Not when more people pay attention to their fantasy football team than to the presidential candidates and their particular platform.

No sports, the NFL in especially, is a lucrative business; where there’s a lot of money riding on the players shoulder’s. From the owners down to the gambling fans, fair or not, there’s a lot of other people’s money riding on the performance of the players; and, when a player performs as horribly as Williams did, some people get money taken out of their pocket.

Sometimes Emotions Get In The Way

Even for the fans who are non-gamblers, the game can still mean a lot. Those true die-hard 49er fans, who live-and-die with every play, literally do live-and-die with every play. I know because I’m the same way.

Whenever my Yankees, Knicks or Giants are playing, I go through emotional roller-coasters, especially during playoff games. For every ounce of happiness I felt when Williams fumbled the ball, 49er fans felt an once of heartbreak and loss. Some of those tweets were from people who were grieving because they realize that their season is over and they came so close.

Of course, the main culprit behind the end of the 49ers’ season is Williams. No matter what any of his teammates say to the media they know, like we all know, without those two fumbles, the 49ers have a much better chance at winning that game. The picture below sums up how Williams’ teammates really feel about him. Look at how Vernon Davis (with the helmet on) and Michael Crabtree (#15) are looking at Williams. You can’t tell me they ain’t thinking some of the things people were tweeting.

I’m not saying what the people were tweeting was right or wrong. All I’m saying is people should understand where the anger comes from and not jumped on people for their tweets and act like they have no connection to what’s going on on the field. In this time of social media,it’s so easy to express yourself at any given moment that sometimes those hurt feelings come out in a very hateful way.

To see both Williams’ turnovers go to Pyrate TV.

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Is Kyle Williams the main reason the San Francisco 49ers lost the NFC Title Game?
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By: Martin Rand, III
Date: January 21,2012

AFC Championship Preview

Baltimore Ravens versus New England Patriots

This is going to be the ultimate showdown and prove which side of the ball wins in the playoffs. Will it be Ray Lewis and the Ravens star-studded defense; or will it be Tom Brady and the Patriots high-octane offense? Conventional wisdom would tell you defense wins in the playoffs, which would mean the Ravens should win. However, the offense they’re going up against is just as powerful as they are and shouldn’t be take lightly.

So, since both sides are equal (the Ravens ranked 3rd in defense and the Patriots ranked 2nd in offense), in terms of talent, this game is going to come down to both team’s deficiencies . That is the Ravens’ offense and the Patriots’ defense. Joe Flacco and the rest of the offense have shown signs of greatness, but most of the time it seems like they’ve never played on the field together before. Their ineptitude at scoring is shocking to me considering all the weapons they have at their disposal. If Flacco can somehow manage to use all these weapons, I think he’ll be able to slice through the Patriots’ 31st ranked defense and pull out a win for the Ravens.

Result: Ravens 24- Patriots 17

NFC Champions Preview

New York Giants versus San Francisco 49ers

I’m just going to honest– the Giants are going to win this game. There is nothing that can stop them. No one on the 49ers defense, no coaching schemes, NOTHING CAN STOP THE GIANTS!

Ok. Now that I got my biased New Yorker opinion out of the way, lets get on to preview.

I can’t even lie– this is going to be a very close game. It’s not surprising either because these teams are built the same way. They’re built to play hard on defense and control the ball on offense. Which is why this game will come down to turnovers. Eli Manning and Alex Smith have been known to lose the ball often; and, whichever one reduces the number in the turnover category will win the game for their team.

Result: Giants 31- 49ers 28

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Who is going to win the AFC?
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Who is going to win the NFC?
New York Giants
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By: Martin Rand, III
Date: January 15, 2012

In a game surrounded by Tim Tebow mania and talk of whether he could lead the Denver Broncos to the Superbowl, it was fitting to see Tom Brady put on one of the greatest quarterback performances in NFL playoff history and show everyone what a real quarterback looks like.

With a remarkable performance by Tom Brady (right), Tim Tebow’s (left) deficiencies were highlighted even more.

Brady put on scoring clinic. He threw for five touchdowns in the first half, setting the playoff record for most passing touchdowns in the first half; and finished the game with a total of six touchdowns, tying the playoff record.

The New England Patriots won the game 45-10.

While this was going on, Tebow could barely complete a pass. However, that’s nothing new. Tebow rarely completes a lot of passes during games, although, it seemed even more magnified last night.

The reason for this is because Brady was scoring at such a high rate of speed. By the end of the first half, Brady had more passing touchdowns, 5, than Tebow had passing completions, 3. Seeing a statistical mismatch like this increases the magnifying lens on Tebow’s quarterback play and puts on full display his lack of skill at the position.

Yes, Tebow won two national titles in college; and he has done a good job leading the Broncos to a division title this year, but his lack of ability to throw the ball is the reason why he won’t last as a NFL quarterback.

As much as I dislike Brady and the Patriots, I have to admit that Brady is the model of perfection when it comes to playing quarterback. From his calmness in the pocket, keeping his feet still, reading the coverage and throwing a perfect spiral. Now look at everything Tebow does. It’s almost the exact opposite.

People want Tebow to succeed because they feel like he is a good person off the field and he may be. However, a quarterback needs more than a kind heart to win a Superbowl. It takes skill, hard-work and the determination to want to get better.

All he has to do is watch Brady’s performance yesterday and try to play half as well as Brady played. If he needs more motivation, here’s another alarming stat. Brady had 26 passing completions in yesterday’s game. That’s equal to the total number of passing attempts Tebow had for the entire game.

Unless Tebow realizes he has to make changes to his mechanics and how he plays overall, he will definitely be out of the league sooner than later.

Image source here

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Will Tim Tebow last as a NFL quarterback?
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By: Martin Rand, III
Date: January 13, 2011

The New York Knicks have a history of being terribly bad at drafting players in the first round. Their picks over the last decade have done little to disprove this notation either; and, honestly, Iman Shumpert, their first round pick last year, may continue the tradition.

Can Iman Shumpert break be the first great first pick the Knicks have drafted in over two decades?

I haven’t seen the Georgia Tech product play much in this short season, but from what I’ve seen I’m not sure if this kid has what it takes to be great. Last night’s loss versus the Memphis Grizzlies is exhibit A.

It seemed like as soon as the game started he started jacking up shot after shot. By the middle of the first quarter, he was already 0-9 on his shots. He finished the game 5-20. On a team with Amare Stoudamire and Carmelo Anthony, I don’t think it’s within the team’s best interest for an inconsistent rookie to run down the court and shoot the first shot he sees.

However, to be fair, Stoudamire did get benched early because of foul trouble and Anthony’s left wrist was bothering him; but, even when they were in the game, Shumpert was still throwing up shots.

At first, I thought maybe Coach Mike D’Antoni told him to shoot more, but a quick camera shot of his face after another Shumpert heave proved otherwise. I can understand D’Antoni’s frustration. It wasn’t just the fact Shumpert kept shooting and missing, but he also was not passing the ball to wide open teammates. Here’s the crazy thing– he is listed as a point guard!

I’m not trying to jinx Shumpert at all. I want him to be great and break this tradition of terrible first round picks; but, the fact is that the Knicks haven’t had a viable pick in the first round since David Lee (who now plays with the Golden State Warriors) was drafted in 2005; and haven’t drafted a great player since Patrick Ewing in 1985.

That’s a long time to not have drafted a great player considering they have had high draft picks numerous times over the last couple of years.

It would be in everyone’s best interest if Shumpert can develop and be the great player he thinks he is now. After watching a couple of games this season, including last night, I know he has very long way to go before this is possible. I hope Shumpert works hard and listens to the coaches and veteran players around him to make this happen because the last thing the Knicks need is another first round draft bust.

Image source here

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Do you think Iman Shumpert will develop into a great player for the New York Knicks?
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