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Posted by on Jan 23, 2020 in Blog, Essays, Politics | 1 comment

I Just Sent a “Contribution” to the Republican National Committee

 

Republican National Committee

 

I dropped this envelope in today’s mail. Yeah, Trump — I got your “contribution” right here.

Whatever flunky Trump toad opens the envelope is in for one helluva’ surprise.

Here’s the Backstory: I presume it’s social media pranksters who sign me up for pro-Trump fundraising and other Republican schemes. I get this kinda’ shit all the time. Usually, this junk mail goes straight to the trash can. But since I was personally invited to become a member of the “President’s Advisory Board” — for a FINANCIAL CONTRIBUTION, of course — well, I had to read the offer.

The RNC sent me a survey, with laughably loaded questions. Survey questions like “Do you believe the Democrats’ impeachment proceedings against President Trump, who was duly elected by the people and has made America great again, is a politically-driven witch hunt?” You get the idea.

I had the option of joining the “President’s Advisory Board” at various levels of commitment. $25 makes me an “Associate Member.” $50 makes me something higher. $75 is the next step. $100 gets me “Inner Circle” status. For $500 or more, my name gets personally seen by the president who will write me a personal “thank you” (done with autopen, no doubt). It all sounds like a giant casino rewards program. All that’s missing is $15 in free slot play and the 2 for 1 buffet coupon.

Well, I had my own idea of a contribution. I’ll just leave it at that. Nothing dangerous or illegal, mind you. But, I want to make sure the Trump Republican fundraisers know that I took their solicitation very seriously. The “$100” handwritten on the outside of the envelope should ensure it’s opened and read by an actual Trumpster.

Please, RNC — send me more surveys and offers. I’ve got plenty more “contributions” to make.

__________

 

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Posted by on Jan 20, 2020 in Blog, Essays, Politics, What's Left | 0 comments

My Thoughts on Alan Dershowitz

 

 

MY THOUGHTS ON ALAN DERSHOWITZ

Alan Dershowitz has been picked to be on Donald Trump’s legal team in the U.S. Senate’s upcoming impeachment trial. Here are my thoughts on this high-profile legal celebrity.

I keep on hearing that Alan Dershowitz is a great legal scholar. Yet, what I’ve observed over the past 25 years is an artfully-crafted illusion, the concatenation of a media-obsessed subterfuge of publicity willing to argue *any* side of *any* legal controversy, no matter how ridiculous, so long as he gets to appear on television and reinforce his own mythology. I haven’t seen nor heard Dershowitz argue *anything* convincingly since the Von Bulow trial, and that fabrication four decades ago was spun by a movie.

First, let’s get one thing out of the way. I have no issue with any attorney taking any case to provide the best legal defense possible. I need not explain that to readers. If you don’t understand it or disagree, then please stop reading. We have zero common ground. What I take exception to, and hereby question is Dershowitz’s presumed commitments to justice when he’s so often been on the opposite side of is own arguments.  Moreover, I’m not casting aspersion to the legal defense of murderers and scumbags, rather — I’m stating Dershowitz has demonstrated an appalling lack of ability to persuade and be effective, despite countless opportunities to argue in dozens of settings and cases.

Dershowitz’s willingness to play the provocateur of persuasion is certainly good for theatrics. He’s a master ringleader of any political circus once he enters the big tent. Yet, he’s become so soiled with personal and professional contradictions, it’s now impossible to take him seriously, on anything. Especially anything with a political connotation. Go back and watch Dershowitz’s commentary on the Clinton impeachment during the late 90s, or his countless appearances in defense of murderer O.J. Simpson. They’re cringeworthy.

Do you want a better example of Dershowitz as a legal and political failure? I’ll give you three, each off the top of my head:

1. Years ago, ESPN did a mock civil trial on Major League Baseball and the battle between big-market and small-market teams. The question was on baseball’s competitive balance. It was a bold three-hour experiment on live television. Dershowitz argued on behalf of small-market teams, a view which I was vociferously in agreement with. Yet, Dershowitz was destroyed by opposing counsel Bruce Cutler. It was a major league ass-kicking. I had several arguments swirling in my head while watching, which Dershowitz failed to bring up. It was an embarrassing performance and the first hint that Dershowitz wasn’t nearly as smart or gifted as we thought.

2. Following the 2000 presidential election debacle (the Florida results went to the Supreme Court), Dershowitz wrote a book titled How the High Court Hijacked Election 2000. Entirely sympathetic to Dershowitz’s argument, I was seeking supporting material on my own for Gore’s case. So, I bought and read the book. Rarely has any text ever swayed me in the opposite direction, but somehow this legal scholar managed to do exactly that. This book, written for laypeople (non-legal people like me, was an appalling misfire. How does an author manage to defeat his own argument within his own text? I vowed never to waste $25 on another Dershowitz book again.

3. A few years later, Dershowitz wrote The Case for Israel, supposedly a defense of the Jewish state. Eager to expose myself to opposite points of view, I cracked open the book at a Barnes and Noble and spent an entire afternoon suppressing disbelief at how poorly-constructed Dershowitz’s written arguments were, both morally and politically. Any contributor to Foreign Affairs could easily have deconstructed and destroyed Dershowitz’s so-called “defense” of Israel. Once again, he managed to move a reader *away* from his side of the argument.

In fairness to Dershowitz, I’ve seen him debate numerous times (twice in person). Once, he debated Alan Keyes on the topic of religion in government. Predictably, Dershowitz took the secular side and mopped the floor with Keyes, which wasn’t exactly saying much. More recently, Dershowitz (I thought) won a heated debate about BDS (sanctions against Israel) against Dr. Cornel West, who appeared woefully unprepared in the back and forth. Those are the only two moments of Dershowitz’s lengthy career when he advanced his case in any way, and both wins were softballs.

Now, Dershowitz somehow gets pegged for Trump’s legal defense. Call me unimpressed.

__________

 

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Posted by on Nov 22, 2019 in Blog, Essays, Personal, Politics | 0 comments

Dallas’ Darkest Cloud: Growing Up in the Shadows of the Kennedy Assassination

 

kennedy assassination

 

Writer’s Note:  Today marks the 56th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination.  Some 19 months before that tragic day, I was born in Dallas.  My family lived in the Oak Cliff section of Dallas, where Lee Harvey Oswald also resided and was ultimately captured.  Today’s column reveals what life was like growing up in the shadows of the Kennedy Assassination.  A similar version of this article first appeared at this site in 2013.

 

I’m one of the few people alive who lived near the two most shocking tragedies in modern American history.  I say this with no sense of pride, but do wish to bear witness.

On September 11, 2001, I lived on the ninth floor of a high-rise condo building in Arlington, VA, across Interstate 395, directly overlooking the Pentagon, which became engulfed in flames that morning after being hit by a jet airliner in the worst terrorist attack ever on American soil.

Ironically, Arlington, VA is where John F. Kennedy’s body now rests.

On November 22, 1963, the Oak Cliff section of Dallas was my home, only a few miles from where President Kennedy was assassinated and an even shorter distance from where Lee Harvey Oswald was later caught by Dallas police at the Texas Theater on Jefferson.

I don’t remember anything about that tragic day in Dallas.  I was too young to have any memories.

But everyone from Dallas around that time developed a deeper sense of awareness than most of what the assassination meant.  Sometime later, we came to our own opinions about what had happened.  We carried around scars, lingering long afterward.  That terrible moment in our nation’s history even gave Dallas an inferiority complex.  It forced some of us to try and go out and prove to the world that we weren’t like the assassin at all (who was actually from New Orleans and even lived in New York City for a short time).  We weren’t “the city of hate,” as many suggested.

 

**********

 

The Oak Cliff section of Dallas lies just to the south of downtown, on the opposite side the Trinity River.  It’s considered the city’s stepchild.

Oak Cliff only a few miles away from the big banks, tall buildings, and giant office towers that eventually became Dallas’ trademark.  It’s only a short ride from far wealthier sections of the city — including Highland Park, University Park, and North Dallas.  But it might as well have been light-years from the rest of Dallas society — the privileged upper class who glanced across the Trinity River and the giant flood plain and looked at Oak Cliff as “the other side of the tracks.”

My mother and father divorced early in my life.  They mostly grew up in and around Oak Cliff.  So did many other famous people you may know.  For example, Stevie Ray Vaughn, the iconic blues guitarist, was from Oak Cliff.  Long before then, the notorious bank robbers Bonnie and Clyde hung out around the far western fringes of Jefferson Avenue.

For me, perhaps the most shocking common ground, however, is my parents’ connection to South Oak Cliff High School.  They were students at the same school where (now retired) NBA star Dennis Rodman later went and played high school basketball.  Pretty amazing to think my mother and father sat in the same classrooms as Dennis Rodman.

Today, Oak Cliff is just about all Black and Latino.  But back during the early 1960s, it was a vast melting pot of all ethnic groups.  Sort of a smaller Brooklyn.  No one seemed to have much money, but everyone got along fine.  We never had racial problems or the kinds of troubles associated with the Old South.  Although I moved away to Chicago and Albuquerque for a time (my father worked an air-traffic controller), we returned back to Oak Cliff again during the 1970s where I attended a half-White, half-Black school (T.W. Browne).  Race just wasn’t a big deal to us kids.  We even had lots of interracial dating.  Maybe the grown-ups thought differently about race than we did.

 

**********

 

I don’t remember ever seeing the actual house where Lee Harvey Oswald lived, nor do I know the exact spot where he senselessly gunned down a Dallas police officer named J.D. Tippet.  Oh, I probably rode my bike down those streets and later drove my car across the pavement where Oswald walked many times over the years.  But the passage of time is a giant eraser.  It tends to wipe out the things we don’t see.  Most memories fade slowly.

When I was a kid, I watched a number of movies that played at the Texas Theater.  One seat in the center of the auditorium was different than the others.  It was painted black.  That was the infamous seat where Lee Harvey Oswald was sitting when he was captured by police and tried to resist arrest.

Growing up, I also remember the tasty barbecue joint located next door.  It was called “Po’ Boys.”  That local dive served the tastiest sliced beef-brisket in the city, topped off with a spicy sauce, washed down by an ice-cold mug of root beer.  That was the best-tasting thing in the world when you’re 12-years-old, or 57-years-old.

Years later, I worked as a bartender at a restaurant downtown.  A husband-wife team waited tables where I worked and somehow managed to save enough money to lease the storefront where the old Po’ Boys had been and open up their own Mexican restaurant.  Their last name was — and I swear I’m not making this up — “Kennedy.”  Oh, the irony.

Whether it was watching movies or eating barbecue, no one ever brought up the name Lee Harvey Oswald, nor did we give much thought to the things that happened that awful day back in 1963.  No one that I around knew him, nor remembered him.  It was like he never existed.

 

**********

 

Some people think sports receives far too much attention in our society.  Perhaps they’re right.

But unless you’re around my age, or perhaps a little older, you will never be able to understand the significance of what the Dallas Cowboys football team meant to our city, and it’s people.  To most out there reading this who are from other cities and the fans of other teams, you have to try and imagine the terrible black eye Dallas suffered because of the Kennedy Assassination.

The worldwide anger directed at the city was (and is) completely unwarranted.  After all, the actual crowds that welcomed the President on that November day were friendly, even wildly enthusiastic.  Moreover, Kennedy wasn’t killed by a local right-winger.  He was murdered by an avowed Marxist who lived most of his life elsewhere.  The assassin also had no long-term links to Dallas, other than living in the city and its suburbs on two separate occasions.  At the time he killed Kennedy, Oswald had been living in Oak Cliff for about seven weeks’ time.

Yet, Dallas and its citizens were largely blamed as a whole for the crime of the century.

What happened in the aftermath of the Kennedy Assassination certainly didn’t help the city’s image in the larger court of public opinion.  Although the Dallas Police Department did a remarkable job at capturing Oswald quickly and linking the assassin directly to the crime with evidence that was overwhelming (within just hours), his shocking murder on national television only a few days later in the basement of the city jail by Jack Ruby, a strip club owner with ties to organized crime, made the world think of Dallas as an outpost in the wild west.

Fortunately, without intention, the NFL’s Cowboys came to deflect that image over the years.  They became good, very good in fact, at just the right time.  In 1965, the Cowboys began a record-setting string of consecutive playoff appearances.  To outsiders, they became a new symbol of a more modern city and a source of pride for everyone.  Much later, they even became known as “America’s Team.”  I think the adoration many people have for the Cowboys stems from people needing some sense of relief from the pain of those darkest days in the city’s history.  Back then, they were the shining star that allowed the city to heal from what happened.

 

**********

 

Growing up around where the Kennedy Assassination took place gives me a more sentimental attachment to the events of that day and the people who were witnesses of history.  But it doesn’t provide me with any special advantages as to suspecting who was really responsible.

After the Warren Commission Report was released, a cottage industry of conspiracies sprung up.  Some of the authors and investigators who penned various theories were well-intended, and even thought-provoking.  Others were total quacks.  In some cases, important questions were brought to light for the first time that needed to be asked, specifically about facts that weren’t covered in the Warren Commission Report.  Of course, the links between Oswald and Ruby to Pandora’s Box of possibilities — ranging from organized crime to the Central Intelligence Agency, to Fidel Castro, to the Russians — made for some entertaining speculation.

Now 55 years later, I think the evidence is overwhelming that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone — as did Jack Ruby when he shot his target in a moment of passion.  While plenty of other theories were worthy of consideration at one time, we’ve now reached the point when no additional information, nor final conclusive answers, are likely to be forthcoming.  Perhaps the real story of what happened in Dallas that day was just as it was initially reported.  That’s not the answer many people want to hear.  But the truth isn’t always the most interesting of possibilities.

That’s probably the saddest tragedy of all, that the leader of a nation could be gunned down and history could be forever changed — not by the hand of a grand conspiracy — but rather from a simple inexplicable act from a loner.

The streets in Dealey Plaza and around Oak Cliff where the assassination and its aftermath took place remain virtually identical today, just as they were 50 years ago.  But for all those who were around during that time and who remember, nothing is quite the same as it was, nor will things ever be the same again.

__________

 

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Posted by on Nov 18, 2019 in Blog, Essays, Politics, What's Left | 2 comments

My Thoughts on the Latest Colin Kaepernick Controversy

 

My Thoughts on the Latest Colin Kaepernick Controversy

Would-Be NFL Player/Activist Fumbles at the Worst Possible Moment

 

I tried. I really tried.

I tried to support and defend Colin Kaepernick, the unemployed multi-millionaire quarterback-turned-activist who was clearly the victim of disproportionate backlash from NFL fans and teams.  Please, mark me down as a supporter and a defender.

Here’s some perspective:  Women-beaters, drug abusers, accused rapists, and dog killers have signed and re-signed with teams. Those clearly guilty of serious crimes are cheered by fans, their despicable acts all but ignored by tribal mobs. But Kaepernick, an activist making a peaceful display of protest against racial injustice in America becomes an outcast and a pariah. Shame on the fans and teams for losing all sense of perspective and for their grotesque hypocrisy. Cheering for women beaters and dog killers while blasting Kaepernick makes you look like a joke.

That said, the NFL held a so-called “workout” this past weekend, which was likely Kaepernick’s one and last chance to prove he belongs in a uniform under contract. Not only did Kaepernick blow this opportunity in the worst way, but he also embarrassed himself and harmed the noble causes he supposedly espouses:

Here’s my perspective:

(1) There are approximately 96 NFL quarterbacks on 32 team rosters, and even more with practice squads and on injured reserve. Question — Is Kaepernick a “top 96” quarterback? The answer is yes, or at least *was* yes. Kaepernick took his last snap three years ago, in 2016. Nonetheless, given the current dregs of NFL quarterbacking (Chicago Bears, are you listening), Kaepernick would likely be, at worst, a capable backup who deserves a chance at playing.

(2) I was never of a fan of Kaepernick’s skill set, even when he was successful as a starter. He’s not the quarterback I’d want to build a team around. However, he was a winner, albeit on a very good team at the time.  Given the older retreads, mostly losing quarterbacks, who continue getting plenty of opportunities (Derek Anderson, Matt Cassel), and even start games (Ryan Fitzpatrick, Matt Schaub), Kaepernick should be on a team somewhere.

(3) Kaepernick handled the initial controversy terribly (back in 2016). Showing up to team practice in socks portraying police officers as pigs was disgraceful and stupid. His public comments about there being no difference between then-candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton showed appalling ignorance. His admission that he didn’t even bother to vote in the 2016 election reveals the downright stupidity of a social influencer and bad example for others to follow.

(4) I, and many others inclined to support Kaepernick, chalked up those dumb comments in 2016 to simple immaturity, and perhaps not understanding the gravity of his actions. Over time, we expected the activist to understand his cause has become much bigger than any individual. Given Kaepernick had three years to learn more, develop better understanding, and explain himself, we thought he’d mature and perhaps even admit he was wrong in the way he handled the scrutiny.

(5) Kaepernick’s opportunity to show his skills and demonstrate he was still in football shape was a unique chance not given to any previous player. He should have agreed essentially to do whatever it took to sign with a team and contribute. Prospective teams were reportedly not looking so much at Kaepernick’s arm or legs of physicality but wanted to see if he really wanted to play. Unfortunately, he answered these questions before the workout by getting into a pointless legal spat about liabilities and waivers, demanding that cameras be allowed onto the field when NFL rules forbid such media attention, and then moved the location at the last minute. Nothing was gained by this idiotic last-minute dispute.

(6) Showing up in a t-shirt with the letters “KUNTA KINTE” on the front of his shirt was football suicide. Anyone, including supporters, who thought Kaepernick would be focused on his game and wouldn’t be a distraction was shown to be foolish. This ridiculous optic of self-comparison to the slave from “Roots,” was mind-bogglingly stupid.

(7) Lest there remain any doubt about Kaepernick’s confusion and mixed intentions over the weekend, he also made a huge deal out of a new line of shoes being released by Nike. This was nothing but a media sideshow intended to cash a paycheck. No one should care what Kaepernick, the prospective NFL player, is wearing or promoting. But he made an embarrassing spectacle of himself in pimping his shoes. This wasn’t the first time Kaepernick has created a sideshow that detracted from his message.

(8) Kaepernick is finished as an NFL quarterback. He will never take another snap. Prior to this weekend, that was the NFL’s fault, in an obvious case of collective bias and collusion. Now, Kaepernick’s fate is his own doing. It’s his own fault, likely shared by some idiotic agents and personal advisors.

My main takeaway from this mess is that we can and should separate the message from the messenger. Indeed, the justice system in this country is biased. Protests are justified. Kneeling for the National Anthem is an act of patriotism. Speaking out for one’s personal beliefs is very American. Kaepernick is not only worth defending *on* the football field. He should be hailed as a hero and a role model.

But “off” the field, Kaepernick has fumbled at the worst possible moment. He turned over any advantage to his haters and detractors with a series of preposterous blunders. He lost the undecided and made a mockery out of those who were adamant in supporting him publically.

Surely, a decade from now, perhaps sooner, there will be an ESPN “30 for 30” when Kaepernick will be celebrated and remembered as a brave person of principle. In some respects, that praise shall be deserved. However, in the meantime, all Kaepernick has done is stupidly waste two opportunities — his chance to play in the NFL again, and our chance to evolve into a nation with a better understanding of social activism and the things worth defending.

Mr. Kaepernick — you’ve got your shoe company money. You got your media attention. Now, please — go away. I don’t want to hear from you again.

__________

 

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Posted by on Oct 12, 2019 in Blog, Politics | 5 comments

NFL 2019: Week #6 Picks

 

 

Last week I suffered my worst loss in two years.  I went 1-6 for a net minus of $1,195.

So, what exactly does one say or write after posting such disastrous results?

Answer:  You get back to work.  You keep on trying.  You try and learn what might have gone wrong.  Then, you get back in the game.

On to Week #6.

 

************************************************

2019 NFL WAGERING RECORD

Wins — Losses — Pushes          17 — 20 — 0

Starting Bankroll:   $ 8,296.

Current Bankroll:   $7,471.  (- $820.)

Last Week’s Results:         1 — 6 — 0  (- $1,195.)

*************************************************

 

THIS WEEK’S WAGERS:  This week, I’ve made five wagers.  One wager is sizable, my biggest bet of the season.  The other four wagers are small bets intended to take advantage of something I call a “zig-zag theory.”  This means backing decent teams coming off losses while also betting against teams coming off a win.  Five wagers — laying $1,325. to win $1,200.

LA Rams -3 (-110) vs. San Francisco — Wagering $1,100. to win $1,000.

Rams were thought to be the class of the NFC, but have lost their last two games — an embarrassing blowout loss at home versus Tampa Bay and a 1-point loss at Seattle, when the usually reliable kicker Zuerlein missed the last-second game-winner.  Now, with 10-days to prepared, look for the Rams to make a statement here.  A loss to the 49ers puts the Rams in an insurmountable hole, three games back in the division.  So, the sense of urgency is real.  There’s nothing wrong with the Rams offense, which is scoring 29 PPG.  The problem has been on defense, but those numbers are skewed by the Rams committing multiple turnovers the last two defeats.  The rest should help the Rams here, who are 7-1 ATS under Coach McVay.  Meanwhile, San Francisco is a fat and happy 4-0.  Credit the renewed 49ers for winning every game, but their competition has a combined 5-15 W-L record.  This game is easily the 49ers’ toughest test of the season.  That task won’t be made any easier by suffering a number of injuries, including two OL and their starting FB, one of the best in the league.  San Francisco has also been exceedingly fortunate in the turnover department, forcing 11 takeaways (they had six all of last season).  Given a more experienced team in big games, the home-field advantage, extra rest and prep time, and the added motivation of coming off two losses, we get some rare spread value with the Rams laying only -3.  I think this is a compelling wager all the way up to -5, which was the early send-out number.  Reports are RB Gurley will not play, but the Rams have enough talent to overcome his absence.  Rams have thrown 58 passes per game last two week and racked up lots of yardage.  I expect that will continue against the 49ers.  Another intangible — 49ers kicker Gould has struggled this season, making just 7 of 12 FGs (five misses).

Cleveland +1 (-110) vs. Seattle — Wagering $55. to win $50.

Which Browns team will show up this week, the one that demolished the Ravens on the road at Baltimore or the dreadful bunch that didn’t show up in San Francisco last week?  I suspect that back at home facing a quality opponent, the Browns will put things together in this game and give a solid effort.  Seattle is clearly the better and more consistent team.  But the Seahawks are coming off a huge win at home versus their rival and now must travel and face a desperate team.  The price is right here to take the home dog, getting points.

Jacksonville -2.5 (-110) vs. New Orleans — Wagering $55. to win $50.

Credit the Saints for rattling off three straight wins with QB Bridgewater getting the job done.  But this looks like the possible off week for New Orleans.  RB Kamara is questionable, which now places added pressure on Bridgewater, who has benefited from a solid running game and good defense.  Win over Tampa last week was somewhat misleading as Saints generated only 252 yards of total offense.  Meanwhile, Jacksonville’s defense has cost them their last two games.  I look for a much better effort this week.  Jags offense playing well.  This line looks strange.  But I’m counting on the more desperate team to rise to the occasion at home.

Atlanta – 2.5 (-110) vs. Arizona — Wagering $55. to win $50.

This play is counterintuitive.  Cardinals are the NFL’s most exciting “bad” team, clearly headed in the right direction.  But the Arizona defense is problematic and Atlanta should have enough talent to get the win and cover here in an absolutely desperate situation.  Falcons at 1-4 are close to losing their season and it will take a win here to salvage any shot at making the playoffs.  Hard to imagine the Falcons looking worse than their last three games, but this is their first real soft opponent and I expect Atlanta will finally show up and take care of business.  Total at 51.5 is indicative of a high scoring game, so despite no line value, I don’t think the points will matter.

LA Chargers -6.5 (-11o) vs. Pittsburgh — Wagering $55. to win $50.

I’m laying -6.5 with the host Chargers, which doesn’t make much sense at first glance.  One can’t make a case for laying nearly a touchdown with a team that hasn’t played well at home.  However, coming off the upset loss in Carson last week, look for a much better effort here.  Their task is made considerably easier by Pittsburgh starting a third-string QB (Hodges).  Getting the Chargers who absolutely must have a win here, versus team that’s reeling and has no viable QB threat, and laying less than a TD strikes me as a rare bargain.  Chargers have too much talent to let this game slip away.  Should be an easy double-digit win given the lack of talent at skill positions we’ve seen from Steelers this season.

 

THOUGHTS ON OTHER GAMES:

CAR is laying -2.5 at TB with a total at 47.5. in the early game at London.  Tempting to play the Bucs here, inexplicably getting points.  Carolina is 3-0 since QB Newton went down to injury and the Panthers are very quietly back in the playoff hunt after an 0-2 start.  Still, I think the feisty Buccaneers, who have scored 110 points in their last three games, are the play getting points.

CIN +11 plays at BAL.  The Bengals have been woefully painful to watch, at times, and are coming off a dreadful loss at home to ARZ, in a game that wasn’t as close as the final score indicated.  Left for dead, I’d probably play the Bengals if forced to pick a side.  Not sure the Ravens should be laying double-digits in a division rivalry game.  But Cincinnati has been way too inconsistent to back with money, and there’s plenty of evidence that this team is among the most poorly coached in the league.

HOU +4.5 at KC with the game total at 55.  Chiefs were uncharacteristically inept on offense in a home loss last week.  It will be interesting to see how they respond.  Houston has gone UNDER in 3/5 while KC showed some defensive strength, last week.  Given these factors and the high total, I lean UNDER here, thinking that possibly KC’s outrageous offensive success the past 20 games will gradually revert to the mean.

MINN -3.5 versus PHILA.  I would normally like the Vikings laying the points against any other opponent  They’re clearly a more dominant team at home.   But PHILA has played very well the past two games and can stop the run.  That will force QB Cousins to throw.  Minnesota has played soft competition at home in the previous two games but gets tougher foe here.  Two 3-2 teams.  Should be close.  The +3.5 is enough to play the Eagles, if you want action on the game.

WASH is laying -4.5 to MIA.  Total is 42.  QB Keenum’s career was thought to be over a few weeks ago, but after the Redskins plugged in two QBs who looked worse, look who’s back under center.  Washington fired Gruden last Monday and new head coaches sometimes inspire a better effort.  But I’m not sure the Redskins merit laying -4.5 on the road, given how bad this team has played the last few weeks.  If forced to play the game, I’d take the Dolphins plus the points.

DAL is laying -7 at the hapless NYJ, who get the soft QB (Darnold) back as the starter.  Total looks a tad too high at 44.5.  I think DAL will shut down the Jets, who are ranked 32nd in most offensive categories.  But the Jets defense has played well, at times.  This is too many points for a game where one team hasn’t been scoring and the other relies heavily on the run.  Play the UNDER if you need a bet here.

It’s DEN -2 or nothing for me in the game against TENN.  Titans are absolute garbage on the road.  Coming off a terrible showing last week, the Titans inspire no confidence.  Credit Denver for two solid games recently, losing a close home game to Jacksonville before upsetting the Chargers in LA last weekend.  I think that momentum carries over here for the high-altitude Broncos playing the gutless Titans led by a QB who historically seems to struggle in games like this one.

If I could grab +5.5, I’d probably play the visiting Lions on MNF at GB.  But line has dropped to +4.  Lions had two weeks to prepare and have been in all four games this season.  GB’s success is owed largely to their defense, but they’ve allowed 58 points the last two games.  I think Detroit keeps this close, but no wager for me since I’d like just a few more points.

 

CONTEST WINNER ONLY/NO POINTSPREAD [$200 entry fee]

Season Record To-Date:  45-34-1

Week #6 Picks:

New England over NY Giants

Tampa Bay over Carolina

Cleveland over Seattle

Kansas City over Houston

Miami over Washington

Minnesota over Philadelphia

Jacksonville over New Orleans

Baltimore over Cincinnati

LA Rams over San Francisco

Arizona over Atlanta

Denver over Tennessee

Dallas over NY Jets

LA Chargers over Pittsburgh

Green Bay over Detroit

 

BD /SM INVESTMENT GROUP [37 persons]

211. — David Heldar
100. — Steve Watanabe
1,000. — Peter Lucier
302. — Bruce Kramer
200. — Finbarr O’Mahony
100. — Howler
500. — Linda Keenan
100. — John Pickels
100. — Patrick Kirwan
300. — Sean McGuiness
252. — Jim Anderson
200. — Chad Holloway
500. — Eric Schneller
351. — Randy Collack
100. — David Lawless Lawful
1,000. — Paul Harris
51. — Dan Goldman
51. — Sharon Goldman
102. — Ken QB
102. — Chuck Weinstock
102. — Peter Taki Caldes
51. — Kenny Shei
51. — Jeff Dietch
128. — Kevin Un
22. — Becca
102. — Corey Imsdahl
102. — Don Bingo Reick
1,000. — Jeff Siegel (payment pending)
100. — Stephen Cohen (payment pending)
51.  — John Reed
51. — George Wattman
51. — Mickdog Patterson
100. — Larry Lubliner
100. — Guy Grizz Berentsen
100. — Edmund Hack
500. — Bob Feduniak
63. — John Reed

__________

 

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