Attention: Sports Lobotomy Needed!

Well, another Sunday, another loss for the Cleveland Browns.  The Browns never charge out of the gate to start the season, they just slowly deflate their diehard fans by finding a way to lose every stinking game.  They’re now 0-3, and the season is effectively over.

The sad sack Browns can never quite make the big play.  They don’t know how to win.  Today’s game is a good example.  The Browns look like crap to begin the game as the Bills roll to a 14-0 lead.  The Browns fight back and get the ball in the second half with a chance to take the lead, and they produce . . . nothing.  Buffalo gets the ball and takes it in for a score, and the Browns’ rookie quarterback throws two picks to end the game on an even more sour note.

I’m sure Pat Shurmur is a nice man, but what signs have we seen that he can be a successful NFL coach?  The Browns are loaded with rookies and young players and are outmatched, from a talent standpoint, against virtually every opponent.  How about trying a trick play, or going for it on fourth down, or doing something, anything, to show your team and your fans that you are trying to win games?  Instead, Patient Pat just stands on the sidelines, with a quizzical, resigned look on his face, as the Browns throw a three-yard pass when six yards is needed, don’t get the crucial first down, and then go down to another frustrating, painful defeat.

The Browns have the scent of death about them.  The gnawing feeling of permanent futility is more than any sports fan should be asked to bear — and yet I am called back to the TV set, weekend after weekend, to absorb another defeat and another lost season.  Is there a doctor somewhere who can perform a very targeted lobotomy directed at the sports fan lobes of the brain?

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How To Respond To Muslim Lectures, Edicts, and Bounties

The Muslim world has been giving the United States a lot of advice and information lately.  No doubt we’ll hear more thoughtful recommendations and guidance in the next few days, as Muslim leaders come to New York for a meeting of the U.N. General Assembly.  America needs to decide how to respond.

In Egypt — where only days ago raging mobs stormed the U.S. embassy and ripped down our flag — the new President, Mohamed Morsi, says in an interview with the New York Times that the United States needs to fundamentally change its approach to the Muslim world and show greater respect for Muslim values.  In the meantime, the head of the largest fundamentalist Islamic party in Egypt, which supported Morsi, is calling for U.N. to act to “criminalize contempt of Islam as a religion and its Prophet.”  And in Pakistan — a supposed ally — the government Railways Minister has offered a $100,000 payment to whomever kills the makers of the YouTube video The Innocence of Muslims and called upon al Qaeda and the Taliban to help in murdering the videomakers.  (Fortunately, the Pakistani government says it “absolutely disassociates” itself with the comments of its Railway Minister.  Thank goodness!)  And we haven’t even heard yet from the likes of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who will be speaking to the U.N. General Assembly, too.

It’s heartening to hear from the enlightened leaders of a region that is widely recognized for reasoned discourse and thoughtful consideration of opposing viewpoints.  But I’d like to see whoever speaks for America at the U.N. General Assembly share some of our views with the assembled Islamic leaders — and do so in pointed terms.  We should say that we relish our First Amendment, and we’re not going to change it no matter how often Muslims go on murderous rampages at some perceived slight.  We should say that will fight any effort to criminalize speech and will veto any ill-advised U.N. resolution that attempts to do so.  We should emphasize that we think that the world needs more freedom, not less, and that we stand with the forces of liberty.  We should tell the Muslim leaders that their real problems are not with freedom of speech and freedom of religion, but with tribal-based, anti-female societies that crush individual initiative, medieval economies that leave huge swathes of the population unemployed and ready to riot at any moment, and corrupt leaders who are more interested in amassing their own fortunes than helping their people realize a better way of life.  Oh, and we should make clear that we won’t do business with government where ministers are offering bounties on the heads of filmmakers.

I’m tired of our simpering, whimpering approach to defending our fundamental freedoms.  It’s high time that we stood up for what we believe in and told the Islamic world that they can riot all they want:  we aren’t going to back away from our liberties.

Seeming Disengaged

Ohio State won yesterday against winless UAB, 29-15.  They won, but there’s not a lot of positive things to be said about Ohio State’s struggling performance.

The good?  No Buckeye seemed to sustain a serious injury.  Ohio State finally got a runner other than Braxton Miller — in the case, Jordan Hall — more than 100 yards on the ground in a game.  The defense forced two turnovers, and John Simon and Johnathan Hankins are terrors on the defensive line.  And that’s about it.

The bad?  A complete breakdown on punt blocking that allowed the entire UAB team, and probably some of their fans too, to block a punt before it was even kicked and return it for a touchdown.  Poor kick coverage that allowed UAB to get good field position.  A defense that gave up more than 400 yards to the UAB offense, had some serious third-down breakdowns, and couldn’t get UAB’s offense off the field.  An offense that sputtered for most of the game, can’t seem to control the line of scrimmage, had countless three-and-outs, and had to punt six times against a UAB team that hasn’t won a game.  When the game was in the balance, the offense couldn’t produce the score that would put the game away.  The team had more stupid penalties.

Overall, the team seems somewhat disengaged, and doesn’t play with much urgency or killer instinct.  Urban Meyer reminded OSU fans after the game that this is a team that was 6-7 last year; it’s not reasonable to expect that they will crush every opponent.  That’s a fair point — but it’s also fair to expect a team to be improving at this point in the season, and I’m not really seeing that from the Buckeyes.  With the team now moving into the Big Ten schedule, starting with a road game against Michigan State and then a home game against Nebraska, some significant improvement had better come quickly.

Brrrr!

There’s no mistaking it — it’s cold this morning!  The temperature is in the 30s, steam is rising from the neighborhood ponds, and the landscape is starting to get that washed-out look you associate with late fall and (shudder) early winter.

I’m not ready for winter yet!  I’m not ready for the flowers to die, and snowflakes to fall!  Can’t we have a real autumn, with some Indian summer mixed in, first?