Two Vices One Stone

The pub down the street from me, the one that has karaoke all weekend on the second floor and the wait staff who sing like angels, also shows UFC pay-per-views. So tonight I can run down between songs and watch Anderson Silva toy with poor Forrest Griffin for a few rounds. Huzzah!

JP Finds Another Sucker

While JP Ricciardi has gotten a lot of flak for not trading Roy Halladay after putting his name out there (undeservedly, in my opinion... Halladay was easily the best player available at the deadline, and given that Cleveland gave up Cliff Lee for pennies on the dollar it was pretty clear the market wasn't going to give the Jays anything close to what Halladay was worth) he did do a great job of getting value for Scott Rolen's bloated contract.

And now, apparently, he may have found a way to get out from under another bloated contract, as some idiot GM put in a waiver claim on Alex Rios.

Unlike Halladay, or even Rolen, Rios isn't a player who makes much of a difference. He's hitting a whopping .261/.314/.420 on the season, which is basically fourth outfielder territory. If that line doesn't move drastically over the next seven weeks his OPS and ISO will have dropped for the fourth straight season. He's a good base stealer, and is capable enough defensively playing a good right field and a decent center field, but that skill set isn't worth anything close to the following contract:

$9.7 million in 2010
$12 million in 2011
$12 million in 2012
$12.5 million in 2013
$12.5 million in 2014
$13.5 million in 2015 (club option)

Especially considering the options the Jays have for corner OF spots (notably Travis Snider, who's found his stroke again at Triple-A), Rios needs to be kicked to the curb immediately.

If JP is smart enough to use the opportunity to get that dead weight off the books -- whether he gets any kind of prospect back or not -- he should jump at the chance.

On the other hand if he yanks Rios back off waivers, he should be fired on the spot. There's simply no excuse (beyond JP's ego not letting him admit the Rios contract was a colossal mistake) for such a decision, either in financial or in baseball terms.

It's Coming

The same sick feeling of dread I got in my stomach while watching Obama give his acceptance speech in Denver is returning. The reactionary troglodytes who felt disenfranchised by his election seem to have decided that the fight over health care reform is their line in the sand.

I merely pity the poor dupes at the town halls who keep shrieking about euthanasia for the elderly, government death panels, and all the other bullshit talking points that are seeping out of the septic tank that is the soul of the right wing. They aren't the ones scaring me. It's the other ones I'm worried about... the ones hanging Obama in effigy.

I feel like the pressure is going to keep building until it erupts in an actual attempt on Obama's life.

Anyone who thinks what's happening is an expressioon of normal, healthy democratic debate is willfully delusional (Just keep walking, Peggy. It's what you're good at.)

Wise Latinas FTW

Sotomayor confirmed 68-31. America, fuck yeah.



I do, however, continue to be disappointed at the complete absence of O RLY? Taitz images out there. C'mon people, get on the ball. The woman mugs more in an interview than Katherine Heigl does while eating a hot dog in "comedic" fashion. Make with the Photoshop already.

Get Tropical

Finally saw Semi-Pro, and enjoyed it pretty much exactly as much as I expected to. The film-makers clearly loved the ABA, and kept the improvy dead spots that normally plague Will Ferrell films to a minimum.

It's flattering sometimes being part of a ridiculously small target demographic.

Steak League Draft Recap

Here's who I've taken so far:

1st round (13th overall): Andre Johnson, Hou. Choice was between him or Steve Smith.
2nd round (16th overall): Kevin Smith, Det. Had a number of RB options, plus Smith was still on the board, but I went with the upside play.
3rd round (41st overall): Lee Evans, Buf. Want a strong WR corps since we start three of them.
4th round (44th overall): Roy Williams, Dal. Hate this pick, but see above, plus the other option was Cedric Benson as a #2 RB and I hate him even more.
5th round (69th overall): Shonn Greene, NYJ. Needed an RB2, Greene is a beast that the Jets coaching staff loves, and they have a killer run-blocking O-line. Done.
6th round (72nd overall): Thomas Jones, NYJ. Absolutely necessary handcuff to Greene (although it might end up being vice versa). Suddenly I'm a Jets fan.

Using two picks on my RB2 slot probably cost me a player I really wanted though. (And indeed it did, as Greg Olsen went a few picks later.)

7th round (97th overall): Mark Clayton, Bal. Solid WR insurance.
8th round (100th overall): Seemed an appropriate pick for the first IDP selection, and he's a player I really really wanted. Welcome aboard, Patrick Willis, SF.
9th round (125th overall): This is where I paid for taking Willis. A lot of people filled their backup QB spot on the down and back, so I was pretty much left with Trent Edwards, Buf as my starter.
10th round (128th overall): Ditto at tight end, so I nabbed Tony Scheffler, Den. He should be a decent security blanket for Kyle Orton. I actually wanted to address my RB depth here, but Tim Hightower got nabbed 126th. Very annoying.
11th round (153rd overall): I wanted the Browns' James Davis, but he went at 152. D'oh! Gave up looking for an RB and grabbed one of my top WR sleepers, Earl Bennett, Chi, instead. He was Jay Cutler's favorite target at Vanderbilt, donchaknow.
12th round (156th overall): Settled on Chris Brown, Hou for RB depth, since Slaton hasn't quite proven he's can hold up for 16 games of pounding yet.

13th round (181st overall): Filled my backup QB spot with Joe Flacco, Bal, who has a good matchup against the Bengals when Edwards is on his bye week.
14th round (184th overall): Now it gets tricky. I like to stagger the bye weeks for my TE, K, and IDP players so I never have to worry about replacing more than one at a time. That led me to Oshiomogho Atogwe, StL, for my DB slot.
15th round (209th overall): More bye-week staggering left me with John Abraham, Atl as the only decent DE option left.
16th round (212th overall): I wanted one more RB lottery ticket, so I threw a dart at rookie Gartrell Johnson, SD, in case Tomlinson breaks down.
17th round (227th overall): My last pick, and I needed a kicker. Well, the Bengals offense can't get much worse, so Shayne Graham, Cin it is.

Final roster by position (bye week in brackets):

QB - Trent Edwards, Buf (9); Joe Flacco, Bal (7)
RB - Kevin Smith, Det (7); Shonn Greene, NYJ (9); Thomas Jones, NYJ (9); Chris Brown, Hou (10); Gartrell Johnson, SD (5)
WR - Andre Johnson, Hou (10); Lee Evans, Buf (9); Roy Williams, Dal (6); Mark Clayton, Bal (7); Earl Bennett, Chi (5)
TE - Tony Scheffler, Den (7)
K - Shayne Graham, Cin (8)
DE - John Abraham, Atl (4)
LB - Patrick Willis, SF (6)
DB - Oshiomogho Atogwe, StL (9)

If the Jets don't have a time-share in the backfield I should have a solid team, but if Jones and Greene split carries I may need to deal a WR for a starting RB.

Is the Clock Ticking For Hillary?

If there's one thing Bill Clinton's visit to North Korea highlighted, it's how ineffective Hillary Clinton has been as Secretary of State.

Her attempt to mediate the Honduran coup through Costa Rica's president was a failure. Her former spokesperson Lanny Davis becoming a lobbyist for the coup regime doesn't help either.

The whole White House has pussy-footed around the Iran situation (at least until Robert Gibbs' whoopsie moment this morning), but she's been upstaged by Obama in even the minimal public statements the administration has made.

And now, she's been publicly belittled and insulted by North Korean diplomats before having to stand aside and let Bill get credit for the release of Ling and Lee. Not even Amanda Marcotte seems to have commented on the fact that Hillary was insulted in explicitly sexist fashion by a foreign government, only for her husband to swoop in and 'save the day'.

Now, in many ways there's not been much else she could have done. The White House has been keeping foreign policy very much in the fold, and Clinton just isn't in that loop. But given all the action on the international stage that's taken place in the short time Obama's been in office you would think his Secretary of State would be able to make some kind of positive impression.

Instead she's essentially struck out twice, once on Honduras and once (in humiliating fashion, which can't help her standing when it comes to future negotiations and incidents) on North Korea.

I wonder if she's wishing she hadn't left the Senate right about now.

The Steak League

Later this afternoon I will be taking part in the umpteenth edition of the Rotowire Steak League, a fantasy football league so-named because all the LA owners get together at the end of the year, and the losers buy the winners steak dinners. It's all very manly.

I've got the 13th pick out of 14 owners, which isn't terrible -- I'm more comfortable picking at the end of rounds in a snake draft and doubling up on players I want on the switchback, than sitting somewhere in the middle. On the other hand, on my cheat sheet I've only got 10-11 guys who I consider the 'elite' at RB/WR, so I'm crossing my fingers one of them fades to me at 13.

The league is IDP, which has me wondering which round I'd need to pull the trigger in if I want Patrick Willis, and this year we're switching from a 1 QB/2 RB/2 WR/1 Flex format, to 1 QB/2 RB/3 WR, which is going to put a premium on those top wideouts. At this point I'm expecting my first two rounds will be something like Greg Jennings or Reggie Wayne, followed by a RB in the Kevin Smith/Ronnie Brown/LDT range, unless someone drops into my lap.

For the moment though, I'll be spending the next couple of hours researching WR sleepers. This is a Rotowire league, so everyone's an expert and probably knows that the Bears' Earl Bennett has great chemistry with Jay Cutler from their Vandy days, or that Robert Meachem is again looking good in camp for New Orleans. I've gotta look deeper than that, because having WR depth is going to be huge.

Would You Believe took a web ad for me to notice the deliberate misspelling in the title of Inglorious Basterds?

Out of the Park!

Your Daily Show Bud Light Highlight of the Night:

John Oliver: Obama's popularity is down eight points.
John Stewart: No president's honeymoon period lasts forever! It's a marathon!
John Oliver: Which, as a Kenyan, he should be great at.

Boom goes the dynamite!

Still Even More TIFF

Today's press release focuses on Canadian films, which thankfully also includes co-productions or it would be a dreary lot indeed...

The important news: we're getting the Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus! Yay!

Also, Jean-Marc Vallee follows up C.R.A.Z.Y. with a Queen Victoria biopic (in fact, it's the Closing Gala)

There's a new Atom Egoyan film for me to shun, since despite its cast and subject matter it will undoubtedly be a sterile mess;

And if I choose to bite the bullet, roll the dice, and toss around other cliches to indicate I'm taking a chance on an unheralded Canuck feature, said feature will probably be either Defendor, with Woody Harrelson playing a crazy guy who thinks he's a superhero, or the rock 'n' roll vampire comedy Suck.

Rubbing Sully's Nose In It

That speech Obama gave this morning made a very convincing argument for repealing DADT... too bad it wasn't advocating repealing DADT, and was just talking about how nifty the new GI Bill is.