Saturday, January 23, 2010

NFL Playoffs

The NFL season is down to its final four teams. In tomorrow's AFC Championship, the NY Jets face the Indianapolis Colts and in the NFC Championship, the Minnesota Vikings travel to New Orleans to play the Saints.

The Colts, Vikings, and Saints have been the three top teams in the NFL all season long. The Jets, who made it as a Wild Card, are the surprise team still remaining.

As a Patriots fan, I despise the Jets. However, I can't help but admire them. I really like their rookie head coach, Rex Ryan, who's not afraid to speak his mind. Ryan is a brilliant defensive coach who implemented the same attacking style of defense as the Defensive Coordinator in Baltimore that he now runs in New York.

This year's Patriots team was a big disappointment to me. They were a soft, pass happy, flag football style team who fattened up their record against the Weak Sisters of the Poor in the NFL. When facing a good team, the Patriots were outhit and outcoached all season long. The 2009 Patriots were a team that could be bullied. The defense wasn't physical or stout and was seemingly back on their heels most of the time. The offense was very predictable and showed weakness at all the offensive positions other than QB. Even Tom Brady didn't have a very good year.

The NY Jets play the way the 2001 Patriots used to play. They go out there and hit hard. They run the football and they attack on defense. That's the way football should be played.

As much as I despise the Jets, I dislike the Colts more. Therefore, I find myself in the odd situation of rooting for the Jets. J-E-T-S, JETS! JETS! JETS!

In the NFC, 40 year old Brett Favre continues on his Redemption Tour. He's had an excellent season with the Vikings and has mostly played within the confines of the offensive system put in place by Coach Brad Childress. The New Orleans Saints are led by QB Drew Brees, who's the best QB in the NFC. The Saints showcase a high flying passing offense that can strike early and often.

The Saints are a sentimental favorite. The combination of Hurricane Katrina as well as the Saints' pathetic franchise history, makes them a team you want to see win.

A Saints and Jets Super Bowl is what I want. After tomorrow, I'll be pulling for the Saints to win it all.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Scott Brown Shocks The World

In a special election in Massachusetts for the U.S. Senate, in which Democrats outnumber Republicans by a 3-1 margin, little known state senator Scott Brown shocked the country by soundly defeating Attorney General Martha Coakley by a 5 point margin, 52-47. This surprising election result sent tremors across the country and struck fear in incumbent Democratic politicians facing election this November. If Ted Kennedy’s seat in Massachusetts wasn’t safe, what seat is for the Democrats?

How big was this? This was huge, really HUGE. This was David vs. Goliath, the Goliath being the Massachusetts Democrat dominated political establishment. The Senate seat has been held by Democrats; mostly the Kennedy family since 1952. This is a bigger upset than the NY Giants defeating the 18-0 New England Patriots in the Super Bowl. How can Massachusetts vote Republican for Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat?

It is easy to pin the blame on the poorly run Coakley campaign or this being a rejection of the Obama agenda, however there is more to it than that. Below is what happened that brought about a Republican being elected to the Senate seat held by Ted Kennedy for 47 years.

Scott Brown – He worked HARD to win. He pounded the pavement, shook hands in the cold and snow, put forth brilliant TV commercials and annihilated Coakley in the debates. His “every man driving a truck” persona was a big winner. Two keys for Brown – the TV commercial that caught all the Democrats off guard, where he compared JFK’s pro tax cut economic policies to his own, and when he told debate moderator David Gergen that it wasn’t Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat or the Democrats’ Senate seat, but the people’s seat. Brown was a terrific candidate.

Martha Coakley – Martha, or Marsha as Patrick Kennedy called her, was an aloof, stiff, tin eared, gaffe prone candidate. During the last two weeks of the campaign, she couldn’t stop putting her foot in her mouth. Put that together with the fact that she tried to run a Rose Garden campaign strategy gave a vibe to voters that she didn’t care about what they thought and that she her elevation to the U.S. Senate should be a coronation

Massachusetts Democratic Politics – Governor Deval Patrick is despised by Massachusetts voters for not fulfilling his 2006 campaign promises and ultimately turning into the stereotypical Beacon Hill insider. During last year’s recession, Patrick hired 1300 people to the state payroll, plus pushed through a sales tax hike, which rose from 5% to 6.25%. Considering the unemployment rate is 10%, people are tightening up their personal finances, and private sector jobs are scarce to come by, the electorate was in a foul mood. Complicating matters is the fact that the last three Massachusetts House Speakers have been indicted and 3 state senators have left their positions due to various crimes.

Barack Obama and the Democratic Majorities in the House and Senate – Exactly 364 days since his inauguration, President Obama’s agenda was derailed by Scott Brown's election. The Democrats had a filibuster proof majority in the Senate and blew it by overreaching, passing a $900 billion stimulus bill that did not help the economy or the unemployment rate, and trying to rush through deeply unpopular healthcare legislation in a partisan manner. Now that Scott Brown has been elected to the U.S. Senate, the health care bill in its current state is likely dead. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid share the responsibility with Obama for this defeat.

Repudiation of the Liberal Agenda – After one year in power, the Democratic/liberal agenda has already been rejected. The massive debt accrued and the $1.3 trillion dollar budget deficit has put a major burden on our children’s future. In the U.S. Senate, there is no such thing as a moderate Democrat anymore. They are all extreme liberals looking to pass bills that would move the U.S towards Socialism. President Obama ran as a moderate, promising change and rode into office with a mountain of goodwill. He quickly squandered it, by going hard to the left, and not looking to work with Republicans and compromise. Pelosi and Reid wrote bills without any Republican input and worked to ram them through their bills respective legislative bodies. Also hurting the Democrats was their views on terrorism where they wanted terrorists tried in a criminal court of law, instead of a military tribunal, as well as their efforts to close the base at Guantanamo Bay.

Scott Brown holds mostly conservative Republican views, but ran as an independent thinker, reaching out to those who are unaffiliated with either major political party. Brown’s common sense approach on tax cuts, terrorism, and health care resonated with an anxious electorate.

Senator Brown has given the GOP the blueprint it needs to add seats during the mid term elections in November in Washington DC, as well as at the state level. The GOP will definitely pick up seats in November in Washington. What will be most interesting is if the Brown phenomenon makes the GOP a viable party in Massachusetts come November. The beauty of the Brown victory is the hope it gives to every Republican in Massachusetts who’s ever dreamed of running for the Legislature or statewide office. Many Republicans will think, “why not me?” I predict there will be more contested seats in MA than there’s been in a long time. Could the bluest state become purple? One can dream.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Scott Brown for US Senate

Here's hoping the MA voters truly reflect the recent polls taken and Scott Brown wins by a landslide. Brown's stance on taxes, terrorism, healthcare, and the economy are why he should be elected.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Working Out

The New Year has arrived and along with it are many resolutions to work out and eat well. With the holidays now behind us, what better topic to talk about than working out? I've never made a New Years resolution to work out or eat better, because I already eat well and work out 6 days a week.

Last year was an eye opening year when it came to work outs. I did two rounds of P90X - one where I faithfully followed the nutrition program and the second round, where I did my own thing nutrionally. It's an easy guess as to which round produced the best results!

Exercising is easy. Anyone with a little motivation can bring the intensity over 45-60 minutes. Eating well is hard. REALLY HARD. It takes a lot of discipline to opt for a bowl of steamed broccoli over a piece of pizza. It can be extremely difficult being out with friends and opting for the bottle of water over a cold beer.

In 2009, I learned A LOT about exercising and diet. Here are some of the key things you can do to have great success with a diet and exercise program.

1.) Mix it up - falling into a comfortable routine of weightlifting and running is a recipe for failure. Your body adjusts over time to what you are doing and is no longer really "challenged" by your easy, mindless routine.

2.) Tony Horton is a GENIUS. This man with his P90X program taught me so much and he's changed so many lives with his P90X program. An exercise routine for 3 months with no running? How's that going to work? Oh, it works! P90X works like magic.

3.) Running is not the be all/end all of an exercise routine - Weight training is more important, plyometrics is far harder than running, and a Tae Bo/Kenpo karate type of routine provides good cardiovascular exercise. As a fat burner, running doesn't work that well. I've tried it, and it didn't work nearly as well as P90X.

4.) It's gotta be intense - going through the motions whether it be lifting or running isn't going to give you any results. Anyone under the age of 55 who walks as their main source of exercise is wasting their time. You have to get your heart rate up and your lungs out of breath.

5.) The produce aisle is where it's at - salad, broccoli, zucchini, baby carrots, summer squash, green beans. Lunch and dinner should have a vegetable as part of the meal. I'm of the belief that broccoli is the best food you can put in your body. Do I like vegetables? Not particularly, but I know they are very important.

6.) Eat every 2-3 hours. Sounds like a lot, but if the meals are small, it's just the right formula to keep your metabolism burning. Whey protein powder mixed with water or milk is a quick and easy way to get 20g of protein in your body. Almonds are a terrific snack. Don't eat more than 20 of them, though.

7.) Drink your water - lay off the diet soda, regular soda, and juice and opt for the H2O. Your body needs to stay hydrated. A diet soda now and then is ok. My opinion on regular soda is, if I'm going to drink 150 calories, it's going to be a beer. At least beer won't rot your teeth out.

8.) There is nothing wrong with good carbs. Whole wheat breads, whole wheat crackers, brown rice, medium sized baked potatos, are all healthy and should be a part of a good diet.

9.) Perdue Oven Stuffer Roasters are a better alternative than meat from the deli counter. Cook the Oven Stuffer Roasters up, peel off the skin, and carve them up. The carved chicken is a very flexible source of protein that can be added to salads, sandwiches, or by itself.

10.) I really, no REALLY despise yoga. Some people swear by it, but it's not for me. I find myself bored by it and not accomplishing much of anything other than seemingly wasting 60-90 minutes of my day. I'd rather stretch or do something light for 30 minutes instead.

In four days, I will begin Insanity by Sean T. It is advertised as the toughest workout ever put on DVD. I'm looking forward to it, but it's going to be hard as hell. The nutritional piece doesn't look to be as difficult as P90X, but when it comes to the workouts, I have my work cut out for me.