Tuesday, November 24, 2015

My NFL Power Rankings (Through Week 11)

Due to Thanksgiving this week, I'm a bit strapped for time, so I won't be adding any analysis to the rankings this time around. In having said that, here are my rankings:

1) Carolina Panthers (10-0)

2) New England Patriots (10-0)

3) Arizona Cardinals (8-2)

4) Cincinnati Bengals (8-2)

5) Denver Broncos (8-2)

6) Green Bay Packers (7-3)

7) Minnesota Vikings (7-3)

8) Pittsburgh Steelers (6-4)

9) Seattle Seahawks (5-5)

10) Atlanta Falcons (6-4)

11) Kansas City Chiefs (5-5)

12) Buffalo Bills (5-5)

13) New York Giants (5-5)

14) New York Jets (5-5)

15) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-5)

16) Indianapolis Colts (5-5)

17) Houston Texans (5-5)

18) St. Louis Rams (4-6)

19) Oakland Raiders (4-6)

20) Washington Redskins (4-6)

21) Philadelphia Eagles (4-6)

22) Chicago Bears (4-6)

23) Miami Dolphins (4-6)

24) New Orleans Saints (4-6)

25) Baltimore Ravens (3-7)

26) Dallas Cowboys (3-7)

27) Detroit Lions (3-7)

28) Jacksonville Jaguars (4-6)

29) San Francisco 49ers (3-7)

30) San Diego Chargers (2-8)

31) Cleveland Browns (2-8)

32) Tennessee Titans (2-8)

Week 12 NFL Predictions

Game: Philadelphia at Detroit

Prediction: Philadelphia - Philadelphia looked awful in their home loss to Tampa Bay on Sunday. Detroit, meanwhile, managed to win their second straight. While the Lions offense continues failing to impress, their defense has stepped it up since its embarrassing showing in London against the Kansas City Chiefs. I don't think the Lions are as bad as their record would suggest, but the Eagles have a lot more to play for in this game, will likely be inspired to place their horrendous showing against the Bucs behind them, and I like for them to bounce back in a big way in this Thanksgiving Day game. I'll take the Eagles by 4.



Game: Carolina at Dallas

Prediction: Carolina - Dallas may have snapped their 7-game losing streak on Sunday against the Miami Dolphins, but Tony Romo did appear a bit rusty, and I have a difficult time seeing him shake that rust against this Carolina Panthers defense. The game should be close, but I like the Panthers to prevail in the end by a field goal.



Game: Chicago at Green Bay

Prediction: Green Bay - No, I can't figure these two teams out right now either. Chicago looked like a team ready to make a top 5 draft pick after starting the year 2-5, before winning two straight and in impressive fashion, and then laying an egg against a Peyton Manning-less Denver Broncos squad. Green Bay appeared to be the NFC Super Bowl frontrunner, before losing three straight, and then beating 7-2 Minnesota on the road. With this game in Lambeau on a shortened week, I'll give the edge to the Packers, but not by much. I'll go with Green Bay by 6.



Game: Oakland at Tennessee

Prediction: Oakland - Oakland's struggling on offense right now, but should be able to put things back together against this sad Tennessee Titans team. I'll go with the Raiders by 10.



Game: Buffalo at Kansas City

Prediction: Kansas City - These two teams appear to be pretty even. Coming off a game against New England on Monday night, though, and with this game at Arrowhead, I'm going to have to give the slight edge to the suddenly resurgent Chiefs, who have won four straight after starting the year a disappointing 1-5. I'll go with Kansas City by 4.



Game: Tampa Bay at Indianapolis

Prediction: Tampa Bay - If, before the season started, you told me the Colts and Buccaneers would both be 5-5 entering this contest, I would likely have given you a skeptical look. Tampa, a surprising 5-5, is coming off their most impressive showing of the season, dominating Philadelphia on the road 45-17. Indianapolis, now led by 40-year-old Matt Hasselbeck, pulled a rabbit out of the hat in their 24-21 win against Atlanta, which improved them to 5-5 as well. While I haven't been too high up on either team to this point in the season, I like how Tampa is playing right now. It seems as though Lovie Smith is finally getting the team to believe in his system and are executing the play-calling at a higher level than at any other point in his two years with the team. I like for that trend to continue as Tampa improves to 6-5 with a tough 3-point victory on the road in Indianapolis.



Game: NY Giants at Washington

Prediction: NY Giants - In the NFC East, nothing is for certain. The Giants lead the way at 5-5, while both Philadelphia and Washington are at 4-6, and Dallas trails the lot at 3-7. Having said that, the Giants are coming off a bye week, have shown some signs of improving with their pass rush, and I like for them to improve to 6-5 with a 7-point win against NFC East-rival Washington.



Game: New Orleans at Houston

Prediction: New Orleans - Houston has been showing some life in recent weeks, especially on defense. New Orleans has appeared dead, on defense anyway. With a bye week to prepare for the Texans, though, I think I like for the Saints to get back on track with a 7-point win on the road to improve to 5-6 on the season.



Game: Minnesota at Atlanta

Prediction: Minnesota - After starting the year 5-0, Atlanta has lost four of five, and more times than not in that span, they've appeared to give the game away in the 4th quarter. The Falcons are playing incredibly sloppy on offense, Matt Ryan in particular, and I have a difficult time seeing them break that trend against a stingy Minnesota Vikings defense, motivated to bounce back from their disappointing showing against the Packers on Sunday. I'll take the Vikings on the road by 4.



Game: St. Louis at Cincinnati

Prediction: Cincinnati - Speaking of struggling offenses, there's the St. Louis Rams, who found a way to lose 16-13 to the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday. It was a game where starting quarterback, Nick Foles, was benched, in favor of Case Keenum, who appeared to suffer a concussion late in the contest, yet remained in the game. No matter how good the Rams' defense might be, I have a difficult time seeing their offense outscore Andy Dalton, A.J. Green, and company. I'll go with the Bengals at home by 10.



Game: San Diego at Jacksonville

Prediction: San Diego - The way things have been going for San Diego, I should probably go with the Jaguars. However, whether it be denial or something else, I have an incredibly difficult time seeing Philip Rivers allowing this losing streak to continue, especially in Jacksonville. I'll tentatively go with the Chargers by a touchdown.



Game: Miami at NY Jets

Prediction: NY Jets - After showing signs of life and potential for a Wild Card spot at times during this season, both the Miami Dolphins and New York Jets appear to have come back down to earth. With Miami entering the game at 4-6 and the Jets coming in at an even 5-5, this could very well be an elimination game, especially if the Dolphins lose. With the game at home, I'm going to give the slight advantage to the Jets to improve them to 6-5 on the season. I'll take New York by a field goal.



Game: Arizona at San Francisco

Prediction: Arizona - San Francisco has played much better at home than on the road this year, but that was with Colin Kaepernick at quarterback and not Blaine Gabbert. Unless Arizona plays incredibly sloppy, I like for the Cardinals to improve to 9-2 with a two-touchdown victory on the road.



Game: Pittsburgh at Seattle

Prediction: Seattle - This is an incredibly intriguing match-up for me. Pittsburgh has been banged up on offense for most of the season, but is coming off a bye week to hopefully get Ben Roethlisberger back close to 100%. Seattle has been floundering around the .500 mark all year and things just haven't clicked yet, offensively or defensively. With the game at home, though, I'm going to give the slightest of advantages to the Seahawks. No matter who's in at quarterback for the Steelers, Seattle defenders will let him know they're there, and I look for Russell Wilson to give Steelers' defenders headaches with his scrambling and running ability. I'll go with Seattle by a field goal.



Game: New England at Denver

Prediction: New England - In my opinion, it doesn't matter whether Peyton Manning or Brock Osweiler start behind center for the Broncos. I just can't see the Broncos outscoring the Patriots in this game, especially with New England's ever improving defense. I'll go with the Pats on the road by 10.



Game: Baltimore at Cleveland

Prediction: Baltimore - Entering the season, we had a match-up featuring Joe Flacco and Josh McCown. Now it's going to be Matt Schaub and Johnny Manziel. Manziel's shown a great deal of improvement from last season to this season, but Baltimore's defense has also shown some improvement during the course of this season, and for whatever reason, I'm going to trust veteran quarterback Matt Schaub over the newcomer, Manziel. I'll take the Ravens by a field goal in what may be one of the worst Monday Night match-ups in recent memory.



Week 12 Record:

Overall Record: 88-72 (.550)

What I learned in Week 11 of the NFL season...

In Week 11 of the NFL season, I learned...

- ...it's more fun watching paint dry while completely sober than watching Tennessee and Jacksonville play something resembling football.

- ...the last thing Chip Kelly plans on doing at the moment is singing "Don't Worry, Be Happy" to Philadelphia Eagles fans.

- ...ESPN analysts apparently don't need to take Cialis while talking about Brock Osweiler leading the Denver Broncos to an unprecedented 17 points.

- ...the St. Louis Rams and Philadelphia Eagles are asking for a do-over when they swapped quarterbacks preseason; the New York Jets, however, are not asking for Mark Sanchez back.

- ...the media was probably quite tempted to start yelling at Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins following his team's dismal performance against the Carolina Panthers, "You like that?!? You like that?!?"

- ...it'll only be a matter of time before a referee says, "Breathing in the direction of the receiver, #25, defense, 5-yard penalty, automatic first down."

- ...the St. Louis Rams offense is now the antithesis to "the greatest show on turf."

- ...Joe Flacco and Colin Kaepernick, both out for the rest of the season with injuries, are planning on singing a duet of Michael Jackson's song, "Remember the Time," altering the chorus to, "Do you remember the time when we were really good? Do you remember the time we were in the Super Bowl?"

- ..., after winning for the first time in two months, closing the gap with division-leading New York to two games, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is likely thinking, "We're right where we wanna be. How 'bout them Cowboys?"

- ...refs like to inadvertently blow their whistles when Tom Brady holds balls in his hands.

Info on my Facebook business, Twitter, and Tumblr pages

Here's the URL to my Facebook business page. I update it fairly regularly, but still haven't put forth a great deal of effort yet in researching matters and attempting to make the most out of it. In any case, it can be perused here:


Up next is my Twitter page. I'm still not 100% certain what I'm doing on there yet, but feel I'm gradually getting the hang of it and am up to 30,475 followers. I update it daily with many of my own tweets, but also by retweeting some others'. It can be found here:


Lastly, here's my Tumblr page, which I've neglected quite a bit recently, but if you're at all curious, you can find it at the following link:


Weekly update of my book information

For new readers (and regular ones, I suppose), here's some information pertaining to my books.

All twelve of my books can be purchased in paperback form at the following site (and others):


The ten books I've written and released in the past 4 years (yes, I've been on a roll) can be purchased for much cheaper in Kindle form at the following link:


Monday, November 23, 2015

Well, that was special...

On July 28th, I posted a blog entitled, "An updated Obama chain email continues to be filled with BS (http://thekind-heartedsmartaleck.blogspot.com/2015/07/an-updated-obama-chain-email-continues.html). In this chain email, which has been continually updated throughout Obama's tenure, 37 claims were made. Thanks to a fact-checker by the name of Matthew (http://barnson.org/node/1880), here are how things broke down: 

True: 4 (10.8%)

False 27 (73.0%)

Mixed: 3 (8.1%)

No grade: 3 (8.1%)

In other words, anywhere from 30 to 33 of the 37 claims were at least partially false (81.1% to 89.2%). 

Just this afternoon, I received a response to this post, which said something along the lines of this: 

"I think you're at least half wrong. What qualifies you to fact check anyway? I know #36 is true. This is probably something the White House came up with."

It honestly doesn't take much to fact-check, dear reader. If someone tells me that Nairobi is the capital of Tennessee, I can research the matter and see that Nairobi is in fact the capital of Kenya, while Nashville is the capital of Tennessee. That took all but a few seconds. Not only that, but this fact is presented via numerous nonpartisan sources, which provides further proof that the initial speaker was inaccurate with their statement.

As for "#36," here's what that statement claims: "36. First President to tell the military men and women that they should pay for their own private insurance because they 'volunteered to go to war and knew the consequences.'"

I'm sorry to disappoint the reader, but that statement is false. It refers to a chain email which started circulating the web in April of 2009 and said the following: 


The President admitted that he was puzzled by the magnitude of the opposition to his proposal. 'Look, it's an all volunteer force,' Obama complained. 'Nobody made these guys go to war. They had to have known and accepted the risks. Now they whine about bearing the costs of their choice? It doesn't compute.' 

'I thought these were people who were proud to sacrifice for their country,' Obama continued. 'I wasn't asking for blood — just money. With the country facing the worst financial crisis in its history, I'd have thought that the patriotic thing to do would be to try to help reduce the nation's deficit. I guess I underestimated the selfishness of some of my fellow Americans.'"

Fact-checker Snopes.com graded the email false, elaborating with this (http://www.snopes.com/politics/obama/veteranshealth.asp)

"President Barack Obama did not utter any of the statements reproduced above; the quoted example is a bit of fictional dialogue excerpted from a satirical piece by conservative humorist John Semmens which was published on his site on 21 March 2009. 

The basis of Mr. Semmens' satire was that, in conjunction with meeting with several veterans groups in March 2009, the Obama administration floated a proposal to save the federal government an estimated $540 million per year by billing veterans' private insurance companies for the treatment of their combat injuries and other service-related health problems. (Currently only non-service-related medical treatments are so billed.) The proposal would not have, as was often misreported, forced veterans to pay for the treatment of their injuries out of their own pockets or required them to buy private insurance; but it did raise the prospect that injured or ill veterans might find it harder or more expensive to purchase health coverage, or to obtain employment in the private sector if employer-funded private insurance plans had to cover the additional costs of treating injuries and other service-related health problems. 

The plan was heavily criticized by veterans almost from the moment it was presented to them, as the Washington Post reported in an account of a meeting between President Obama and veterans' groups: 
[T]he leaders of veterans service organizations warned the president that their goodwill would vanish if he pursued a budget proposal to bill veterans' private insurance companies for treatment of amputations, post-traumatic stress disorder and other combat-related injuries. 

One Vietnam veteran summoned his deep voice to address Obama, calling the change 'a dumb move.' An Iraq veteran said the move would be 'a deal-breaker' because it would represent an abrogation of the government's responsibility to care for the wounded and could jeopardize veterans' insurance benefits.
Within 48 hours, the White House announced that the proposal had been dropped, but the President still came in for his fair share of criticism from those who maintained that he failed to anticipate how his proposal would be received and should have known better than to even raise the subject: 
However, many said that they were surprised by the ham-handedness of the private insurance effort because it seemed that no one in the White House or the [Veterans Administration] took into consideration how veterans would react — or Congress, where several members called the plan 'dead on arrival.'

'The president needs to drop this,' [Paul] Rieckhoff [executive director of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America] said of Obama. 'The longer we wait, the more it hurts his relations with the [veterans service organizations] and with vets. This is a no-brainer. We were all shocked. We don't understand why he's picking this fight.'
A Newsday editorial summed up many Americans' feelings about the matter in opining that: 
This load-shedding device would have saved the government about $540 million. But whoever proposed it to Obama was politically tone-deaf. 

To Obama's credit, he appears to have backed away from this insensitive proposal. But veterans still can't figure out how he let someone in the administration persuade him to try it. Frankly, neither can we."

You see, dear reader, that's how you fact-check. It won't suffice to simply just say, "Well, I know the truth, so there!" You have to back up your claim with solid evidence provided by multiple nonpartisan sources. Opinions spouted by Rush Limbaugh or Fox News won't do. In a court of law, what will be more persuasive to a judge and/or a jury? Providing evidence of the murder weapon and the defendant's fingerprints on it, or to just say, "I know he didn't do it, your honor. I just know it"? The defense rests, your honor...

The New York Post is still propaganda for Republicans...

Earlier today, I read an article by Kyle Smith of the New York Post, entitled, "Colbert's 'Late Show' has become propaganda for Democrats."

Yes, this is the same conservatively-slanted Rupert-Murdoch owned New York Post, which has long been propaganda for Republicans.

Don't believe me? Here are the titles of a few other recent Kyle Smith writings:

- "For the love of God, de Blasio, start working and stop screwing around!"

- "A Democratic politician goes to jail, now advocates for prison reform"

- "How Ahmed's clock became a false, convenient tale of racism"

- "Pope Francis should take a vow of silence on capitalism"

- "Only Trump understands how angry the average American is"

- "Dear Michael Moore, America doesn't want socialism"

- "Hillary's desperate pitch: Did I mention I'm a woman?"

- "Wealth inequality isn't a 'crisis' - and the voters know it"

- "Benghazi hearings show that Clinton lives in a bubble of deniability"

- "Why do Democrats hate democracy?"

Yes, this man, who regularly provides propaganda for Republicans, is criticizing a comedian hosting a late-night talk show as providing propaganda for Democrats. How did the seemingly always angry Mr. Smith start his most recent piece?

"So Stephen Colbert turns out to be just as much of an a-hole as 'Stephen Colbert.'..."

I know, subtle, isn't he? Here are a few other gems provided by Mr. Smith in his article:

- "The pattern is familiar: When a Democrat is the guest, Colbert is Barbara Walters. When a Republican is on, he turns into Tim Russert."

- "Almost as if he was trying out a third personality - a parody of a know-nothing liberal pundit - Colbert made a complete ass of himself in front of Cruz by suggesting that the senator, being religious, necessarily equated his opponents with Satan."

- "Colbert is so unremittingly hostile to Republicans that he will shortly find conservative invitees declining to appear. (Except Ted Cruz, who would argue with a tree stump.) That means the Colbert show risks turning into an echo chamber in which viewers doze off as Colbert and his liberal guests beam lovingly at each other like a mother and child."

- "This can be a bit sick-making to watch..."

- "Cheap shots vs. wisdom. CBS made its choice, and now it is paying the price."

No, there's no question Stephen Colbert leans to the left, but guess who else did? His predecessor, David Letterman. While Letterman increasingly made fun of the Republican Party during the George W. Bush years (and beyond) through visuals, audio, and borderline rants, Colbert has relied more on satire. Not only that, but on Colbert's former show, The Colbert Report, his character was a parody of the conservative Fox News host, Bill O'Reilly. So Kyle Smith and his ilk can't be too caught off guard on the left-leanings through Colbert's comedy. They also can't believe Colbert is the lone left-leaning late-night talk show host. If so, as Mr. Smith wrote in a recent article, they may be living in a "bubble of deniability" of their own.

Also, while Colbert's comedy is definitely left-leaning, let's be fair for a moment: There are only 3 Democratic candidates running for president compared to 13 Republicans. In other words, there are over four times more Republicans running for the highest office in the land than Democrats. It's incredibly difficult to be 100% balanced in terms of time devoted to the two parties with those kinds of numbers. There have also been twice as many Republican debates (four, eight if you include all the JV debates) as Democratic ones (two). So once again, it'd be quite tricky to balance time between the two parties and their respective debates. Also, while Colbert has been anything but coy on poking fun at the Republican candidates, he's also poked fun at all three Democratic candidates, often referring to Martin O'Malley as "that other guy," Bernie as an angry old man, and frontrunner Hillary Clinton has received her fair share of jokes as well.

When it comes to interviews, it's felt like both die-hard conservatives and die-hard liberals have gotten angry or frustrated on multiple occasions. Many liberals criticized Colbert for going too soft on GOP frontrunner Donald Trump. Some even labeled his interview with fellow liberal Bill Maher as extremely "awkward." On the other side of the political spectrum, I've heard conservatives blast Colbert's interview with Ted Cruz and accused him of going soft on Vice President Joe Biden. In other words, I've heard complaints regarding the matter from both sides of the political spectrum.

There can be no denying Stephen Colbert leans left politically, but so did his predecessor, David Letterman. So is that the real reason for his recent drop in ratings? I think, while it may be one factor, it's definitely not the only one. Late-night talk shows are largely known for silly gags, pranks, and toilet humor - in other words, comedy one doesn't have to think about a great deal to get. Colbert's brand of comedy is more of the think-before-you-laugh variety, and sadly, I have a feeling that may have contributed to the drop in ratings as well. Also, let's place things in their proper perspective - there are currently over four times as many Republican candidates as Democratic candidates and we've been witness to two times as many Republican debates as Democratic debates (four times if you include the JV debates). Not only that, but let's be honest, these GOP candidates, Donald Trump and Ben Carson in particular, have been a late-night talk show host's wet dream. To not regularly poke fun of them would likely be seen as a felony in many comedians' eyes.



How can we learn about another without asking questions?

I'd say roughly once a month I read an article which is titled something along the lines of, "What not to say to someone who is transgender" or "Ten questions you should never ask a transgender person." Now, granted, some of these comments and questions are so insensitive and ridiculous, even Ben Carson opened his eyes for a change to roll them. However, some questions which were mentioned came across as genuine and like the person simply wanted to learn more about the other and to understand them better. So, where do we draw the line between asking a transgender individual a question to learn more about him or her and yet do so in a way that doesn't leave them feeling uncomfortable? Is there a way?

As my long-time readers should know by now, I'm rather progressive on most issues. The large circle of people I regularly associate with are quite diverse in terms of: Gender (well, duh), age, race, religious beliefs, political affiliation, orientation, etc. However, I'll be perfectly honest about it, while I fully support equal rights for the transgender community, I've yet to meet too many who are, and find myself to be more ignorant on the subject than I care to admit, and I think many others feel similarly. Segueing from that, I honestly think the transgender community is going through today what homosexuals went through ten years ago or so. Not too long ago, a fairly large majority of the population was ignorant when it came to homosexuality. Through the past 10+ years, however, as more people have come out, social media has taken the world by storm, and younger generations have become increasingly more progressive, an increasing number of people have come to understand homosexuality, come to accept it, and while the gay and lesbian communities still have a ways to go as far as attaining equal rights, they've come a long way, especially in the past 5 years. Based on that, I'd like to believe the same pattern will hold true for transgender individuals: As more come out as transgender, there will be a wider understanding and acceptance of them, and with that gained understanding and acceptance will come gained rights. The tricky part about all this is, though, like with the LGB communities, how will this understanding and acceptance of the T community become widespread if it's forbidden for us to ask any questions in order to garner a better understanding?

When I entered college a little over 16 years ago, I was quite ignorant about homosexuality. My friends and I didn't discuss social issues much, and if we did, it was in a joking manner. So when one of my best friends at the time came out to me while we were sitting on his parents' front porch, having a couple drinks, I was left speechless. In hindsight, him coming out was no surprise, however, I had never given it any thought, and due to my ignorance on the subject, my head immediately filled with questions, yet I had trouble forming words to those very questions. He could likely see this and kindly asked me, "Do you have any questions?" I was tentative on asking him any questions prior to that moment, for fear of making him uncomfortable. However, when he inquired on whether or not I had any questions, those hesitations went to the wayside, and we had a very lengthy discussion on the matter. That discussion is what truly opened my eyes and mind on homosexuality. Prior to that moment, I didn't have an opinion on the matter. However, after that conversation, I knew where I stood on the issue - I stood in support of a friend, a person I loved, hoping no one close to him would judge nor abandon him when they learned of the news. Granted, even if he hadn't asked whether or not I had any questions, I could have researched the subject for myself and formed a conclusion on the matter. However, I find face-to-face interaction to be far more effective than research on the Internet.

There's a very fine line between asking a person a sincere heartfelt question and one which comes across as insensitive and awkward. I think the most important thing is intent. There are topics most every person is uncomfortable talking about, but until we open up about such matters, how will others be able to fully understand us? I've long been uncomfortable talking about my many health issues through the years, as well as abuse I suffered as a child, but I've slowly found myself becoming more open on these topics, especially with those closest to me (or with those whom I want to form a special bond). Like I said, I think intent is the most important thing when it comes to approaching uncomfortable topics, and I think it'd be highly beneficial if more of us started meeting each other halfway when engaging in such discussions. If an individual starts mocking seizures as he or she asks about my battle with epilepsy, chances are I won't take too kindly to that approach. At the same time, however, I'll have to learn accept that such an approach may very well be due to ignorance on the subject, and even though it may not be the most comfortable of conversations for me, I could potentially help to educate him or her on epilepsy and seizures, so they garner a better understanding of the illness and are less prone to mocking it again. Some questions may be incredibly difficult or uncomfortable to answer, but how will we learn more about another without asking them?

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Freedom of speech doesn't mean freedom from consequence

In light of the recent barrage of college protests regarding discrimination, multiple columnists, both left- and right-of-center, have made it known that they believe far left-wing liberals are going too far with their alleged politically-correct sensitivities.

Yesterday, I commented on an article from the right-leaning Peter Scheer, where he seemed to believe the Black Lives Matter movement and college protesters fighting discrimination are thin-skinned, will be rudely awakened once they enter the workforce, and need to stop whining.

My response to him was, certain demographics have sat quietly on the sidelines long enough while they attempted to wait for authority figures to actually grant them the equalities supposedly afforded to us all courtesy of the U.S. Constitution. So this reported "whining" can be defined as the before-mentioned demographics finally standing up against discrimination and fighting for equal rights and respect in the eyes of the law and their superiors. Scheer also seemed to be one to believe that "free speech" is absolute and can never be limited. Even the most naive of us have to know in our gut that isn't true, though. As is the case with all freedoms, there are limitations to the concept of free speech. If you don't believe me, feel free to utter some offensive and profanity-laced comments you've bottled up for a number of weeks and let them all come out at once toward your boss and see how that goes...

Like there are many nuances to free speech, there are nuances to censorship as well, and that was showcased in an article written by Jeff Schweitzer today, entitled, "Intolerance Masked As Tolerance Is Still Intolerance."

Schweitzer's article had less to deal with groups fighting for equality and against discrimination and more to do with college protesters attempting to silence guest speakers at their schools, namely ones with a far-right political slant (but also, to be fair, Bill Maher). While I had a difficult time understanding Peter Scheer's complaints regarding minorities protesting against discrimination and for equality, Schweitzer's complaints are much trickier on which to fully conclude one way or the other. Should right- and left-leaning media personalities be able to utter their opinions without fear of being canned (with certain flexibility on said comments of course)? Sure. However, if one of these personalities gets invited to speak at a university and the majority of students are none too pleased about it, should they then have the right to protest the speaker? Again, yes. So where do we draw the line? Are these protesters, by exercising their free speech, limiting another's free speech? Does that do more to illustrate the true power of free speech or the limitations of it? The trickiest position in all of this are the heads of universities. Inviting the guests, knowing there will likely be some backlash to face because of it, and once the protests go public, with the social media world being what it is, they're then stuck with asking themselves, "Do we stick this thing out, in spite of all the backlash, and hope it doesn't do much to damage our image and reputation long-term, or do we fold and cancel the speaker's scheduled appearance?"

While I think the far left-wing goes too far at times when it comes to trying to dispose of right-wing talk radio show hosts and the like, I also think the recent barrage of anti-college protester and anti-political correctness columns are missing two key points: 1) Progressive voices have been largely drowned out of talk radio (and even cable news to a certain extent) and 2) This kind of thing goes both ways.

Let's face it, no matter how much Republicans like to complain about the mainstream news media being liberally-biased (which is nonsense), conservatives rule the airwaves. Fox News, the right-leaning cable news network, has dominated its competition (CNN and MSNBC) since its inception. Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly, Laura Ingraham, Glenn Beck, among other far-right conservatives, have dominated the radio. When liberals tried to compete with a radio station of their own, it didn't last long. So what are progressives left with? Rachel Maddow? This is why many progressives resort to the Internet and sites like Slate.com, Salon.com, and ThinkProgress.com, because where else are they going to find media personalities with whom they tend to agree, besides Comedy Central? So while many progressives have felt they've been drowned out of portions of the media, liberal college protesters have tried doing similarly at times by drowning out conservative speakers at their universities. Does that make their actions right? No, not necessarily; but it is understandable. Many progressives feel like they have little to no voice in the media, so when the time comes where they can have a voice, it's all too tempting to make it heard for a change.

Also, let's not pretend like this is a one-sided affair. While these college protesters do tend to be liberal and protest against conservative speakers, the tables have been turned on a number of occasions. When I attended a Marilyn Manson concert in 1997, who were the ones trying to cancel the show through protests? Conservatives. When I saw President Obama speak for the first time in Omaha, Nebraska, who were the ones trying to cancel the event due to his pro-choice record and beliefs? Conservatives. Who have protested just about each and every Michael Moore film, even going so far as to pressure theaters to not show the film? Conservatives. So, again, does this make the before-mentioned liberal college protesters right in their actions? No, not necessarily, but let's not mistake the forest for the trees.

Free speech is one of, if not the most cherished right in this country. However, like with all freedoms, there are nuances and limitations to it. Protests are a direct result of this and have been seemingly ubiquitous throughout our country's history. While we shouldn't use protests to completely drown out opinions we may disagree with, it's perfectly understandable to protest these voices when they're on our home turf. After all, what's wrong with telling an uninvited guest to get off one's property? Also, while everyone should "tolerate" differing opinions, if another makes a racist, sexist, homophobic, or xenophobic remark, they also have to tolerate the inevitable backlash they're going to receive as a result. Freedom of speech doesn't mean freedom from consequence.


Tinder CEO knows not what "sodomy" means...

Tinder CEO Sean Rad has come under fire for a recent interview he had with UK's Evening Standard. Here are just a few of the things Rad said in the interview:

- "[This woman is] someone really, really famous [who] has been begging me for sex and I've been like, no."

- "[I'm addicted to Tinder]. Every other week I fall in love with a new girl."

- "[Tinder isn't responsible for the so-called hook-up culture]. Feminism has led to it because now women are more independent and pursuing their desires. And that leads to both parties being more sexually active. It's not because of Tinder."

...and here is my favorite quote of them all:

- "Apparently there's a term for someone who gets turned on by intellectual stuff. You know, just talking. What's the word? ... I want to say 'sodomy'?'"

Actually the term for that, Mr. Rad, is sapiosexuality. Sodomy is defined as, "Anal or oral copulation with a member of the opposite sex" or "copulation with a member of the same sex."

No, Sean Rad doesn't appear to be as cool as his name, nor as smart (I mean, since when was rad synonymous with smart?). Given his lovely quote regarding sodomy, expect the intellectually unsound Mr. Rad to come up with the following gems in the future:

- "I love it when a woman can make me laugh. What's that called again? Fisting or something?"

- "I went to this S&M candy factory one time and it was badass, dude!"

- "On the weekends, I typically go the basketball court with the guys for lots of rimjobs."

- "I have to be honest, when I'm in a monogamous relationship with a girl, my favorite position is the threesome."

- "You must be so proud of your daughter! I mean, she's so successful! I've always been attracted to powerful and successful women. I love how they just get down and do it doggystyle in the business world, you know?"



"The answer is, 'One who gives advice.'" Ben Carson: "What is I don't know?"

A recent New York Times report let it be known that Ben Carson's foreign policy adviser, Duane Clarridge, thinks the GOP candidate knows less about foreign policy than an elephant knows about frequent-flier miles.

In hilarious fashion, Mr. Carson attempted to refute Clarridge's claims by saying the following in an interview with PBS NewsHour on Tuesday night:

"[Calling Mr. Clarridge an adviser] would be a great stretch. He is a person who has come in on a couple of our sessions to offer his opinions about what was going on..."

So Duane Clarridge was offering Ben Carson some words of advice. In other words, he was an an adviser to the GOP hopeful.

Alex Trebek: "...and the answer is, 'One who gives advice.' Yes, Mr. Carson..."

Ben Carson: "What is a person who has come in on a couple of our sessions to offer his opinions about what was going on?"

Trebek: "Yes, and what is the word we're looking for here?"

Carson: "I, I, I don't know..."

Trebek: "I'm sorry, but that's incorrect. We were looking for, 'What is an adviser?' That'll cost you $1,000 and a legitimate shot at the presidency."

Given Carson's response on PBS NewsHour, expect him to make the following such responses in the future:

Media: "Was he the stabbing victim?"

Carson: "That would be a great stretch, He was just the guy I poked hard with a knife over and over again, and made some really disturbing loud noises whenever I did this."

Media: "Is this woman your dentist?"

Carson: "That would be a great stretch. She just brushes, flosses, and looks closely at my teeth every 6 months."

Media: "Is that man over there your brother?"

Carson: "That would be a great stretch. He's just a person of the same gender as myself who came out of the same woman's vagina."

Media: "Was this woman your history professor back in the day?"

Carson: "That would be a great stretch. She was the person at school who told me about a lot of the things that happened in this country's past."

Media: "Is the person you see in the mirror directly in front of you Ben Carson?"

Carson: "That would be a great stretch. It's just some guy who's mouthing the same words at the same time in the same way at the same place that I am right now."



Wednesday, November 18, 2015

My NFL Power Rankings (Through Week 10)

As I did at this point in the season last year, I thought I'd release my first set of NFL Power Rankings.

1) New England Patriots (9-0): As one of the two remaining undefeated teams in the league, it's difficult to argue with the Patriots being the best team in the NFL at the moment. With their recent rash of injuries, however, they're anything but a guarantee to go to another Super Bowl.

2) Carolina Panthers (9-0): Here's the only other undefeated team in the league. For whatever reason, the Panthers still aren't garnering a great deal of respect from ESPN talking heads. They're anything but a lock for the Super Bowl, but being two games ahead of Arizona and Minnesota for home-field advantage, they'll have to choke down the stretch to not attain that great advantage come playoff time.

3) Cincinnati Bengals (8-1): If the Monday Night game had never happened, I would have liked ranked the Bengals atop this list. However, in falling 10-6 at home to the then 3-5 Houston Texans, two questions immediately come to mind: 1) Is this the same postseason Bengals we've become accustomed to in recent years? and 2) WTF? I honestly believe, when healthy, the Bengals have the best, most balanced team in the AFC. However, if you were to offer me either Tom Brady or Andy Dalton to be my quarterback when the regular season ends, I'd laugh whole-heartedly and pick Brady.

4) Arizona Cardinals (7-2): Like with the Bengals in the AFC, if healthy, I think these Arizona Cardinals are the best, most balanced team in the NFC. Their defense continues to be solid and opportunistic. Their special teams is as well. Not only that, but in addition to the typically high-flying passing attack under Bruce Ariens, the Cardinals actually have a ground game this year. If they go to the playoffs healthy (unlike last year), they'll be my favorite to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl.

5) Minnesota Vikings (7-2): This has to be one of the most surprising teams in the NFL this year, especially after getting blown out by 3-6 San Francisco in their first game. Since then, the Vikings are 7-1, with their lone loss being a last-second defeat at the hands of the Denver Broncos. While Arizona is my NFC favorite at this point in the season, I would not want to play Minnesota come playoff time. Both the Vikings' offense and defense are improving as the season progresses and they have a very bright future ahead of them.

6) Denver Broncos (7-2): While Minnesota is on the rise, Denver is currently falling fast. Peyton Manning had one of, if not the worst game of his NFL career last Sunday when the Broncos got blown out by then 3-5 Kansas City. Brock Osweiler will start this week against the suddenly resurgent Chicago Bears. The way the Broncos have fallen apart the past couple of weeks, it's difficult not seeing them lose their third straight. Fortunately for them, they're still three games ahead of both Oakland and Kansas City in the NFC West. They'd need to suffer a massive collapse to not make it to the postseason.

7) Pittsburgh Steelers (6-4): If this team was healthy, they would probably be my favorite to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl. The Steelers' Achilles heel last season was their defense. Well, that part of the team has improved quite a bit this year. Their big problem? Injuries. Ben Roethlisberger has missed multiple games. Michael Vick got banged up replacing Big Ben. Landry Jones got banged up this past weekend replacing the two of them. If Roethlisberger got injured yet again this past Sunday, the team would have had to resort to tight end Heath Miller. No, that's not a joke. Not only has the team been banged up at quarterback, but standout running back La'Veon Bell is out for the rest of the season. Martavis Bryant was out with a suspension for the first part of the season. Unfortunately for the Steelers, it won't be until next year at the earliest where we see the likes of a health Ben Roethlisberger, Le'Veon Bell, Antonio Brown, and Martavis Bryant on the field at once.

8) Green Bay Packers (6-3): Like the Broncos, the Green Bay Packers are in a downward spiral. They're banged up on offense, not providing Aaron Rodgers with much protection in the pocket, and the defense has been anything but stellar. How bad is it for the Packers at the moment? They lost to the then 1-7 Detroit Lions at home this past Sunday - the first time that's happened in 25 years.

9) Atlanta Falcons (6-3): Atlanta is definitely improved from last season, but have fallen on some hard times of late. While their defense has improved quite a bit under first year head coach Dan Quinn, the offense has been underachieving of late. If the offense can start clicking again, this team could make some noise come playoff time. However, if things continue trending as they have been, it'll be difficult for the Falcons to make the playoffs at all, let alone make some noise come postseason

10) Buffalo Bills (5-4): The Bills definitely have talent, but appear to be just as inconsistent as last year's 9-7 team. Assuming they'll fall to New England at Foxboro on Monday Night, the 5-5 Bills will likely need to win 4 of their last 6 to even think about making the playoffs as a Wild Card. The question they'll need to answer: "Is Tyrod Taylor or E.J. Manuel seriously our quarterback of the future, or should we start looking elsewhere?"

11) New York Jets (5-4): Ironically enough, the Jets are fairly similar to the Rex Ryan-led Bills. With that being said, Ryan Fitzpatrick and Geno Smith have been far more inconsistent than Tyrod Taylor, which has resulted in turnovers. The defense also, while solid overall, has been rather inconsistent of late. The team will need to be less careless with the football and more consistent if they want to have a shot at a Wild Card birth.

12) Seattle Seahawks (4-5): With the Seahawks blowing 4th quarter leads all season and being 4-5 as a result, I think we need to finally admit two things: 1) Losing Max Unger at center was a much bigger loss than the team had initially thought and 2) Former defensive coordinator Dan Quinn going to Atlanta for a head coaching position has impacted the team far more than analysts predicted as well. The team still has the talent to make a playoff run and advance in the playoffs, but they're going to need to finally piece things together and learn how to close out games. Otherwise, they'll be sitting at home after Week 17.

13) St. Louis Rams (4-5): This is one of the most inconsistent and unpredictable teams in football this year. Why is that? Their offense, especially their quarterback, Nick Foles. He's been so inconsistent, the Rams have decided to go with Case Keenum this coming weekend against Baltimore. With a top-caliber defense and offensive weapons Todd Gurley and Tayvon Austin, this team should be better than it is. Until they find a better, more consistent quarterback, however, I don't see how they can put together a playoff run.

14) New York Giants (5-5): The Giants' offense, especially their passing game, is quite explosive at times. On the other side of the coin, their defense is anything but spectacular. Lucky for them, they play in the NFC (l)East, so 8 or 9 wins could very well be all they need to make the playoffs.

15) Oakland Raiders (4-5): Here is a team to watch out for in the future. Between Derek Carr, Amari Cooper, and Michael Crabtree, among others, the Raiders present one of the most exciting young offenses in the league. Their defense still has a ways to go, though. While I don't see this team making the playoffs this year, look for the silver and black to be back in the postseason next year.

16) Kansas City Chiefs (4-5): It appeared the Chiefs were all but dead when standout tailback Jamal Charles was lost for the season with an injury. But, now winners of three straight, Kansas City is starting to piece things together and aren't a team to be taken lightly in the last couple months of the season. While making up three games on division-leading Denver may be a bit much in the final 7 games of the season, the way Denver is spiraling, it isn't completely out of the question.

17) Washington Redskins (4-5): Like the other NFC East teams, Washington is a very mediocre, inconsistent team. Their defense has been better-than-expected and Kirk Cousins has put together a couple of great games, but even if Washington lucks out by making the playoffs at 8-8, I can't see them making it past the 1st round. It'll be interesting to see whether they decide to give Cousins one more year to prove himself at quarterback or if they start looking elsewhere (and also with regard to their head coach).

18) Philadelphia Eagles (4-5): Following two 10-6 seasons for head coach Chip Kelly, he decided to give the team a full makeover. I, for one, didn't understand this and thought it would do anything but help Philly reach the next level. Well, at 4-5, it appears I was right. Sam Bradford's banged up again. The team lacks the vertical threats they had in the passing game when Kelly first arrived on the scene. The big-hitters are less frequent with LeSean McCoy in Buffalo. The defense has improved this season, but like I said with Washington, even if the Eagles are fortunate enough to make the playoffs at 8-8, I can't see them winning a playoff game. I'll be extremely curious to see what the team does in the offseason, both with regards to personnel and coaches.

19) Chicago Bears (4-5): At 2-5, the Bears looked like they were in serious rebuilding mode, but after winning two straight, including a blowout victory on the road against St. Louis, the Bears are looking like a much improved team and could potentially make a run for a Wild Card if they continue playing this way.

20) Miami Dolphins (4-5): Like in all other Ryan Tannehill-led years, this Dolphins team is one of the most inconsistent in the league. As long as this continues, I'm hard-pressed seeing them make the postseason. As Cubs fans might say, "Maybe next year."

21) New Orleans Saints (4-6): If you want to show kids how not to play defense, watch video of the Saints. This has to be the worst defense in all of football. They can still put up points here and there with the best of them, but so long as the defense is this horrid, the Saints will be watching the playoffs from home.

22) Indianapolis Colts (4-5): With or without Andrew Luck, this is a very average football team. Fortunately for them, they play in the AFC South, so between 7 and 9 wins should be enough to win the division. Unfortunately for them, even if they make the postseason, don't expect them to advance very far. Also, if the team doesn't improve its offensive line, running game, and defense before long, expect Mr. Luck to take his talents elsewhere.

23) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-5): Tampa is a difficult team to figure out. Whether they win or lose, the games seem to be close, and the victories and defeats tend to be of the ugly variety. Rookie quarterback Jameis Winston has definitely made some strides over the course of the season, and even if the team finishes 6-10, it has to be viewed as a step in the right direction.

24) Houston Texans (4-5): For as inept as this team has appeared on offense and how inconsistent they've been on defense, I'm at a loss for how they've won 4 games to this point in the season, which is good enough to place them in a first-place tie atop the AFC South with Indianapolis.

25) Baltimore Ravens (2-7): If you like heartbreaking defeat, the Baltimore Ravens are your team! They seem to lose at the last second in most every game, even when there is no time left, like in this past weekend's loss to Jacksonville. They may be one of the better 2-7 teams in NFL history. Then again, that's like a guy saying, "I have the best case of herpes ever!"

26) San Diego Chargers (2-7): Speaking of hard-luck losses, there's the San Diego Chargers. Not only have they gotten their hearts broken time and time again this season through last-second defeats, but they've been hit by the injury bug as well, which has only added to the pain. I don't like to ever count out Philip Rivers, but if the Chargers lose one more game, they can all but kiss their playoff hopes goodbye.

27) Dallas Cowboys (2-7): Speaking of injury problems, there's the Dallas Cowboys. Not only did they lose DeMarco Murray to Philadelphia in the offseason, but they lost Tony Romo and Dez Bryant to injury early this season and have yet to bounce back. With Bryant back in the lineup, Romo returning this week against the Dolphins, and the Cowboys just 2.5 games behind NFC East-leading New York, it's hypothetically possible for Dallas to make a playoff run. At worst, though, they'll likely need to finish 6-1 down the stretch in order to give themselves any chance at the postseason.

28) Detroit Lions (2-7): After a playoff run a year ago, the Lions are back to their losing ways this season. The defense is inconsistent. The offensive line and running game is basically nonexistent. Matthew Stafford can't seem to get over the hump to become an elite quarterback. Calvin Johnson isn't being utilized enough, likely due to the porous offensive line and running game. Given all the holes this team has, maybe it's for the best to have an off-year, get a top 5 draft pick, make some coaching changes, and see what happens a year from now.

29) San Francisco 49ers (3-6): The most bipolar team in the league this season has to be San Francisco. At home, they've been a pretty darn good football team, even beating 7-2 Minnesota and losing a heartbreaker to the 5-5 New York Giants. On the road, however, they've been arguably the worst team in all of football. For as many key guys as they lost in the offseason, though, this team, perhaps more than any other, is in need of an elite top 5-caliber draft prospect.

30) Jacksonville Jaguars (3-6): Blake Bortles hasn't progressed as much in his second season as I would have liked to see, but the team around him has. Unlike the first 3/4 of last season, Jacksonville has been competitive in most of their games this year, and while it may seem slight at the time, the team has appeared to take a step in the right direction.

31) Cleveland Browns (2-8): This team has far more questions than answers. As a matter of fact, I'm not sure it has any answers. It'll be interesting to see how Johnny Manziel performs over the team's final 6 games and whether the team decides to go with him next year or look elsewhere.

32) Tennessee Titans (2-7): This team is far better with Marcus Mariota under center, and with him being out for multiple games, the Titans' record may be slightly misleading. The team is in desperate need to get help around the rookie quarterback, but to this point in the season, it looks like they've drafted a solid quarterback for the future. So they've got that going for them, which is nice...

College protests and the nuances of free speech

I stumbled across an article written by First Amendment Coalition Executive Director, Peter Scheer, today, and felt the need to respond. The article's entitled, "College Students Need Lessons in Tolerance and Free Speech."

I'll share the opening two and final full paragraphs of the article, because I think they provide a clear picture of what Mr. Scheer is trying to express.

"There's nothing like the massacre of 129 Parisian civilians at the hands of jihadi sociopaths, utterly convinced that their barbarism manifests the will of God, to provide some perspective on the recent whining of students at a number of America's most elite colleges and universities.

For the past few weeks, students across the country -- at Yale University in Connecticut, Amherst College in Massachusetts, New Hampshire's Dartmouth College, the University of Missouri, and southern California colleges Claremont McKenna and Occidental -- have been testing the limits of academic liberalism. Students have demanded official mea culpas for alleged institutional racism, sexism and other 'structural' sins against 'marginalized' groups (defined mainly on the basis of race, ethnicity and sexual orientation or gender), while expressing intolerance for criticism and outright hostility for the principle of free speech... 

...Faculty and administrators need to find some backbone. Their mission is not to be popular but to teach. The terrorist attack in Paris offers them a teachable moment, an opportunity to open students' eyes to the difference between truth and propaganda; between governing by fiat and governing by persuasion; between intellectual rigidity and intolerance, on one hand, and free and robust debate, on the other."

Following Scheer's article were a number of comments from far-right individuals, stating that the typically left-leaning Huffington Post finally provided a worthwhile article to read. Others compared these protesting students to Nazis. Some blamed the Black Lives Matter movement to this uprise in college protests. I'd say roughly 99% of these commentators were Caucasian and 75% of them were Caucasian males.

Being a writer myself, especially one who focuses on comedy, satire in particular, I have greatly mixed feelings about political correctness reaching an extreme level. While I know it's never my main intention, I know full well some of my writings likely offend others and would hate to be provided an insulting label due to them, for my two main intentions are to stimulate thought and laughter. However, while I believe political correctness goes too far at times, I also know the concept of free speech is a complicated one and that the freedom to speak one's mind doesn't guarantee one won't be subject to some form of punishment for those comments. I also think Mr. Scheer and many of the article's following commentators miss the bigger picture.

As Mr. Scheer noted in his article, most of these protests center around racism, sexism, xenophobia, and/or homophobia. In other words, they center around certain demographics wanting to be treated and respected as equals. When students complain about experiencing or witnessing a racist, sexist, xenophobic, or homophobic event and feel like the university president isn't listening nor doing anything to provide them with a more comfortable college experience, they'll make their voices heard loud and clear on the matter, until a change at the top occurs. So why do so many on the right see this as politically correctness going overboard, as opposed to fighting for equality?

I think what bothers Mr. Scheer and those of his ilk more than anything is the fact these college protesters, the Black Lives Matter movement, and others are challenging the status quo and fighting for change. What have many women, minorities, and homosexuals done through the years as a strategy for attaining equal rights and respect? Stay quiet, and sooner or later, equality is bound to come their way. Well, these groups realized that strategy wasn't going to work, so they instead decided to be loud, proud, and fight for equality. With the advent and expansion of social media, in conjunction with progressively more liberal younger generations, more voices are starting to be heard and more changes are starting to be made.

Do people have the right to be racist, sexist, xenophobic, or homophobic? Sure, but if they express such prejudices at the workplace, they can expect some form of punishment to come their way. That's the thing; for as much as we'd like to believe it, free speech is not absolute. We may not face governmental persecution for making offensive statements, but that doesn't guarantee we won't face some sort of punishment from our boss. Not only that, but if these offensive comments are viewed as threatening, then the police could get involved as well.

The Black Lives Matter movement and college protesters are not Nazis. As a matter of fact, the two groups couldn't be further apart from one another. Nazis captured and killed at least 6 million Jews due to their religion. Black Lives Matter and college protesters are nonviolently fighting for equal rights of such groups.

Let's face it, when it comes right down to it, Peter Scheer and those like him aren't whining about protesters' complaints about not being treated as equals; they're whining because other demographics are fighting to be seen as equal in the eyes of the law, which leaves them feeling, for the first time in their lives, as not ultimately superior to the rest.


"Freedom of religion" apparently only applies to some...

Conservatives seem to have a twisted idea of what constitutes "freedom of religion." While we are granted this freedom in the U.S. Constitution, many Republican politicians haven't been satisfied with that due to the progression of LGBTs rights over the past few years. Even though the concept of separation of church and state is also mentioned in the Constitution, many GOPers seem to ignore this, and instead take their "freedom of religion" to be absolute, at work or at home, used to ensure their freedoms or to ironically deny others of their own. According to these far-right individuals, if they're forced to serve LGBTs at their workplace, that's discrimination toward them and their beliefs, even though if they refused service to the LGBT community, that would in fact be the epitome of discrimination.

If that rationale isn't demented enough as it is, in light of the recent terrorist attacks in Paris, some freedom-of-religion-loving Republicans, including GOP-frontrunner Donald Trump, have suggested we shut down mosques across the country.

Let's just call a spade a spade: The GOP's freedom-of-religion mantra isn't actually about protecting everyone's freedom to believe and worship as they so choose in this country. No, it's about protecting Christians' rights to legally practice discrimination.

According to the GOP, freedom of religion = freedom to believe in the far-right's interpretation of Christianity, and nothing else. That's as much "freedom" as margarita smoothies are health snacks.

Texas state Representative Tony Dale suddenly believes in gun-control!

Allow me to introduce all my readers to Texas state Representative Tony Dale. He's a Republican currently serving his first term in office, was given a 92% grade by the National Rifle Association, and just recently sent a two-page letter to U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX), making it fully known he adamantly opposed allowing any Syrian refugees in the state. Why? I'll allow the anti-gun-control Texas state representative to tell you himself:

"While the Paris attackers used suicide vests and grenades it is clear that firearms also killed a large number of innocent victims. Can you imagine a scenario were [sic] a refugees [sic] is admitted to the United States, is provided federal cash payments and other assistance, obtains a drivers license and purchases a weapon and executes an attack?"

That's right, ladies and gentlemen; Tony Dale just admitted gun laws are too lax in his state. Since his recent statement contradicts pretty much every talking point he and the NRA have made through the years, expect the Texas state representative to alter some of them to the following:

- "Guns don't kill people; guns in Syrian refugees' hands kill people!"

-  "The right to bear arms shall not be infringed, unless you're a Syrian!"

- "The only way to kill a bad Syrian with a gun is a good Syrian, I mean, American with a gun!"



Ben Carson unveils radical domestic Middle East strategy

After receiving heated criticism due to his foreign policy adviser, Duane Clarridge, claiming the former neurosurgeon knew less about the Middle East than a puppy knows about calculus, Ben Carson outlined a new strategy in an attempt to quiet his detractors.

When I caught up with the GOP candidate and asked for him to elaborate on the matter, this is what he said:

"The Middle East is a very dangerous part of this country and we need to do everything in our power to remove its belt buckle, stab it several times, and make sure it does no further harm on our people. In order to do this and bring peace within the region, we need to go after two main groups: the radical Quakers and the Amish extremists. These terrorists reside all throughout the Middle East portion of the United States, from Pennsylvania to somewhere south of there, like maybe Maine or Hawaii. Once we root out the masterminds of these two terrorist groups, you know, the head Quakers and Amishites, we can again feel safe in this great nation. That's all I have for now. I just felt the need to prove my adviser and critics wrong once again. Now I must be going to do my daily eye-opening exercises. I reached an all-time high of five yesterday. Hopefully I can make that six today."

When I asked an Amish couple in a horse & buggy about Mr. Carson's statements, they simply suggested I lay off the drugs.

Middle East geography, brought to you by Ben Carson...

Ben Carson may be brilliant when it comes to neurosurgery, but as one of the two GOP front-runners recently said himself, the man appears to suffer from a "suspension of intellect" when it comes to many other topics. One of his very own advisers brought this further to light in a recent New York Times article.

When speaking to reporter Trip Gabriel, Carson's foreign policy adviser, Duane Clarridge, said this with regard to one of the GOP candidate's shortcomings:

"Nobody has been able to sit down with him and have him get one iota of intelligent information about the Middle East."

That's right; the man polling either first or second in most GOP polls, potentially representing the party seemingly obsessed with being at permanent war with "radical Muslims" in the Middle East, apparently knows less about that region of the world than a newborn knows about quantum physics.

GOP: "Our #1 priority shouldn't be creating jobs, nor with regards to equality; it should be to protect our country from Middle Eastern Muslim extremists!"

Carson's adviser: "Ben Carson knows next to nothing about the Middle East. As a matter of fact, that may be too high of praise for the man."

GOP: "This is our guy!"

Given this bit of information, expect for Ben Carson to utter the following lines at some point in the future (if he hasn't already):

- "I'm frightened by both major groups of Muslims, the Sunny people and the Bedsheets."

- "I don't listen to rock music, because I believe Iraq derived from people in Boston saying, 'I rock.'"

- "Would it take a long time for me to actually run to Iran?"

- "What's Islam anyway? If Christians practice Christianity, wouldn't Muslims practice Muslimanity?"

- "I'm not sure where Syria is, but we should not allow any of their refugees to come here! Wait, isn't that the show in Las Vegas? Syria du Sol or something like that?"


All Lives Matter, eh?

I always found it ironically humorous how most members of the Republican Party countered the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement by saying, "All Lives Matter." In light of their rejection of Syrian refugees, this is increasingly so today.

Here are the two groups' bumper-sticker-worthy slogans regarding the subject and how they should be interpreted:

BLM's Slogan

"Black Lives Matter!"


BLM: "Like everyone else's lives, Black Lives Matter too!"

GOP's Slogan

"All Lives Matter!"


"All Lives Matter! Well, except for: Women, gays, lesbians, bisexuals, trannies, Muslims, blacks, Latinos, low- and middle-classes, Syrian refugees, agnostics, atheists, etc."

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

It's official; I'm Mr. Look-alike

I'm sure a decent percentage of people have had another tell them, "You know who you remind me of?" before uttering a celebrity's name. However, this happens to me on an almost weekly basis, and while I hear one celebrity's name more frequently than others, I think I've been told I resemble twelve different celebrities over the course of the past year or so, and am starting to think I should change my name middle name from Matthew to Look-alike.

According to others, who do I apparently resemble? Oh, just the following:

1) Tom Hanks

2) Matt Bomer

3) Jeff Duhamel

4) Jon Hamm

5) Bill Hader

6) Topher Grace

7) Joshua Jackson

8) Gavin Rossdale

9) Arnold Schwarzenegger

10) Rob Lowe

11) Ewan McGregor

12) Cary Grant

Update: I was just told I resemble two other actors:

13) Mark Valley

14) Patrick Wilson

Update: Here's another...

15) Christopher Reeve (as Superman)

I may be forgetting some names, but those are the first twelve which come to mind. The most common comparison I hear is (a young) Tom Hanks. My family doesn't see the resemblance, but many outside the family sure seem to see it. At no time was the more the case than last night, when I met with a friend for karaoke. On three separate occasions, a person tapped me on the shoulder and said, "Has anyone ever told you that you look like a young Tom Hanks?" After the third such occasion, I really started to wonder if I was on candid camera. Not only that, but when I heard my name called to sing a song, multiple people started chanting the actor's name: "Tom Hanks! Tom Hanks! Tom Hanks!" I couldn't help but wave and laugh. If I ever stop in there again, I may bring a Wilson volleyball with me, speak in a Southern Forrest Gump-ian accent, and be prepared to start taking pictures and signing autographs.

Week 11 NFL Predictions

Game: Tennessee at Jacksonville

Prediction: Tennessee - I consider this to be a toss-up game. The only reason I'm leaning ever so slightly in the favor of the Titans is that Marcus Mariota has been much less prone to making mistakes than Blake Bortles, who seems to force one to two interceptions each and every game. Given that, I'll take the Titans by 3.

Result: Jacksonville 19 Tennessee 13

Record: 0-1

Game: Oakland at Detroit

Prediction: Oakland - No, I'm not really sure what I saw at Lambeau Field on Sunday afternoon either. For the first time in 25 years, the Detroit Lions beat the Packers in Green Bay to improve to 2-7 on the season. I have a hard time seeing that happen in back-to-back weeks, so I look for the Raiders to get back on track with a 7-point win on the road in this one.

Result: Detroit 18 Oakland 13

Record: 0-2

Game: Indianapolis at Atlanta

Prediction: Atlanta - Atlanta's made me nervous over the past month of the season. Their extremely talented offense has seemed to forget how to score, especially when inside the red zone. However, coming off a bye week and facing the Andrew Luck-less Indianapolis Colts at home, I'll tentatively take the Falcons by 4.

Result: Indianapolis 24 Atlanta 21

Record: 0-3

Game: NY Jets at Houston

Prediction: NY Jets - To put it simply, the New York Jets are the defensive squad the Houston Texans had been in years past and wish they could be again this season. Unfortunately for them, that's not the case, and I look for the Jets to improve to 6-4 with a 10-point win on the road.

Result: Houston 24 NY Jets 17

Record: 0-4

Game: Tampa Bay at Philadelphia

Prediction: Philadelphia - Tampa's made some nice progressions in Jameis Winston's first season behind center. The Eagles, at 4-5, have let multiple games get away from them this season and will need to break that cycle if they want to win the NFC East. Fortunately for them, 4-5 is good enough to stay in contention for the division title. Whether it be Sam Bradford or Mark Sanchez behind center, I like the Eagles in this one at home, by 4.

Result: Tampa Bay 45 Philadelphia 17

Record: 0-5

Game: Denver at Chicago

Prediction: Chicago - While much was made early in the season about Peyton Manning's struggles, the Denver Broncos, led by their defense, was still finding ways to win games. That hasn't been the case these past two weeks, against sub-par competition, and it's a wonder whether or not Manning, who was pulled in the team's loss to the Chiefs on Sunday, will even start in this game. For the season, Manning has thrown just 9 touchdown passes compared to 17 interceptions. Chicago, meanwhile, appears to be heating up, and given both teams' recent performances, I'll give the Bears a slight edge at home. I'm taking Chicago by 6.

Result: Denver 17 Chicago 15

Record: 0-6

Game: St. Louis at Baltimore

Prediction: St. Louis - St. Louis is in danger of falling out of playoff contention and Baltimore is in danger of contemplating who to take with the #1 pick in next year's NFL draft. While the Rams laid a major egg at home against the Bears on Sunday, I think they're too good of a team to do that again in this game. Look for Todd Gurley to light up the suspect Ravens defense. I'm going with the Rams by a touchdown.

Result: Baltimore 16 St. Louis 13

Record: 0-7

Game: Dallas at Miami

Prediction: Dallas - This pick is subject to change if Tony Romo doesn't start for the Cowboys. For the time being, though, he's scheduled to make his return here. With Romo and Bryant finally back on the field together, look for Dallas to finally get back in the win column with a tough 3-point victory on the road in Miami.

Result: Dallas 24 Miami 14

Record: 1-7

Game: Washington at Carolina

Prediction: Carolina - If Kirk Cousins doesn't turn the ball over, this could be a tricky game for the unbeaten Carolina Panthers. Washington's defense has proven itself to be one of the better ones in the NFC this year. They also feature a pretty solid ground attack, so if and when Cousins plays well, the team can be a pain in the backside. However, in saying all that, it's hard for me to go against the Panthers at home. It should be tight and low-scoring throughout, but I'll go with Carolina by 3.

Result: Carolina 44 Washington 16

Record: 2-7

Game: Kansas City at San Diego

Prediction: Kansas City - To put it simply, Kansas City is playing very well at the moment, and San Diego is so battered and bruised, it's difficult to see them get through any game without a coach or a waterboy playing at least the second half. While part of me is tempted to go with Phillip Rivers and the hometown Chargers, for how well the Chiefs have been playing their past three games, I just can't bring myself to do that. I'll go with Kansas City by 4.

Result: Kansas City 33 San Diego 3

Record: 3-7

Game: Green Bay at Minnesota

Prediction: Minnesota - The Green Bay Packers need to find some answers and in a hurry, as they now look up at the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC North standings. It'll be difficult to find those answers on the road against those very Vikings in this game, however. Minnesota's on a roll, on both sides of the ball, and the Packers' offensive line will likely have a difficult time against the Vikings' front seven. I'm going with Minnesota by 4.

Result: Green bay 30 Minnesota 13

Record: 3-8

Game: San Francisco at Seattle

Prediction: Seattle - While San Francisco has been decent at home, they've been horrible on the road. That's double-trouble when playing against Seattle, a team fighting for their playoff lives. I'm going with the Seahawks at home by 13 to improve to an even 5-5.

Result: Seattle 29 San Francisco 13

Record: 4-8

Game: Cincinnati at Arizona

Prediction: Arizona - When healthy, these could be the two best, most balanced teams in the league. They're solid in every phase of the game and it wouldn't at all surprise me to see the two teams in the Super Bowl. Coming off a huge road win in Seattle on Sunday night and with this game at home, though, I look for Arizona to get the best of the visiting Bengals. I'll take the Cardinals by a field goal.

Result: Arizona 34 Cincinnati 31

Record: 5-8

Game: Buffalo at New England

Prediction: New England - If this game were in Buffalo, I'd think about taking the Bills. However, with it in Foxboro, that's not going to happen. Then again, I said the same thing about the Lions winning in Lambeau... I'll still take Tom Brady and the Patriots at home in this one, by 10.

Result: New England 20 Buffalo 13

Record: 6-8

Week 11 Record: 6-8 (.429)

Overall Record: 88-72 (.550)

What I learned in Week 10 of the NFL season...

In Week 10 of the NFL season, I learned...

- ..., if he becomes the 2016 Republican nominee, Donald Trump is probably seriously thinking about naming Rex Ryan as his running mate.

- ..., to some in Green Bay, a moment of silence is code for, "Scream lots of crazy sh*t."

- ...approximately 50% of announcers aren't sure how to pronounce Marcus Mariota's last name and it may only be a matter of time before a minority of them refer to the rookie quarterback as Mariachi.

- ...two 10-year-olds could probably score at least 28 points against the New Orleans Saints defense.

- ...Pittsburgh Steelers quarterbacks are secretly wondering whether or not shaking Sam Bradford's hand at one time left them all more prone to injury.

- ..., with Mark Sanchez in at quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles, Chip Kelly is trying to creatively find a way to work the butt-fumble into the offense.

- ...Peyton Manning just threw another interception, and the game's been over for a day and a half.

- ...Arizona Cardinals' back-up quarterback Drew Stanton, given his televised touchdown celebration, will almost inevitably become a contestant on Dancing With the Stars.

- ...Aaron Rodgers will likely receive a great deal of criticism from Fox News and talk radio after showcasing mercy for Muslims, to which he'll likely respond, "You think that hurts? That's nothing; we just lost to the Lions!"

- ..., if George Carlin were still around, he'd likely compare the Monday Night game between Cincinnati and Houston to golf, adding, "It was like watching flies f**k."

Info on my Facebook business, Twitter, and Tumblr pages

Here's the URL to my Facebook business page. I update it fairly regularly, but still haven't put forth a great deal of effort yet in researching matters and attempting to make the most out of it. In any case, it can be perused here:


Up next is my Twitter page. I'm still not 100% certain what I'm doing on there yet, but feel I'm gradually getting the hang of it and am up to 30,149 followers. I update it daily with many of my own tweets, but also by retweeting some others'. It can be found here:


Lastly, here's my Tumblr page, which I've neglected quite a bit recently, but if you're at all curious, you can find it at the following link:


Weekly update of my book information

For new readers (and regular ones, I suppose), here's some information pertaining to my books.

All twelve of my books can be purchased in paperback form at the following site (and others):


The ten books I've written and released in the past 4 years (yes, I've been on a roll) can be purchased for much cheaper in Kindle form at the following link:


Monday, November 16, 2015

Crisis and tragedy seem to bring out the very best and worst in people

As terrorists struck Paris on Friday, like many Americans, I thought back to what happened on our soil 14 years ago. While I was only 20-years-old at the time of the 9/11 attacks and quite ignorant and indifferent to the world of politics, I'll never forget that day, and the days, weeks, and months thereafter.

I was in college at the time, a night owl, and insistent on taking classes during the afternoon hours so I could maintain my atypical sleeping habits. Just as the Twin Towers were struck, my father raced to my room, woke me up, and told me something was transpiring which I had to see. When I first saw video showcasing the attacks, I was left speechless, perplexed, frightened, and wondering if I was still sleeping and experiencing a surreal nightmare of the worst kind. Unfortunately, as I fully awoke, I started to realize it was no dream, no film; it was real.

The surreal sensation I experienced initially never fully escaped me. Here I was, a 20-year-old college student, living in Omaha, Nebraska, seeing a part of the country I'd never visited before attacked. While it was horrifying, I still wanted to deny the reality of the situation. I can only imagine what New Yorkers felt that day and wish no one had to ever experience and/or witness such awful events.

In the coming days, weeks, and months, feeling both ignorant and helpless regarding the tragic events which unfolded in my own country, I felt a desire to research, learn, and try to get more involved. One thing I did learn was crisis and tragedy often times bring out the very best and worst in people. So many New Yorkers sacrificed their own health and well being in an attempt save human life. They didn't pause to think, "What could the possible consequences be if I did this?" No, they just went in there and did it, doing everything in their power to save one of their brothers or sisters. For as awful as that time was, I haven't seen many more inspiring acts of selflessness and bravery than the men and women in New York on that tragic day (and in the days, weeks, and months to follow).

Following that attack, most in this country set aside partisan differences. Our world was shaken at its core and no longer were we bickering about Roe v. Wade, LGBT rights, etc., labeling one another in an insulting and condescending manner. No, on that day, and in the days that followed, we looked at one another, held hands, and simply called ourselves Americans. 

As there were some positives which resulted from the attacks, however, there were some negatives as well. While crisis and tragedy can certainly bring people together, they can also divide certain demographics, largely due to prejudice. When such events occur, it's quite common to want to point the finger at someone (or a group) and cast blame. While this might make sense if we simply look at the few individuals responsible for the attacks, many decide to cast blame on an entire group of which these individuals were a part. In the case of the 9/11 attacks, that group happened to be Muslims.

This was again the case following the attacks in Paris on Friday. While many have expressed grief, sympathy, and solidarity with France, others have used the events to paint all Muslims as extremists and the religion of Islam to be one centered around hatred and violence, some going as far to say mosques should no longer be allowed in this country. When such tempting thoughts may come our way, I think it's important to remember that extremists reside in every political party and religion, yet only a sliver of those groups could be labeled as such, and the entire group should not be seen as a direct reflection of those very extremists. When a Christian goes on a shooting rampage, claiming he was on a mission from God, should all Christians then be seen as a reflection of this extremist? No. The same goes for members of the Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim, Jewish, and other religious communities. While Muslim extremists should be feared and prevented from following through with their violent missions, that holds true for extremists of all stripes, and we mustn't let fear and prejudice trump the ideals and Constitution of this country, which allows people to believe and worship what they so choose without fear of discrimination or persecution. Let's use such tragic events to lift one another up, not tear each other down.

If you're interested in donating money to the French Red Cross or finding other ways to lend a helping hand, go to this link: http://www.refinery29.com/2015/11/97679/help-paris-terror-victims-support#slide

My Updated Democratic Candidate Rankings

Since the second Democratic debate was held on Saturday night, as I've done following each and every debate, I thought I'd update my Democratic candidate rankings.

Following the first debate, I listed my rankings at this link: http://thekind-heartedsmartaleck.blogspot.com/2015/10/my-democratic-candidate-rankings.html

Since that time, two candidates, Jim Webb and Lincoln Chafee, have dropped out of the race, and Joe Biden made it official he wouldn't be running for the 2016 presidential election. So, unlike the Republican primary circus, which still has 14 candidates up and running, we're down to just 3 such candidates on the Democratic side.

3) Martin O'Malley (no change): O'Malley has performed pretty well at both sets of debates, comes across as a fairly likable candidate, and could potentially be thought of as running-mate material, but with poll numbers being what they are, it's only a matter of time before he follows the way of Webb and Chafee.

2) Hillary Clinton (no change): Clinton shined yet again in her debate performance on Saturday. Due to her two performances, she's been progressively moving closer to leap-frogging Bernie Sanders in my rankings. For the time being, though, I'll still place her at #2, knowing full well there's a greater chance of her being the Democratic nominee than of the Detroit Lions winning at Lambeau Field yesterday. Oh, so that happened? Very well...

1) Bernie Sanders (no change): Perhaps it's due to a lack of experience, but the debate stage isn't wear Sanders is at his best, and where Clinton often gets the best of him. I love his ideas and hope he continues to work to improve this country, but I have a difficult time seeing him overtake Clinton as the Democratic nominee.

Desired 2016 presidential match-up: Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders vs. Republican candidate John Kasich (no change)

Predicted 2016 presidential match-up: Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton vs. Republican candidate Marco Rubio (no change)

Friday, November 13, 2015

Republicans hope amnesia is contagious

As I've done all throughout this election season, I watched both Republican debates on Tuesday night. If there three themes from GOP debate #4, they were: 1) 99% of responses must include the name "Hillary Clinton" at least once, 2) Deflect to success should be one of the Republican Party's slogans, and 3) It's the GOP's wish that amnesia is contagious. Here now is a satire on how I viewed the debates from Tuesday night.

Neil Cavuto: "Welcome to the fourth Republican presidential debate. I want all of the candidates to relax, have fun, and feel reassured I won't be coming at them with too many gotcha questions, After all, I still plan on taking you all out to that club later in the evening for free lap-dances...which I will be providing. On that note, let's start with Donald Trump. Mr. Trump, how do you feel about Democrats' push to raise the minimum wage to $15?"

Donald Trump: "It's stupid, just like everything else that comes out of Democrats' mouths. The minimum wage is too high as it is. I mean, come on, people. If I can make it on a tiny tiny tiny tiny $1 million loan from my father, anybody can!"

John Kasich: "Don't listen to this guy. It's something we have to think about. Prices are going up, so if wages don't go up along with them, how are people supposed to afford to make a decent living for themselves?"

Trump: "Nobody cares what you think. Look, I'm up here, and you're way down there, so low, you're practically sniffing my balls, loser."

Kasich: "I don't have to listen to this crap."

Jeb Bush: "Can I get a turn to talk please? "

Kasich: "I wasn't finished. I'm just going to repeat what I said in all the other debates once again. I balanced a budget in Washington, in Ohio, and will do it a third time as President of the United States of America."

Trump: "Hey, Kaschmuck, let the guy talk."

Bush: "Thanks, Donald. You are a very generous man. If I were gay..."

Trump: "I know. us billionaires, we uh, we, uh, we is generous, you know? Go ahead..."

Bush: "Thank you. I'd like to start with a joke. So I bumped into this lady in Iowa whose last name was Bush. I said, 'Hey, I'm a Bush too.' Then she said, 'Yeah, that's what she said,' and I said, 'No, I said that and I'm not a she.' I guess you had to be there."

Cavuto: "Okay then. Next, let's turn our attention to Carly Fiorina. Ms. Fiorina. you've been an ardent opponent of Obamacare. If you become president and repeal Obamacare, what will you do to replace it?"

Carly Fiorina: "Yes, that's the first thing we need to do - repeal Obamacare!"

Cavuto: "Right, yes, okay, but if it did get repealed, what would you do to replace it?"

Fiorina: "Let me tell you a story about a lovely lady. This lady was bringing up three very lovely girls. They all had hair of gold just like their mother, the youngest one in curls."

Cavuto: "Aren't those the lyrics to the Brady Bunch theme song? What would you specifically do if you repealed Obamacare?"

Fiorina: "Okay, Neil, let me tell you another story. This one is about a man named Brady, who was extraordinarily busy bringing up three boys of his own. They were four men, all living together, yet, in an odd way, they were all alone, all because of Obamacare!"

Cavuto: "Interesting... Senator Cruz, if you became president, what is the first thing you'd do?"

Ted Cruz: "Your wife..."

Cavuto: "Senator Cruz, please, have a little respect..."

Cruz: "Okay, fine, fine... I'll do five things: 1) repeal Obamacare, 2) deregulate all environmental protections, 3) lower taxes for the wealthy, 4) repeal Obamacare, and 5) lower taxes for the wealthy."

Cavuto: "So, three things..."

Cruz: "No, five"

Cavuto: "Three..."

Cruz: "You apparently weren't listening; it was five."

Cavuto: "Very well... Mr. Carson, you've had an interesting week. Care to respond to some of the claims you weren't fully honest in your autobiography?"

Ben Carson: "First off, thank you for not asking me about that time when I was ten, told my best friend I wanted to give him brain surgery, and reenacted the shower scene from Psycho on him instead."

Cavuto: "Say what?"

Carson: "Thank you for not asking about that. My friend died that day and I'm the one who killed him. Anyway, what was your question again?"

Cavuto: "I'm kind of speechless at the moment. I think it had to do with your autobiography..."

Carson: "Oh, yes, that's right. Well, you know who is a real liar? Hillary Clinton. She lied about having sexual relations with Monica Lewinsky for one."

Cavuto: "That was her husband, Bill Clinton..."

Carson: "Look, the point is she lied. I'm not perfect, but she lied. Hillary Clinton lied! Hillary Clinton lied! Hillary Clinton lied!"

Cavuto: "Okay, moving on... Senator Paul, what would you do to help reduce the deficit?"

Rand Paul: "Well, I know what I say here won't be popular, but the fact of the matter is we spend as much on our military as the next ten countries combined. We can decrease what we spend on the military and still have the best military in the world."

Marco Rubio: "I'd like to butt in here. What the hell is wrong with you? Where were you on 9/11? Have you been in the Middle East recently? Have you tried bowling with ISIS? Yeah, the ball they give you will be filled with a bomb! We CANNOT decrease military funding! If we do, they're going to come and get me, get you, get your family, get everything!"

Paul: "Let's try to be reasonable for a second here. I'm not saying we should completely defund the military and that we shouldn't try to do everything we can to keep our country safe. What I'm saying is..."

Rubio: "You're part of ISIS, aren't you? Arrest this funny looking man! He's one of them!"

Paul: "Let's not get into a pissing contest, Marco."

Rubio: "My dick is bigger than yours, buddy!"

Cavuto: "Stop it, gentlemen..."

Cruz: "Hey, Carly, speaking of penises, do you wanna play the penis game, but with the word crony? I'll start... Crony!"

Fiorina: "Crony!!!"

Cruz: "CRONY!"

Fiorina: "CRONY!!!"

Cavuto: "What the heck is going on here? Let's skip forward to the final statements. Senator Paul, we'll start with you."

Paul: "I'm the only truly fiscal conservative up here. I'm the only one who has never spent a single dollar he earned. I actually live underground in a place I called Chia's Paradise."

Kasich: "I really don't know what to say anymore. Everyone else up here is cuckoo bananas. What is this, some kind of reality show? Well, I got news for everyone out there; this may be funny, but it's reality, so just remember that when you think about voting for Tweedle Dee, Tweedle Dum, or Tweedle Trump."

Fiorina: "I'm now going to speak in the third person and utter random words. Carly Forina is going to kick Hillary Clinton's ass hard! Accountability! Socialism! Tyranny! Obamacare! Planned Parenthood! Socialism! This has been Carly Fiorina, bitches."

Bush: "These are scary times. You know when times were good? When my brother was president! Enough with all this job growth, healthcare expansion. and no attacks on our soil! Bring back the times of turning surpluses into record deficits, of attacks on our soil, of the Great Recession!"

Cruz: "We cannot have a government that gets things done. We need a government that doesn't do anything, and I promise, if you elect me president, I won't just shut down the federal government for a couple weeks; I'll shut it down permanently!"

Rubio: "Paranoia, paranoia, everybody's coming to get me!"

Carson: "Through these two hours in the debate, 7 million people lost brain cells; 2 million people decided to watch something more educational, like a cartoon; and 3 million people fell asleep while I was talking."

Trump: "I win; you lose. I'm awesome; you suck. Vote for me and you'll suck a little less! You're welcome!"

Cavuto: "...and that's all the time we have for today. Thank you for joining us. I've gotta be going. I've got some lap-dances to give. Goodnight."