Deflategate Explained; Lessons From An Old Audi

On Sunday January, 18, 2014 the New England Patriots trounced the Indianapolis Colts 45-7 in the AFL Conference Championship Game that determined which of them would play in the Super Bowl. Such a drubbing promoted claims of cheating to alleviate the sense of inadequacy such a defeat engenders in the vanquished. Furthermore, New England’s Coach Belichick (and Tom Brady, to a lesser degree) is an easy target as he is known to have played loose with the rules before.

The claim is that Belichick, or some designee, inflated the balls 2 lbs below the 12.5-13.5 psi required under the rules. Apparently, such under-inflation produces a ball that is easier to grip in colder or wetter conditions. The Patriot’s scheme, it is said, was to make it easier for Tom Brady to pass the ball, but it seems Indianapolis’s Andrew Luck also benefitted from the softer ball as his Colts scored their touchdown in the second quarter with the softer ball. that presumes the Colts balls were deflated as well. Nevertheless, both teams played with legal balls in the second half.
In fact, after the properly inflated balls entered the game in the second half, the Colts were shut down and the Patriots scored 21 points in the third period alone.

The pressure in a football, a tire, or balloon, for that matter, is a relative figure that relates to pounds per square inch over the relevant atmospheric pressure;  more air in New Orleans, less in Denver. Also, temperature has significant inluence over PSI. Pressure goes up in the heat and down in the cold.
So how does this relate to my old Audi, which happens to have been a 1983 5000 Turbo, a magnificant car? However, this car had mag wheels that were impacted by cold to a high deegree that resulted in flat tires in extreme colld. This was due to the loss of tire pressure holding the tire to the shrinking wheel. On cold days the first year I had the car, and I mean -20 f cold,  I would find a tire flat at the worst time, such as after leaving a restaurant at 10:00PM. Changing the tire was a challenge. To avoid such dilemma, I learned that for each ten degree drop in temperature, I could expect a 1 pound drop in tire pressure. This is not a huge problem unless the tire/wheel combination didn’t work well together, as was the case with my car. I just over-inflated the tires.

The rule here, however, gets to the “deflategate” issue. If the balls were inflated in a 72 degree in a locker room and then were moved to a 50 degree field, maybe a 1 to 2 pound change could occur. If the Patriots actually preferred the 12.5 psi pressure, then the ball may read 11.5 later, or 10.5, which it was due entirely to temperature.  The effect on play, however, would be positive for both teams as it seems the softer ball is easier to handle on cold, wet conditions, as it was in Foxboro that Sunday evening. Maybe the NFL should adopt inflation rules for different weather conditions, softer for wetter, for example.

I play tennis in the North, so that means lots of early and late season matches in cold weather. I love hitting the ball then as it doesn’t fly long. I can swing with impunity and it stays inside the lines, a beautiful thing! Now, with the knowledge gained from “deflategate,” I can blame long shots in August on the weather. (Tennis balls are manufactured with 14lbs of pressure.)

Back to the NFL. Each team provides 12 balls, or maybe 20, for the game. These balls are all “broken in” by equipment men who bang them around so that they soften to the touch. (The same process takes place in the NBA, by the way) The league also has 8 balls sent directly from the manufacturer to the game officials at the stadium for kicking, not to be adulterated by the the teams. (My high school, had one “game ball” that was kept in the coach’s office during the week, only to be used on Friday!)

So, after considering the evidence, “deflategate” is much ado about nothing and is merely a conjured story to fill the dull week between the conference chamionship game and the Super Bowl next week. It is also designed to give some comfort to the Indianapolis Colts who got their butts kicked by the vastly superior Patriots in Foxboro that Sunday evening. Better to blame the ball than recognize your own lack of skill. Enough said.

The Opening of the Baseball Season

The last regular seaon NFL games are pver and there will be a Super Bowl sometime in the future, but this is really the beginning of the baseball season. This fact is marked by the Winter Meetings that ended two weeks ago and caused some commotion with a numbe or teams making dramatic moves to add players. The two that stick out in my mind, at least, were the San Diego Padres and Chicago White Sox. The Cubs also added talent.
Without getting into names and stats, it is my obsevation that teams add winter meeting free agent and traded for talent and that this talent is very expensive and seldom helps all that much. .
The cost of free agent talent is pure cash and, usually multiyear deals. That means a team has a burden to carry for sometime, It will consider the new player, who is usually older and declining in skills, a major asset, but he will be a major liability soon. The players who are traded for are also expensive, but in a different way. To acquire Jock Donaldson from the A’s (OK, I’ll mention one player!!), the Blue Jays gave up a number of young players. I don’t know who they are, but I doubt if Billy Beane would take chopped liver. So the Jays have a great third base man, but have been diminished, probably, by a like amount of talent elsewhere.  
The Padres took Matt Kemp.  (OK second player) from the Dodgers in exchange for some players and the Dodgers are paying SD like $25million to pay Kemp’s salary. I look askanse at teams that give away an old star and pay his salary to get rid of him. They know more about Kemp than SD, so what’s up with that.
The whole point here is that there was a lot of action this month, and the season is now on. I don’t think however, that much has been changed as baseball is the ultimate team sport and it takes a whole team to win a pennant. For example, the last place added free agents Torii Hunter, a 39 year old outfielder and Erivn Santana, (OK, Players 3 and 4 and that’s it) a 33 year old starting pitcher. Now, if the Twins can outbid Detroit and Atlanta for these guys, they are going to help a little, maybe, But even with these additions, the Twins will be last in the AL Central again. It pains me to say that, by the way, I am a huge fan, but that’s the reality of it.

So we are off to the MLB Season, opening day is looming in just over 90 days. Stay tuned. 

Blog: Scientist confesses he made up polar bear population estimates

This link will take you to one of the more illuminating articles of the year concerning the global warming issue. The message is that data is fabricated to allow access to the billions of dollars available for climate reasearch. This takes me back to the mid 1970’s when global cooling was the theme. (It now seems that was the correct theme as long term tree ring analysis shows a 2000 year cooling trend!!) I read that when the warming theory arose, it was because scientists were not able to make any money on cooling, so they wanted to try warming.
The competing theories were, for cooling, that particulates in the air blocked sunlight causing cooling, and, for warming, CO2 in the air trapped heat causing warming` From there, the battle was launched with the warmist faction prevailing. The image of drowning polar bears won over the polar bears are colder arguments. Of course, people would not buy the colder argument, although they did buy the argument that polar bears, that can swim fifty miles or more, were drowning. Ignorance is a large part of the warmist program. It is like Professor Gruber describing Democratic voters as ignorant, and these are the same people.
This ignorance allows warmists to deny the fact of no warming for 20 years by convincing themselves that the heat is hiding in the deep ocean. Just think about that for a ininute. A thermal unit of heat trapped by co2 in the atmosphere, dives into the ocean and moves down (even though heat rises) several thousand feet to “hide.”  Of course, this violates several of the laws of thermodynamics but that would not bother a warmist believer, embracing their religion. The other facts ignored and lies embraced by them are well known.  
This article shows one warnist theorist admitting his lie. There will be more. Michael Mann??

Adrian Peterson’s Particular Dilemma and How We Benefit From It

Adrian Peterson is a gifted running back for the Minnesota Vikings who is  currently suspended without pay by the National Football League Commissoner for the 2014 season. He was suspended for using a switch, a small, flexible limb, larger than a twig, to discipline his four year old son. The switch left welts on the boy’s legs, buttocks and scrotum. A complaint to Texas law enforcement officials resulted in a grand jury indictment for “reckless or negligent injury to.a child.” 

This indictment was surprising to those of us who grew up in a day when switches, belts and other objects were commonly used to discipline boys. The switch was part of the educatioal system as well. The old song, “School Days, School Days” sang nostalgically of the elementary school room. It goes like this:

School Days, school days, dear old golden rule days;
Readin’ and ‘ritin’ and ‘rithmatic;
Played to the tune of the hickory stick….!!”
(The song then describes old crushes)

The point herè is that for a very long time “hickory sticks, rulers and switches” were commonly used to discipline in schools and at home. Recall as well the biblical assertion that “if you spare the rod, you spoil the child.”  Proverbs 13:24. So using switches and rods was not only common but suggested as being beneficial as corporal punishment actually helped the developing child.

This is the world that Adrian Peterson grew up in. One in which switches (and belts etc.) were often used to discipline, and by doing so, imparting a sense of self control, toughness, and a Spartan stoicness. The ability to take the switch and not cry was important to the developing male character as the ability to “tough it out” and not react were seen as important in life. In Adrian Peterson’s world, his act of disciplining his child was, to his ethos, not an intent to harm, but an intent to benefit the child.

I went to a Quaker School where rulers and rods were not used, but neighbor boys went to a Jesuit school and they told me of being tapped on the knuckles for spelling errors, rapped on the head for speaking out of turn,  to being taken into the hall and being swatted to the point where it was painful to sit down for sass and such.  A complaint to a parent would result in an inquiry into the reason for the punishment, and, if disclosed, more punishment. At least, the correctness of the punishment would be ratified. So what happened to the five Jesuit disciplined boys? Three are leading doctors, (one heads a major hospital), one is a succesful investment manager and another a famous tax lawyer. Maybe the Jesuits read their Proverbs and got it right.

None of this, of course, helps Adrian Peterson as he lives in a time when corporal punishment against children is not condoned in our society, unless, of course, the discipline is administered under Sharia law, but that’s a different story. The National Football League, in response to the Texas Grand Jury, suspended Peterson for two games. The uproar was so loud, that it reconsidered and he was placed on the Commissioner’s exempted. list that is, in effect, an indefinite suspension. The suspension has now been made definite for the 2014 season, and without pay!

Adrian Peterson grew up in Texas playing highschool football. From what I know, the coaches are not benevolent despots in that part of the world, in fact they weren’t such at my Quaker School. He then played and starred at the University of Oklahoma, was a first round draft pick by the Vikings and has starred in the NFL. His action against his son was lamentable and he mistook discipline for punishment. Therewas no criminal intent to harm in this case, only an intent, possibly misguided, to “teach” proper behavior.

The NFL will do what it must to protect itself. The publicity from this case will go a long way to end corporal punishment, and that is the good and proper result. I, for one, learned that being sent to the headmaster’s office, waiting for him and then standing by his desk as he decided to call my parents, was sufficient punishment.

As a society, we have moved on and that is good. It took Adrian Peteroson and the NFL to bring this issue into the headlines and the NFL learned quickly how serious this behavior is in our culture. That it will be reduced and stigmatized is the beneficial outcome of this matter. Peterson will play again, and after resting for a year, star again. My Vikings could use that.

The Republican Tide is Tied to Obamacare

This article is a reprint from Weekly Standard and is illuminating and convincing.

President Obama has always wanted to be a historic president. In an election that was driven by Obamacare, he took another big step toward that end on Tuesday — just not in the way he intended.

Five years ago, the Democrats held a 20-seat majority in the Senate and a 79-seat majority in the House. Then they passed Obamacare. They did so in clear defiance of public opinion and over unanimous Republican opposition in both chambers. After the American people’s clear verdict on Tuesday night, Republicans will likely have an 8-seat majority in the Senate and will have at least a 51-seat majority in the House. That’s a 28-seat swing in the Senate and 130-seat swing in the House since the pre-Obamacare days.

These are historic losses. Consider the following:

The last president who lost control of the House in one election and then lost control of the Senate in another was Woodrow Wilson, nearly 100 years ago.

If Republicans end up winning the Senate races in Alaska and Louisiana, as expected, then Obama will have lost 14 senators since his first year in office. The last time a president lost more senators from his first year onward was when Ulysses S. Grant lost 16 senators — from 1869 to 1875.

Prior to the 2010 election, the last time the Democrats lost at least 63 House seats while also losing control of that chamber was in 1894, shortly before Babe Ruth’s birth.

Obama was the first president in American history to lose 63 House seats in his first midterm election, and he has now lost additional House seats in his second midterm election.
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Even in the unlikely event that the Democrats win all 13 of the House races that remain to be decided, they will still hold fewer House seats as of January than they have at any time since 1949, when Joe Louis was the undefeated heavyweight champ.

In short, Obamacare is helping Obama — and his allies — enter the record books. As much as the election was bad news for Obama, however, it might have been even worse news for his namesake.

The election was bad news for Obamacare not only because that legislation took another public shellacking, and because the number of legislators willing to defend it is dwindling. It was also bad news for Obamacare because of what happened in Virginia. For on a night of great Republican victories, the GOP’s standout performance may well have been in defeat.

Virginia senatorial candidate Ed Gillespie appears to have fallen just short in his effort to topple heavily favored incumbent Mark Warner. (The challenger trails by less than 1 point in a race that has yet to be finalized and could be headed for a recount.) But alone among Republican senatorial candidates, Gillespie ran on a detailed conservative alternative to Obamacare. In advancing such an alternative, and in almost pulling off a monumental upset while doing so, he broke new ground and offered his fellow Republicans a useful political and policy blueprint going forward.

With the right conservative alternative in play, Obamacare can be repealed. That is the main lesson that Republicans should take away from Tuesday night’s triumph.

White House Computers Hacked and Obama Didn’t Know It.

Below is a link to the Powerline blog article on the hacking of White House and other federal computers by either the Russians or the Chinese. Apparently, the White House was oblivious to this major, MAJOR, security breach until told of it by the British or Israelis.  This is hard to imagine, but it happened.