Friday, July 31, 2009

The Steelers Training Camp Schedule

Aaron at CHTV posts about Belichick's practice schedule. And (apparently) all other training camp schedules are "Club Med" in comparison.

As I have argued: who cares? The Patriots had a nice run but its been almost half a decade since they have been able to get over the hump. The Steelers have won the Super Bowl twice in that period of time (only one less Super Bowl victory than the Patriot have in franchise history).

The Steelers should be considered the NFL's standard bearers in 2009.

For the record, the Steelers have opted for "Club Med."

But what would Brian Boitano do?

Answer: he'd kick an ass or two.


Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Curse of Ed Donatell

From the "Pro Outside Football Prospective Almanc Thingy":

The arrival of Capers means the fourth defensive coordinator for Green Bay in five seasons; if Capers struggles we're officially calling this the "Curse of Ed Donatell," after the defensive coordinator who was scapegoated for Freddie Mitchell's infamous catch on fourth-and-26.


Monday, July 27, 2009

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Hey, Whatever Happened to the Pro Football Prospectus?

I had a vitrolic post about this years Pro Football Prospectus---now called the "Football Outsiders Almanac." Long story short: it's a pain in the ass to buy, and either twice as expensive or 20 times as inconvenient.

Anyhow, it turns out the Football Outsiders folks have contract issues preventing the traditional publication.

So I forgive them just this once.

Aaron Schatz writes that if "this goes well, however, we might decide to do things like this every year."

They had better freaking not do anything like this ever again.

In 2007 I bought my book from Amazon Dot Com for $13.57 and I got free two day shipping. Last year, I think I bought my book from an actual store.

This year you have two options: pay $12 dollars and get a crappy PDF version that does not travel to the bathroom very well, or pay $22 plus shipping from the one authorized web seller of the hardcopy (which is apparently print to order).

I have no experience with the crappy website that sells the hardcopies and have no idea how quickly they ship, although they do "strive to ship Book Proofs within 5 business days after the order was placed." Let's see today is July 26. Five business days means the thing would be shipped out on on August 3rd. It would probably take another 4-5 days to arrive. I'm looking at August 7th or 8th before I get my copy.

So I paid the $12 because I wanted the stupid thing sooner.

I already regret my decision. I now own a 559 page PDF that I can only read on my computer screen. I'm a sucker.

To make things even more annoying, if you go the PDF route, you have to register with Football Outsiders and can only pay using Pay Pal.

If you buy your hardcover book (which I should have done) you have to register with the one website that actually sells the book. Then you wait.

What a fuster-cluck.

Florio Needs to Take a Break From the Vick Story

Defending Vick, I feel a bit like the guy who was "somehow roped into arguing passionately for Green Day."

Florio should be commended for his early reporting of the Vick story. He was way ahead of the curve. That said, I think its time for him to take a break from the story. He is too close to the story and he is now being overtly dishonest. In his latest screed he writes:

Then there's the issue of Vick's admitted killing of dogs, in various grotesque, bizarre, and arguably psychopathic ways. Drowning. Slamming to the ground. Hanging. Electrocution via the attachment of electrodes to testicles.

Vick admitted to involvement in those killings as part of his federal plea.

The impression that Florio creates is that Vick (who might even be a "pychopath"!) has admitted slamming dogs to the ground and electrocuting doggy testicles. This is not true, and as a lawyer Florio knows better.

As a condition to his plea agreement Vick agreed to the statement of facts. "Vick agreed (emphasis mine) [with his co-conspirators] to the killing of approximately 6-8 dogs . . . and all of those dogs were killed by various methods, including hanging and drowning" and that as part of his plea agreement Vick "agrees and stipulates that these dogs all died as a result of collective efforts of" Vick and his co-conspirators.

As part of of his plea agreement Vick admitted to only vague and generalized involvement. Vick did not admit he drowned dogs, he admitted in some way contributed in the result. In what way? We don't know. But Vick does not admit to being present or even knowing in advance about the methods used by his co-conspirators (nor where there any specifics even in the indictment).

Moreover, Vick did not admit that any dogs were killed by slamming them into the ground or electrocuting them. Although, those accusations appeared in the indictment, they were removed from the plea agreement.

You will find no accusations in any of the documents that dogs were killed by "electrocuting their testicles." As far as I can tell (after some due dilligence on Google) that is pure a Florio fictional flourish.

Look, what Vick did was bad enough. He was involved ina a dog fighting ring. He even owned the facilities. There is no need to exaggerate and embellish his conduct. And there is definitely no need to portray Vick as a "psychopath" based upon made up facts. There is little evidence that Vick partook in the more gruesome and sensationalsitic elements of the dog fighting story.

I think its time for Florio to accept his pat on the back on the Vick story, and then hit the showers.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Jolly Follow-Up

A couple weeks back, I pondered the effect of Goodell's personal conduct suspensions on the criminal process. Last week Bedard---through a "person familiar with the case"---confirmed that Jolly refuses to negotiate with the prosecutors specifically because he wishes to avoid a suspension from Goodell The Populist Avenger.

This is a lose-lose-lose. Even if he beats the charge, Jolly will have wasted tens of thousands of dollars defending himself. I'm positive that given the shaky state of their case, the prosecution would leap at a chance to save face and let Jolly plead guilty to a lesser offense. If this ridiculous case actually goes to trial the biggest losers of all will be the taxpayers.

At the same time, given what is at stake, I cannot fault Jolly for fighting the charge.

However, there has got to be a better, more transparent, and more predictable way of handing out punishment than Roger Goodell doling out suspensions commensurate with his understanding of a player's "remorse."

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Is Jolly Facing Prosecution for Having Too Much Dr. Pepper In His Cough Syrup?

Back from vacation and I have a little catching up to do. I have been following the Johnny Jolly legal farce with great interest. I have a couple posts coming up on this topic.

First things first: I think the media has mixed-up the facts a bit. Jolly is not charged with possessing 200 grams of codeine---an insane amount equivalent to "a couple years worth for someone that has a serious pain disorder." Rather, Jolly is charged with possessing a 200 grams of a liquid that contains a very small (by orders of magnitude) fraction of codeine.

Under Texas law, a controlled substance includes "adulterants or dilutants" which are "any material that increases the bulk or quantity of a controlled substance, regardless of its effect on the chemical activity of the controlled substance." To convict Jolly, the prosecution must prove that he:

(1) possessed (2) a mixture containing not more than 200 milligrams of codeine and any of its salts per 100 milliliters and per 100 grams, that also (3) contains one or more nonnarcotic active medicinal ingredients (4) in sufficient proportion to confer on the mixture valuable medicinal qualities other than those possessed by the codeine alone, (5) weighing by aggregate weight, including any adulterants or dilutants, more than 200 grams and less than 400 grams.

Soda is considered an "adulterant."

The purpose of the adulterant rule appears to be to not let off the hook an unscrupulous drug dealer (are there "scrupulous" drug dealers?) that cuts his product with impurities. The bizarre consequence for these purple prosecutions is that (as best I can tell) the defendant is punished more severly based upon the amount of soda that he or she uses to dilute the cough syrup.

If you are on sitting on the front porch relaxing with 27.9 grams of cough syrup, the most you can be charged with is a Class B Misdemeanor (punishable by the still way too extreme six months in jail). If you mix that same cough syrup with 172.1 grams of Shasta, or Canada Dry, or Chocolate Milk you are committing a Second Degree Felony punishable by not less than 2 years in lockdown---and up to 20 years in the joint.

(Digusting factoid: rape is also a Second Degree Felony in Texas. That's right possessing cough syrup without a prescription is treated as harshly raping another person.)

But here is the apparent catch: the prosecution must prove that liquid contains one "or more nonnarcotic active medicinal ingredients [here: an anti-histamine called promethazine] in sufficient proportion to confer on the mixture valuable medicinal qualities other than those possessed by the codeine alone."

Thus, as the cough syrup becomes more and more diluted with soda, at some point the levels of promethazine will be so low as to no longer be "in sufficient proportion to confer on the mixture valuable medicinal qualities other than those possessed by the codeine alone." At that point, the liquid no longer meets the statutory definition.

At least that is the best I can make out.

So what is the deal with the prosecution dismissing the case to allow technicians to learn how to use a piece of equipment that can measure the amount of codeine in a liquid?

Harris County lost an appeal last last year in a case called Massie v. Texas because the prosecution could not prove the percentage of codeine or promenthazine in a soda bottle. The prosecution's theory was that the actual concentrations did not matter: all that mattered was that there was some amount of codeine and promenthazine in an Orange Crush concoction and that in total it exceeded the 200 gram threshold.

The Court of Appeals disagreed, holding that the prosecution must still present evidence that the concentration of codeine is less than 200mg/100 mL. In addition, the prosecution must present evidence that the promenthazine is present in sufficient quantity to "confer on the mixture valuable medicinal qualities."

I suspect (and this is an educated guess only) that as a result of this case and perhaps other similar cases, Harris County was forced to buy new equipment capable of measuring the quantity of codeine and promenthazine in a liquid. That is what the dismissal was all about.


For fun and to drive home the point that Jolly is not accused of possessing the equivalent of several years worth of codeine, I did some back-of-the-envelope calculations:

Promethazine and Codeine is manufactured in concentrations of 10mg/5mL.

10mg/5mL x 20,000/20,000 = 200,000mg/100,000mL= 200g/100L

Put another way, it would take 100 liters of prescription strength cough syrup to get 200 grams of codeine. Those styrofoam cups would have looked like this picture from The Onion:

In addition, the LD50 (i.e., the dosage that would kill 50% of those who consumed it) for codeine is 800 mg. 200 grams of codeine would be 250 times the dosage that would kill an average human being.

Jolly is not and was never charged with carrying around such an insane amount of codeine.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Heading Out On Vacation.

But on my way out the door, I wanted to blow your mind.

(Hat Tip: Turley Blog)

G8 Summit Resolution: Fat Bottom Girls Make the Rockin' World Go Round

In honor of Presidents Obama and Sarkozy I am dusting off the Ultimate Butt Collection.


Track 1: Fat Bottomed Girls, Queen.

Track 2: Big Ol' Butt, LL Cool J. (No embedding. I hate that).

Track 3: Rump Shaker, Wreckx-N-Effect

Track 4: Back That Ass Up, Juvenile.

Track 6: I See You Baby (Shakin' That Ass), Groove Armada.

Track 7: Da Butt, EU.

Special Note: This is hands down the greatest butt song of all time. Pretty much the greatest use of call and response ever. Also, Spike Lee is in the video.

Track 8: Baby Got Back, Sir Mix A Lot.

Track 9: Saturday (Oooh Oooooh), Ludacris.

Track 10: Big Bottom, Spinal Tap.