Josh Gordon is a professional grade moron

I begin my day, as always, by going to Facebook. A friend comments that Josh Gordon has done something stupid again. I sigh and look it up. There are two problems with this scenario.

1) Dude, you’re trying to appeal a suspension for using marijuana. How about, I don’t know, putting down the marijuana for a while? I get that THC is addictive, but it’s considerably less so than caffeine or alcohol or nicotine or any of a dozen other drugs.

2) There are many, many places in the US where going 15 miles an hour over the speed limit will not get you a ticket. Northeastern Ohio is not one of them. Even doing 10 over is pushing it. I know that the highway speed limits are stupid. I was young once, and fancy free, and earned myself a speeding ticket or two doing much what you did. However, I was not (and am not, sadly) a phenomenal athlete who could become a millionaire. I was a dude driving a Buick or Ford Focus (depending on the occasion in question).

So, if for some reason you’re reading this blog, Josh Gordon, find a cave somewhere. A cave where there is no marijuana. A fully modern cave, with an awesome TV, broadband, video games aplenty, all the food you can eat — I’m not a monster — but no marijuana. Live in this cave, and do not come out until the appeal is reviewed. Then, go back into the cave, and stay there for the rest of your NFL career. At least, the portion of it that involves the Browns.

Failing that, give me the cave. I kind of want to live there now. There’s broadband and TV!


Stratfor: Disband the CIA and NSA, it’s all the intelligence gathering you’ll ever need!

A friend pointed this out to me on another website. We have this brilliant tagline:

Best-selling author George Friedman founded Stratfor in 1996 to bring customers an incisive new approach to examining world affairs. Under his direction, Stratfor taps into a worldwide network of contacts and mines vast amounts of open-source information. Analysts then interpret the information by looking through the objective lens of geopolitics to determine how developments affect different regions, industries and markets.

So, they Google stuff on the internet and watch CNN. And calling geopolitics “objective” is hilarious.

Their vision:

Stratfor’s vision is to be the foremost provider of predictive geopolitical-based intelligence services.

Stratfor’s core philosophy is that transformative geopolitical events are neither random nor unpredictable. Building on nearly 20 years of experience as the world’s premier geopolitical intelligence firm, Stratfor develops constraint-based narratives for key trends around the globe — placing today’s events in context and forecasting tomorrow’s new developments well before they appear in the headlines.

This reminds me of this Dilbert comic. Wally has a ponytail because he’s discovered it makes people give him venture capital. Ah, 1999.

The core philosophy is bold, I’ll give them that. I love the idea of “constraint-based narratives,” which makes me think of unconstrained narratives. “We predict that giant robot whales will develop nuclear technology, but we think Aquaman will try to calm them down, until he realizes whales are mammals and not fish. ESPECIALLY robot whales, who are clearly robot mammals.”

Of the three experts they champion, the one thing they all have in common is that they’ve sold a lot of books. That means they’re good at convincing people to believe their bullshit, which is not the worst qualification for running a geopolitical intelligence firm, you have to admit.

You can check out their methodology, which successfully proves that they have at least one graphic artist. Oh, one of the award winning reports they author?

The very first sentence is complete horseshit.

Like nearly all of the peoples of North and South America, most Americans are not originally from the territory that became the United States.

Since you’re using “are” — indicating present tense — I would argue the exact opposite: most people who are Americans did come from the United States since, you know, no matter how bad illegal immigration is, it has yet to reach over 50%. Even if you include legal immigrants, it’s still way less than 50%. According to the Brookings Institution, it’s actually less than 20% (although it is not clear whether or not this figure includes illegal immigrants, they link to a paper I could read if I cared to break it down.)

It takes a special kind of stupidity to achieve almost complete incoherence one sentence into a flagship paper. One more insane sentence, which leads off the second paragraph:

The American geography is an impressive one.

“One?” One of what? Are you trying to say, “The American geography is an impressive geography?” Because that’s moronic. “Geography” — specifically, the science of studying the earth, or physical location on the earth of some natural feature — cannot be impressive. Would you call the “Grand Canyon an impressive geography of America?” No. You could say “the Grand Canyon is an impressive feature of American geography.” But geography, in and of itself, cannot be impressive. I’m theoretically paying damn good money for your nonsensical advice. Try to make it coherent nonsensical advice!

Oh, and a free tip (the next one is $100,000): nothing is inevitable, in a historical sense. Only Marxists think that. Wait a minute… you aren’t a big Commie, are you, Stratfor?

Spoiler alert: Ken Ham is an idiot, not delicious

I’ve been looking for a transcript of the Nye/Ham debate, but it isn’t available. (C’mon internet — HK-47 and Bastila flash fiction, but no transcript of this debate?) Here’s the next best thing.

Ken Ham is either an epic troll or the most stupid individual of whom I have ever heard. Here’s his entire argument, in one sentence: the Bible is true because it was written by people who were actually there.




Creationists, couldn’t you find somebody who at least knew the book he was supposed to using as his evidence? Especially when he says that the “most true” part of the Bible is Genesis. You know, the story of creation. Was written by somebody who was actually there. Of course, that would be a hell of a trick, since WRITING HADN’T BEEN INVENTED YET.

Unless, of course, you are suggesting that Gob himself wrote the Bible. In which case, Gob is a moron because he writes a bunch of contradictory stuff. You lose either way, Ken Ham.

A slight digression, but a worthwhile one: the Bible is not a primary source. We don’t even know who wrote most of it (spoiler alert: not Gob). Historians have to use the Bible as a primary source in an ancient history for a very good reason: nobody else thought the early Israelites were worth writing about. (I’m not saying they were right, you understand, but it’s true.) This is like using a German or English source for the history of Luxembourg in World War II; there are no 15 volume studies of Luxembourg in World War II. I don’t even know if there’s a one volume study of Luxembourg in World War II.  For the record, here is a one sentence history of Luxembourg in World War II. The Nazis were coming, they shit their pants, and surrendered without a fight. They were 100% right to do this.

Some of the stuff in the Bible is backed up by other sources. Some of it isn’t. Some of it isn’t even backed up by other parts of the Bible. The literary effect on the modern world is profound, and there are some good messages in there. There’s also a lot of nonsense. It’s important to know the difference. If you understand and accept that difference and continue to believe in whatever flavor of religion you do, more power to you. I think you’re wrong, but we’ll agree to disagree. If you do not understand and accept that difference, you’re either incredibly naive, a moron, or a fraud.

Purely from a historical standpoint, the Bible is slightly more reliable than certain parts of Herodotus. The parts with giant ants, for instance, or where he insisted the Persian army had 100 million soldiers in it or something. I think Herodotus asked a couple of guys, drunk on resina, “how many guys were there in that fight?”, and they responded, “like, millions, man. MILLIONS.” Herodotus thought “seems legit” and it becomes history. This is why any time somebody calls Herodotus the father of history I want to punch them in the face. Maybe him too, but he’s dead, so some of the challenge is gone.



Hey Hoynsie: you’re an idiot

Paul Hoynes, beat writer for the Plain Dealer, has a regular mailbag feature called “Hey Hoynsie”, in which he answers fan mail. I approve of said concept. He mostly has good information and is usually coherent. Then there’s this gem:

Hey, Hoynsie: In a recent column, you said that you think Jack Morris is a Hall of Famer considering his 254 wins. Some people would argue that wins by a starter are a meaningless stat. So many variables that are outside of his control go into recording a win (i.e. run support, fielding, relievers in some situations). Given that I think we should stop paying attention to wins by pitchers. What is your position? -– Joseph Tablack, Youngstown.

Hey, Joseph: Wins are still the most important stat in baseball and a starting pitcher who is a consistent winner is still one of the most important players on a team. Just ask his manager. Jack Morris did that for the entire decade of the 1980s. That’s why he’s a Hall of Famer in my mind.

I call Hoynes an idiot here because he completely evaded the substance of Joseph’s question. Joseph wasn’t saying “wins are meaningless”. He said “we should stop paying attention to wins by pitchers.” You know, since they’re slightly more useful than RBI. Was Jack Morris a durable innings eater who played on some very fine teams? Yes, absolutely. The “winningest pitcher of the 1980s?” Only if you cherry pick. Quick: in the entire 1980s, how many times was Jack Morris in the top ten in wins? 6. That’s not very good.

Hoynesie, get rid of the Morris fetish. It serves nobody.

Ken Gurnick: So stupid, it’s actually beautiful shared its ballots today, and a number of them have Bonds and Clemens on there, which makes me happy. Then, of course, there’s Ken Gurnick. Here is his ballot.

KEN GURNICK, Dodgers beat reporter

Morris has flaws — a 3.90 ERA, for example. But he gets my vote for more than a decade of ace performance that included three 20-win seasons, Cy Young Award votes in seven seasons and Most Valuable Player Award votes in five. As for those who played during the period of PED use, I won’t vote for any of them.

That’s not a highlight of his ballot — he literally only voted for Jack Morris. Take a moment to reflect on the stupidity. Then, Rob Neyer counterattacked. The salient points is (with more profanity, because Rob Neyer is nicer than I am): “Hey, fuckwad, Jack Morris pitched during the PED era. You make Murray Chass look like a goddamned Bill James fan.” Neyer’s “correction” was hilarious and to the point:

Morris has flaws — a 3.90 ERA, for example. But he gets my vote for winning a lot of games and pitching one really big game, even though I know the rules say you’re not supposed to elect a guy because of one really big game. As for those who played most of their careers while I was actually sort of paying attention to steroids, I won’t vote for any of them. Or Alan Trammell, because I just don’t understand that he was a great player.

Don’t worry, guys — only one more day before the HOF ballots are done, I can write my last piece about it, and we can forget about until next year.


Latest enemy: Murray Chass

Murray Chass has, for a long time, been an old coot. However, then I saw this from Deadspin.

I’ll emphasize what Deadspin emphasize, because it’s fucking sick.

Finally, an announcement that will disappoint Neyer, Calcaterra and the reader who, like those two bloggers, said they were delighted that this was the last time I would be voting for the Hall of Fame. Sorry, guys I never made it definite.

I said “barring a change in my thinking,” this could be my last vote. My thinking has changed, and all of you critics can blame yourselves. How could I relinquish my vote knowing how much it annoys you? I plan to vote a year from now even if I just send in a blank ballot. You would love that.

This makes me sick to my stomach. I mean, instead of making this argument what it should be — who deserves to be recognized amongst baseball’s all-time greats — you’re going to fuck over everyone so you can troll Rob Neyer. Can we please kick this pompous asshole out of the BBWAA?


I leave the Internet for one stinkin’ day…

We begin our story, Sunday, with a defeat of the Browns by Pittsburgh. Bothersome, but not surprising. Pittsburgh was playing for the playoffs — the Browns were playing for nothing. Or were they? (Spoiler alert: They were.) Am I saying that if they beat Pittsburgh, Chud doesn’t get fired? Yes. Yes I am. But, this level of stupidity deserves more analysis. Here’s Terry Pluto.

I do know that Chud looked pretty good when he had a respectable quarterback in Brian Hoyer.

That’s right, Internet — you just saw “respectable quarterback” and “Brian Hoyer” in the same sentence. CLEVELAND! Terry Pluto, quite rightly, says this is a matter of the front office not knowing what it wanted. I still think they don’t know what they want, but at least they are categorically convinced it isn’t Chud. Maybe. However, this is the Browns. There can’t be just the one reason (the front office fucked up). What do you have to say, Tony Grossi?

The coaches became unsatisfied with the front office’s response to holes in the roster. For example, management wanted to blend in more younger players and expected the coaches to get them up to speed. When the toll of additional injuries taxed the roster, Chudzinski was expected to win with a threadbare roster. […]

At one point, Chudzinski was urged by Banner to “shake up” the locker room by cutting wide receiver Greg Little or guard Shawn Lauvao. Chudzinski declined, and that was interpreted as Chudzinski not holding players accountable for their failings.

In recent weeks, a disagreement arose about a future role for receivers coach Scott Turner, the son of coordinator Norv Turner. Chudzinski, a source said, wanted to switch Turner to running backs coach. Norv Turner objected and the brushfire became another strike against Chudzinski.

I have to put the blame squarely on Chud here. When he was hired, it was clear that he was just expected to be the Xs and Os guy. And, to be fair, the team sucked. Since we had more Pro Bowlers (5) than wins (4), obviously the front office did a great job, so it must be that the coach sucked. Fire his ass!

Bill Livingston, Old Coot, tried to work in a Ghostbusters reference that, really, really didn’t work. The column’s kind of rambling, but that’s the big take away I got.

Mary Kay Cabot had the analysis of the press conference with Haslett and Banner.

[Haslett] noted that it was an “expensive move” to fire Chudzinski, who’s still owed $10.5 million.

“We’re not only just saying it, we’re talking with our pocketbook here,” he said. “So these are not cheap moves to make, and I’m not saying that should be the guiding factor, but we’re doing everything we can to get this right.”

Excuse me while I shed a single tear of sympathy for you having to pay for your own incompetence. Okay, I’m done. So, in the immortal words of pro wrestling’s Goldberg: “Who’s next?”

Mike Tanier, Sports on Earth:

Cleveland Browns

What Went Wrong With the Last Guy: Rob Chudzinski could not win with Jason Campbell at quarterback and guys like Fozzy Whittaker at running back. In other words, he was neither Vince Lombardi nor Alexander the Great.

Boss Rating: D. From the Trent Richardson trade to Brian Hoyer’s depth chart leapfrog to the Chud firing, Mike Lombardi (no relation) and Joe Banner have established themselves as impatient hands-on executives trying to win back-to-back Super Bowls in early October. At times, it appears that Lombardi acts quickly so he can beat Banner to a decision, or perhaps it’s vice versa. The Browns may be Lombardi’s team, they may be Banner’s, the execs may duke it out in the parking lot, or the IRS may confiscate the whole shebang if owner Jimmy Haslam’s diesel receipts don’t add up. But they will never be the head coach’s team, unless he wades into the Game of Thrones.

Quarterback Situation: C-minus. The Browns have two first-round picks and Brian Hoyer, a steady young journeyman with a little upside who is also Lombardi’s pet project. The franchise has 14 years of experience making dismal quarterback controversies out of first-round picks and pet-project journeymen.

Building Blocks: B. Two first round picks, the best deep threat receiver in the NFL in Josh Gordon, and Jordan Cameron, a cross between Antonio Gates and Jason Witten at tight end.

Young Talent: B-minus. There’s a sprinkle of young stars and solid prospects around the roster, from Gordon and Cameron to Joe Haden. Mitchell Schwartz, Phil Taylor and Barkevious Mingo. There are also glaring deficiencies, starting with an entire backfield in need of replacement.

Salary Cap Situation: A-minus. The Browns will eat $6 million of Trent Richardson’s dead money next year, but should clear the cap by at least $25 million, giving them wiggle room to extend Gordon and/or Cameron, pursue a free agent or two, or cut bait on Brandon Weeden without choking on the cap hit.

Free Agent Issues: B-plus. Center Alex Mack and safety T.J. Ward are the biggest names; Mack will likely be prioritized. The Browns have the space to play ball with any lower-tier free agents they like.

Quick Turnaround Potential: C-plus. Enough rebuilding took place in 2013 to allow two top rookies and an upgraded quarterback situation to make a difference, but the AFC North schedule remains an endurance marathon against three challenging opponents.

Overall Desirability: C-minus. The next Browns coach is the fifth in seven years, and he walks into a power struggle above him which is likely to undermine the roster below him. Cap money and draft picks are nice, but there is little evidence that the next coach will have any say in how they are used.

Terry Pluto says much the same, but with less snark, here.

At the end of the day, this is nothing less than a catastrophic failure. I don’t care what Haslett and Banner say — it began and ended with Chud wanting some control over the roster. Banner and Haslett wanted the football equivalent of Joe Torre — do what you’re told and shut up. Of course, Joe Torre had a great roster, and being a baseball manager is more about dealing with personalities.

I wish you all the best, Chud, if you’re reading this blog (and I know you aren’t.) To the Browns front office: You handled this better than Dan Snyder did with Mike Shanahan. That is the nicest thing I can say.