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Saturday, July 22, 2006
 
Wisconsin Professor Remains Under Fire

This is a story we've been covering at Screw Loose Change. Kevin Barrett, who is scheduled to teach Introduction to Islam in the fall at the University of Wisconsin, is under fire purportedly because he believes that 9-11 was planned and orchestrated by the US government and specifically the Bush Administration, in order to lead us into war.

Now the ridiculous part of this is that the focus is on what Barrett has said, and not on what he's planning to teach.

Republican Rep. Steve Nass said the lawmakers' letter, which called Barrett's views "academically dishonest,'' sends a strong message to top UW leaders.

"When 61 legislators condemn a decision by UW-Madison and demand the dismissal of Kevin Barrett, the leadership of the UW System operates at its own peril if it continues to ignore views of the taxpayers,'' Nass said in a statement.


Firing Barrett is not a good idea. I agree that his 9-11 "theories" call into question whether he's really smart enough to be teaching college students, but the issue should be him teaching those theories, not what he has said elsewhere. The objectionable part of the Wisconsin decision is letting him teach this nonsense as a college-level course. That's the real mistake.

I have spent the last couple of months making a lot of posts at Screw Loose Change. I've looked into 9-11 six ways from Sunday. There is no doubt in my mind that the 9-11 conspiracy crap will last the rest of my life and that it will always be wrong. Almost none of the people who are spokesmen for the movement can talk for two minutes without lying repeatedly.

Barrett himself is a nut; here's a letter he wrote to John Kerry:

Dear John,

You, my “war-hero” friend, are a feckless yellow-bellied WIMP. 19 months ago, when you could have walked away...you did! You let the Bush crime family and their 9/11 perp friends the neocons steal the election you won in a landslide 53%-47%. If you had the slightest shred of guts or integrity, you could have had us all out in the streets taking back the country. Instead, you tucked your tail between your legs and fled like the coward you are. Unless, of course, the two candidates from Skull and Bones had the whole thing fixed in advance. Either way, it appears that masturbating in a coffin in front of your sick Yalie frat buddies doesn't do much for your intestinal fortitude. As far as I'm concerned, you're history. But hey, prove me wrong. Get onboard with 9/11 truth NOW or condemn yourself to historical irrelevance.

Sincerely,

Kevin Barrett


NeeNeeNooNee!
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Gun Owner Saves The Day

Somehow I doubt this story will make it to the New York Times.

A knife-wielding grocery store employee attacked eight co-workers Friday, seriously injuring five before a witness pulled a gun and stopped him, police said.

Note in particular that all it took was the presence of the gun to stop the attack:

"When he turned around and saw my pistol, he threw the knife away, put his hands up and got on the ground," Cope told The Associated Press. "He saw my gun and that was pretty much it."

Update: DOH! Okay, so it won't make it into a Paul Krugman, Bob Herbert or Maureen Dowd column.
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Friday, July 21, 2006
 
The Case of the Twisted Blogger

Our buddy Gaius over at Blue Crab Boulevard has written a Sherlock Holmes mystery about Sybil Greenwald. Hilarious!
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The Most Influential Human Beings in the Second Millenium

A friend asked me to put together a list of the ten most influential people from 1000 AD to 2000 AD. They did not themselves have to live in the second millenium, just have influence. Here's my list:

1. Jesus Christ
2. Gallileo
3. Sir Isaac Newton
4. George Washington
5. Napoleon
6. Karl Marx
7. Adam Smith
8. Aristotle
9. Mohammed
10. John Locke

If other bloggers would like to take on this list, let me know and I'll link your post.

Update: Rick Moran took up the challenge. The first two on his list I'd have to agree I blew; Gutenberg was an omission on my part and Luther's influence on the last 300 years is enormous. I'm surprised he omits mention of Locke and Aristotle, two of the great philosophers. Madison just missed my cut-off, but he's clearly in the next ten easily.
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Women and Children (And Islamo-Fascists) First

Oh, the irony! An Islamic preacher of hate, who gleefully left England after praising the subway bombings is now begging the Brits to save him from Lebanon.

EXILED preacher of hate Omar Bakri has begged the Royal Navy to rescue him from war-torn Beirut.

The Muslim cleric who fled Britain last year, tried to board a ship full of women and children yesterday but was turned away.

He also wrote to the British embassy asking to be allowed back on “humanitarian grounds”.

In an email to officials, dole scrounger Bakri pleaded: “The current situation in Beirut left me without any choice but to appeal to you to grant me a visit visa to see my children for one month.”


Yes, they all despise the West, until only the West can save them. I have a strong suspicion that the British will decline this opportunity to turn the other cheek.
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Thursday, July 20, 2006
 
Am I The Only One Thinking About Orange Hats?

The left-wing blogosphere has apparently descended en masse on Connectict to push Ned Lamont over the top. Boy, does that conjure up some memories of Iowa and the Deanie Babies....
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The Sensible, Measured Response from Jane Hamsher

Will have to wait. The Left's angriest blogger responds to the news that Bill Clinton will be campaigning for Joe Lieberman:

Joe's internal polling must have told him this was coming because on the same day it's being announced that Bill Clinton will be here in Waterbury on Monday to campaign for him and try and stop the hemorrhaging. Big Dog may not have taken it personally when Lieberman stabbed us all in the back with his speech on the floor of the Senate during the impeachment hearings, but many of us did. Loyalty to machine politics runs deep.

What did Lieberman say to "stab us all in the back"?

As I have stated previously on this Senate floor, I have been deeply disappointed and angered by this President's conduct--that which is covered in the Articles, and the more personal misbehavior that is not--and like all of us here, I have struggled uncomfortably for more than a year with how to respond to it. President Clinton engaged in an extramarital sexual relationship with a young White House employee in the Oval Office, which, though consensual, was irresponsible and immoral, and thus raised serious questions about his judgment and his respect for the high office he holds. He then made false or misleading statements about that relationship to the American people, to a Federal district court judge in a civil deposition, and to a Federal grand jury; in so doing, he betrayed not only his family but the public's trust, and undermined his moral authority and public credibility.

Pretty hard to argue with that, although I suppose Hamsher could fall back on the old reliable "Everybody lies about sex," canard.
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Lieberman Updates

Joe is now trailing Ned Lamont according to one poll.

The poll shows Lamont ahead 51-47 percent among likely voters in the Aug. 8 Democratic primary. That compares to a 55-40 percent lead for Lieberman in a similar poll in June.

Will the lefty bloggers attack Bill Clinton for campaigning for Lieberman?

Former President Bill Clinton is slated to campaign on behalf of the three-term incumbent Monday in Waterbury, Lieberman's campaign spokeswoman said today.

It will be interesting to see; for most of the Lefty blogosphere, Bill Clinton is the only Democrat president they can remember. Work it out; Carter left office 25 years ago; presumably they don't remember much about the president unless they were at least 5 years old.
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Wednesday, July 19, 2006
 
Who Is Glenn Greenwald?

Dan Riehl asks that question and finds some interesting answers:

New York Times best selling author Glenn Greenwald appears to have written a book in an attempt to lecture American patriots on how to act politically when his primary and preferred residence isn't even within the United States - it's actually in Brazil. Perhaps How Would An Expatriate Act would have been a more fitting title.

Greenwald turns out to be gay (and let me say to his credit I did not know that from reading his blog), probably no longer a lawyer, and probably didn't work as long at a major law firm as he claims. And you know, the irony is that the resume doesn't really matter in the blogosphere. Oh, yeah, there are some credentialists, but for the most part if you can write and make a decent argument people will link/read/comment. It is only when you are claiming particular expertise in a sophisticated area that you need the credentials.

Ace discounts the possibility that Glenn uses sock puppets to comment on other blogs pointing out the brilliance of Greenwald and battling against the forces of darkness that is the right-wing blogosphere.
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An Offbeat Interview

John Hawkins interviews a female porn starlet who's running for Governor of Nevada... as a Republican!
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From the Master Criminal File

Here's an amusing story:

Mack arrived at the Perez family home at 611 28th St. Monday night just as an exhausted Mateo Perez was getting home from a 12-hour day of landscaping and cleaning buildings. Mack probably figured he could swipe Perez's wallet and get away without much of a fight, police said.

But he didn't count on having to brawl with the rest of the Perez clan: Candelaria, the 4-foot-9 housewife with a wicked right hook she honed as a girl on the streets of Guatemala; daughter Imelta, the mellow 13-year-old who never dreamed she would take a chair to a robber's head and tie him up; and son Juan, the 10-year-old Miami Heat fanatic who traded his basketball for a stick to whip an attacker.
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Hezbollah in the USA?

Michelle Malkin has the stunning story.

Sources informed me the unidentified Middle Eastern male — now a fellow American — appeared on terrorist watch lists and is a member of the Hezbollah terrorist organization. Despite numerous calls from adjudicators in Newark, N.J., handling the alleged terrorist's naturalization case, the FBI and INS reportedly did not respond to requests to turn over the individual's "alien file." The A-file includes biographical and status information and investigative data. It is unclear why INS and the JTTF did not turn over the file, or why the New York office neglected to order the adjudications branch in Newark to put the naturalization process on hold.
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Sadly, Never

When will Glenn Greenwald denounce Sadly, No?

Our favorite scold, Glenn Greenwald, made a big point of calling out the conservative blogosphere for not condemning a post that made a joke of killing liberal Supreme Court members; turns out he links approvingly to a blog that makes the same joke about conservatives in general. Patterico has the details.

Greenwald's initial point is valid; both sides of the blogosphere need to police their own. But of course, he only shows zeal about it when conservatives fail to do so. I would say that conservatives are better at condemning mistakes on our side than liberals are about their side.

Of course, to Greenwald, the joke about killing Supreme Court justices was simply a handy stick.
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Tuesday, July 18, 2006
 
Buck O'Neill Walks

I was, to put it mildly, not a fan of Ken Burns' series on baseball, which was broadcast on PBS about a decade ago. Although the early episodes, which concerned baseball before the turn of the 20th century, were entertaining, once it got into the modern era I could see the glaring flaws.

But Burns did one thing right in that series; he put Buck O'Neill front and center to tell us about the Negro Leagues. A more wonderful spokesman would be hard to imagine--intelligent, warm, funny, gracious... there are no words that overstate the excellence of this man.

Today, Buck O'Neill, aged 94, played in a minor league all-star game tonight and was intentionally walked (twice--once for each team). Ordinarily I don't like these gimmicky tributes. But this time I'm going to make an exception, because I don't think we can honor Buck too much.
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Brainster on the Radio!

(This post will remain on top until tomorrow--scroll down for newer content)

I'll be on the Constitutional Public Radio with Andrea Shea-King and Mark Vance Tuesday afternoon at 4:05 Eastern time. CPR is broadcast on AM 1510 WWBC, Brevard County, Florida. For those not lucky enough to live on Florida's Space Coast, you can listen in over the internet.

We'll be discussing the movie, Loose Change, and the blog I am running with James B of the Chief Brief, Screw Loose Change. I have been on with Andrea and Mark before and they always keep it interesting and lively, so be sure to listen in!

There's also an online chat feature here so you can interact with us on the show. Just type in your name, city and state and submit query to get into the chat.

Thanks to our buddy Third Wave Dave for setting this up!
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Thanks to Andrea and Mark again for having me on the show. It's always terrific to talk to such intelligent and well-informed people. The show will be rebroadcast tonight from 9-11 Eastern time. I think you'll agree the discussion was lively and intelligent, unlike, for example, Dylan Avery on Alex Jones.

I do apologize for not reading the chat while I was talking. I would have loved to respond to more questions, but I also had a great deal of material I wanted to get through. I was disappointed that none of the Loosers called in, although there certainly were plenty in the chatroom.

Thanks again to Third Wave Dave for setting this up!
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McNinney The Nut

Is claiming that Diebold is switching votes from her to her opponent:

URGENT: Diebold Electronic Machines Malfunction, Vote for Other Candidate

FOR IMMEDITATE RELEASE
Contact: Jocco Baccus
678-520-2088

(Decatur) After one hour of voting, the McKinney campaign has received numerous calls that the voting machines are malfunctioning. Voters casting votes for McKinney are reportedly having their votes switched by the machines for Hank Johnson. This is not a new problem with Diebold machines. Lawyers for the campaign have been alerted and said that if this situation is not corrected, Cynthia McKinney for Congress will be forced to take additional measures.


This is just setting the stage in case the unexpected happens and McNinney is defeated. In all probability she'll win today's primary easily and this will disappear down the memory hole.
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I Imagine It Went Something Like This:

Amusing intro to an article about a movie star named Albert Arnold Gore:

Al Gore has met the Dalai Lama. He's broken bread with Boutros Boutros-Ghali, rubbed elbows with Lech Walesa, even locked arms with Nelson Mandela. But right now — on a breezy June evening in Los Angeles, at a special star-studded screening of An Inconvenient Truth — he's about to step up to a whole other level. Tonight, the former Vice President of the United States will shake hands with Denise Richards.

Gore: Uh, hi, Mrs Richards.

Richards: It's Miss. I'm in the process of divorcing my husband, Charlie Sheen.

Gore: Loved his work in Wall Street.

Richards: He became a maniac about 9-11! Kept insisting that the buildings were brought down in controlled demolition. Wouldn't stop talking about it.

Gore: That's nice. The most interesting theory I've heard--and mind you, it's only a theory, is that--um... wait a minute, that didn't work out so well for Howard. Did you know that I helped create the Information Superhighway, or the Internet as it's colloquially known?

Richards: The Internet? That's where my husband Charlie downloaded the underage gay porn!

Gore: Well, I look forward to meeting you again, Miss Richards!
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Monday, July 17, 2006
 
More Stupidity at the HuffPo

Check out this risible post by Russell Shaw.

Just a final thought - although I doubt it, is it totally beyond the pale that these two Israeli soliders were instructed to allow themselves to be kidnapped in order to foster the chain of events I have just described?

Not a conspiracy theory nutbar, mind you, but just asking questions, right?
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Mickey Spillane Dies

I don't think I'll ever forget the ending of I, The Jury, where Mike Hammer's new girlfriend does a striptease to try to distract him from the fact that he's figured out that she's the murderer. Blam! He shoots her dead(she was about to grab a gun and shoot him, so it's self-defense). When she asked him "How c-could you?", he replies, "It was easy."
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Kerry's Klowns Drop Lawsuit Over Stolen Honor

This is good news.

One of the veterans who dropped his suit against Sherwood and the Vietnam Veterans Legacy Foundation said depositions in the case threatened to take an unfair toll on family and friends. Kenneth Campbell, a University of Delaware professor who has taught a course on the Vietnam War, still believes the film maligns him.

"They used my image and voice from an old film to go after Kerry. I thought they painted me as a fraud," Campbell said.


Hmmm, that's what I thought, too, Ken.
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As Dumb As It Gets



I guess MTV thinks this stuff is cute.
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HuffPo Publishes Anti-Semitic Screed

This is just disgusting. Stan Goff, who's got the nuttiest of the nutbar bios, claims that he's just anti-Zionist:

Let's just get something out of the way right up front, before I go any further. Zionism is not Judaism; being Jewish does not make anyone Zionist; and anti-Zionism is not equivalent to anti-Semitism.

No, of course not; it's just a coincidence that almost all anti-Zionists are also anti-Jew. And it's not long before we get into the weird claptrap:

As late as 1943, while the Jews of Europe were being exterminated in the millions, the U.S. Congress proposed to set up a commission to "study" the problem. Rabbi Stephen Wise, who was the principal American spokesperson for Zionism, came to Washington to testify against the rescue bill because it would divert attention from the colonization of Palestine. (Sheonman, Ralph, "The Hidden History of Zionism")

Zionists actively collaborated with Nazis. This is a verifiable historical fact. Not only did the Zionist Federation of Germany send a resolution of support to the Nazi Party in 1933, "the World Zionist Organization Congress in 1933 defeated a resolution calling for action against Hitler by a vote of 240 to 43." (ibid.)

The history of Zionist collaboration with fascism is barely touched upon here, because my intent is not to paraphrase the history but simply to make my point about the obscenity of Zionists now laying claim to the Nazi Holocaust as justification for the Palestinian Holocaust they are perpetrating to this very day, all the while claiming that the Palestinians and other Arabs are bent on reproducing Nazi Germany's crimes against them.


Somehow he manages to avoid mentioning the sign at Auschwitz, although you can tell he's tempted. But the equation of the real Holocaust with what the Palestinians are experiencing is rather telling.

Damian Penny has more.
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Perfect Storm to Sweep Away Republicans?



So claims Thomas E. Mann.

If history is any guide, we're heading into a major political storm. And that means we could see a national tide in November that will sweep the Democrats back into the majority.

Virtually every public opinion measure points to a Category 4 or 5 hurricane gathering. Bush's job-approval rating is below 40 percent, and congressional job approval is more than 10 percentage points lower. Only a quarter of the electorate thinks the country is moving in the right direction, and voters are unhappy with the economy under Bush. Finally, Democrats hold a double-digit lead as the party the public trusts to do a better job of tackling the nation's problems and the party it would like to see controlling Congress.


Of course, a more relevant question is how voters think their individual congressman or woman is doing. Although this article is hardly convincing there are other signs that the GOP may be in trouble. For example, in the Minnesota race to succeed Mark Dayton, the Democrat has surged out to a big early lead:

DFL Senate candidate Amy Klobuchar has opened up a strong early lead over GOP rival Mark Kennedy in a Minnesota Poll that shows Klobuchar with 50 percent of likely voters' support, compared with 31 percent for Kennedy.

Much can change between now and November. But in what had widely been considered a close race, Klobuchar in midsummer has more support than Kennedy in nearly every demographic category: men, women, liberals, independents, lower- and upper-income Minnesotans, seniors, urban dwellers, suburbanites and outstaters.

Kennedy is most popular with younger Minnesotans -- he leads Klobuchar 63 to 16 percent among those under age 25 -- and with Republicans, but he is behind in nearly every other category the July 6-11 poll measured.


It is also borne out in other races that were not supposed to be competitive but which are surprisingly turning out to be so. For example, Arizona's Senator Jon Kyl should be sitting pretty right now, running for reelection in a red state with two terms under his belt, and a "Top Ten" rating from Time Magazine. Instead he's in a dogfight with a challenger who has almost no elective experience.

A lot can change between now and November. But we're going to have to make it change; the media are going to be negative every step of the way.

Updates: Captain Ed says not to believe the Strib's polls; they consistently understate Republican performance.
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Sunday, July 16, 2006
 
A Brief Look at the NFL QBs: NFC

NFC East:

New York Giants: Eli Manning has not yet proven he's a quality NFL quarterback. He's shown the necessary progress that gives the team hope, but he's gotta start converting potential into touchdown passes. Tim Hasselbeck is officially the backup, but Rob Johnson is also on the roster, which is stupid.

Dallas Cowboys: Drew Bledsoe is moving rapidly up the career interception list; he's at 198. Incredibly durable; with the exception of 2001 and his rookie year, Bledsoe has started all but three regular season games. Tom Brady definitely caught a bit of luck there. Good ballplayer, but has always had problems with the INTs. Tony Romo is the official backup with Drew Henson now third string.

Washington Redskins: I've always liked Mark Brunell, he's a solid player. He's had incredible success in the playoffs on the road. No Hall of Famer barring some late career magic, but well above average at the QB position for many years. Backup is officially Todd Collins, who last started a game in 1997 for the Buffalo Bills. Patrick Ramsey's still around.

Philadelphia Eagles: Donovan McNabb is a terrific player; his 2-1 TD to interception ratio indicates brilliance as a passer. In the postseason he's won 7 games which isn't historic (yet), but it's definitely in rare territory. Among active players, only Brady and Favre (with 10 each) have won more postseason games as a starter. Backup is Jeff Garcia, still a fine player.

NFC North

Chicago: Rex Grossman has now started 7 NFL games. He appears to have the arm to play in the NFL; does he have the head? Kyle Orton got a lot of attention last year because the Bears won, but he sure does not appear to be a good player.

Minnesota: Daunte's gone, and Brad Johnson sent him packing--didn't it work the other way around years ago? Johnson's added a Super Bowl ring to his trophy room since he left. Official backup is Shaun Hill, who's the Cliff Stoudt of his generation; five years on an NFL roster, no passes thrown.

Detroit: Josh McKown is the starter. He's got a live arm, but, um, always had an acne problem. Jon Kitna can play and probably will.

Green Bay: Favre's been a great player and yet a tremendous disappointment. One of my favorite little things to look at is 30-touchdown seasons. There are not a lot of players who've thrown 30 TDs in an NFL campaign; it is a signature mark of greatness. Bret Favre has thrown for 30 or more touchdowns in a season eight times in his career. His career looks more likely to end with a whimper than a bang at this point.

NFC South

Tampa Bay: Chris Simms seems to be developing into a fine young ballplayer. It may not happen, but he's shown every sign of being a solid quarterback with excellent potential. Tim Rattay's one of those unrecognized gems; kudos to Gruden for picking him up.

Carolina: Jake Delhomme has left no questions unanswered. He's as good a quarterback as there is in the NFC. Chris Weinke, the backup, has nothing but unanswered questions.

Atlanta: Michael Vick's speed and quickness are dazzling, but he just doesn't throw well enough to make it as an NFL starter. I'm not yet sold on Matt Schaub, but he did play extremely well against the Patriots.

New Orleans: Brees is a heckuva pickup if he's really healed. He's a great player if he does what he did in 2004 and 2005. Backup is Todd Bouman, who looks like he can play but is not going to press Brees for the job at age 34.

NFC West

Seattle: There's nothing not to like about Matt Hasselbeck, now that he's started winning playoff games. Seneca Wallace, the backup, is unproven.

St. Louis: Bulger's the starter; he's a pretty good player but not very durable. He's won a playoff game on the road, so his ability to win in the postseason is established. Frerotte's okay in the right situation, but it doesn't look like he's coming into that in St. Louis.

San Francisco: Too early to tell about Alex Smith; he played horribly last year but so did John Elway, Troy Aikman and Terry Bradshaw their rookie years. Ken Dorsey is the backup, which is a good sign the 49ers still don't know what they're doing. He does not have an NFL arm, not even close to one.

Arizona: Kurt Warner is the starter, and when he's healthy he's one of the best in the league. Unfortunately he hasn't been consistently healthy for awhile. Matt Leinart dropped into the Cardinals' lap in the draft, but he'll probably be manning the clipboard for most of this season.

Rating the starters, top to bottom, based on my assessment of their likely success this year (not their past glory):

1. Jake Delhomme
2. Matt Hasselbeck
3. Donovan McNabb (could easily be #1)
4. Brad Johnson
5. Drew Brees (if healthy he could rank higher)
6. Mark Brunell
7. Kurt Warner
8. Mark Bulger
9. Michael Vick
10. Chris Simms
11. Eli Manning
12. Drew Bledsoe
13. Brett Favre
14. Rex Grossman
15. Josh McKown
16. Alex Smith

Update: One of the young guys (Smith, Grossman, Manning, Simms) will take the big step forward this year and become the talk of the league. If I had to guess I'd say Simms.
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  Endorsements: "11 Most Underrated Blogs"--Right Wing News

"Brainster is the Best"--Allman in the Morning FM 97.1 Talk (St. Louis)

"This is blogging like it oughta be"--Tom Maguire (Just One Minute)

"Quite young and quite nasty"--Civil Discourse Bustard (One out of two ain't bad)

Contact Me: pcurley (at) cdwebs (dot) com

Brainster in the Media

Howard Kurtz's Media Notes: May 27, 2005

Slate Today's Blogs:

March 16, 2005

May 9, 2005

June 3, 2005

Cited for Breaking the Christmas in Cambodia story (at Kerry Haters):

Hugh Hewitt: KerryHaters was on this story a long time ago. How could the elite media not have asked these questions before now?

Ankle-Biting Pundits: Our friends Pat and Kitty at Kerry Haters deserve the blog equivalent of a Pulitzer for their coverage of Kerry's intricate web of lies regarding Vietnam.

The Weekly Standard

Les Kinsolving

Greatest Hits

What If the Rest of the Fantastic Four Were Peaceniks?

Lefty Bloggers on Gay Witchhunt (linked by 16 blogs including Instapundit)

Kitty Myers Breaks Christmas in Cambodia

Brainster Shows Brinkley Says No Christmas in Cambodia

Explanation of the Blog's Name

Power Ratings Explained



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