Matthews’ Post-racial America?

January 28, 2010

So today on the show, John and I spent some time talking about these comments.  We both found them fairly non-controversial, but correctly predicted that the sydicated hosts on KLIN wouldn’t see it the same way.  It also appears that several of our listeners thought we were off-base for our quasi-defense of the comments.  One of the emails said “only a racist would be surprised he ‘forgot he was black'”.  She went on to say, “How ridiculous to point out what he forgot.  Give me a BREAK!!  He WANTED the emphasis to be on his race by even saying this.”

I think this is a fairly interesting discussion and it also leads into one of my hot-button topics, the ridiculously hopeless state of political dialogue in this country, so I responded as follows:

Sorry, but I completely disagree with you.  If you had told me 20 or even 10 years ago that we’d have a black president, I’d have assumed that, at that time, given our race culture, his race would always be front of mind for me, just because it’s something that was beyond my imagination, given the still existing racial divides in this country, particularly in urban areas (I lived in D.C. for a time).  Maybe I’ve completely misread our society, but I don’t think that statement is far-fetched at all, and probably was the norm.  Perhaps there were people out there 20 years ago or 10 years ago that were so unbelievably color blind and beyond the absolute cultural impact of a black president, that they assumed if and when a black president would be elected, any notation or significance given to his race would just roll off their back like it’s no big deal.  Maybe I’m the only one like this and I’m also a racist, which I guess your comments would imply.    I agree with Matthews that now, in 2009-2010, I don’t think about it anywhere close to as much as I thought I would.  Does that mean I was a bad person in the past for assuming I’d be more aware of race?  I don’t think so, but I guess I’m not above reproach. 

 All that said, he was saying that this way of thinking ISN’T the case anymore, so he was actually making a POSTIVE statement, not criticizing anyone, but instead lauding our collective culture for reaching a point where race is not as important as we thought it might always be in this country, which I think is one thing on which we can almost all agree is a good thing.  Does that imply that we were too racially sensitive during a previous time?  Maybe.  I don’t think he or I think it’s great that we assumed race would be a more front-of-mind issue, but the point is he was saying  that we’re not that way anymore.  Kudos, I guess, to those who were “post-racial” before Chris Matthews and I were.

This is one of the rare times when anything said by any of the ‘talking heads’ on either side of the aisle isn’t done so for the sole purpose of painting their political opponents as evil, corrupt, un-American or mentally ill, so that alone is sadly comforting to me.  The thing that drives me crazy is if this had been said by a conservative pundit, the majority of conservatives would come viciously to his defense and the libs would rip him all day long for being a racist, and probably demand his resignation.  Content doesn’t matter anymore, it’s all about on which side the person who says it sits.  Between you and me, I can hardly even stand to discuss politics anymore I’m so discouraged by the state of division in this country.  I could go on about that forever, but in both of our best interests, I’ll refrain. 

 As always, thanks for listening, and I’ve enjoyed my email conversations with you in the past, and hope I didn’t come across too harsh.  I’m pretty passionate about the state of politics.

What do you all think?  Like I said, I’m one person who’s loves talking politics, philosophy, etc., but I’m also unabashed about the fact that I don’t have all the answers, so I like the discussion.

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J&J Video: We’re back!

January 27, 2010

Had to take down the video stream for technical reasons (like the kind that doesn’t actually involve technology, if you know what I mean.)  Nothing illegal, just internal business stuff.

Annnnnnnny-whooooooo.  We are back streaming LIVE video of the show.  This is still in the testing phase and I know there will be changes down the road, but you’ll get to see us do the show live, what we do during breaks (sans audio, thank God) and the infamous Birthday Game victory dance.  Also, there is a chat feature that you can use to interact with both us and other J&J fans (do we really have any?)  Enjoy it and tell your friends!  The more people use it, the more we can convince The Administration to invest more in this kind of new stuff.


We’ve All Been This Guy

January 26, 2010

Admit it.  If you are passionate about sports and about your team (Huskers), then you will relate to the pain and anger of this poor Viking fan as he watched the pivital moment of Sunday’s NFC Championship Game.

WARNING:  There is profanity, so content may be unsuitable for children.


I DARE You To See This Basketball Team

January 18, 2010

Kelsey Griffin and the Huskers are top ten rated and legitimate Final Four contenders

If you haven’t heard by now, there is a pretty good basketball team playing at the Devaney Center.  The Husker women are #7 in the newest AP Top 25 (highest ranking in history) and #4 in the latest RPI projections (the indicator that helps determine NCAA tournament teams and seeds) after their win over Baylor Sunday (the first true road victory over a top ten rated team in Husker history.)

I have had the opportunity to follow a lot of local sports teams in my years here at KLIN.  In that time, you run across a few special teams that just has that “it” feeling.  The 1994 Husker football team and 2001 Husker baseball team are two really good examples along with a handful of Lincoln-area high school teams.  They all had that “it” feeling about them.  That they were special and had a chance to go all the way.

In some cases, those teams did win it all.  In others, like the 2001 College World Series qualifiers, they didn’t go all the way but they left such an indeliable mark that they sparked a popularity that resonates to this day.

The 2009-2010 Nebraska women’s basketball team has “it.”  From their “Ndamukong Suh-like” presence in All American candidate Kelsey Griffin to solid inside-outside threat Cory Montgomery to their athletic guards Dominique Kelley and Vonnie Turner (both products of Nebraska high schools), this team has already put together a fantastic season.  They are legitimate threats to advance to the women’s Final Four in San Antonio as well as claim an outright Big 12 Championship.  And they deserve some recognition and support.

That is why I am putting my fate in your hands for this upcoming Saturday game against Kansas State.  It is a “pack the house” promotion put on by Pepsi where all general admission tickets and all 24 oz Pepsi soft drinks are $1.  I don’t see any reason why we shouldn’t see a sellout crowd to watch this team.  So here is my dare to you:

If we can get at least 12,000 fans in attendance for this Saturday’s game vs. K-State, I will accept some form of dare as suggested by you.  All this week we will take suggestions on-air or via email  (you can also comment here on the blog) and I will select my “dare” on this Friday morning’s show.  Then, if you can fill Devaney to at least 12,000 Saturday at 11am, I’ll carry out on my end of the bargain.

With or without the enticement of my potential public humiliation, I think you will find this team worthy of your two hour investment.


Where’s the most annoying traffic signal in Lincoln?

January 18, 2010

During my time working at KLIN I’ve run into a number of people who seem to believe that Lincoln isn’t the most convenient city to navigate by car.  Some blame it on the lack of a bypass, some on the lack of major north/south thoroughfare, others, the quality of the drivers in this town.  Honestly, this has never been something that’s really bothered me all that much, but it’s clear the sentiment is out there.

That said, probably the most complained-about element about the ease of traveling this town has to do, in one way or another, with traffic signals.  It may be that there are too many of them, that they’re not timed correctly, that the green arrows last too short or too long, etc.  In light of this consistent angst, we thought it was time we do something about it, so Jack & John have embarked on a mission to find Lincoln’s most annoying traffic signals.  Whether it’s the one that’s red for 3 minutes every day on your morning commute or the one that’s timed so poorly the left-turn lane has cars backed up a half-mile. 

After we compile our list of suggestions, we’re actually going to go out and scout all of the locations, to determine Lincoln’s most annoying traffic signal(s), and after our analysis, we’re actually going to talk to the folks in traffic operations in the city to find out just why those signals are so annoying, and if anything can be done about them.

We could still use more suggestions, as we’ll be doing our scouting trips this week, so feel free to email them into us at JackandJohn@klin.com  or list them in the comments below. 

In case you were curious, a few we’ve already heard about: 9th/10th & South, 27th & Sheridan, 40th & Yankee Hill, 1st & O and the left turn lane at 84th & Cornhusker.  Now it’s your chance to vent.


More Partisan Poop

January 16, 2010

Two things that got the collective political dander up this week.  One local, one national.

No doubt you have heard about Rush Limbaugh’s comments on the Obama administration’s response to the Haiti earthquake.  But it depends on where you heard about the story first that might frame your opinion of what was actually said.  The first time I heard about it, it was on Keith Olbermann’s Countdown show on MSNBC.  Now, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that Olbermann is going to try to blast Limbaugh into orbit at every possible opportunity.  So I followed up by hitting the Google search.  Each story I found isolated the “we already donate to Haiti, it’s called the U.S. income tax” line and was headlined as “Rush Says Don’t Donate To Haiti.”

Limbaugh has, of course, denied his ever saying not to donate.  I have to admit, I don’t see a message of “don’t donate.”  But the “income tax” line was brought on by a caller that questioned why we should go to www.whitehouse.gov and didn’t trust the Obama administration.  This is sad.  We have become such a divided, partisan nation that we cannot trust our President with anything if he does not hinge to the same political and ideological that we do.

First off, www.whitehouse.gov is not Barack Obama’s website.  It is the President’s website.  14 month ago, it was controlled by George W. Bush.  Three or seven years from now, it will be controlled by someone else’s administration.  If we cannot trust our own President to not turn our donations to an international crisis into a reason to spam us with campaign donations, then we are truly a lost country. 

Naturally, Democrats are patting themselves on the back because their President reacted more swiftly on Haiti than Bush did on Hurricane Katrina while Republicans are crying foul.  First of all, these are not comparable disasters.  What is happening in Haiti has been exaserbated because it took place in a third world country where the infrastructure and government were fractured and in disrepair.  What happened in New Orleans was shocking because it was unimaginable that such devastation and uncoordinated federal response could occur here.  It’s easier to react to foreign disasters than domestic, because at the end of the day we can go to sleep in the comfort of our own warm homes when the ordeal is happening in someone else’s backyard.

Just like with Katrina (when Democrats were barking and moaning), now it’s the GOP’s turn (led by Rush Limbaugh) with Haiti.  Just continuing to prove my point about partisan politics – they are not about what is doing right for country and humanity, they are about what is doing right for party.

Then there is the alleged “booing” of Senator Ben Nelson at an Omaha pizza place last week.  Some say it happened.  Others say it has been overblown.  Seriously, people!?!  Booing somebody at a pizza place?  Do yourself a favor and enjoy the food and enjoy the company of others and check your politics at the door.  You’re at a restaurant, not a football game.  I understand that people will never totally agree on anything, but can we at least try to be civil about our public discourse?


NU Sports Info: Blackshirts Post Historic Numbers

January 8, 2010

From Keith Mann, NU Sports Information:

As the college football season was completed with Thursday night’s BCS National Championship Game, it finalized the NCAA statistical rankings for the season. And a quick look at those statistics confirms what most Nebraska fans and college football observers already knew—Nebraska had one of the nation’s most dominant defenses and one of the top Blackshirt units in recent memory.

Here is a quick run-down of how the 2009 Nebraska defense ranks nationally and when compared to Nebraska’s other top defenses in recent years, and a quick look at Nebraska’s rankings in those categories each of the past three seasons.

Scoring Defense

Nebraska finished the season ranked first nationally in scoring defense at 10.4 points per game. The Blackshirts gave up just 14 offensive touchdowns, shut out two opponents and held eight of 14 opponents to 10 points or fewer, the most of any school in the nation. The last time Nebraska led the nation in scoring defense was in 1984 when NU allowed 9.5 points per game. This year’s opponent scoring output per game was the lowest since 1984.

Nebraska’s improvement of 18.1 points per game allowed from 2008 to 2009 was easily the best in the nation.

2007…37.9 ppg (114th)       2008…28.5 ppg (80th)         2009…10.4 ppg (1st)

Total Defense

Nebraska finished seventh nationally in total defense, allowing an average of 272.0 yards per game. The 272.0 ypg is the best for a Nebraska defense since the 1999 defense allowed 252.3 yards per game to finish fourth nationally in total defense. That is also the last time NU ranked higher than seventh nationally in total defense. The Huskers ranked second in the Big 12 in total defense, trailing only Texas, marking the second straight season NU has ranked second in the league in total defense.

Nebraska allowed an average of 3.99 yards per opponent snap in 2009, one of only three teams to allow less than four yards per play (TCU, Texas).

Nebraska held 13 of 14 opponents below their season average in total offense.

2007…476.8 ypg (112th)     2008…349.9 ypg (55th)       2009…272.0 ypg (7th)

Pass Defense

Nebraska finished the season ranked first nationally in pass efficiency defense with a rating of 87.28. This marks the second time in the past seven seasons NU has led the nation in pass efficiency defense. NU also led the nation in pass efficiency defense in 2003, when Bo Pelini was defensive coordinator.

In terms of passing yardage allowed, Nebraska finished 18th nationally at 178.9 ypg, the fewest passing yards per game allowed by Nebraska since 2003.

Nebraska allowed just seven passing touchdowns this season, the second-fewest in the nation behind Tennessee’s five passing TDs allowed. Nebraska opponents completed just 47.76% of their pass attempts, the fourth-lowest opponent passing percentage in the nation.

Nebraska was seventh nationally with 20 interceptions.

2007…130.22 Eff Rating (75th)          2008…133.95 Eff Rating (82nd)          2009…87.28 Eff Rating (1st)

2007…244.7 ypg (84th)                       2008…233.4 ypg (89th)                       2009…178.8 ypg (18th)

2007…8 INT (104th)                             2008…12 INT (59th)                             2009…20 INT (6th or 7th)

Rushing Defense

Nebraska allowed an average of 93.1 yards per game on the ground to finish ninth nationally in rushing defense. This year marked NU’s highest national finish in rush defense since allowing 77.1 yards per game in 1999 to finish sixth against the run. This season is the first time since 1999 NU has allowed fewer than 100 yards rushing per game.

2007…232.1 ypg (116th)                     2008…116.5 ypg (21st)                       2009…93.1 ypg (9th)

Red Zone Defense

Nebraska led the nation in Red Zone defense, by allowing opponents to convert on just 64 percent of their trips inside the Nebraska 20-yard line. Opponents scored 11 touchdowns and kicked five field goals in 25 red-zone chances against the Blackshirts. The 90 red-zone points were second only to Alabama and the 25 overall drives inside the 20 were third in the nation.

2007…NA                                              2008…76 % (19th)                                                2009…64 % (1st)

Sacks

Nebraska finished tied for second nationally in sacks at 3.14 per game. The Blackshirts recorded a total of 44 sacks in 2009. That total is the most since 2005 and the fifth-most since 1981 when sacks began being tracked as an official statistic.

2007…1.08 pg (112th)                         2008…2.69 pg (14th)                           2009…3.14 pg (2nd)

Individually several Nebraska defensive players ranked among the national leaders in numerous statistical categories, including…

Ndamukong Suh…14th nationally in tackles for loss per game, 15th nationally in sacks per game

Prince Amukamara…19th in passes defended per game

Matt O’Hanlon…19th in interceptions per game

Nebraska’s defensive dismantling of Arizona in the Holiday Bowl also continued impressive post-season performances under Pelini-led defenses. In three bowl games as Nebraska’s head coach, Pelini’s Blackshirts have allowed an average of 37.7 rushing yards, 164.3 total yards and 8.0 points per game.