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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

now they're punching their own sisters...

Cub fans are really making a name for themselves this week.


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"Something Big Is Happening"

The full transcript of Rep. Ron Paul's speech on July 9th, 2008, on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Be part of "something big!"

Madam Speaker, I have, for the past 35 years, expressed my grave concern for the future of America . The course we have taken over the past century has threatened our liberties, security and prosperity. In spite of these long-held concerns, I have days--growing more frequent all the time--when I'm convinced the time is now upon us that some Big Events are about to occur. These fast-approaching events will not go unnoticed. They will affect all of us. They will not be limited to just some areas of our country. The world economy and political system will share in the chaos about to be unleashed.

Though the world has long suffered from the senselessness of wars that should have been avoided, my greatest fear is that the course on which we find ourselves will bring even greater conflict and economic suffering to the innocent people of the world--unless we quickly change our ways.

America , with her traditions of free markets and property rights, led the way toward great wealth and progress throughout the world as well as at home. Since we have lost our confidence in the principles of liberty, self reliance, hard work and frugality, and instead took on empire building, financed through inflation and debt, all this has changed. This is indeed frightening and an historic event.

The problem we face is not new in history. Authoritarianism has been around a long time. For centuries, inflation and debt have been used by tyrants to hold power, promote aggression, and provide “bread and circuses” for the people. The notion that a country can afford “guns and butter” with no significant penalty existed even before the 1960s when it became a popular slogan. It was then, though, we were told the Vietnam War and the massive expansion of the welfare state were not problems. The seventies proved that assumption wrong.

Today things are different from even ancient times or the 1970s. There is something to the argument that we are now a global economy. The world has more people and is more integrated due to modern technology, communications, and travel. If modern technology had been used to promote the ideas of liberty, free markets, sound money and trade, it would have ushered in a new golden age--a globalism we could accept.

Instead, the wealth and freedom we now enjoy are shrinking and rest upon a fragile philosophic infrastructure. It is not unlike the levies and bridges in our own country that our system of war and welfare has caused us to ignore.

I'm fearful that my concerns have been legitimate and may even be worse than I first thought. They are now at our doorstep. Time is short for making a course correction before this grand experiment in liberty goes into deep hibernation.

There are reasons to believe this coming crisis is different and bigger than the world has ever experienced. Instead of using globalism in a positive fashion, it's been used to globalize all of the mistakes of the politicians, bureaucrats and central bankers.

Being an unchallenged sole superpower was never accepted by us with a sense of humility and respect. Our arrogance and aggressiveness have been used to promote a world empire backed by the most powerful army of history. This type of globalist intervention creates problems for all citizens of the world and fails to contribute to the well-being of the world's populations. Just think how our personal liberties have been trashed here at home in the last decade.

The financial crisis, still in its early stages, is apparent to everyone: gasoline prices over $4 a gallon; skyrocketing education and medical-care costs; the collapse of the housing bubble; the bursting of the NASDAQ bubble; stock markets plunging; unemployment rising; massive underemployment; excessive government debt; and unmanageable personal debt. Little doubt exists as to whether we'll get stagflation. The question that will soon be asked is: When will the stagflation become an inflationary depression?

There are various reasons that the world economy has been globalized and the problems we face are worldwide. We cannot understand what we're facing without understanding fiat money and the long-developing dollar bubble.

There were several stages. From the inception of the Federal Reserve System in 1913 to 1933, the Central Bank established itself as the official dollar manager. By 1933, Americans could no longer own gold, thus removing restraint on the Federal Reserve to inflate for war and welfare.

By 1945, further restraints were removed by creating the Bretton-Woods Monetary System making the dollar the reserve currency of the world. This system lasted up until 1971. During the period between 1945 and 1971, some restraints on the Fed remained in place. Foreigners, but not Americans, could convert dollars to gold at $35 an ounce. Due to the excessive dollars being created, that system came to an end in 1971.

It's the post Bretton-Woods system that was responsible for globalizing inflation and markets and for generating a gigantic worldwide dollar bubble. That bubble is now bursting, and we're seeing what it's like to suffer the consequences of the many previous economic errors.

Ironically in these past 35 years, we have benefited from this very flawed system. Because the world accepted dollars as if they were gold, we only had to counterfeit more dollars, spend them overseas (indirectly encouraging our jobs to go overseas as well) and enjoy unearned prosperity. Those who took our dollars and gave us goods and services were only too anxious to loan those dollars back to us. This allowed us to export our inflation and delay the consequences we now are starting to see.

But it was never destined to last, and now we have to pay the piper. Our huge foreign debt must be paid or liquidated. Our entitlements are coming due just as the world has become more reluctant to hold dollars. The consequence of that decision is price inflation in this country--and that's what we are witnessing today. Already price inflation overseas is even higher than here at home as a consequence of foreign central banks' willingness to monetize our debt.

Printing dollars over long periods of time may not immediately push prices up--yet in time it always does. Now we're seeing catch-up for past inflating of the monetary supply. As bad as it is today with $4 a gallon gasoline, this is just the beginning. It's a gross distraction to hound away at “drill, drill, drill” as a solution to the dollar crisis and high gasoline prices. Its okay to let the market increase supplies and drill, but that issue is a gross distraction from the sins of deficits and Federal Reserve monetary shenanigans.

This bubble is different and bigger for another reason. The central banks of the world secretly collude to centrally plan the world economy. I'm convinced that agreements among central banks to “monetize” U.S. debt these past 15 years have existed, although secretly and out of the reach of any oversight of anyone--especially the U.S. Congress that doesn't care, or just flat doesn't understand. As this “gift” to us comes to an end, our problems worsen. The central banks and the various governments are very powerful, but eventually the markets overwhelm when the people who get stuck holding the bag (of bad dollars) catch on and spend the dollars into the economy with emotional zeal, thus igniting inflationary fever.

This time--since there are so many dollars and so many countries involved--the Fed has been able to “paper” over every approaching crisis for the past 15 years, especially with Alan Greenspan as Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, which has allowed the bubble to become history's greatest.

The mistakes made with excessive credit at artificially low rates are huge, and the market is demanding a correction. This involves excessive debt, misdirected investments, over-investments, and all the other problems caused by the government when spending the money they should never have had. Foreign militarism, welfare handouts and $80 trillion entitlement promises are all coming to an end. We don't have the money or the wealth-creating capacity to catch up and care for all the needs that now exist because we rejected the market economy, sound money, self reliance and the principles of liberty.

Since the correction of all this misallocation of resources is necessary and must come, one can look for some good that may come as this “Big Event” unfolds.

There are two choices that people can make. The one choice that is unavailable to us is to limp along with the status quo and prop up the system with more debt, inflation and lies. That won't happen.

One of the two choices, and the one chosen so often by government in the past is that of rejecting the principles of liberty and resorting to even bigger and more authoritarian government. Some argue that giving dictatorial powers to the President, just as we have allowed him to run the American empire, is what we should do. That's the great danger, and in this post-911 atmosphere, too many Americans are seeking safety over freedom. We have already lost too many of our personal liberties already. Real fear of economic collapse could prompt central planners to act to such a degree that the New Deal of the 30's might look like Jefferson 's Declaration of Independence.

The more the government is allowed to do in taking over and running the economy, the deeper the depression gets and the longer it lasts. That was the story of the 30s and the early 40s, and the same mistakes are likely to be made again if we do not wake up.

But the good news is that it need not be so bad if we do the right thing. I saw “Something Big” happening in the past 18 months on the campaign trail. I was encouraged that we are capable of waking up and doing the right thing. I have literally met thousands of high school and college kids who are quite willing to accept the challenge and responsibility of a free society and reject the cradle-to-grave welfare that is promised them by so many do-good politicians.

If more hear the message of liberty, more will join in this effort. The failure of our foreign policy, welfare system, and monetary policies and virtually all government solutions are so readily apparent, it doesn't take that much convincing. But the positive message of how freedom works and why it's possible is what is urgently needed.

One of the best parts of accepting self reliance in a free society is that true personal satisfaction with one's own life can be achieved. This doesn't happen when the government assumes the role of guardian, parent or provider, because it eliminates a sense of pride. But the real problem is the government can't provide the safety and economic security that it claims. The so called good that government claims it can deliver is always achieved at the expense of someone else's freedom. It's a failed system and the young people know it.

Restoring a free society doesn't eliminate the need to get our house in order and to pay for the extravagant spending. But the pain would not be long-lasting if we did the right things, and best of all the empire would have to end for financial reasons. Our wars would stop, the attack on civil liberties would cease, and prosperity would return. The choices are clear: it shouldn't be difficult, but the big event now unfolding gives us a great opportunity to reverse the tide and resume the truly great American Revolution started in 1776. Opportunity knocks in spite of the urgency and the dangers we face.

Let's make “Something Big Is Happening” be the discovery that freedom works and is popular and the big economic and political event we're witnessing is a blessing in disguise.

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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Fantasy Football

Hey Heavy Soulers,

Anyone want geek out and get a fantasy football league together? I started one on cbssportsline.com

The name of the league is Heavy Soul. The password is predictably Heavy Soul.

Monday, July 28, 2008

And Sox fans get a bad name


Story summary: Cubs fans beat Sox fan, Sox fan loses eye.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Mexicutioner

I know that there is some love for the Royals on the website, I also know that they lost 19-5 last night (in order to save their bullpen Hillman choose back up Short Stop Tony Pena to pitch a hitless 9th) there has been little hope shed on the jewel of the Midwest this season. I do want to point out that the Royals lights out closer Joakim Soria, has birthed a nickname.

In my eyes this might be one of the Top Five nicknames ever given to a professional athlete.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Mini Tower of Premies

So the local Grain Belt dealer had 6ers for $5.68, while 12 packs had no price tag, so I thought I'd give it a shot at the register. To my surprise, they rang up at $5.28, I literally ran back to grab two more boxes of bliss.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

It's The "See You Saturday" Party!

When: Tonight, 8:00 PM (-ish)
Where: Stunningly, we really did try to plan this thing somewhere else, but the date got moved. So, not stunningly: Barrett's.
Why: Sgt. Hales is taking a whirlwind trip down to Oklahoma City Thursday, where he will find out he drove all that way for nothing, then come back to Omaha Friday or Saturday. (We're calling it the "See You Saturday" party because if we were Hales, we'd probably take our time getting back from OKC. That's a fairly long drive.)

This is nothing formal whatsoever, just a get-together to see our man Hales off. Please make it down if possible.

(Well, nothing formal other than the burning effigy we'll have of The Honorable Dr. Timothy Egan, IV, Esq.)

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Hey Midwestern Dummy: Do You Get This Magazine Cover?

Good news, suckers that don't live on a coast: people are worried about us!

Specifically, Timothy Egan is worried about us. And worried about this cover of the New Yorker that I'm sure everyone has seen:

What is it the esteemed intellectual Mr. Egan is worried about?

The furor over this week’s New Yorker cover — the satirical cartoon of Barack and Michelle Obama in Muslim and black-militant poses — boils down to this: We get it, but what will those folks in fly-over country think?

Oh yes, it's time to worry about the poor, ig'nant old fly-over folk. After all, we're not as smart as those who live in New England or the Pacific Northwest. Not as culturally savvy, either. No, friends, we're pretty damned dumb. Regular egg-no-ram-uses. We don't understand that a magazine that is fairly famous for use of satire--and features a stable of writers that I would guess will vote for Obama at a 100% clip--would not actually be implying that Obama is a bin Laden-worshipping Muslim married to a militant Black Panther. No, we don't understand because we're too busy cleaning our rifles, going to church, and waiting for our next orders from Supreme Commander Rush Limbaugh*.

And we clearly don't have the sophisticated sense of humor to realize just how witty and funny this little passage is:

Land Tawney, a fifth-generation Montanan with a gap-toothed smile, was wearing a plaid shirt and a camouflage cap atop his head. He belongs to Sportsmen for Obama, which sounds like Facebook Users for McCain, or Linguists for Bush.

Ho ho ho, I say, old chap! That was a real zinger there, you old so-and-so! Facebook! Those poor hill-people in fly-over country will have to check the Internet to understand that little yarn you just wove! But wait--they're poor and uneducated! They don't have access to a PC or the like! Ha ha ha, indeed that was a woozy! Just a little joke that only you and I will ever understand. Oh, those poor saps with their gap-tooth grins and hideous flanels...they'll never be as intellectually stimulated as us, will they? At least this young man got the cover of that brilliant satire illustration on the New Yorker.

What a douche bag. It's so insulting it makes my blood boil. But that's just me. I'm guessing it does yours, as well, however. So fire away as you please.

*This sentence was sarcasm. Just in case someone from the coasts wandered into this little blog and got concerned.

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Sunday, July 13, 2008

Sunday Night Links: We're Not Close With Refs, So We're Clean *UPDATED

Well, it is another installment of Sunday Night Links. We're consistently inconsistent here at Sunday Night Links. So we've got that going for us.

Onto the links...

--Bonus Monday morning link, and it's a good one: a great history of the brand known as Grain Belt Premium. Interesting how many twists and turns America's Party Beer has taken through the years. Sounds like we're lucky to have even been able to enjoy one, let alone the thousands that have been consumed by Heavy Soulers.
(SECOND UPDATE: Pete apparently already linked to this post a while back. But, you could use a refresher.)

--Bonus Bonus Monday morning link: it's the Home Run Derby Drinking Game! I'm into it. However, I think you would absolutely need to take tomorrow off if you're going to participate. The way those HRD broadcasts go, along with all the waxing poetic about Yankee Stadium...well, these guys may have nailed it a little too well. This would be painful.

--KETV is doing a Omaha "A-List," letting viewers vote on the best places in town. There are some things that are pretty screwed up (such as The Drover being in the "Best Burger" category, but not in the "Best Steakhouse" category), and some serious omissions. I mean, The Homy Inn isn't an option for best neighborhood bar? But it was one of the 50 best bars in America according to Esquire? Seems to be, well, off.

--Interesting story about how some coaches and referees in the NBA get to be pretty chummy. Weird that Dick Bavetta is one of the people named. Poor guy gets named in all this stuff.

--This is incredibly awesome, and something I never really put two and two together on: you'll be able to listen to Pandora on the new iPhones. A question for Deuce: can you do this on the iPod Touch?

--Here is Rolling Stone's 3.5 out of 4 star review of The Dark Knight. God, I cannot wait to see this movie. In IMAX. On Tuesday!! Big ups to the Hales brothers for finding this site where they were giving away free tickets to a pre-release IMAX screening.

--A great article in the Omaha World-Herald about new linebackers coach Mike Ekeler. With all the stuff I read about this guy, I wouldn't be upset with Nebraska offering this guy a 20-year contract blind. He seems like the kind of assistant that will absolutely destroy in recruiting today's generation. Great stuff.

--No link, but Travis Justice and Rob Zate...ah, tell hell with it! No one's reading this anyway; I can't remember how to spell his name. Anyway, on Sports Sound Off, they both unveiled their ballots of pre-season Big XII voting, and they both picked NEBRASKA to win the Big XII North. Rob had Mizzou coming in third! I want so badly to agree with them, but I just don't know if I see this happening. I do sincerely think that they can compete for it, and have a 9-win or 10-win season. But Mizzou is going to be awfully tough this year.

--A story in Time about the rise of libertarianism. It's a decent article, although it almost makes it sound like you have to be a cattle rancher or run a sports book in order to be one. I guess they decided to leave out the whole "actually believe in the Constitution and how our Founding Fathers envisioned our country" part.

--So the Brewers gave up this guy for Sabathia, knowing they probably won't even sign C.C. next year? That's funny. I mean, sad and vomit-inducing if you're a Brewers fan. But I'm certainly not one of those, so it's pretty damned funny. A nice piece by Sports Illustrated, who does the best writing about baseball players on the planet, I believe.

--For the 20 or so people in the world that miss the NBA...Hardwood Paroxysm is one great blog. Even if you don't really care about the NBA, you'd be doing yourself well to read some of this stuff.

--Bonus good sports blog, and more time-relevant: Walkoff Walk is a great baseball blog (and a fantastic name, as well).

That's about all I've got in me tonight, friends and readers. I won't link it again, but also be sure to read the interview Pete posted featuring Craig Finn of The Hold Steady talking Twins baseball. Great stuff.

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Saturday, July 12, 2008

Oh my god! It's a post about The Hold Steady!

I saw a link to this at Joe Posnanski's blog, which is probably my favorite blog ever, all things considered. Seriously, the fact that a guy this talented who obviously can make a good living writing is generous enough to give us these kinds of efforts for free is miraculous and awe-inspiring.

Anyway, I saw this interview with Craig Finn that is all about baseball and is really great. He's a huge fan of the Twins and not only knows his shit, he regales us with stories about Paul Westerberg that simply kick ass. Great times, and "Stay Positive" is unbelievable. I'm not sure that it tops "Boys and Girls" but it's pretty amazing for the most part. At least four or five of the songs are as good as anything they've done. I give it a 9.1 out of 10. (Boys and Girls I would give a 9.8 out of 10)

They are The Official Band of Heavy Soul. It's decidedly so.

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Thursday, July 10, 2008

In other broadcasting news

Dan Patrick has been added to NBC's Sunday Night Football team. Who is he replacing? Nobody. He is being added.

Watching this show is seizure-inducing enough as it is with the 22 people already in place, and the brain trust at NBC decides to add someone else. Someone who, to my knowledge, has never even participated in an NFL broadcast. I like Patrick okay as a studio host, but I already have Bob Costas. Oh, and Keith Olbermann. Why don't we just throw Joe Buck, Kenny Mayne, Bob Barker, Brent Musberger and Howard Cosell in there as well? If you're an NBC executive, the answer is: Howard Cosell is dead.

Here is my solution:
Costas=gone (my favorite announcer possibly ever, but simply doesn't care too much about football)
Tiki Barber=gone (a world-class vindictive douche)
Collinsworth=lead analyst (the c0-best in the biz with Tom Jackson)
Patrick=host (in all reality I think Costas or him would be fine, if Bob wants it he gets it)
Jerome Bettis=Michael Irvin (more ludicrous if this is what people want)
Olbermann=gone (and as everyone who reads this knows, I'm a huge fan)
Peter King=gone (and replaced with Sal Pal)
Anyone else that obviously aren't significant enough for me to remember=gone (I'm sure there are at least three in this category)

I thought Jason Whitlock summed this all up pretty well here.

In the meantime, I'm going to try to avoid Football Night in America until the actual football game, where at least I can be soothed by Al Michaels and John Madden. (Sarcasm)

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Monday, July 07, 2008

SportsCenter: A New Low

Here's a quick recap of today's 5pm SportsCenter:

-Pat Forde--who I typically like--had a three-minute or so "story" (?) about Dana Torres. Torres, as most in Omaha know, qualified for the Olympics in swimming at the age of 41 and just two years removed from having a child, and just 8 months removed from having shoulder surgery. They had Forde on and he talked about how something is fishy about this story, and it's fishy because of the Mark McGuires and Barry Bonds' of the world.

What?? You're going on national television, on the most influential sports show in the United States, insinuating someone used steroids with LITERALLY no proof? All you have is a couple of anonymous swimmers that were at the meet that made "funny faces" during the medal ceremony? That thought it was odd that someone like that can come in and swim her best race of her career?

This was stunningly irresponsible by Forde, and even more so by the producers of SportsCenter that allowed this to air. I just did a Google news check, and nowhere is this even remotely insinuated. But because it is such a great story, Forde sees it as "suspicious," and is allowed to all but accuse her of using steroids? On live TV?

I hate frivolous lawsuits, but I hope Torres goes after ESPN. Just terrible.

--Then, there's A-Rod filing for divorce. OK, A-Rod is one of the biggest stars on the planet and he's an athlete. I suppose this kind of story on a sports show needs special treatment...time to bring on the expert at being a celebrity and an athlete...Mike Golic? What the hell is going on here? Mike Greenburg interviewing Mike Golic about how this will affect A-Rod and the Yankees, and how it will affect A-Rod's and Madonna's families? (By the way, he said it won't affect the Yankees because them and the Dallas Cowboys (?????) are used to a "circus tent" being around their clubhouses at all times." Oh. OK.)

This is not egregious or anything, just f'ing annoying. A-Rod getting a divorce gets 5 minutes on a show that used to feature sports teams and the highlights of their games. But I believe this has been pointed out a time or two.

Anyway, the Forde thing is disgusting. Even if he's right, there's literally no proof whatsoever anywhere to even thinking about throwing around accusations like this one. This, my friends, is libel to the nth degree. It's amazing how in the world this segment got on the air.

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Todd Barry @ The Slowdown: Wednesday!

OK, I've been telling people that Todd Barry is going to be at the Slowdown here in Omaha Tuesday night. Whoops! It's Wednesday.

That said, everyone should make an effort to make it. Here is a story about it from the Sunday World-Herald. And here is a hilarious advice column he did for The Believer that's a quick read if you're not familiar with his comedy. Todd Barry is incredibly funny, and great to see in person. You can buy tickets here, and they're only $12.

Let me know if you're interested in going!

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Sunday, July 06, 2008

The dangers of getting firewood

This is what I managed to do while collecting firewood this fourth.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

July 17th at the 1 Lounge

On July 17th we are going to have a little gathering to see the eldest Hales Boy off to Kansas at the 1 Lounge on 70th and Maple.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

The Dark Knight: Prologue?

I've read stuff on the internet about there being a prologue coming out in anticipation of The Dark Knight, and I think this might be it. Pretty badass. This movie is going to be incredible.

Happy 4th of July.

*WOW. Apparently I was the last person to watch that, because when I tried making sure the link was right on this post, it says the clip has been taken down at the request of Warner Bros. Crazy.

Well, you missed out, because it was sweet. Nothing like starting a movie with an awesome bank robbing scene.

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Pete's NFL Picks: Independence Day Edition

Well, not really, but I do want to take a few to discuss the news of the day, which is quite obviously Brett Favre's alleged comeback. Also, read this to get in the July 4th mood. I found it quite striking some of the differences between Big Daddy Drew's breakdown and what ours would look like, although they both include The Hold Steady.

Anyway, back to the Favre thing. Most of the reaction I have seen from my boy MJD and various blog commenters is broken down as such:

1. How could he do this to the Packers?

2. Enough already.

3. Just go away.

My response to this, generally, is as such:

1. Are you fucking serious?

I mean, what is really the downside here, for all parties involved? Favre had his best year in a decade last year and can clearly still bring it. His family wants him to play. John Madden can emerge from his coma (wait, scratch that). His team is good (more on this later). His legacy is intact. If he has the desire (I refuse to call it an "itch"), than he has very little to lose and if the Pack win the Super Bowl, a hell of a lot to gain.

For the Packers, they get a living legend back for one more year. They can win the Super Bowl with Favre, but not with the recently clean-cut Aaron Rodgers. They are loaded at every position except QB, and immediately become the favorite in the NFC with Favre. The only thing they stand to lose is the psyche of Aaron Rodgers, which is probably already destroyed from the last four years of this. The team, according to Al Harris, my 2nd favorite NFL player, wants him back.

For the NFL, they get the most popular player of my lifetime and possibly NFL history to lace them up for a year. It's a great storyline heading into camp. As it is, all they've been talking about is rookie salaries, Pac-Man Jones and Chad Johnson. I think they would love this angle.

The age we live in is so snarky and cynical that all the joy has been sucked out of sports. Even 15 years ago, when MJ came out of his gambling suspension and unretired, he was welcomed back with open arms. I understand that one can grow tired of the mythic proportions and attention thrown Favre's way over the years, I can agree that he has been elevated by the likes of Madden to ridiculousness. I've been known to engage in the type of cynicism and snarkiness when it comes to sports but it's mindboggling in this case. What about Favre coming back isn't better for the NFL or its fans? Who really loses if he plays? If you hate him, you get to root for Jared Allen or Tommie Harris to paralyze him. If you like Favre, you get one more year to enjoy the shit that he does. If you like the Packers, you're team is instantly better. Anyone disagree?

However, he is a legend, he is interesting, polarizing, an old school hero like Ruth, Payton, or Mantle, immortal and down to earth at the exact same time, and the face of the NFL for the last 15 years, and rightfully so. Favre playing is good for the Packers, NFL fans, and the NFL itself.

What am I missing?

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