The RP’s Weekly Web Gems: The Politics of Pigskin

The Politics of Pigskin

The Pittsburgh Steelers are really struggling without Ben Roethlisberger at the helm. [ESPN]

The Kansas City Chiefs are the first team to be mathematically eliminated from the playoffs. []

49er DE Aldon Smith is the fastest player in NFL history to reach 30 sacks. He did so in 27 games beating Reggie White’s previous record of 28 games. [Twitter]

Peyton Manning is playing like he didn’t miss a single game instead of sitting out a whole season due to multiple neck surgeries. [LA Times]

Watch out! The Snake might be on his way back. Jake Plummer reportedly wants to get back into the NFL. [NY Times]

Martellus Bennett is a pretty funny guy (on catching a kid falling from the stands): “I’m usually a ninja, but my Spidey-senses told me he was going to take a fall, so I saved his life.” [USA Today]

The Arizona Cardinals are the first team in NFL history to lose 7 games in a row after starting 4-0. []

Jeff Smith: Newt’s Smart Move

Newt says that he is not ruling out another presidential run.

Smart move. By dangling the prospect of a 2016 candidacy, Newt can charge higher fees as an…historian. [Naples News] (This link is not an Onion article.)

John Y’s Musings from the Middle: Father/Daughter Expenses

“You can’t manage whay you can’t measure.”

Wrapping up our 6th annual father – daughter weekend with my 14 year old daughter, Maggie.

All 6 have been excellent but some feel a little better than the others —but we have never had a concrete, objective way to measure the success of our annual weekends.

Until now.

Late this afternoon I got a call from my credit card company for an “Alert for potential fraudulent activity with my credit card.”

They needed me to confirm three unusual purchases this weekend that deviated from my usual habits—-all involving female clothing purchases.

I finally explained “I am with my 14 year old daughter this weekend.”

Even that gentleman on the other end of the phone from what seemed like a call center in India understood. “Thank you, Mr Brown” he laughed. “I understand now!”

Artur Davis: Toward a More Liberal South?

I read Karen Cox’s provocative essay about what it takes to revive southern Democrats, (“A New Southern Strategy”), with a view that was doubtful from the start. There was the skepticism from having heard the logic before: it is a perennial preoccupation of southern progressives to envision an latent regional majority based on suburbanized whites, minorities, and educated professionals, although to date, Virginia and North Carolina are the sole places where the coalition seems to materialize and even then, only intermittently. Cox also does not acknowledge, much less grapple with, the fact that the South’s most rapid economic modernization has happened at the same pace and time as its decisive tilt toward Republicans, in direct contradiction of the progressive expectation.

Then are the persistent factual blunders, from her conclusion that the Republican edge in the South is driven by outsized rural populations, when it is in actuality the suburbs outside the metropolitan cities that account for the consistent GOP advantage, to her glossing over the fact that southern big cities have tilted Democratic not so much out of their cosmopolitanism, or their burgeoning market in downtown lofts, but because their minority populations have steadily expanded (a misinterpretation Alec MacGillis takes her to task for in The New Republic).

More problematic than Cox’s treatment of data, though, is her threshold assumption that a more liberal South is an automatically enlightened place and that a more conservative South is a primitive dead zone that disdains modernity and ratifies the Old Confederacy’s historic pathologies. It’s the left’s stereotypical dichotomy of political polarization—but it is also a worldview that papers over the peculiar and more ideologically ambiguous disputes that dominate southern state capitals.

To be sure, there are conventional partisan battles in the South that mimic fights in Washington: whether to accept federal dollars to expand Medicaid, whether to set up the state exchanges created in the new healthcare law, and the aggressiveness of local immigration laws. But there is a much larger raft of region-specific policy dilemmas that thankfully don’t have a strong national analogue: they range from pervasive public corruption, to the explosion of a low wage casino culture in minority counties, to notoriously underfunded state universities, to tax structures that reverse federal policy by soaking low wage workers and families.

The fact is that those perennial challenges have been managed less by conservative Republicans, and more by Southern Democrats, who until the last few election cycles, still dominated state legislatures and held their share of governorships—trends with which many national observers are unfamiliar, as they erroneously assume that the deep red presidential voting patterns in the South have been as strong at the state level. Cox, a University of North Carolina historian, obviously knows better and must be aware of (1) the inconvenient truth that Democrats have had considerable governing responsibility during the South’s recent history and (2) the decidedly un-progressive ways Southern Democrats have used their powers.

At least one assumes she is. Does Cox actually understand that in Alabama, Democrats have only sporadically embraced reforming a state constitution that perpetuates one of the most sharply regressive tax structures in the nation, or that the state’s Democratic Party is funded primarily by a gambling lobby that enriches itself on the backs of the low wage poor? Would it be bothersome to Cox that the same gambling interests lavished huge campaign sums on an initiative to monopolize the state’s casinos in the hands of a couple of magnates, inside a few counties that are almost entirely black and impoverished? What about the effort the state Democratic Party spent trying to block an ethics package aimed at reducing lobbyist influence in state politics, the kind of good government crusade progressives salivate about at the national level?

To a depressing degree, the same elements that have warped Alabama’s Democratic Party into a weirdly retrograde force, at least on local issues, are equally present with their regional co-partisans—they include a faux populist aversion to elite supported reforms, an obsession with racial patronage politics, and a persistent trouble with raising money that leads to a few convenient if corrupting alliances.

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Artur Davis: Toward a More Liberal South?

Saul Kaplan: How Not To Get “Netflixed”

The nuclear industry measures how long a radioactive material will retain its potency by its half-life — the time it takes for the material to lose half of its radioactivity. The half-life of Uranium-235 is 700 million years, for example. During the industrial era the half-life of a business model was typically measured in generations. Once the basic rules for how a company creates, delivers, and captures value were established, they became etched in stone, fortified by functional silos and sustained by reinforcing company cultures.Those days are over. The industrial era is not coming back. The half-life of a business model is declining. Today’s leaders are either going to learn how to change their business models while pedaling the bicycle of the current one or they are going to be “netflixed.”

If netflix isn’t a verb it should be.

1. to cause disruption or turmoil to an existing business model
2. to destroy a previously successful business model
3. to displace the way value is currently created, delivered, and captured

Blockbuster started out with a compelling business model. Its value proposition was clear, enabling consumers to watch hit movies in the comfort of their homes. Blockbuster established an extensive value delivery network with stores conveniently located on every corner. Its first store opened in 1985 and it quickly grew to have over 5,000 retail outlets and 60,000 employees. It also had a smart financing model to capture value. It rented hit movies at a price consumers found attractive relative to the price of going out to the movies. Instead of paying a large upfront fee to buy videos from the studio (up to $65 per video) Blockbusters entered into a revenue sharing model with the movie studios including little to no upfront costs per video which gave them a huge advantage fueling explosive growth. Blockbuster started out on a roll. At its peak in 2002 Blockbuster’s market cap rose to $5 billion. In 2010 in filed for bankruptcy. So what happened? Blockbuster was netflixed.

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Saul Kaplan: How Not To Get “Netflixed”

John Y’s Musings from the Middle: Hip Jeans

Another “first.”

Despite complaining about how expensive and poorly tailored hip jeans are these days, I finally broke down and bought a pair.

And tonight, for the first time ever in my life, I feel like I am the guy with the nicest pair of jeans at my plane’s baggage claim carousel.

That is a new “first!” for me.

It’s an empowering rush. It’s a feeling of momentary fashion omnipotence.

I even sense some of the guys here are already worried about what pants I will have on next time they have to share a baggage carousel with me.

Now I get why they cost so much. And for this moment they were worth every penny.

Obama’s Secret Plan to Win a Third Term

Now that the election’s over, my satellite radio’s tuning system is stuck permanently on ESPN.

Between the “male performance” ads and the dating services promoted, there’s been an ad running regularly urging listeners to check out a Web site that exposes President Obama’s “secret plan to retain power through 2020.”

I clicked on it, but got too bored after a few minutes of Obama-bashing and investment self-promotion.

So if any of the RP Nation wants to persevere and report back, our Web page will be open.

Here’s the link to

Julie Rath: Give ‘Em The Boot



Are you ever stuck with what to wear on your feet when the weather turns foul?


Today the sun’s shining in NYC, but recent events prove the need for protective footwear. Below are my top 6 picks in a range of styles.

Men's Style: Grenson Spike Boots

1) Grenson Spike ($485) — For the sharp-dressed man, these Grensons are an update on the traditional LL Bean duck boot (another solid option if you’re a more of a traditionalist). Don’t be afraid to rock them with a suit.


Men's Style Blundstone 500 Boots

2) Blundstone 500 ($150) — These boots were originally made for ranchers in the Australian outback, so they should be able to handle a trek through midtown Manhattan. The water-resistant leather keeps you dry without sacrificing style, and the front and back pulls and elastic side panels make them easy to pull on and off.


Men's Style Concepts x Sorel Boots

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Julie Rath: Give ‘Em The Boot

Krystal Ball: Happy Thanksgiving!

Contributing RP Krystal Ball, her MSNBC “The Cycle” co-host SE Cupp, and special guest Joy Reid spoke about what they are most looking forward to over this turkey day holiday:

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

John Y’s Musings from the Middle: Happy Thanksgiving!

The holidays are here.

Starbucks has changed its decor and colors and will be setting the tone for all all retailers during the holiday season.

Tomorrow I’ll be there early to see if they will be offering a Thanksgiving special: Turkey Flavored Latte with a gravy drizzle and cinnamon sprinkles.

Then I’m going to Heine Bros for my Thursday cup of coffee. ; )





Thank goodness.

A little perspective is always helpful when seeking to muster much needed –and much warranted —gratitude. For official national holidays involving giving thanks or just any old day for expressing a blessed sentiment.

And if you can put it to music, even better. Especially if it’s Steely Dan.

No matter what our complaints are about the world today–and tomorrow, Black Friday 2012—it is important to remember this.Black Friday 2012 for our country will be a very different experience for us than the original–and infamous– Black Fridays.
And I am grateful today for that.

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