Friday, February 4, 2011

Claire McCaskill Denies Report of Pressuring DNC

Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill is denying reports that she urged the Democratic National Committee not to hold their 2012 Convention in St Louis. New York Times Blogger Jeff Zeleny wrote Tuesday that McCaskill "took her concerns straight to the White House, according to party leaders familiar with the selection process." McCaskill reportedly had concerns that the convention would draw protesters and potentially "complicate" her re-election bid. Basically, she didn't want to be seen on the stage with Obama, who is not really highly regarded in Missouri. She also feared the Convention competing for fundraising dollars in the State.

The accusation that Senator McCaskill argued against a St Louis convention could be potentially damaging to her reputation in Missouri. These kind of events typically bring in MILLIONS of dollars, and I don't mean just a few, try a couple hundred, into the local economy. Also, her union friends might not be very appreciative seeing how Charlotte, the chosen sight for the 2012 convention, has no union hotels. The actions of the Senator will no doubt be seen as selfish to her constituency in Missouri.

On Wednesday, McCaskill told the Associated Press that the story was false. Mr Zeleny responded that his report "speaks for itself". Who to believe in this sordid mess? A lying politician, or a reporter for the most liberally biased newspaper in the country, that's a tough call. Personally I think her support of Obamacare and the so called stimulus package has her doomed anyway.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Missouri's Struggles, Parity in the Big 12

Before the Big 12 season kicked off, the Missouri Tigers looked like a team finally ready to contend with KU for the Big 12 title. Last night, Oklahoma State beat Missouri 76-70, dropping the Tigers to 3-4 in a Big 12 that is officially now a two-team race.

The current Big 12 standings feature two familiar faces at the top: Texas and Kansas. The Jayhawks have won the league six straight years, and seem to be playing their best ball at the moment. Texas, the only team to give the Jayhawks a run for the conference crown in recent memory, is the hottest team in the nation. KU and Texas are clearly the best two teams in the conference, and once again will battle until the end for the conference crown.

While it is no surprise the Jayhawks and Longhorns are off to fast starts, the parity in the rest of the league is shocking. Consider Texas A&M and Oklahoma (yes, Oklahoma) are tied for third place with a 4-3 record, while Oklahoma State, Kansas State and Texas Tech are tied for second-to-last with a 3-5 record. The league has never been this close, and it still remains unknown who will emerge as an NCAA tournament team from the cluster.

Many schools who were expected to struggle have recorded upset wins (Oklahoma, and Texas Tech) while teams like Baylor, Kansas State and Missouri haven't come close to meeting expectations. While the next weeks should bring some separation, it is clear that once again, Kansas and Texas are on a different level.

Bill Muir Named Offensive Coordinator For Kansas City Chiefs

The Chiefs named Bill Muir their new Offensive Coordinator today. He has been the Offensive line coach for the Chiefs since 2009. Muir was also the Offensive Coordinator for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers under Head Coach Jon Gruden. He obviously has the experience, and a Super Bowl ring. I would imagine Jon Gruden also did a lot of play calling, so Muir would also fit in with the idea that Haley wants to have a hand in the Offense. While in Tampa Bay, Muir also coached the Line and I could see him doing this as well. In his 33 years of coaching experience, many of it in the NFL, he has also coached defenses, including a stint as Indianapolis Defensive Coordinator in the late 80s.

Sounds like a good fit for Haley, a guy who will take a back seat and is a career assistant coach. He certainly has lots of experience. The next move for the Chiefs Coaching Staff is a good Quarterbacks Coach to assist with Cassel's development.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Kansas City Getting Back to Normal After Blizzard

The Great Blizzard of 2011 has come and gone. We survived. Quite a storm, with I-70 shut down for some time in Missouri from State Line to State Line. I'm sure it's happened before, but I can;t remember it. Officially, (at KCI), we had 8.9 inches, but more to the south and east. I estimate about 12-13 inches in my driveway in Lee's Summit. It took me two hours to shovel this morning, made more difficult with the two and a half foot pile the snow plow left at the end of my driveway. If this bullshit keeps up, I'm going to have to get a snow blower. But I guess I shouldn't complain, at least my street got plowed. Lee's Summit does a beautiful job with snow removal and they should be commended.

Kansas City on the other hand is a JOKE. I saw the City spokesman on the news telling people to be patient, they should have it under control "by the weekend". Weekend? It's freaking Wednesday - it is unacceptable for streets not to be plowed by the end of today. Kansas Citians should expect more from City Hall.

Snowfall Totals from around the area:
KCI - 8"
Sedalia, Butler, and Warrensburg - 18"
Overland Park - 9"
The Plaza - 11"
Blue Springs - 13"
Olathe - 12"
Wichita - 5"
Lawrence - 10"

College Football Signing Day 2011 - Impact on KC Area Teams

ESPN's College Football Signing Day coverage may seem a bit over-the-top to the casual sports fan, but for college football fanatics, the day is a nice break from non-stop basketball and hockey coverage. It all starts with recruiting for college sports, and KU, MU and KState have all been busy trying to fill holes and build for the future. Big 12 recruiting rankings currently have KU at 6th, MU at 8th and KState at 10th.

After a disastrous 2010 season, Turner Gill and his staff made huge strides in the offseason to get the Jayhawks back on track. KU has built up depth across the board, grabbing six offensive lineman and addressing other areas of need (LB, QB). KU's 2011 signing class is led by 4 star RB's Darrian Miller and Anthony Pierson. KU also may have found its quarterback of the future in Brock Berglund. A very strong class on paper, although it could be a couple years until Gill reaps the benefits of this group.

While KU is in rebuilding mode, the Missouri Tigers have been looking to take the next step into the upper tier of the Big 12. However, Missouri's 2011 recruiting class only features 17 players, and is ranked towards the bottom of the league. The class is led by 4 star DT Sheldon Richardson, and while MU doesn't seem to have any knock-out signings, all of its other 16 recruits are at least a 3 star according to Rivals. Gary Pinkel has already built up a good talent base in Columbia, but it remains to be seen if Mizzou is ready to battle with Texas and Oklahoma for the league's title consistently.

Kansas State's 2011 recruiting class is ranked last in the league, and despite Hall of Fame coach Bill Snyder leading the Wildcats, KState cannot afford to continue to be out-recruited if it wants to remain a factor in the Big 12. No one does better with limited resources than Snyder, but KState has struggled since 2004, and a drying well of talent in Manhattan is likely the cause. The Wildcats did bring in several defensive recruits to try to immediately help one of the nation's worst defenses from a year ago.

Mizzou and KU both proved in 2007 that highly-ranked recruiting classes can be very overrated. However, it takes talent to win, and it will be interesting to see how these players impact the local programs over the next couple of seasons.


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