Saturday, May 30, 2009

Redskins Release Jansen: Goodbye, Rock.

#redskins . .

One of the most beloved current players - and the longest tenured player on the roster - in the Redskin Nation has been released. Jon Jansen came to us last century from Michigan in the draft and formed one the NFL's best tackle tandems for the first half of this decade with Chris Samuels. In recent years Jansen has been dinged up and has suffered major injuries. The Skins think that his decline is steep enough to eat about $6 million of this year's cap to release him.

Rich Tandler has a very good look into why this came about at this time. JLC has Zorn's account of how he told Jansen that the days of #76 on the roster were over and then Zorn's evaluation of the candidates at Right Tackle as of now.

I tell you, this hurts. Jansen has been a favorite of mine since his first year where he grabbed the RT position and didn't look back. We knew this was coming as fans, but most of us thought we had another year of seeing Jansen wear the #76 in Burgundy and Gold. As of now, it looks like he will finish things up with the Lions.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

USCF Delegate Proposals In Search of a Delegate

#chess . .
I think the deadline for Advanced Delegate Motions is 1 June 2009. I hope these two proposals can find a delegate or delegates to champion them in Indianapolis.

1) Correspondence Chess
Posted at the USCF Issues Forum

Correspondence Chess has again fallen by the way side in the USCF. Two years ago we faced a crisis and the USCF stepped up to make sure that CC players in ICCF-US retained our representation in ICCF. IM Corky Schakel has taken over operation of ICCF-US and is doing a bang up job (see http://iccfus.com/).

Also two years ago there was one USCF CC event offered via web server on the ICCF server (WALTER MUIR E-QUADS) according to the CC web page (http://main.uschess.org/content/view/7523/393/). There is still only that same event offered via web server. CC via web server is the preferred method of most CC players by far (see http://sdo1.blogspot.com/2007/06/web-server-correspondence-chess-growth.html).

Alex Dunne's column, in addition to being taken out of Chess Life (print and online) has not been made available via syndication (RSS, Atom, etc...) and is not promoted in the print or online Chess Life. I have spoken with quite a few CC players who used to read Dunne's column with regularity but now forget about it for months at a time as there is no way to be reminded that a new column is out.

We need a delegate to propose the following:
1) That all* USCF CC events be offered via web server (our own or the ICCF server) in addition to the current practice of offering them by post or email.
2) That failing the restoration of Check/Mail to Chess Life, that it should be syndicated via RSS/Atom and promoted in at least the online Chess Life.

*I understand that some events must be postal or email. However, almost every event I see on the Events page should be offered via web server.

I also understand that the USCF has been exploring setting up our own server. However, that exploration is now at least two years old. We received a bequest that was designated, at least in part, for CC. All I have seen from that is the proposal of starting a new CC event. With the current troubles cause by the varied litigants who have sued the USCF I understand that the bequests have had to be spent on litigation. However, the cost to the USCF to accomplish the two points above should be negligible and entry fees should offset that expense.



2) Online Chess Rating
Posted at the USCF Issues Forum

We need a delegate to champion the cause of those USCF members who can not play traditional OTB chess because of geographical or economic restraints but who CAN play online on one of the various ICS systems.

The USCF should establish an OnLine rating to be used for "standard" games. "Standard" games are usually defined as 10 minutes per game or longer. These games would differentiate from currently sanctioned ICS games in that they would not have TDs attending them at each location. Currently sanctioned online play under those terms are already rated under the current rating system.

-This new rating would necessitate an addition to the current "Regular" "Quick" and "Correspondence" ratings.
-Accommodation would have to be negotiated with an ICS (WCN seems the most likely candidate though I would prefer ICC) if the USCF chooses to have the ICS TD and charge rating fees. Alternatively, the USCF could set up an area on the website for players to submit their games and fees.
-Rating fees would have to be researched to see what would be profitable and what the market would bear.

This new rating could result in more than just friendly matches. The ability to hold OnLine tournaments and other events would be available to non-traditional players just as they are for traditional OTB players.

I know many former members who would have stayed if the USCF were relevant to them. If the USCF is to grow - and meet the organizational mission of promoting chess - it must find a way to develop an affinity for the organization among those who can not play traditional OTB events. The goal of this and the CC proposal (http://main.uschess.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=10193) is to develop that affinity and promote chess where the USCF is currently absent or has a very low profile.
If you are a member of the USCF and have an opinion or input about these issues, please go to the forum and get involved. If you are a delegate and agree with one or both please consider advancing an ADM on the topics.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Guns in Parks: This is NOT a Time to Celebrate

#tnguns #tcot #teaparty . .

So Obama signed the Credit Card bill with the Parks Gun amendment intact. Now our 2AM bloggers are jumping up and down with glee and throwing it into the face of the Brady Campaign for Citizen Disarmament and other folks.

So I have a question for all of you that are dizzy with perceived victory: Can we carry into parks tomorrow? The next day? The provisions take effect next February. That's right, February 2010.

Here's another question: Do you think the hoplophobes will take this laying down?

Really? What did they do when Bush opened up the parks to permit holders? They did not lay down.

There is a lot of time between now and next February.

On top of that, it was attached to legislation that further erodes the constitutional barriers between government and business. This is no cause for celebration. Sure, we just saw an amendment passed and signed that should become law nine months from now. The problem is that this law won't go into effect for nine months and that it was attached to a law that will project the federal government's tentacles even deeper into our pocket books.

Y'all go ahead and dance. I don't think you'll like the tune once Obama starts playing it with your credit. Dancing with the devil is a dangerous thing.
So what's my bottom line? Am I grousing against the Coburn amendment to allow national park gun rules to conform with applicable state laws? Would I rather see no incremental gain in the name of ideological purity? And how do I square that against my self-proclaimed "Any chair in a bar fight" slogan?

Hey, I'm just pointing out that you don't get benefits without costs, that you dance with the devil at your peril, and that he is unexcelled at making you think you're the one leading. I'm just saying that--amidst all the cheering about what a victory this portends to be--for gun owners and for credit card customers--the central government will emerge with more power than it had before.

But we all knew this, right?
Yeah, we did, and a government that "gives" us the "right" to carry in our parks is one that can take that and more away.

And that government is Obama, Pelosi, and Reid.

Y'all still dancing?

Monday, May 18, 2009

USA Correspondence Chess Team Clinches GOLD in Pan American Team 9

#chess #iccf-us . .

From ICCF-US:
USA Clinches First in Pan American Team 9

After more than two years since play began, with only four games still to be completed, Pan American Team 9 silver and bronze are still up for grabs, but the USA team has clinched first in a field of 16 teams to get the gold, either outright or by tiebreak. Here is how it stands:
USA 40.5
Peru (Rojo) 39.5 one game remaining with Brazil (Verde); USA wins the tiebreaker with more team match wins
Brazil (Amar) 39.5
Chile 39 one game remaining with Canada

The other two open games are Mex-Gua and Arg (Cel)-Nic.
Team members are:
  • SIM Ted Brandhorst
  • SIM Michael Millstone
  • SIM Michael Proof
  • IM Corky Schakel
Congratulations!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Susan Polgar: For or Against the USCF?

#chess #uscf .

She just keeps doing it, slamming the very organization she has a fiduciary responsibility to help. Not only is Susan Polgar suing the USCF for $25 million - and it is something this side of humorous that she has yet to detail exactly what the USCF is alleged to have done some nine plus months after the suit was filed - she is actively seeking to harm the USCF via her blog as evidenced by her last two entries (here and here). One has to wonder how far Polgar will go in destroying the good name she once had within the USCF and American chess.

It is sad, really.

I stopped blogging about chess politics in large part because of the dirty politics Susan Polgar seems to drag with her.

Polgar isn't the only one. Along with the USCF and current officers, other persons with whom Polgar has disputes were also sued. The USCF, in its wisdom, has taken on the costs of their defense under seperate counsel. Wick Dear has a blog where he has detailed the suits and the personages involved, including one of the non-USCF defendants here. It their zeal to counter the Polgar suit, these defendants are now sending letters - and if the bluster can be believed, subpeonas - to USCF delegates and others that they think have contact and/or correspondence with Susan Polgar. The circumstances of their latest intimidation tactics may be veiwed by USCF members on the Issues Forum here.

All of these people detract from the goal of the USCF which is to promote chess in America. To date they have caused the expediture of several hundred thousand dollars of USCF members' dues on attorneys with much more to be burnt. When will the USCF realise that they must purge those who repeatedly cause trouble in the organization? I hope it is not much longer.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

C'mon, Toyota. Do This.


Honda has introduced a car made to accommodate man's best friend...
"It features easy-wash seat covers, a fitted dog bed with restraints to keep Sammy safe in the event of a crash, and a paw logo on the side. Honda said the car would go on sale across the United States from the fall of this year. Honda spokesman Sage Marie said it was designed with both safety and comfort in mind. "(It's) a car we think is of interest to many of today's dog-crazy consumers," he said."
Our Border Collie mix goes almost everywhere we do from short trips to the corner grocery to long treks across country. The Sienna shows it. Black hair everywhere. We've had something similar to Honda's idea and two dog beds are in the back waiting to be fixed in place. As of now Pepper rides in a seat covered by a bed sheet.

Hat tip: Fred Langa who also presents how someone a long time ago thought dogs should ride...