30 August 2014

El Cortez Fantasy Football League draft results


2014 Philadelphia Eagles 53-man roster (FINAL)


Here is the 2014 Philadelphia Eagles 53-man roster. Players that I didn't pick are in italics; players that I projected to make the roster but didn't are crossed out. Compared to my final projected roster, I correctly picked 49/53. Of the four players I picked that didn't make the team (Tucker, Barner, Acho, Reynolds), three of them were on my bubble list (Barner, Acho, and Reynolds). Of the four players that made the team that I didn't pick (Polk, Burton, Gardner, Matthews), three of them were on my bubble/tough cut list (Polk, Burton, and Gardner).

QB (3): Foles, Sanchez, Barkley
RB (4): McCoy, Sproles, Polk, Tucker, Barner
WR (6): Maclin, Cooper, Matthews, Huff, Smith, Maehl
TE (3): Celek, Ertz, Casey, Burton
C (2): Kelce, Molk
G (3): Mathis, Herremans, Kelly, Gardner
T (3): Peters, Barbre, Tobin (L. Johnson/susp does not count against 53-man roster)

DL (7): Thorton, Logan, Cox, Curry, Hart, Allen, Bair
LB (9): Barwin, Kendricks, Ryan, Cole, Smith, Graham, Goode, Braman, Acho, Matthews
CB (5): Fletcher, Williams, Boykin, Carroll, Watkins
S: (5) Allen, Jenkins, Wolff, Maragos, Reynolds

P: Jones
PK: Parkey
LS: Dorenbos

28 August 2014

2014 Philadelphia Eagles projected 53-man roster (FINAL)


Last updated: Aug 28 2014

QB (3): Foles, Sanchez, Barkley
RB (4): McCoy, Sproles, Polk, Tucker, Barner
WR (6): Maclin, Cooper, Matthews, Huff, Smith, Maehl
TE (3): Celek, Ertz, Casey
C (2): Kelce, Vandervelde (back surgery), Molk
G (3): Mathis, Herremans, Kelly
T (3): Peters, Barbre, Tobin (L. Johnson/susp does not count against 53-man roster)

DL (7): Thorton, Logan, Cox, Curry, Hart, Square, Allen, Bair
LB (9): Barwin, Kendricks, Ryan, Cole, Smith, Graham, Goode, Braman, Acho
CB (5): Fletcher, Williams, Boykin, Carroll, Watkins
S: (5) Allen, Jenkins, Wolff, Maragos, Reynolds

P: Jones
PK: Henery Parkey
LS: Dorenbos

 Notes

Aug 28 2014: Bubble player who will make the team. These players are likely to make the team according to my projections, but if I am wrong it would likely be one or more of these who get cut:

RB Barner (Barner/Josey is a coin flip; see below.)
WR Maehl
DL Allen
LB Acho
S Reynolds

Bubble players/toughest cuts: These players are not likely to make the team according to my projections, but if I am wrong it will most likely be one or more of these who make the cut:

RBs Polk/Josey (Polk has been injured; please let me be wrong about Josey.)
WR Benn (Maehl/Benn is a coin flip; both have shown ability to contribute on special teams.)
TE Burton (a 4th TE and in place of a 6th WR like Maehl? He'd have to contribute on special teams.)
T Gardner (and even if he makes the team, he might not last long when Lane Johnson comes off suspension.)
DL Square
LB Long

Aug 27 2014: Rosters are now down to 75 spots with the final cut to 53 coming by Saturday. There have been no real surprises thus far, except for the fact that Curtis Marsh and Roc Carmichael are still on the team. However, they're probably just on the roster until Saturday (or sooner) as bodies for Thursday night's game. Some expected that DE Joe Kruger might last longer, but he did not. Fortunately for Kruger, he'll get another look with the Chargers.

The one of the biggest battles remains at RB. Only McCoy and Sproles are guarantees at this point. Polk, Tucker, Barner and Josey all have a chance at the third spot (or a fourth spot if the Eagles keep four RBs as I have projected). Polk has been injured for almost all of camp. Tucker and Josey have shown nice bursts in pre-season games. Barner was just added last week but played for Chip Kelly at Oregon.

Lastly I added a big question mark behind Alex Henery. I still have him as the presumptive kicker but his job is definitely on the line.

Aug 15 2014: Backup center Julian Vandervelde recently had back surgery. There is no timetable for his return, but it seems unlikely he would be on the opening game roster. David Molk will benefit from Vandervelde's injury. No other changes in the last ten days.

Aug 5 2014: The most likely player on my projected final roster that may not actually make the final roster is RB Matthew Tucker. If the Eagles only take 3 RBs, Tucker would be the casualty.

If Tucker gets cut, I'd expect his spot to be replaced with an additional offensive lineman or defensive lineman. Offensive line additions could be David Molk (who might replace Vandervelde) or Andrew Gardner. Backup offensive linemen is definitely a weak spot.

I'd love to find spots for WR/TE Trey Burton, RB Henry Josey, and DE Alejandro Villanueva but they'll probably end up on the practice squad.

27 August 2014

Can corporations be (un)patriotic?



Much of the debate over Hobby Lobby was whether corporations could practice religion. Some like Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) signed on to an amicus brief arguing that for-profit corporations could not practice religion.

This week, Burger King announced it was buying Canadian-based Tim Horton's in a move widely believed to precede BK's move to Canada. In response, some like Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) have argued that doing so would be a "completely unpatriotic move." He added that "[m]any of these corporations have absolutely no loyalty to the people of the United States or to our government."

If corporations cannot practice religion, can they be patriotic or unpatriotic? Can corporations exhibit loyalty to a country or its government? Can corporations have a conscious at all? And if so, where do we draw the line?

If corporations can exhibit traits like patriotism and loyalty, but cannot practice religion, what is the distinction?

Now add this wrinkle: A Brazilian global investment firm called 3G Capital owns 71% of Burger King. Is a Brazilian global investment firm owner supposed or expected to show patriotism and loyalty to the United States just because the company's headquarters is currently in the United States?

Something to think about.

20 August 2014

Building permits, religious freedom, and the cardinal rule of legal journalism

I have said on many occasions that it is unforgivable for journalists to report on court decisions without, at the least, linking the reader to the text of the court's decision.

Here is an interesting article from Wisconsin that discusses the ruling in a case about several Amish families' failure to obtain building and sanitary permits, which would require the families to install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in their homes. The Amish families believe that the installation of these electronic devices would violate their religious beliefs.

You may agree or disagree with the ultimate result, but what I really want to know is what basis the judge used to rule against the families. Unfortunately, you can't read the text of the decision without further sleuthing because the article doesn't link to it. Worse, the article doesn't even name any of the families so you wouldn't even know what parties to search for.

These articles from last December lists the names of some of the defendants: Eli Gingerich, Clemens Borntreger, Mahlon Miller Jr. and Roman Borntrager. Unfortunately, the Wisconsin's court system's webpage doesn't list any recently closed cases involving these Amish gentlemen. In fact, these four men might be a set of companion cases that haven't been decided yet.

My best guess is that the decision was in one of the Gingerich cases, but even the Wisconsin courts website doesn't have a disposition:


It is also true that these cases are at the trial level, which typically don't produce written opinions. But still, there should be some order that can be reproduced and linked for the reader.

This is the problem with legal journalism: without a link to a court opinion or order, we readers have no idea what was really decided, or even who was ruled against. This Facebook page has more information than most of the articles I've read about these cases. For shame.

Ferguson and Michael Brown's autopsy: The rush to judgment is usually wrong

A few excerpts from this article at CNN entitled "What Michael Brown's autopsy tells us":

1. "What you can tell from a second or third autopsy is limited by autopsy artifact -- changes to the evidence caused by the performance of the first autopsy."

2. "..any pathologist hired by the family, regardless of expertise, does not have access to the crime scene and other evidence. Even Baden, in the report he prepared for the Brown family, concluded that without the clothing, evidence or scene information, he had "too little information to forensically reconstruct the shooting."


3. "Already the results of Baden's limited investigation are being used to support the contention that Brown was surrendering, and that the wounds were distant range, even though Baden himself said neither."

Were Michael Brown hand's in the air?

4. "The wound at the top of the head, the frontal wounds and angled right hand and arm wounds suggest that the victim was facing the officer, leaning forward with his right arm possibly extended in line with the gun's barrel, and not above his head...The image of a person standing upright with his hands in the air when he was shot does not appear compatible with the wounds documented on that diagram." Baden's autopsy couldn't confirm that Brown's hands were in the air, either.

What about the eyewitnesses?

5. "From the perspective of a witness, it could appear that the leaning person is complying with the officer and getting down. From the perspective of the officer, he may appear to be coming at him. Partial evidence yields partial answers, and a rush to conclusions based on one isolated set of data from a second autopsy only raises more questions."

Most importantly: "That is why it is so important to be patient and wait for all the scene information to come to light." This is why you don't rush to judgment.


17 August 2014

There are no winners, reconsidered

My last post received a lot of reaction, mostly negative. Friends who I know and trust told me my comparison between Gaza and Ferguson was "ridiculous" and "tone deaf."

I don't regret making the comparison. I do regret that the comparison became the focus of the post. When readers rejected the comparison, my thesis fell flat. That's unfortunate, because I don't think anyone who read the post and rejected my comparison would actually disagree with my thesis. Here it is again, without any reference to Gaza or Ferguson:
People who use innocent civilians to shield violent behavior are cowards...They use the very presence of innocent civilians to blanket their lawlessness. [T]the response is likely to be indiscriminate enough to catch innocent people in the fray. When that happens, we all lose.
I scarcely believe that anyone would disagree with this (do you disagree? If so, please, let me know). Evaluate this statement without my comparison. Then tell me what you think.

I chose Gaza because the conflict is fresh in people's minds, but that obviously backfired. Expecting resistance about my comparison, I tried to allay those concerns:
I'm not suggesting that a violent protester in Ferguson is the same as a Hamas terrorist. As far as we know, the violence done by protesters in Ferguson has not killed anyone. The violence in Gaza is on another scale.
Obviously, that wasn't enough. I'll agree with you that my comparison was absurd. The conflict in Gaza is different by orders of a magnitude from the rioting in Ferguson. I'll go further--I understand if you think no comparison between the two is valid. But that's beside the point. Why I regret the comparison is because my post wasn't about Gaza or Ferguson. The title of my post, There are no winners, is directly in reference to innocent civilians. I intentionally used the word innocent eight times because innocent people are suffering the consequences. Police departments are responding to irregular tactics with force and militarization. Journalists are being arrested and tear-gassed in Ferguson. The police are training sniper rifles on unarmed civilians. The police fired tear-gas on people standing in their own yards.

These are just the immediate results in Ferguson, but we have seen other results from the over-militarization of police forces: a flash bang thrown into the crib of a two-year old boy; SWAT teams invading the wrong homes; Occupy protesters were pepper sprayed as they sat on the ground. Sleepy small towns are acquiring armored vehicles. The capabilities that the feds had at Ruby Ridge or Waco two decades ago are now in the hands of police departments all over the country. Check out Radley Balko's work at the Washington Post  or his book Rise of the Warrior Cop for more on this subject.

This problem won't go away. What's happening in Ferguson right now is happening in small bits and pieces in cities and towns all over the country. It's time we faced the issue head on instead of burying our heads in the sand.







14 August 2014

There are no winners

I've been spending a lot of time over the last month or so thinking about the Israel-Gaza conflict. Specifically, I've been wondering how to respond to irregular warfare. When Hamas militants launch rockets from beside a school or hospital, how should Israel respond? Do you expect them to just ignore the threat of rockets? War is a nasty business. No matter how hard they try, Israel's response is unlikely to be considered reasonable or proportionate. If Israel counter-attacks the rocket launch site, they may (and probably will) kill innocent civilians at the hospital or school. Hamas is violating all sorts of international norms here by subjecting their own innocent civilians to the horrible violence of war. Israel, too, seems to have been indiscriminate in some of their attacks. Whether the overreach comes from Hamas or Israel, it is innocent civilians who suffer.

Much can be said about the ongoing violence between protesters and police in and around Ferguson, Missouri. Let's say you have a group of 100 protesters. 95 of these protesters have no violent intent. They're content to wave signs, chant slogans, and yell at the police. But five of those protesters have sinister motives. They're not at the front of the crowd but interspersed among the peaceful protesters. From the perspective of the police, they see rocks, bricks or Molotov cocktails thrown from the crowd. How should the police respond? You can imagine that they're going to try to disperse the demonstration. They may try to break it up and/or respond with teargas. 95 peaceful protesters are going to bear the brunt of the force for the actions of a few bad apples. Whether the overreach comes from the few violent protesters or the police, it is innocent civilians who suffer.

A few obvious points here:

I'm not suggesting that a violent protester in Ferguson is the same as a Hamas terrorist. As far as we know, the violence done by protesters in Ferguson has not killed anyone. The violence in Gaza is on another scale. The analogy here is not a moral equivalence between terrorists and violent protesters but that the irregular tactics are essentially the same.

Neither am I defending the police's tactics. I'm not sure there is a "right way" to do things. I'm no expert, so someone else with actual law enforcement experience can surely weigh in on why I am completely wrong about this. But if I were in a position of authority, I'd regroup and refocus on doing a better job of identifying the few individuals who are instigating violence. If they're already doing this, it's not coming across in any of the news articles I've been reading. Then again, maybe that's the point: finding the few bad apples in Ferguson may be as difficult as finding the few Hamas terrorists among the larger groups of innocent Gaza civilians. 

People who use innocent civilians to shield violent behavior are cowards, whether they are Gaza terrorists or rabble-rousing rock throwers on the streets of Ferguson, Missouri. They use the very presence of innocent civilians to blanket their lawlessness. When Israel responds, or when the police respond, the response is likely to be indiscriminate enough to catch innocent people in the fray. When that happens, we all lose.

13 August 2014

Card catalog history

This card catalog is located at the University of Maryland's McKeldin Library. Of course, it's not actually in use anymore. It's there as a historical exhibit. A museum piece. Do you feel old yet?