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3Sep/133

The Kevin Kolb Era: Coda?

Looks like it just isn't meant to be ...

Kolb was the most notable transaction. He was supposed to compete with rookie EJ Manuel for the starting job, but that contest didn’t materialize.

Kolb had a knee injury early in training camp, left the team for a funeral in his family and then suffered a concussion in the third preseason game. The Bills couldn’t afford to leave a precious roster spot vacant while they waited for Kolb to recover from such a serious and unpredictable injury.

Now there are concerns his career could be over.

Kolb went in with more to prove that he wasn't deserving of the label "injury-prone" than whether he had the tools to be an NFL starter. One rubber mat and a knee to the head later, and I think the guy might be best off taking his savings and start the next chapter. A damn shame, but it is what it is.

31Mar/130

The Kevin Kolb Era: Let’s Try This One More Time

» Buffalo News: Bills add Kolb to quarterback mix

I can't say I'm crazy about the fit, but it's a gig and as good of an opportunity that I think Kolb can find these days. I'm not sure what kind of offense Chan Gailey runs up north, but I've always seen Kolb as a good fit for anything that favors a high-percentage passing office (Philly's West Coast style was as good as the NFL offers). Injuries, of course, are perhaps a bigger issue with Kolb. Proving he can go through a majority of the season as the designated starter would be a very welcome first.

But in any event, I'll be watching Bills games with more interest than I have since Jim Kelly left the USFL.

21Jan/130

Inaugural Aggreblogging

Another four years, another inauguration. Here's a random break from whatever it is that I do when I don't blog.

» Chron: Again, Hall says he will challenge Parker
In case anyone wasn't aware ... Ben Hall really, really wants to be mayor. This story follows a Chronicle blog posting, where Hall had previously announced his intentions. And that follows the KTRK story from a month ago, where Hall had also previously announced his intentions. And that followed the KHOU story from November, where Hall had ... well, you get the point by now. And it's worth pointing out that this is still far from official since Ben Hall has yet to publicly announce and to officially file as a candidate. I'm sure that'll be worth two new pitches to the local media that he really plans to run this time. Can't wait to hear if he has anything to say about his candidacy outside of "Hey, I'm running!" But based on his initial foray into civic thinking, I doubt he has anything to offer that moves me off of my default choice.

» SSRC: Evangelicals who have left the right (Marcia Pally)
This follows up somewhat from Pally's 2011 book, with a little added context from the 2012 election. Responses by Pastor Joel Hunter and Professor David Gushee are also worth a read.

» Nate Silver: What Is Driving Growth in Government Spending?
Good wonky reading from Nate Silver. Nice to see him turn his analytical skills toward public finances. Of some interest:

Another surprise is how little we are paying in interest on the federal debt, even though the debt is growing larger and larger. Right now, interest payments make up only about 6 percent of the federal budget. In addition, they have been decreasing as a share of the gross domestic product: the federal government spent about 1.5 percent of gross domestic product in paying interest on its debt on 2011, down from a peak of 3.3 percent in 1991.

I distinctly remember a few conversations - both online and in-person - where many of my Republican friends rationalized the renewal of deficit spending under Bush-43 by stating how low the GDP percentage was in historical terms. Now, considering the spikes in deficits that began in Bush's last years in office but are now associated with Obama ... the argument is nowhere to be found.

» AZ Republic: Bruce Arians wants QB with ‘grit,’ leadership
Kevin Kolb gets his third head coach as an NFL QB. And the early read is uncertain as to what it means for his future as a starter in Arizona. Of course, even if he does start next season, it's an open question as to whether he can endure it without the kind of injuries that have ended his previous three seasons.

» NY Times: Dartmouth Stops Credits for Excelling on A.P. Test
» NY Times: Next Made-in-China Boom: College Graduates

Among the issues I get to track in the Lege is education. Both of these are good backgrounders on some issues in secondary ed.

» Chron: Political novices look to gain stature working for legislator (Patricia Kilday Hart)
» Texas Tribune: For Dean of Senate, Public and Private Blur (Jay Root)
Two good reads on matters pertaining to state government. On a somewhat related note, I also attended my first Trib Talk event with Michael Williams being in the hot seat next to Evan Smith. First impression is that the event is a bit too clubby for my taste, but watching Evan interview someone in person is pretty fun to watch.

16Sep/120

Kevin Kolb > Tom Brady

Things that amuse me greatly ...

Kolb starts the season, nominally, with a 2-0 record now. His stat line certainly wasn't better than Brady, nor was it in line with what you'd expect of an Andy Reid-taught QB to produce. But the season goes one week at a time. It'll be interesting to see how much this fuels a legitimate QB controversy in Arizona.

10Sep/120

The Kevin Kolb Era … v2.1

» AZ Republic: What a relief: Arizona Cardinals QB Kevin Kolb takes short route to redemption
» AZ Republic: Arizona Cardinals edge Seattle Seahawks in Week 1 of NFL season

Not quite how it was scripted, but for the few of us remaining Kevin Kolb fans ... we'll take it.

All Kolb did is what Skelton made a habit of doing a year ago: directing a scoring drive from an offense that tends to spend whole quarters in dormancy.

Many of the 60,032 in attendance booed when Kolb entered with 8:18 remaining, and it didn't help when he overthrew receiver Larry Fitzgerald on the first play.

But using a no-huddle scheme, Kolb quickly found a rhythm. He completed 6 of his next 7, including a 6-yard touchdown to Andre Roberts that gave the Cardinals a 20-16 lead with 4:59 left.

"It was pretty special, I'm not going to lie," Kolb said. "To win a game in that fashion, after the way the preseason went, I'll definitely enjoy it."

It appears Kolb will be the starter for at least the next several weeks. The Cardinals will know more about Skelton's condition Monday, but the best scenario seems to be that he has a high ankle sprain.

No definitive word on how long Skelton is out. But the early ballpark estimates seem to suggest 3-6 weeks. If nothing else, it sounds like Kolb will have some time to show what he's made of by the time Skelton is fully ready to play.

Oh yeah ... and the Texans won and the RGIII vs Luck comparisons begin with RG in the lead. I think I managed to catch the end of the Green Bay v 49ers game over the opening weekend. Improvement is definitely needed on my part.

4Sep/120

Cougar Aggre-blogging

A pretty busy weekend in extended Cougar sposts ...

» Chron: Piland, defense suffer through season opener to forget
» Chron: UH changes offensive coordinators in reaction to Texas St. loss
Brutal day and a dizzying turn of events watching a coach hired after an extensive Google search by Coach Levine. Here's hoping things turn around fast. For whatever team failings are going to reflect on Levine, the lack of returning starters is a bigger issue in my mind. I'm not sure how many of the kids we have lining up now are likely to be multi-year lettermen, but this isn't the first time we've been at the start of a four-to-five year project with unproven talent in the first year. I'm waiting and I hope to be seeing. Soon.

» AZ Republic: Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kevin Kolb knows there is time to make amends
Also brutal. I'll be shocked if Kolb doesn't get some starting time for the Cards at some point in the season. The O-line is just too iffy for the team to see them going through only one QB. What Kolb shows off the bench will likely determine how much of a career he has from this point on.

» Chron: Case Keenum clears waivers; signed to practice squad
» Detroit Free Press: Lions reportedly sign CB Drayton Florence; add Patrick Edwards, Ross Weaver to practice squad
Elsewhere, RB Michael Hayes ended up getting cut by the Chargers (Jackie Battle is still in their backfield, however) and LB Sammy Brown was a late cut by the St. Louis Rams. Of the four, I'd have probably picked Edwards to take his talents to the UFL or CFL to prove what he can do. Nice to see Detroit being smart enough to hold onto him. There's some good history there with short receivers.

» Chron: Legendary UH athletic trainer Wilson dies at 85
Even our training staff at UH was legendary.

22Aug/120

Another Un-Cartographic Aggrepost …

Mapping to resume shortly. I hope. For now, a few posts to keep tabs on the world.

» Wash. Post: Is NASA’s InSight too little too late? (Vivek Wadhwa)
A pretty good snapshot on the state of private industry being a better avenue for space exploration even while the government deposits a truck on Mars to take pretty pictures and shoot lasers at rocks.

» NY Times: Imran Khan Must Be Doing Something Right
A borderline hagiographic view of Imran Khan that still serves to be somewhat telling about the guy. I had the opportunity to hear Khan address the World Affairs Council of Houston back in 2009. My thoughts from that time still hold. The upcoming Pakistani elections should be pretty interesting. I'm just not convinced that Khan will be much more than a sideshow.

» AZ Republic: The Arizona Cardinals' Kevin Kolb signing is turning into a great organizational failure (Dan Bickley)
I'd love to see Kolb prove people wrong. But that only happens on the field. Most interesting theory I've heard about the difference in the O-line play for Kolb vs Skelton has been that defenses generally want Skelton to throw the ball, but know that Kolb will get rattled and indecisive in the pocket. If Kolb has time to throw, the arm can carry him far. But then again, I was saying the same thing about David Klingler in 1993 & 1994.

18Aug/120

Some Un-Cartographic Aggreposting …

Well, so much for continuous mapping through the week. Yesterday got away from me and I'm presently doing some coding and databasing that I was hoping to have done a day and a half ago. First world problems, for ya. Anywho ... he are a few links worth noting before they go under-reported by me.

» Chron: Texans’ Keenum appears cut from the same cloth as Kubiak
It sounds as if Keenum will be the third QB in the game and playing with the second unit offense in tonight's game. I didn't bother catching the first preseason game against Carolina since I didn't think Case would play (he did). I'll be looking for an online feed of this after church tonight to get what I hope is not a last-gasp dose of watching Case chuck a football.

» Chron: UH QB Piland ready to put valuable experience to use
I'm not sure what to expect for this year's Cougar football team. For starters, I don't know any of the receivers. Charles Sims appears to be one of the better skill players to return. And as if David Piland's alma mater wasn't problematic enough for me, the up & coming running back hailing from arch rival L.D. Bell has me in a complete state of confusion this year. Nothing a good 8-0 start to the season wouldn't fix, I'm sure.

» ESPN: Kevin Kolb gets some slack for rough start
» AZ Republic: Arizona Cardinals quarterback competition will continue at least a week
» ESPN: Tommy Kelly Rips Kevin Kolb

I've said this before ... Kolb is the kind of guy who really needs three solid years to settle into a starting role with a team. Sad as it may be, he might not get that unless he shows some major indicators of being healthy and solid in the job this second season with the Cards.

» New Republic: I Was a Teenage Objectivist
Good for a daily laugh here. I made my way through one and a half Ayn Rand books during college. By the time I was approaching graduation at UH, the Daily Cougar editorialists were hard core objectivists. And a considerable number of friends were college libertarians of the Ayn Rand ilk. There was nothing about any of that compelled me to find selfishness and individualistic sociopathy as a worthwhile endeavor.

» Chron: Growth of Hispanic business doesn't match population
Worth going back and reading this for some additional perspective.

» FW Star-Telegram: Texas risks losing $31 million in federal transportation funding
Some interesting insights into federal budgeting here.

» NY Times: 'Al' and 'Joe' Lead the Spam Squad
Interesting reading for those interested in online and/or political communication. I'm pretty sure that I'm subscribed to almost every email list under the political sun (and several non-political ones as well). I've definitely seen the emails in question for this write-up and tend to loathe the deadline flurry of emails that multiple campaigns send out. But I'm also sure that my inbox is at the extreme end of the spectrum. I'm mostly interested in saving examples that I might want to copy an idea or two from. As for the qualitative disputes with the extent that campaigns hit "send", I'm not sure I'm seeing as good use of it this cycle as was on display in 2008. I think a big part of that is due to Team Obama's perspective of being an incumbent with a big, hefty list that they're interested in milking diminishing returns from. In 2008, the Obama group was new, fresh, and looking to rebuild many of the tools that were started up in halfway form in 2004. When multiple challengers run for an open seat in 2016, it'll be interesting to see if anyone challenges the existing vendors out there for online communication. And I hope it involves something better than relying on multiple emails a day on fundraising deadlines. If it puts an end to clients asking me if they can sign email blasts as being sent from their iPhone, I'll be all the happier.

» Foreign Affairs: The New Great Game in Central Asia ($)
Interesting if you're into Asian/China stuff.

6Aug/120

The Kevin Kolb Era: Now or Never

» Arizona Republic: Kevin Kolb injured as Arizona Cardinals lose to New Orleans Saints

Ugh ...

Quarterback Kevin Kolb's first pass was intercepted, and he suffered a bruised rib muscle and diaphragm on his fourth attempt and did not return.

Coach Ken Whisenhunt said the injury didn't appear serious and that it was possible Kolb would practice this week.

The Cardinals looked like a team playing its first preseason game in the 17-10 loss Sunday at Fawcett Stadium.

The Saints did not.

Unfortunately, this was supposed to be the third consecutive season that Kevin was either functionally or officially tabbed as the starting QB. I'm obviously rooting for him. So you can imagine my pain in seeing another outing like this.

29Dec/110

Aggre-blogging: The Final Countdown

Only a few more days left in the year. I’m ready for the sprint to the end to be over.

» Chron: Veteran lawmaker Abercia decides to retire
It seems as if Abercia’s been around forever instead of just since 1990. But that might be due more to the fact that my family returned to Houston in 1987. Regardless, it sure seems like some political old-timers are hanging it up lately.

In case its totally alien to you about what I do, the demographics and election math in Constable Precinct 1 are below the fold. It’s fairly solidly Dem-leaning. But one tidbit about Constable & JP districts is that they apparently aren’t required to undergo redistricting. Something to do with them being more administrative in function and outside the scope of one-man/one-vote requirements and all that. The result is that Pct 1 has 696,436 people in it while Phil Camus’ Precinct 5 has 1,100,496. The smallest jurisdiction, however, belongs to Victor Trevino’s Precinct 6 with 148,395. Wacky. And I wouldn’t be surprised to see Commissioners Court take up the “emergency” in this discrepancy sometime soon.

» Toledo Blade: Kaptur, Kucinich file for race in 9th District for 2012 Democratic primary
I’m with the chick on this one.

» Wash. Post: Under Obama, an emerging global apparatus for drone killing
Always fascinating reading. And on a marginally-related note, I did not get what I really wanted for Christmas. Probably just as well since I’d need two of them in case I crash one. Oh, and the fact that they run north of $50k probably had something to do with it.

» Wash. Post: Romney and Santorum surge as Iowa caucuses near
Santorum-mentum doesn’t quite have the ring that Roemer-mentum does. But the fact that even Rick Santorum is getting a surge in the GOP field really does suggest that everyone will get their 15 seconds of fame in the GOP primary.

» The Chron editorial board dogpiles on the irony of Rick Perry being kept off the ballot by “election integrity” laws. PoliticalWire has the backgrounder.

» Star-Telegram: Dickey’s winners will get their fill of barbecue
This is exactly what it means to lose by winning. Tried this place once in Clear Lake. It is easily the worst thing passing for BBQ that I could possibly imagine. Sure, I can be finicky about BBQ. I love Pappa’s and am no fan of Goode Co. … just so you know where I stand. But I can at least have intelligent BBQ-related conversations with those who prefer their BBQ with a watery vinegar sauce. I tried Colter’s BBQ while on my JerryWorld vacation. Not great, but a decent knock-off of the Pappa’s formula. I once frequented a local BBQ establishment that was nothing to write home about simply due to the proximity to work and the fact that it’s really hard to screw up a sliced beef sandwich. So it’s not like I’m overly picky. Dickeys, on the other hand … is a complete insult to BBQ. That is all.

» Arizona Republic: Concussion symptoms likely to sideline Cardinals QB Kevin Kolb
The Kevin Kolb Era 2.0 didn’t quite get off to a terrific start in Phoenix. Here’s the stat line for the season, assuming he doesn’t play at all tomorrow:

                      CMP  ATT   YDS    CMP%   AVG   TD  INT  RATING
2011 Regular Season   146  253  1,955   57.7   7.73   9   8    81.1

The QB Rating puts him just beneath Cincinnati’s Andy Dalton and just above Buffalo’s Ryan Fitzpatrick. I don’t see it as likely that the backup for the Cards (John Skelton) is going to get a serious look at competing for the starting role next season. But I wouldn’t be shocked to see the Cards bring in a veteran backup since this is the second season in a row that Kolb has seen extensive sideline action thanks to a concussion. Here’s hoping next year is a lot better.

Constable Precinct 1 – Demographics

         Total Pop         Voting Age Pop.
------------------------------------------
         696,436           517,185
------------------------------------------
Anglo    202,317 (29.1%)   175,755 (34.0%)
Hispanic 344,008 (49.4%)   226,810 (43.9%)
Afr-Am   114,739 (16.5%)    86,705 (16.8%)
Asian     26,600 ( 3.8%)    22,052 ( 4.3%)

Spanish Surnamed Registered Voters: 22.0%

2010 Governor
----------------------
Perry - 47,231 (35.6%)
White - 83,369 (62.9%)
----------------------
Total   132,590

Downballot contests without a popular former Mayor had Loren Jackson winning 59.1-40.9 and Hector Uribe winning 53.0-45.0.

2008 President
-----------------------
McCain -   74,351 (38.3%)
Obama -   119,575 (61.7%)

2008 Senate
-------------------------
Cornyn -   71,169 (37.0%)
Noriega - 117,002 (60.9%)
-------------------------
Total     192,271

District Map (Pct 1 in blue):