The shocker of the century! The NFL season won't be DOA after all

Apparently appalled that they were putting the 20th anniversary season of the world-famous “Can You Beat Zeke?” pigskin-prognosticating extravaganza in serious peril, NFL owners today approved a proposed 10-year labor agreement with the NFL Players Association, putting the potential end to the league’s lockout in the hands of the players — who evidently will cast their own vote when they stop being busy getting arrested.
The owners’ vote was 31-0, with the Oakland Raiders abstaining because maverick and senile owner Al Davis is angry that he has never managed to beat Zeke.
We’ve all grown bored with the lockout. Watching players knock heads with owners over the bargaining table isn’t nearly as exciting as watching players knock heads with each other on the field.
Gentlemen, start your concussions.

Can Boehner get his House in order?

I don’t need drugs because following the debt ceiling debate makes me hallucinate.
The whole mess boggles the mind because I’m not exactly sure just who’s squinting across the line of scrimmage.
Yeah, we got the Dems vs. the GOP. That’s a given. Just like Michael vs. Lucifer, Cain vs. Abel, etc.
But we also got the Republicans vs. the Republicans (specifically the Tea Party people).

Indeed, the Tea Party folks are more ornery than a scorned lover. And more stubborn than a blood stain.
I feel downright sorry for poor ol’ John Boehner.
He’s gonna have to walk on water hazards if he can muster enough votes needed for the House to raise the debt limit and prevent economic convulsions that will have the wallets of Americans spasming like jackhammers.
Boehner is wrestling with alligators as he struggles to lead an unwieldy Republican membership that’s heavily influenced by debt-hating tea partyers. And he will need help from the Democratic minority, dominated by liberals following the 2010 elections, which swept away dozens of moderates.
The House has 240 Republicans. But 38 have signed a pledge to oppose any debt ceiling increase unless it is accompanied by a constitutional amendment to balance the budget, which is politically unachievable.
The Tea Partyers are fueled by a loathing for government, which is snagging the GOP between antigovernment fervor and the need to keep the lights on.
So there sits Boehner between a rock and a hard place.

Obama's glimmer of optimism about a debt deal puts a big bounce in Wall Street's step

Wall Street wants the debit ceiling raised like it wants its next breath. Maybe even more so.

After President Obama today suggested progress was being made toward a deficit reduction deal thanks to the bipartisan Senate Gang of Six plan, the markets rebounded like Dennis Rodman in his Detroit Pistons’ prime.

The Dow exhibited some impressive fast-twitch muscles with a vertical jump of 202 points, its largest one-day bounce this year.

It definitely was a leap of joy (and hope) that Washington will avert a default on U.S. debt and not reduce us all to paupers treading garbage-infested moat waters in search of sustenance.

But don’t get too carried away. Both Congress and Wall Street are like wet Post-it notes. Nothing seems to stick.

Talk about a heat wave on steroids! Greenhouse gases are juicing Mother Nature into one nasty fry cook

OK, it’s been hot in Berks County. And apparently it going to get hot enough to melt sidewalks and streets by the end of the week. Swimming pools may even boil over.

Of course, it’s been sizzling in much of the country as well. America is on a hotter griddle than even Rupert Murdoch these days.

What’s causing all this blast-furnace heat?

First of all, it’s normal to be hot as hell in July. Just ask Mother Nature.

But there are three other factors as well. Just ask Al Roker.

One is all the hot air blowing out of Washington, D.C. over the debt ceiling.

Two is climate change … there is natural weather variability over time.

Third — you know this was coming all my friends on the right — is global warming.

Evidently global warming does not cause hot weather but certainly intensifies it.

A lucid and simple explanation I just came across compares the greenhouse gases building up in the atmosphere from human activities to steroids.

Just like steroids can help a ballplayer hit a ball farther and hit more home runs in a season, greenhouse gases are performance enhancers when it comes to hot weather.

These gases from fossil fuel combustion and other sources add a little heat to the atmosphere or juice it up — loading the dice to make hot weather and hot weather records more likely as long as they continue accumulating in the atmosphere.

So when you are drowning in your own puddle of sweat while watching your grass, shrubs and flowers turn burnt orange and die, blame it all on Barry Bonds, Mark McGuire and Jose Canseco.

The Armageddon over the debt ceiling casts Obama as a comparative centrist, swelling his appeal to critical independent voters like a Macy's float

While many of you may disagree with me, and free speech is a right given to you by our Tea Party-revered Founding Fathers, I think that Republicans, especially in the House, are so dense that light can’t escape them for insisting on no tax increases at all as part of a debt-and-spending deal.
This is a nonsensical position, considering that U.S. tax revenues are at near-historic lows as a share of the overall economy. Stubbornness is on Republicans like scales on a flounder. Which helps explain Michele Bachmann’s splotchy complexion.
When the economy melts down like a tsunami-stricken nuclear reactor, I hope everybody has enough rings and trinkets to go to a pawn shop on Penn Street. Otherwise nobody around here eats or pays the mortgage, not to mention pays taxes that seem strictly and unfairly to be the burden of the hard-working middle class.
And while the debt-ceiling debate that seems longer than the Hundred Years War may turn out badly for President Obama, for now it’s boosting his profile with independent voters who decided the last several elections.

Obama, hoping to burn a path across the window of time to the 2012 presidential election, certainly is playing to independents.
Obama is positioning himself as someone willing to make political sacrifices to reach a bipartisan accord and avoid a potentially disastrous default on U.S. obligations. He says some trims are needed to Social Security and Medicare, the safety-net programs dear to liberal Democrats. He also says an eventual package must include some tax increases, but only on the wealthiest Americans.
All of which not only makes him sound smart, but makes him sound like Dudley Do-Right.
Contrast Obama’s steel spine with the wimpy GOP and Democratic leaders who are paralyzed with fear over angering their conservative and liberal bases with a deal to raise the debt limit — which undoubtedly is in the best interest of America.
Little wonder that Obama’s image as a comparative centrist is a posture that appeals to independent voters.

FBI investigating allegations that Murdoch's News Corp. sought to hack into the phones of Sept. 11 victims

Evidently Rupert Murdoch flunked Journalism 101. Then again, he probably never even took the class.
I should know. When I found basket weaving to be too tough of a major at Temple, I switched to journalism. And no where in the curriculum did we learn that phone-hacking and police bribery were standard operating procedure for reporters.
Which is why authentic journalists are paupers and a muckraker such as Murdoch is worth some $6 billion. Sleaze and scandal sell like space heaters in the Yukon.
As you may have read, Murdoch and his media empire are in deep doo-doo in Britain, where they allegedly hacked everybody and anybody. Supposedly Murdoch knows all the deep, dark sexual secrets of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip. (Are you all gagging at the mere thought of that? I thought so.)
Now the czar of journalism ethics who brought us the gift of Fox News is under fire in America.
The FBI has opened an investigation into allegations that Murdoch’s News Corp. sought to hack into the phones of Sept. 11 victims.
Murdoch must have been born without a heart and conscience.
And now he seems to have lost his sense of reality. Or is in denial.
He appears unfazed by the phone-hacking scandal.
He told the Wall Street Journal, which he owns and which would never misquote him and risk flogging, that News Corp. has handled the crisis “extremely well in every way possible” and that the damage is “nothing that will not be recovered.”
Now that the scandal has derailed Murdoch’s bid for BskyB, Murdoch says he is buying back shares and “looking for better places to put our money.” Where? Real estate in Reading?
The reality is that Murdoch has lost his nimbus of power. His reputation has been irrevocably tarnished, if not destroyed.
Well deserved, I might add. The guy drove himself onto Desolation Road.

Woman allegedly cuts off her estranged husband's penis and chops it up in the garbage disposal. He is not pleased

Marital problems literally can strip a guy of his manhood. No wonder a lot of men are allergic to the altar and prefer to just live in sin.
I’m sure there’s a guy in Garden Grove, California right now who’s not crazy in love with matrimony.
Little wonder why.
His estranged (and evidently strange) wife, Catherine Kieu Becker, served him a drugged meal. When he passed out, she tied him to the bed and waited for him to regain consciousness. As he watched in horror, she allegedly cut off his penis with a knife and put it down the garbage disposal.
Guess she was a tad upset. Because ouch doesn’t even begin to cut it.
My groin has had acute sympathy pains ever since I heard about this. Apparently I am not alone in this. Sales of protective cups for men are skyrocketing. So are sales of Super Glue and hot dogs.
As for the charming Mrs. Becker, she is being held on $1 million bail on charges of “aggravated mayhem” that could land her in prison for life.
Aggravated mayhem? Now there’s the understatement.
Her hubby would have been better off if she had run him over with a cement truck. Then backed it up and parked it on his nose.

Mitch McConnell punts on the debt ceiling, lateraling the hot potato (and nuclear burns) to Obama

People in America are about ready to stick screwdrivers in their ears and eyes rather than hear or read any more about the damn debt ceiling.

With Barack Obama casually mentioning today that if the dreaded ceiling is not raised Social Security checks will not be sent out and retired folks will drop like flies while scorpions and frogs will overtake the land as if it were Biblical Egypt and all tea parties will be banned, even Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is sick of the whole mess.

McConnell floated a novel way out of default Tuesday, suggesting that Congress give up its power to raise the debt ceiling and instead effectively transfer that authority — and the wrenching political pain that comes with it — to the White House for the remainder of Obama’s current term.

Very clever, Mitch. Especially for a guy who usually looks dazed and confused.

When backed up against your own goal line, it’s prudent to punt. Especially when you know your Hail Mary heave will go unheeded.

Obama says no deal on debt if Republicans don't budge … and when's the last time you tried to get an elephant to move?

Football coaches for decades have had a “my way or the highway” attitude.
Barack Obama apparently sees the Republicans as a bunch of knuckleheads in helmets when it comes to the impasse on raising the government’s debit limit.
The president declared today that there would be no deal if Republicans won’t compromise, and he said he would not sign a short-term extension — raising the stakes on volatile negotiations with the clock ticking toward an Aug. 2 deadline.
This squabble is so blind to compromise right now that the Democrats and the Republicans are fighting by Braille.
“I don’t see a path to a deal if they don’t budge. Period,” Obama said of the GOP’s three-point stance on taxes.
Republican House Speaker John Boehner countered that tax increases are a nonstarter: “The American people will not accept – and the House cannot pass – a bill that raises taxes on job creators.”
Obama claims that a failure to reach agreement could create another recession and throw millions of Americans out of work.
That, of course, would be scarier than being awakened by a gorilla. And would run down the economy like a $2 alarm clock.

Obama the transformer is the biggest piece of fiction since The Da Vinci Code

Any guy with Michael for a first name and a Polish last name has to be a smart writer. It comes with the DNA. Ask any third-year medical student. Or yours truly.
Michael Tomasky is editor of Democracy: A Journal of Ideas. And he penned a gem of an idea today.
Tomasky addresses why Barack Obama hardly is the transformational president his 2008 campaign hype led us to believe.
Reagan was transformational. Ditto Lincoln. Obama was next. Yeah, right.
While the ongoing debt negotiations linger like the last two minutes of a basketball game, we’ve come to learn that Obama is willing to put Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid on the poker table. Which leaves all those seniors bound for the operating table gasping with fear and outrage.
Tomasky theorizes that Obama simply is not a leader or a fighter. Or even a winner. He claims that our president simply wants to be the most reasonable and unflappable person in the room. Speaking of DNA, Tomasky attributes this trait to Obama’s DNA. Perhaps we should screen the DNA of all presidential candidates, starting now.
We need a leader in the White House. Great leaders generally are not great guys. They’re tough guys. They feed the masses wheat germ when they need it, not cotton candy just to please them. Don’t toss us bouquets, throw us overripe kumquats when needed.
We’d all be better off if Obama was a transformer. Alas, he is not. Which is why you won’t find him in the cast of Transformers: Dark of the Moon. Which is why you find the rest of us howling at the moon.