U.S. global leadership withering under Obama

Ever get the impression that Barack Obama couldn’t hit water if he fell out of a boat?

Our president must have felt like he was fried, flambéed and fricasseed at the U.N. on Monday.

Vladimir Putin, who oozes strength from his pores, stole Obama’s thunder.

The Russian strongman proposed a coup against U.S. global leadership and is seeking to wrest control of a coalition batting ISIS away from America’s grip.

And he wasn’t the only leader of a country at the celebration of the U.N.’s 70th anniversary to challenge the world order based on seven decades of U.S. global leadership.

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani also chimed in.

The multipolar challenges to U.S. power, including military challenges from Eastern Europe across the Middle East to Asia, are taking the snap out of Uncle Sam’s strut.

Eagles ruin their winless season

Apparently the Eagles aren’t quite ready to be affixed toe tags and laid out on a coroner’s table.

Zip-three in the NFL is a death penalty. One-two means you still have a pulse.

Considering that the NFC East is relatively comatose (the Cowboys are 2-1 but more banged up than a demolition derby car), the Birds’ pulse isn’t faint.

After Sunday’s 24-17 win over the Jets at MetLife Stadium, the Eagles may no longer be marooned in a rather grim situation.

The defense played terrific, racking up four takeaways. Rookies Jordan Hicks and Eric Rowe made some big plays at linebacker and in the secondary, respectively.

And the offensive line finally got around to blocking somebody, with Ryan Mathews and Darren Sproles running to daylight instead of catacomb darkness. And that 89-yard punt return by Sproles was sweet, skittering and accelerating like a water bug running across hot coals.

But before everybody starts saying that DeMarco Murray suddenly is a stiff and should be chained to the bench once his hammy heals, keep in mind that the OL was the culprit for his terrible first two games.

Blocking and rushing are a matter of stimulus and response. Even Freud knew that.

Still, the offense sucked in the second half. Sam Bradford lacks accuracy, even through he throws mostly 4-yard dump-offs. He rarely looks downfield. He strictly is a caretaker at this point, operating a horizontal passing game. A big reason why is the Birds essentially have one wideout — Jordan Matthews.

If the Eagles can’t start going long at times, they won’t be going long enough to be playoff-bound.

Despite pope’s visit, back to normal

I guess we’re all guilty of this. We listen to a sermon, but we don’t really hear it. So we carry on as we always did, turning a deaf ear to pastoral advice and return to our regular M.O.

Evidently we’re concerned that if we lift the gate on our standard operating procedure just a crack, a breeze of disruption will waft in to torment us.

Hours after Pope Francis appealed to Congress to consider the “common good” and be mindful of the planet’s welfare, lawmakers in the chamber where he spoke moved to do the opposite and bar federal regulators from weighing the costs of climate change.

Same old same old.

Which makes me wonder if the pope’s visit to America, despite his whirlwind tour befitting a rock star, will leave lasting a footprint on most people.

Silly Putty offensive line grounds Eagles

Well, all our jaw muscles lost their grip while watching the abysmal Eagles win an Emmy Sunday for best performance of a train wreck.

The Birds were totally inoffensive — which made them horribly offensive to watch — in a 20-10 debacle of a loss to the Cowboys.

It figures to be a long siege of losses for the Eagles unless the NFL grants them an exception and allows them to arm their offensive linemen with machetes.

The Birds’ defense played well Sunday at the Linc but the offense was totally MIA because the O line was as inept as dairy cows on roller skates.

The offensive linemen, especially the two journeymen guards Chip Kelly the novice GM plugged in to replace the two outstanding guards he let go in the offseason, were pathetic.

Kelly’s whole offense starts with the run game and there can be no ground transportation when the opponent keeps blowing up trestles in your transit system.

Poor DeMarco Murray, who led the NFL in rushing behind that crackerjack Dallas O line, should sue his current O line for non-support.

Carly Fiorina: The lady was a tiger

Not being Nostradamus, I don’t know whether Carly Fiorina will be president.

But she sure sounded presidential last night in the GOP debate that seemed longer than the 100 Years War.

The former Hewlett-Packard CEO was quite the counter puncher in taking some of the swagger out of the free-swinging Donald Trump, who was by far too much the focal point of the debate.

With seemingly a cast of thousands in the race, it shouldn’t be a one-man show.

Carly was stiletto sharp, an excellent communicator who came across as intelligent, personable, educated on the issues (the polar opposite of Trump who obviously has been truant in his homework) and tough as rawhide.

And, by the way, she looked marvelous.

Eagles’ preseason hype just so much hot air in the opener

The highly inflated balloon of Great Eagle Expectations burst in the opening game Monday night.

Philadelphia’s 26-24 loss to the Falcons in Atlanta wasn’t exactly the Hindenburg disaster, considering that you don’t want to overreact to one loss.

Still, the Birds splattered like spaghetti sauce in a busy Italian restaurant kitchen.

The Super Bowl Express engineered by the Mad Scientist, a.k.a. Chip Kelly, hit a big speed bump.

Too damn many mistakes, too damn many penalties, a first-half effort that was about as inspired as an accounting webinar, a pathetic running game that sucked early and then was abandoned (all that money for DeMarco Murray and Ryan Mathews?), an offensive line (so much for Kelly’s off-season changing of the guard) that couldn’t block a hat for much of the game, a torched secondary (Julio Jones undressed overpaid free agent Byron Maxwell), a quarterback who spent the first half knocking off the rust of two years spent rehabbing instead of playing, and a missed 44-yard field goal by the struggling Cody Parkey doomed the Eagles.

If there was any good news blinking through the fog of the loss, Sam Bradford, after showering with Evapo-Rust at halftime, played a second half that was pregnant with future promise.

After going 15 for 27 in the first half that included a pick that gift-wrapped an Atlanta score, he was as sharp as a prick CEO in the second half.

He went 9 for 10 on a 95-yard drive and finished 21 for 25 for 219 yards and a touchdown in the second half en route to a 36-for-52, 336-yard debut.

Granted, considering that Bradford is about as durable as porcelain, the Eagles had better do a much better job of protecting him or else we will be seeing Mark (1 and 1) Sanchez alternating touchdown passes and interceptions.

With the dreaded Dallas Cowboys coming to Philly Sunday, the Eagles’ season already could be on the brink.

A tale of two quarterbacks

History can be a compelling subject, especially when it happens in the sunny present tense instead of the cobweb-shrouded past tense.

Granted, yesterday already is past history but give me a mulligan on this one.

When Tennessee’s Marcus Mariota and Tampa Bay’s Jameis Winston squared off Sunday in Tampa, it was a historic first season-opening meeting ever of two rookie quarterbacks who went 1-2 in the draft.

OK, I realize that one game is a small sample serving. But perhaps the wrong guy went No. 1.

Mariotta was resplendent, throwing more touchdowns (four) than incompletions (three) in a 42-14 blowout of the Bucs. He was as accurate as William Tell with a rifle scope, going 13 of 16 for 209 yards. Poise and leadership oozed from his uniform.

Winston, on the other hand, looked like what the temp agency sends you when you request a hack. He would have been more productive picking scabs off wayward turtles in Guam. Confusion spilled from his face.

He threw a pick-6 on his first attempt of the game and exhibited all the ball security of a guy wearing oven mitts by uncorking two interceptions and two fumbles (both of which he recovered). His decision-making is more up in the air than a trapeze act.

Quarterbacks taken high in the draft are no lock for Canton. Which brings us back to my favorite subject of history.

History has shown us that one of these two quarterbacks will be a star and the other a bust.

Sunday was only the opening chapter but the script was pregnant with foreshadowing.

Brady and Serena’s fortunes are like night and day in the captivating realm of sports

Sports can be a funny old possum.

At times they’re as predictable as the sunrise.

At times they’re as shocking as finding a polar bear in your foyer.

For instance, you just knew that Tom Brady was going to celebrate his freedom in a big way Thursday night. The ultimate competitor, pumped up by all the Deflategate nonsense, was an artist throwing properly inflated footballs (we assume), completing 25 of 32 passes — including a franchise record 19 in a row — for 288 yards and four touchdowns as the Patriots beat the Steelers 28-21.

Then came Friday afternoon, which usually does follow Thursday night.

Unseeded Italian Roberta Vinci, previously known only for not writing The Da Vinci Code, totally stunned Serena Williams 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 in the U.S. Open semifinals.

Not only was it one of the greatest upsets in the history of tennis, it was Serena’s first loss in a Grand Slam singles match this year and ended her bid for the first calendar-year Grand Slam since 1988.

All of which makes watching sports infinitely more fascinating than watching a fern grow.

Pay dirt! Americans expected to bet $95 billion on football this season

The American Gaming Association issued a release Wednesday estimating Americans will bet $95 billion on NFL and college football this season, with less than four percent of the money believed to be wagered legally.

Which means four things:

1. Americans love football more than ballet.

2. Americans break the law even more than they do their wedding vows.

3. You can bet bookies make big bucks that go unreported to the IRS.

4. Vegas sports books are read more religiously than the Bible.

If you’re suddenly walking on the ceiling instead of the floor, it’s because Temple turned the world upside down by crushing Penn State

Republicans are stuffing dollar bills in Hillary Clinton’s pant suit, Donald Trump shaved his comb-over, the Pope is announcing his conversion to Judaism during his trip to Philly, and Lucifer’s budget just went to hell after he spent a fortune buying ice skates because hell has frozen over.

Why the inverse universe?

Temple has beaten Penn State in football for the first time since 1941.