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A reflection on the rain from Lisa Kelly

Posted by ajbeitscher on November 10, 2009

I thought this was very poignant and worth being seen…

 

Thank you to all of you who checked in on us after hearing about the recent rains here.  We are fine.  The reality is that all those who died (132 now) or are homeless (over 7000) are those who lived in tin sheet shacks that simply washed away.  It was just another rainy night for us, a bit harder and longer than usual perhaps, but no hurricane, no thunder and lightning, no high winds.  Just rain.  In our neighborhood (not the wealthiest part of town but with concrete houses) the water and mud flooded the street a bit as gutters got clogged by trash.  But in city communities where people who are born into poverty live, there are no gutters or sewers so the rain instantly rises into their homes (often dirt floors to begin with).  [These communities of tin shacks, maybe two rooms, 100 square feet for a family, rise up in between the median of the highway, near the trash dumps, anywhere there is un-owned land and they are there long enough to pass through generations.  I frequently have to watch for parents and children from one such community trying to walk across a three-lane freeway on my way to school in the morning.]  Many of those who died in the countryside live on the hillsides and eek out a living by growing food on land that is practically vertical.  As a result, without tree roots and rocks on the hillsides, rains quickly turn to mud which slides down and all the houses on the hillside or those at the bottom (also tin shacks) (with people in them) simply get buried. 
People wonder why God allows such tragedies to happen.  But I think if God lives in us, why do we?  It’s not just coincidence that only those who live in poverty suffer in rainstorms, it is systematic.  And they don’t have much say in the system. While all the aide and prayers are helpful to ease suffering in some ways after the tragedy, it would seem to me that justly redistributing the land and providing equal services to all before the tragedy would make a lot more sense.  Can we pray for that?
 The truth is just like you know us and so instantly cared and checked on us, when you get to know those who live in such conditions, actually be in relationship with them, know their names, laugh with them, play soccer with them, listen to their stories, by sheer human nature, then you want to fight for them or sacrifice for them, even if it means giving up the excess you have.  Out of all my years studying policy and theology, that is heart of what I know to be true:  systemic justice and being in relationship with those in need are the root of all goodness.  Today I just relearned it experientially.
Thanks for letting me vent to you a bit.  It’s the only way I can make sense of the absurdity before my eyes. While so many thousands lost everything, the vast majority of the country continues to live in the same conditions, just waiting for the next big rain or winds or earthquake to devastate them or for someone to recognize they are human and deserve an education, a livable wage, a safe place to live, health care, and nutrition—all of which they would be more than willing to work for.  I wonder which will come first?
In some ways I will be glad to get home and away from the absurdity of how so many have to live. In other ways, I know that in doing that I am only distancing myself from the reality of the conditions of the majority of humanity.  The majority of humanity lives like this; One raincloud or heavy wind away from death or devastation.  I suppose when I said “we’re fine” it depends how inclusive that “we” is.

Lisa Kelly

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It’s a good time to be a sports fan in CO: A prelude

Posted by ajbeitscher on October 31, 2009

Upon leaving the library last night I had a brief conversation with a classmate.  When the conversation turned to sports, my classmate noted me wearing my Broncos “test taking” hoodie and asked if I was a fan. “Yeah…a big one,” I said not trying to be too gleeful.  He smiled, saying “Cool, I’m a big bears fan….thanks.”  Now I’m sure that he wasn’t mockingly saying this because bears fans really do love the fact that they have “he who does not deserve to be named”.  I didn’t know what to say other than feel bad for him.  “Good luck with Orton when the game’s on the line,” I was told.  My only retort was “well, I hope you enjoy the redzone INT’s.”  Though a better answer would have been “yeah, we’ll see if Orton can do anything in the clutch…like against the Cowboys, or Pats, or Chargers…”

My classmate responded “Well, at least we can get down there now.”  And that’s when it struck me, boy it’s pretty rough when you can’t expect your team to drive the field at all.  Then it got me thinking more about how crazy it is to be a sports fan in Colorado right now.  We’ve certainly had our droughts but the past 3 years have been in a crescendo and we are at an unprecedented moment I believe…. To be continued after histo exams on monday…and a slew of weekend sports activities.

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Systems – QB’s, coaches, and the stupidity of the media

Posted by ajbeitscher on October 28, 2009

Not to harp but I’m amazed by how people are paid plenty of money to give their opinions and create ridiculous arguments that are so flawed it would be better served on a turkey sandwich with rye….if that’s your thing.  Note the following from the esteemed John Clayton:

Q: With the sudden success of Kyle Orton in what is the Patriots’ “system” in Denver after not much success before that, and the success of Matt Cassel last year in the same system after not even playing in college and not playing as well this year, is it time to consider whether it’s actually the system that breeds success and that Tom Brady might not be as good a QB without being in this system? Hmmm, interesting question and point.  Mr. Clayton, your thoughts…

A: Brady would be good in any system. He’s just a great quarterback. Brady was successful before the Patriots added Wes Welker and Randy Moss, but after they came to New England, the offense rose to its highest level. Sorry John but you didn’t answer this question at all with this statement.  Brady has been in this system for his entire career.  Welker and Moss didn’t create this system….I digress.  Joe Montana was a “system” quarterback, but he proved he could move the system to Kansas City in his declining years and still be a playoff quarterback. So Montana was good because he “moved” his “system” to Kansas City?….not sure I follow.  Can Montana make the choice as to what system the team uses? Wouldn’t they have had different systems?   Sure, the system is good, but the system Josh McDaniels and Bill Belichick developed around Brady only made his skills better. Ok, fair, even good point, I’ll buy that…some credence building up….  Orton is succeeding in Denver because his receivers are good and have good run-after-the-catch ability. Matt Cassel is struggling in Kansas City because his receivers lack those skills.  Wha?!  How does this have anything to do with the above question or your answer.  You’re saying that merely by the receivers being able to have RAC ability the Orton is doing better than Cassel?  Is this your NFL system John Clayton?  Receivers who have the ability to run after the catch?  Name me 5 current receivers who don’t know how to run after the catch?  That’s the most stupid thing I’ve ever heard….can anybody explain this logic?

other points about the above:

– Orton is playing out of his mind because he can brew coffee almost every drop….maybe he’s even good.  Aside from that, for receivers to have RAC ability don’t they need to be catching the ball in stride?  And therefore and accurately thrown ball? Is accuracy not a highly valued thing in the NFL?  I mean isn’t Jamarcus Russell proof enough of this?  And maybe that whole NFL line thing is important…..

And in terms of Orton not being good before hand, his career numbers before Denver: 33 games, 21-12 W-L, 30:27 Td:INT ratio and a (505/913) 55.3 completion %.  Those of he who shall not be named: 37 games, 17-20 W-L, 54:37 Td:Int ratio, and a (762/1220) 62.5 completion %.

So for one person being a God-sent “franchise” QB and the other being a cast off I’m not sure who is who….wait I look at the W-L records and…get the “wrong” answer….hmmm.

The more I see football the more I am convinced that a coach who can truly create a system for his players, as opposed to finding players for his system is the most important piece of the puzzle.  Unless you can get a coach to play quarterback….but that guy’s name is Peyton Manning.

Other’s thoughts?….discuss!

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NFL queries…

Posted by ajbeitscher on October 20, 2009

[Ed. note – still working out the kinks of the blog. This post and Peter’s just above were submitted before today. You guys should have the power to publish them yourselves – just hit publish when you are done. If not – I have to look into increasing your access to the site]

My thoughts and questions as this week happens…

1 – Who is the favorite this year?  Is there one?  Best NFC team is the Saints. They are the best team in football after their dismantling of the Giants.  With a running game that forces teams to commit to stopping it, they lose because they cannot stop Brees.  Best AFC team is the……..?  Colts I guess.  In 5 more weeks there will already be 5 teams of the playoffs in the AFC set. There are really only 7 viable teams though.  Colts, Broncos, Pats, Jets, Ravens, Steelers, Bengals…anybody else gonna be able to make a push?

2 – Coaches may matter as much in the NFL, if not more, than players.  Especially position coaches and coordinators.  Ex head coaches who are now Defensive Coordinators have been the biggest pick up this year. (see Broncos, Denver and Saints, New Orleans) In the case of the Broncos, the D-Line coach was stolen from the Chargers…how’s their D line playing?….and Mike Nolan has crafted an incredible 5-2 scheme for his players.  And anybody that says Broncos aren’t a more well prepared team every week this season w/ McDaniels hasn’t watched the Broncos w/ Shanahan in about 8 years.

3 – Peyton Manning is amazing.  He is the only reason that Brees will not win the MVP.  Great recievers aren’t found that easily.  He turns every one into a quality find.  Who ever heard of Austin Collie or Pierre Garcon?

4 – What happened to the NFC East?  Aren’t they supposed to be the NFC “Beast” division.  And every team was supposed to win 3 if not 4 games against the lowly AFC West.  I mean granted I think the Chiefs and Raiders are painful bad….but why did the ‘Skins lose, and why are the Eagles losing?

5 – What’s up w/ New England? and what does it say about their opponents?  They’re beating the Titans 45-0 at half…what?!  Is this the same team that lost to the Broncos last week?  But then again, they beat the Ravens, or are the Ravens really that good?  This is more confusing than…anybody make sense of this?….ok it’s now 52-0

6 – So Favre has helped the Vikings win two games pretty much….well the Ravens helped lose today but I digress…but would he have helped any other team in the NFL this year?  Vikings have AP, and a good defense…

This was more than 5 minutes.  Damn.  My gross grade will suffer for this.

Posted in NFL | 1 Comment »