Saturday, June 25, 2016

2008 NFL Draft Preview:Tight Ends

Fred Davis – USC – Davis was the unanimous selection for the John Mackey Award in 2007 and backed it up with a great performance in the Rose Bowl. Davis finished the year with 62 catches (a USC record for tight ends) for 881 yards and 8 scores. He’s a safe target for the short catches, but can also stretch the field with his above-average speed. Davis is a lock to be a 1st round selection, possibly in the top-15 and will contribute in his rookie season.

Martin Rucker – Missouri – A virtual unknown to the casual college football fan, Rucker is a great prospect at the tight end position. He’s got great size (6’6″, 255 lbs.), an above-average blocker and has even carried the ball, with success, in short-yardage situations for the Tigers in 2007. He had 3+ catches in every ball this year, totaling 84 grabs for 834 yards and 8 scores. Rucker is projecting as a solid 2nd round selection at this point.

Jacob Tamme – Kentucky – Possibly the best blocking tight end in the draft this year, Tamme can also use his body and make the inside catch. His senior year featured 50+ catches, 600+ yards and key touchdown catches against rivals LSU, Florida and Tennessee. Tamme will be off the board in the 2nd or 3rd round.

John Carlson – Notre Dame – The numbers don’t tell the whole story here. After 600+ yards his junior year, Carlson suffered as the Irish offense sputtered most of the season. He has ideal size (6’6″, 255 lbs.) and ended the year with 140 yards and 2 TDs in the final three weeks.

Dustin Keller – Purdue – No tight end helped his draft status more in 2007 than Dustin Keller. After 56 catches his junior year, Keller lit up the Big-10 with 68 catches, 881 yards and 7 TDs. His best performance was his last collegiate game, the Motor City Bowl, that saw Keller collect 7 balls for 150 yards and a score. Keller had 31 catches over the final 5 weeks and will look to improve his 4th-round grade at the combine.

Craig Stevens – California – A pre-season candidate for the Mackey award, Stevens had a sub-par senior campaign statistically. He was a key blocker and drew coverage, opening passing lanes for Nate Longshore and Kevin Riley. Stevens can improve his 5th-round projection at the combine before April’s NFL draft.

Tags:2008 NFL Draft Preview:Tight Ends

2008 Olympics: Standout US Olympic Athletes

It’s amazing that another Olympics is up us. The 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China started August 8th, 2008. There are going to be many sports in which US athletes stand out.

Let’s start with Dara Torres in swimming. Dara Torres has won 9 medals in previous years. Qualifying for her 5th Olympic games at the Olympic trials this year is an inspiration. At 41 years old, she is showing the world that you can still make your dreams come true.

Another standout US Olympic athlete in swimming is Michael Phelps. He has already won 8 Olympic medals in the 2004 Olympics. He is a favorite to win more medals in swimming in the Beijing Olympics and possibly breaking more world records.

Let’s move on to gymnastics.In women’s gymnastics Shawn Johnson is America’s hope to win a gold medal. She has focus, spunk, and skill when she competes. She is a very strong contender. Nastia Liukin is also favored to win a medal. She won last years world title and this year at the Olympic trials she has never looked better.

In men’s gymnastics, Paul Hamm has been the standout athlete for the US to win more medals. With his recent injury to his right hand. The focus may be turned to his twin brother, Morgan Hamm.Morgan, has a strong event in the bars and can be a competitive challenger in the all around. So,we can’t count out Morgan Hamm on winning a medal for the United States at the Olympics in Beijing.

In track and field, Tyson Gay is considered one of the fastest men in the 100-meter dash and the 200-meter dash. He has set a new American record at the 2008 Olympic trials. He ran a record-breaking 9.68 in the Olympic trials final. He truly is the fastest human being to run the 100 meters.

On the women’s side of Track and Field, Allyson Felix is a phenomenon in the 200-meter dash. She won a silver medal in the Athens Olympics. Doing well in the 2008 Olympic trials this year. She is going for the gold medal and she just might get it.

There are many more 2008 Olympics: Standout US Olympic Athletes to watch at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.

Here’s the list:

US Softball Team – Jennie Finch,Jessica Mendoza, Crystl Bustos

US Tennis Athletes – Serena Williams, Venus Williams,Mike and Bob Bryan,James Blake

Women’s Beach Volleyball – Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh are the top ranked in the world.

Men’s Basketball – Dwayne Wade, Lebron James,and Dwight Howard may bring home the gold for the United States.In 2004 they won the bronze medal, but there’s nothing better than winning the gold medal.

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2008 NFL Fantasy Football - 2008 Dallas Cowboys Preview

The Dallas Cowboys have been a great source for NFL fantasy football leagues for several years now. In 2007, the Cowboys held true to form, and provided many viable options to fantasy owners. After a season in which the Cowboys went 13-3 in the regular season, Dallas seems primed to light up the NFL fantasy football scoreboard yet again in 2008. Lets look at how the Cowboys stack up at the key 2008 NFL fantasy football positions.

Quarterback – Tony Romo has secured his position as the leader for America’s Team. While Romo has certainly impressed through his two NFL seasons as quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys, Romo also has fell apart at crunch time for two straight years.

While certainly these late season collapses have not all been on Romo’s shoulders, he certainly has contributed to them. Tony Romo is not the same quarterback in the last month of the NFL season as he is throughout the NFL regular season. This needs to be fixed pronto if he is to step into the 2008 NFL fantasy football quarterbacking elite.

At his best, Tony Romo is as good as it gets in NFL fantasy football at the quarterback position with the exception of Peyton Manning and Tom Brady. Romo is primed for another solid NFL fantasy football season with the Dallas Cowboys. At his worst, Tony Romo is still a solid pick that will give you an occasional headache.

As far as 2008 NFL fantasy football draft value, put Romo behind only Manning and Brady on your draft chart. The 2008 NFL fantasy football season should be a bit of a breakout year for Romo. The Cowboys have all the pieces in place for Tony Romo to succeed and he is entering that magical season three for NFL starting quarterbacks. Look for Romo to take a step into the 2008 NFL fantasy football elite.

Running Backs – Whatever took the Dallas Cowboys so long to allow stud running back Marion Barber to carry the load? After using Barber as a goal line battering ram for most of his time in a Dallas Cowboy uniform, Barber finally got the chance to shine late last season. The result was Julius Jones being sent packing and Barber inheriting the starting spot going into the 2008 NFL football season. It is about time.

Barber has always been a touchdown machine in Dallas, and the Cowboys expect that he will be that and more in 2008. This should mean much better numbers for Marion Barber and 2008 NFL fantasy football teams across the country. With a fantastic nose for the goal line, Barber will be a 2008 NFL fantasy football stud for the Cowboys.

Barber will have some help in the Cowboy backfield for the 2008 NFL football season in the form of two NFL draft picks. Felix Jones is a speed demon out of Arkansas that should be a wonderful change up from Marion Barber and his bruising style. Jones can flat out play, and should make some noise in fantasy football circles in years to come. The other NFL draft pick for the Cowboy’s backfield is Georgia Tech standout Tashard Choice. Choice is a do it all type back that will play prominently in the Dallas backfield as well. Choice slipped in under the radar to a degree and will be much better than expected by Dallas fans.

As far as 2008 NFL fantasy football value, Barber is the only one that rates as a strong buy. Marion should carry the load in big Dallas, and will get his share of touchdowns with this high powered offense. Expect the youngsters Choice and Jones to take a bit of value from Barber, but not enough to keep him out of your fantasy backfield.

Receivers – The Dallas Cowboys no longer start and end with Terrell Owens. Owens is certainly a huge part of the Dallas offense, but this is Tony Romo’s team. Owens should be another 1200 yard season waiting to happen, and will get his touchdowns like usual, but this year may be the year that Dallas receiver Patrick Crayton breaks out big time. Jason Witten will be brilliant as usual in 2008 NFL fantasy football circles.

Rate Owens near the top of your 2008 NFL fantasy football chart for receivers but expect a slight drop from him. Crayton will elevate to the upper middle tier of the chart and is certainly worth a look in the middle NFL fantasy football rounds. Witten is a top tier pick at the tight end position. If you can get him, go for it. All other Cowboy receivers are simply not quite ready to step into the fantasy lineups yet.

Kicker – Second year man Nick Folk made the Pro Bowl last season as a rookie. This year should be even better. With the offense that Dallas puts on the field, Folk is a great kicker to put in your 2008 NFL fantasy football lineup.

Tags:2008 NFL Fantasy Football - 2008 Dallas Cowboys Preview

2008 NFL Draft Preview: Running Backs

Darren McFadden – He’s this year’s Adrian Peterson. Clearly the #1 RB on the board and possibly the #1 pick. The only question is if Miami would take a running back with Ronnie Brown on the roster. He’s fast, strong and can even run a little “wildcat” formation in the NFL.

Jonathan Stewart – A great powerback, tough as nails. Good receiver out of the backfield. As with all college running backs – can he pass protect and understand a complex offensive system? Either way, he’s still a 1st round selection.

Felix Jones – Who knows how much attention Jones would have received this year if McFadden wasn’t his teammate….either way, Jones is electric in the backfield and return game, which will lead to a high grade leading up to the draft. Oh, did I mention he runs a sub 4.4 40?

Rashard Mendenhall – A complete back coming out of the Big-10. Can run between the tackles and take it outside to the house. Was assisted by the spread offense and Juice Williams a little in his statistics, but Mendenhall is a player and should be off the board in the first 35-40 picks in April.

Ray Rice – Rice went from Heisman hopeful earlier in the year, to dropping out of the 1st round of the NFL draft. Rice is under-sized, not exceptionally fast and has been banged and bruised with all of his college carries (seemingly 35+ in every Rutgers game I’ve seen). Anything earlier than mid-late 2nd round for Rice would be a mistake in April.

Mike Hart – Hart is under the radar right now for the draft. He’s be in and out with injuries and Michigan under-achieving this year didn’t help at all. Hart has all the intagibles to succeed in the NFL, but won’t shoot up the charts at the combine. That equals a draft dy bargain for one lucky franchise.

Steve Slaton- If he declares, which most think he will, Slaton will be a poor man’s Felix Jones come April. He doesn’t break a whole lot of tackles, but has all the moves to be a great “change of pace” back on the next level.

Allen Patrick – A good mix of size and speed from a big-time school. A late-2nd round to mid-3rd round selection.

Kevin Smith – The nation’s leading rusher will have to battle the same stigma as Colt Brennan or Josh Johnson, the level of his competition. Running back is a little easier to overcome because running the ball is more straight-forward than reading and throwing against a defense. 2500 yards and 29 TDs are great senior season achievements, but 450 carries will set off some alarms for most NFL GMs, at least in the beginning. Smith is a work-horse and could be a late-1st round, early-2nd round selection by the time the draft comes around.

Ian Johnson – He’s famous for “the play” against Oklahoma last January, but only a mid-round NFL prospect. He’s a great competitor with tremendous drive, which could be a value for a team to reach on Johnson in April.

Tags:2008 NFL Draft Preview: Running Backs

2008 Olympics Personal Stories: a Day in the Life of Michael Phelps

Olympic commentator Bob Costas presented “A day in the life of Michael Phelps,” and reported on the swimmer’s prodigious appetite. Ladies, you are going to HATE this man when you hear what he eats, and just can’t seem to gain weight!

Since the Athens Olympics, Michael Phelps’ life has been fairly simple: eat, sleep and swim.

He spends over five hours a day in the pool, swimming hundreds of laps. At 6’4″, he does not even weigh 200 pounds, and has been told that he should be eating between 8,000 and 10,00 calories a day! That’s equal to what a normal family of four would eat. Phelps says he just tries to cram whatever he can into his body and “whatever I feel like eating, I’m gonna eat.”

Here’s what he has for breakfast, according to his autobiography: “3 sandwiches of fried eggs, cheese, lettuce and tomato, fried onions and mayo, add one omelet, a bowl of grits, three slices of French toast with powdered sugar, then wash down with three chocolate chip pancakes.”

Phelps states that when he is not in the pool, he is lazy, and just wants to sit on the couch and watch TV. He’s a normal 23-year-old, and loves his dog, video games and going out to eat, since he says he just doesn’t cook. Good thing, too, because I don’t think there’s a kitchen that could accommodate him!

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2008 Olympics: Nastia Liukin Wins Gold for U.S. In Women's Gymnastic All-Around

The Bejing Olympic gymnastics All-Around competition finally played out like it was supposed to for the women on Thursday. Nastia Liukin came through on her balance beam and floor exercise routines to claim the Gold medal over Shawn Johnson by a mere .60 point margin.

Nastia Liukin and Shawn Johnson have been the talk of the press since the World Championships where Shawn Johnson showed exactly what she is capable of doing. Becoming the young new champion. Nastia has been the favorite to win the 2008 Olympic All-Around since the 2004 games. Today she fulfilled the dream she and her Olympic champion father, Valeri Liukin, set out to do when she was a toddler.

The drama was plentiful from the start, though the worst was the waiting while the judges often had to reach for the dreaded cell phone to ask a higher judge for a rule clarification. Here is an idea, lets put the highest judges right at the judging table to make all of the decisions. Of course the controversy of last year’s men’s finals, with the Gold medal being mistakenly awarded to the USA (it should have gone to Korea, but there was an error in the start value of his routine) has brought on the carefulness during the Bejing games.

The Chinese gymnast, Jiang Yuyan, took herself out of the competition almost immediately with a vault that landed with her sitting squarely on the mat. In the All-Around competition it is almost impossible to come back from a score below a 15, Jiang Yuyan scored a 14.825.

The surprise for China was Yang Yilin, who stepped up her performance to bring home the Bronze for the home team. The controversy for Yang came on the vault where she somehow outscored a near perfect Nastia Liukin for the lead.

Shawn Johnson delivered the same solid performance on the balance beam as she did in the World Championships. She earned a 16.050, her fist score above a 16.00 in the Bejing games. Shawn followed the beam routine with a strong floor routine, but it did not have a high enough start value to overtake the lead Liukin had established. Shawn Johnson showed her ever present grin and no signs of disappointment at all, as well she should be proud.

The women Olympic gymnast have another day of competition and both Shawn Johnson and Nastia Liukin will be competing. Johnson and Liukin will both compete in floor exercise and beam, with Liukin also qualifying in uneven bars.

Tags:2008 Olympics: Nastia Liukin Wins Gold for U.S. In Women’s Gymnastic All-Around

2008 Olympics Personal Stories: American Beach Volleyball Player Loses Wedding Ring During Match

Americans Kerri Walsh and her partner Misty May-Treanor, won the opening beach volleyball match against Japan on Saturday. But in her quest for a gold medal, Kerri lost her most important gold when her wedding flew off while she made a block during the match.

Fortunately for her, the slow-motion camera was able to pinpoint where the ring fell, and after the match a team of volunteers and venue personnel set out onto the 17,000 tons of sand with tools and a metal detector to look for the ring.

Volunteer Song Zhendong found the ring and returned it to Kerri on Monday morning and she rewarded him with a batch of Olympic pins, an autographed visor and a “customary beach volleyball love pat” on his derriere. A visibly bemused Song gave the victory sign and went away smiling.

Kerri commented that “My husband will stay married to me now.” (Well, maybe not, my Italian husband said, if she keeps slapping strange men on the butt!)

Something tells me Kerri won’t be wearing her ring in any more volleyball matches.

Tags:2008 Olympics Personal Stories: American Beach Volleyball Player Loses Wedding Ring During Match

2008 Playoffs in the Picture for Philadelphia Eagles?

The Philadelphia Eagles know what it’s like to compete in big games, and a huge away victory over the division leading New York Giants last Sunday may have given them the momentum they need to hunt down an NFC wildcard spot.

Many fans, however, are skeptical: “They do this every year. They play well in the big games but can’t win against bad teams like the Bengals,” who the Eagles tied in week 11. This attitude is unsurprising.

The Eagles have seen the postseason six times since 2000 with McNabb at the helm, and have only one Super Bowl appearance in 2004 to show for it, resulting in a loss to the Patriots.

And despite the Eagles victory last Sunday, the Giants have already clinched the NFC East securing their playoff spot as division leaders, leaving the Eagles in a tough Wildcard race. With Cleveland, Washington, and Dallas remaining on their schedule, the Eagles have a difficult road ahead.

And then there is the tie leaving the Eagles (7-5-1) with one fewer loss than the Redskins (7-6), placing them third in the division behind the Giants (11-2) and the Cowboys (8-5). The tie essentially acts like an extra bye week without the day off.

“They must win all of the rest of their games and hope the Cowboys and Falcons lose,” says one fan, “and I’m not too hopeful they can do that.” But this is a familiar situation for the Eagles; in four of their last six postseason appearances, they’ve turned around lackluster seasons in the final few games.

“They always seem to hit their stride at the end of the season. It makes for exciting games so I’m not complaining, but it’d be nice to see them win the Super Bowl,” says one fan.

The Eagles play Monday night against an injury plagued Cleveland Browns offense, a game that looks to be the easiest remaining. A win would push their streak to 3 games, tying their longest streak of the season, and may be just what the Eagles need to keep their playoff hopes alive as they face Washington and Dallas to finish off the regular season.

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2008 Presidential Campaign Platforms: How Managed Health Care Issues Impact Us All

With the 2008 elections in full swing, several presidential candidates are proposal changes in the way our country looks at healthcare. With universal healthcare as a priority issue for many voters, the presidential candidates are hoping to not only entice the voters with their pledges to end the Iraq war, but also to ensure every American has access to health coverage.

At present, in the United States, there is a growing concern over the mismanagement of managed care programs, such as HMOs. Because those insured under managed care programs often report complications associated with access to healthcare, there are many American voters who will vow to only vote for the candidate who can bring a major impact to healthcare reform.

So, why is our current health care system not working? For managed healthcare plans, such as HMOs, statistics have reported they have an overwhelming imbalance of profits, from premiums, versus claim payments. In fact, with managed care, very little is paid in terms of claims as doctors, hospitals and other “in-network” health providers are paid a flat monthly fee for all patients enrolled, and assigned, to their care. For this reason, there isn’t much incentive for a healthcare provider to make the appropriate referrals to specialists and outside care facilities as this would result in dollars lost to clinic or physician.

When considering a managed care plan, there are several factors you should consider before choosing which plan is right for your family. It is important to first remember that the sales person, employed by the managed care plan, is there to promote a product they feel is best. In many cases, it may be necessary to shop around and find the plan that is right for your family. Check with your state insurance board as, oftentimes, they can supply a history of complaints and lawsuits that have been filed against the particular managed care plans you are considering.

In addition to investigating the plan’s history and credibility, it is important to also take a look at the managed care plan’s list of preferred providers. While many potential insureds look at the list to confirm their primary care physician is contracted, we often fail to look at the list to confirm certain physicians are present in specialty areas, i.e. gynecologist, obstetrician or ophthalmology.

In addition to managed healthcare plans, many companies are now turning to managed dental care plans as well. While these plans are not quite as popular, they are being offered in many employment settings as a way to cut costs. Again, before selecting a managed dental care plan, investigate the reputation of the company and contact the dental provider to determine the length of time you can expect to wait before an appointment becomes available for services.

With nearly 85 percent of the adult population currently insured by managed care plans, there continues to be a growing health care crisis in the United States, especially when these figures are coupled with the millions of Americans who continue to be uninsured. While managed healthcare is better than no healthcare at all, it is important to know what you are purchasing and make the best healthcare decision for your family.

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2008 People's Choice Awards Goes on in Spite of the Writer's Strike

The 2008 People’s Choice Awards went on air without celebrities, without music or entertainment, and without writers. Unfortunately, that also meant that it didn’t make much of a splash, even with the incomparable Queen Latifah at the helm.

Although few comedians could have carried a two-hour show without any kind of backup, even the Queen couldn’t keep this show from suffering a severe case of the blahs. Still, decisions were made and most of the awards were given out with videotape acceptance speeches:

MUSIC CATEGORIES:

The following songs were nominated for Favorite R & B song:Beautiful Liars by Beyonce and Shakira; Because of You by Neo; and Shut Up and Drive by Rihanna. The award went to Rihanna for Shut Up and Drive.

Daughtry, Maroon 5, and Rascal Flats competed for Favorite Group with Rascal Flats winning both that award as well as the award for Favorite Country Song – Stand.

Favorite Rock Song nominees were Hey There Delilah (Plain White T’s), Home (Daughtry), and Makes Me Wonder (Maroon 5). Daughtry took home this year’s prize.

The nominees for Favorite Hip-Hop Song were Give it to Me (Timberland), Party Like a Rock Star (Shop Boyz), and Stronger (Kanye West). Timberland took home the award for Give it to Me.

The nominees for Favorite Song From a Sound Track were Read my Mind (The Killers from Friday Night Lights), What I’ve Done (Lincoln Park from Transformers), and You Can’t Stop the Beat (Cast of Hairspray from Hairspray). You Can’t Stop The Beat won the award.

The following song related awards were given out without nominees being announced or formal acceptance speeches being made:

Favorite Male Pop Star – Justin Timberlake.

Favorite Pop Song“What Goes Around Comes Around” by Justin Timberlake.

Favorite Female Pop Star – Gwen Stefani.

FILM CATEGORIES:

Nominees for Favorite Leading Lady included Jessica Alba (Good Luck Chuck), Drew Barrymore (Music and Lyrics), and Queen Latifah (Hairspray). The people voted and Drew Barrymore took home the award.

Nominees for Favorite Leading Man included Jamie Fox (The Kingdom), Duane “The Rock” Johnson (Game Plan), and Joaquin Phoenix (We Own the Night) with the award going to Joaquin Phoenix.

The nominees for Favorite Male Movie Funnyman included Will Ferrell (Blades of Glory), Adam Sandler (I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry), and Robin Williams (License to Wed). Robin Williams beat out his humorous colleagues for this year’s award.

The nominees for Favorite Female Movie Star included Halle Berry (Perfect Stranger), Sandra Bullock (Premonition), and Reese Witherspoon (Rendition) with Reese taking home the prestigious prize.

The nominations for Favorite Independent Film included Becoming Jane, A Mighty Heart, and Sicko. Becoming Jane won the 2008 People’s Choice Award for Favorite Independent Film.

Knocked Up, The Simpson’s Movie, and Wild Hogs were nominated for Favorite Movie Comedy with Knocked Up taking home the 2008 People’s Choice Award.

The nominees for Favorite Movie Drama included Disturbia, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, and Premonition. As would be expected, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix took home the prestigious award.

The following movie related awards were given out without nominees being announced or formal acceptance speeches being made:

Favorite Movie Sequel and Favorite Action Motion Picture – Pirates of the Caribbean: At Land’s End.

Favorite Male Movie Action Star – Johnny Depp(Pirates of the Caribbean: At Land’s End).

Favorite Female Movie Action Star – Keira Knightley(Pirates of the Caribbean: At Land’s End).

Favorite Family Movie – Shrek the Third.

Favorite On Screen Matchup – George Clooney and Brad Pitt(Ocean’s Thirteen).

TELEVISION CATEGORIES:

Nominees for Favorite Competition Reality Show included American Idol, Dancing with the Stars, and Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. The People’s Choice award went to perennial favorite but first time winner – – Dancing with the Stars.

Nominees for Favorite Talk Show Host were Ellen DeGeneres, Jay Leno, and Oprah Winfrey. Ellen DeGeneres took home both this award as well as the award for Funniest Female Leading Lady.

Sally Field (Brothers and Sisters), Jennifer Love Hewitt (Ghost Whisperer), and Katherine Heigl (Grey’s Anatomy) were nominated as the Favorite Female Television Star. Katherine Heigl took home the 2008 trophy.

Television’s Favorite Scene Stealing Star nominees included Richard Belzer (Law & Order: Special Victim’s Unit), Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother), and Chandra Wilson (Grey’s Anatomy).

In a new category – – Favorite Game Show, nominees included Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader, Deal or No Deal, and Jeopardy.Deal or No Deal took home the 2008 award.

The nominees for Favorite Male TV Star were Patrick Dempsey (Grey’s Anatomy), Charlie Sheen (Two and a Half Men), and Keifer Sutherland (24). Patrick Dempsey took home the award for the second year in a row.

The nominees for Favorite TV Comedy were King of Queens, My Name is Earl, and Two and a Half Men. Two and a Half Men took home the award for the second year in a row.

The nominees for Favorite New TV Comedy included Chuck, Pushing Daisies, and Samantha Who with Samantha Who taking home the People’s Choice Award.

Gossip Girl, Moonlight, and Private Practice were all nominated for Favorite New Television Drama with the little show that could – – Moonlight – – taking home the top prize; proving once and for all that vampires are definitely sexy.

The following television awards were made without releasing the names of the other nominees and without formal acceptance speeches:

Favorite Sci-Fi Series – Stargate Atlantis.

That’s a wrap for this year’s People’s Choice Awards. Let’s hope that next year will be more eventful.

Tags:2008 People’s Choice Awards Goes on in Spite of the Writer’s Strike

2008 Real Estate Market Will Make the 2007 Market Look like Walk in the Park

According to America’s Watchdog (AW), the National Association of Realtors recently said that home prices will gradually start to increase in 2008. But in a Dec. 16 press release, AW emphatically asserts such optimism is just “another lie from a desperate trade group willing to say anything to improve sales for starving real estate agents.” Further, AW says, home valuations nationwide will decrease yet another 10 percent in 2008; in some markets like Southern California, there will be 15 percent decreases.

AW’s predictions are nothing new. The group and its National Mortgage Complaint Center have been warning of pending disaster in the real estate market for a couple of years, recently going so far as to say that the 2008 real estate market will make the 2007 market look like a “walk in the park.”

Few, if any, would argue that the real estate market is in crisis, and most lay the blame on sub-prime mortgages and predatory lenders. But AW says the crisis is more about banks, mortgage lenders and home builders inflating the values of homes than it is about sub-prime loans. No doubt home buyers are responsible for buying over their heads and falling for exotic loan offers and great sales pitches. However, according to AW, the greed of builders, banks and mortgage companies is the power that drove the real estate market to where it is today.

AW says that between 2002 and 2006, builders, bankers and mortgage companies were doing everything possible to get home values inflated, including telling real estate appraisers to either “come up with inflated values, or we will find someone else who will.” Once the appraisals were met, bankers and mortgage lenders sold consumers a bill of goods, claiming they could take advantage of “instant real estate equity” in their new purchase. What consumers didn’t realize was that their real estate really had no equity. In fact, consumers who bought new homes after 2003 possibly paid as much as 20 percent more than the house was actually worth.

AW goes on to explain: “What we find astonishing is the wizards on Wall Street dismissing the seriousness of the real estate/economic issues now facing the U.S. It’s not sub-prime; its value. If the 15 million U.S. homeowners elect to walk away, because they figure out its better than paying on an upside down mortgage that cannot be refinanced, a deep recession is assured and we are not sure how you dig it out of it. Big banks and mortgage lenders were pushing artificial valuations. So were the top 20 home builders. Pushing values happened long before sub-prime; it started back in 2002. The Fed cannot fix this, even if they lower rates to zero. Valuations will first have to arrive at the real world, before that happens. In the meantime pension funds and others are going to have to start wondering who will be able to pick up the bar tab, after all the greed related to the non-stop real estate happy hour that actually ended a couple of years ago. We don’t think even the federal government will be able to pay it.”

So what are some things consumers and homeowners should consider?

If looking to buy, don’t fall for exotic mortgage loan terms like “no points, no fees.” These are little more than gimmicks that can lead to higher monthly payments because of undisclosed kick backs to the bank or what’s called a yield spread premium.

If you don’t have to buy in 2008, don’t. If AW’s predictions for 2008 are accurate, it makes no sense to buy a house in January 2008 that could be worth 10 to 15 percent less by the end of the year.

If you have a pay option adjustable rate mortgage and cannot get your bank to give you a fixed rate mortgage without any catches, AW says you may be better off to simply walk away the home if you cannot make the payments.

If you have a home to sell, give serious consideration to renting it until the housing market recovers. AW estimates recovery will start around 2010 to 2011.

Source:

Press release, “Americas Watchdog Calls Federal Reserve & Bush Administration’s Attempts to Fix US Real Estate Market Disaster Too Little and Too Late; http://ift.tt/2980ONi

Tags:2008 Real Estate Market Will Make the 2007 Market Look like Walk in the Park

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