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FIFA Scandal

Every blog in America and the rest of the world right now is saying the exact same thing I am saying.

Is anyone surprised?

This is not new. The topic of FIFA’s corruption was address by Last Week Tonight with John Oliver back on 6/8/2014. Anyone who remotely pays attention to soccer knows how bad it is. However, back to John Oliver, I highly recommend you find that episode and watch it. He is hilarious and he gets it exactly right.

Here is the gist of what happened. Swiss authorities raided the FIFA headquarters in Zurich and the Baur au Lac Hotel in Switzerland. At the same time, in Miami, the FBI and IRS raided the headquarters for CONCACAF – they preside over North America, Central America, and the Caribbean.

Some of my favorite things that I have read is “nine current or former FIFA officials face extradition to the U.S. after a 24-year probe into soccer corruption.”

What? 24 years!

Who takes that long to lead an investigation of an entity as corrupt as FIFA?

Absurd.

There are lots of absurd things, like awarding Qatar the FIFA World Cup.

Not shockingly, sponsors are questioning whether or not to stay involved with FIFA after this scandal. In my opinion,  shame on them for sponsoring them in the first place. The reality is neither Coca-Cola or Adidas have actually pulled out yet.

Shame on them for not pulling out despite the racketeering corruption, but more so for the death toll involved with FIFA to begin with. FIFA placed the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, a location that has nothing at all in place for the event and needs to build it all from scratch. This is being done essentially with slave labor brought in from other countries because Qatar does not have workers. It is stated that 1 Nepalese worker dies every 2 days. There is an expected death toll of 4,000 migrant workers before the 2022 event. I mean, does that even compute to people? These workers will DIE building a stadium for FIFA. FIFA should not let a country win hosting responsibilities if it means that to hold the event, 4,000 people will die in the prospective host country. Who does that?

So shame on corporations who would want to sponsor this sort of thing.

I should also note that the Qatari officials would not release the Nepalese workers to go home after the earthquake because of the pressure to complete the project (building the FIFA stadiums) on time.

If you are not aware how the migrant workers are being handled and what arrangement that have with Qatar, it is as follows. Migrant workers sign up to work in the country and are sponsored by a company. The company has to provide the workers with an exit permit to leave the country. So what happens is these workers don’t get all of their pay, very little of it is paid in advance so that they can send it to their families, and there can be no complaints — because the workers will then never be able to leave again. Workers can’t switch jobs, because, again, it is the company that sponsors them. These migrant workers have very little power so they are forced to work in conditions that are horrifying, and, thus, why so many are dying.

Now, do you understand why the companies wouldn’t let their workers go home to grieve their families in Nepal? That’s because they know the workers will probably never come back.

This scandal is huge. Well, I don’t know if it is a scandal, because everyone knew it was going on. Perhaps we should call a spade a spade.

This is finally someone giving a shit and doing something about it.

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Gay marriage to be legal in The Republic of Ireland

Congrats!Wow! This is huge! One of the most Catholic countries in the world, The Republic of Ireland, has seemingly changed their constitution to allow same-sex marriage.

What a gigantic win for LGBTQ rights! I couldn’t be more thrilled. This is how it happens, one step at a time. Of course, for those of us that want equal rights for the LGBTQ community, these changes can’t happen fast enough, but I for one am thrilled that this has happened.

I think what is so surprising about it is the religious aspect to this win. 84% of The Republic of Ireland is Catholic. Here in America, the largest group of people against legalizing gay marriage are the religious. For such a strong, Catholic country as Ireland to approve gay marriage is impressive. I truly hope it helps lead the way for more legalization here in America.

Everyone deserves to love whomever they want and to be loved by whomever. Love is so precious, it should be celebrated when anyone has the chance to find it.

Congratulations for the win LGBTQ community!

Go For Two: NFL Week 17 Games To Watch

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I’d like to see some of this Sunday

Despite it being my team, really, the game of the week is the Lions at the Packers. It has huge implications, which I will get into below.

The NFL picked the Bengals at Steelers to be the game of the week and flexed it to the Sunday Night Football spot on NBC. This game, too, has similar implications — winning the division title. However, unlike the Lions/Packers game, it is a lot harder for the Bengals to get a first round bye. The Lions/Packers game has much more significance because the winner will get a first round bye. Plus, in the entire NFL, home field means more for the Hawks and the Packers than it does for any other team. No one wants to go through Seattle or Green Bay. Green Bay won every single game at home this year.

Lions at Packers 4:25PM EST: Holy crap, this is for all the marbles. Lions versus Packers for the second seed and NFC North champs. This is huge for the Lions (I don’t care, Go Pack!). The Lions have not won the division in 21 years. Does that even compute? Twenty-one years. The Lions haven’t even won in Wisconsin since 1991. What? How is that even possible? Man, tough break, Lions.

An even tougher break is losing your center, Raiola, because your team is a bunch of idiots. Honestly, why even stomp on the guy’s leg? What does that prove? How does that serve your team? You were playing the Bears, come on! However, to me, that wasn’t even the worst. The helmet-to-helmet by Detroit Lions defensive end Ansah to Jimmy Clausen was too much. Ansah clearly is leading with his helmet, plus, his hands and arms aren’t even in the equation. It was a kill shot.

One of the reasons I don’t like the Lions is because they are dirty, dirty players. People don’t want to root for your team because no one likes a bully. I thought Jim Caldwell had stopped this narrative from taking place. Apparently, not. I’d love to see what kind of facial reaction he had in regards to the suspension of Raiola. Does Caldwell even have an expression outside of no expression? I’m not even sure why he has a headset on during the games. He barely talks into the damn thing.

The complete opposite of the Lions, personality wise, are the Green Bay Packers. Everyone likes Aaron Rodgers. He’s competitive, but not a jerk. Jordy Nelson? A farmer from Kansas. He shakes hands with his team after he gets a touchdown. Eddie Lacy? Buys his parents a house after hurricane Katrina. Ah, that’s why the Packers are one of the most-liked teams in the NFL. Sorry, Cowboys, you are not America’s team anymore. The difference between the Cowboys and other teams is this. If you are not a Chiefs fan, you don’t hate the Chiefs. As for the Cowboys, if you aren’t a fan, you hate them. To reiterate, I’m not a Raiders fan … but I don’t hate them. I HATE the Cowboys. Someone should do a stat on that. (Proof can be found in the latest out of Dallas. Dallas is pushing for Romo to be the MVP. Cowboys, THAT’S WHY WE HATE YOU!)

I’m just making the case for our win based on a popularity contest. Look, I don’t care how we get the win, I just want the win.

Panthers at Falcons 4:25PM EST: Despite these two teams being sub par, there is nothing like win and you’re in. I would put this game above others. I mean, (shrug), the Bengals are in. I don’t really care if they move around in seeding. Seeding, to me, doesn’t seem as important in the AFC. Yet, win or go home, now that has HUGE implications! As long as you can make it in, you always have a chance. Look at that happened for Green Bay in 2010? They made it in as a wild card and then went on to win the Super Bowl. That’s why this game is so important! The most critical thing is just getting in. I certainly wouldn’t rule out the Falcons being able to squeak a win out in the playoffs if they get in. The Cardinals with their 3rd string QB are now beatable. The Cowboys? I’m not sold on them. They are beatable.

I’m rooting for the Falcons. I like Julio Jones. I like Fitzgerald. I like Matt Ryan, but, apparently, who doesn’t?

RefereeSlapsMattRyanButt-2

Good lucks Falcons.

Other important games are the Chargers at the Chiefs, and the Browns at the Ravens. For a more detailed account of what it will take for the Chargers or Ravens to get into the playoffs click this NFL.com link. It makes my head hurt, so thanks NFL for doing it for me.

~Madeline Fresco is a novelist who lives in San Diego. She is the author of CROSSED THE LINE, available for Kindle at Amazon.com, for Nook at Barnes & Noble, and as an ePub at other eBook retailers. You can also listen to her novel as a free, serialized audiobook at madelinefresco.com. Her second book THE CHOICE, is available on Kindle at Amazon. Her third book ANGUISH, is available for Kindle at Amazon.com

Go For Two: NFL Week 16 Games To Watch – Packers addition

Look. I’m not gonna lie to you. Losing last week sucked. It sucked so bad. We lost in every phase of the game. We lost spectacularly. A safety on the last drive of the game was the cherry on top.

It was a team loss. Aaron Rodgers made some pretty awful throws. Aaron was lucky he came out of that one with only 2 interceptions, there could have been at least 2 more on top of that. Receivers, I’m looking at you Davante Adams, didn’t even turn around for some of the passes. Jordy Nelson dropped one, which, that will happen, but it stings because it was such a big play. Just lay off Jordy you all. Special teams allowed a return for a TD and a blocked kick. Oh, and then there is my favorite defensive coordinator, Dom Capers. I want everyone who keeps trying to say the defense held the Bills to field goals to STFU. Oh, yay! The Bills didn’t get a touchdown. Yeah, well, you allowed four, FOUR field goals. There is nothing awesome-o about allowing four field goals. I’m not entirely sure who to blame for the safety. All I know is I’m sitting there like, put the whole game behind you, guys. It’s okay. We just need one touchdown — we can do this. Remember Miami. And …. plop, the ball is on the ground, in the end zone. Safety.

Wow.

There is a scenario where we do not make the playoffs. You gotta be kidding me.

That’s why, this week, the NFL Week 16 Games To Watch is a Packers addition. I know, I know — pretty selfish of me, but these are selfish times, thanks to our biting loss to Kyle Orton and my second least favorite defensive coordinator, Jim Schwartz. I hated seeing Jim Schwartz on the sidelines as the Bills defensive coordinator. It is entirely possible to just hate looking at someone’s face.

Philadelphia at Washington (Saturday 4:30PM EST): As a Packers fan, we need the Eagles to lose to Washington. That’s not necessarily off the table. The last time these two teams met, Washington only lost by 3. Kirk Cousins. He made 30 out of 48 passes and gained a total of 427 yards. My Michigan State alumni had three touchdowns and one interception. As we all know, Cousins tanked after that, but all I am saying, is it is in the realm of possibilities. So make it happen.

Lions at Bears (Sunday 1:00PM EST): Okay. We all saw MNF (more or less … okay, less. I only watched two plays and baby Cutlet got sacked two times in a row). This is a bit of a stretch; Bears need to win. However, if the Bears couldn’t turn it on for MNF after all the news came out about the internal team backstabbing, then I don’t know that they can. The Lions are the number 2 seed. They are going to turn it on. I’m hoping they get really big heads, think they have the game locked up, and a miracle happens. Maybe they all get a little chilly at the Bears stadium. Maybe Angelina Jolie visits Detroit and gives the team chickenpox? Look, I don’t want anyone seriously ill or anything, but maybe a catering company can cause the team to have food poisoning? Honestly, I’m desperate. I don’t see the football Gods sending a “W” on the wings of a dove down to Soldier Field. But I wish they would.

Colts at Cowboys (Sunday 4:25PM EST): Colts need to win. I don’t want our chances of going into the playoffs based on some random tie-breaking rule. Cowboys and Pack did not play a head to head game. The next rule is best record in conference. It may actually come down to best record in common games, the 3rd tie-breaking rule for the wild card. That is so sketchy, I don’t like it. Good luck, Luck. I root for the caveman on Sunday.

Seahawks at Cardinals (Sunday 8:30PM EST): This would be the game of the week for everyone watching football week 16. In particular, for the Packers, we need the Seahawks to lose. Anyone that is in playoff contention needs to lose. It will help with home-field advantage as well. Seahawks can taste home-field advantage. Everyone in the NFC playoff race does not want Seattle to get home field. It’s in everyone’s best interest if Seattle loses this game.

Of note, if the Cardinals win this game, it very well may happen that the Cards go to the Super Bowl at home. I’m not sure this happens with the 3rd string quarterback Lindley. The good news is, Stanton may be back in time for the playoffs. Which, at the beginning of the season, who would have thought having Drew Stanton as your quarterback in the Super Bowl would be a good thing?

Side note, yes. The Packers need to beat Tampa Bay on Sunday. I sure-as-shit hope that happens, cause if it didn’t …

~Madeline Fresco is a novelist who lives in San Diego. She is the author of CROSSED THE LINE, available for Kindle at Amazon.com, for Nook at Barnes & Noble, and as an ePub at other eBook retailers. You can also listen to her novel as a free, serialized audiobook at madelinefresco.com. Her second book THE CHOICE, is available on Kindle at Amazon. Her third book ANGUISH, is available for Kindle at Amazon.com

Go For Two: Week 15

What the hell, man? Week 15! The season is almost over! No!!!!!!!!!!

Thankfully the next three weeks should be fantastic.

These are the NFL Week 15 games to watch …

Dolphins (7-6, 9th seed) at Patriots (10-3, 1st seed): I thought this would be a game of the week, and while I would very much enjoy watching it, when I researched playoff rankings, the Dolphins are currently the 9th seed. I’m not so sure they make it into the spectacular this year. So, if I am simply picking games based on playoff race, this puppy doesn’t make it into week 15 games to watch. That makes me sad and that’s why I am not erasing this as a slot in the game of the week. Love you Tannehill.

Broncos (10-3, 2nd seed) at Chargers (8-5, 6th seed): Everyone needs to stop with the Peyton is showing is age just because he didn’t throw a touchdown pass. You know what, I take that back, he is showing his age, through maturity. He wants to win. If a rushing TD gets him that win, that’s all he cares about. Dan Marino was the best of the best, never won a Super Bowl. Peyton wants the Super Bowl.

As for this game, the Chargers are barely holding onto that 6th seed. The Chargers will not take the AFC West division champs from the Broncos, so the Chargers really need to win this game by hook-or-by-crook to keep their wild card hopes alive. The Chargers, Steelers, Ravens are all 8-5. The Steelers (8-5, 5th seed), may or may not beat the Falcons, the Bengals (8-4-1, 4th seed) may or may not beat the Browns, but the Ravens (8-5, 7th seed) are going to beat the Jaguars. The Chargers still have the Niners (7-6) and the Chiefs (7-6, 10th seed) yet to go. The Chargers may be waiving bye-bye to their playoff hopes based on strength of schedule. Ravens have the Texans and the Browns left and the Steelers have Chiefs and Bengals. Ravens have the easiest schedule. Look for some movement over the next few weeks that does not bode well for the Chargers.

Niners (7-6, 8th seed) at Hawks (9-4, 5th seed): This will be such a good game. I hate the Niners, and I will love watching them implode during this game. I have never seen a bigger bunch of cry babies in the league — fans and players included. The Niners should move over to the English Premier League where whining, flopping, and throwing your arms up in the air over the littlest infraction is common place. It’s fine in soccer, it’s been like that forever. That’s not how you conduct yourself in the National Football League. Look at the Rams. People love the Rams because while they will not win the division or go to the playoffs, they conduct themselves with pride. The Vikings play every game with pride. Good for them and their fans. Niners fans are burning their Kaepernick jerseys. You know what? I bet the Niners of the past are glad that Candlestick closed. This new generation doesn’t deserve to be associated with the glory of the past.

Cowboys (9-4, 7th seed) at Eagles (9-4, 3rd seed): This is the game of the week. Eagles (3rd seed), Hawks (5th seed), Lions (6th seed), and Cowboys (7th seed) all have a 9-5 record. That makes this game between division rivals that much more important and to a lot of teams. Clearly, the wild card is hotly contested which makes winning the division that much more crucial.

These two teams are pretty evenly matched, statistically speaking, save for passing. The Eagles come in at 8th and outrank the 18th overall Cowboys. However, some of those stats are due to Foles, and not Mark Sanchez. Cowboys already lost to Philadelphia at home and this game will be in Philly. I have no idea how Tony Romo’s back is holding up, but I can’t expect well. I’m sure in years to come he will be complaining of mind-numbing pain all over his body and will realize that it wasn’t worth it at all. Some young punk will come on the Cowboys roster and Jerry Jones will be like “Tony who?” It’s the sad state of affairs in the league, well, any profession. There is always someone there to take your place.

Just like someone very well may take the Eagles place as the 3rd seed.

~Madeline Fresco is a novelist who lives in San Diego. She is the author of CROSSED THE LINE, available for Kindle at Amazon.com, for Nook at Barnes & Noble, and as an ePub at other eBook retailers. You can also listen to her novel as a free, serialized audiobook at madelinefresco.com. Her second book THE CHOICE, is available on Kindle at Amazon. Her third book ANGUISH, is available for Kindle at <a class=”skimlinks-unlinked” title=””

Go For Two: NFL Week 13 Games To Watch

The longest yard. (40 yards on a one-yard TD pass)

Here are the week 13 games to watch.

Seattle (7-4) at San Francisco (7-4) Thursday 8:30PM EST: Whoa. This is a HUGE game. Like, super-duper, out-of-control, don’t turn the dial HUGE. It has massive implications not just for the NFC West, but the rest of the NFC, well, save for the NFC South. The NFC South is just utter shit. The Lions, Packers, Seahawks, Niners, Cowboys and Eagles are all in the playoff race and those 2 wildcard spots are going to be really, really tough to get this year.

San Francisco has squeaked out some very close wins, games in my opinion, they did not deserve to win. Jim Harbaugh and company barely beat the Giants when Eli threw 5 interceptions. Then, the Niners barely beat Washington (17-13). This is not an impressive team. However, with wins comes a grace period. They have the ability to turn it around and get more definitive wins. Now is the time to start doing that as the Niners will face Seattle again December 14th.

This game is at home. If the Niners want to split the series, this is their best shot.

Niners may not be able to rely heavily on Frank Gore as Seattle only allows 88.4 rushing yards per game. Seattle is number 6 overall in rush defense. That means the Niners may be forced to pass more with Kaepernick. Kaepernick got a little lippy this week stating he will pass to whomever he wants.

Um, okay.

Sherman had his most favorite rant when Kaepernick last threw to “whoever’s open”.

Sherman said “When you try me with a sorry receiver like Crabtree, that’s the result you’re going to get. Don’t you ever talk about me.”

Good stuff.

Seattle needs to be careful of the sudden explosive play of the Niners. Even when the Niners look done for, they are not, like the game against the Saints. 1:34 left in the 4th quarter, 4th and 10, and Kaepernick saves the game, if not the season, with a 51 yard play to Crabtree.

This game will decide playoffs. Expect an insane level of play from both these teams.

Too cute

Patriots (9-2) at Packers (8-3) Sunday 4:25PM EST: The Patriots versus the Lions game told us a lot about the Patriots. The Lions had the best interior line in football and Brady still had 4-5 seconds to throw the ball. When Brady has that much time to throw the ball, someone is going to get open. In fact, there were times during that game when receivers were not covered at all. The receivers know their routes and execute them well. The Pats offense has really gelled in the last few weeks. It is very hard to defend against a perfectly timed comeback route. The attack of the Patriots is the short passing game. They move the chains and take time off the clock — keys to beating the Packers by keeping Aaron off the field.

Even cuter

Even cuter

If that isn’t scary enough, the Pats can also chew up Aaron’s time on the field with their run game. Blount had 2 TD’s against the Lions and 78 yards.  The week before, Jonas Gray rushed for 199 yards and had four touchdowns. The Patriots BENCHED HIM against the Lions because he was late to practice. Who benches a guy with that kind of production? The mother-fing Patriots do.

Yes, the Packers have an amazing offense and can totally handle this game. They just have to be on the field to do that.

That puts the game on our defense.

Oh, yeah. Crap.

Broncos (8-3) at Kansas City (7-4) Sunday 8:30PM EST: Broncos are only slightly favored for this AFC divisional game. However, let’s not forget that the Broncos are still 8-3 and have Peyton at the helm. With a gun to your head, who do you pick Alex Smith over Peyton Manning. Never in the history of the world would that happen.

Yes, the quarterback is not the entire team, so it’s a different scenario when one tries to pick the winner of this game.

Denver has wavered in their run defense, allowing 228 yards on 54 carries. That bodes well for Kansas City running back Jamaal Charles. With Denver’s number one weapon Julius Thomas perhaps still sidelined with an ankle injury, Denver could also struggle on the offensive side of the ball.

This game will give us NFC fans a chance to look at an important AFC match up. Should be a good game all around.

SI cover don’t jinx us!

 

~Madeline Fresco is a novelist who lives in San Francisco. She is the author of CROSSED THE LINE, available for Kindle at Amazon.com, for Nook at Barnes & Noble, and as an ePub at other eBook retailers. You can also listen to her novel as a free, serialized audiobook at madelinefresco.com. Her second book THE CHOICE, is available on Kindle at Amazon. Her third book ANGUISH, is available for Kindle at Amazon.com

Go For Two: NFL Week 12 Games To Watch

NFL Week 12 games of the week.

Dolphins (6-4) at Broncos (7-3): This is an interesting game because Miami is in the playoff hunt, while the Broncos have been showing some breaks in the armor. Miami’s defense will be tested by the Broncos. It will be a big game for AFC fans. I like both these quarterbacks, but Peyton always has my heart. Go Broncos.

Cardinals (9-1) at Seahawks (6-4): Division rivalry at its best. The Cardinals have the best record in the entire league and they deserve it. Whether it is with Carson Palmer, everyone’s every man, or Drew Stanton, this offense wins games. Arizona has a next man up philosophy that isn’t just all talk. They work it. Once Bruce Arians was the next man up, and he made the most of the opportunity, so when he says it, he means it.

Arizona has an amazing offense and defense, although, I am a bit surprised that the defense is only ranked 13th overall. Seattle will have their hands full.

For all of Seattle’s hype this year, they are struggling to win games. However, they do win them, which is all you need to get into the playoffs. I’m not sure what is going on with Seattle. They still have the number one running game in the league, which is how they beat my Pack, but the pass game has been a bit lacking.

Richard Sherman plays on the right side of the field, and only Aaron Rodgers is better than Drew Stanton (statistically) throwing to the right side of the field. That will make for an interesting match-up.

I want the Cardinals to win, well, because I like ’em. I also need Seattle to keep losing so my Packers have a shot at a playoff wildcard slot if they don’t win the division this year.

Go Cards.

Lions (7-3) at Patriots (8-2): For me, this is the game of the week. You have the number 1 AFC seed playing against the number 2 NFC seed. I typically don’t like crossing the streams of AFC and NFC games, but this one intrigues me. Plus, this is the last of three brutal games for the Lions. They won against Miami, and, thankfully, lost to the Cardinals. The Patriots prove to be the toughest challenger remaining for the Lions until the Lions meet the Packers in the final game of the season at Lambeau (thank merciful god for that). This will be a big scouting game for the Packers. Packers will want to see how the Lions perform against the Pats, not only to see what the Patriots expose as weaknesses of the Lions, but also to see how the Lions play the Pats. The Packers have the Patriots in week 13 (the following week). We need to learn all we can from this game.

The Packers need the Lions to lose this week. It’s our best chance at taking possession of the NFC North. This is crucial this year, as the playoff picture is congested with contenders like Seattle and San Francisco. Man, did the Packers need the Niners to lose last week against the Giants. BTW, I wouldn’t be so snickering-happy, Niners. You almost lost to the Giants when Eli threw 5 interceptions. You should not be proud of yourselves, at all.

As for the rest of the games this week there are a ton a garbage games this week. They don’t even merit mentioning.

As always, Go Pack go.

~Madeline Fresco is a novelist who lives in San Francisco. She is the author of CROSSED THE LINE, available for Kindle at Amazon.com, for Nook at Barnes & Noble, and as an ePub at other eBook retailers. You can also listen to her novel as a free, serialized audiobook at madelinefresco.com. Her second book THE CHOICE, is available on Kindle at Amazon. Her third book ANGUISH, is available for Kindle at Amazon.com