NFL investigating Atlanta Falcons for fake crowd noise — Huh? Wha?

The Atlanta Falcons are being investigated by the NFL for creating artificial noise in their stadium for home games. The team confirmed the investigation’s existence Sunday after the league started looking into the noise level of the games the past two seasons.

The Falcons are accused of piping in noise while the opposing teams huddled to discuss plays.

Excessive noise, such as a rowdy crowd, can make it difficult for a team to run their offensive line, and thereby theoretically damaged their plays. Both the Seattle Seahawks and the Kansas City Chiefs have broken the record for being the loudest stadiums. Natural crowd noise is not considered a violation of the rules, but creating noise could be considered a competitive advantage…

The tactic, if used, did not help the Falcons. They were only 6-10 at home over the last two seasons and 4-12 away.

If the Falcons are found guilty, the punishment will be steep and could lead to losing a draft pick.

Um, OK. Home field advantage and crowd noise is even more distinctive in proper football. What Americans call “soccer”.

Supporters of visiting teams are often limited to a very small percentage of seats. Often as low as 5%. Tie that in with the global tradition of supporter songs and chants – louder than many Americans may ever experience – and you have serious supportage.

In most countries the only amplification ever allowed is for cheerleaders. Not the crowd. Cripes, I’d hate to imagine what it would be like in a tight noisy stadium like Stoke City’s Britannia Stadium. Supporters often reach 83db – though Liverpool’s Anfield has been measured recently at 97db.

That’s equivalent to modern “quieter” jetliners taking off.

Dumb crook of the day


Police say a woman selling drugs made a big mistake that landed her in jail — she mistakenly called an Albuquerque police detective.

KOB-TV reports that 30-year-old Renea Lucero was arrested last week when she called the detective at his department-issued cell phone and made the officer an unexpected offer.

Court documents say the detective knew Lucero from a prior criminal case. But the report says he didn’t think Lucero realized who she had dialed.

The officer then set up a drug bust.

The detective says Lucero pulled the heroin out of her bra during a sting.

Lucero was arrested on trafficking charges.

Differentiating between ignorant and stupid is pretty easy, this time.

Will Democrats walk away from obedience to Wall Street?

FDR vs big banks

America’s presidential election is still nearly two years away, and few candidates have formally thrown their hats into the ring. But both Democrats and Republicans are hard at work figuring out what will appeal to voters in their parties’ respective primary elections – and thinking about what will play well to the electorate as a whole in November 2016.

The contrast between the parties at this stage is striking. Potential Republican presidential candidates are arguing among themselves about almost everything, from economics to social issues; it is hard to say which ideas and arguments will end up on top. The Democrats, by contrast, are in agreement on most issues, with one major exception: financial reform and the power of very large banks.

The Democrats’ internal disagreement on this issue is apparent when one compares three major proposals to address income inequality that the party and its allies have presented in recent weeks. There are only small differences between President Barack Obama’s proposals (in his budget and State of the Union address), those made in a high-profile report from the Center for American Progress, and ideas advanced by Chris Van Hollen, an influential member of Congress. (For example, Van Hollen recommends more redistribution from higher-income people to offset a larger tax cut for middle-income groups.)

Against this backdrop of programmatic unity, the difference of opinion among leading Democrats concerning Wall Street – both the specifics of the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reforms and more broadly – stands out in bold relief.

But a serious challenge to all of these views has now emerged, in proposals by Senator Elizabeth Warren, a rising Democratic star who has become increasingly prominent at the national level. In her view, the authorities need to confront head-on the outsize influence and dangerous structure of America’s largest banks.

Warren’s opponents like to suggest that her ideas are somehow outside the mainstream; in fact, she draws support from across the political spectrum. In last month’s fight against Citigroup’s successful effort to roll back Dodd-Frank, for example, Warren’s allies included the House Democratic leadership, the Independent Community Bankers of America, Republican Senator David Vitter, and Thomas Hoenig (a Republican-appointed vice chair of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation).

Warren’s message is simple: remove the implicit government subsidies that support the too-big-to-fail banks. That single move would go a long way toward reducing, if not eliminating, crony capitalism and strengthening market competition in the financial sector. This is a message that plays well across the political spectrum. And growing support for Warren’s ideas helps the Federal Reserve and other responsible regulators in their efforts to prevent big banks from taking on dangerous levels of risk.

RTFA. Consider the possibility that the Democrat Party – unlike Republicans – might challenge subservience to Wall Street or be satisfied with populist lip service to core reforms pressed by Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders and many others?