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My NCAA challenge for President Obama

March 15, 2011

One thing you can count on with President Obama: nothing gets in the way of a good time.  With Libya burning, Somali pirates running amok, Japanese dying from tsunamis and nuclear meltdowns, the federal budget now six months late, and Americans wondering if food and energy prices will ever stop rising, nothing could stop our fearless leader from playing another round of golf Saturday afternoon.  (That’s round 61—that we know about—since he became president.  At approximately five hours per round, that’s 305 hours or nearly 8 work weeks spent on the golf course.  Already.)

After the golf game he attended the annual Gridiron Dinner where journalists and politicians trade jokes.  That capped off a good week which started with another round of golf (round 60), and included a White House party on Wednesday to watch the Chicago Bulls game on television followed by a Friday gathering to honor the World Champion Chicago Blackhawks.  The week before there was a giant Motown bash at the White House.

Who says it’s tough being President of the United States?  On the contrary, it sounds fun.  The way Obama is doing it, you hardly have to work at all.

Meanwhile, French President Nicolas Sarkozy got tired of waiting for Obama to do something and proposed a no-fly zone over Libya to stop Kaddafi from bombing his own people.  (Sarkozy probably isn’t suggesting that French planes enforce the no-fly zone.  Oh no.  Being French, he’s probably suggesting that British and American planes enforce the no-fly zone while the French provide timely critiques and take most of the credit.  But hey, at least the guy wasn’t playing golf.)

Also meanwhile, India got tired of waiting for Obama to do something and sent its navy over to spank the Somali pirates.  For God’s sake, when India’s navy is showing up the U.S. Navy, the world is truly upside down.  Who knew that India even had a navy?

So anyway, we know the president will be filling out his NCAA basketball brackets this week… no matter what.  He made a big deal about his brackets in 2009 when he still couldn’t find the White House bathroom without a guide and again last year in the middle of the healthcare debates.  He’s probably got the Japanese prime minister on hold right now while he tussles with the devilish problem of whether Jimmer Fredette can carry BYU without Brandon Davies to help.
Mr. President, sir, Prime Minister Naoto Kan has been waiting for ten minutes to talk to you.  They desperately need more coolant for those nuclear reactors.

I know, I know.  Tell him I’ll have to call him back.  Then get LeBron on the phone—I need to see if he knows anything about the Davies suspension.
Here’s my challenge, Mr. President: my NCAA tournament predictions against yours.  If yours turn out to be better than mine, I promise not to mention your name in my columns for a whole month.  But if mine are better than yours, you promise to stay off the golf course for a month and spend that extra time studying basic economics.

From Reno, Nevada, USA


March 23, 2011

After the first weekend, I'm 33-15 with my picks and Obama is 39-9.  So he's kicking my butt so far.  On a positive note, I picked Richmond, a 12-seed, to win two games and they did.  On an optimistic note, if Kentucky beats Ohio State I'll catch Obama because he has the Buckeyes in the final game and I have Kentucky winning it all.  As if I needed another reason to root against Ohio State...


March 28, 2011

I win.  No worries about how to weight later rounds and how to score succesful predictions for the Final Four because, as it turns out, President Obama ended up with zero teams in the Final Four.  Nada.  Zilch.  None.  Whereas I have two teams in the Final Four.  So doesn't have to go a month without mentioning his name and he is supposed to read a book on basic economics.  (Ha.  Fat chance.)

Now that the contest is over, doesn't it seem silly that the President of the United States spent time filming a television show about his NCAA bracket picks?  Basketball is like everything else with this man: his expertise is anemic but his desire to pontificate is robust.

Here’s the up-dated brackets after the second weekend of the tournament:

March 16, 2011 - Sometimes I think you overreact, but Obama is driving me crazy with his games and holidays. Now I hear this weekend he's off to Rio de Janeiro with Michelle & the kids to see the sights, catch some rays at the beach, and have a little fun. (Didn't they just get back from Hawaii?) Meanwhile, the government is set to shut down Friday, Japan is suffering from a horrible catastrophe, and the Middle East is blowing up. The man has no clue what a real job involves... maybe because he never had one before? - Cynthia G., Georgia

March 15, 2011 - Oh, I forgot to add that I am not sure what Kentucky BB shows you that I am missing, but Ohio State has the horses to make everybody cringe, except maybe the Cleveland Caveliers. - Ray K., Michigan
J.P. replies: Yeah, yeah, I thought long and hard about that Kentucky/Ohio State game.  In the end I decided that if Michigan could almost beat Ohio State in the semi-final of the Big Ten tournament, the Buckeyes must have some issues.

March 15, 2011 - Since we have an incredible amount of similar interests, I enjoy reading the usual mantra bashing dems. I look forward to sailing out of Muskegon Lake onto the big Lake Michigan 4 miles from my house on my Beneteau 43 with your lovely wife and one of my sailing girlfriends. We can talk the political banter and discuss the cause and effect of the savings and loan debacle in Colorado, Enron, deregulation,Sec. James Watt, Karl Rove's redistricting financing crimes, Bush Sr. and Iran Contra and time on the ranch for his genius son..... oh and let's not forget Obama's BB game and Clinton's jogging between Burger Kings. - Ray K., Michigan
J.P. replies: You have a 43-foot sailboat?  Jeez, I wish I'd known that last summer when I was visiting Michigan.

March 15, 2011 - Kentucky? Are you kidding? Obama is gonna smoke you. - John, Nevada

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