Favre in St. Louis yardage record game.This article was originally written January 15, 2007.  In light of Brett Favre's retirement from the Green Bay Packers we felt it was appropriate to run again. 

Brett, thank you, we'll miss you as much as we cherish you, in an alive, not dead yet way.  Deanna, Brittany and Breleigh, thanks for sharing him with us.

This article orginially ran as "Brett Favre An All-time Great: Let Us Not Count The Ways Just Yet."   

A couple of springs ago, I was killing time before a Brewer’s spring training game at a casino in Arizona (and of course breaking even). I had beaten up on a particular player during a friendly 3-6 limit hold’em game when that player started making fun of the Packers- he had noticed the belt to chin green and gold “G” on my black t-shirt somehow. He was about that observant in his card playing as well, so I guess I knew where he was going to go with his football chatter. He laid into Brett Favre- what a surprise.

Somehow he thought that would throw me off my game, and as much of a Brett Favre fan as I am, he didn’t know that I have long since gotten over the twenty or so percent of football observers who just don’t have a clue about anything football or even sports related (was I light on that percentage). He told me how vastly over-rated Brett Favre was and how virtually every QB in the NFL was better, including John Kitna, Michael Vick and Jake Plummer (good players no doubt, but come on). At Jake Plummer I just had to laugh at him, tell him how funny a guy he was and let him know that he was about to lose some more money.

I didn’t bother to give that guy many of the thousand or so statistical reasons why Brett Favre is an All-time Great player. I know most of those stats, including the winning percentage, touchdowns, touchdown to interception ratio, completions, yards, etc. etc. etc… You see, statistics don’t make great players that we remember; great players make statistics that we remember. Statistics are like trees, the types of stats let you know that you are in a particular realm of performance, like the type of tree lets you know what kind of forest you are in. All the numbers can let us know is that Favre is somewhere in the forest of greatness.

What I mostly talked to this card competitor about was Brett Favre, the guy. How Favre in so many ways is just somebody who could be your neighbor- the rich one- but your neighbor nonetheless. A guy who you’d be happy to let into your house when he knocked, or heck, even if he just strolled in. I told him about how Favre had, while in the public eye, dealt with some pretty harsh life realities. Favre dealt with work, fame, pressure and most importantly family issues, with a class and nature that was, in an era of T.O.s and Leons, refreshing at least, and admirable to most. His trials and tribulations were not that different from many of ours, other than he was under the watchful eye of millions of people when he dealt with his. No, Favre will never need to do a reality TV show, he’s already done it.

I’m not going to canonize the guy; he did fall to some temptations. A dependency problem was the one our erstwhile knucklehead card competitor brought up, which I pointed out was somewhat understandable due to the level of physical stress and pain he experienced, but was yes, still a fall. Here’s where I always get confused. People who want to argue that Favre isn’t the player he’s cracked up to be, always seem to come back to non-football arguments. I’m a little tired of it, but really, I guess it is what it is- negative people being negative people. I have yet to see one of those people driving in anything particularly nice or living somewhere fantastic or hear them talk about how lucky they are to have good friends or how great their family life is- the way Brett does. So, I can only think there is some envy going on. I guess some envy is understandable though. I envy Brett for being better looking then me, a better athlete, making a ton of money, and probably being better spoken.

Brett Favre, like all people, I’m sure has his faults. I don’t really know what his faults are, so I don’t bring those things up. I have seen Favre be human in the face of personal and professional troubles and adversity. I have seen him withstand pain. I have seen him donate time and money to people he did not know. I wonder how many “non-likers” of Favre can say they have given like Brett Favre has, even on a relative level?

I have also seen Brett Favre play a game with a level of desire and performance that really epitomizes what sport is supposed to be about and can be; only Michael Jordan, Wayne Gretzky and Tiger Woods in my lifetime appear to be on the same level. I have seen a guy who has performed near the top of the NFL for a period longer than all but a few players in any sport ever. What I have heard from player after player after player, coach after coach, experienced commentator after experienced commentator, and really almost unanimously by people who are more knowledgeable about football than I even dream to be, is that Brett Favre is one of the ten or so Greatest Players Of All-time. No exceptions, no caveats.

Anyway, back to my card game, because I know it’s on your mind. On my last hand before leaving for the Brewer’s game, as the naysayer was smilingly calling my cap raise of six more dollars then proudly flipping over his two pair, I reflected on how happy I was to have been witness to all of Brett Favre’s career to this point. Then I flipped over my straight, took the pot money and smiled back at my friendly rival. I’m not sure if I convinced that guy of Favre’s stature as a football player or normalcy as a person. I suspect he’s really a Favre fan. How can you not be? I think he’s just not a fan of losing at cards and probably either a Cardinals, Bears, Vikings or Lions fan. When I did leave that day, four of the other players, none from Wisconsin, did take the time to say that they too were fans of Brett Favre for similar reasons as I am.  Plenty of man-crushes to go around as it turned out.

Right now, I can only think of two things before I click save and send. I hope Brett knocks on the door one, or maybe two, more times as a player. And more importantly, regardless of if I see him play again: Thanks Brett.

Friday, August 03, 2007 11748
Yes, someone is whispering in this video. Seems to be saying, "Jesse." Turn the volume up and scare your mom. {youtube}pFmEfIjqyH0{/youtube}
Monday, January 09, 2017 5485
Education Week offered ten questions that it assumed Betsy DeVos, incoming education secretary, would not answer. However, Real Wisconsin News has obtained the following answers from the Trump appointee (in bold). You've been a strong advocate for charters. Nationally, only about 6% of students attend these schools. Leaving aside the question of whether charters have outperformed non-charter public schools, what are your plans to improve the non-charter public schools: improve the teacher force, build capacity, and strengthen leadership and teaching? The way to improve most public schools is to shut them down. When you have a business that fails, you declare bankruptcy and default your creditors, and that's the way education needs to work. Schools are terrible. Do you believe in adequate school funding? You have been a major supporter of ALEC, which has encouraged governors to cut funds for public education. Following the ALEC playbook since the recession, Indiana reduced funding for public schools which serve 93% of the children by over $3-billion while giving a $539-million increase to charters and $248-million increase for voucher students who represent only 7%. Many other states such as North Carolina have followed suit. Is this your plan for the nation? Yes. That sounds terrific. When the schools that are failing fail, then those that are run by for-profit corporations will take over. If these fail, it's not a big deal. Another company will step in. Your percentages confuse me because it's about doing what's right. The federal IDEA requires states and school districts to provide all necessary services to students with disabilities, but federal funding to support these services has steadily declined, and there is evidence that spending on special education is encroaching on spending for other educational services. Should federal funding for special education be increased, or reduced? Should states and local districts be given more flexibility in how they serve students with special needs? We will continue to mandate IDEA to public schools, so there should be no whining from special ed teachers or militant parents. Federal funding, however, will be reduced. Thank you. President-elect Trump has pledged to allocate $20-billion of funding for voucher programs nationwide. Do you believe this is a realistic figure? If so, where will that money come from? Would you consider allocating Title 1 funds for this purpose? The money will come from public school districts that pay teachers big salaries and huge retirements for disastrous performance. In your voucher plans would all religious sects be allowed to have a voucher school? If no, who would choose from among the sects? Just not Muslims. Or Satanists. Or Spanish Catholic schools. The rest are fine. One of the critical roles played by the U.S. Department of Education is to protect the civil rights of children in our nation's public schools. Among the kinds of issues that the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has dealt with in recent years are charges of denial of services to disabled students and English learners, discrimination against LGBT students in terms of access to services and facilities, and charges of sexual harassment and assault on college campuses. What steps do you as Secretary plan to take to ensure that no students in any of the protected classes is denied the educational services to which they are entitled under the law? I couldn't even make it to the end of the question because I was laughing so hard. Have Hollywood make a movie about it. Last month, a coalition of human and civil rights groups signed a letter voicing their concerns about your commitment to protecting civil rights of all students, including LGBTQ youth. How do you answer the charge that your past support for groups such as Focus on the Family and the Family Resource Council raise legitimate concerns about your commitment to safeguarding the civil rights of all students? Do you believe that the government should help to create safe environments in schools for LGBTQ youth? The current safe environment in schools encourages all students to be dumber than their counterparts overseas. Education is not about singing around a campfire together. In 2015, you made the following comment during a speech: " Many Republicans in the suburbs like the idea of school choice as a concept...right up until it means that poor kids from the inner city will invade their schools. That's when you will hear the sentiment - 'well, it's not really a great idea to have poor minority kids coming to our good suburban schools.' Although they will never actually say those words aloud. " What resources and oversight will your office provide to school districts seeking to desegregate their schools? Vouchers for everyone. Then it's up to parents to transport kids and schools to let them in. It's really a moral choice. Maybe sports-related, sometimes. But no one really wants to have to hide their purses when they visit the local school. Former Michigan state schools Superintendent Tom Watkins, a fellow advocate of charter schools, has said that in Michigan, " in a number of cases, people are making a boatload of money, and the kids aren't getting educated ." The vice president of the state Board of Education cited the lack of charter school regulation that has led to " financial oversight and transparency " issues. On your website , you state clearly that you are an advocate of "strong accountability." Yet, groups you are connected to, including the Great Lakes Education Project and the Michigan Freedom Fund, opposed legislation that would have increased accountability for charters in Detroit. Can you clarify your position on regulating charter schools, in that instance, and more broadly? What should regulation for charter schools look like, in practical terms? If a company makes a boatload of money, then it deserved that money. Parents will decide with their vouchers which schools deserve boatloads of cash and which public schools will close. That's making America Great Again. Over 1-million U.S. students live in isolated rural areas. How do your ideas about charters and choice help them? Really, out of your ten questions, one was about retards, one about queers, and then one was about the one million kids living in the middle of nowhere? This is the perfect example of how political correctness has destroyed public schools. The answer, to all three, is, who the hell cares? We can educate most of the US kids for half as much, and then the parents of the sub-groups can all ship their kids off to boarding school in California. Whatever.

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