A Carolina Panthers Rant with Hope at the end of the Tunnel

What was Dave Gettleman thinking when he decided to give Byron Bell a two million dollar contract?  This is the same player that a lot of Panther fans didn’t want to see come back after LAST season!  Look, I’m not here to just take a shit on Byron Bell and single him out as the only problem on the offensive line because he’s not.  I’m not sold on Nate Chandler either nor do I much understand the tactic of drafting Division II offensive lineman in any round earlier than the 5th round considering you really don’t know how success on that level will translate to the FBS level and most definitely the NFL.  Not that I have an issue with Silatolu per se because I haven’t really watched him individually this season but one thing that is blatantly clear is that the offensive line unit as a whole needs to be upgraded next season (and maybe even this season!) if we want Cam Newton to remain as our franchise quarterback for years to come.

The man has already been sacked seven times in two games and hit more than twice as many times as the next closest quarterback since entering the League in 2011.  Yes, it’s true that Cam Newton does have a tendency to hold on to the ball too long.  I’m not going to dispute this and I have often complained about this in the past but then again, so does Ben Roethlisberger! They are identical style quarterbacks: big quarterbacks with big arms, mobile, like to roll out to by more time, and hard to bring down.  Yet, Roethlisberger hasn’t been hit as many times as Cam.  The problems stem from injuries and a lack of talent on the line as a whole.

So what needs to be done going forward?  From this point to season’s end, everyone on the offensive line has to be watched closely and held accountable for what they do and don’t do.  With that in mind, somehow I get the feeling it’s not going to be the interior of the offensive line where we’re going to find the bulk of the mistakes, it’s going to be those damn offensive tackles that we’ll have to watch going forward.  Our offensive tackles ARE WHO WE THOUGHT THEY WERE and we let them start anyway.  And just as I mentioned at the top, I do not believe Bell or Chandler are the long term solutions for this team but now it’s getting to the point where I have to ask: are they even the short term solution to this team?  We have Garry Williams and we signed David Foucault to our 53 man roster for the sake of preventing other teams from poaching on our player but it’s about time that the message is sent to Bell and Chandler that if they don’t improve their play and play more consistent that they’re going to be benched.

Do I think Byron Bell and Nate Chandler are bad players?  Absolutely not.  I think for who they are and where they come from, they’re average, serviceable starters…MOST of the time.  Chandler’s problems stem from inexperience and in my opinion, a lack of a mean steak.  When I watched him in the preseason, he failed to engage blocks and really be physical with defenders but perhaps in time with more experience and more reps, he’ll get better with this. Bell however is a decent run blocker but his struggles with speed pass rushers is problematic and not something that I think will improve over time which is why I believe the Carolina coaches behind the scenes need to be watching film to see if there is somebody somewhere whether via trade or free agency that can come in and play left tackle for us…IF Bell doesn’t pick up his play in the immediate future.

As for Panther fans that are discouraged from last night’s result, don’t be.  We’ll be fine. The Carolina Panthers are NOT as bad as what we showed last night but we do have flaws.  Run blocking continues to be an issue as a whole, injuries to our backfield have been a problem (which is just unlucky, not a cause for panic), our pass rush without the combo of Hardy and Johnson together has taken a step back, and our return game is below average but the thing is Panther fans is that we always have one of these stinker games that brings us back down to earth.

In 2003, after beating Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts on the road, we come back home and get smashed at home by the Titans and watch Stephen Davis get held to just 20 yards rushing on 11 carries.  In 2005, upon entering Chicago with a 7-2 record, we go on to get held to just 3 points and Jake Delhomme is sacked eight times.  In 2008, we had two wake-up calls. The first time was in Tampa Bay, we were crushed 27-3 and then again in the Georgia Dome against a rookie Matt Ryan, we had 45 points dropped on a pretty good Panther defense.  In 2013, we carried an eight game win streak into New Orleans just to watch our team settle for field goals in the 1st quarter and not get one ounce of pressure on Drew Brees in a 31-13 beatdown in primetime.  So please, Panther fans, believe me when I say this loss was a fluke and not the norm.

We’re not going to have fumbles on punts that lead to touchdowns every week.  We’re not going to give up 81 yard runs every week.  We’re not going to jump offsides on chip shot field goals that extend drives every week so I wouldn’t stress too much over this loss.  We got too bigheaded, underestimated our opponent and got the beating that we deserved.  Lesson learned.  But this will not happen again and you can take that to the bank. Keep Pounding, Panther fans.

Walmart vs Target Grocery Shopping Comparisons – 2014

The 2014 edition is here!  Walmart won the battle in 2012 and 2013, scroll through to see my conclusions for this edition!  Although, it should be noted that Target does have the Red Card which would save customers 5% so I think all consumers should consider that when looking at this list.

** = New item that wasn’t on the 2013 or 2012 comparisons list

Bold = Winner of that comparison

 Round One: Over the Counter Medicine 

**Icy Hot 3 oz Pain Relief Cream: $4.96 – Walmart

**Icy Hot 3 oz Pain Relief Cream: $4.99 – Target

**Pepto Bismol 8 oz Cherry Upset Stomach Reliever/Antidiarrheal: $3.48 – Walmart

**Pepto Bismol 8 oz Cherry Upset Stomach Reliever/Antidiarrheal: $3.34 – Target

**Zantac 75 Max Strength Heartburn Relief Tablets: $17.47 -Walmart

**Zantac 75 Max Strength Heartburn Relief Tablets: $17.49 – Target

**Clean & Clear 5 oz Face Scrub Oil Free Cleanser: $5.64 (Rollback) -Walmart (compared to $6.49 regular price)

**Clean & Clear 5 oz Face Scrub Oil Free Cleanser: $5.99 – Target

**Aleve 220 mg 24 count Pain Reliever/Fever reducer Caplets: $3.68 – Walmart

**Aleve 220 mg 24 count Pain Reliever/Fever reducer Caplets: $3.69 price cut – Target (compared to $3.89 regular price)

Round Two: Laundry 

Gain Powder Detergent (40 Loads): $5.97 – Walmart (compared to $5.97 in 2013 and $6.84 in 2012)

Gain Powder Detergent (80 Loads): $9.99 – Target (compared to $9.99 in 2013 and $10.99 in 2012 for 68 loads; $9.99 comes out to 12.5 cents per load)

Gain Dryer Sheets (80 Sheets): $3.97 – Walmart (compared to $3.97 in 2012; $3.97 comes out to 5 cents per sheet)

Gain Dryer Sheets (120 Sheets): $4.89 – Target (compared to $4.89 in 2013 and $4.89 in 2012; $4.89 comes out to 4 cents per sheet)

**Tide Clean Breeze 64 Load Detergent: $11.97 -Walmart

**Tide Clean Breeze 64 Load Detergent: $11.99 – Target

Round Three: Toiletries 

Scott Toilet Paper (4 Rolls): $3.98 – Walmart (compared to $3.98 in 2013 and $3.98 in 2012)

Scott Toilet Paper (4 Rolls): $3.99 – Target (compared to $3.99 in 2013 and $3.99 in 2012)

**Quilted Northern 12 double rolls 190 2-ply Toilet Tissue: $6.97 – Walmart

**Quilted Northern 12 double rolls 190 2-ply Toilet Tissue: $6.99 – Target

**Kleenex 120 count Tissues: $1.57 – Walmart

**Kleenex 120 count Tissues: $1.29 sale – Target (compared to $1.69 regular price)

Round Four: Dogs 

**Purina Beggin’ Strips 6 oz Dog Treats: $2.63 – Walmart

**Purina Beggin’ Strips 6 oz Dog Treats: $2.50 price cut – Target (compared to $2.64 regular price)

**Kibbles ‘n Bits 3.5 lb. American Grill Dog Food: $4.88 – Walmart

**Kibbles ‘n Bits 3.5 lb. American Grill Dog Food: $4.94

**Pedigree 16.3 lb. Dry Food: $12.97 – Walmart

**Pedigree 16.3 lb. Dry Food: $12.99 – Target

**Iams 15.1 lb. Mini Chunks: $17.97 – Walmart

**Iams 15.1 lb. Mini Chunks: $17.99 – Target

**Milk-Bone 15 oz Mini’s: $2.98 – Walmart

**Milk-Bone 15 oz Mini’s: $2.99 – Target

Round Five: Pasta 

**Prego 24 oz Traditional Sauce: $1.88 – Walmart

**Prego 24 oz Traditional Sauce: $1.89 – Target

**Great Value 16 oz Noodles (any): $1.00 – Walmart

**Market Pantry 16 oz Noodles (any): $0.97 – Target (compared to $1.29 regular price)

**Stouffer’s 38 oz Lasagna & Meat Sauce: $6.98 – Walmart

**Stouffer’s 38 oz Lasagna & Meat Sauce: $6.99 – Target

Round Six: Vitamins 

**Fish Oil 360 mg 100 count Twin Pack Tablets: $9.98 – Walmart

**Fish Oil 360 mg 180 count Tablets: $13.74 – Target

**Magnesium 250 mg 100 count Twin Pack Tablets: $4.74 – Walmart

**Magnesium 250 mg 200 count Tablets: $6.79 – Target

**Calcium 600 mg 250 count Twin Pack Tablets: $9.80 – Walmart

**Calcium 600 mg 220 count Tablets: $14.74 – Target

Round Seven: Condiments 

**Texas Pete 6 oz Hot Sauce: $0.88 – Walmart ($0.88/6 oz of Hot Sauce comes out to be about 14.7 cents per ounce)

**Texas Pete 12 oz Hot Sauce: $1.49 – Target ($1.49/12 oz of Hot Sauce comes out to be about 12.4 cents per ounce)

**Heinz 64 oz Ketchup: $3.50 – Walmart

**Heinz 64 oz Ketchup: $3.54 – Target

**Hidden Valley 16 oz Ranch Dressing: $2.98 – Walmart

**Hidden Valley 16 oz Ranch Dressing: $2.99 – Target

Round Eight: Cleaning Supplies 

Clorox 35 Wipes: $2.48 – Walmart (compared to $2.48 in 2013 and $2.48 in 2012)

*Clorox 35 Wipes: $2.37 (price cut) – Target (compared to $2.24 in 2013 and $2.64 in 2012)

Dawn 38 oz Liquid: $4.47 – Walmart (compared to $3.97 and $3.97 in 2012)

Dawn 38 oz Liquid: $4.49 – Target (compared to $3.99 in 2013 and $2.55 in 2012 for a 24 oz bottle of Dawn)

Pledge Wipes (24 wipes): $3.97 – Walmart (compared to $3.37 in 2013 and $3.37 in 2012)

Pledge Wipes (24 wipes): $2.79 (price cut) – Target (compared to $3.39 regular price, $3.39 in 2013 and $3.39 in 2012)

Purex Crystals (32 loads): $3.97 – Walmart (compared $4.76 in 2013 for 28 loads and $4.76 in 2012 for 32 loads; $3.97/32 loads comes out to be about 12.4 cents per load)

Purex Crystals (52 loads): $8.99 – Target (compared to $4.79 in 2013 for 28 loads and $4.89 in 2012 for 32 loads; $8.99/52 loads comes out to be about 17.3 cents per load)

Windex: $2.87 – Walmart (compared to $2.87 in 2013 and $2.87 in 2012)

Windex: $2.79 (sale) – Target (compared to $2.99 regular price, $2.49 in 2013 and $2.49 in 2012)

**Liquid Plumr 16 oz Hair Clog Eliminator: $4.98 -Walmart

**Liquid Plumr 16 oz Hair Clog Eliminator: $4.49 – Target (compared to $4.99 regular price)

Round Nine: Cats 

Fancy Feast Cans: $0.58 – Walmart (compared to $0.53 in 2013 and $0.58 in 2012)

Fancy Feast Cans: $0.54 – Target (compared to $0.55 in 2013 and $0.77 in 2012)

Temptation Treats .98g: $1.50 – Walmart (compared to $1.50 in 2013 and $1.74 in 2012)

Temptation Treats .98g: $1.50 – Target (compared to $1.52 in 2013 and $1.54 in 2012)

**Sheba 3 oz Cat Cans: $0.50 – Walmart

**Sheba 3 oz Cat Cans: $0.52 – Target

Round Ten: Breakfast 

Eggo Waffles (10 waffles): $2.38 – Walmart (compared to $2.38 in 2013 and $2.38 in 2012)

Eggo Waffles (10 waffles): $2.25 (price cut) – Target (compared to $2.54 regular price, $2.54 in 2013 and $2.34 to in 2012)

Sunny Meadows Grade A Large Eggs (1 dozen): $2.78 – Walmart (compared to $1.68 in 2013 and $1.68 in 2012)

*Market Pantry Large (1 dozen): $1.69 – Target (compared to $1.69 in 2013 and $2.79 in 2012 for a dozen of Eggland’s Best Eggs).

Great Value Naturally Smoked Bacon: $3.67 – Walmart (compared to $3.48 in 2013)

Oscar Meyer Fully Cooked Bacon: $3.59 – Target (compared to $3.59 in 2013 for Market Pantry Fully Cooked Bacon and $2.54 in 2012 for what I believe to be the store brand as well)

**General Mills 18 oz Cereal: $3.48 – Walmart ($3.48/18 oz of cereal comes out to be 19.3 cents per ounce)

**General Mills 17 oz Cereal (price cut): $2.99 – Target ($2.99/17 oz of cereal comes out to be 17.6 cents per ounce)

**Post Great Grains 16 oz Cereal: $3.24 – Walmart

**Post 16 oz Cereal (any): $2.99 – Target

**Kellogg’s 15.5 oz Cereal: $2.98 – Walmart ($2.98/15.5 oz of cereal comes out to be 19.2 cents per ounce)

**Kellogg’s 15 oz Cereal: $2.75 – Target (compared to $2.99 regular price; $2.75/15 oz of cereal comes out to be 18.3 cents per ounce)

**Quaker Oats 42 oz Quick 1 minute Oatmeal: $3.98 -Walmart

*Quaker Oats 42 oz Quick 1 minute Oatmeal: $3.99 – Target

Round Eleven: Beverages 

Coca Cola Drinks (2 Liter): $1.44 – Walmart (compared to $1.38 in 2013 and $1.28 in 2012)

Coca Cola Drinks (2 Liter): $1.89 – Target (compared to $1.00 price cut in 2013 and $1.89 in 2012)

Pepsi Drinks (2 Liter): $1.48 – Walmart (compared to $1.48 in 2013 and $1.48 in 2012)

Pepsi Drinks (2 Liter): $1.19 – Target (compared to $1.79 regular price, $1.25 price cut in 2013 and $1.79 in 2012)

Powerade (32 oz): $0.80 – Walmart (compared to $0.80 in 2013 and $0.88 in 2012)

Powerade (32 oz): $1.02 – Target (compared to $1.02 in 2013 and $1.02 in 2012)

**Gatorade (32 oz): $1.00 – Walmart (compared to $1.00 in 2013 and $1.00 in 2012)

**Gatorade (32 oz): $1.00 – Target (compared to $1.29 in 2013)

Gold Peak Sweet Tea (59 oz): $2.48 – Walmart (compared to $2.00 in 2013 and $2.00 in 2012)

Gold Peak Sweet Tea (59 oz): $2.04 – Target (compared to $2.59 in 2013 and $3.14 in 2012)

Canada Dry Ginger Ale (2 Liter): $1.00 – Walmart (compared to $1.00 in 2013 for Seagram’s Ginger Ale and $1.00 in 2012 for Seagram’s Ginger Ale)

Seagram’s Ginger Ale (2 Liter): $1.89 – Target (compared to $1.00 in 2013 and $1.99 in 2012)

**Coca Cola 12 pack 12 oz Cans: $3.00 Rollback – Walmart (compared to $4.28 regular price)

**Coca Cola 12 pack 12 oz Cans: $5.49 – Target

**Pepsi 12 pack 12 oz Cans: $4.28 – Walmart

**Pepsi 12 pack 12 oz Cans: $3.69 – Target (compared to $5.19 regular price)

**Bud Light 24 pack 12 oz Cans: $14.97 – Walmart

**Bud Light 24 pack 12 oz Cans: $17.49 – Target

**Mike’s Hard Lemonade 6 pack 11.2 oz Bottles: $7.47 -Walmart

**Mike’s Hard Lemonade 6 pack 11.2 oz Bottles: $8.99 – Target

**Swiss Miss 0.73 oz 10 pack Hot Chocolate: $1.28 – Walmart

**Swiss Miss 0.73 oz 10 pack Hot Chocolate: $1.27 – Target

**Folger’s 33.9 oz Classic Roast Coffee: $7.98 – Walmart

**Folger’s 33.9 oz Classic Roast Coffee: $8.99 – Target

Round Twelve: Meats 

Hamburger 1lb. (80/20): $3.68 – Walmart (compared to the lowest price for hamburger that I could find that was also $3.68 in 2012)

Hamburger 1lb. (80/20): $3.39 – Target (compared to $4.48 regular price, $3.69 in 2013 and $3.59 in 2012)

Hamburger 1 lb. (85/15): $4.88 – Walmart

Hamburger 1 lb. (85/15): $4.49 – Target

Hamburger 1 lb. (93/7): $4.98 – Walmart

Hamburger 1 lb. (93/7): $4.99 – Target

Cube Steak: $5.38 per pound – Walmart (compared to $4.49 for cheapest pack in 2013 and $3.74 for the cheapest pack in 2012)

Chuck Tender Steak: $5.99 – Target (compared to $5.27 in 2013 for Beef for Sandwich Steak and $5.98 for some kind of Steak item in 2012)

Boneless Pork Chops: $4.68 per pound – Walmart (compared to $3.68 in 2013 and $4.16 in 2012)

Boneless Center Cut Pork Chops: $4.24 – Target (compared to $4.99 regular price, $4.99 in 2013 and $4.22 in 2012)

Beef Chuck Tender Steak (about 8 pieces): $5.09 per pound (sale) – Walmart (compared to $10.41 for Eye of Round Steak, $6.89 in 2012 for the lowest priced steak)

Chuck Tender Steak (4 pieces): $5.99 – Target (compared to $5.99 in 2013 and $5.39 for price cut steak in 2012)

**Tyson 24 oz Chicken Breast: $6.98 – Walmart (compared to $6.98 in 2013)

**Gold’n Plump 20 oz Chicken: $6.99 – Target (compared to $6.99 in 2013)

**Johnsonville 14 oz 6 pack Beef Brats: $2.98 – Walmart

**Johnsonville 14 oz 6 pack Beef Brats: $2.99 – Target

Round Thirteen: Hygiene 

Suave 22.5 oz Shampoo: $1.50 – Walmart (compared to $1.50 in 2013 and $1.46 in 2012)

Suave 22.5 oz Shampoo: $1.52 – Target (compared to $1.52 in 2013 and $1.49 in 2012)

Head and Shoulders 14.2 oz Shampoo: $4.68 – Walmart (compared to $4.97 in 2013 and $4.97 in 2012)

Head and Shoulders 14.2 oz Shampoo: $4.49 – Target (compared to $4.68 in 2013 and $4.49 in 2012)

Crest Cavity Protection 6.4 oz Toothpaste: $1.96 – Walmart (compared to $1.96 for an 6.4 oz in 2013 and compared to $1.96 in 2012 for an 8.2 oz tube; $1.96/6.4 oz of toothpaste comes out to be about 30.6 cents per ounce)

Crest Cavity Protection 8.2 oz Toothpaste: $2.79 – Target (compared to $2.49 in 2013 and $2.49 in 2012; $2.79/8.2 oz of toothpaste comes out to be about 34 cents per ounce)

Oral B Floss (50 M): $2.27 – Walmart (compared to $2.27 in 2013)

Oral B Satin Floss (50 M): $2.27 – Target (compared to $1.99 for Oral B 50 meter Floss and $3.39 in 2012 for Oral B 40 meter floss)

**Scope 33.8 oz Classic Mouth Wash: $3.97 – Walmart

**Scope 33.8 oz Classic Mouth Wash: $3.94 – Target

**Herbal Essences 10.1 oz Anti-Frizz Shampoo: $2.97 -Walmart

**Herbal Essences 10.1 oz Anti-Frizz Shampoo: $3.03 – Target

**Garnier Fructis 25.4 oz Damage Eraser Shampoo: $4.97 -Walmart

**Garnier Fructis 25.4 oz Damage Eraser Shampoo: $4.99 – Target

Round Fourteen: Bread 

**Nature’s Own 20 Bread: $2.88 – Walmart

**Nature’s Own 20 Bread: $2.99 – Target

Round Fifteen: Bags 

**Ziploc 100 count Sandwich Bags: $2.98 – Walmart

**Ziploc 100 count Sandwich Bags: $2.79 price cut – Target (compared to $2.94 regular price)

Round Sixteen: Snacks 

**Snack Pack 3.25 oz 4 cups Pudding: $1.00 – Walmart

**Snack Pack 3.25 oz 4 cups Pudding: $1.02 – Target

**Lunchables 8.9 oz -10.8 oz Lunch Combinations: $2.74 -Walmart

**Lunchables 8.9 oz -10.8 oz Lunch Combinations: $2.50 price cut – Target (compared to $2.79 regular price)

**Wheat Thins 9.1 oz Original Crackers: $2.50 – Walmart

**Wheat Thins 9.1 oz Original Crackers: $2.54 – Target

**Cheez It 13.7 oz Crackers: $2.88 – Walmart

**Cheez It 13.7 oz Crackers: $2.89 – Target

**Rold Gold Pretzel Sticks: $2.98 – Walmart

**Rold Gold Pretzel Sticks: $2.99 – Target

**Lays 9.5 oz Chips: $2.68 – Walmart

**Lays 9.5 oz Chips: $3.00 – Target (compared to $3.79 regular price)

**Oreos 14 oz Milk’s Favorite Cookie: $2.98 – Walmart

**Oreos 14 oz Milk’s Favorite Cookie: $2.99 – Target

**Lay’s Potato Chips (8.0 oz) (regular): $2.68 – Walmart (compared to $2.68 in 2013)

Lay’s Potato Chips (10 oz): $2.50 – Target (compared to $3.00 for price cut Lay’s in 2012)

Lay’s Potato Chips (9.5 oz) (kettle cooked): $3.48 – Walmart

Lay’s Potato Chips (9.5 oz) (kettle cooked): $3.00 – Target

Lays Potato Chips Variety Pack (20 count): $6.48 – Walmart (compared to $5.98 in 2013 and $6.48 in 2012)

Lays Potato Chips Variety Pack (20 count): $6.49 (price cut) – Target (compared to $6.99 regular price, $6.99 in 2013 and $5.99 price cut in 2012)

Round Seventeen: Dairy 

Yoplait Yogurt (6 oz): $0.60 – Walmart (compared to $0.60 in 2013 and $0.58 in 2012)

Yoplait Yorgurt (6 oz): $0.59 – Target (compared to $0.59 in 2013 and $0.50 in 2012)

Sargento 8 oz (any) Cheese: $2.88 – Walmart (compared to $2.58 in 2013)

Market Pantry 8 oz Medium Cheddar Shredded Cheese: $2.59 – Target (compared to $2.59 in 2013)

Great Value Milk (1/2 Gallon, any kind): $2.64 – Walmart (compared to $2.36 in 2013 and $2.46 in 2012)

Market Pantry Milk (1/2 Gallon, any kind): $2.69 – Target (compared to $2.59 in 2013 and $2.39 in 2012)

Great Value Milk (1 Gallon, any kind): $4.08 – Walmart (compared to $3.85 in 2013 and $3.46 in 2012)

Market Pantry Milk (1 Gallon, any kind): $3.99 – Target (compared to $3.89 in 2013 and $3.49 in 2012)

Final Results:

Final Overall Individual Record for Walmart against Target: 47-35-3 as compared to 25-13-1 in 2013 and 22-14-1 record in 2012.

Final Overall Individual Record for Target against Walmart: 35-47-3 as compared to 13-25-1 in 2013 and 14-22-1 record in 2012.

Rounds won by Walmart: 11 compared to 5 in 2013 and 7 in 2012

Rounds won by Target: 5 compared to 3 in 2013 and 0 in 2012

Analysis & Conclusion

  • Walmart dominates when it comes to prices for Vitamins and alcohol.
  • Target was dominant when it came to many of the breakfast items.
  • Nearly all of Walmart’s wins came from Walmart undercutting Target by a penny or two.
  • Target’s prices are more inconsistent but they do have more sales than Walmart.
  • Walmart’s price of eggs and Gold’s Peak Sweet Tea went up rather dramatically.
  • Walmart still holds a significant advantage in variety in their inventory.

What can I say?  Another year, another victory for Walmart…BUT Target is closing in more and more every year it seems like and as I noted above, most of the comparisons that went Walmart’s way was just by a minimal amount.  I added quite a few items to my original 2012 and 2013 list…hopefully I didn’t make any huge blunders anywhere up above but I feel confident that the information that I’m providing is accurate and especially if you live in the Triad area of North Carolina as I do but I imagine prices nationwide are similar.  Anyway, thanks for taking a look at the 2014 edition of Walmart vs Target.  Til next year!

My Condolences go out to the Sylvia Browne Family

My deepest sympathies go out to the Sylvia Browne family.  I just learned last night on twitter that Sylvia Browne has passed away yesterday morning at the age of 77.  I do not yet know the cause of death but I’ve read early speculation of a stroke.

Upon hearing of the news, I immediately wanted to read some of the reactions to her death.  As to be expected, there were some comments that I thought were in bad taste.  A lot of different people making the same remark about, “I wonder if she saw it coming” which I didn’t think was very classy but it just goes to show the magnitude of people who do not believe in psychics and just how many people that judged Sylvia harshly for some of her well publicized missed predictions.

I understand their perspective, the fact that she was wrong at times, but she does have family, friends, and supporters out there who are going to see those disrespectful messages and I don’t know…I just don’t think that’s the best way the situation could be handled.  But it is what it is.  I’m not here to try to convince folks of her authenticity.  You either believe or you don’t, I just know the positive impact that she had on my life.

I first read Sylvia Browne’s Book of Angels right around 2005 because I knew that my mom loved Sylvia and I just wanted to find out for myself what it was that made her such a loyal fan of this woman.  I read the book and thought it was alright but didn’t think too much about her work until a year later when I decided to give her Journey of the Soul series a shot.  I just found that series to be life changing for me personally.

The information about the battle of good vs evil, searching for your own Truth, synergy, and tools for protection from negativity was not only an intriguing read but it rang true with me as well.  The concept that life is just a test for us to learn lessons from, that there is evil in this world that we must do battle with, and that we all have a chart (destiny) to fulfill but choices as to how we want to get to our destiny all seemed like very plausible explanations for life as far as I was concerned.  And it was because of the fascinating information found in her books, the compassion and sense of humor she displayed during her appearances on The Montel Williams Show, and the closeness I felt to the like-minded souls in the Sylvia Browne forum and on facebook that I am thankful to Sylvia Browne.

If it weren’t for her, I don’t know where I would be spiritually and mentally. I just know that I was a lot unhappier and self-loathing about my life than I am now after having been exposed to Sylvia Browne and for that…I appreciate you and I thank you for the impact that you had on my life but didn’t even know it.

If there were any final thoughts I had to add about Sylvia Browne, it would be that I hope that she is remembered as someone who made mistakes but had the right intentions and that her church as well as the philosophy of searching for truth and praising Mother and Father God will continue to grow for many years to come.

Everyone should contact their congressman on Syria

On September 4th, I contacted my congressman, Representative Howard Coble, who represents the 6th District in my home state of North Carolina.  I wasn’t sure when a vote on Syria was taking place and I’m still not sure but I do know that President Obama is going to be addressing the nation today (September 10th) at some point and I know a vote will be coming soon so I would absolutely encourage and even urge you to call your congressman whenever you get the free opportunity if you’re as passionate as I am about wanting keep our troops and our national security out of harm’s way.

The following are the five reasons I used when I called my representative’s office as reasons for not wanting to get involved in Syria:

1. Syria is not a direct threat to our national security and has no chance of becoming a threat if we simply stay out of their affairs.

2. Dropping bombs on Syria — even for a limited duration is guaranteed to cause collateral damage on the Syrian people.  You can’t bring peace with more violence. (For those who don’t know, collateral damage is defined as: Unintended damage, injuries, or deaths caused by a military operation.)

3. The Obama Administration has yet to release any actual evidence that the Assad regime is the responsible party for the use of chemical weapons.  If the Obama Administration is so certain that it was Assad, why haven’t they published their evidence?

4. Even politicians who support military action in Syria have admitted that some of the Syrian rebels are members of Al Qaeda.  Why are we in such a hurry to align ourselves with a group responsible for the worst terrorist attack in United States history?  Also, how can we be so sure that the arms supplied to the “moderate” Rebels won’t end up in the hands of more extremist factions?

5. A clear plan has not been spelled out to the public.  What is the next course of action for once the Syrian chemical weapons are dismantled?  Do we leave at that point? And what if we are unable to dismantle weapons, then what happens? Finally, have we considered the possibility of Russia, China, or Iran getting involved?  What happens in that scenario?

Bonus reason: As it stands now the United States and France are the only two nations that seem intent on taking action against the Assad regime.  Why can’t we just wait until we hear the results of the UN inspections?  If the UN is able to confirm that chemical weapons were used that there were a considerable number of civilian casualties, this might bring more international support to the cause and give the United States more credibility on the issue.  Why is the US government in such a hurry to strike now when there have already been 110,000+ casualties so far?

Obviously there are a lot of other reasons that could be used but if you are interested in voicing your opposition to your congressman and are not sure what to say, feel free to use the reasoning in this article as a guideline for what to say or just read all of it verbatim, it doesn’t matter.  I’d be flattered if someone thought that something I said was worth using as sound reasoning for staying out of Syria.

So far, I have not heard back from Representative Howard Coble or his office. Last I read was that he was leaning towards voting “no” on Syrian intervention but still wanted to hear more on the situation.  If I do hear from him, I’ll update this article and let everyone know and I’ll also update this to tell you how he voted on the matter.  Let’s hope that he listens to his constituents and trusts his initial instincts on the matter.

If you’re interested in contacting your congressman but you’re not sure who your congressman is or what number to call to get in touch with their office, you can click on this link and type in your zip code to find out all the necessary information.

Thanks for reading.

Bradley Manning sentenced to 35 years

Bradley Manning
Finally, justice has been served!  Oh wait, no it hasn’t.  I suppose from the corporate media’s perspective, the fact that Manning isn’t serving the maximum ninety year sentence for the twenty criminal counts, including counts of “espionage”, then in a sense it was a “victory” for the Defense but that’s the only way this could be classified as a victory.  In reality, Bradley Manning is going away for a very long time and even if released early due to good behavior, would still have to serve out at least two-thirds of that sentence amounting to over twenty three years in prison minus the three already served which comes out to roughly twenty years behind bars.

To put that into perspective, Bradley Manning is 25 now and by the time he would even have some consideration for release, it would be the year 2033.  Can you imagine?  Five presidential cycles would have already passed since then and kids entering Kindergarten this school year would be in their mid-twenties by the time Manning would even be eligible for release — if he hasn’t already died, been killed, or committed suicide during that time.

We’re not talking about a man who killed his comrades or killed innocent people from an Apache helicopter that were supposedly insurgents but were in fact journalists.  Nor did he rape or destroy whole villages under the guise of fighting for freedom.  No, what Bradley Manning is guilty of (at worst) is wanting to open up people’s eyes to the things that were going on in Iraq and Afghanistan. Maybe he shouldn’t have leaked so many documents indiscriminately as he did and maybe should’ve found a different source to leak the information to but even so, there was nothing (that I know of) that confirmed malicious intent or to his classified leak’s being a danger to his comrades or to the US National Security.

I understand the notion that the government doesn’t want certain things leaked, if for no other reason than to be able to save face and avoid scrutiny from the media and the American public.  I get that and there should be some consequences for leaking documents without permission but I’ve yet to hear what is it specifically that Bradley Manning revealed that Al Qaeda and other terrorist networks did not already know that could endanger the American people or hurt diplomatic relationships with other countries.  Bradley Manning was a Private in the army, if he had access to such information that could cause that much damage to national security in the mental condition that he was in then that’s his superior’s fault for allowing him to be in that position in the first place!

We’re talking about a young man who from the moment he was born, struggled with the symptoms of fetal alcohol syndrome thanks to his unstable alcoholic mother; had an identity crisis not only with his sexuality but just as a man in general; and was pushed into joining the military by his father despite being well undersized presumably because doing so would give Brad his best chance of being able to afford college.

So if you factor in all the dysfunction and isolation that Bradley Manning faced as a child along with the fetal alcohol syndrome and gender identity disorder, it doesn’t really sound like a person fit to be sent into a warzone.  In fact, by the military’s own standards, Bradley Manning should have been discharged the moment he sent the picture and letter revealing his gender identity problem to his superior.  And while I do not agree with the current assessment that those who are transgender as having a mental illness, I would have much preferred that he be kicked out of the Army for said “illness” than to be kept in the service and end up losing more than a third of his life in prison for simply trying to reveal injustices in American foreign policy.

I may never know as long as I live, just how “harmful” the classified documents were that Bradley Manning leaked but in my eyes, given the circumstances of his health and state of mind and the negligence of the Army to discharge Brad upon learning of his supposed “mental illness” I can’t help but think that there were several others deserving of just as much blame in this tragic case as Bradley Manning himself.  I don’t care what anyone says, the actions of a well-intentioned, naive soldier does not warrant thirty five years in a federal prison.  Justice was not served here.

Walmart vs Target Grocery Shopping Comparisons – 2013

In last years battle between the two retail giants, I discovered rather unsurprisingly that Walmart had an edge across the board in overall pricing.  I also discovered Walmart’s stock is much bigger and the store stays busier perhaps helped by the fact that Target tends to close at 10 while Walmart basically stays open around the clock.  In addition, I also made note of the fact that while things were generally cheaper at Walmart, Target was certainly cheap enough and had a big enough inventory that if one wanted to do their grocery shopping there, they certainly could.  With that said, how do the two rivals compare to each other as well as last year’s pricing?  Let’s find out…

(Note: * = a change in outcome from last year; ** = newly listed grocery item that wasn’t listed last year)

Round 1: Health Care

Suave 22.5 oz Shampoo: $1.50 – Walmart (compared to $1.46 in 2012)

Suave 22.5 oz Shampoo: $1.52 – Target (compared to $1.49 in 2012)

Head and Shoulders 14.2 oz Shampoo: $4.97 – Walmart (compared to $4.97 in 2012)

Head and Shoulders 14.2 oz Shampoo: $4.68 – Target (was the lowest price for the Head & Shoulders that worked as a replacement for one of the Suave varities; compared to $4.49 in 2012)

Crest Cavity Protection 6.4 oz Toothpaste: $1.96 – Walmart (compared to $1.96 for an 8.2 oz Toothpaste of the same variety in 2012; that’s 30.6 cents per ounce)

*Crest Cavity Protection 8.2 oz Toothpaste: $2.49 – Target (compared to $2.49 in 2012; that’s 30.3 cents per ounce)

Oral B Floss (50 M): $2.27 – Walmart (compared to $3.37 in 2012 for 40 meter floss)

*Oral B Floss (50 M): $1.99 – Target (compared to $3.39 in 2012 for 40 meter floss)

Scott Toilet Paper (4 Rolls): $3.98 – Walmart (compared to $3.98 in 2012)

Scott Toilet Paper (4 Rolls): $3.99 – Target (compared to $3.99 in 2012)

Health Care Total: $14.68 – Walmart (compared to $15.74 in 2012)

*Health Care Total: $14.67 – Target (compared to $15.85 in 2012)

Round 2: Cats

Fancy Feast Cans: $0.53 – Walmart (compared to $0.58 in 2012)

Fancy Feast Cans: $0.55 – Target (price cut; compared to $0.77 in 2012)

Temptation Treats .98g: $1.50 – Walmart (compared to $1.74 in 2012)

Temptation Treats .98g: $1.52 – Target (compared to $1.54 in 2012)

Cats Pride 20lb. Cat Litter (Cheapest): $6.92 – Walmart (compared to $6.22 in 2012)

*Boots & Barkley 20lb. Cat Litter (Cheapest): $6.49 – Target (compared to $7.29 in 2012)

Cats Total: $8.95 – Walmart (compared to $8.54 in 2012)

*Cats Total: $8.56 – Target (compared to $9.60 in 2012)

Round 3: Cleaning Supplies

Gain Powder Detergent (40 Loads): $5.97 – Walmart (compared to $6.84 in 2012; $5.97 comes out to 15 cents per load)

Gain Powder Detergent (80 Loads): $9.99 – Target (compared to $10.99 in 2012 for 68 loads; $9.99 comes out to 12.5 cents per load)

Gain Dryer Sheets (80 Sheets): $3.97 – Walmart (compared to $3.97 in 2012; $3.97 comes out to 5 cents per sheet)

Gain Dryer Sheets (120 Sheets): $4.89 – Target (compared to $4.89 in 2012; $4.89 comes out to 4 cents per sheet)

Clorox 35 Wipes: $2.48 – Walmart (compared to $2.48 in 2012)

*Clorox 35 Wipes: $2.24 – Target (compared to $2.64 in 2012)

Clorox Toilet Bowl Cleaner (24 oz): $1.97 – Walmart (compared to $1.97 in 2012; $1.97 comes out to about 8.2 cents an ounce)

Clorox Bathroom Cleaner (30 oz): $2.79 – Target (compared to $1.97 in 2012 for the Toilet Bowl Cleaner.  I simply could not find it this year; $2.79 comes out to 9.3 cents an ounce)

Dawn 38 oz Liquid: $3.97 – Walmart (compared to $3.97 in 2012)

Dawn 38 oz Liquid: $3.99 – Target (price cut; compared to $2.55 in 2012 for a 24 oz bottle of Dawn)

Pledge Wipes (24 wipes): $3.37 – Walmart (compared to $3.37 in 2012)

Pledge Wipes (24 wipes): $3.39 – Target (compared to $3.39 in 2012)

Purex Crystals (28 loads): $4.76 – Walmart (compared $4.76 in 2012 for 32 loads)

Purex Crystals (28 loads): $4.79 – Target (compared to $4.89 in 2012 for 32 loads)

Windex: $2.87 – Walmart (compared to $2.87 in 2012)

Windex: $2.49 – Target (compared to $2.49 in 2012)

Cleaning Supplies Total: $29.36 – Walmart (compared to $30.23 in 2012)…While I reward Walmart with this round, keep in mind that some of the items at Target actually end up saving you money because it’s in larger quantities.

Cleaning Supplies Total: $34.57 – Target (compared to $33.81 in 2012)

Round 4: Breakfast Items

*Eggo Waffles (10 waffles): $2.38 – Walmart (compared to $2.38 in 2012)

Eggo Waffles (10 waffles): $2.54 – Target (compared to $2.34 to in 2012)

Roddenbery’s Northwood’s Original Syrup (24 oz) (cheapest and less expensive than store brand): $2.18 – Walmart (compared to $1.67 in 2012)

Market Pantry Syrup (24 oz) (cheapest/store brand): $2.39 – Target (compared to $2.54 in 2012)

Sunny Meadows Eggs (1 dozen): $1.88 – Walmart (compared to $1.68 in 2012)

*Market Pantry Large (1 dozen): $1.69 – Target (compared to $2.79 in 2012 for a dozen of Eggland’s Best Eggs).

*Great Value Bacon: $3.48 – Walmart (compared to $2.98 in 2012 for Carolina Pride Bacon)

Market Pantry Fully Cooked Bacon: $3.59 – Target (compared to $2.54 in 2012 for what I believe to be the store brand as well)

Breakfast Items Total: $9.92 – Walmart (compared to $7.04 in 2012 for very similar items)

Breakfast Items Total: $10.21 – Target (compared to $7.67 in 2012)

Round 5: Meats 

(Note: Target does not have as big of a selection of meats so I just tried my best to make the most similar comparisons that I could)

Hamburger 1lb. (80/20): $3.68 – Walmart (compared to the lowest price for hamburger that I could find that was also $3.68 in 2012)

Hamburger 1lb. (80/20): $3.69 – Target (compared to $3.59 in 2012)

Cube Steak: $4.49 – Walmart (compared to $3.74 in 2012 which was the lowest price at the time)

Beef for Sandwich Steak: $5.27 – Target (compared to $5.98 in 2012)

Boneless Pork Chops: $3.68 – Walmart (compared to $4.16 in 2012)

Boneless Pork Chops: $4.99 – Target (compared to $4.22 in 2012)

Eye of Round Steak (about 8 pieces): $10.41 – Walmart ($1.30 per piece; compared to $6.89 in 2012 for the lowest priced of same type)

Chuck Tender Steak (4 pieces): $5.99 – Target ($1.50 per piece; compared to $5.39 for price cut steak in 2012)

**Tyson 23.2 oz Chicken Breast: $6.98 – Walmart

**Gold’n Plump 20 oz Chicken: $6.99 – Target

Meat Total: $22.46 + **$6.98 =29.24 – Walmart (compared to $18.47 in 2012 for everything minus the chicken)

Meat Total: $19.94 + **$6.99 = 26.93 – Target (compared to $19.18 in 2012 for everything minus the chicken)…Technically Target did come out cheaper but again Walmart has a bigger selection and in the case of steak, there was more pieces in the pack so that’s something to keep in mind.

Round 6: Snacks

**Lay’s Potato Chips (8.5 oz) (all varieties): $2.68 – Walmart (compared to $1.80 for 9 oz Wise Chips in 2012)

Lay’s Potato Chips (10 oz) (some varieties): $2.50 – Target (compared to $3.00 for price cut Lay’s in 2012)

Lays Potato Chips Variety Pack (20 count): $5.98 – Walmart (compared to $6.48 in 2012)

Lays Potato Chips Variety Pack (20 count): $6.99 – Target (compared to $5.99 price cut Variety Pack in 2012)

Goldfish (6.6 oz): $1.98 – Walmart (compared to $1.98 in 2012)

Goldfish (6.6 oz): $1.99 – Target (compared to $1.89 in 2012)

Snacks Total: $10.64 – Walmart (compared to $10.84 in 2012)

Snacks Total: $11.48 – Target (compared to $11.38 in 2012)

Round 7: Beverages

Coca Cola Drinks (2 Liter): $1.38 – Walmart (compared to $1.28 in 2012)

Coca Cola Drinks (2 Liter): $1.00 – Target (compared to $1.89 in 2012)

Pepsi Drinks (2 Liter): $1.48 – Walmart (compared to $1.48 in 2012)

Pepsi Drinks (2 Liter): $1.25 – Target (compared to $1.79 in 2012)

Powerade (32 oz): $0.80 – Walmart (compared to $0.88 in 2012)

Powerade (32 oz): $1.02 – Target (compared to $1.02 in 2012)

**Gatorade (32 oz): $1.00 – Walmart (I’m 99% sure that the price was also a $1 in 2012)

**Gatorade (32 oz): $1.29 – Target

Gold Peak Sweet Tea (59 oz): $2.00 – Walmart (compared to $2.00 in 2012)

Gold Peak Sweet Tea (59 oz): $2.59 – Target (compared to $3.14 in 2012)

Seagram’s Ginger Ale (2 Liter): $1.00 – Walmart (compared to $1.00 in 2012)

Seagram’s Ginger Ale (2 Liter): $1.00 – Target (compared to $1.99 in 2012)

Beverages Total: $7.66 – Walmart (compared to $7.64 in 2012)

Beverages Total: $8.15 – Target (compared to $9.83 for everything in 2012 minus Gatorade)

**Round 8: Dairy

Yoplait Yogurt (6 oz): $0.60 – Walmart (compared to $0.58 in 2012)

Yoplait Yorgurt (6 oz): $0.59 – Target (compared to $0.50 in 2012)

**Sargento 8 oz Mild Cheddar Shredded Cheese: $2.58 – Walmart

**Market Pantry 8 oz Shredded Cheese: $2.59 – Target

Great Value Milk (1/2 Gallon, any kind): $2.36 – Walmart (compared to $2.46 in 2012)

Market Pantry Milk (1/2 Gallon, any kind): $2.59 – Target (compared to $2.39 in 2012)

Great Value Milk (1 Gallon, any kind): $3.85 – Walmart (compared to $3.46 in 2012)

Market Pantry Milk (1 Gallon, any kind): $3.89 – Target (compared to $3.49 in 2012)

Dairy Total: $9.39 – Walmart

Dairy Total: $9.66 – Target

Overall Individual Record for Walmart: 25-13-1 (compared to 22-14-1 record in 2012)

Overall Individual Record for Target: 13-25-1 (compared to a 14-22-1 record in 2012)

Rounds won by Walmart: 5 (compared to 7 in 2012)

Rounds won by Target: 3 (compared to 0 in 2012)

Quick Observations:

  • Target has sales so their prices are more likely to vary.
  • Walmart still has a wider selection of items but Target has made progress.
  • If you’re able to afford to do so, I always recommend to buy in high quantities.  Examples where this is beneficial is to go to Target for detergent and Walmart for steaks as both have a higher quantity of product that will last you longer.

Well that’s all for this addition of Walmart vs Target comparisons.  Thanks for reading.

Update (2/12/14): I see a lot of people are viewing this blog entry.  Is anyone finding any use in my findings?  I haven’t really gotten much feedback.

Update (2/27/14): I will be doing more price comparisons between Walmart and Target for 2014 so if anyone has any requests in terms of what products or what categories I should do a comparison for, I would certainly be willing to do that.

Update (3/31/14): The 2014 Edition has been published!

Chris Matthews: Rand Paul a fringe candidate

Chris Matthews
Last night, I was flipping by the corporate media stations as I tend to do, not to watch those programs for news but rather just to see what kind of propaganda they were spewing.  Most of it when I flipped by was Trayvon Martin related which is not a big surprise but then I happen to catch Hardball with Chris Matthews and he’s actually talking about sexual assault in the military, which to his credit, is actually an important subject that needs to be talked about…unlike the usual demagoguery that takes place on his show.

But then as usual, in typical Chris Matthews fashion, he finds a way to distract the viewers from the important issue of trying to end sexual assault on members of the military and throw Senators Rand Paul and Ted Cruz under the bus. He kept making remarks to Senators Barbara Boxer and Kirsten Gillibrand about how did you two manage to get two right wing “fringies” (which is not even a word) to join you in a mainstream, good bill.  Then, at the end of the segment he made another comment that you two ladies may have unintentionally pushed Rand Paul and Ted Cruz to the top of the GOP ladder for 2016 which would be great because if that happens, Hillary would win in a landslide.

Hm.  Is that right Mr. Matthews?  Well, why don’t we just explore that hypothesis, sir.  Is Rand Paul a right wing extremist or “fringie”…whatever the hell that is?

Rand Paul on the issues:

  • Senator Paul is pro-life: 50% of Americans in a Gallup Poll consider themselves pro-life compared to only 41% pro-choice.
  • Senator Paul supports cuts in military spending: 35% of Americans in a Gallup Poll believe we spend too much on military and defense while 26% say we spend too little.
  • Senator Paul supports auditing the Federal Reserve: 70% of Americans in a Reason Poll support an audit, while 21% do not.
  • Senator Paul says that there should be no national law on same-sex marriage; that it should be left to the states: 60% of Americans in a New York Times/CBS News Poll said it should be up to the states to decide compared to 33% who said the Federal Government should have the right to decide.
  • Senator Paul supports legalizing medical marijuana: 85% of Americans in a Fox News Poll support legalizing medical marijuana compared to 13% that oppose.
  • Senator Paul voted to bar the EPA from regulating greenhouse gases: 65% of Americans in a Gallup Poll support mandatory control over greenhouse gases.
  • Senator Paul supports term limits if the federal budget can’t get balanced: 75% of Americans in a Gallup Poll supports having term limits for federal lawmakers with 21% who oppose.
  • Senator Paul wants to repeal the Patriot Act: 42% of Americans in a 2011 Pew Research Poll thought that the Patriot Act is a necessary tool to find terrorists while 34% say the Patriot Act goes too far.
  • Senator Paul is opposed to banning high capacity magazines over ten bullets: 65% of Americans in a 2013 NBC Poll supports a nationwide ban on clips with more than ten bullets.
  • Senator Paul says Obamacare is unconstitutional: 49% of Americans in an NBC News/Wall Street Journal Poll say that the Affordable Healthcare Act is a bad idea compared to 37% who thinks it’s a good idea.
  • Senator Paul supports raising the retirement age: 53% of Americans in an AP Poll supported raising the retirement age as opposed to 35% who said they would cut monthly payments.

Conclusion

Among the eleven issues that I researched (and no I didn’t just cherry pick specific issues that strengthened my argument, I legitimately did look for issues that would be polled) 8 of the 11 subjects were issues that Rand Paul was on the side of the majority.  That’s not to say that he’s right on those eight issues, I’m simply addressing the comments from Chris Matthews that Rand Paul is an ultra right wing conservative or fringe candidate.

My question is: how can a candidate be considered on the fringe if his views coincide with a majority of Americans in 72.7% of the issues tested? Maybe it’s not Rand Paul that’s the extremist Mr. Chris Matthews, but maybe it’s your own warped liberal views that are out of step with most Americans.