Showing posts with label Politics. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Politics. Show all posts

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Remember to Thank LeBron James

You can count me among those grateful that LeBron James has decided that he will participate in our society in a positive way. There are many who believe that sports figures should "shut up and dribble" and then there are some who believe that they are the only ones who can save us from ourselves.

In any event, I am grateful for this effort. I am sorely disappointed that there isn't already a plan in place to ensure this happens, but what can you do? Many of our fine states are run by ratfucking Republican governors who don't want you to vote.
A group of athletes led by NBA star LeBron James will roll out a multimillion-dollar program in the next few weeks to recruit poll workers in heavily Black electoral districts for November’s election, a person familiar with the plans said on Monday.
More Than a Vote, a group of prominent athletes fighting voter suppression, will collaborate with the NAACP Legal Defense Fund on the program in a dozen states, including battlegrounds such as Georgia, Michigan, Florida and Wisconsin, where disenfranchisement affects Black voters, the source said.

The New York Times first reported the effort, which will recruit young people as poll workers and include a paid advertising program and corporate partnership to encourage employees to volunteer as poll workers.
A shortage of poll workers to staff in-person voting sites amid worries about the coronavirus pandemic has led to dramatically fewer polling locations in some states that held primaries earlier this year, including Georgia and Wisconsin. That led to long lines, hours-long waits and widespread confusion, particularly in hard-hit African-American communities that felt the brunt of the cutbacks.
The open disenfranchisement of African-American voters is just one aspect of our current national shame. The fact that the Supreme Court enabled it and there aren't more Democrats raising holy hell about it is another part of it.

But, really, we need to encourage our fellow citizens to vote this time. And then vote in the 2022 midterms because that is where the GOP will stage their post-Trump comeback and convince people that they are the party of responsible governance and fiscal responsibility (yeah, right).

We need to make voting easier and more accessible to citizens. I am hoping that a blue tsunami in November will create a once-in-a-generation opportunity to establish sane voting laws.

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Area Man Auditions for Remake of The Untouchables

Honestly, does anyone still believe Trump was ever an athlete?

Come on.

The only this stumblebum has for a bat is to commit felony assault and scare the staff.

Monday, June 1, 2020

Greg Popovich is the Voice of Reason

It's not enough to just speak up and offer platitudes. Greg Popovich is here with solutions and I hope to hell this is not dismissed as just another sports figure looking for attention:
San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich discussed the recent protests throughout the United States with Dave Zirin of The Nation on Sunday.

Dozens of cities across the U.S. have been engaging in demonstrations following George Floyd's death while in police custody May 25, and Popovich provided his thoughts on the long-term issues facing the U.S.:

"The thing that strikes me is that we all see this police violence and racism, and we've seen it all before, but nothing changes. That's why these protests have been so explosive. But without leadership and an understanding of what the problem is, there will never be change. And white Americans have avoided reckoning with this problem forever, because it's been our privilege to be able to avoid it. That also has to change."

The 71-year-old went on to criticize President Donald Trump for his lack of leadership at a time of crisis and his unwillingness to say "black lives matter," but he noted the problems go beyond one person.

"It's more than just Trump," he said. "The system has to change."

As for the current protests, Popovich said they are "very necessary, but they need to be organized better."

What Popovich is pushing back against is the idea that the status quo is something to be revered. What people should realize is that every aspect of normal has to be evaluated for what could very well be the continued oppression of Americans. We can't continue to police our cities like this. We have to remember that the act of dissent it patriotic. It is a very essential idea that protesting is a right and is often the most legitimate form of social commentary.

As you watch everything continue to unfold, remember that there will always be an effort to tie people to looting, burning, and mayhem. This disenfranchises everyone who is protesting peacefully. There are bad actors out there, and they're muddying the water.

This is who they are:

Popovich is trying to share some clarity with us and we should be grateful for his eloquence.

Friday, May 15, 2020

Rory McIlroy is Terrified of Being Seen With Trump

This guy seems traumatized:
McIlroy was asked about that round with the president and vowed it would be the last time he’d ever play with Trump.
Asked about that round and the subsequent reaction it elicited, McIlroy said, “Guilt by association,’’ adding, “I haven’t done it since, so there’s one answer to [your] question.’’

McIlroy then indicated he’d been invited to play with the president since but hasn’t. When asked if the reason he hasn’t played again with Trump was by choice, McIlroy said, “Out of choice.’’
The article goes on to let McIlroy weasel his way out of saying anything negative about Trump and still signal to anyone who might give him money for something that he's definitely not one of those MAGA freaks who stands outside of a half-empty arena screaming about Q-Anon.

Really, we should give McIlroy credit for taking the path known to weasels everywhere. Letting him say "what a nice fellow, no I don't agree with him, and I sure won't ever appear in a public place with him again, can't we all just get along" is the normal way functioning adults behave in public in the year of our Lord 2020 when there are promotional considerations and product endorsements on the line.

If Trump were to walk up to McIlroy on a golf course sometime in the next six months, this poor fellow would tear both hammys trying to get away from the cameras.

Sunday, February 2, 2020

Stupidest Fucking President Ever

The Kansas City Chiefs represent Kansas City, Missouri. There are elements of the greater Kansas City area that are nominally inside of the state of Kansas, but there is no question that the professional teams who play in Kansas City are, in fact, wholly within Missouri.

Enjoy watching your various alt-right outrage merchants try to spin this one. Trump is the goddamned stupidest fucking president you or I will ever see in our lifetimes, provided the American people don't shit the bed in a future election and accidentally put one of his kids in office.

Anyway, look out for a Sharpie! Kansas City, get ready to be annexed by your neighbor to the west.

H/T to Beth Wall

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

How Much Influence Does Bobby Knight Have in Indiana Anymore?

I can't believe having Bobby Knight endorse you in the state of Indiana would really amount to much:

Donald Trump famously dislikes “chokers” — or “chockers,” as he’s been known to misspell the word in hurried tweets. But on Wednesday, he’ll be standing beside one of the most famous chokers in sports history as he tries to strengthen his support among Indiana Republican primary voters.

Trump’s disdain, of course, is reserved for people who fold under pressure, which is probably why he feels no compunction about accepting the support of former Indiana University basketball coach Bob Knight, whose preferred method of choking involves placing his hand around the throat of one of his players.

The announcement that Knight would appear with Trump in Indiana was a coup for the New York billionaire, who is facing strong competition for the 57 delegates the Hoosier state will send to the Republican nominating convention in July. It came just as Trump’s two main competitors, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, announced a limited alliance that would have Kasich stop campaigning in Indiana in order to allow Cruz a chance to challenge Trump one-on-one.

Bobby Knight is a nostalgia figure for the state of Indiana, and, really, only those parts that were a fan of his Hoosier basketball team. He was fired over fifteen years ago and went to coach elsewhere before retiring. He left behind a long trail of outrageous statements and physically violent confrontations with human beings. When they write his obituary, they'll lead with the fact that he got fired because he couldn't control himself anymore. This is what he actually said about it all:

On his time at Indiana and his departure from the school, Knight says: “My fucking heart was ripped out by this goddamn bullshit!”

Notice how there is a definite lack of introspection there.

Knight has a history of refusing any honors. He may have softened in recent years, but he has never really done anything to atone for his conduct in the state of Indiana. Why would anyone voting for a president listen to what he has to say now?

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Who Else is Tired of Curt Schilling?

If you're Curt Schilling, and you're already on thin ice, why would you get yourself fired like this?

On Wednesday evening, ESPN announced it had terminated the MLB analystfollowing repeated political discourse on his feed, which some tabbed as hate speech. Said the company in a statement: “ESPN is an inclusive company. Curt Schilling has been advised that his conduct was unacceptable and his employment with ESPN has been terminated.”

Schilling met with ESPN management on Wednesday in Bristol, Conn., as he was scheduled to work Baseball Tonight on Wednesday night. The company declined to say the executive that delivered the news, but no such decision would be made without the approval of ESPN President John Skipper and ESPN Executive Vice President of Programming and Production John Wildhack.

For those unfamiliar with how we got here, Schilling apologized last September for his tweet comparing the number of Nazi sympathizers in Germany to the percentage of modern Muslim extremists. That tweet prompted ESPN to remove him from its Little League baseball coverage. He was then removed from ESPN’s postseason coverage following an exchange with editors of the sports blog Awful Announcing.

If your political activities and beliefs--which don't have anything to do with calling baseball games unless you've run out of ideas--have gotten you in this much trouble, the best thing to do is to decide whether or not you want to have a job.

Do you?

Then don't do stupid shit like this because, hello, it's 2016, nobody cares about your free speech bullshit, and when they fire you, you're not a victim. You're just dumb.

Really, these things are not hard to figure out.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Baseball and the Economy Have Nothing in Common

You couldn't get more egg-headed than this.

Linking baseball to the economy and monetary policy is as ludicrous as it sounds.

On the one hand, you have a game where people avidly watch their star players make decisions that only affect themselves and where the most incompetent people on the face of the Earth are in charge of deciding who does what and nobody cares about the impact it will have on anyone else and there is no rhyme or reason as to where the right people should be and, on the other, you have baseball.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Is This Worth Worrying About Right Now?

High at the top of my list of priorities--you, know, things that NEED to get done--I would put these things:
1. Put more Americans back to work
2. Restore faith in our banking and investment industries
3. End the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan
4. Control government spending
5. Educate more Americans
There are many other critical things that need to be done as well. We need more savings, better information about the food we eat, better health care for uninsured Americans, and incentives for small businesses to start and then stay in business.
Do we really need to talk about this at a time when we're spending ourselves into oblivion, our infrastructure is crumbling, our Veterans are going without the help they need and while millions of Americans aren't getting enough to eat?
Vice President Joe Biden is expected to announce the change Tuesday, said the official, who is not authorized to speak on the record.
The 1972 Title IX education amendment required gender equity in sports programs at educational institutions receiving federal funds.
Universities initially faced three requirements to prove they were complying with the law: that the proportion of male and female students participating in sports at the university was proportional to the number of male and female students enrolled in the university; that the university was expanding opportunities for women students in athletics; and that the university was meeting the athletic abilities and interests of women students.
See, it's all about what George W. Bush did to ruin America:
In 2005, the administration of former President George W. Bush changed the third requirement, allowing the university to prove it was meeting the athletic interests of women by carrying out surveys of students' interest in sports. The NCAA and women's sports advocates said a low response to such surveys could be interpreted as indicating a lack of interest in sports when actually it could indicate a lack of availability of sports activities.
Under the new policy, universities will no longer be able to claim that a low response to surveys means a low interest in sports, the official said. The new rules still will allow the use of surveys, but universities will have to go further to prove they are complying.
The offiicial told CNN the new rules "restore the system to what it was before" the 2005 change. That rule "made it easier for universities to avoid complying with Title IX," the official said.
While those same universities are jacking up tuition because their state funding has been cut, they'll have to allocate resources to make certain that everyone in school registers a sound, informed opinion about the viability of the school's female water polo team. As always, this is because George W. Bush ruined America. Well, this is one thing the Obama Administration is all over. They can ignore torture, war, death, assassination and extraordinary rendition and they can ignore the fact that your privacy rights have been shredded sixty-seven different ways, but they cannot ignore the fact that college kids have no goddamned opinion about Title IX. Most college kids, by the way, don't play sports. What a shock.
This is what it's like when you have nothing going on, and life is an embarrassment of riches. You have time to devote to worrying about whether or not someone is taking the time to fill out a questionnaire about men's and women's sports. Title IX has ruined athletic programs all over the country while improving things for women. It's too bad we couldn't have found something that would improve things for women without eliminating sports for men. There are a lot of defunct teams and programs out there, thanks to Title IX, and now the Obama Administration has sent Joe Biden out there to make things even worse.
Is that a fiddle I hear in the distance while I'm roasting weenies? Is the Emperor up to his shenanigans again? Shouldn't Rome have a better fire department right now?
Posted via web from An American Lion is on Posterous
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Thursday, December 31, 2009

An Unfair Criticism of President Obama

President Obama, golfing, Martha's Vineyard, 2009

I realize that it looks bad for the President to be playing golf. From a public relations point of view, yes, it is a losing proposition for the President to play golf in a time of war or to look as if he's more interested in his golf game than national security. I've had to consider my own opinions on this to be formed out of passion rather than careful consideration. Maybe, just maybe, I will actually see a man or a woman in the White House of whom I approve, and, maybe, just maybe, they will like to play golf. It's not outside of the realm of possibility. What will I do then? Will I put on the mask of the hypocrite and walk around carrying water for that person?

It looks bad for President Obama to be playing golf while underwear bombers and evangelical jihadists and bankers and used car salesmen are running around, trying to ruin this country. In a more settled time, perhaps it wouldn't look as bad. If we had peace and prosperity, fine by me. Given our current state of affairs, he is due for some, but not all of this criticism:

It's been a tough first year for President Obama, as critics throughout the body politic bemoan that Mr. Change-We-Can-Believe-In is looking more and more like Mr. Politics-As-Usual. With the coming new year, however, POTUS has a prime opportunity to regroup, reload, and revamp his image. He could start by ditching golf.

Seriously. Its venerable White House history notwithstanding, golf is a dubious pastime for any decent, sane person, much less for this particular president. Why would a leader vowing to shake up Washington--to alter the very nature of politics--sell his soul to a leisure activity that screams stodgy, hyperconventional Old Guard?

There are signs that Obama has been nursing a creeping golf addiction for some time now. He took up the game a little more than a decade ago as a newbie state senator hoping to bond with more rural, conservative colleagues. Next thing you know, he was hooked--playing for cash, fretting over his form, and goading staffers to cut out of work early for a quick round.

During the 2008 race, Obama's golf outings drew less notice than his battles on the hard court. But, now that he's firmly ensconced in the Oval Office, the sticks have come out of the closet as Obama constantly looks to squeeze in a few holes: on Father's Day, during the family's summer holiday on the Vineyard, immediately upon touching down from his June trip to Europe. It is often noted that this president hit the links more frequently in his first nine months than the reared-on-golf George W. did in his first two years (after which W. conspicuously swore off the game out of respect for the troops). Currently ranked eighth on Golf Digest's list of presidential golfers (sandwiched between Clinton and Reagan), Obama seems intent on moving up the ladder--despite reports that he's something of a duffer.

In point of fact, it was a bad knee that put George W. Bush off the links, and a bad knee is what will do that every time. You cannot play golf with a knee or a back problem. All Presidents deserve their right to recreation. It would be unfair to say that the President has to be in Washington D.C. all of the time, padding around in rolled-up shirtsleeves with a frown worn down and a stack of papers nearby.

It is especially unfair to the First Family to expect them to be denied their right to recreation as well. Whether this criticism comes from the left or right is a bit unfair, and I have to say that I have engaged in it. I have criticized the social calendar, but I don't deny that they have a right to their affairs. I don't deny that they should have their chance to shine. I don't think you can be a good American and sneer at what perks come with that office. My bullshit is refuted in this case. There's probably evidence of it laying around here on the blog.

Who wouldn't want to play golf in Hawaii on a day like today? Who would deny him the right to have some down time? It does set a great example for Fatass Nation to get out and do something. There's an example of fitness here that should be followed. I guess I should be more conciliatory to this aspect of the President's daily routine and right to recreation. I do note that it's a losing proposition in the public mind. Is that fair? Perhaps not.

Monday, November 16, 2009

They Weren't Going to Win Anyway

As much as I believe the case had merit, and it certainly did, there was no way the United States Supreme Court was going to take this case:
A group of native Americans have lost their bid to force the Washington Redskins pro football team to change its name because they consider it to be a racial slur.

On Monday, the US Supreme Court, in a one-line ruling, refused to take up the case. The action lets stand a decision by a federal appeals court in Washington that the native Americans had waited too long to bring their challenge to the Redskins trademark, and thus forfeited any right to sue.

Some analysts view the case as political correctness run amok. But for nearly 40 years, native American organizations have been working to end the use of Indian names and symbols as sports mascots in the US – at high schools, colleges, and among professional teams.

They have had significant success at the college and high school levels, persuading officials that Indian names and mascots for sports teams are derogatory and demeaning to native Americans. For example, between 1991 and 2008, 11 high schools and two colleges discontinued the use of "Redskins" as their team name. They include Miami University in Ohio and Southern Nazarene University in Oklahoma.

Similar efforts at persuasion have been aimed at the Washington Redskins football team, dating from 1972. But the team insists that its trademark team name does not disparage native Americans. The team has invested millions of dollars to enhance and promote the trademark name on telecasts, in advertising, and on merchandise.

The Redskins name originated in Boston in 1933. The football team was called the Boston Braves, but the owner decided to rename the team the Boston Redskins in honor of the team's head coach, William "Lone Star" Dietz, who was a native American, writes lawyer Robert Raskopf in a brief filed on behalf of the team.

The name became the registered trademark of the team in 1967. The seven native Americans didn't file their lawsuit until 1992 – 25 years later.

You've heard of companies that are now too big to fail? The Washington Redskins are a marketing franchise too big to challenge. I don't buy the idea that it was a bunch of fans on the Supreme Court that slapped this down. I think the considered legal opinion of the court was, take this case, and that's going to open up a floodgate.

Monday, November 9, 2009

South American Kidnappers and Major League Baseball

This is sad:
The mother of former major league pitcher Victor Zambrano was kidnapped Sunday, Zambrano's agent Peter Greenberg said late Sunday night by phone.

Elizabeth Mendez Zambrano was abducted sometime Sunday morning from her son's farm, about half hour from the central Venezuela city of Maracay, Greenberg said.

Venezuela has been haunted in recent years by the kidnapping of rich and famous people. Yorvit Torrealba Jr., the son of Rockies catcher Yorvit Torrealba, and his uncle were kidnapped this summer. They were left unharmed on a road a couple days later. Torrealba has since moved his family to Hollywood, Fla.

Former Angels infielder Gus Polidor was killed in April, 1995 while trying to prevent the kidnapping of his infant son via a carjacking.

Zambrano played seven years for Tampa Bay, the New York Mets, Toronto and Baltimore. His last game in the big leagues was Sept. 30, 2007.

The attraction is, of course, money, and big league players have certainly been flush with cash. While a player like Zambrano may not have played under a lucrative contract in recent years, there is a perception that anyone who has played in the big leagues has money, and in South America, that means the threat of kidnapping. Throughout Latin America, kidnapping is used to extort money from the rich, or from people perceived to be rich.

Here's an older article about the situation, but I think it is indicative of how the crime has perpetrated itself throughout the world, not just Latin America:
Kidnapping is defined as "to hold or carry off, usually for ransom", and encompasses a wide variety of crimes. Economic kidnapping – or the kidnapping business – is where a financial demand is made, which could be either hard cash, or some other financial resource. Political kidnapping, on the other hand, is where political concessions, such as the release of prisoners, changes to the law and policy retreats, are demanded. This distinction may seem straightforward, but in reality cases are rarely this clear cut. There are often grey areas between political and economic kidnapping. For example, the FARC in Colombia is a Marxist-Leninist guerrilla group, but kidnaps for money and is thought to earn hundreds of millions of dollars from it each year. Criminals with political aspirations have also been known to diversify. Definitions are often regarded as the preserve of hair-splitting academics, removed from the reality on the ground. But effective policies and practices for tackling kidnapping are not possible unless they respond to the motivations for the crime and take account of the way kidnappers will react to pressure. For this reason, it is vital that kidnapping cases are defined in terms of the immediate demand rather than any higher order political, religious or other goals a group may have.

Economic kidnapping is one of the fastest-growing industries in the world. It is estimated that kidnappers globally take home in the region of $500 million each year in ransom payments: the hostage is a commodity with a price on his head. Reliable statistics are hard to come by, but it is estimated that there are approximately 10,000 kidnappings each year worldwide. The undisputed kidnap capital of the world is Colombia, where the activity has been described as 'a cottage industry'. In 2000, the Colombian National Police recorded 3162 cases. Colombia's problem has not been contained within its own borders. Colombian kidnapping groups often cross over into Venezuela and Ecuador to take hostages, and both countries feature in the top ten. Other hot-spots around the globe include Mexico, where the problem has risen dramatically in the last five years, Brazil, the Philippines and the former Soviet Union. The following table shows the top ten hot-spots in 1999.
Global Kidnapping hot-spots – 1999

1 Colombia

2 Mexico

3 Brazil

4 Philippines

5 Venezuela

6 Ecuador

7 Former Soviet Union

8 Nigeria

9 India

10 South Africa

As the table above shows, Latin America is an important hub for kidnapping. However, it would be wrong to see the crime as a uniquely Latin American problem. Over the past decade or so, kidnapping has risen in parts of Africa, most notably Nigeria and South Africa. This can largely be traced to the expansion of multi-national companies into these countries following the rich natural resources on offer. Similarly, companies moved into parts of the Former Soviet Union following the collapse of communism at the start of the last decade, and the kidnapping rate has grown there, too.

How sad is it that, ten years later, this sort of thing is still prevalent, even in Venezuela? Let's hope that Zambrano is able to get his mother back safe and sound.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

USC Player Gets Called Out By Ignorant Congressman

While I am thankful that this remark did not generate a knee-jerk reaction (calling an African-American a headhunter could set off shockwaves in this racially-charged era), I have to defend USC safety Taylor Mays from some rather unfair charges:
[...] Mays got blindsided by Rep. Dan Lungren (R-Gold River) during the House Judiciary Committee hearing on NFL head injuries.

Lungren, a Notre Dame graduate, first talked about former Oakland Raiders player Jack Tatum setting the bar for hits designed to injure.

He then complained about Florida quarterback Tim Tebow being rushed back from a concussion before finally getting to Mays.

The congressman didn't identify the two-time All-American by name, but said that while attending a Notre Dame game a couple of weeks ago he "saw a headhunter on the field" tear the helmet off a player.

Lungren was referring to Mays' fourth-quarter hit on Notre Dame receiver Robby Parris, who lost his helmet on the play. Lungren said that no penalty was called on the play, but Mays was actually flagged for a personal foul.

Lungren then pointed out that last Saturday Mays tore the helmet off Oregon State receiver James Rodgers, on a play the Beavers scored a touchdown. No penalty was called on that play, and the Pacific 10 Conference on Monday announced it had suspended the official who should have made a call.

Coach Pete Carroll this week defended Mays' physical style and Rodgers on Tuesday absolved Mays of dirty play.

A so-called headhunter in football is antithetical to the game. No one "head hunts" unless they are being supported by the coaches on that team. In that case, the headhunter is setting himself up for a fall because that coach is not going to be on the field between him and the hit that tears out his knee or knocks him out cold. There's a difference between being a player who hits hard and who hits dirty, and dirty players don't last long at any level--they get taken down a notch quickly.

For example, this is what "headhunting" looks and sounds like:
Browns defensive tackle Gerard Warren announced his plan for stopping the Steelers' star rookie quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger, who is 6-0 as a starter, including a 34-23 victory Oct. 10 over Cleveland in Pittsburgh.

''Go across his head, just like you would anybody else,'' Warren told reporters Thursday in Cleveland. ''Got to get to him and go across his head. Make him think there's pressure when there's not, so he gets the ball out a little faster. Try to take it to him.''

When asked if he meant that he wanted to get in Roethlisberger's head, Warren said no.

''On his head,'' Warren responded. ''Not in it, on it. One rule they used to tell me, 'Kill the head and the body's dead.'''

He made clear what he meant by smashing his forearm into his right hand.

Hitting a quarterback in the head is forbidden in the National Football League, and Warren knows that from experience. He was fined $35,000 in 2001 for a hard and high hit on Jaguars quarterback Mark Brunell while Brunell was standing far away from the play after having thrown an interception.

Nonetheless, Warren said, paying another fine for hitting Roethlisberger ''would be well worth it.'' He added that quarterbacks ''are already overprotected in this league.''

What coach would support that idiocy? What coach is going to go out there and say, "yes, we want Warren to hit the quarterback in the head so hard, the quarterback spits out his own spleen and pees himself."

Do you see any bluster in what Mays is doing? No, he's hitting people hard because he's a safety--that's what they do. He's not a special teams guy, he's not a supercharged wannabe or a perennial bust like Gerard Warren. He's not being thrown out of games. I saw the hit on the Notre Dame player agreed with the fact that he got flagged, simply because the refs are going to throw the flag virtually every time a helmet gets popped off in order to control the game, not to make a deliberate judgement on the legitimacy of the hit--whether or not it was truly a cheap shot or a legitimate hit (not ferocious, btw). In many cases, the laundry hits the field in order to maintain authority and control of the game situation. A good ref knows when to assess penalties to send messages to the teams on the field. A bad ref lets things get out of hand. Mays was flagged on that play, and this is my opinion, because the refs felt that if they didn't intercede, they might lose control of the players and the subsequent retaliation might cause someone a serious injury. He's playing aggressive football, which is like saying he's driving fast as a NASCAR driver.

All too often, members of Congress just run their mouths and don't understand anything. In this case, a young amateur athlete was called out for no reason.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Nostalgia for old Soviet Hockey

Vladislav Tretiak

You can't help but feel a twinge of nostalgia for the old Russian hockey teams and players of the Cold War. Beyond the Miracle on Ice, there were decades of competition, hundreds of players who went through the Soviet system but never saw the possibility of playing in the National Hockey League, and intrigue as well:
Vladislav Tretiak might be the Olympic hockey general manager who is coming in from the cold.

Tretiak, president of the Russian ice hockey federation, was named Monday as his country's GM for the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver. While this clearly is an upgrade over Pavel Bure in Turin 2006 -- at the time, we noted that Bure was known as the Russian Rocket and not the Russian Rocket Scientist -- Team Russia still would have been better served by tapping into one of the great hockey brains: Igor Larionov, The Professor, who has a superior handle on the NHL players who will represent Russia. As an added fillip, Larionov, who played in Vancouver, is revered in that city, but then Tretiak has been worshipped in Canada pretty much since the 1972 Summit Series.

On one of those Red Army tours in the early 1980s, Tretiak shut out the Montreal Canadiens and received perhaps the longest standing ovation at the Forum afforded a player not named Maurice Richard or Guy Lafleur. (The Canadiens would later draft Tretiak although he retired before ever having the chance to play in the NHL. In 1989, he became the first Russian elected to the Toronto-based Hockey Hall of Fame.) The goalie has been embraced as an honorary Canadian, which gets us to the point.

A former member of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service and a Montreal journalist who covers about security issues write in a new book that CSIS suspected Tretiak of recruiting Russian sympathizers in Canada to provide intelligence during his frequent visits to the country in the 1990s.

This isn't as sexy as the revelations that figure skater Katarina Witt was obliged to cooperate with Stasi, the East German spy agency, but odds are excellent that next February the man who has was the Order of Lenin will be asked about the authors' contention before he is asked about the power play.

If Tretiak was a recruiter in the 1990s, it just means he was working for a different flavor of Russian intelligence. Espionage never goes away, governments do. What is constant, though, is the hockey and that's all Tretiak should have to answer for.

Friday, June 12, 2009

NASCAR and the Fate of General Motors

The picture above is of a man named Cotton Owens, working on a car, circa 1964. There was a time when a man with a haircut like that kept calm in our society and kept our economy running at full throttle, as it were. Now? Now a man like that is mocked and told to register with AARP, whatever that is.

With that in mind, I think it is absolutely crucial that General Motors remain in cahoots with NASCAR:

General Motors has told NASCAR teams it is cutting back on its support in all of the sanctioning body's professional series.

Among the teams already notified that they will lose funding are JR Motorsports, owned by Sprint Cup star Dale Earnhardt Jr., and Kevin Harvick Inc., co-owned by Cup star Harvick and his wife, DeLana. JRM races in the second-tier Nationwide Series, while KHI has entries in Nationwide and the third-tier Camping World Truck Series.

Cuts are also expected in the top-tier Sprint Cup series.

Chevrolet spokesman Terry Rhadigan said Friday that GM, reorganizing through Chapter 11 bankruptcy, said cuts would be made soon.

"Our discussions are indeed NASCAR-wide," he said.

Rhadigan would not say if one series would be affected more than others, nor would he say the size of the cuts or how much GM spends on NASCAR. The automaker, through its Chevrolet brand, provides cash and other support to teams, including engines and parts.

Rhadigan, however, said GM has no plans to withdraw Chevrolet from the stock car sport.

"Racing is still in Chevrolet's DNA, and I don't think that's going to change," he said.

Auto racing is truly the American sport of innovation. If you want to build a world where there is no auto racing, brother, do not expect me to live in that world. I am here to talk smack against stopping such a thing from happening. Is is a liberal, urban, coastal mentality that ignores the importance of auto racing in America? This is not something that can be dismissed or ignored. Auto racing is everywhere in America.

Here's what Rick Hendrick had to say:

Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports and chairman of Hendrick Automotive Group, Monday responded to the announcement by General Motors that it will file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

“The products General Motors offers are the highest quality and most fuel efficient in its history, and I have an unwavering faith in the company’s leadership team and our government’s commitment to support this reorganization. After all of the efforts of the past several months, it’s unfortunate that bankruptcy has become the only option, but we at Hendrick Automotive Group and Hendrick Motorsports are certain that GM will emerge from this stronger and better equipped to compete than ever before.

Hendrick Automotive Group can say with confidence that the customers of our 27 General Motors franchises can expect the same high level of care and service that our dealerships have always provided, and that the full range of warranties and parts will be available. From a racing perspective, our heritage is with General Motors. In 25 years together, Hendrick Motorsports has won eight Sprint Cup Series titles with Chevrolet, which has more NASCAR championships and wins than any other auto manufacturer.

Let's hope General Motors can make it. If some government Poindexter decides to sever the relationship between GM and auto racing, America will truly be a poorer nation.