Archive for March, 2011

Sports Snort: but, aren’t all the games meaningless?

Thursday, March 31st, 2011

The mcnews outlet, USA Today, ran on its front page for “grab passerbyers attention and coinage” purpose, the college sports’ question “Should Players be paid?”, with a photograph of an Arizona basketball star hitting a shot and “This shot was worth” whatever million dollars.

I look at College Sports — football moreso than basketball — quizzically.  The answer on how to fix the sleaze with permeates these two arenas is to smash it completely.  Ralph Nader suggests as much:

Nader said that colleges should either integrate athletics into the educational mission by eliminating college scholarships, or, “openly acknowledge the professionalism in big-time college sports, remove the tax-exempt status currently given to athletic departments, and make universities operate them as unrelated businesses.”

I believe Joe Fan heard the name “Ralph Nader”, and tuned out completely.

It’s the nature of the beast.  Things were worse at the turn of the last century, as things developed.  An underground or shadow economy develops to get around the regulatory appartus put in place to guard against the business enterprise this thing is — they’re, when I pull away from the games and the skeeziness — somewhat contrived, in place to continue an illusion.  I wish these games had developed along the lines of baseball — a professional minor league system.

Games that you watched… never actually happened.  Remember when the USC football team won a national championship a few years ago?  That never actually happened.  The “Reggie Busch” situation lead the title to be vacated.  This is the peculiar logic of college athletics (and by that I mean basketball and football).  This year, I vaguely wanted Auburn to beat the Oregon Ducks for this reason: the promise that in a few years, the NCAA would decide to look behind a few rocks — they passed by and winked and nodded at the “Cam Newton Situation” — and we could start up a dynasty of “Vacated Championships”.

Hm.  You know what would be amusing — to read through the comments section here to College Football Fandom.

Ohio State, after Yahoo News did that investigative journalism that the NCAA tries not to do: 

At a news conference, Tressel said something about not knowing whom to tell when he got Cicero’s e-mails. Athletic Director Gene Smith, who should have been red-in-the-face furious, said of Tressel, “We trust him implicitly.” School President Gordon Gee, asked whether Tressel might get fired, giggled and said, “I hope he doesn’t fire me.”

The joke that is not a joke.  In a few years, all those games Ohio State played — they will have never happened either.

Oh, and by the wya.  All those Fiesta Bowl games?  They never happened.
What’s great about this story is that this brings about several local angles with each football team that appeared in the bowl.


“We are in the business where big strong athletes are known to attend these types of establishments. It was important for us to visit, and we certainly conducted business,” he said.

So, March Madness.  Who should you cheer on in the Final Four?  It turns out that we kind of have two brackets — the “Underdog” bracket and the “Major Powerhouse Bracket”.  VCU is that team that was basically the last team picked for the tournament — and I’d say the underlying message of Dick Vitalle’s quotation still stands — with the last few teams in and out, it is basically a coin flip.  They play Butler, last year’s surprise team — who almost won.  The other side has Kentucky and UCONN — two traditional powerhouse teams wanting to add another banner.

For the cause of cheering on a Vacated Championship, the coaches for Kentucky and UCONN do provide some reason for optimism — though, naturally the NCAA avoids putting in any punishments for when it counts — so who knows?

It’s a tough call on “who to root for”.  What do I value most — the “team everyone counted out” or amused cynicism?

the next coolidge

Sunday, March 27th, 2011

The comments for Libertarian themed blogs when they touch on Ron Paul are often pretty funny.  Take, for instance, this sentence.

Ron Paul introduced me to Liberty.

He’s running in 2012.  It looks like.  Rand will float about a run, or feignt a run, if his dad doesn’t run.  None of which adds to this:

Ron Paul is a serious candidate this time. It may take the national media a while to realize it, but when he hits the ground running with a few five-million-dollar money bombs before the debates, runs national TV ads touting his record, and wins the Iowa straw poll, everyone will know.

My fellow Connecticut For Liebermann members may disagree with me on this, but Ron Paul is good for America in my opinion. He gives laughter to normal people and a harmless outlet for the seriously deranged, a political Mr. Bean of sorts.

As a frustrated ’08 contributer, is the Paul campaign going to have adult supervision this time?

Mitch Daniels would be the perfect compromise candidate in my opinion.

I think a Daniels/Johnson ticket would attract a hell of a lot of moderate Democrats as well.

Any reason?

Actually, the more interesting comments come in over here, about Rand singular.

“just maybe we’ll get someone in office with some principles for the first time since Jefferson.”

Hey, I’d take a Grover Cleveland or a Calvin Coolidge

I would be cool with just a succession of William Henry Harrison’s for eternity.
*bell ring* “NEXT!”

You could leave an honorary empty chair.

And the comment that draws my attention:

Example of an insane, yet unfortunatley common response I encountered among liberal arts majors: “Well, Britt, Coolidge was probably a racist, so anything he said and did (even if it was a simple truth like the sky is blue) should be discounted outright, and his name should never be mentioned again in any positive capacity.”
Extrapolating their logic, any president, leader, philospher, or politcal figure before JFK was on par with Hitler and/or slave-whipping boogeymen.

I call b.s.  Nobody is talking about Calvin Coolidge.  And if they are, if this commenter sees to it to interject Coolidge at every conversing opportunity, why would these liberal arts majors go to the “probably a racist” card (do they discuss his silence on the klan or –?)  and not the more frequented “Slept through a false bubble of an illusionary and half baked prosperity” route?

two squares

Saturday, March 26th, 2011

I saw this on an Internet message board for a topic relating to events of Libya…

… and an argument against that there Intervention… after a brief that “I’m not really paying attention”, but  tending toward an Isolationist impulse, and a weariness of American military being in firing zones…

“The US didn’t do anything when Trafalgar Square happened.”

This amused me.  She meant Tiananmen Square, surely — of quickly developing Superpower China fame, but just for the sake of Trafalgar Square… what is it?

Trafalgar Square is a square in central London, England. With its position in the heart of London, it is a tourist attraction, and one of the most famous squares in the United Kingdom and the world. At its centre is Nelson’s Column, which is guarded by four lion statues at its base. Statues and sculptures are on display in the square, including a fourth plinth displaying changing pieces of contemporary art. The square is also used as a location for political demonstrations and community gatherings, such as the celebration of New Year’s Eve in London.

Did she have a vague idea of a Square that begins with “T”, look it up on google and have Trafalgar Square pop up?  I think so.

The name commemorates the Battle of Trafalgar (1805), a British naval victory of the Napoleonic Wars. The original name was to have been “King William the Fourth’s Square”, but George Ledwell Taylor suggested the name “Trafalgar Square”.[1]

I agree.  It’s a good thing America didn’t intervene in the Battle of Trafagalar and the whole Napoleonic Wars.  Or is this referring to one of these incidents?

By March of the year Nelson’s column opened, the authorities had started banning Chartist meetings in the square. A general ban on political rallies remained in effect until the 1880s, when the emerging Labour movement, particularly the Social Democratic Federation, began holding protests there.

On “Black Monday” (8 February 1886), protesters rallied against unemployment; this led to a riot in Pall Mall. A larger riot (called “Bloody Sunday“) occurred in the square on 13 November 1887.

One of the first significant demonstrations of the modern era was held in the square on 19 September 1961 by the Committee of 100, which included the philosopher Bertrand Russell. The protesters rallied for peace and against war and nuclear weapons.

There are, of course, more current and relevant examples that would have made her point than… well, both the events at Tiananmen Square, and the events at Trafalgar square… no need to drap Bertrand Russell into this.

Tim Pawlenty IN YOUR FACE

Thursday, March 24th, 2011

I guess we are going to have to take this Tim Pawlenty ad and ensconse it in gold.  We are not going to get anything quite like it again.  We see it with his ad announcing the formation of an Exploratory Committee — itself a bit ridiculous, but it is the type of ad of which the “Courage to Stand” ad is a parody.

The director thatTim Pawlenty hired, and you can look up the name if you want, has tapped down the productions a notch.  But maybe that’s the point.  Team Pawlenty is apparently pleased as punch at the attention, even smirking, that the “Courage to Stand” ad received.  If it amounts to much more than Mike Gravel’s attention upon his ad campaign — a classic — we will see.  But I think there is a logic here: Pawlenty holds that Obama received the presidency off of, more or less merely, “great oratory” and speeches. Pawlenty, not a dynamic speech-maker thinks that he can get in by slicing up his boring speeches (and with dynamic directorial techniques.  It’s a continued process in the American democratic system that is worth keeping an eye on.

I object to everyone

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011

The thing about my 55-45 against opinion of our adventures in Libya…

You would think that this would mean that when reading opinions pro and against, I would be nodding my head in this wishy washy manner.  No.  The effect of reading opinions pro and con is that I find myself shaking my head — an editorial in favor pulls me against, an editorial against pulls me for.  Everyone’s arguments lead me to a raised eyebrow of “no.  Really?”   I’m just a born contrarian or something.

I made a remark about a notion amongst opponents /critics on items of propaganda believed and denied in my last post.  What do I make of this?

(3) And that the movement toward democratization in the Arab world—which has spread from Tunisia to Bahrain, and now includes such unlikely locales as Syria—be dealt an enormous setback through the survival of one of region’s most notorious autocrats?

Naturally cautious, you should expect “Revolutions” to have set-backs and either be able to proceed past them or not.  A road-block in route to “democraticization” — I suppose it already was, with assumption that the lead of the Rebellion movement is completely saintly.  Obama was annoying when he called for Qaddafi to leave, which … a quote I found somewhere or other… “would be meaningless if it were the president of Costa Rica”.

Andrew Sullivan is interesting here:

The key thing is to avoid leadership in this case. Yes, I just wrote that. If the French and British take ownership of this selfless act of imperial compassion, Obama can claim to be advancing American values but not enmeshing US troops in a third endless war. Many on the right will hate this, but some on the right will see its logic. My own view is that the American conservative public (not the neocons) would love for the allies to take more military responsibility for their own backyard. I have no problems with the EU or France or even Britain pursuing the same kind of self-defeating, fiscally crippling, decade-long wars that the US, under Bush-Cheney, so helpfully innovated. They’re sovereign nations. If they want to fight such a proxy war for an unknowable amount of time, let them.

The good news is that this would be hypocritical and null and void if from a stance of “Anti-Imperialism”.  As it were, this attitude is still disquieting: we’re all interconnected the international community of nations, aren’t we?

Operation Random Word Generator and its discontents

Monday, March 21st, 2011

It was good to see a relatively big war protest on Saturday, timed to the anniversary of the start of the Iraq War but existing with the back-drop of “Operation Odyssey Dawn“.  It’s not even that I agree or disagree with anything, so much as consistency ought to hold forth from Bush into Nobel Peace Prize Winner Barack Hussein Obama.

Maybe we’ll all rise in support after Haley Barbour assumes the Presidency?

Vote to Impeach!

Operation Odyssey Dawn is that little war that every president throws out there, even if there is a big war or two happening.  I guess we have that knife’s edge of what it means to cheer on a supposed Middle East 1848 — the year of Revolutions in Europe which fell short and were beaten back by the various counter-revolutions, to unwind years later.  Surely we can watch as Murbarik falls down, but nothing stands there when Qaddafi purchases the necessary military to prompt up any military that wavers against him.

I suppose I’m, like, 55-45 against.  I should probably be prompted to more, just for Overton Window’s sake — or slippery slopes.  I am amused by people pointing out Libya’s anti-al Qaeda stance, which was pounced out there when our government was readying to do business with Qaddafi and was refurbishing his image a tad — (No, really.  Bush used the friendly title for our new buddy, “Colonel Qaddafi.”)  This was a tad convenient, no more so and no less so than our current disavowal of the claim — which point in time do you trust the CIA?  Don’t answer that!  Depends on which is convenient for your preferred policy.

I am also amused by hawkish politicians finangling for an oppositional note here — John McCain “supports Obama” but will toss in a “did this too late” just for the Hell of it.

Sunday, there was an odd porpourri of protests and things, sort of washing off, accumulated downtown.  There were a few sign wavers sitting on the steps of Pioneer Square with folded signs about Bradley Manning.  The rest was a motley crew.  A man dressed jumped aboard the Max in a banana costume, which puzzled me.  I believe he was connected with the sign wavers — “I’m Vegan Because I have Respect for all Life”.  Except, maybe, bananas… or the dignity of the man dressed up as a banana.

Some Union workers handing out strike information before downtown department stores.  This presents a clashing effect with some other people standing on opposite street corner, where I heard this suspicious survey question given to a passer-byer:  “What concern do you have in your life that you would like to remedy?”  I’ve heard that the Scientologists are abounding right now — was that what that was?

Doc Hastings: What is Humanity all about?

Saturday, March 19th, 2011

Item #1:  Nuclear Power.  Without looking, guess what Doc Hastings says is “always predictable“.  Hint:  He represents the district that holds Hanford.

“This is always predictable, especially from the environmental left, when something like this happens. The first reaction is to close everything down,” Mr. Hastings, Washington Republican, said during an interview with The Washington Times-affiliated *“America’s Morning News” radio program.

“It’s predictable, but I don’t think it’s good policy,” he said. “That simply ignores what humanity is all about. … There are risks involved, and we ought to learn from those risks and proceed forward,” Mr. Hastings said.

It is that even-handed approach which, tends to lose the “proceed with caution” of any type hand in a jiffy.

I like the line about that it “ignores what humanity is all about“.  That’s the first interesting sentence (of any type of interest) I have heard from this man.  Anyway:

“Keep in mind, this was a 9.0 earthquake 75 miles away from these reactors, and the reactors were not harmed by the earthquake. It was not the earthquake that caused the problem in Japan, it was the tsunami. I think that’s very significant.

Phew.  That is a relief.  We should proceed with all haste and Build up Nuclear Reactors on all the faultlines, then.  And I don’t want to hear any “NIMBY”ers on this point.

See too NIMBY:

Some lawmakers accuse the president of acting outside the law and have vowed to continue funding, and fighting for, the Yucca Mountain project.

“What he has done is unilaterally said ‘We’re not going to do that,’ ” said Rep. Richard “Doc” Hastings, R-Wash, a nuclear power supporte whose state was an alternative to Yucca Mountain. It “was designated as a national repository by law, and no president can undo a law he doesn’t like.”

Actually, this is kind of interesting.  A subtle difference:

WASHINGTON — Republican Rep. Doc Hastings says any criticism of his environmental record is off-base for one reason: He’s spent his entire career in Congress trying to clean up a massive nuclear mess in his Central Washington district.

WASHINGTON – Republican Rep. Doc Hastings says any criticism of his environmental record is off base for one reason: He’s spent his entire career in Congress trying to clean up a massive nuclear dump in his central Washington state district.

But what I want to know is… will Hastings laud Obama for his courageous pro-nuclear stance, or is it not quite pro-nuclear enough — in a world where nationally famous Conservative pundits enter the debate swinging about the benefits of Radiation?

Item #2:  Doc Hastings on Daniel Webster.

“It would be in our best interest to heed Daniel Webster’s words that are prominently inscribed on the walls of the House Chamber, ‘Let us develop the resources of our land … and see whether we also, in our day and generation, may not perform something worthy to be remembered.’”

The problem is that Hastings deprived Secretary Webster of his First Amendment Rights, because the full quote is:

“Let us develop the resources of our land, call forth its powers, build up its institutions, promote all its great interests, and see whether we also, in our day and generation, may not perform something worthy to be remembered.”

Those ellipses always get you, I guess.  But “build up its institutions, promote all its great interests” is always a struggle in terms of interpretation — when you can find a way to narrow what is an interest that is “great”.

Item #3:  It’s always pretty easy to put the tail of high gas prices on the Incumbent, I guess.

We’re through this ring over and over again.  We’ll go through it again when prices hit $5.

Item #4:  “The notion that the ethics committee, which is supposed to be the one committee that is nonpartisan, would allow one of its employees to split his time with another partisan committee? I’m stunned,” said Meredith McGehee of the Campaign Legal Center.

No you’re not. 

It’s interesting to look up the latest on what this member of congress is up to and seeing something other than a mass of stories about wanting to kill off a population of wild animals, but it’s what I expected in the wake of a Nuclear Melt-down.

*Disclosure: the Washington Times is owned by the Reverend Sun Myung Moon’s Unification Church — apparently still.  It’s not that this bears all that much on this blog post’s excerpts, but you just can’t toss out any reference the Washington Times without pointing that out.