Sunday, October 15, 2017

A Sports Curmudgeon's Complaints

One of the wonderful things about getting older is becoming a curmudgeon. A young curmudgeon is dismissed as a brat or a bitch but when you get old being a curmudgeon is expected and even considered kind of cute.

Official Replays
No touchdown, no home run, no goal, no great catch or impossible shot is legitimate until it has been subjected to official review. I understand the intention is to "get every call right" but the result is to drain the electricity from an athletic event. All the excitement grinds to a stop as the referees stop everything so they can watch a little television.

Football, of course, is the worst offender but baseball and ice hockey are catching up. Basketball and soccer are still mostly immune from this contamination.

Absurd Celebrations

Every sport suffers from this epidemic, although pro football is the worst. At best the players just look like a fool like when Odell Beckham acted like a dog peeing on the field after a touchdown reception. Then there are the athletes who injure themselves celebrating. In addition to the ones in the clips above there was golfer Thomas Levet who broke his leg celebrating winning the French Open and Indian soccer player Peter Biaksangzuala who died after breaking his neck doing a backflip after a scoring goal.

There is a classic quote in football attributed to several players and coaches, "When you go into the end zone, act like you've been there before."

The Student-Athlete Lie
This one dates back to well before I was born. Colleges started paying people to play sports for them back in the 1870's and even then they found ways to disguise the payments as charity and entered them into non-degree programs so studying wouldn't interfere with their athletic duties. Basically, these dodges are still used today.

Besides the phony "paper classes" described in the links, the scholarship system is constructed to treat the athletes as indentured servants. High schoolers are required to sign "letters of intent" binding them to a university while the university can cancel their scholarship offer at any time up to the first day of class. Even four year scholarships can be withdrawn for any reason such as a career ending injury or the coach recruiting a better running back. The promise of a college education is hollow.

Publicly Funded Arenas
No politician knows how to steal from taxpayers like billionaire sports team owners. Thanks to a corrupt deal made by then Mayor Rudy Guiliani, the city and state of New York was stuck with a $1.2 billion bill for constructing a new stadium for the Yankees and an additional $600 million for the Mets new digs. The Yankees are the second richest franchise in sports and could easily have afforded to built the stadium without ripping off the public.

Across the country, sports teams are blackmailing cities with threats to move elsewhere if they don't get gold-plated pleasure domes. While the extortion is almost always rejected by the public if they get to vote on the matter, like in San Diego last year, local politicians are easy marks willing to open the municipal coffers so they can continue getting autographed photos of star athletes.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Trump's Wildfire Dilemma

If Trump thinks about it (okay, tall order) he will have a quandary over how to feel about the deadly California wildfires.

California voted overwhelmingly for Hillery Clinton, but
The parts on fire voted for Trump.

Breitbartians and their ilk like to call the state the People's Republic of California, but
Many of the fires are in the portion of California that wants to break away and form the Free State of Jefferson.

California is proudly multicultural, but unlike Houston, south Florida, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands
The fires victims are mostly white, Trump's people.

Trump hate the Hollywood elites, but
Hollywood isn't burning.

Caring about the fire victims requires empathy, a trait Trump long ago purged from his withered soul as part of his contract with Satan. I expect Trump will resolve the dilemma the way he does with all human suffering, figuring out how he and his buddies can profit financially from their pain.

Monday, October 09, 2017

Long National Nightmares Are Exhausting


US Virgin Island
The Daily Beast has precisely described how I've been feeling the last couple of weeks. The neverending displays of presidential juvenility, the wanton neglect of Americans living in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands (the forgotten disaster), the mainstreaming of open racism, and the reckless warmongering are so fucking tiresome.

I'm not depressed so much as fed-up. I'm fed-up with a president that daily displays a sociopath's capacity for compassion. A Veep who will waste a quarter of a million dollars on a cheap stunt. A cabinet loaded with grifters where the only sin is apologizing for stealing public money.

There is the Republican Congress possessed by a paralyzing fear of being caught doing or saying something intelligent or, God forbid, honest lest they be targeted by the fascist wing of their party.

Then there is the growth of American fascism itself. Race hatred is more open now than any time in the past half century. There is a longing for wars, not of conquest but wars of annihilation. Breitbart fascism is far from a majority in the United States but it is never the goal of fascists to be a majority. Their goal is to have a nation where everyone else is afraid to state a contrary opinion. Fear is the goal. Fear will keep everyone is line.

Friday, September 29, 2017

The Puerto Rico Genocide

People, American citizens, are dying in Puerto Rico. Some are dying of dysentery from drinking contaminated water. Others are dying slowly of starvation. Some are dying of untreated wounds while others died trapped for days under the rubble of their homes.

Town mayors are required to travel to FEMA's San Juan headquarters to beg for assistance which they may or may not get depending of the whim of bureaucrats who would rather be in Florida. Outreach is virtually non-existent as FEMA does not want to know the extent of the suffering they are neither able nor willing to address.  

The Trump Administration is engaging in self-congratulatory lethargy. Homeland Security head Elaine Duke has called the feeble hurricane assistance "a good news story." At the same time Trump is banning congressmen from visiting the island to see what FEMA is doing, or not doing, for themselves.

Trump has suggested that Puerto Ricans are to blame for their own suffering because of the commonwealth's debt and that is a charge being trumpeted by Trump's white supremacist base. Wade into the Brietbart swamp and you will find people openly celebrating the torment of Spanish speaking brown skinned people as something they deserve.

This week, FEMA is sending $3 million to Cheyenne, Wyo. to convert a parking lot into a public park because white people have their own, unique emergencies.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

DHS's Big Brother Rule

Let us say that in some point in the future the government wants to round up American citizens of foreign ancestry, how would the begin?  Obviously, the first step is to deport aliens legally in this country. The more difficult problem is the collection of  "aliens" who are also American citizens.
The Department of Homeland Security has developed a plan. They have written a rule, no need for Congress to waste its time legislating, requiring foreign visitors, permanent residents and even naturalized citizens to disclose all of their social media information. Also to be collected are any movies they've watched, music listened to, Google searches, and family history.
The Ahnenpass (ancestor passport) was required for citizenship and employment in Nazi Germany. It required proof of Aryan blood through three generations. To become a member of the ruling political party proof of Aryan blood dating back 150 years was required.

This rule will allow the government to build dossiers on the entire population of targeted races and creeds, what they say to each other, and identify those natural born American citizens who commit race treason by befriending the targeted populations.  The perverse irony is that they are using the "Privacy Act" for this invasion of privacy.

It's an ominous step in turning the DHS into the KGB.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Watching Football Is an Act of Patriotism

Football is boring. An NFL game takes 3 1/2 hours during which there are only 11 minutes of actual action. It is so boring I didn't even notice when the season started this year.

Then Trump condemned football players for being uppity n****rs and watching football became a political statement defending the Constitution and the concept of freedom of expression. So I watched.

I enjoyed watching the Chargers-Chiefs game although not because it was an interesting contest.
LA Chargers home opener.
The Chargers left San Diego this year because they didn't want to play in 70,000 seat Qualcomm Stadium and moved to Los Angeles. They now play on a soccer field with seating for 27,000 and they are not coming near selling out that crackerbox.

I loved watching the Chargers lose their third straight game in front of a lackluster home crowd. Not a "crowd" really, more like a sparse gathering. Gotta say, serves the owners right.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

The Embarrassment-In-Chief

I've grown used to the daily shame that is Donald Trump. I don't like it, Trump is like having an untreatable anal itch that is fucking annoying but if you don't learn to tolerate it it will drive you insane.

Trump went on the world stage today and bloviated an empty threat that would be unbecoming of a pissant tinhorn dictator as he vowed before the world's collected leaders at the United Nations "to totally destroy North Korea."

The effect of a second Korean War will be the deaths of thousands if not millions of Koreans, both north and south. South Korea has the 12th largest economy in the world, war would have global economic consequences. If Japan is dragged into the devastation then we all can kiss prosperity good-bye.

Teddy Roosevelt had the best advice for a president.
I have always been fond of the West African proverb: "Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far."
Trump's motto is "bluster irresponsibly and see what happens."

Adding to this militarism is Trump's desire for a July 4th parade featuring tanks rumbling down Pennsylvania Avenue. You know, exactly like Kim Jung-Un does.
Damn, that asshole is driving me crazy.