Wednesday, October 7, 2015

You have got to be kidding me

What in the Hell is going on with ESPN and their endless promotion of freakin’ Ronda Rousey? I know they have a contract with UFC, but this is ridiculous.

This woman competes in a “sport” that was invented like five years ago against about 100 competitors world-wide and they treat her like she’s Michael Jordan. They had her HOSTING SportsCenter tonight—why?!? They actually had a poll up tonight where they asked the question—What is the greatest signature move in the history of sports? Was it Mariano Rivera’s split-finger fastball (which resulted in a record 652 saves over 20 years), Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s skyhook (the most deadly weapon in the history of basketball, which led to him being the game’s all-time leading scorer) or –get this—Ronda Rousey’s arm bar. Are you kidding me? Not only is it sickening and insulting to compare this in any context—consider that she has also had a total of 12 fights—12!!

ESPN has also had the balls to give this chick female athlete of the year two years-in-row. They actually gave it to her this year over Serena Williams—who had one of the most dominant years in the history of sport. Man, they are one grotesque advertising vehicle. The funny part about the Serena thing is that not only is Serena an all-time great athlete—my money is that she could kick Ronda Rousey’s ass as well.

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Monday, October 5, 2015

The Wild West was saner than this

Scott Cavanagh
I’ve wanted to write something on the gun issue for a long time, but have never really found a way to encapsulate the complexities of what I feel on the issue into one column. The day after the most recent massacre of innocents in Colorado took place, a friend of mine posted a short statement on Facebook deriding our government for doing nothing about this scourge of gun violence. I then posted a short comment stating that we should be ashamed of ourselves as a nation. A friend of his reacted and responded to my comment very quickly. This began a back-and-forth on the issue that allowed me to address the arguments of anti-gun control folks far better than any column.

We can't do a damn thing about it--all because of one freakin' organization that owns a political party. It didn't even matter when kindergarteners were mowed down. We should be ashamed of ourselves.

No, "we" can't do anything because of a small document called the Constitution.

The Constitution allows for a "regulated militia" carrying muskets. It in no way foresaw automatic weapons and "us" having a huge standing army. That Constitution argument is so lame it needs crutches.

If you think the only reason the 2nd Amendment exists is to allow for people carrying muskets, or that the founding fathers didn't figure there would be more advanced weaponry in the future or a standing army, then you need to go back to school.

But by all means, in addition to that myth, go on believing that gun control laws will prevent this kind of thing from happening.  Just look at Chicago ... toughest gun control laws of any city in the US. Nearly 350 deaths this year by guns (so far) and another 2000 people shot. Yet the mainstream media doesn't want to cover that. It's only when a crazy person goes off their meds and shoots people that the outrage happens. People that intend to harm other people will always be able to find a gun, no matter what roadblocks the government attempts to put in their way. If you believe otherwise, you are naive.

I'm not a gun owner, or an NRA supporter, but I will fight to the death to make sure if the US government wants to take away guns from law abiding citizens they do it the right way (amending the Constitution).

Oh Lord, where to start with this Swiss cheese argument.

I know the founding fathers were smart guys, but no—they were not writing the Constitution with mail-order assault weapons and armor piercing bullets in mind. The only reason for the 2nd amendmen
t was to allow the people to protect themselves from tyranny and to allow for the easy formation of a militia because we did not have a standing army. It was not so a petrified population could arm themselves to the teeth.

If shouting “Second Amendment” is gun law opponents’ first line of lame defense, citing the fact that laws in some big cities don’t work is number two. I’ll give you credit though it’s usually DC that they use as an example. Of course gun laws don’t work in DC when Virginia right next door has virtually no gun laws. Chicago? Give me a break. Indiana right next door is a freaking armory and the rest of the state is virtually gun-law free. Pass national regulations and this would be a completely different story. Want to cite a city? Try New York City. They passed real gun legislation—carry a gun in a public place and get caught—you go to jail—period. Even applies to rich asshole wide receivers that shoot themselves in the leg. The gun violence there has dropped off the map since. Australia had the two worst gun massacres in the world a few years back. Changed the gun laws nationally and they have been massacre free.

The “mainstream media” another gem—what the Hell is that? What exactly does that mean—media that is not sponsored by Rupert Murdoch?

“People will always be able to pick up a gun.” Really? Where? Like these little shut-in freaks that go off and blow away a bunch of kids are going to be going into the back alleys to buy guns from criminals—yeah right—some kid who lives on his PC and is afraid of his mommy, sure.

“When some crazy person goes off their meds.” You mean like every couple of weeks? And yes CRAZY people—who should not have access to fucking guns. 10,000 Americans a year die from gun violence---10,000!!! Australia, Germany and Japan combined have lost 300 people in the last decade, yet we still get the same old Constitution argument here. Like Jefferson and Adams would have sat around like this lot and done nothing while 10,000 citizens-a-year got lost to the wind.

And BTW, who is talking about taking guns away from law-abiding citizens? What does regulating assault weapons, a thorough background check, no more gun show sales and a waiting period have to do with taking away people’s hand guns and hunting weapons? Just another bunch of crap to scare people, when what they should be scared of is getting massacred in the mall by some little twat who thinks he’s The Joker because he’s carrying a machine gun.

I AM a gun owner. Making it harder to get a gun than a damned fishing license and keeping crazy people from casually picking up an assault rifle in the mail does NOTHING to infringe on my rights.

So Scott basically proved several of the points I tried to make earlier. Makes my job easier, so I'll leave with the following:

1) He agrees that the 2nd Amendment was at least partially put in to allow people to protect themselves from tyranny. While some would argue that there is no way given the US Military that anyone could hope to oppose tyranny anymore, I'd argue that the British were far better armed, trained and supplied than the colonists were during the Revolution, but somehow they managed to win the war. Of course it would be far more difficult now with the restrictions that are in place, and would be even more so if more restrictions were passed.

2) If all the Chicago or DC shooters are just going to an easier place to get a gun, then he also agrees that someone who wants a gun will go to whatever source they can to get one in the easiest way possible. By the way, the New York City example isn't one I'd be hanging my hat on now. Gun violence is higher this year than 2013 and a higher % of murder victims were killed by guns. That crazy introverted kid that sits in his parents basement is still going to go down to "gangland" and buy a gun if he really wants one and that's the only way to get one. But they aren't the real worry. The real worry is all the gang violence over drug territory. Take away all those murders, and the US gun murder rate starts to look a lot like all the other countries everyone likes to cite as success stories when restricting weapons.

3) Scott wants to know where it's being said that people want to take guns away from law abiding citizens? Well he mentioned you can't even carry a gun in NYC period (I'll assume this is true). Even if you are law abiding. What happens when some arbitrary entity decides that 30-06 hunting rifle you own is now a "banned gun". Slippery slope when some arbitrary entity starts deciding who is "law abiding" or eligible, or what kind of gun is "OK" to trust the population with. I am in favor of registration. That in no way infringes upon anyone's right to keep and bear arms. It's when the restrictions come in that it causes a problem for me because ... wait for it ... it violates the Constitution, which says very clearly "shall not be infringed".

4) If you believe that the Founding Fathers never envisioned the kind of guns we have now (or other weapons) and would never have stood by and allowed this to happen, I won't argue that with you (wild speculation on your part, but let's assume you're right). I will argue that they wouldn't have enacted gun control laws with the stroke of a pen (Executive Order), or through direct laws passed by a governmental agency. They would have done it the right way, by going through the proper procedure to amend the Constitution. And that is my point. If the majority of the people in the required number of States believe that the 2nd Amendment goes too far, there is a procedure in place to correct things. The Founding Fathers believed the Constitution was a living and breathing document. They never intended it to be the final word as originally written. I'd argue that they would probably be appalled that it hasn't been amended more often.

5) And, in closing, if people want to amend the Constitution, I might just support them (depending on what they want to do). For example, a mandatory background check, no one convicted of a gun related crime, or mentally ill could own one ... those are things I could get behind. Restricting what kind of gun someone is allowed to own, not so much, but if the majority of the people and States want it then fine. I feel for the people who have lost their lives by the hands of another. Mass shootings ... check .... Gang shootings ... check ... Wars ... check .... Domestic Violence ... well, you get the idea. It's bad all around. But as long as any guns are available anywhere or by any means, you are always going to have gun violence. Restrictions don't cure that. In fact in most of the recent mass shootings, the killer obtained their guns legally or took it from someone they knew that had purchased it legally. If you really want to improve the gun death statistics, I'd argue that figuring out how to keep kids off ADD and other mind altering meds, and figuring out how to get the gangs to stop killing each other would do far more good than any background check will. And yes, I realize that both of those are just as difficult as making any corrections to gun laws the right way according to the Constitution.

Okay TB, last chapter on this stuff. I’ll address your points as you did mine.

 Point one: By tyranny I was referring to King George’s armies—not our own government. Unless of course you are referring to the black helicopters and door-to-door gun coll
ections that make up 90% of the fantasyland anti-gun law folks have been living in since the Clinton administration. Oh yeah, wasn’t Obama supposed to be invading Texas last month? Geez. What tyranny do we face now--high cell phone bills?

Point two: Yes, having guns come across state borders does mean that people will do what’s easiest to get their guns—that’s the whole point. They are undermining the laws of one state just a few miles away. Gangland murders do suck—but that’s criminal on criminal—not innocents being gunned down in classrooms and churches. No other country comes anywhere near the mass shootings we have, to suggest otherwise is just bogus.

If you think these little weeny freaks that commit these crimes are going to go out in the world and deal with real gun traders and criminals you’re high. If they were illegal, the guns they used would be so expensive they could never have gotten them—and if they showed up with that kind of cash downtown, they’d get their asses kicked worse than Nebraska at the Horseshoe (sorry, couldn’t resist). Editor's note: TB appears to be a very big Nebraska fan.

Point three: Yes, the gun homicide rate in NYC did go up a bit last year—from all-time lows following tougher laws. I never said you could not have a gun in NYC—you just cannot have it in a public place, like a bar or a restaurant or a park. That’s no different than old Dodge City or Tombstone—surrender your guns at the city limits. Of course they were saner in the Wild West than we are today. The hunting rifle example is hyperbole—no one has ever proposed anything like that. Can’t believe I left the “slippery slope” thing off of my earlier list of pat responses.

I mostly agree with you on point 4, but our founding fathers would never have been in the back pocket of sleazy lobbyists or organizations like the NRA. I also don’t think they would need to amend the Constitution, because the Constitution does not say that everyone can own all the guns they want.

"A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed." How in the world do you interpret that to mean that all people can have any type of gun they want in any capacity with no oversight? It was meant for us to have a militia--because we had no standing army--not so every jackass could own an Uzi and carry it to the supermarket. If you want to follow it to the letter as you suggest, we need to disband the standing army and draft all gun owners into a people's militia.

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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Good Lord I hate ESPN

By Scott Cavanagh
There was a time long, long ago, when I liked ESPN--a 24-hour sports hub providing timely news, highlights and insight.

What was once a good idea has morphed into the train wreck we see before us today. From dork SportsCenter anchors trying to out-hip each other’s inane catchphrases to the self-congratulatory jerk-off fest of the ESPY awards, ESPN just plain sucks.

A perfect sample of what this overblown self-promoting advertising vehicle has become is its website. Looking for a Yankees-Red Sox score or a PGA update? Not until you've waded through 75 European soccer finals. Are most American fans really concerned with who won the “friendly” between Norway and visiting Germany? The ratings say no, but ESPN’s contract with FIFA screams yes. Want some insight or interesting analysis of those baseball games, golf tournaments or soccer matches? You can get some--as long as you pay to become an ESPN "Insider." The only original stuff you get for free are videos of their wacky anchors or features on why Ronda Rousey is a cross between Rocky Balboa and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  

A quick look at tonight’s story roll provides all we need to know about ESPN. Top headline--Watt, Gronk and Rodgers top Madden 16 lineup. That’s not sports news—it’s an ad for a freaking computer game sponsor. Headline two? John Cena gets revenge on Jon Stewart. A make-believe wrestler pretends to beat up a retired comedian—great stuff.

Let’s not forget the aforementioned ESPY’s. ESPN was quick to accept the media kudos and advertising dollars jettisoning this year's Courage Award  to millionaire reality star Caitlyn Jenner provided, but slow to acknowledge that she had not competed in a sporting event since the Ford Administration. They also ignored the wounded warriors and terminally ill athletes who deserved it, while neglecting to mention that the whole thing was set-up in advance so parent network ABC could appease Jenner's agents and secure the Diane Sawyer interview. Again, ESPN sucks.

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Kasich battles moderate label

By Scott Cavanagh
Ohio Governor John Kasich has a pretty impressive resume—one that includes some serious conservative credentials.

During his nine terms in the United States House of Representatives, Kasich served six years as Chairman of a House Budget Committee that was instrumental in passing both the Balanced Budget Act of 1997 and welfare reform. From there he moved on to The FOX Channel, where his Heartland with John Kasich program espoused conservative economic theories of smaller government and reduced tax burdens every week for seven years.
In his two terms as governor of The Buckeye State, Kasich has overseen one of the strongest economic turnarounds in the country—at least on paper. The $8 billion budget deficit facing the state has become a $2 billion dollar surplus, while some 200,000 new jobs have been created and the state’s credit rating has been upgraded from a B to an A. He is pro-death penalty and anti-abortion.

So, why has the governor had such a hard time gaining any traction with the majority of conservative voters in both local and national polls?

“They simply see him as a moderate,” said Republican strategist Terry Brown “I don’t think it’s a label that fits, but somewhere along the way, people began to see him as sort of a Jeb Bush-like character that is kind of wishy-washy on certain key conservative issue.”

It is true that Kasich is in favor of a path to citizenship for illegal aliens already working in this country, and that he supported the expansion of Medicaid in Ohio, but does that make the governor a moderate?

“He’s a moderate in conservative’s clothing,” said GOP and Tea Party activist Norm Leonard. “He has expanded government in the state, sides with the position of people illegally residing in the country and has always been anti-gun.”

The gun issue is one that could truly cause Kasich some trouble, particularly in heavily red-state primaries. As a supporter of the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban, the governor earned the wrath of the National Rifle Association—something no would-be Republican nominee wants to deal with.

“Yes, he supported the Assault Weapons Ban, at a time when our nation was seeing violent drug battles in our city streets on a regular basis,” said Brown. “I think it was the right stance to take at the time, and one he needs to stand by. His record on protecting the rights of hunters and handgun owners has been strong and consistent from the beginning.”

The trouble that most Kasich supporters have to deal with is one that plagued both Mitt Romney in 2012 and John McCain in 2008—how far to the right does he have to go to garner the GOP nomination, and how much would that hurt him in the general election if he were to garner it?

“Kasich is a candidate that can win a general election,” said Brown. “He is balanced and steady on issues up and down the spectrum. He needs to maintain those stances and uphold his principles. If he runs to the right to appease an extreme side of the party—particularly on issues like immigration—he will be a sitting duck in November. He is a conservative in the mode of Reagan, with the ability to see the big picture and compromise when needed. That is what the country needs and what the party needs.”

The question is—is it what it wants?

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Sunday, July 19, 2015

Tolerance is a two-way street

By Scott Cavanagh
It’s been a great couple of months for people on the left side of America’s political landscape. From Supreme Court decisions legalizing same-sex marriages and protecting the Affordable Care Act to the removal of the Confederate Battle Flag from the Statehouse in South Carolina, events of 2015 have made it good to be a liberal.

As an advocate of progressive causes, I take great pride not only in the winning of these cultural battles, but in the way most on the left went about doing so. While many conservatives attacked with insults, demagoguery and name-calling, progressives more often than not responded with facts, reasoned arguments and compassion.

Recent years have brought us a new form of debate, one waged in 30-second sound bites and 140 character opinions. The rise of FOX News as essentially a conservative propaganda network hellbent on scaring the crap out of anyone who might be the slightest bit leery of change, led to the creation of the comically liberal MSNBC.

The information age has also led to the creation of thousands of websites steeped in an ingrained culture—either right or left—that indoctrinate often young readers with a certain take on local and world events before they have had even the slightest bit of exposure to other trains of thought. This “us or them” form of debate produces nothing of value. It is intolerant of differing opinions and degrades everything people with open minds have spent decades fighting for.

In recent weeks I have been both shocked and saddened by much of the vitriolic garbage coming out of the mouths and keyboards of supposedly progressive people.

Any person of faith that disagrees with a liberal stance is vilified as a fool who “worships a man in the sky” or “believes in some Bronze Age superstition.” Nice tolerance there, huh? Would they have said that about Dr. Martin Luther King? JFK? Malcolm X?

In just the past week, I’ve seen people called bigots and homophobes—or worse—because they had the temerity to suggest that a female college basketball player battling terminal cancer at the age of 20 might be more deserving of a sports courage award than a 65-year-old millionaire reality star that hasn’t been involved in sports in 40 years.

These types of reactions are no more tolerant (or creative for that matter) than a racist telling an African-American that detests police brutality to “go back to Africa.” It’s the dumb guy’s response and it’s incredibly frustrating to see anyone on the left react in such a way to people who think differently.

Just yesterday, the former governor of Maryland was shouted off the stage at a liberal rally because he made the “offensive” statement that “white lives matter too.” This comes only weeks after Hillary Clinton faced the same reaction by saying that “all lives matter.” Remember Hill—we are following a script these days—don’t deviate—or the torches come out.

Not long ago, a good friend of mine reposted an opinion piece on Facebook from an African-American scholar discussing his unwillingness to talk to white people about race. It was a very good article and made some great points. When I commented that I agreed with some of his opinions and disagreed with others—particularly the recent PC mantra that all white people are born inherently racist—like some form of original sin—I was told by other readers that I did not understand the article and was probably part of the problem. As a kid who grew up poor in NYC with more close friends of color than white ones, I found those responses not only offensive, but comical—particularly coming from white Midwestern suburbanites whose only exposure to black people was probably The Cosby Show.

Progressives expect a 60-year old Baptist woman in Alabama to be tolerant and understanding of a man that dresses like a woman, who is not yet a woman, but identifies as one--yet we call her names and make fun of her if she messes up the “he” or “she” when discussing her. This is the very behavior that fuels knuckleheads like Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck and makes it harder on LGBT people to gain acceptance—not easier. You see, people generally don’t like other people making fun of their grandmothers.

Things are going our way these days. Walls are coming down and barriers are being broken. Let’s try to be humble, engaged and compassionate—not a bunch of snarky judgmental know-it-alls.

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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

NCAA is not the Justice Department

The NCAA is the governing body of college athletics--not an arm of the legal system.

The organization's recent punishments of Penn State were bizarre and a big overreach. What authority does it have to fine a tax-payer-funded public institution $60 million for behavior that had nothing to do with current player or coaching staff behavior, eligibility, recruiting or academics?

The American justice system has been handling this situation just fine without the NCAA. Jerry Sandusky committed horrible crimes. He has been convicted of those crimes and will die in prison--a punishment befitting his actions. Joe Paterno is dead, and therefore cannot defend himself. The others involved—Curley, Spanier and Schultz—have all been fired and are all now facing criminal prosecution.

The kids who were violated and damaged by Sandusky’s actions and the ensuing cover-up are in the process of filing literally hundreds of civil suits against PSU—which will most likely result in hundreds of millions of dollars in damages. The system is working just fine.

The NCAA is incapable of even updating its ridiculous and arcane rule book. It does not even have the power to fire a coach, but somehow it now believes it can step in to this serious matter and play junior Justice Department.

Penn State did not win or fix any games, jigger any grades or award any illegal benefits through Sandusky's crimes or the cover-up. An athletic association's involvement in this matter should end there.

Billion dollar taxpayer-funded institutions of higher learning with obligations and commitments to the well-being and futures of thousands--in this case tens of thousands--of students, faculty, alumni, employees and taxpayers all over the world cannot be held accountable to the sanctimonious and self-serving decisions of some semi-regulated, quasi-affiliated football/basketball television network posing as the protectors of amateur athletics.

What happens now when a student that happens to be a basketball player rapes a girlfriend, or a football player assaults a fellow student, or a student dies from alcohol poisoning at a baseball dorm?

Is the NCAA--a national institution-- now going to step in each time and steal millions of in-state taxpayer dollars that would otherwise pay for the educations and jobs of thousands of blameless students and workers by slamming the university with crippling fines and penalties? That prospect is particularly galling when you consider that those same people are already paying for the legal system that will be trying those cases--both criminal and civil-- in the first place.

PSU football should have gotten the death penalty for a year and a loss of scholarships for a period of years thereafter. All other punishments should have been, have been and will continue to be handled by the legal system--not the jokers at the ridiculous and corrupt NCAA. They are way out of their jurisdiction here.

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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Republicans' mystery opponent

By Scott Cavanagh
The current Republican presidential candidates have done their best to tear each other to pieces this primary season, but they've still managed to save their biggest and juiciest attacks for the man the winner will face this November. The question is—who is this guy they are railing against?

The man they keep attacking is a Kenyan Muslim Socialist who has presided over the fall of our economy, raised everyone’s taxes through the roof, regulated small businesses into bankruptcy, gutted our military into ineffectiveness and accomplished nothing legislatively.

I’m not sure who that person is. I do know this—the man currently in the Oval Office is an American Christian who has presided over 22 consecutive months of economic growth, saved the U.S. auto industry and its thousands of jobs from extinction and lowered the taxes of virtually every citizen. The same guy has signed three increased defense budgets while presiding over the end of the Iraq War, the killing of Osama Bin Laden, the freeing of American hostages from pirates and the end of the Qaddafi and Mubarak regimes in the Middle East.

That same opponent also proposed tax incentives for businesses that keep jobs here in the U.S.; made student loans available to thousands more young people and provided health care to millions of citizens—all while dealing with the worst inherited economy since the Great Depression and the most hostile do-nothing Congress in history.

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Friday, January 20, 2012

Bark Bits... Quick Hits and Fazed Cookies

Mitt's Millions
As reported yesterday, it appears one of the factors keeping Mitt Romney from releasing his tax records is his penchant for conveniently stashing millions of investment dollars in U.S. tax-free Cayman Islands tax shelters.

This is just too much--the ultra-rich corporate raider businessman stashing away millions to avoid paying taxes to the government he wants to run. What a patriot.

Don’t worry though. Missionary Mitt plans to make up for that shortfall in the national treasury that he and thousands of other “job creators” have created--by cutting your retirement and health care benefits.

Little Dumber Boy
While Romney Rolls on, the Rick Perry Cowboy Train has finally run off the rails. The Texas governor, who wants to eliminate multiple departments of the federal government, but can't seem to remember which ones, will now have much more free time to address the topic he loves the most--Texas succeeding from the union. If only it could...

Holy Crockamole
Perry's exit brings to three the number of GOP candidates that have dropped out of the race despite the endorsement of The Almighty. Perry, along with fellow comedy writers' dreams Herman Cain and Michelle Bachmann, all claimed that their White House bids were inspired by conversations with God--where he urged them to run. Good to hear The Big Guy still has a sense of humor.


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