Results tagged ‘ Politics ’

Not Just a Punter

The closer we get to the election, the more the rhetoric heats up.  Both sides fling out unbelievable claims trying to sway the “undecided” voter who somehow gets to decide every election.  Both parties try to get propositions and amendments on the ballot as well in an effort to get normally apathetic voters out to vote and hopefully, by extension, then also vote for that party’s guy.  It’s a cynical tactic, especially when you realize that these “tactics” affect real people.

I think that’s why I appreciated the letter Minnesota Viking’s punter Chris Kluwe recently wrote in support of Baltimore Raven, Brendon Ayanbadejo.  His second point is particularly important as it brings up something that should hit close to home for any baseball fan.  Yes, while we generally prefer that our sporting heroes don’t remind us of the difficult realities faced by many people and while many of us prefer to use sports as a means of escape, sports and the athletes who play them have a unique ability to reach a mass audience and to change social norms.  Jackie Robinson wasn’t just a baseball player.  He was the death knell of Jim Crow.  Hopefully guys like Kluwe and Ayanbadejo can do the same to this insane war on human rights being waged right now in the US.

-A

P.S. I can’t wait to hear Baseball Serendipity’s response to this one.  If it’s anything like last time, we’ll all be in for a treat.

The Filibuster

What MLB team does the GOP most resemble?

Ryan G.
Mendon, IL

__________________________

You can draw a lot of different analogies between baseball and politics and you can draw even more between baseball and the Republican party.  A bunch of rich white guys with a sense of entitlement and maybe a token minority or two thrown in just for flavor?  We could be talking the Republican party or the baseball owners.  A scorched-earth policy that leaves everyone worse off?  That could be either the baseball owners in the 1994 strike season or the Republican leadership team in 2008.  Considering that one of the baseball owners became President and de facto leader of the Republican party for eight years in 2000, it would be pretty easy to say that GOP most resembles the owners.

But that’s not the question.  The question is which team does the GOP most resemble and that requires a little more analysis.

My first thought, especially with the recent rise to prominence of Paul Ryan, was the San Francisco Giants.  The Giants used to be known for their history with inspirational guys like Willie Mays and  Dave Dravecky.  That’s like the old GOP, the party of Lincoln and even Nixon, minus the whole Watergate thing.  Now, though, the Giants are the team of Barry Bonds and Melky Cabrera.  They’re the team of liars.  After Paul Ryan’s speech at the Republican National Convention that even a Fox News commentator called “deceiving” and the absolutely flabbergasting claim by Ryan that he ran a sub three hour marathon (since “corrected”), you’d have to put him in the same category as Bonds and Cabrera.

Still, that doesn’t seem to be enough.  Lying is well and good, even when called something different, but RSBS readers demand more.

There are a bunch of other possibilities, from the Red Sox to the Dodgers but really, when you stop and think about it, there’s only one answer to this question.  The GOP could only be the New York Yankees.

A group of millionaire crybabies who routinely underachieve despite having every advantage known to man?  Could be the Yankees, could be the Republicans.  Supporters incessantly screwed over by a leadership group that routinely takes money from supporters’ pockets while those supporters not only cheer them on but also keep coming back for more?  Hm, really could be either one.  An unnatural love of pinstripes?  I think you can see where this is going.

Really, the answer couldn’t be any easier and I’m almost ashamed to have to say it.  But just because it’s easy that doesn’t mean it’s wrong.  Occam’s Razor, my friends.

-A

RSBS Presents: It Could Have Been Worse

Although the respective baseball careers of Melky Cabrera and Bartolo Colon took a huge hit this past week with the announcement of fifty game bans for each player, they can still count themselves as being lucky.  Fifty games?  That means they have to sit out the rest of the season and then come back next year.  Sure, they’ll have that “cheater” label pasted on them but that doesn’t mean some team won’t go ahead and pick them up anyway.  No, it could have been w hole lot worse.  In fact, that’s why RSBS is using this opportunity to bring you the latest installment of the hard-hitting series, RSBS Presents.  This time, RSBS Presents: It Could Have Been Worse.

They could have ruined precious artwork:

In Spain, an octogenarian parishioner took it on herself to restore a 19th Century fresco by Elias Garcia Martinez.  When you take a close look at the before and after, you see that she might have missed a couple details.  You know, like the eyes:

And the mouth.  And pretty much the entire face.

They could have created a royal scandal:

Not content with getting schooled by Ryan Lochte in a pool at a Vegas club, Prince Harry, the third in line for the British throne let me remind you, managed to get his naked self snapped in photos with young women in equal states of undress.

Sure, he’s not the king.  And at this rate, that’s probably a good thing.  It’s hard for your subjects to take you seriously once they’ve seen the royal jewels and scepter.

They could have picked the entirely wrong career:

Remember when Dave Chappelle played the blind white supremacist on his eponymously named show?  Well, that kind of happened in real life this past week when the leader of an anti-Semitic party in Hungary discovered that he was Jewish.  And if that wasn’t bad enough, he also found out that maternal grandparents were holocaust survivors.  Sure, a fifty game ban may suck but finding out that you are the person you hate and giving up all your neo-Nazi street cred?  That’s a tough pill to swallow.

So there you have it.  Melky and Bartolo messed up but they’ll live to fight another day.  Well, unless they accidentally try restoring the Willie Mays statue.  MLB don’t like it when people mess with Willie.

-A

Putting the “Legitimate” in Legitimately Dumb

What would MLB do if it turned out that Melky Cabrera was “legitimately” using PEDs?  For the same matter, what if Barry Bonds came out and told us that he had been using the “cream” and the “clear” but it was legitimate so we didn’t need to worry about it?  I’m pretty sure that the fans and MLB would call bullsh*t on both of them.

By now I’m pretty sure you know where I’m going with this since you couldn’t swing a cat this week without hitting some news about Clay Aiken‘s long-lost father, Todd.  (Ok, fine, they spell their names differently but how funny would that be?)  And with both sides of the debate more than willing to weigh in, once again the Presidential race turned away from the economy and back towards the Republican’s seeming fetish for pushing away women voters.

Getting back to the original question I posed, of course you’d laugh at Cabrera or Bonds’ statements (speaking of which, what is it with the Bay Area??).  Whether it was “legitimate” or not, violating the League’s substance abuse policy means you have to face the consequences.  Sure, some guys, like Bonds, Sosa and McGwire, benfited from Bud’s willingness to look the other way as long as the money kept rolling in.  But the way things stand now, a violation is going to get you fifty games, just like Manny and Melky.  Except for when it doesn’t.  Yes, I’m looking at you Ryan Braun and your technicality.

Whether or not you get away with it, there is no such thing as “legitimate” or “illegitimate” PED use just like there’s no such thing as “legitimate” or “illegitimate” rape.  And it’s important to keep in mind here that although PED’s may tarnish someone’s legacy or hurt a team in the playoff hunt, rape destroys a person’s life, no matter what Mike Huckabee or Todd Akin say.  It has nothing to do with “legitimate” or “illegitimate.”  It’s plainly and simply unacceptable.

-A

The Filibuster

Obama/Biden is hardly the Cabrera/Fielder combination it once was.  Should the president drop Joe?

Aaron T.
Woodbridge, VA

________________________

Apparently the VP’s comments about the big banks putting “y’all back in chains” under a Romney administration have set off a firestorm of criticism.  Of course the Romney campaign indignantly declared this a new low in an election that will surely reach entirely new lows over the next few months.  But if you take a step back, none of this should really come as a surprise.  It’s just Biden being Biden.

Anyone who follows politics knows that Joe Biden is a walking gaffe machine.  I mean, this is the man who famously referred to the future President as “articulate and bright and clean.”  At least this time he’s pointing his rhetorical weapons of mass destruction at the other side.  And let’s be honest here, that’s part of the reason why Obama brought him on board as VP in the first place.  It’s also one of the reasons why there’s absolutely no reason for the President to drop him now.

Honestly, Biden’s moment last week was a godsend for the Obama campaign.  It followed news of the Paul Ryan pick, a moment that was supposed to change the election debate to matters of the economy and the budget.  Instead, the press and everyone else is talking about Biden’s statement.  Add in that it fires up an important part of the Democratic base, black Americans, and I really don’t see where this is hurting the Obama campaign at all.  Biden’s “gaffes” often serve to humanize both him and the President he serves.  They also give the campaign a way to say something while still claiming plausible deniability.  “Hey, we didn’t ask him to say that.  That’s just Biden being Biden.  However, now that you mention it….”  Sounds like a winning strategy to me.

More than that, though, Obama has no desire to get rid of Biden because Biden is the guy who turns the Obama strategy into reality.  You think the Affordable Care Act gets passed without Biden making calls and twisting arms?  You think “Don’t ask, don’t tell” gets repealed without Joe putting in some face time?  Sure, sometimes he may force the President’s hand, like with his comments on gay marriage, but is that such a bad thing?  Here’s an even better analogy.  Biden is COO to Obama’s CEO.  And trust me, being CEO without an effective COO is a painful proposition.  Just ask George HW Bush about that one.

Should Obama drop Joe?  Hell no.

-A

Where Is Jaws When You Really Need Him?

It’s Shark Week.  But you knew that.  What you might not know is how dire the level of stupid is that permeates our planet.

Which makes me ask: WHERE IS JAWS WHEN YOU REALLY NEED HIM?!?!

Why not show up in the Red Sox clubhouse?  Talk about sharks in the water, my goodness.  Isn’t it funny how a couple of World Series titles make us forget just how endearing the Red Sox used to be?  Nowadays, The Nation seems more like an episode of Keeping Up with the Kardashians.  Incessant and annoying bickering from privileged entitled millionaires ad nauseum.  Before the season started, I was so excited Bobby Valentine was back in the manager’s seat because I knew he would bring drama to the league.  This is NOT the drama I was looking for.

Nor was I looking for the Vice President of US America to be just as stupid as I’ve always thought he might be.  Well, turns out he is.  Joe Biden’s mouth seems to be about as large as Jaws’, yes, it’s just too bad he uses his for talking instead of devouring prey.

And while I realize Jaws tends to reside in the warm coastal waters off the North Atlantic, would it be too much to ask for him to swim down, out and around on up to the San Francisco Bay?  There’s one fraudulent outfielder there who could use a good ass-chewin’.

Hate me ‘cuz I’m angry, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeff

Back to Reality

I’ve been pretty focused on the Olympics for the past couple weeks.  I’ve watched enough handball to hold me over for the next four years and realized that men’s basketball is much more fun to watch than women’s basketball.  I’ve seen decathlons, pentathlons and heptathlons.  And the best part was, I used all the Olympic goodness to ignore the silliness of what passes for news in the US as of late.  Well, that’s over.

Now it’s all about Paul Ryan and Chick-Fil-A.

Paul Ryan?  Not really a big fan.  He seems to be a return to the Bush years, years that didn’t really turn out so well for America

Chick-Fil-A?  Well, it’s chicken.  Some people love it, others don’t really care.  Me, I don’t think I’ve ever actually had Chick-Fil-A.  It’s kind of funny.  The only time I ever remember even wanting it was when I was flying through Cincinnati one afternoon.  Everything else just looked nasty so I thought I’d give it a chance.  Except that it was a Sunday so there was no Chick-Fil-A to be had.  Not exactly a point in their favor.

Man, this is going to suck.  I love politics but this race has already gone ugly and the chances of it coming back up out of the gutter are slim.  Even baseball doesn’t seem to have the power to overcome the post-Olympics slump, although I’m still holding out hope.  And if worse comes to worst, there’s always football.  It just won’t be the same without Usain Bolt, though.

-A

The Irony of Immigrants

Baseball, for the most part, takes place in the well-trodden hinterlands of the United States.  Sure, much of the talent may come from various islands off the coast of Florida but ultimately they make their way through towns like Lansing, Peoria and Lehigh in hopes of being called up to Cincinnati, Kansas City or Pittsburgh.  Being a baseball player often means getting an up close and personal lesson on US geography.

At the same time, many of these same fans who cheer for the Venezuelan or Dominican shortstop coming up with the team through the minors fail to see the irony in their universal distaste for immigrants and immigration.  How do you think your Mexican pitching ace got here in the first place, shitforbrains?  Sometimes it’s not so surprising when you consider the fanbase:

While these baseball migrants experience US geography firsthand and slowly learn more about their adopted country, many Americans willingly refuse to learn anything about the world around them.  This is never more apparent than during the Olympic games.

The opening ceremony is a case in point with people scrambling for their atlases as soon as Albania and Algeria march in.  It’s a little more disconcerting when even major US news sources can’t figure out the differences between the countries.

Luckily, though, the swimming, gymnastics and running are almost complete so there’s only one more week until we can go back to ignoring the world.  Even more importantly, we can get back to fighting the menace of immigration.  Well, unless it means picking up your new Japanese pitcher.  Seriously, Texas, how do you think Yu Darvish got there?

-A

Remember When…

Remember when…

The Pirates were a perennial losing franchise?

Remember when…

Bob Costas’ pretentious Olympian superlatives weren’t pretentious because they were about baseball, something the man truly loves?

Remember when…

I mocked Sarah Palin’s mocking of Obama’s proposed “hopey-change” politics?

Remember when…

Everyone discounted the Cardinals’ playoff hopes with three weeks left in the season?

Remember when…

The GOP wasn’t an absolute joke?

Remember when…

Christopher Nolan’s Batman franchise was the greatest thing that ever happened in comic book film history? (WARNING: Major spoiler alert with that link)

Remember when…

NBC didn’t ruin every single sporting event it broadcasted?*

Remember when…

US American politicians really worked for the people?

Oh, wait.

Remember when…

Clint Hurdle was orange?

And remember when you didn’t hate me ‘cuz I was right?

Peace,

Jeff

*Not including the XFL, which was a brilliant endeavor, even if it was extremely stupid.

We Breed ‘Em Special in the Former Northwest

Having grown up in Michigan, a part of the former Northwest Territory, I know that the people who hail from this region are a special brand.  Unfortunately, special isn’t always a good thing.

Take for instance former Wisconsin Senator Joeseph McCarthy whose last name became synonymous with unfounded witch hunts.  I have no doubt that Senator McCarthy cared very much about the United States and I also have no doubt that Communism was a very real threat in the 1950s.  However, going around accusing Americans of being Communists with little or no proof turned out to be pretty bad for his career and should serve as an example of how Americans don’t act.

Except that 60 years later we appear to be living the same thing all over again.  Much like McCarthy’s allegations of Communist spies in the State Department, the Armed Forces and in the Executive Branch, another representative of the Northwest Territory, Minnesota representative Michele Bachmann, launched spurious claims of Islamist infiltration of the State Department, the Armed Forces and the Executive Branch.  And Bachmann’s claims appear to hold about as much water as those of McCarthy.

Now, this should go without saying but people in sensitive positions like that of Huma Abedin, Secretary Clinton’s deputy Chief-of-Staff, are subjected to rigorous background checks that can lead to disqualification because of excessive debt.  Don’t you think that someone who’s delving that deep into your background might notice if you had been developing ties with groups like the Muslim Brotherhood?  On top of that, although some Muslim Brotherhood affiliated groups are considered terrorist organizations by the US government, as a country we have reopened diplomatic ties with the group so why would it even matter if she did have ties?

Bachmann is no stranger to idiocy and this most recent story only shows what kind of a bullet we dodged when she finally dropped out of the Presidential race.  But sadly, she still has a lot of supporters.  Add in the fact that an uncomfortably high percentage of the US population still believes that our Evangelical Christian president is a secret Muslim and you can see where this is a problem.

The only positive development in this latest Bachmann debacle is that even people from her own party have finally had to start admitting that she’s out of control.  And unlike McCarthy’s four years in the limelight, throwing around allegations like confetti, Bachmann was roundly scolded within a few days.  But if there was ever any doubt, I think we can all safely admit now that the former Northwest Territories are still a special place with some very special people.

-A

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