Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Power of the Public Opinion

Should John Kerry pay Massachusetts taxes on his new yacht? Should BP pay Tony Hayward his severance package?

There is much heat and light being given to these topics because the "public" feels slighted and owed on both fronts. The challenge is that there isn't a direct relationship between the public and the questions at hand.

John Kerry doesn't owe taxes to Massachusetts. The boat is owned by a Pennsylvania corporation and docked/registered in Rhode Island. I don't care for Mr. Kerry's politics but he owes Massachusetts NOTHING. The responsibility of the tax payer is to pay taxes on what is legitimately owed. John Kerry isn't responsible for either the tax law or the taxes.

Tony Hayward apparently has an agreement with BP to collect a nice severance package. Bully for him. The fact that there a people hurting / suffering / struggling in the Gulf is something BP needs to address but there is no indication that money that goes to Mr. Hayward would be diverted to the Gulf Coast if he weren't paid.

Get a grip people.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Issues of the Moment

The Environment - How do we find the right balance of encouraging the use of environmental resources and protecting them?

Education - How do we create an education system that allows the United States to be competitive in a global economy?

Government - What should government be spending our money on?

Global Warming - How do you distinguish between plans to address a potential environmental catastrophe and a wealth redistribution act?

Fairness Doctrine - Does the government need to control what’s on radio and TV?

Illegal Immigration - Isn’t it called illegal for a reason?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Today's Stuck on Stupid

In the latest updates on racism in America we have the Tea Partiers and Limbaugh on Steinbrenner. Now why on earth would you indulge such sources as the NAACP and Rev. Sharpton that have a long histories of fostering racism to comment on it? It would be nice if they could be called out as the racists they are or fade in to history with their 15 minute having expired.

Speaking of 15 minutes, NBC Today had breaking news. It appears the Bristol and Levi are getting married but not having sex and Sarah and Todd have no comment. In further revelations Mad Max appears to fly off the handle and say things he'd prefer were not repeated when fighting with his ex (thank God I'm not aware of any recordings of my transgressions). I'm trying to figure out if NBC bought the Thrifty Nickel and/or the National Enquirer. In the meantime I'm sure that those are 15 minutes I won't get back.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Art of the Dive

Spain 1 - Netherlands 0

If there was a good part to the World Cup final it was that the better team won. Spain was just a step faster than the Dutch. They possessed better, they created better, and they put a lot of pressure on the Netherlands. Netherlands responded by stepping up the physical play and started racking up yellow cards and there were at least two cards that could easily have been straight reds. Definitely not football at its prettiest.

Somehow we get through the second half and then into extra time still tied 0-0.

And then Spain cheats.

Two yellow cards are given to the Netherlands for imaginary fouls. One is a second yellow, so the Netherlands are down to 10 men.

At some point FIFA is going to have to come up with something that keeps players from making a run at the Oscars.

Like I said ... the good part is that the better team won.

Lebron ... Looking for Class

Lots and lots of the talk about Lebron, what he meant in Cleveland and what he'll mean to the Heat is centered around the discussion of legacy. How many championships will he win? Has he got more game that Magic, Jordan, or Kobe? Does it matter if where he wins that them or who he wins them with? etc., etc., etc.

Talking about the legacy of a 25 year old is a waste of time. About the time Lebron gets ready to retire, then we can talk about his legacy and how he compares with the greats, what his contribution to the game was, and the impact he has had. Same story for Kobe.

Winning championships is just one component of the legacy -- just take a look at John Wooden if you doubt this. When all is said and done, if the only thing people can say about you is you were on the winning team, it will ring hollow.

The thing that Lebron was missing this week and that hopefully he'll find in Miami is class. It was obvious at the end of the playoff's that Lebron was done in Cleveland. He'd already decided they didn't have what he wanted and it was time to move on. Where to go next and what would be the best fit for him was a fair question and one he needed to explore.

But the way to do it ... the way to wrapup his time in Cleveland on a positive note and the way to find his best fit ... this would have been to do it quietly and with a touch of gratiousness.

Before you make a big deal of telling the world where you're going, take a moment to let people appreciated where you've been. Tell Cleveland what the've meant to you and make it about them, not about you. Then be honest and direct and explain you've been offered a great position in Miami and you'd be crazy not to accept it. Sure, some Cleveland fans wouldn't like it ... that's just the way of it ... but you'd keep more fans respect and admiration.

The spectacle that was Lebron on Thursday night did nothing to show what a great talent he is or could be in the future, and that was to bad.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Embellishment and Cheating

One of the more frustrating aspects of the World Cup is the impact of embellishment on the game. Football is a physical game played at a fast pace. When running at full speed, getting bumped can take you down; when you get kicked, it hurts; an elbow to the face is going to leave a mark.

The result of this contact is that the referee blows his whistle and stops play. From here we get a foul, perhaps a card, and it goes from there.

So there is a big reward for a player that can appear to have taken the worst of it when they may not have been touched at all. At a minimum they get to stop the momentum of the game but the real payday could be getting an opponent red carded and ejected.

Technically, embellishment is a cardable foul but the speed of the game and the angles of the ref make the chances of getting it wrong as likely as getting it right. So it's a card that stays in the pocket most of the time.

In the fallout of Saurez's handball in the box, it turns out that FIFA has a disciplinary committee whose job it is to review games and player infractions and that FIFA also has rules that "call for suspensions of 'at least one match' if the panel finds a player guilty of unsportsmanlike conduct toward an opponent."

What can be more unsportsmanlike than faking something that didn't occur and deceiving the ref? Where the heck is the Disciplinary Committee on this topic? How many games would some of top players have had to sit out if the panel was watching the same game tape we do? What would the impact of this type of post game review have on the outbreak of acting we've seen at too many football games?

No Cheating Here Boss

The Uruguay v Ghana game provided a finish that will go down as one of the more amazing in World Cup Finals history. Lots of twists and turns of fate and emotion, red cards, penalty kicks, lions and tigers and bears, oh my.

In the post match review, there has been some commentary that Suarez's handball was cheating. What Suarez did is clearly described / addressed in the rule book and occurs completely within the field of play. There was no deception in what he had done and he didn't hurt or injure another player in the process.

Suarez knew that he'd be getting the red card when he handled the ball and he knew Ghana would be getting a PK. He also knew Uruguay's World Cup was over if the ball hits the back of the net.

This is no different than American football where a wide receiver is wide open in the end zone and the defensive back knows that he has no play on ball and it's 6 points if he doesn't interfere.

He did exactly what he needed to do and that wasn't cheating.