Monday, May 8, 2017

I had a rather revelatory experience yesterday: I watched the end of a college baseball game on ESPN. It was LSU versus South Carolina at LSU. I picked up the game at the end of the eighth inning, and watched LSU tie the ballgame in the ninth, and go on to win 7-6 in the 10th inning. It was exciting and fun to watch, the way baseball was when I liked to watch it.


And then this morning, reading the Wall Street Journal, I ran across an article that included the following paragraph:

On the plus side, Deadspin’s exposure helped end ESPN’s sexually charged frat-house atmosphere. But it also extinguished the network’s risk-taking culture and infused it with strict obedience to progressive political correctness.

The article is about how the company Deadspin has reset ESPN's priorities, and made sexual harassment a major issue in the management of the network.

This is probably true, and it is probably quite important in the management of ESPN, but the problem is far more pervasive than that. The issues with ESPN and their management consultants is a symptom of the entire sports broadcasting industry.

The game that I watched on Sunday was fresh air in comparison to the sports broadcasting that I have been seeing. Since it was a college baseball game, the announcers were not the A-Team, and they did not have the network scrutiny, probably, that announcers on a big time sports encounter would have.

If those same two schools met in a football game, it would have been an entirely different story, with a vastly different crew of personnel broadcasting the game. Unfortunately, the level of political correctness that the announcers would have to obey is also at a much higher level.

Sports broadcasting has changed immensely in the past 10 or 15 years. Women have become habitués of the locker room, political protests like the one that fool Colin Kaepernick became famous for, and other spurious happenings at games have taken the spotlight away from the brilliance of athletes who play the game well.

The things that make headlines and the things that make athletes into celebrities for non-athletic performances are not the things we watch sports for. We watch sports for a thousand reasons. None of those reasons have anything to do with political correctness, which is a pain in the ass in nearly every respect.

Attendance at games is down. TV audiences for games are down. Children are being taught that football and baseball are too dangerous. Golf has gotten too expensive. Gas prices of a few years ago killed boat ownership and fishing. Women's sports are being given forced coverage for things no one watches, while men's sports coverage is being reduced in those sports.

Athletics in the United States is in such bad shape that people are beginning to watch soccer.

Oh woe!


Sunday, May 7, 2017

Last week, this Sunday column  dealt with the conniving Lyndon Johnson,  whose self-aggrandizing  policies led to  the Vietnam War and aggravated the racial strife that led to the multiple disasters of 1968.


In that year, a major event occurred, and there were a few niggling [that stupidly controversial word  is used purposely because it fits right in with the tone of this article] details to go along with it.

The major event that occurred, of course, became the topic of the  soon to be blockbuster book which will be  available  this month – I hope.

"Shemya" (website link) is close to being published. This book is written under the pen name Thomas Anderson,  and this is a flagrant commercial  solicitation. The website is a support site for the book, and provides some documentatary proof of life on the island. I have tried to keep it contemporaneous  with the  time that I was there in 1968 and 1969 (November through September).

The major event of 1968 was my being sent to Shemya. A few other things happened, also.

That year, Martin Luther King was assassinated; Bobby Kennedy was ambushed and killed. The day my feet hit the ground in Anchorage, Richard Nixon was elected president.

Those  and other 1960s events shaped the next decade directly, and we are still suffering under the effects of the Lyndon Johnson  Great Society. This Orwellian titled reshaping of US culture was responsible for many of the things we are still writing checks for today: race reparations, poorly executed social programs, destruction of the education system,  and most of the ills of our time in the United States. These were all hideously expensive manipulations of our culture and they have all failed. In their failure, attempts to save them produced cloned programs of equally bad design, which also failed. Thus we are perpetrating  and perpetuating the 'ill-logic' of the 1960s.


Thank you LBJ.


The decade of the 1960s produced three major assassinations, John Kennedy, Martin Luther King, and Bobby Kennedy.

These are the landmark events that stick in most people's minds as the things that characterize that time in American history. These were very important events  and will probably be the things  that school children will be taught about 1960s America in the future. But  they were not the most important things that happened in shaping our country.

The Great Society of Lyndon Johnson, the upheaval that the civil rights movement demanded, and the Vietnam War were far more important because their affects are still being felt in our nation today.

The Democrat party embraced that societal upheaval, and used it in increasingly sophisticated ways to affect the social change that they foresaw  as being to their advantage. They  were correct. Republicans have been  repeatedly blindsided because they refused to become as cynical as Democrats.

Republicans won the White House in 1968. Democrats could have succeeded, maybe, with Bobby Kennedy instead of the awful Hubert Humphrey, but who knows what horrors  of the Kennedy clan could have been unleashed. I shudder to think of the reach of Ted Kennedy with Bobby's help. 

As it was, we got Watergate along with Richard Nixon, who mishandled every opportunity he was given and is remembered as a corrupt schemer instead of the man who opened relations with China. Richard Nixon was a brilliant mind, but the stupid events that he allowed to happen took all the available oxygen and left him with a legacy of scandal.

He would have been  a brilliant leader if he weren't such a bad politician.


Typical Republican.


This morning's Fox News Sunday had two Democrat guests as panel members:

Ex-Congressman Jane Harmon

Jonathan Gruber

Ms. Harmon, although she is a Democrat, conducts herself in a pleasantly contrarian manner which has given the Democrat party a new face as a substitute for the execrable Nancy Pelosi, at least in my mind.

Jonathan Gruber, on the other hand, is obnoxious and arrogant. I estimate a 90% chance that whatever he is saying is wrong every time he makes a statement, including 'good morning.' Jonathan Gruber is a stain upon whatever he touches. He was a perfect selection for whatever policies Obama wanted to purvey. Thank God we no longer have to deal with those two  in power.

Mr. Gruber is an economics professor at MIT – a very good reason not to take economics there – and is frequently referred to as 'architect' of Obamacare, to which appellation I object strongly. The name of my profession with the honor and credibility that it implies should not be applied,  unearned, to that sleazeball.