College Football Players, Awaken…

Posted by Matt on Wednesday, January 29th, 2014

[Former NCAA President Myles Brand:] They can’t be paid.
[Q:] Why?
[Brand:] Because they’re amateurs.
[Q:] What makes them amateurs?
[Brand:] Well, they can’t be paid.
[Q:] Why not?
[Brand:] Because they’re amateurs.
[Q:] Who decided they are amateurs?
[Brand:] We did.
[Q:] Why?
[Brand:] Because we don’t pay them.

- Michael Rosenberg’s 2010 Sports Illustrated interview of former NCAA president Myles Brand

Yesterday, quarterback Kain Colter led a group of Northwestern football players in petitioning the National Labor Relations Board to be represented by the National College Players Association, the first such action taken by college athletes.

If recognized by the Board, the official name of the organization would be the College Athletes Players Association. According to CAPA’s web site, their goals include:

* Guaranteed coverage for sports-related medical expenses for current and former players.

* Minimizing the risk of sports-related traumatic brain injury. Reduce contact in practices, place independent concussion experts on the sidelines, and establish uniform return to play protocols.

* Improve graduation rates. Establish an educational trust fund to help former players complete their degree and reward those who graduate on time.

* Increase athletic scholarships and allow players to receive compensation for commercial sponsorships.

* Secure due process rights. Ensure players are not punished simply because they are accused of a rule violation, and any punishments should be consistent across campuses.

The possible ramifications are wide-ranging. The petition could fizzle, either via Board decision, or if widespread support fails to coalesce while numerous legal challenges tie up matters as the initial petitioners move well past graduation. It could lead to a wider unionization movement, or perhaps more likely, an agreement outside the traditional “organized labor” model whereby the players in revenue-generating sports receive, as Colter put it, “a seat at the table” with the individual school or with the NCAA, an organization flush with cash but desperate for continued relevance.

[more at projectshanks.com}

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GW: Favorite Albums Of 2013

Posted by Matt on Saturday, January 11th, 2014

On time as always! Happy New Year.

20.  Vampire Weekend – Modern Vampires of the City:  Ok kids, we get it. Good work.

19.  Scott & Charlene’s Wedding – Any Port In A Storm

18.  Charlie Parr – Barnswallow

17. My Bloody Valentine – MBV:  Per usual, I can’t understand a fucking word, but still pretty cool.

16. The National -  Trouble Will Find Me

15. Rilo Kiley – rkives:  Hi!

14.  Tegan & Sara – Heartthrob:  I went there.

13.  Jason Isbell – Southeastern

12. Charles Bradley – Victim of Love

11. Yo La Tengo – Ohm:  So good it’s ranked twice.

10. Clinic – Free Reign II:  I’ll keep a spot reserved for The Black Angels, but they need to step their game up.  Clinic Drone+

9.  Kurt Vile – Wakin On A Pretty Daze:  Maybe it’s really good or maybe the relentless ad campaign succeeded.

8.  The Field – Cupid’s Head:  You can have your Daft Punk hype.  I’ll lay back w/ Cupid’s Head.

7.  Portugal. The Man – Evil Friends

6. Foxygen – We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors…

5. Junip – Junip: Good album anchored by “Line of Fire” – possibly the best the song of the decade, or at least since “Sprawl II.”  Or maybe “Buriedfed.” Hell, I don’t know. Amazing tune w/ plus points for Breaking Bad cameo.

4.  Arcade Fire – Reflektor:  Great stuff. not their greatest stuff.

3.  Neko Case - The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You:  Took me a while but I’m so happy I took the while.

2.  Run The Jewels – Run The Jewels:  No hiphop aficionado, but you can have Yeezus and all the other false idols. Killer Mike + EL-P reign.

1.  Phosphorescent – Muchacho:  This is just some beautiful stuff. Mercy.

muchacho

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REPOST!…SNOW MY GOD WE’RE ALL GOING TO DIE…

Posted by Matt on Tuesday, January 7th, 2014

South Beach, 2025

(originally posted 2/10/10) then again (7/9/10) now one more time before retirement. for love.

UPDATE: So it’s as hot as fuck out east because, you know, it’s July. Anyway, I’m just checking in because although You Know and I Know daily mid-Atlantic microtrends in weather do not offer any proof or disproof with regard to climate change, some people with soapboxes and microphones evidently lost that perspective last winter. I just wanted to see if the pendulum-of-idiocy had swung in the other direction. Predictably, it hasn’t. Science deniers remain scientifically dipshits. too bad.

I was expecting a contrite James Inhofe & Family to be building a series of solar-powered sand castles labeled “Gore Village.” But to no avail.

For the record, NASA determined 2009 to be the 2nd warmest year on record.

SNOW MY GOD WE’RE ALL GOING TO DIE…

…but thankfully, global warming will have nothing to do with it. According to these experts, 2 February snowstorms in the Mid-Atlantic mean climate change is a fable because that’s where all the myopic politicians live.

Exhibit A – Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC):

Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) on Tuesday used the D.C. snowstorm to make a political jab, saying that it provides evidence for global warming skeptics.

“It’s going to keep snowing in DC until Al Gore cries “uncle,” the conservative Senator tweeted on Twitter.

Zing! Exhibit B - Dr. Sean Hannity:

“It’s the most severe winter storm in years, which would seem to contradict Al Gore’s hysterical global warming theories.”

Pile on! Let’s hear from Exhibit C, the man with the B.A. + real estate background, the Senate’s biggest amateur scientist and denier of climate change who just happened to get close to $1m from oil companies over the last decade…a guy who keeps his garage heated at 90F just to be an asshole. I present Senator Jim Inhofe (R-OK):

The Oklahoma Republican’s daughter, Molly Rapert; her husband, Jimmy; and their four children built an igloo — roomy enough to fit several people inside — at Third Street and Independence Avenue Southeast. They officially dedicated the humble abode in honor of global-warming crusader Gore, even posting a cardboard sign on the igloo’s roof reading “AL GORE’S NEW HOME” on one side and “HONK IF YOU [HEART] GLOBAL WARMING” on the other. Inhofe told HOH that he found his family’s ironic tribute to Gore — which came during one of Washington’s snowiest winters on record — “really humorous.”

Hey-o!  Looks like someone inherited the knack for building houses. While these hilarious antics are considered good-natured for the GOP, the air horns of faulty causal relationships wouldn’t be complete without a meek Democrat running for the slopes…

Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) said the blizzards that have shut down Congress have made it more difficult to argue that global warming is an imminent danger.

“It makes it more challenging for folks not taking time to review the scientific arguments,” said Bingaman, who as the chairman of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee has jurisdiction over energy and climate change issues.

“People see the world around them and they extrapolate,” Bingaman said. “I think that it’s hard to see an economy-wide cap-and-trade [proposal] of the type that passed the House could prevail,” he added, though he suggested a more limited alternative could have a better chance.

Totally! Getting stuff done is just so hard with all these Republicans talking out of their asses. Since the Media is going to treat these campaign slogans as legitimate scientific criticism, I guess I might as well defer to these idiots, tuck my tail between my snowpants, head back to Santa Fe, and sit on my roof with a fucking shovel.

At the risk of hitting my head against the wall, can we venture to agree that one infantesimally small sample size of weather does not an established theory break?

When asked,  Bingham could’ve done his own cherry-picking: Last month was the hottest January on record; Last decade was the warmest on record; There’s no snow in Canada and the Winter Olympics are going to start in 3 days. Holy Shit! The Olympics need snow??!! How will we determine which country is best at chasing someone on skis while firing a gun?! Mary Matalin + Donna Brazile, you are neither scientists or athletes. Your thoughts?

With so many issues that deserve constructive debate, it’s fantastic that we can take the time to manufacture an issue out of a 20-yr global scientific consensus. This country is hilarious. Stay warm.

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College Football Bowl Sponsor Rankings

Posted by Matt on Monday, January 6th, 2014

potato[Hi Everyone]

Arise from your holiday bourbon and ham stupor. Put away the Tostitos and the Bell Helicopter catalog and pay attention for a minute. There’s still a bowl game to be played and I’m pretty sure you’re going to watch it. You watched East Carolina vs. Ohio.

On the one hand, there is no worse postseason than college football’s. It’s not even close.

‘Hey I have an idea: Let’s wait a few weeks (we’ll say it’s because of scholastics haha) and then play 30 meaningless exhibition games with a bunch of rusty teams in random locations. Finally, we’ll have one title game between possibly not the two best teams in the country. That game will be on a Monday.’

On the other hand, we love football. So do we abstain from viewing? Pfft. Of course not.

That being said, it’s sometimes difficult to maintain interest through a 4.5 hour bowl game. Thus, as the sponsorships to these bowl games morphed into unrecognizable labeling over recent years, I found myself passing the time by searching the products, services and nefarious business practices of some of the more obscure corporate sponsors. Yes, I have to take all the fun out of things.

Anyway, there are 34 named sponsors. 34! And I ranked them. Because like weird conference loyalty and Spread Option Quarterbacks, college football fans love rankings.

[Note: These rankings are based on the whims and biases of the author and no particular statistical formula. If I insulted your employer, you probably agree with me.]

34. Gildan (New Mexico Bowl): This Montreal-based Textile Company makes cheap t-shirts and underwear. It also helps overthrow democratically elected governments in Latin American so it can operate its sweatshops with impunity. Prior to the excruciatingly long Washington State/Colorado State New Mexico Bowl, I had never heard of them, though everyone probably owns a dozen articles of cheap Gildan gear. This is what bowl season is all about for me: finding another gross company to avoid. Gildan – stop being terrible.

33. Valero (Alamo Bowl) – Refinin’ aint easy and Valero proves the rule. A top polluter, they are almost an oil company cliché. Saddam or no Saddam, legally or illegally, they’re dipping into that Iraqi oil and getting paid. Get some! Most of their malfeasance is pretty predictable –unsafe working conditions, money to PACs and candidates who fight energy regulation, pollution controls, etc. A terrible logo. It’s almost boring if it weren’t so awful. Like Oregon/Texas Alamo Bowl awful.

32. Bell Helicopter (Armed Forces Bowl) – Can some slick MBA explain the need for a helicopter company’s brand recognition among the average college football fan? “Honey, this reminds me. We still need to decide between the AH-1 Cobra and the UH-1 Iroquois.”

Dressed in typical jingoistic football fervor, the Bell Bowl self-importantly proclaims to be “more than just your typical bowl game,” by using the American military to benefit its corporate image.

I have an idea. Instead of slapping on your logo and “honoring” brave veterans at halftime of a meaningless football game, maybe lend your gigantic lobbying influence and financial support to elected officials who are a little more reluctant to send American teenagers to die in B.S. wars.

[Read the rest here]

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Where I Let Ted Nugent Troll Me Again

Posted by Matt on Sunday, August 4th, 2013

nugentTreasonous intestinal cyst Ted Nugent can’t stop tap-dancing on Trayvon Martin’s grave.  Following the Zimmerman verdict, he wrote a gleeful article (I won’t link) containing the thesis that Zimmerman should sue Trayvon Martin’s parents for making a big deal out of the fact that he killed their son.  On a Maine radio show this week, he leaned in with dog-whistling gusto.

Of the Trayvon Martin case, Nugent said, “Trayvon got justice.” He went on to say that Martin was a “gangsta wannabe” who had a “bloodthirst,” as evidenced by the fact that he was supposedly eager to “get into fights with people.” He said Martin showed racism in calling George Zimmerman a “cracka.”

The teenager with ice tea and Skittles “got justice” when he was killed after being stalked by a grown man with 50 lbs on him. Seriously. I don’t have the energy to rehash this tragedy. But agree with the law. (i don’t) Agree with the jury. (i don’t).  Just don’t talk about a dead child as “justice.”

Also, as we all know, Cat Scratch Fever and Smoke On The Water are the same fucking song, though the latter is somehow infinitely better.

I’ll close with a classy Motor City Madman phrase – ‘Suck on my gun, Nuge.’

And by “gun,” I mean “penis.”

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Tammy Duckworth Hands Thieving Contractor His Ass

Posted by Matt on Thursday, June 27th, 2013

When they enter civilian life, disabled military veterans receive certain preferences if applying for military contracts.  There are various public policy arguments in support of this policy.  And then there’s Braulio Castillo.

Castillo is the owner of Strong Castle, a computer company that picks up a lot of government work.  According to their website:

Strong Castle, Inc is a Service-Disabled, Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) and a Minority Owned Small Business that has been providing Information Technology solutions to commercial and Government clients since 1994. Strong Castle, Inc specializes in Internet Configuration and Security, Network Design and Configuration, Help Desk Support, Configuration Management, Applications Development, Database Interfaces and Web Enabled Services.

So what was the injury this Hero endured during his selfless sacrifice for our freedomz?

Castillo injured his ankle in fall 1984 during his year at the U.S. Military Academy Preparatory School, but would play quarterback and linebacker the next year at the University of San Diego, according to a 157-page report Tuesday by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which will hold a hearing on the contract Wednesday.

The report said high school football players recruited to play at West Point sometimes enroll in the prep school for a fifth year of high school to “redshirt” and prepare to play college football. Castillo’s injury happened during an orienteering exercise, and his nine months at the prep school represent the entirety of his military career, according to the report.

Since purchasing Strong Castle, Castillo mislead VA administrators with sob stories about his poor poor toe-sies for many years in order to access government contracts through VA’s Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business program.  Here’s a particularly loathesome piece

Castillo told a VA examiner weighing the company’s application for entry into the set-aside program about the “crosses I bear due to my service to our great country,” according to the report.

So Castillo has procured approximately $500 million in IRS I.T. contracts through his Veteran-Disability status and connections within the IRS.  By a technicality, it looks like his status is warranted so he can’t be held criminally liable for fraud. Which is unfortunate. However, after the public shaming Rep. Duckworth laid on Castillo yesterday, I’m not sure if the contracts will continue to flow.  Please watch the smackdown.

Tammy Duckworth, winner once again.

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Discrimination Is Over, Guys! We Did It!

Posted by Matt on Wednesday, June 26th, 2013

Parsing out which of the Supreme Court’s decisions has been the most terrible over the last week is yeoman’s work.  While many Americans might not grab the pitchforks over the issue of class action arbitration, the Court continues to fluff the Chamber of Commerce with opinion after opinion.

Still, any tears that will be shed for the continued decimation of consumer and employee rights will be overwhelmed by those shed for the Voting Rights Act.

And it makes sense.

The 14th and 15th Amendments state that ‘Congress shall have the power to enforce’ voting rights and equal protection. In an effort to stem a century of voter discrimination, disenfranchisement and intimidation, Congress passed the Voting Rights Act in 1965 and has routinely reaffirmed it since.  It was most recently  reauthorized in 2006 by a combined 488-33 or 94 percent of Congress.  This includes a 98-0 margin in the Senate.  Even Mitch McConnell voted for it, though he might not remember.

Today, the Roberts Court struck down Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act and essentially neutered Section 5.  Section 5 prohibits certain states and jurisdictions with histories of voting discrimination from enforcing changes to their election procedures until the changes have been reviewed by the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”) or a federal court through a process called “preclearance.” Section 4 outlines who will be subject to the heightened standard.

I recommend reading Roberts’ opinion and Ginsburg’s ass-kicking dissent.  Roberts, a longtime opponent of the VRA,  uses circular logic and essentially determines, “Hey, there is no discrimination in these places anymore. huzzah! So even though these registration numbers may have improved as a result of the VRA, we deem the VRA is no longer needed. Also, there are black elected officials!” (Just like during Reconstruction before Rutherford B. Hayes’ controversial 1876 election resulted in the removal of federal troops, but I digress.)

Roberts concludes, “It’s on you, Congress, to determine a better formula because the South isn’t racist anymore.” (It is.)  ”And good luck with that because you’re functioning at such a high level.”

Ginsburg’s dissent? “You’re full of shit. This is a well-established power in the purview of Congress.  It says it right there!”

But does the Majority have a point?  Ya know, why these states? I mean, the inexcusably long lines that disenfranchised hundreds-of-thousands of voters in 2012 were most notably in Florida and Ohio, two states not subject to preclearance.

Why? (1) Maybe there’s a lesson there.  (2) Because of history. A dark and terrible history that shouldn’t be discounted.  Also, under Section 4, it’s possible for these jurisdictions to exempt themselves from “special coverage” if they can demonstrate a 10-year record of not discriminating against minority voters. But disenfranchisement is so much fun! Who can go 10 whole years?

Before the ink was even dry, Texas, Mississippi and North Carolina were moving ahead with restrictive new voting laws.  South Carolina’s Attorney General (and white guy) Alan Wilson lauded the Court:

“For nearly 50 years, Sections 4 and 5 have imposed an extraordinary intrusion into state sovereignty in certain states, including South Carolina,” Wilson said in a statement posted on the attorney general’s website. “Over time, great strides have been made and Sections 4 and 5 have become obsolete.

This is gonna end well.

I am neither a “Strict Constructionist” nor someone who whines about “Judicial Activism.” These are hollow labels anyway. At the appellate level, all judges are activists of varying shades. Each judge brings a specific background, worldview, and in some cases, interpretation to the bench. The  term “judicial activism” is a pejorative the Right likes to throw around when it doesn’t agree with a Court’s decision.

But next time Scalia or any of these other conservative jags drop a “judicial restraint” or “activism” reference, feel free to call them on overturning a 50-year-old law rooted in direct Constitutional text and reauthorized by more than a 10-1 margin by our Legislative Branch on multiple occasions.  It won’t take long. Could be tomorrow today.

Update:  It was today.

Scalia: “We have no power under the Constitution to invalidate this democratically adopted legislation.” [dissent in DOMA]

unreal.

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GOP Outreach Enters Sexy Cannibalism Phase

Posted by Matt on Tuesday, June 25th, 2013

haroldMeet 2003 Ms. America Erika Harold.  The Urbana, Illinois native and former Chicago attorney is currently running for Congress against current Rep. and fellow republican, Rodney Davis.

Her decision to run in the 2014 primary angered some fellow republicans, including (now former) Montgomery Co. GOP chairman Jim Allen.  He sent an angry email to a GOP website that he might have cut n’ pasted from some deranged internet commenter.

Rodney Davis will win and the love child of the D.N.C. will be back in Shitcago by May of 2014 working for some law firm that needs to meet their quota for minority hires,” he wrote. “… Now, miss queen is being used like a street walker and her pimps are the DEMOCRAT PARTY and RINO REPUBLICANS.

Ms. Harold is black.  She’s also Harvard-educated, pretty and articulate.  She might be the GOP’s unicorn.  Also, since Mo Rocca and one of the Real Houswives ask tougher public policy questions to Trump Industries’ Pageant contestants than John King does to our elected leaders, I would say she’s more than prepared for the big stage of soulless corporatist water-carrying.

Jim Allen disagrees. He has since stepped down, which I guess should be considered progress for the Downstate-IL GOP.

Montgomery County is only 95.1% white, but don’t let that fool you. Some of this country’s best racists are located in this swath of farm and village.  Ms. Harold should have a lot of fun on the campaign trail.

But it’s ok. Allen apologized to Harold. Via text. Because that’s what men do.

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One Sentence Album Review Via Wine Descriptors – Fitz And The Tantrums

Posted by Matt on Saturday, June 8th, 2013

fitzFitz and The Tantrums – More Than Just A Dream

A little one-dimensional, and exhibiting different qualities than its predecessors, perhaps due to sought to excessive use of new oak.

Grade:  C+

Listen to this while:  Subject of a montage that shows you getting a lot accomplished at work.

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Hopeless Romantic Tries To Propose To Lady, Decides To Go To Jail Instead

Posted by Matt on Saturday, June 8th, 2013

(h/t to twitter’s best account:  @_FloridaMan)

Edwards:  Still unfettered, ladies!

Edwards: Still unfettered, ladies!

Casselberry, FLA:  Thomas Edwards Jr., 22, is just a young man with a dream.  A dream of taking his clothes off and proposing to some lucky girl.

The 22-year-old had a run-in with several Casselberry police officers after a homeowner called 911 to say a man had knocked on his door and was stripping down on his back porch.

When officers arrived about 3:45 a.m., an arrest report said, Edwards was “completely naked.” They told him to put his boxers back on.

Edwards, who said his name was “Zim,” told officers his girlfriend invited him over so that he could propose to her.

She wanted him to strip down, he said.

Where did you keep the ring, Thomas? Maybe he didn’t have the rock because it looks like he exhibited immediate regret.

Edwards told police “he just wanted to go to jail” and asked if head-butting an officer would get him there.

“I told him not to try it,” one of the responding officers reported.

Edwards then told the officer he would spit in his face.

“I again told him not to try it,” the officer stated.

Obviously Thomas spit in the guy’s face and the engagement had to wait another day.

Another officer tased Edwards in the left hip and thigh. Edwards fell, scraping his knee and foot on the driveway. He rolled over and pulled the taser prongs out.

The Maitland man was arrested on charges of indecent exposure in public, battery on an officer and burglary.

This is a good lesson for the kids. Don’t rush into anything.

 

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Gratuitous World Blog

    • College Football Players, Awaken…
      January 29, 2014

      [Former NCAA President Myles Brand:] They can’t be paid. [Q:] Why? [Brand:] Because they’re amateurs. [Q:] What makes them amateurs? [Brand:] Well, they can’t be paid. [Q:] Why not? [Brand:] Because they’re amateurs. [Q:] Who decided they are amateurs? [Brand:] We did. [Q:] Why? [Brand:] Because we don’t pay them. – Michael Rosenberg’s 2010 Sports Illustrated interview of former NCAA president Myles Brand Yesterday, quarterback Kain Colter led a group […]

    • GW: Favorite Albums Of 2013
      January 11, 2014

      On time as always! Happy New Year. 20.  Vampire Weekend – Modern Vampires of the City:  Ok kids, we get it. Good work. 19.  Scott & Charlene’s Wedding – Any Port In A Storm 18.  Charlie Parr – Barnswallow 17. My Bloody Valentine – MBV:  Per usual, I can’t understand a fucking word, but still pretty […]

    • REPOST!…SNOW MY GOD WE’RE ALL GOING TO DIE…
      January 7, 2014

      (originally posted 2/10/10) then again (7/9/10) now one more time before retirement. for love. UPDATE: So it’s as hot as fuck out east because, you know, it’s July. Anyway, I’m just checking in because although You Know and I Know daily mid-Atlantic microtrends in weather do not offer any proof or disproof with regard to […]