6.11.2008

It Feels Like Home



Another Finals game, another night of abuse. For what's it worth, all of us in the FD email cabal enjoyed that one, and not just because the Lakers won. But like anyone cares about THE GREATEST FINALS EVER when Donaghy's making noise again. Sayeth I, there's a good reason why the theme of conspiracy just won't let the NBA alone. And why, in truth, it just might be a good thing.

As I said on The Sporting Blog, this kind of thing is all or nothing. We can all agree that stars get the benefit of the doubt. After that, though, there's no way of knowing where to draw the line, especially with no evidence but the word of a thief. Hell, either corroboration or plausible deniability would but add fuel to the fire. You should still click on that link before, but it's much the same with historical sticking points like JFK and Roswell—the real hell of paranoia is not knowing what's left of the shore you've departed from. For all of you who wear grad school like a badge, consider yourself knighted if you pick the just-right theorist for that sentiment.

So in that sense, Donaghy will yet again prove harmless, a crank who inspires only the most dogged and detached of ax-grinders. And yet, the whiff of it, the casual interest in conspiracy, tells us a lot about the NBA's standing in American society. It's a fun, and loaded, aside, that's more about the significance of the game than whether or not it was compromised on such and such day. In the midst of this debate—or by inserting itself into wider debate—the league ends up being, well, relevant, even as the sports media pronounces this a moment of doom.



To begin this inquest, let's turn to some other scandals. Namely, PEDs, Clemens, horses on cocaine, offensive tackles on 'roids, and other shit that really is a hall-of-mirrors style meltdown. Fine, crooked refereeing is about the integrity of the game, but not in the same way that altered athletes is. This seems more a fragment left over from the eighties, when the entire white collar community was fueled by cocaine, and Wall Street performance, while part of the general business drift of the nation, became a competitive sport unto itself. On the flip side of that (FEEL MY SLANG), there's the entire NFL in jail, which should really only be of marginal interest to football fans. It's boring, and just tells you that, duh, sports aggravates anti-social tendencies as often as they reverse them through structures and solvency. Oh, and racism is bad.

But the conspiracy is uniquely expansive and American. For one, it's a motif that unites the league's disparate constituencies. Scratch that—in the abstract, it does so for the whole damn political spectrum. At the risk of offending someone, there's a long tradition of conspiracy theories in the Black community. Yes, it's most evident on mixtapes, in Nation of Islam leaflets, and Jeremiah Wright, but it's not to be ignored. Nor is it that tough to account for. Of course, these suspicions are all about the system winning, and the NBA supposedly favors the system. Still, isn't adding this to the texture of the league—even if only in passing—play right into the hands of this particular core audience? Fuck a nested model of ref bias; if Iverson ever suggested that the league was out to get him, then you'd have a real rallying cry.

On the other hand, conspiracy theories are popular among the same kind of people who supposedly hate the NBA. You know, slightly wacko right-wingers who, if amplified across a generation or two, will have seed who start libertarian militias. Never mind the repulsion the league may cause in them. The added intrigue of corruption, the sense that special interests and wealthy celebrities might be pulling the strings, turns this tiny little sport into political theater. It's not just an imperfect form of competition, it's a metaphor for a world falling apart before their eyes. A team that suffers at the hands of Stern, especially a hard-working one who wrote the book on meritocracy, damn well better trump marketing concerns. If you think that said fan, who longs for the better days on and off the court, who hates affirmative action but isn't really racist, this stuff provides the perfect fuel in this particular basketball/cultural war.



And then, there's the time we live in. Say what you will about the NFL capturing the values moment, or NASCAR representing the rising up of the silent majority, or baseball once embodying the American Dream. I'm not sure if you've checked the news lately—I keep it on 24/7, even when there is a Law and Order on—but in the dying days of this administration, we are wading through a living, breathing backlog of scandal and secrets.

At this point, nothing will shock us. All is so believable, and there's so little we could do—or so little we want to tell ourselves about what we could've done—that the net effect is nil. But still, conspiracy is the fabric of U.S. government. Even if we want Obama, the First Basketball President, to sweep it all away, he's going to have to spend a hell of a lot of time clearing out all the brush that this administration has left behind—most of which smacks of collusion and secrecy.

So welcome to this country. Tim Donaghy's not a shock, he's confirmation that basketball's like everything else. And if we've learned to cope with that, or at least suppress it and try and make modest gains (or keep Bush in office as an easy target, yet another level of cynicism), then we should be able to sit the fuck back and enjoy these Finals. You're right, innocence is lost. It might never have been there. But what's the alternative? Throwing yourself off into the rapids and hoping no one points out you're in the de facto deep end?

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63 Comments:

At 6/11/2008 11:53 AM, Blogger mdesus said...

This is almost certainly the least cogent thing you've put out in a while. I do not understand what your point is here. Were you trying to say that conspiracy theory is nothing new, and it has become so ingrained in our collective (though I think for you racially separate) psyches new revelations don't even phase us? if so I think you are underestimating the intelligence of the sports viewing public. We know that Timmy D is trying to make sure he gets a minimal sentence. So anything he says is automatically suspect. Moreover, Of course you can hate affirmative action as poor policy, and not be a racist. I'm half black have native american, and I still find that shit abhorrent. Also what's with the libertarian hate?


KeepAbuInTheSharkTank

 
At 6/11/2008 12:04 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

CULTURAL CLIMATE OF CONSPIRACY AND CORRUPTION, YOU TAKE WHAT YOU CAN GET AND FEEL GOOD ABOUT IT.

 
At 6/11/2008 12:04 PM, Blogger Ben & Melissa said...

Please don't call him Timmy D just so he has a nickname.

 
At 6/11/2008 12:24 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

And not to turn this into an affirmative action debate, or even state my opinion on the matter, but I don't think it's a secret that different people at different places on the political spectrum dislike it for different reasons.

Whatever, I'm done commenting.

 
At 6/11/2008 12:39 PM, Blogger ItTakesAThiefToCatchAThief said...

"whatever. I'm done commenting". Funny stuff.


"But the conspiracy is uniquely expansive and American."

The Illuminati, Rothschilds, Knights of Templar, Elders of Zion, and David Icke think you're overstating that a bit. And yeah, Elders of Zion was bunk - but who put it out there? Who's been reporting about the 9/11 shit? Ain't been America - but France, Canada, and England have done some pieces.

The Federal Reserve wants Kobe to win. Whachathinkaboutthat?!/

 
At 6/11/2008 1:08 PM, Blogger mdesus said...

Conspiracy as a global human phenomenon is much more interesting. I'm with the thief in that it's not really an American thing. I'm struggling for good examples, but I live in Mexico, and I think they are just as rampant (and stupid) here. Also I called him Timmy D because I didn't want to look up how to spell his last name.

 
At 6/11/2008 1:13 PM, Blogger Dr. Lawyer IndianChief said...

!@#$%.

 
At 6/11/2008 1:19 PM, Blogger silent.e said...

I'm quite sure this is the wrong forum to point this out, but what the hell: Only four players TOTAL in double figures last night.

To keep this on topic: We wuz all robbed.

 
At 6/11/2008 1:45 PM, Blogger DJ Slick Watts said...

Am I the only one who's shaken to see Bowen in that photo? Does it mean I have to like him a little?

Sheeeit.

 
At 6/11/2008 1:47 PM, Blogger Fredrik deBoer said...

Saying that the NBA is fixing games is trying to explain why the officiating sucks. I don't know why it sucks. I just know that it does suck, that it destroys what should be my favorite league, and I can't really deal anymore.

And, you know. The CIA facilitating the sale of crack in Los Angeles was only a conspiracy theory, until (whoops!) the documentation was released proving they had, well, facilitated the sale of crack in Los Angeles.

Also, BS: Spivak.

 
At 6/11/2008 1:57 PM, Blogger Matt said...

I don't want to buy this fatalism. Before, it was only a little reasonable to say the league was stretching series' out with the refs. Now, it makes a lot of sense.

And maybe celts-lakers would have been dogshit anyways, given how poorly the lakers are playing and how ugly the celtics are when they're "on", but I like to think, at least a little bit, that players are out of their rhythm, and it makes for shitty, slow-paced, roll-of-the-dice basketball.

I know Shoals thought that these finals were terrible to start with, but I was holding out a little hope.

 
At 6/11/2008 1:57 PM, Blogger sharky h. towers said...

You nailed it Shoals. I've been waiting for a column like this from someone (anyone!), but most of the media (even the blogs) are extremely reticent to call this what it is, or at least acknowledge that it is in did something.

"Conspiracy" is a word much like "liberal", a quick way to discredit a person or idea. They're words that have a had a lot of work put in to them to make their utterance quick and easy method to dispatch an uncomfortable truth or idea.

Look, these are incredible times and we're on the cusp of a great dialog about the role of the corporations of the world, economic and political realities vs. economic and political propaganda as well as a a hard look at our world, our country and certainly our societies issues with race, religion and a whole slew of other ideas and problems that many wish we could continue to let live hidden from the national dialog.

We've got to move past such dismissive terms as "conspiracy" and examine what the hell is really going on.

 
At 6/11/2008 2:00 PM, Blogger sharky h. towers said...

Here's this while we're at it.

The NBA, Donaghy and Ralph Nader

 
At 6/11/2008 2:26 PM, Blogger Ben & Melissa said...

Also I called him Timmy D because I didn't want to look up how to spell his last name.

K.

Just leave Timmeh out of it.

 
At 6/11/2008 2:39 PM, Blogger Graydon said...

The specifics of this all aside, the NBA has created an atmosphere that consistently encourages us to believe it will value profit over principle. Even if you could prove all this, what would be the answer? I don't hope for reform, I just hope Stern gets a firm boot shoved up his ass from the public. I wish this would lead to thoughtful discussion on all the ideologies and identities that converge on the league, but I'm convinced that like everything else it will just collapse into a pool of venom and disinterestedness.

 
At 6/11/2008 2:49 PM, Blogger Mr. Six said...

Among the amazing things that JVG has done on-air this post season was his subtle confirmation last night that an NBA official--not a ref--told him that the refs had specifically targeted Yao (at the behest of Cuban), AND HE CONTINUES TO BELIEVE THAT OFFICIAL. Now, he also said all the "right" things, including not wanting to give Donaghy credibility and that the real issue is one of transparency (if the refs are going to look more closely at a player, the L should tell that player's team first so that they can adjust). But at bottom, he confirmed his belief that a conscious decision of the NBA, or at least its referees, played a significant role in the outcome of a playoff series, instigated by another team's owner.

What was great about that mini-interview was (1) JVG was both slick and honest, which is an underappreciated combo, and (2) it cut right to the heart of the "conspiracy" issue. There's no grand plan in the NBA offices to assist some teams and punish others; rather, there are some refs with personal issues, and there's an ad hoc approach to addressing deficiencies from game to game and series to series that can be driven by the league's owners and lacks the governing principles and level of communication necessary to eliminate the arbitrariness inherent in ad hoc systems. (Thus, one owner can benefit at the expense of another because the first complains, and the league reacts but fails to inform the second owner.)

Or at least, that's how I see the situation, and that's one of the inherent aspects of "conspiracy theories": everyone projects their own world view on to the events and the nature of the "conspiracy" develops accordingly.

And I find that Bowen picture depressing.

 
At 6/11/2008 2:53 PM, Blogger Graydon said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 6/11/2008 2:54 PM, Blogger Graydon said...

Am I the only one who thinks the Bowen picture is great? Come on fellas, if the man wants to be in the fold, give him a leg up.

 
At 6/11/2008 3:00 PM, Blogger sharky h. towers said...

Graydon- I feel your pain brother. You've ended up like a dog that's been beat too much, but have faith! Reform could absolutely be in the cards, I think Stern is gonna get that boot up his ass and while "venom and disinterestedness" will rule the day in some circles there will be bastions of hope and islands of righteousness (like here for instance!) that will serve as a haven for your tormented soul.

And please allow me to try and share the kool-aid of the here and now. We have a real leader (Daddy O) who could serve as the iconic figure in an era that will reverse the post-Cobain doldrums of apathy and heartbreak that is young life in corporate America.

Yes we can. I hope. Please God make it so.

 
At 6/11/2008 3:03 PM, Blogger The wondering Mind said...

Word Association:

Corrupt, Fixed; Conservative, I Hate Kobe, Poorly Officiated, Boring, Wealthy Crass Black Millionaires, Master Puppeteer Stein, Loved the NBA In The 70s, Loved The NBA In The 80s, Thugs, Prison Culture, NFL Is Not Fixed, Cheated The Suns, Can't Stand The Lakers, Hate Liberal Hollywood, Chilled Envelopes, Hate NYC, Big Media Market Bias, Greedy and Out of touch With Ticket Buying Audience, Talk Radio, KG gets it.

Spurs, 4 Championships, Love the NBA Now, Appreciate Kobe, Suns Broke The Rules, Love Hollywood, NYC Sixth Pick, No Conspiracy, Detroit In Five Over The Lakers, Community Service, NBA Cares, Liberal, Reasonably Officiated, Most Exciting Game On TV, KG Shrinks In Big Games, Detroit V San Antonio, Portland Drafts Number One, Boston Drafts Fifth, Newspaper Columnists.

PS.

Before commenting on Game 6, try and watch the game first so that you know what you arte talking about, don’t read the boxscore back to me.

 
At 6/11/2008 3:19 PM, Blogger mdesus said...

@wo(a?)ndering mind
Who are you talking to? No one has quoted a stat yet. In the end, once clarified, and reread I am with Shoals. Things are corrupt all over, and you can either be a misanthrope, or you can love it for what it is. Also this series is so boring to watch. Jesus I hate this, please make it better.

Me4President

 
At 6/11/2008 3:25 PM, Blogger The wondering Mind said...

mdesus,

The people around me keep quoting this 27 FTs thing to me and i am getting tired of it.

 
At 6/11/2008 4:15 PM, Blogger Ken said...

I'd say that, in the last 15 years or so, officiating in the NBA has become an art as big as playing in the NBA. And that's not a good thing.

Everyone is freakishly strong, everyone can jump out of the building, everyone can play 3, 4, or 5 positions.

So how do you asign blame within the context of each game? The answer the NBA has chosen is to let them play alot more.

In 86-87 when the Lakers and Celtics last played in the Finals, the average number of fouls called on a team during that season's regular season was 2012 (24.5 fouls per game) in 07-08 it was 1724 (21 per game).

That's a huge difference and it really started when the Bulls started winning. The refs stopped calling fouls. League-wide.

I'll let others debate the greater meaning of it all, but those are the facts.

 
At 6/11/2008 4:41 PM, Blogger Christopher said...

Its pretty obvious they didn't "stop calling fouls" but the emergence of the idea that "superstars get different calls" threw everything into flux. It became more than player x making illegal contact with player y. Certainplayers could get away with certain things at certain times in the game. What then do yoyu do when only one tem has a legit superstar "worthy" of preferential treatment? Do you give that luxury to the teams best player, spread it out?... It became too based on judgement and circumstance to be consistent.

 
At 6/11/2008 4:54 PM, Blogger Fredrik deBoer said...

A good point from Simmons that should be heard around here:

"Before the 2000-01 season, Pierce was stabbed 11 times at a Boston nightclub, suffered a collapsed lung and nearly bled to death while staggering to the hospital. Less than two weeks later, he played in Boston's first exhibition game. If the same thing had happened to Vince Carter, he would still be on the injured list seven years later."

 
At 6/11/2008 5:13 PM, Blogger Dr. Lawyer IndianChief said...

Simmons has also said that Pierce was never the same after that stabbing. Nonetheless, next to Kobe, I think he's been the best player in these entire playoffs.

 
At 6/11/2008 5:20 PM, Blogger Sweat of Ewing said...

I love the way Pierce drives to the basket, it's like the Legend of Drunken Master to Lebron's or Kobe's Way of the Fist.

 
At 6/11/2008 5:30 PM, Blogger Fredrik deBoer said...

I love the way Pierce drives to the basket, it's like the Legend of Drunken Master to Lebron's or Kobe's Way of the Fist.

Dwayne Wade: that wrestler from The Chinese Connection

 
At 6/11/2008 6:20 PM, Blogger Christopher said...

Bowen is a really good guy in the community and very intelligent. There's agreat story about him aking a professor if he could reschedule an exam because he would be out of town for a playoff game (!) with the Spurs. At first he teacher didn't believe him and it took the entire class confirming that her student, Bruce Bowen was in fact a memeber of the San Antonio Spurs. I always thought that was a crazy story. (Also kind of shows you what an unassuming guy Bowen is off the court)

 
At 6/11/2008 7:11 PM, Blogger db said...

It's unfortunate that mdseus jumped in quickly before re-reading to play the identity card and shut down a fascinating set of questions opened up by Shoals in this post.

Anyone following this blog for long enough should know that it's possible (and necessary) to talk about race and cultural forms and movements without appealing to one's own experience, which is pretty useless when what we're doing is writing anonymous texts on a blog. In that respect, unless it's using a specific understanding of a personal experience to illuminate those larger questions, I don't think it helps to say "I'm black/white/indigenous/female/male/gay/straight/working class/rich/whatever and you aren't so you don't know what you're talking about."

e.g. the problem with Simmons and Mt Rapmore is not that he's white and therefore unable to talk about rap (a genre undeniably coded black by "society" regardless of its mixed cultural heritage), but that he clearly does not have the level of knowledge, respect, or accountability to the tradition that you would need to make that call, and so his selections weren't based on the values that the community holds to be legit (not that these are stable).

When Shoals talks about the fan who "hates affirmative action but isn't really racist", that paints a clear picture which is true. He does not say that everyone who hates affirmative action is racist. It's more to say that there is a person who uses a phrase like this and they are recognisable to us. Most people of colour I've encountered who hate affirmative action rarely add the "I'm not racist but..." disclaimer to their discussion, because, obviously, there is no real need unless you get into the kind of "reverse racism" shit which tends to get pulled out by white media culture. (Media speaking to white people - others can write in it if they conform to the rules).

So Shoals talks a lot of truth in this post, I don't agree with all of it but I also think the shutdown that happened by mdseus was unfortunate (and probably unintentional) because there's a lot of things to talk about in the actual argument, which basically strikes me as true.

 
At 6/11/2008 8:43 PM, Blogger R. Lobstah said...

Look, anyone who bothers to read my comments will probably figure that I am not up with the politics of this site. I think the worst thing that can happen is if Obama became president. Much worse even then the current Bush presidency. I don't hear any solutions to the problems embedded in whatever part of our corporate culture that does not include the theft of property from those who have money and giving it to the government so it'll disperse it as the bureaucrats see fit. I'm just not hip to having a thinly veiled and pandering, neo-Marxist as my president and that is precisely what Obama is. Solutions such as the Windfall Tax, protectionism, socialized medicine and all the other far-Leftist solutions on the market being used as Obama talking points (let alone pulling us out of a war that the soldiers themselves see as a positive and want to continue fighting and keep winning) can best be compared to the NBA thus...

Since the money the NBA, ABC and the Turner Networks get from showing the game provides a motive for the NBA fixing the games, then lets just have an unrelated group of people take 20% of whatever money is earned through NBA related business and let that group spend it as it would like. On top of that, if enough of the viewers of games respond in text massage voting that they are unhappy with the officiating then another 10% is taken away from those who normaly profit from NBA viewership. If fans are displeased by the results of the finals, for any reason, then they can text massage in a vote to have another 10% taken from the NBA broadcasters and the NBA. In all 40% of all the earnings get syphoned away and since the profits are so much smaller, there aught to be less corruption. With the various penalties for bad reffing and unhappy fans, this should guarantee better reffing and motre popular results.

Personally I think the problem is in the reffing itself, not conspiracies. I think the refs need to be better trained to take the best view of the play on a court. I think they need to be in better shape. I think the refs need to be younger. I think the selection process should hone in on characters for whom the integrity of the game, a free flowing game, and consistency in calls (for either team and on either home court) are proven time and again.

You cannot have a gambling scandal involving a ref, the sort of calls we have seen all playoffs long (especially involving my Lakers and I am including the Fisher/Barry incident) and maintain the status quo. Anyone who thinks that the system needs to be revolutionized is a revolution fetishist or looking to make money off the sentiment. What we need is an improved rotation of refs.

As for the presidential race. I think we are going to see something quite allot like this Finals. A glamor match-up in which the viewers and pundits get it all wrong in understanding how the match-ups work and who is the better candidate. The media is currently dry-humping Obama's leg and only starting to put together just how deep Obama is in his pandering. Michelle is going to shout out another one of her anti-American, racist and myopic statements complaining about how she actually had to pay off her college loan and how hard it was for her to get a six figure income (anyone ready to blame the Universities for providing hideously poor educations to under-qualified students and increasing their prices at 300% above the rate of inflation in the last 10 years alone? Of course not, since most of America's education system is socialized already there is no reason for Socialists to gripe about their role in undermining the American intellectual environment. Its time now to move onto undermining our healthcare system and continue turning our culture into one of entitlement rather then one of earning your keep and striving for excellence.) A campaign that was supposed to transcend race has been responsible for most of the race baiting (just as the Laker's offense was supposed to run wild on the Celtics). The candidate that was supposed to bring people together is actually much further from the center then his current opponent whose name dots the biggest bi-partisan legislation pieces of the last 10 years (sort of like how 9 championships for PJ would beat out the Doc Autism). But, knowing the political leanings of this group, I can see why you all like Obama. He is the perfect candidate for trying to actualize your vision of the world and of America.

I can't stand the ugliness of this series. Hopefully LO can find a comfort zone. Hopefully Rondo can play, Pierce gets his knee to work right, Garnett hits more of his shots, Gasol takes it to the hole with authority, Fisher stops being tenetive, Machine keeps hitting big threes, and Kobe hits a game winning reverse dunk off an ally-oop pass from Walton in Game 7 just as the game clock hits 0.

 
At 6/11/2008 10:11 PM, Blogger sharky h. towers said...

R. Lobstah- I want to first say that I am a Lakers fan as well as someone with very solid respect of - and in agreement with - many ideas and ideals of the American conservative movement (though I am an Independent and I am strongly for Obama) so please understand that I speak with all due respect and I apologize in advance if the site frowns upon political discourse.

The first thing that I would say is that it is my belief there isn't really a true leftist party in this country. Certainly not the Democratic party during Clinton and since. I would consider left to be, oh Noam Chomsky or maybe Howard Zinn. By and large I'd consider the Democratic party to be slightly left of center of the (in my opinion antiquated and undesciptive) Left/Right spectrum.

I also would say that describing Obama as "neo-Marxist" is significantly off the mark. Obama is a creature of modern political thought and transcends the increasingly useless political dogmas of the 20th century. Comparing American political figures to Soviet/Russian ones is as hyberbole akin to comparing them to Nazis and Darth Vader.

I think describing socialized medicine as a "far-left" solution is not accurate. I don't think anybody would say the United Kingdom is a "far-left" nation. Protectionism is a term that I wouldn't use describe Obama's economic ideas. And Obama certainly doesn't pander any more or less than any candidate running for President in modern politics.

The tax issue is one of the major ones I'd like to address however. A very successful talking point that gets thrown around in American politics is the "tax and spend liberal" or the "tax cutting conservative". It's a very popular thing to say "I'm against taxes". Who isn't? But there ARE going to be taxes and so the real issue is WHERE they are taken from. This is the real crux of the tax issue. Obama would move to actually DECREASE taxes for individuals that earn less than $250,000 per year, while increasing taxes on those that earn more. In his opinion the citizens of the country earning less than $250k could use a little break and those that earn more can afford to give a little more. Bring it into balance. I agree (though in full disclosure this policy may not be beneficial to me personally) as I think the lower-upper/middle class and lower class could use that break right now.

Another thing that is an important factor is corporate taxes. America has a relatively (for the world) high corporate tax rate. I'm not entirely sure I'm with Obama with his policy here as corporate taxes influence the whole economy (and REALLY outside the scope of this comment), but I will say his policy is neither "Marxist" or "far left" or even necessarily "liberal". In fact I'd describe his tax policy as generally "sound", though I may not personally agree with it entirely.

One major issue and problem I have with the Republican party over the last 28 years (and REALLY over the last 8) is that of regulation. Corporations have brought us incredible things in this world and this economy, but their nature is not one of sound self-governance or ethicality or morality especially when they become as large as they have in this world. (In fact Jefferson himself would be shocked at the state of the modern corporation, in my opinion). If the government doesn't regulate and police them, nobody will. The free market has limits. There needs to be balance in regulation, and things have fallen grossly out of balance.

And no matter how many Republicans may lament "bureaucrats spending the people's money", taxes will be collected and they will be spent, no matter if it is a Republican, Democrat, King, Queen or Magistrate in the Oval Office. Right now we have a very costly war going on (a war that 3 family members of mine have fought in including my brother) and I simply don't think it is a good use of my tax dollars. I would much rather that money were spent on keeping the infrastructure of our country intact. A great place to start would be to make sure the oceans don't SWALLOW OUR CITIES that have delicious gumbo. I would like it if bridges didn't fall on people either.

In any case, it is all about a balance. This presidential campaign (like every other campaign) is not one of simple black and white (I will show great restraint by making no joke here and ask you do the same). This campaign has many issues and narratives, but I think the overwhelmingly important one is that of what candidate will bring the most balance we need in this country at this moment. I would encourage any Conservative or Independent to see through the cliches like "tax and spend liberal" and see Obama for what he is: an extremely balanced candidate who has a chance to usher an era of leadership from the Presidency we have not seen in 40+ years.

Plus he plays basketball.

 
At 6/11/2008 10:19 PM, Blogger rebar said...

actually, i think it's probably harder for a black woman to go to a top university and get a well paying job after years of work than it is for a privileged white son of an admiral to join up, become a "war hero" for being a POW, and then parlay that into a political career. only IMO. it shocks me how much the obamas beating the odds gets turned into a reason they're elitist or nefariously upper class.

 
At 6/12/2008 12:49 AM, Blogger Fredrik deBoer said...

1. "Legacy admissions" is a term that refers to people who get into a particular college or university because they are the child of an alumnus, or they had a parent donate a lot of money to the school. (This are not unconnected phenomena, of course.) More students receive a benefit to their admission chances from legacy admission, and receive a larger advantage from legacy admission, than minority students receive for their minority status. Where, may I ask, is the anger against legacy admission? Where are the political action campaigns and the marches and the rallies? If you don't think that anti-black animus is a key part of the affirmative action debate, you're very naive.

2. Calling someone like Obama a socialist just demonstrates how out of whack America is with the rest of the world. There are actual socialists in the world; their politics look nothing like Obamas. Indeed in many parts of the world, Obama's views (certainly his economic views) would be considered right wing.

 
At 6/12/2008 1:58 AM, Blogger T. said...

As a Rockets fan, I have to wonder if there was any fixing of games going on, why is it that league golden boy Yao never got out of the first round (and here, I'm looking at that '04-'05 team)?

I have difficulty beliving a league of fixers would fix it so that the Spurs won 4 Championships in the last 9 years.

 
At 6/12/2008 5:23 AM, Blogger R. Lobstah said...

@rebar
Anyone who gets a six figure income has beaten the odds. You don't see people calling Bill Gates elitist or any number of other wealthy members of our society simply due to their wealth. The tag of elitism comes from what one says and how one behaves. Obama's lesson to his friends in San Francisco, in which he lectured them on what it is that makes working Americans love G-d and guns, was an elitist remark. Some of us feel it provides insight into the character of Obama.

@deBoer
What a university does, especially a private university, is its own business. The fact that the government enforces any sort of benefits according to race, color or creed, is IMO the legitimate complaint one has against this government policy. If a private university wants to be all black or all Chinese or whatever percent it chooses of any race, or if it wants only to accept c- students or the illiterate, or if some universities want to hire only Muslims or if they want to accept only the children of Illuminati or the Elders of Zion, so be it. If the government forces private companies to do any of those things, or if public universities do such a thing then it is a problem.

Obama wants to tax capitalists for being successful. There is more then a hint of Socialism in that. When Obama makes statements such as, "The pharmaceutical companies won't give up their profits easily", within the context of a speech about socialized medicine, there is more then a hint of socialism. When a candidate runs on a platform of the government easing the loan burden on those getting an education, on taking on the burden of "universal healthcare" (changed from socialized medicine because of the clues provided by the word socialized), when a candidate has all but promised to raise taxes on the wealthy and increase government spending on items not at all in the Constitutional mandate for our government, namely entitlements, then I think I can be forgiven for confusing Obama for a Socialist. In fact, I'm still confused.

@towers,
I think you are confusing Left with radical Left. If your vision of the Left is Chomsky, Zinn or Vidal then you have certainly shifted the center leftward and radicalized Sowell, Gingrich and Buckley.
What then do you call a politician who wishes to tax the rich and give what the bureaucrats don't swallow to the masses? What do you call a politician who considers the job of the President of the US to align American policies on International Standards rather then on the national interests of the US? I don't compare Obama to Hitler because Obama is not patriotic enough to be a national socialist. He seems to me an international socialist. His platform eases our nation closer and closer to State control of all the major industries. That is Socialism.

The UK's government is a very Leftist. Its policy of allowing Muslims to run roughshod on the system, green taxes, socialized medicine and their poor responses to an immigration issue is swinging the opinion of the country's voters rightward. I'm not saying that Obama is George Galloway but I'm sure he would get along just fine with him seeing as how long Obama enjoyed the bread and circus of Rev Wright. Obama is most certainly pandering quite allot more then other candidates. To the Jews he says one thing while hiring some of the most pro-Palestinian advisers in the market. Before Obama felt he saw a serius run for the Presidency he was all about the statement of not wearing a flag pin seeing as it was not authentic patriotism. Have you noticed how often the flag is now, not only on his lapel, but in the background when he speaks? To unions in Ohio he talked about breaking away from NAFTA, days later the Canadian Government let leak an e-mail from Obama's top economic advisor in which he told that government not to worry about this NAFTA issue, seeing as Obama has to say what he is saying to American workers to win the election. Obama isn't bringing two sides together. He is playing two sides against each other and no one quite knows on whose side he is finally going to let the axe fall. Judging from his own books and the folk he idolized, worked with, and the woma he married, I would say the axe will fall on those the Left demonize. Twenty years Obama spent listening to Wright speak his hateful rhetoric. only when he saw the damage being done to a now serious run for the presidency did Obama toss the Rev under the bus. That is street cred.

We are well aware that Bush's tax cuts didn't quite go the way we expected. We also had 9/11 which was unexpected. We are in the middle of a war which is costing us allot of money precisely because we are sacrificing very few lives. Most Americans would not know there was a war being fought if not for the news telling us about the failures which have been less and less common since the Surge. The other reason we hardly know there is a war is because it has successfully kept the war from being fought here in the States. I guess there is government spending I can agree with seeing as protecting and defending the Union is a mandate of the government written into the Constitution.

I agree that government should regulate businesses whose activities effect the public health. Somehow I don't see how the government can stop a hurricane, but seeing that the levees were under municipal jurisdiction, not Federal, I don;t really know what my tax money up in Oregon has to do with keeping the gumbo dry. I personally think that all money earners could use a tax break at all times. Taxing inheritance, taxing earnings, or taxing increased value of property is wrong as far as I am concerned. It penalizes success. It increases the government's desire to spend. It gives the government the power to favor any group it chooses including providing corporate welfare. Pork Barrel spending is just one example in which the government throws its stolen money around.

I'll pay taxes to make sure that I will have full disclosure of what it is I am buying or what a business is dumping into the community space. I will pay taxes to kill our enemies. I will pay taxes so the courts and police maintain the peace in the community. Otherwise, I want to personally decide if I want to pay for water, pay to use a road, pay to use the phone, pay for medicine, pay to start a business, pay off loans I am responsible for (not paying for the stupid loans other folk took out on houses they couldn't afford to keep). I do not want to pay for any green taxes or for any global warming taxes seeing as Global Warming is a myth. Since this is FD and all, I would also pay for my own tickets to watch an NBA game and not expect the government to provide me my circus.

I don't see how the government can keep people from usng their credit cards to buy what they can't afford or make them save money that they would rather spend on a second or third TV, a pocket computer, the Blueray player or any other item they don't need but can somehow get a loan for. I don't see how the government can keep investors from buying stocks as speculators rather then investors in a business which they would like to support with an investment and see the reward down the line. Rampant speculation and purchasing on credit has done allot more damage to this country then killing our enemies has. When we spend money on items we can't afford we find it odious to spend money on a war we cannot afford not to fight. We don't need a revolution. We need to right the ship. Obama will weigh the ship down further.

Oddly, the following is on subject in terms of transparency, bureaucracy, privatization, corruption and basketball (but not conspiracy). I was having a conversation with my buddy tonight and we were wondering how an Officials Company might work. We figured that one can start a business which hired the best basketball referees and that the various leagues could bid against each other for the services of these companies. You would have a pool of all the refs worldwide. They would have to train their people so they could officiate over games with the various rules of the different leagues. But, if the NBA is not in direct control of the officials and these companies have reputations to build and maintain in terms of officiating quality, one wonders if these independent refs might do a better job of calling games then those under the current system.

If there were any points I didn't respond to sorry. I'm tired and need to build up y energy for what I know will be an infuriating game 4. Considering my enthralled fandom, if the games keep being played as they have, and officiated as they have to this point, I won't be enjoying this championship even if my Lakers do take it. I just want to see some great basketball.

 
At 6/12/2008 5:36 AM, Blogger sharky h. towers said...

lobstah- I think we'll have to remain believing one another are confused, as we've probably spent far too many words here than we should've.

One thing I hope will alleviate any confusion is a Lakers victory this evening. I'm not very bullish on taking the series, but I'll take a game if I can get it.

 
At 6/12/2008 5:38 AM, Blogger sharky h. towers said...

Oh, I love the independent referee idea, though. That could work well.

 
At 6/12/2008 9:42 AM, Blogger trouc said...

Fine, crooked refereeing is about the integrity of the game, but not in the same way that altered athletes is.

It's a little weird to see you try and brush off the main problem with your post, and in doing so highlight a major conceptual blindspot. Athletes cheating or breaking the law IS sport, it's what we expect. The integrity of the game doesn't rest with them, it rests with its guardians, the judge/referee. Nominally we are a nation of laws; seeing them flouted or abused isn't intriguing, it's infuriating, it's the realization that this isn't actually a game, just a passion play.

 
At 6/12/2008 10:25 AM, Blogger Brian said...

Obama's lesson to his friends in San Francisco, in which he lectured them on what it is that makes working Americans love G-d and guns, was an elitist remark. Some of us feel it provides insight into the character of Obama.

I love it when conservatives momentarily turn to stark relativism to criticize liberal(er) figures. You don't dispute the accuracy of the claim, because he's right! Instead, you make it seem inherently elitist to attempt to examine the things that give rise to societal phenomena, as if questioning the human condition is somehow the hallmark of a cruel individual.

Happily exploiting the vote of uneducated people is what the Republican party does, and THAT is what is elitist. Attempting to help people be in a position to break free of cycles of poverty, violence, and ignorance is therefore the OPPOSITE of elitism.

 
At 6/12/2008 10:54 AM, Blogger Sweat of Ewing said...

I do not want to pay for any green taxes or for any global warming taxes seeing as Global Warming is a myth.

Nice argument. Good to see the use of facts. Sorry, try again later, it's not even really worth debating with you if you're going to make a statement like that. But if you ever get it in you to pull your head out of the sandbox, go read some papers on the topic, or buy a book. Climate change - regardless of the cause, and I do believe that we are certainly one of the causes - affects us as a civilization, and we need to work to minimize our harmful impact. And no, all impact is not harmful, I'm not an Earth-Without-People activist. Read Collapse, by Jared Diamond, as well as any number of books detailing how and why our climate is changing.

 
At 6/12/2008 11:42 AM, Blogger Josh said...

Perhaps we have bigger problems to deal with than explicit conspiracies. Here's a very interesting article about a paper written showing that White referees call more fouls on black players and vice-versa.

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/02/sports/basketball/02refs.html?ex=1335758400&en=5b6d8ca257b0eaac&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss

Perhaps the effect is trivial, or perhaps there is something larger going on.

 
At 6/12/2008 11:44 AM, Blogger Seth said...

You know what? What is so bad about socialism, if it is actually followed? I am going to tell the truth, I am a high schooler and I have been following the election a tiny bit but not very much. But i do believe I can figure some things out logically. I think universal healthcare is a good idea, and slightly increased taxes on those who make the most money is also. They do not need all that money. Money does not buy happiness. These taxes are not evil, they are like charity (hopefully). My dad teaches in the worst high school in philly, and he sees everyday that the kids do not care. They don't try in school because no one else in their family has before them. Many graduates are the first in their family. As Brian said, it is a cycle that needs to be broken. More money to fix up schools, pay more teachers, or give them the means to teach better would improve the education system. The rich have enough money to help these people. We should strive for the good of everyone-a balance.
Why is universal healthcare a good idea? Well, I am not sure how it should actually be done, but healthcare should not be a business. You cannot put a price on an emergency procedure. I just know that healthcare is an absolute necessity, while fighting a war that does not seem to be going anywhere is not.

I mean, I have no idea how to get the country out of the mess it is in, but if more money was spent on helping people instead of the war, it'd help.
I don't even know what war we are fighting. There is no Iraqi army. You can't fight terrorists with an army. The country of Iraq is not organizing terrorism in its government, especially since we broke down the government. And I know very little about politics but I know that our money would be better spent saving people, like bringing life into the ghetto or assisting refugees in other places, than killing people.

Also, I don't know about paying for green taxes, but global warming is NOT A MYTH. Watch Inconvient Truth. You can watch it for 5 minutes even and you will get it.

On basketball: I have just always wondered what the deal is with Lamar Odom. He is such a weird player. The way he drives, he lopes through the lane and it's almost graceful and awkward at the same time. We saw this when he had those offensive fouls the other night. It's like he has so many things he can do, when he gets the ball, he doesn't know what to do. He doesn't have the reliable jumper of a Kobe or Dirk (to be able to pull up) so it's more awkward when he tries to drive because he can't pull up when he has a spot. I think he doesn't have a soft touch at all. He can lay it in or dunk it, but you don't see him hit those types of shots where he just throws it in like Kobe. I guess that's just because nobody is Kobe, but I can make those kinds of shots too when I play with my friends, just they're not as good (obviously). Then again, he is a great passer at the same time, so I guess he does have good hands. I don't really know. He seems to physically carry himself differently from other players, I think. And Vujacic is such a knock down shooter. If Odom could hit the shots Vujacic hits, he would fulfill his "potential" (maybe).

 
At 6/12/2008 11:48 AM, Blogger mdesus said...

@Brian

I just want to call you an idiot, but instead I'll explain why what you said is stupid. In general, sociological studies are fairly flawed, but this is especially true among any groups larger than "tribal" Obama, was making a mass generalization. These are almost universally wrong. Many people make political choices for many reasons, but rarely, if ever, can the motivation for these decisions be captured by simple terms (ie: bitter). In the end with no studies supporting his claim on any level at best this was a guess. At worst this was Obama "pandering" to the audience. Meaning that a tribe (see lose definition) of people in San Fransisco believed this, and Obama, who may believe this, played to those beliefs. No he wasn't right, and to assert that he was is, well, idiotic.

@Sweat of Ewing
Dude get up to date on your facts. The main issue with global warming is that the models (as all models are) are hideously incomplete. They don't take into account what is the single most important engine to climate change, the sun. The sun is not a static thing always emitting the same levels of radiation. That shit varies pretty unpredictably over time. So because it's unpredictable scientists dropped it from the model. The current climate models do not accurately (even close actually) depict what has happened over the last several thousand years (see no ice age). Also the global average temp is currently dropping by a lot. The real problem is that global warming just isn't very good science. Lots of reasons to reduce pollution (and carbon emissions especially), but most of these aren't as sexy. The two big reasons to be environmentally conscious (and possibly enact a carbon trading program) are cancer (environmental oncology bitches and water security (no nothing to do with the military).

Sorry to go off here, but I hate when people use bad science as scare tactics, and I'm a huge dick.

 
At 6/12/2008 12:15 PM, Blogger R. Lobstah said...

@brian
I know plenty of eople with good paying jobs, that weren't taken away by foreigners or other "different" people, who are btw very well educated, and who believe in G-d and want to keep their Second Amendment right. Perhaps its just the Socialized form of education which convinces some people to nevermind G-d and guns once they've made some money. So, to my experiene, giving people work won't "free" them of their myths and will to self defense.

Global Warming theory has two methods of showing itself. One, anecdotal evidence such as the melting of glaciers, a few bad salmon runs in Oregon, a couple of hot years in a row and quite allot more which when added up seem, in human rather then global terms, significant. One finds themselves in 50 degree weather in the first week of June, you see mountains who never in my lifetime showed glacier growth do just thst and find out that the formula for calculating global average tempature was off slightly. With the corrected formula the hottest year on record wasn't 2006 but 1936. You find out thst the average tempature of Msrs has rises a few degrees in recent years and perhaps the idea that people, CO2 (in other words industry) and American slovenliness perhaps has nothing to do with global tempature. Al Gore will take 200 thousand dollars to lecture people on Global Warming but one is not allowed to question him afterwards and he won't debate the issue as the debate is over.

I own a store and we use compostable cups, spoons and green cleaning products. I do it because it makes sense to do a little bit towsards conservation and its a very good marketing device these days. That's how the market corrects itself, not by expanding governent and creating artificial barriers to the American Dream.

Interesting that someone here thinks thst if the right appeals to middle America then they are using their lack of education against their constituency. When the Left appeals to them, I wonder what reeducation camp it was that showed the right chad to punch. I know hundreds of conservatives. None of them are Republicans, they just prefer the ideals of that party today and they are all college educated with a significant % of them holding more then one degree, some advanced ones as well. The education argument against Republicans does not stick.

 
At 6/12/2008 12:37 PM, Blogger holopawer said...

R Lobstah, I have a couple of family members who would like to get your definition of "positive". Maybe then they could see the shrapnel in their legs and the loss of hearing in one ear in a new light. I can respectfully disagree with your political views, but I take huge offense at your sweeping generalizations concerning the attitudes of the tens of thousands of troops serving in Iraq, it's just sloppy. "Sacrificing very few lives"...tell that to the families of those who died, I'm sure some would be proud of their loved ones, but I think you might get more than a few smacks across the face. Also, does that statement refer to Iraqi civilians as well?

Are we going to get any posts on Darren McFadden's potential in the wake of Purple Jesus' ascendancy?

 
At 6/12/2008 1:02 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

Chat with me, Skeets and KD right now!

 
At 6/12/2008 1:14 PM, Blogger Sweat of Ewing said...

An incomplete model isn't an excuse for discounting evidence. You work with what you have, you base your decisions on the best data available, and all the while you try to make your model better. There is strong evidence that our climate is changing, the exact reasons for which are not entirely clear, but seem likely to stem at least partially (and I believe a good deal) from us. Yeah, energy from the sun varies. Models can't predict what happened in the last 1000 years, but it's a hell of a lot easier to predict what's going to happen in the next 200.

My main point anyway, though, is conservation. mdseus, how long do you think we'll be able to provide energy at the rates we'll need? I don't know, but I don't want to find out the hard way.

 
At 6/12/2008 1:23 PM, Blogger mdesus said...

Sweat,

actually no an incomplete model is a reason to disregard the evidence produced by that model. It's not incomplete in that it doesn't take into account the effect of blue eyes on global warming it's incomplete in that it doesn't account for the largest engine. It'd be like modeling how many miles per gallon your car gets while going 45 on a perfectly paved road, and then making mileage requirements for your next fill up based on those results. Also no it's not easier to predict what's going to happen at any point. The model is invalid specifically because it does such a terrible job of predicting. Also my example was wack, but I'm tired. How long well I don't know sure seems like we should have ran out of those oil bastion whales a long time ago, and yet we haven't. Oh yeah technological change rocks out. Given incentive ingenuity has an almost limitless horizon.

 
At 6/12/2008 3:36 PM, Blogger Sweat of Ewing said...

...until it doesn't. And damn right your example is whack, because according to that logic if you don't have a good gas consumption model then you'd just never fill up the car's tank. I'd rather be careful. And I'm not sold on just how terrible global warming models are because the solar fluctuations supposedly aren't included (which I'll admit I don't know to be true, so I'll accept it). But if (time for my own whack example) example, the temperature continues to increase at present rates and the ice caps melt, who gives a shit if it's because the sun was responsible or we were? Either way coastal cities are flooded. I'd rather we try to offset that if possible. Ingenuity bitches.

Anyway, this isn't a political blog, so I'll quit arguing at this point. Sorry all for being off-topic.

 
At 6/12/2008 3:57 PM, Blogger R. Lobstah said...

@Seth
What is bad about Socialism is that it subsumes individual right, responsibility and benefit to a collective. It is a social structure which promises various parental cares (food, clothing, shelter, healthcare, transportation...) in exchange for human indiosyncratic behavior and inititive. I don't want a government to take care of me. I want liberty. I want to succeed or fail on my merits or lack there of. A governent wants those same things. Government wants the freedom to act according to its nature and since the government is so much stronger then any individual, a proper government has checks and balances meant to keep it too busy fighting with itself to be overly controling of individuals. A socialist system, convinced of its own magnamitous piety, has no such limits to its power. It oppresses us with taxation, it punishes success with taxation, it undermines the more basic human collective (the family) by taking over the tasks which family normally assist each other with. A Socialist government has no rival in its inherent destruction of individual right or responsibility.

@halopowa
Sorry to have offended you but some people are prepared to make sacrifices for the good of their country. I know and meet members of the military by the score. I have yet to meet one who did not take pride in their service. I have met wounded soldiers whose self-wort, sense of responsibility and commitment to the defence of our country, as well as the rebuilding of Iraq, is as strong as it ever was. Even Vietnam vets, men who hid their service to our country because of how the Left trashed them for their service, are now finding some peace of mind because folks like myself, when we find them, thank them for what they have done for us. Read some Tom Payne, have a closer look at Tom Jefferson, mind the wisdom of Abraham Lincoln. You will find in their writing something more meaningful thenba bumper sticker. They understood that one characteristic of freedom is a martial spirit. The government has a duty to fight our enemies. It has no duty to coddle us from cradle to grave.

mdesus is making better points then I as regards my position on global warming. Oh... Go Lakers... Long live enthralled fandom and liberated humans.

 
At 6/12/2008 3:59 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

You know, there was a quasi-political point to this post, and this blog, but it sure as hell isn't this.

 
At 6/12/2008 4:06 PM, Blogger mdesus said...

Quasi political natures how alluring. Sorry for polluting the blogosphere with my special brand of hate. Sweat want to continue this holler over at my site (www.asslessman.blogspot.com)

 
At 6/12/2008 4:31 PM, Blogger Brickowski said...

Christ, I still love the work of Shoals and DLIC, but I can't stand what this comment section has become.

 
At 6/12/2008 4:32 PM, Blogger Jerry Vinokurov said...

I don't think I've ever seen this many Free Republic talking points outside of... well, Free Republic.

Did you ever notice how cities that vote Democratic seem to have the more successful sports teams? COINCIDENCE?!

 
At 6/12/2008 4:42 PM, Blogger Sweat of Ewing said...

I'd like to make a far more important point, and point out that Tony Allen might be playing the point tonight. I'm trying to weigh my desire for the Celtics to win against my desire to see him dribble the ball at shoulder-height, full speed, every time.

 
At 6/12/2008 4:45 PM, Blogger R. Lobstah said...

Vinokurov,
Better Free Republic then the People's Republic. So, rather then counter the talking points just scoff at them. Have fun voting for your prefabbed icon.

As for your second point, conspiracy.

 
At 6/12/2008 4:52 PM, Blogger Jerry Vinokurov said...

R.,

This is hardly the blog for it. But I have taken your advice to have fun to heart.

 
At 6/12/2008 4:53 PM, Blogger Carter Blanchard said...

I just threw up all over my keyboard.

 
At 6/12/2008 6:50 PM, OpenID tredecimal said...

@carter b.

covomited. I hope Shoals has that dream again about all the people who never comment anymore and then, Lathe of Heaven-style, the comments go back to being people pretending to know about basketball and race instead of basketball and politics.

 
At 6/12/2008 8:22 PM, Blogger rebar said...

@ Sweat:

I guess i haven't seen tony allen dribble enough. That sounds downwright hi-larious. No worries holmes, Steve Javie will ensure C's victory despite the just desert of the Lakez.

Freedarko: teaching the kids about politix since 08'

 
At 6/13/2008 12:16 AM, Blogger R. Lobstah said...

To Everyone,
I understand that this is not a forum for outright political dialog. As a regular reader of this site I've found a number of examples of outright political conversation. Most were playfully written such as when the candidates were compared to basketball players, or a positive mention of Obama. I now remember a few elbows thrown towards right-wing nutters and the such. I generally keep quiet about it because one can foresee the way the comment section will devolve into what has happened today.

Much of the comments made, both in the substance and commentary, are derived from a particular world view. I enjoy the site because of the creative sensibility of many posters here. I'm just now thinking that I am a liberated fan of FD: The Site. I enjoy the style of the site but often think said style masks ignorance of some pretty relevant data as pertains to world views. In other words, it looks good but doomed to fail. I can see where given the right circumstances a Gerald Wallace or a Josh Smith can be part of a very successful basketball team. Hell, even LO, flaws and all, is part of what still could be a championship team. Sure, his failings are a big part of what puts that championship in doubt but damn, give us a couple LO games at Staples and the series goes to Boston in a whole new paradigm. I can't say the same for the political ideology and the world view that seems in vogue on this site. If nationalism is a sophisticated form of tribalism then identity politics brings tribalism back to tribal simplicity.

Blanchard may have every reason to puke on his keyboard. I can safely assume it wasn't something he ate but rather something he read in the comments. Was it the views offered, was it the style in which they were offered, or was it that they were offered on this site at all. I can understand the disgust with the last two issues. You don't want this blatant a political conversation on this site and honestly I feel a little dirty for facilitating it. I didn't write any of my views in a particularly interesting manner. I am not particularly good at writing entertaining political points. But if the views expressed are what have made Blanchard puke then this speaks to the issue that, even in this group of Obama supporters, there are few who aren't really all that interested in bringing balance to political dialog. Blanchard's revulsion is derived from confidence in the rightness of his cause. So far as I understand it, this is what folks hate about the neo-cons, this confidence in their position.

In something as inconsequential as basketball one can be liberated in their fandom. When it comes to the consequences inherent to politics, it is not often that we discuss issues in which only the style of rhetoric is informative enough to bring about informed and substantial decisions. When I think of the whole hope and change rhetoric coming from Obama I realize I'm going to turn the TV on in a couple of hours because I have a fair amount of hope that the quality of play in these Finals will change for the better. I have good reason to think this seeing as the Lakers have had a chance to get used to Boston's D. I've seen the Lakers react well to pressure in the past. I know the quality of players on both sides is high. The Lakers made some good adjustments (Kobe on Rondo) and PJ can coach Doc back to dummy status. There is good reason for my hope for change. Nothing Obama has accomplished in his political career has given me reason to think he can change much for the better. I can only judge him by his rhetoric, which is empty, and his choice of associates, which is radically Left leaning. His solutions to our problems grows government and I have yet to see any example where big government has been a long term success.

The fact is, this site is full of social and political ideas expressed through basketball fandom. I got away from masking my politics in basketball terms and for that I apologize.

PS- Since I wrote this the Lakers talking point became moot. Clearly the C's are the better team. Oh well.

 
At 6/13/2008 2:22 AM, Blogger ItTakesAThiefToCatchAThief said...

Ron Paul.

 

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