Sports & Entertainment

Sports & Entertainment

Penn State revisited — another lesson

It seems as though everything that could be said regarding the Penn State scandal has been. What a terrible tragedy. The Washington Post last week shared a powerful (and scathing) review of how various outlets covered the news as it developed. That should be required reading for any press secretary on Capitol Hill or any journalism student. How this story unfolded had millions first reacting negatively that somehow legendary coach Joe Paterno was being fingered as culpable. Only after another few news cycles did it become evident that Paterno knew more than originally believed.

And therein lies the lesson for all leaders in prominent roles: acquiescence in any shape or form today is unacceptable. One can no longer look the other way and expect to get away keeping his or her job.


Why is the NFL so clueless about halftime?

Is there any process by which the NFL constantly chooses losers like Hank Williams Jr. and Madonna to sing at football games? Besides the fact that they are all about a hundred years old and pick someone whose career ended decades ago like the Who. There is one issue here that can be seen via the use of "psychological types"; the thing they use in TQM systems and in the Army similar to Myers-Briggs testing.
If you take a logic-based employee like a lawyer or investor and ask her to choose between the Beatles and the Rolling Stones as to who she likes best, she will usually choose The Rolling Stones. That is, if she is a really good lawyer of investor. Because a logic-based, left-brain type doesn't have a clue regarding true art, because it resides in a different part of the brain. You will need someone else to be in the group to help in those decisions, and that person won’t be any good at investing.


‘Elle’ gets fashion right, conservative women wrong

The September issue of Elle magazine features a lengthy article about the rise of conservative women — or “Baby Palins,” as author Nina Burleigh affectionately refers to them. Included is a brief — but highly inaccurate — profile of my IWF colleague Carrie Lukas, author of The Politically Incorrect Guide to Women, Sex and Feminism.

Like Carrie, I was encouraged that a major women’s magazine decided to engage in this often taboo subject of free market-oriented women; but Burleigh’s misrepresentation of Lukas and her ideas is shameful.


Did the Stanley Cup loss reverse Canada’s fortunes?

Pimco’s Bill Gross, leery of the wobbly American fundamentals, told Bloomberg recently the company is looking for new investments, mentioning Canada, Germany and others. The Canadian banking system is solid, there have been no bailouts, and the Canadian dollar has been growing strong against the American in recent years. But uh-oh. Something happened in early summer. What happened? The Vancouver Canucks lost in the Stanley Cup final to the Boston Bruins.

A FOREX (FOReign Exchange market) blog author wrote on June 8, 2011: “In April, I wrote a post entitled, ’Economic Theory Implies Canadian Dollar will Fall.’ " But did the FOREX author take into consideration hockey theory and the Canadian psyche?


Why professional athletes should run for office

Because they solve their problems.

And when did you last hear this from Washington: “I’d like to apologize to the fans, that for the last five, six months we’ve been talking about the business of football, not what goes on on the field.”

That from Robert Kraft, owner of the Patriots, whom players say was instrumental in reaching an amicable agreement, even as his wife was dying of cancer.

Granted, Kraft is a towering figure, and rightly, we have come to expect more from men like Kraft and Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Peyton Manning and player rep Jeff Saturday, center for the Indianapolis Colts, well-pictured on the front page of The New York Times this morning, affectionately comforting the mourning Kraft cuddled under his wing; big and bearded, vaguely giving the impression of God the Father. Because America is still healthy in the center, even if it is fraying on the edges, and at the center of the American journey at this moment is football.


Lord Stanley returns to the center of the universe

Those who took a course in journalism years back might recall the famous headline, “Hub man dies in Chicago fire.” It is how the populist press in Boston referred to the great Chicago fire. The fire itself was inconsequential. The big story was that a Boston man died in it.

Boston today is sometimes referred to as “the Hub of Hockey.” Actually the phrase was coined by Oliver Wendell Holmes as “the hub of the solar system,” modified to “the hub of the universe.” Because the universe is not peace, but conflict and countervailing forces.

It was the height of arrogance unless, of course, the assessment was correct and Boston is the hub of the universe. Black Elk said the “center of the world” is wherever you are, so maybe it works like that.


Can NASCAR save America’s infrastructure?

If only Dale Earnhardt Jr. released the Urban Land Institute’s study on America’s $2 trillion crumbling infrastructure earlier this week, we might still be talking about it. A public interest campaign with drivers from Indy and NASCAR, talking about our country’s declining structures and the need to fix them. The issue would have a public face. Maybe then we, the public, would pay attention. After all, outside the Beltway, most of us live the disrepair others write about. Day-to-day slugging through traffic, enduring slow train rides and waiting through endless runway delays, we experience the problem firsthand. Still, the case is not being heard as urgent.


Opening day

The Washington Nationals open their season today against the Atlanta Braves, which got me to thinking about the connections between baseball and Congress.

Baseball is usually associated with the White House, because of the tradition of presidents throwing out the ceremonial first pitch. That started with William Howard Taft, who threw out the first first pitch in 1910.  

Taft was an enormous presence — physically, not so much politically. Despite his efforts to cultivate a more populist persona, he could never overcome the political presence of his predecessor, Theodore Roosevelt, who ended up running against him in 1912, splitting the Republican base and giving the keys to the White House to Woodrow Wilson.


Let Brady, Manning and Brees run the country as a Council of Watchers

As the pending government shutdown looms, we might think to let famed quarterbacks Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Drew Brees run the country. They have offered themselves as plaintiffs in the event of an NFL shutdown, and their instincts for leadership, management, problem-solving and the ability to get along with others is legendary. The NFL lockout clearly runs a parallel with the government shutdown. But compare these quarterbacks and the skills, dedication and physical courage of their teammates to the motley crew in D.C. today.

A country that thinks about football more than it thinks about politics is a healthy country and one with a life force and a future, but sometimes that inattentiveness can let things slip. So we might hold on with Brady, Manning and Brees after the shutdown as a kind of triumvirate and let them form their own Council of Watchers to keep an eye on things while we are watching football.


Political correctness and our national anthem

In his recent missive, titled “Time to Turn Off the National Anthem Before Sports Events,” Kevin Blackistone argues that the singing of the national anthem at all sporting events has outlived its purpose. He submits that very few Americans even know the song, and suggests that still fewer can recall why the words were written in the first place. There’s nothing about playing tee-ball that should stir memories of a lopsided British attack on Fort McHenry during the War of 1812.

“Sports,” Blackistone writes, “have and continue to ritualize [the anthem] with barely a shred of relevance.”