Monday, September 22, 2014

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Be Afraid

...cuz it's really good for certain Coin-Operated Politicians.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

A Sad Time For Me

I will absolutely admit that I'm a football guy.  It's my game.  It's been my game since about 3rd grade.  Seems a little silly to me now, but it's easy to see how you can get hooked once you strap on the armor and everybody seems to be really excited to watch you go crashing into people.

"Football is not a contact sport - it's a collision sport. Dancing is a contact sport."  (Vince Lombardi and/or Duffy Daugherty)

--and let's not forget--

"All real Americans love the sting of battle." (George Patton)

I was hooked.  My game; my idea of fun.  Of course, eventually it morphs into "My ball; my territory; my team against the world; I will destroy you in pursuit of my goals"; and above all else, "football teaches a young man important lessons he'll carry with him throughout his life blah blah blah".  (accompaniment by a choir of angels optional on the last bit)

Gosh, it's almost as if it's perfect training for an authoritarian society being geared for industrialized perpetual warfare.  Solely in defense of all things wholesomely traditional and homespun of course - while conveniently co-opted (deliberately or otherwise) to accommodate ambitions of global hegemony.  "They" get us to do what "they" want us to do by convincing us we're actually doing something else.  And even when we know that what we're doing isn't particularly a good thing, we can be taught to rationalize our way into believing we're doing it for "all the right reasons".

So anyway, these things have been flowing thru my brain channels for a while and I've been trying to resolve some of the resultant dissonance, and then along comes Jerry Sandusky and Jameis Winston and Ray Rice.  And I have to wonder - just what the fuck is going on?Let's take a quick spin around the InterToobz.

Here's a piece in WSJ Market Watch:

Arizona Cardinals running back Jonathan Dwyer is facing aggravated assault charges in connection with alleged fights with his wife earlier this year. It’s the latest in a series of recent criminal cases involving NFL players.
Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson is facing child-abuse charges. Ray Rice was recently dropped by the Baltimore Ravens after video surfaced of him knocking out his then-fiance in an elevator last February. And Ray McDonald of the San Francisco 49ers was arrested on domestic-violence charges in connection with an incident involving his fiance, who is pregnant.
USA Today maintains a database of NFL player arrests dating back to the year 2000.
According to the data, some 732 NFL player arrests have been reported in the past 14 years. Of those, 88 were on domestic violence charges, including some players who were arrested more than once.
(note on the WSJ piece: interesting how the bankers take notice of the problem once it begins to threaten their prospects for making money from other peoples efforts)

And here's something pretty interesting from Deadspin:
By my count, the three most common charges in the NFL database were DUI, assault/battery (including domestic violence), and drug possession, with 72 percent of all incidents including at least one of these charges. Below, we compare the NFL arrest rates for these offenses, plus weapons charges, to the arrest rates for the country as a whole in 2010.
At first glance, this looks not so great for the league. With 7.4 annual assault/battery/domestic charges per thousand players, the league saw 34 percent more arrests for these violent crimes than the general population; 8.3 annual DUI charges per thousand was 81 percent higher than the U.S. average; and 2.2 weapons charges per thousand was 324 percent (!) higher. NFL players faced only 4.2 drug charges per thousand, which was actually 20 percent lower than the U.S. as a whole.* (We can guess why: The NFL tests for recreational drugs during the season, so there's one good reason not to use them, and some drugs also make it awfully hard to compete at the highest athletic level.)
But comparing NFL players to the general population does us little good. NFL players are all adult men, and adult men are more likely to be arrested than the population at large. How do those numbers look?

Well now - that's better.  Whew!  Looked like trouble there for a minute.  But hey, NFL'ers
are just a buncha regular guys who, as it turns out, are actually a better buncha guys than the rest of you losers.

Yeah, but no.  Ya see, there's a fair bit of a huge fuckin' difference between any given NFL player and all the other adult Testicular-Americans.

The biggest factor "explaining" the difference in the crime rates is that high level footballers have high-powered organizations working really hard to make an awful lot of these pesky little legal problems magically disappear way before they have a chance to show up in the crime stats.

Every big school; every NFL franchise - they all have many many many millions of dollars that we pay them for shitty seats, flat beer and stale nachos at the local Taxpayer Subsidized Stadium, which doubles as a billion-dollar billboard for the local corporation that happens to own the most Coin-Operated Politicians in that particular media market. Anyway, they have this shitload of money they get to spend very freely to hire PR Fixers and Brand Polishers and .50-Caliber Lawyers who specialize in bleaching out the dirty laundry to make sure it's all neat and sparkly in time for the next kickoff.  Add the efforts of the NCAA and the NFLPA, and it means they can count on a significant percentage of us to be totally dismissive of anything that "distracts" from our feeling entitled to ignore the wrong-doing of our all-universe god-annointed heroes in order to enjoy USAmerica Inc's game, even as the coverup of all that wrong-doing rots the whole institution from the inside out.

It all starts to look way too much like Bread and Circuses, and it has the stench of a very bad abscess.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Check Your Bias

...and always assume your assumptions carry a Freshness Date, which means they are mostly pure shit after a while.

If there's really a Liberal Bias in the news media; a bias that's anywhere near as prominent as "conservatives" are so desperate to make us believe, then it seems to me we'd be able to see it a lot better.

Here's the thing:  It's not "Gay Rights", as if those rights exist outside the realm of everybody else's rights.  It's not "Gay Rights" now any more than it was "Black Rights" back in the 50s and 60s.

In god's USAmerica Inc, we're supposed to be talking about everybody's rights being the same; everybody having the same right to be treated as equals before the law.  Equal Rights.

So I go to the Google Machinery, and I type in something like "gay rights" and I get one number, and then I type in "equal rights", and I get another number.

(CAVEAT: I'm no scholar. I'm not schooled in statistics or sampling or much of anything else outside of what I can observe and figure out on my own)

gay marriage = 76,100 hits
same sex marriage = 44,600 hits
marriage equality = 10,400 hits

gay rights = 21,500 hits
equal rights = 6,240 hits

I went to some of the bigtime bastions of bias - NYTimes, LATimes, San Francisco Chronicle - and I picked a few articles at random, and I counted the number of times the phrase "gay marriage" appeared vs the number of times "marriage equality" appeared.  Gay Marriage wins by margins as high as 10-to-1.  As often as not, "marriage equality" never popped up at all.

Language matters.  Words have meaning.  When we say a certain thing in a certain way and over a certain period of time, it sticks.

So if "The Media" carries such a strong left-leaning bias, why is the use of "conservative phrasing" so dominant?

Today's Joke