Saturday, January 30, 2016

Professor Says Green Bay Team is Socialist

In an op-ed of 29 January in the Lexington (Ky.) Herald-Leader, retired Berea College professor Michael Rivage-Suel attempted to advance the presidential candidacy of socialist [democrat] Bernie Sanders by using as his example the NFL Green Bay Packers, i.e., capitalism defeated by socialism as the best societal construct. He lays the groundwork using the departure from St. Louis of the NFL Rams to Los Angeles, thus depriving the St. Louis fans (not even having a vote) of “their” team, though it is owned by Stan Kroenke, whose evil intent is to make money.

Rivage-Suel said this was an obvious injustice apparently based on the fact that the fans had been supportive, presumably by attending games. Sports franchises are routinely transferred, just like McDonald's, so this is nothing new. When I was young, the MLB Giants and Dodgers were in New York but have for decades been in Los Angeles and San Francisco, respectively. Rivage-Suel believes, despite the bottom line (profitability), that a referendum of citizens, who own no financial interest, should decide the issue.

Rivage-Suel said this: “They [owners] leave without reimbursing the community for roads built to service their facilities ...” and mentions community subsidies such as for construction. In other words, the owners have paid no taxes and provided no employment opportunities. This is absurd, made more so by the fact that governing bodies elected by “fans” have made the decisions.

Rivage-Suel rightly affirmed that changes are made in order to make more money, the “logic of capitalism.” This is why the Herald-Leader constantly makes changes in the interest of the bottom line but without taking a vote of the readers, who have no stake in its survival or profitability (or lack thereof). According to Rivage-Suel, the H-L could not leave Lexington for Los Angeles unless its readers agreed.

By picking the Packers, Rivage-Suel defeated his entire argument since the shareholder model is that of Wall Street, where capitalism reigns. Green Bay citizens invest in the team, which is profitable, to share in the proceeds, not to determine its location. If any bloc of shareholders should become large enough to change anything, it could, including location. Rivage-Suel said this is an example of democracy, but democracy is not the issue. Profitability is.

Example: In 2013, according to ESPN, the Packers received $187.7 million from the NFL (mostly TV-generated) but only $136.3 million in local revenue (tickets, concessions, etc.). Expenses amounted to $298.5 million, leaving a profit of $25.5 million for the shareholders, an example of capitalism at its best. The profit would have been about 50% larger but for some outrageously costly contracts to four players.

Without the NFL input, the team would have gone belly-up and the shareholders would have made decisions on the basis of finances, not location. It was a matter of bankruptcy or relocation. The city-population of 104,000 (a third that of Lexington) could not support the team any more than Lexington could.

Strangely, Rivage-Suel said socialism is proved successful because the Packers have won more championships than capitalist competitors, presumably all other NFL teams. All NFL teams are governed by unforgiving capitalist methodology – the bottom line. Subtract the NFL largesse from Green Bay and there would be no Packers there. Perhaps they might make it in St. Louis, population 2.8 million (greater St. Louis area), though Kroenke didn't think so.

If the NFL teams were governed by socialism every player would earn the same, every owner the same and every management the same regardless of business acumen resulting in success or failure. There would be no incentive anywhere to excel, just to survive. Winning would amount to the same as losing. More to the point, instead of the 12 NFL teams in 1959 (Packers included), there are now 32 (partly the result of combining NFL with old AFL), with TV, a very capitalist enterprise, the main reason for their existence.

And so it goes.
Jim Clark

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Trump-Fox Imbroglio

No matter what one thinks of Donald Trump, it has to be admitted that he has furnished a pizzazz to the current boring campaigns for the presidency that is seldom if ever seen. His latest ploy, withdrawing from the Fox News second shot at the candidates – misleadingly described as a debate – is a gem, the ostensible reason that Fox fox Megyn Kelly is to be one of the interrogators, otherwise known as “graspers for that 15 minutes.”

The notion that the debates are...well...debates is off-the-wall. I have to admit to watching only snippets this time around but have seen enough to come to some conclusions. They tend toward arguments carried out by the candidates with the interrogators, as well as with each other, with lots of fire, no light. The nastiest one was staged by CNBC, which has been blackballed by the RNC as a result, canceling a February revisit and giving the lucrative prize to CNN instead.

Though not a Trump supporter, I think he has grounds for refusing the second Fox effort on the basis that by both word and body-language in the first go-around Fox's Megyn Kelly planned and carried out an effort not to interrogate Trump but to commit character assassination right out of the gate. She was practically frothing at the mouth when she tried to picture Trump as a woman-hater, something the media had trumpeted for some time – silly. Then, concerning the current imbroglio, Fox put out a sophomoric tweet ridiculing Trump vis-a-vis the ayatollah [Khameini?] and Putin. According to Trump, this was the last straw.

It's amazing that the Fox news-establishment, which must have known of the plan, allowed it to go forward; however, Fox gurus like Charles Krauthammer and others (especially with the Weekly Standard and National Review backgrounds) had begun belittling Trump long before the debate. It's obvious that the networks, so-called mainline and cable, have their agendas and have favorite candidates. In other words, they act as much as the campaign officials do to get a favored candidate either elected or at least be a recipient of free air-time or both.

On the basis of polling, candidates were placed by the broadcasters on either of two levels, the lower a pre-non-primetime-group, with the main show at nine EST. This not only was unfair but ungainly, though with the number of candidates so large (democrats don't have that problem) how else to solve the problem? In effect, the broadcasters have much too big a hand in determining who does and does not get heard, even within the debates themselves, though the candidates get in their licks by substituting short speeches for answers to policy-questions.

Trump is the only candidate with charisma – he connects with people, the key element in showmanship, at which he is an expert. The others are t-o-o-o-o politically c-o-r-r-e-c-t to even chance a questionable remark, while Trump just doesn't care...says what he thinks as, for instance, shutting down Muslim immigration until it's proven safe. The elites – interrogators and candidates – gasp at such a remark, knowing full well that most citizens (and probably they) agree with him...just plain common sense, especially in light of San Bernardino and Paris, scenes of recent gratuitous Muslim bloodletting.

The debates would be greatly improved if the interrogators were actual reporters – who are likely to ask the right questions without giving speeches – and not the news-agencies' commentators, who are paid to express opinions, which, despite all efforts to avoid it, will creep into the debates. Kelly, for instance, obviously didn't like Trump so she tried to make him look bad. Significantly, she was the one who disappeared for a while after that debate. In the person of Bill O'Reilly, Fox's uber-star, the network groveled on 27 January at a Trump appearance already scheduled.

Trump's absence may help more than hurt him since multitudes of folks probably concluded after that debate that Fox had conspired against him. On the basis of its panels of “experts” such as the one at six each evening (Baier) and on Sunday mornings (Wallace) such conspiracy did take place, and that's yellow journalism, if journalism at all. The other networks are no better, and one longs for the days of the open conventions and smoke-filled rooms, all the silly Primaries be damned.

And so it goes.
Jim Clark

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Anachronistic Bible?

Preacher Explains How Mitigation Works

In a recent column, H-L religion writer Paul Prather remarked that people often become atheists as a result of reading the Bible and that he could understand that, especially in light of biblical allusions to God-oriented violence such as the destruction of Jericho and incomprehensible accounts concerning such things as the Creation or the impossible feat of a man living three days inside a fish. Prather affirmed that these things didn't happen and that the accounts indicated not truth but misrepresentations by Bible characters such as Joshua and Jonah or the scripture-writers.

Prather is a Pentecostal and thus believes God created the incomprehensibly complex earth and all involved with it (maybe the whole universe) yet couldn't keep a man alive in a fish for three days. His main beef is with fundamentalists who take the Bible literally instead of sensibly, as defined by him, to wit, that nothing is believable if man cannot understand it.

As a minister, Prather missed a golden opportunity to explain that context is important to both belief and interpretation. The Old Testament laws, some 600 or so beyond the Ten Commandments, were mandated by God for a primitive people and had to do with everyday things such as personal hygiene and worship. The violence, both by and against the Israelites, had to do with lessons understood by the primitive mind, to which blood-and-gore meant more than words.

For instance, in Leviticus is found the mandate that practicing homosexuals are to be put to to death. Sanitary-wise, nothing is filthier and more potentially disease-producing than homosexual “sex,” not sex at all but scripturally accounted as simply unnatural. More to the point, this was also God's way of saying the human body was not designed by the Creator for such filth and that the practice is blasphemy of the Divine. The design had to do with procreation and not unnatural ecstasy.

This remarks Prather's main point. Concerning the Bible, he said, “ever-developing church practices and hard-won experience mitigate many passages.” Interpreted, this makes the Bible irrelevant because people – especially in the church – don't like parts of it. This is the same as accounting the U.S. Constitution as worthless because times have changed, currently an accepted opinion politically in some camps.

The Constitution, a man-made instrument, can be amended but the Bible cannot, notwithstanding any work by the “mitigating-crowd.” So, one accepts it or not but it's nowhere near as nuanced or vague as Prather would have it. Its historicity is beyond doubt. Just check both the ancient Jewish and Gentile governmental connections (wars, especially) all the way through. It includes poetry, parables, visions (such as Revelation) and sermons, all of which are subject to interpretation, but the cold hard facts are not.

The disciple John, perhaps Christ's closest friend, wrote unmistakably that Jesus made a whip and drove crooks and animals from the temple (church) but Prather likely would say that John imagined that – too violent – even though Matthew, another disciple, both eyewitnesses, corroborated the account. Jesus called church leaders “whited tombs,” account their hypocrisy, but Prather would say that Matthew, an eyewitness who gave that account, was wrong.

Today, the former would land Jesus in jail and the latter would make him guilty of micro-aggression, the latest racism fad. These examples don't comport with political correctness, the new creed in thousands of churches, so they didn't happen. This represents mitigation that gives the lie to scripture. It's like taking the Second Amendment out of the Constitution...weird.

Prather has not given up on the Bible, however, and even said this about it: “And there's a lot more to the Bible than there is even to Shakespeare.” Wow...what an endorsement! St. Paul would be proud. I'm not a fundamentalist or a “flat-earther,” but I'm not smart enough to figure out which is and which ain't regarding the scripture, so I'll just take it literally, thank you.

And so it goes.
Jim Clark

Friday, January 15, 2016

Not My Home

This world is not my home
I am just passing through
I find the more I roam
That it has gone cuckoo
My land has changed so much
Now men may marry men
I never thought of such
And prexy says amen
Islam called religion
Enough to make one choke
It is a rescission
Of sanity – a joke
The women now may fight
In Army with the guys
It causes me great fright
A salon in disguise
They sail on Navy crafts
With fetuses cared-for
The men get all the shafts
New mothers go ashore
They put them in the Seals
To go on special-ops
Looks great in the news-reels
And prexy calls them tops
Abortions are the rage
A fetus stops the fun
Expendable that stage
Just kill the daughter, son
Must be all types of speech
If not, invite indict
As smarmy bigot, leech
Micro-aggression owns
The newest sort of slime
If offense one intones
The word-police charge crime
To say what one might think
Is to take on the charge
That one should see a shrink
Perhaps not be at-large
Inviting Muslims in
Proves pure diversity
Though threat to kith and kin
The prez approves, with glee
The nation must take risk
Lest it be judged as mean
And emigres not frisk
That would be too obscene
Police are now fair game
Seen as the enemy
To shoot them brings no shame
A dope-head must be free
One must not speak of God
Lest atheist be stunned
In age that is post-mod
Religion must be shunned
And then there are the trans
Their genders not quite sure
The bathrooms – woman's, man's
They never must endure
A third or fourth must be
In every public space
So they can then feel free
To go...not in disgrace
The climate must be changed
The prez said that is so
Its heat for cold exchanged
Lest harm for golf, polo
And athletes must know scorn
If using growth hormone
Though fans are all reborn
At thrill of broken bone
The Congress in gridlock
Is all that seems so norm
The citizens feel shock
When it reverses form
This world is not my home
I am just passing through
I soon no more will roam
And that is alright, too

And so it goes.
Jim Clark

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

What Price Survival?


Its population decreasing,
In consequence costs increasing
For those whose taxes pay the freight
To fund the government's huge weight,
Thus chancellor sent out decree
That Muslim immigrants were free
To settle in her nation and
Find work, pay taxes – helping hand.

An altruistic act was spun
By Europe's once collective hun
For settling in the refugees
Delivered from huge obsequies
That would result if forced to stay
In Muslim countries in full sway
Of beastly pogroms Koran-mad,
Blood in the streets the current fad.

And so they came, a million plus,
Some walked and some by train or bus
Through other countries burdened with
The costs of moving them forthwith
Or settling somehow all of those
Who further movement stopped, just chose
To stay where they hoped to remain,
No matter governmental strain.

The influx of a million plus
Encamped in their new terminus
Plus thousands more in other states
Of Europe shaped those nations' fates;
Their language skills did not exist
Nor resources to eat, subsist,
Where unemployment rates were high,
The housing setup swarmed, awry.

The worst was yet to come, of course,
Predictably, a social force
Involving crimes like robberies
And sex-crimes, wild atrocities
As idle men, no work to do,
With women thought as chattel through
Whom they could satisfy their lust
And which their culture deemed as just.

Indeed, the media proclaimed
In just few months women defamed
In orgies such as at Cologne
Where hundreds of complaints were shown
To mark the crimes policemen face
In trying to control a race
Whose god screams death to infidels –
A class which in all Europe dwells.

And so it goes.
Jim Clark

Thursday, January 07, 2016


His lame-duck year now on the line,
Another prexy speech...or whine
About Congressional surcease
Of passing laws to bring some peace
Throughout the land where guns are used,
Such use, of course, badly abused
In mass killings such as in schools
Or by religious jihad fools.

The prexy said he would thus give
By orders called executive
The nation some benign relief,
Bypassing Congress, as its chief,
With huge more shrinks
To finger nutcase ere he thinks
Of wasting some crowd anywhere
Like in a mall...just here or there.

Perhaps a new bureaucracy
Will come on line to oversee
The psychiatric quality
Of citizenry vis-a-vis
Proclivity to bear its arms
In schools, theaters, strip-club charms,
Then cause such violence to cease –
A brand-new form of...yeah...police.

It is not clear how this might work,
Surveillance cameras one quirk,
Each citizen to wear his own
And film all others...crowds, alone,
With monitors throughout the land...
Millions to spot a threat to peace,
Report it to the top command –
Department of the Mind-Police.

And so it goes.
Jim Clark

Tuesday, January 05, 2016

Football Exhibitionism

Self-love on the Gridiron

CAVEAT ALERT: The following will be labeled racist so that is acknowledged at the outset with the insistence that it's simply opinion based on what are easily seen as facts, whether in person or via TV. It has to do with a contribution by black players to the sports-world, namely, trivializing/stigmatizing the game through unmannerly and insensitive behavior designed to draw attention not to the game or the players but to oneself, especially during football season.

There was a time when an accomplishment by an athlete, either as an individual or part of a team, was downplayed by the athlete, the better to destroy an accusation of boasting...being a braggart. This was in the day when a player who scored a touchdown simply flipped the ball to the referee and quickly left the end zone for the bench or to line-up for the extra-point attempt.

When the games were integrated racially some four decades or so ago, that all changed with the advent of black players who had a proclivity for turning an athletic feat into a personal defeat of the world itself. The “celebration” came online, as well as constant taunting often occasioned by one player wagging his finger or shaking his head (or both besides revolving his derriere) at a player he has just incapacitated.

The “crotch-hop” became popular after a quarterback-sack, with the tackler hopping in a crouched position ten yards or so toward the opposing goal-line, always far enough for the most effective notice. Banging-the-chest-with-fist has become very popular, sort of like in the ape section of the zoo. The most prolific (and obnoxious) end-zone performer this season has been one of football's best players (currently the best quarterback), the Carolina Panthers' Cam Newton. His gyrations are enough to give the coach palpitations since he could easily throw out his back.

A typical end-zone celebration comprises three or four players simultaneously jumping up and into each other's anatomy and slapping helmets as well as colliding with gusto chest-to-chest or hip-to-hip. The stiff-legged goose-step (Nazi-style) into the end-zone at the end of a run and the skip afterward on the way to the bench are common procedure. There are many other football gyrations but they are limited in basketball and baseball, not enough time to kill for the former and still a sort of gentlemanly approach for the latter.

This braggadocio was at first considered totally unacceptable but after a while some white players caught on to the fun and...anyway...sports events are a form of entertainment, so, like the coarseness/nudity now current in much if not most TV productions (even news programs), everyone had to get in on the act. The TV guys hee-haw about it but it's obvious that they're not comfortable with it, especially if they are of the old school. They understand that modesty is considered as weakness now.

Only the actors know but these narcissistic performances seem to be either inordinate ego-trips (self-love enhanced) or just in-your-face stuff designed for the whites who make up most of the spectator populations. It's hard to believe that an entire community of players is mesmerized by itself into virtual supernatural-mode but there has to be a reason. Perhaps the psychiatrists and social engineers will apply themselves. Self-worship just doesn't play well and perhaps this crude fad will dissipate. Without TV, it probably would never have happened but TV corrupts about everything it touches. The Super-Bowl is a good example of coarseness to the nth degree.

Anyone who has read this far is welcome to scream racism, not that what I think matters worth a fig. Just food for thought.

And so it goes.
Jim Clark