Saturday, July 30, 2016

NBA and WNBA Protests: A Recap

Some news that I think would have gotten a lot more coverage if not for a presidential contest that is getting most of the attention lately...

The NBA announced it will not play the 2017 all-star game in Charlotte because of the North Carolina state law known as House Bill 2. The Charlotte Observer reports on discussions between the NBA and North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory regarding potential changes to the law. The official statement from the NBA, in part, says:

"Since March, when North Carolina enacted HB2 and the issue of legal protections for the LGBT community in Charlotte became prominent, the NBA and the Charlotte Hornets have been working diligently to foster constructive dialogue and try to effect positive change. We have been guided in these discussions by the long-standing core values of our league. These include not only diversity, inclusion, fairness and respect for others but also the willingness to listen and consider opposing points of view."

The USA Today described the decision as monumental. Sports Illustrated called it the right decision, along with saying it was good business and smart marketing.

Dave Zirin praised NBA commissioner Adam Silver for the decision to move the all-star game but noted the hypocrisy of fining WNBA players for wearing shirts during a pre-game warm-up with the names Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, along with #BlackLivesMatter. The Dallas police shield and #Dallas5 were also on the shirts. 

Zirin wrote: "On paper, this looks like a breathtaking double standard, or at least a confused contradiction. But it makes sense if you understand that standing up to this North Carolina law isn’t just the right thing to do. It’s smart for a league that wants to market itself as young, LGBT friendly, and willing to stand up for those being demonized by the state’s execrable governor, Pat McCrory. The NBA is now costing the state of North Carolina tens of millions of dollars by pulling the game. But its own risk is minimal. To stand with #BlackLivesMatter and to sanction the use of the court as a political space, holds a great deal more risk. You risk alienating white fans. You risk police walkouts, which took place in Minnesota when off-duty police hired as WNBA security walked out of the arena when they saw shirts that said #BlackLivesMatter."

WNBA players spoke out about the punishment, including Tina Charles, who tweeted "I refuse to be silent."

The fines were rescinded.

In an article entitled "Why Can NBA Players Be Activists But WNBA Players Can't?", Angel Diaz notes that NBA players previously took a stance against police brutality without facing consequences from the league.

Slate writer Christina Cauterucci commended WNBA players for "setting a new standard for what sports figures can do to support political movements."

Monday, July 25, 2016

Some People Say Peyton Manning is Still A Corporate Tool

An NFL investigation found no credible evidence that Peyton Manning violated the league’s performance-enhancing drug policy.

Debate rages on as to whether Mr. Manning is a corporate tool

Another Mass Shooting

Tragically, the term "mass shooting" is a regular part of our vocabulary now. It hurts to follow the news of yet another mass shooting. News is developing about a shooting at a club in Fort Myers, Florida, claiming the lives of two victims and injuring several more. Is there any reason to believe politicians will work together to formulate a solution? I have no confidence there. Nor do I have confidence that our media will exert pressure on politicians to work together to do anything that might change the course of gun violence.

There are mass shooting trackers and databases now, such as Gun Violence Archive. Mother Jones has a database of shootings from 1982-2016. As I write this, it has not yet been updated to include the Fort Myers shooting.

As Kieran Healy wrote in July 2012, America is a violent country. Healy's follow-up post in December 2012 is definitely worth revisiting

Saturday, July 23, 2016

This Has Become Normal

I think media outlets have grown tired or bored of calling Trump out for his behavior. And even if people continue to say "Look at him!", I don't think he'll ever stop with his brand of shenanigans.

I'm reminded of this hall of shame tweet from 2012.
Yes, I know, two tweets that I selected, but I would say they actually represent his body of work on Twitter. Point is, if this is the social media game that helps you win your party's nomination, what do future candidates have to do to get attention and win?

Friday, July 22, 2016

Mr. Trump, You Forgot To Mention Global Warming

Donald Trump gave his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention last night. In reading the transcript of the speech, I do not see the phrases "global warming" or "climate change."

As this brief article in The Atlantic details, we just experienced the hottest June ever recorded.

Mr. Trump wanted us to know he is the law and order candidate. He talked of crime, violence, and terrorism. He talked about illegal immigration. He talked about trade agreements. He gave a shout out to the 2nd Amendment. He talked up the military and talked down Obamacare.

The closest he got to the environment is when he said this: "Then we are going to deal with the issue of regulation, one of the greatest job killers of them all. Excessive regulation is costing our country as much as $2 trillion a year, and we will end and it very quickly. We are going to lift the restrictions on the production of American energy. This will produce more than $20 trillion in job-creating economic activity over the next four decades. My opponent, on the other hand, wants to put the great miners and steelworkers of our country out of work and out of business."

Energy production. But nothing about the crisis of climate change. It's an omission I wanted to note.

I'll be looking for comprehensive analyses of the speech as the day progresses. One analysis I've read so far that I like is David Frum's take on the speech. I also like this Washington Post op-ed.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

The Post-Fact Society

We have unlimited facts at our disposal. Politifact has been on the scene for years. AP Fact Check is doing their thing. Facts are wonderful. The problem is that PEOPLE HATE FACTS. The era of Big Data is upon us with fancy data scientists heaping facts onto us. I still believe in facts. I believe the facts are our future. The Facts of Life was an underrated sitcom. I like facts, and you, my dear readers, might like facts. But facts are more optional than ever and I think this is problem number 4,080 with Trumpism--accuracy is way out the window. Post-fact society rule number 4,080: Donald J. Trump is shady.

My fear and loathing for Trumpism is not an endorsement for Hillary Clinton, by the way. I do not trust the Clintons to tell the truth on a regular basis, either. I just think rampant disregard of facts would thrive more so during a Trump presidency than a Clinton presidency. That said, Trump is not going to win.

But this is not entirely about politics.

This is also about the "Whose side are you on?" mentality, as if there are only two sides from which to choose or that you have to always and immediately pick a side. Find your side, stay on your side, watch the media outlets that electrify your side. It's enough to make me go to KFC and pick a side. Mashed potatoes, probably.

Seriously, though, people choose the set of facts or half-truths that bolster their opinion and then it's go time. I do not possess all of the facts. I have many moments of ignorance. I often get it wrong. But I do the best I can with facts that I gather carefully. Someone asks me what I think about a current event and before I utter four words they cut me off with their opinion.

Like Colbert said, truthiness. This has been the way for a while and it's getting worse.

Frustrated, I am.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

HOTT News Declares Hillary Clinton Winner of the 2016 Presidential Election

Recall that HOTT News declared Barack Obama winner of the 2012 presidential contest 98 days before the actual election. Click here to see the article written on July 31, 2012 detailing the correct call by HOTT News.

Today, HOTT News is ready to declare Hillary Clinton winner of the 2016 presidential contest. This decision has nothing to do with Clinton's popularity (or lack thereof). Indeed, HOTT News has noticed a severe lack of enthusiasm for Clinton. HOTT News makes this call based on the absurd news that Scott Baio will be speaking at the upcoming Republican National Convention. Baio, cast perfectly in the role of Chachi in Happy Days and cast unfortunately in the spin-off Joanie Loves Chachi (which was true, she did), reveals clearly in his Twitter feed that he is unfit to speak at a serious political convention. HOTT News sees no scenario in which the Trump-Pence-Baio team can beat the Clinton machine, and therefore declares Clinton the winner. As such, Hillary Clinton is the first woman to be elected president of the United States.