Not Helping My Mood!

This tweet ran across my feed, and all I could do was sigh in helplessness:

The league is appealing, but does it really matter? I wish I could say I’m surprised the judge reversed the entire suspension for Tom Brady. It used to be that being suspected for cheating was enough to get a player suspended for life from professional sports. Not for Tom Brady, and especially not for the New England Patriots. My prediction for next Thursday’s game against my Proud Pittsburgh Steelers: Patriots 72 Steelers 7 The Steelers will have no chance. The home crowd at Foxborough will be going bonkers, Brady will be allowed to pass without a defender being allowed to breathe on him, and Pittsburgh is going to be without its starting running back and wide receiver (busted for pot). Where’s the justice in this world?

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UPDATEFavorite tweet of the day, thus far:

 

Football

Football Predictions

This is strictly for football fans in the state of Michigan. I joined Charlie Rood and Bill Hewitt from WSGW’s The Morning Team Show yesterday to give my season predictions for Michigan, Michigan State, and the Detroit Lions. Here are my predictions:


Don’t forget, the Pat’s Perfect NFL Picks Segment returns on the Sunday, September 13 installment of WSGW’s First Day! I’m excited for some football!

Go, Fire Up Chips!!!

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Who’s The Socialist?

Sanders Trump

Here was last Sunday’s “Pat Political Point” from WSGW’s First Day. I wanted to post this earlier, but the recording mechanism failed last weekend, which means we don’t have last week’s show recorded. That’s too bad because it was radio gold!!! Or something. Anyway, email me if you have comments regarding my rant. You can read a rough transcript below the sound file.

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I was doing a little reading on Saturday, and suddenly heard Donald Trump’s voice on my TV set. MSNBC–that so-called liberal cable news network–broke-in LIVE to show Trump speaking to supporters at a campaign event. (He was explaining how he’s a builder, and how he’ll build a gigantic fence on Mexican-U.S. border by strong-arming the Mexican government, or something like that.)

I understand that Trump’s the leader in the Republican presidential race (according to the polls), but it’s astounding how much time the so-called liberal media have spent on Trump. I believe that the media (again, which is supposedly liberal) are greatly responsible for building-up Trump. I could go on and blame Fox News, MSNBC is devoting just as much time on him.

However, while I do harbor a belief that Trump is a media-created phenomena, I understand why some Americans him appealing. As Matthew Iglesias described in Vox this week, Trump is pairing his right-wing nationalism talk with some center-left ideas. Sure, Trump is gaining the support of some xenophobic bigots, but I think that makes his detractors hope Trump’s ceiling isn’t all that high. He has announced his opposition to cutting Social Security, and we know from past pronouncements that he believes a single-payer health care system is the way to go.

Iglesias says that Trump’s popular position on Social Security is making him unpopular with the Republican donor class, but he can survive without them thanks to the silver spoons he inherited through birth.

I find Trump opportunistic, maniacal, a megalomaniac, bigoted, and media savvy. I find his so-called solutions to this nation’s problems (like plugging more money into an already bloated defense budget) to be comical and naive, but I get why he’s getting some love from the public.

In some ways, Trump is sounding socialistic. Higher taxes on the rich to help pay for things like social security is socialism. It’s spreading the wealth. While bordering on the ridiculous (like attacking Fox News anchor Meghan Kelly, and Univision’s Jorge Ramos), Trump understands the current political and economical winds: That a mixture of capitalism and socialism has worked for years in this country, and must be sustained in order to keep America sustained.

You wouldn’t know it from the lack of media coverage (remember, from a press that’s filled with far-left loonies, apparently), but Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders is leading Clinton in a few New Hampshire polls. New Hampshire is the first primary race for the Democratic Party presidential nomination. Sanders is doing well in some polls for the Iowa caucus, too. Sanders is filling arenas and stadiums in stump speeches across the country. And Sanders is doing this despite his “Democratic Socialist” label he proudly wears on his chest.

Why is Sanders winning the support of millions of Americans even though he lauds northern European socialism? Because the country has slowly moved in a socialistic position for the past 239 years.

The day President Washington squashed the Whiskey Rebellion in western Pennsylvania, and commenced with the tax on whiskey, we’ve embraced certain aspects of socialism. The creation of a military is socialism. Taxing the wealthy to help pay for wars is socialism. In some ways, Teddy Roosevelt was our first president to champion socialism. And, I think it’s TR who Sanders is trying to emulate.

The Hill’s H.A.Goodman points-out how Sanders and Teddy Roosevelt are quite similar:

Is Sanders the reincarnation of Roosevelt? Sanders has championed environmental causes, stands up to Wall Street and today’s “captains of industry,” and wants to break up the banks. Similar to Standard Oil and other monopolies during Roosevelt’s era, the top six banks today control 60 percent of U.S. gross domestic product, which is why Sanders feels the need to ensure that no bank is too big to fail anymore. Even Bill O’Reilly had a difficult time in one segment disagreeing with Sanders, and O’Reilly even admitted to Sanders (2:50 in the video), “You know Teddy Roosevelt, did a little bit of what you’re suggesting.”

Goodman also notes how socialism has been used by several Republican presidents like Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan. Nixon used price controls to keep food costs down, and Reagan bailed-out Chrysler and believed some free-trade agreements had caused more harm than good.

(NOTE: I’ve done some research, and it appears President Carter signed the bill bailing-out Chrysler in 1980. Reagan didn’t do anything to change it once he entered the White House, but I think Goodman may want to re-check that statement.)

Lest we forget, but President George W. Bush was a big believer in socialism. He backed the $700 billion bailing out of the Wall Street banksers, whose system imploded due to years and years of deregulation (started by Reagan, btw). The Wall Street bailout ended up costing the U.S. economy…listen to this, now…$22 trillion!!!! Of course, President Obama backed the bailouts, too.

That was socialism.

Guess who voted against the bank bailouts? That’s right, that “socialist” Bernie Sanders. Guess who voted against repealing the Glass-Steagall Act, which kept commercial and investment banking separate. Sanders predicted how that repeal would eventually damage the country. Sanders is fighting to break-up the big banks, and to put the Glass-Steagall Act back in action.

If I didn’t know it better, I’d say Sanders sounds more capitalistic than Bush!

And please, most of all, remember how Sanders voted against the Iraq War authorization bill, and had correctly predicted how that war would destabilize the region, and costing us more in lives and treasure. That stupid war will cost us around $4-$6 trillion when all is said and done. And now, I’m supposed to listen to guys like Karl Rove talk about debt and deficits when they presided over these gross excesses of spending.

It’s no wonder why Trump has also decided that he’s against Iraq War. It failed and cost us more than it’s supporters imagined at the time.

Bernie Sanders had the foresight to predict how an insane war, insane deregulation of the financial services industry, and huge tax breaks for corporations and the ultra-rich would damage this country. It’s no wonder why some people, like Donald Trump, are giving Sanders’ socialism a serious look at saving this country.

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Get Those Kids To School BEFORE Labor Day!

School Bus

Maybe it’s because I’m getting older, and I’m no longer going to school, but I think it’s time the state of Michigan scraps it’s law preventing public schools from starting before Labor Day.

Jodi McFarland of The Saginaw News explains why it’s a stupid law:

It makes you feel foolish, watching kids in states known for less-than-stellar education systems hitting the books long before our pupils have stopped running barefoot outdoors.

Michigan’s K-12 public schools won’t start for another week — the latest first day of school we could possibly have. Since 2005, state law has kept those teachers from taking roll before Labor Day. Private and parochial schools are exempt.

Business leaders from around here helped collect the signatures that pushed the law through, the Great Lakes Bay Region Convention & Visitors Bureau has reported.

Business interests trumped local school board control.

The impetus wasn’t to promote sound educational outcomes. It was and is a bid to promote and protect tourism, giving families more time to scatter their travel dollars from Frankenmuth to Marquette and parts in-between.

How well does it work?

Fall sports and band begin in early to mid-August, making delayed classes irrelevant to a swath of Michigan families.

Many of our colleges are getting a move on already. Delta College’s and Saginaw Valley State University’s fall classes start this week.

The delay in starting K-12 schools has consequences in June, too, as state lawmakers raise the required instructional time each year.

I haven’t been able to find hard numbers if Michigan benefits economically from a delayed public school start. I did run across this 2012 study from the University of Minnesota, which showed family travel decreased after the start of school moved to before Labor Day.

Still, I’d like to see some hard numbers for Michigan. As McFarland points-out, football games and other extracurricular activities have started throughout the state! I was playing tennis the other day at Alma High School, and they played a football game later that night. Families were tailgating, bands were practicing, and students were fired-up. It certainly felt like a normal high school football night.

I understand that school districts need Summer vacation time for maintenance work as buildings age, and that work can only be completed with students out-of-the-way. But do districts need a full 12 weeks to get those projects finished?

Our children must be in school longer. Yes, longer. Longer than 175 days or 180 days. I propose Summer vacation be only eight weeks long, which would mean students and teachers would start in early August. True, it would cost more to air condition buildings, leading to higher energy costs. And we’d have to provide teachers with some incentive to want to tackle this extra work. That would mean more funding for education, but I’d rather spend money on our future.

It seems logical. Logic, though, isn’t celebrated in Lansing of late.

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Some Telling Stats About Guns In America

guns

I posted a link to this Nicholas Kristof article in my first post in a week, and I thought I’d post a few more points Kristof shares regarding gun violence in America:

■ More Americans die in gun homicides and suicides every six months than have died in the last 25 years in every terrorist attack and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq combined.

■ More Americans have died from guns in the United States since 1968than on battlefields of all the wars in American history.

■ American children are 14 times as likely to die from guns as children in other developed countries, according to David Hemenway, a Harvard professor and author of an excellent book on firearm safety.

 Not that any of those stats matter. They won’t change anything.

If there’s anything that the ambush on those two New York City police officers, and the one in Texas last weekend, having a gun on your person won’t mean a thing as long as your assailant has the drop on you. They know what they’re going to do, and when they’re going to do it. No matter how armed you may be, if someone has the drop on you, that’s the ballgame.

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A Needed Respite

Well, I’ve been away for a little while.

I think the Dog Days Of Summer have gotten the best of me. It’s not like I haven’t had a lot to say or write about, but I simply ran out of gas.

Plain and simple.

If I haven’t been busy doing WSGW radio work, I’ve been busy doing housework, and the other mundane things which must be accomplished in everyday life.

I have to honestly say, though, that last week’s assassination of those two young TV journalists in Virginia really got to me. I’m not sure exactly as to why, but maybe it’s because of their profession. Those of us in the TV, radio, print, and online mediums could all probably empathize once the news broke of their deaths. I didn’t have the heart to watch those two young people needlessly lose their lives. I did listen to the audio, however, and it made me ill. I’ve watched death on film many times in my life, included breaking-down the Zapruter Film frame-by-frame. I believe the reason I became so overwhelmed by that tragedy is because I felt hopeless. Since the killer was a black man, I knew the conservative press would paint him as the poster child of the “Black Lives Matter Movement,” or affirmative action, or of black America, in general. I knew that while many Americans felt sorrow and outrage over their deaths, we dare never speak of enacting any meaningful gun control legislation. Even though, as New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof noted, more Americans have died from guns since 1968 than have died in all of our country’s wars, we still sit on our hands, shrug our shoulders, and hope it never happens to someone we love. Seeing the horror on Alison Parker’s face after the first shots rang-out shook me up, and made me feel empty. I hate it when I feel that way because I hate feeling defeated. But that’s how I felt last week.

When I feel defeated, I feel physically and emotionally drained.

On Monday, I felt refreshed and ready to rejoin the public discourse on a range of topics. I enjoyed guest-hosting The Art Lewis Show on WSGW, and was ready to do some blogging.

And then, I saw how Ohio Republicans were outraged today over President Obama’s move to rename Mount McKinley in Alaska to Denali. At first, I thought Speaker Of The House John Boehner had to be joking when he voiced his dismay over Obama’s announcement.

Listen, I understand that McKinley was an Ohio native, but are Ohioans still having a tough time getting over McKinley’s assassination?

Too soon?

We’ve gotten to the point that our President renames a mountain in Alaska, and his political opponents lose their heads over that decision! A frickin’ mountain in Alaska!!! And Alaskans wanted it to be renamed!

So, I had the energy sucked-out of me again.

There are times in my life that I’m happy I love sports. There’s nothing like hitting the tennis courts, smacking the ball around for three hours, and being disengaged from the rest of the world. U.S. Open tennis has just started, and I’m relieved to have that escapism for the next two weeks. College football begins in a few days, and then the NFL a week later. Trust me, I will have no problem using sports as a diversion this Fall.

However, the Pittsburgh Steelers’ signing of Michael Vick as their backup quarterback certainly didn’t help my mood last week either!

My cynicism has reached a fevered pitch, and I just needed to take a step back, and catch-up on some sleep.

Don’t worry, though, the fight is still alive and well inside me. I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t fight and stand-up for my beliefs.

That’s when I feel at my best. Well, that and when the Pittsburgh Steelers win football games–without Michael Vick as their quarterback!

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