Archive for sports

Gays And The NFL - Tax Exempt Status At Stake

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football NFL

When the crazies get going, the going gets crazy. Yesterday there was an article circulating about Jack Burkman, a lobbyist trying to propose a bill that would ban gay players from the NFL.

What's crazy about that? Well everything from the fact that lobbyists can't propose bills, senators and congressmen must introduce them. But putting that behind, the fact that discrimination in the workplace is prohibited by law, this would stand in the way of such a bill. But some bills do pass that are found unconstitutional, then they're struck down.

Think of all that cost. And also think of this: The NFL exists as it does with a congressional granted tax exempt status. The multi-billion dollar industry saves millions because of that designation. You think they want to risk their non-profit status? According to CBS MoneyWatch:

This decision has saved the NFL uncounted millions in tax obligations, which means that ordinary people must pay higher taxes, public spending must decline, or the national debt must increase to make up for the shortfall. Nonprofit status applies to the NFL’s headquarters, which administers the league and its all-important television contracts.

The NFL is already under attack. Senator Tom Coburn (R-Oklahoma) has already introduced a bill to strip tax-exempt status from sports leagues. How many co-signers do you think would jump on that bandwagon if Congress were to even entertain a bill banning homosexuals from participating in the league?

Two days ago Jason Collins, an openly gay man, joined the NBA Brooklyn Nets. He played in his first game. And guess what? The league didn't collapse. When number 42, Jackie Robinson became the first black player in the MLB, the league didn't collapse. And when and if Michael Sam is drafted by the NFL, the league isn't going to sputter or disintegrate.

Life goes on. Bigotry must fall.

So before ending this post, it might be interesting to know a final fact or two about Jim Burkman, the lobbyist. Via HuffPo:

WASHINGTON -- A Republican lobbyist, [Jack Burkman], hawking a bill that would bar gays from playing in the National Football League has a younger brother who is gay [Jim Burkman].

“I think the idea that he is pushing legislation that is just hurtful and ridiculous is just plain stupid,” said Jim Burkman. “He is not a legislator and he can’t really push legislation. I don’t think there are any cosponsors for a bill. It is just an attention grab and a media grab to pander to those folks who pay him to lobby on their behalf.

Well, now it's time for the NFL to speak up -- and they should because they have a lot to lose -- millions -- if their tax exempt status should be removed. And if they don't come out as accepting of gays, you can count on their exempt status going the way of the "leather helmet" or "Statue of Liberty" play.

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The Lure of the Crash Reel, Snowboarding from Vermont to Sochi

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Sochi Snowboard Snowboarder

Photo courtesy vnews dot com.

Written by guest contributor, "hardybear" of the wonderful Free Range Talk site:

"I'm twenty-four years old right now. And I've broken 23 bones," drawled one of the most laid back boarders competing in extreme snow sports this decade in Lucy Walker's exceptional documentary, The Crash Reel.

Hauntingly similar dramatic scenes and injuries in Sochi are piling up, and while Brian Williams has kept us abreast of the extreme and danger-laden runs of these young Olympians, Putin himself mustered a bedside manner to visit an athlete taken out by the unusually harsh course conditions. From NBC Nightly News.

Too Familiar. In 2010, the Vermont locals were gearing up for Vancouver Mania. We do have Bernie, Ben, and Jerry ... but in snow sports we send more micro-town talent to the Games than is truly fair (but then again we have one Representative to Congress for perpetuity) and in 2014 we waved 43 Green Mountain athletes off to make us hill people proud.

In the ramp-up to '10, Shaun White was rocking longer gingey locks and a cockier roll, sweet Hannah Teeter blew our minds and Kevin Pearce was getting the Bode-level buzz that indicated the Gold was his to lose in Men's Half Pipe.

Kevni Pearce, Snowboarder, Snowboarding

Photo courtesy vnews dot com

Naturally, the media made a hot mess of a few rivalries in a sport so new and infuriatingly different that it was barely a pipe dream in 1983. Which has an oddly long-lasting personal significance for yours truly, as I spent the bulk of my first year back in Vermont from D.C. working out of Jake Burton Carpenter's home and first "factory" in nearby Manchester. I felt about 92 when I babbled that to Kevin within fifteen seconds of making nice. But you see, there weren't thousands of folks surfing ski slopes thirty years ago. [Legally.]

Stratton Mountain, now ever so posh but would yet still engage with the locals, let the Burton team (think crazee good ski talent fueled with the passion to surf mountains and whatever libations were required to sync raw courage and risk-junkie behavior) have at an old run long since given over to service or rescue equipment and experimentation. It was freaking amazing, and in my state they put you on skis before a tricycle. No poles to stab yourself with, zero 'yard sales' at the foot of the hill when one ski has gone horribly awry ... it was ridiculously fun. Addictive.

Riders like to feel there's a culture because a culture was created for and with them. It's an athlete driven sport that appeals to you in the soul. Humans are obsessed with getting air, and this is some gravity-defying joy.

The day I met Kevin, he had addressed an enormous conference in nearby Burlington, Vermont, before turning a very different kind of podium over to his wildly deep and delightful mother, Pia Pearce. When an audience member asked how the family could bear even the thought of him getting a second TBI (hey, we were all thinking it), she visibly struggled to remain composed. Then spoke gracefully of the dignity of risk -- that human right to place unusually costly odds on their own passions and unique abilities, and to ultimately find their own limits.

The Crash Reel floored the husband and I when we caught it by accident, as traumatic brain injury is close to home and work both. The director, Lucy Walker, guided us through Kevin's life-altering forks in the trail and the raw will it took for he and the absurdly well-suited Pearce family to bring him back post TBI ... and why he still rides.

SnowboarderGogglesORIGOlympic Trials at Park Slope, Utah were at the height of the competitive arc during the last week of 2009. Pearce and Shaun 'The Flying Tomato' White shredded everything put in front of them and upped the ante on some of the newer half-pipe aerial feats.

Snowboard from Below

Image courtesy the Burlington Free Press.

When Pearce's Cab double cork twist took him helmet-to-pipe in a tragic slam landing, he was just 23 and in virtually immediate critical condition as his 'Frends' begged their bleeding brother to 'Stay with us, just stay with us Kev" as the medics rushed in.

Scene.

Life Interrupted.

From left are Christy Pearce, Andrew Pearce, Pia Pearce, David Pearce, Simon Pearce and Adam Pearce. Kevin Pearce is in the middle. (Adam Pearce photograph.)

From left are Christy Pearce, Andrew Pearce, Pia Pearce, David Pearce, Simon Pearce and Adam Pearce. Kevin Pearce is in the middle. (Adam Pearce photograph.)

And attends far too many funerals and ER vigils. Those are the harsh realities that have kept him out of competitive riding and full-on into his Love Your Brain campaign.

He fills a suitably awed Larry King in on his latest doings in January of this year, video courtesy Larry King Now and Hulu.

His younger brother, David, has what the family call Up Syndrome, so special medical needs and adaptive living were no new rodeo for Clan Pearce. Nor is training oneself to defy disability, both Kevin and his father have severe dyslexia; father Simon Pearce was self-admittedly dreadful at school as a lad in Ireland -- but is presently one of the world's most respected artisan glass blowers. They are a family of large hearts.

Of hard work and grand dreams. Fragility and absurd strength. We should all live so fully.

Healing never ends. I will win, not immediately, but definitely.
~ Kevin Pearce

Hardy Bear & Kevin Pearce

Hardy Bear & Kevin Pearce

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And In This Corner Attempting Once Again To Stand His Ground, George 'Skittles' Zimmerman

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BoxingRingw398h266

In what can only be described is a cracker fight promoter's wet dream, the boxing match to rival Ali-Frazier or Ali-Forman, has been set. Get ready to hear "Ladies and gentlemen. Let's get ready to rrrrrummmble!"

In a match that is worthy of the 'Duck Dynasty' crowd, the two combatants have been set. In one corner is teen boy killer George Zimmerman:and in the other, rapper DMX.

DMXZimmermanw398h228
The tale of the tape from TPM:

That George Zimmerman charity boxing match is really happening, and now he has an opponent.

Celebrity boxing promoter Damon Feldman said in a news release that he picked rapper DMX out of a pool of 15,000 e-mailed requests to participate. "The match will be one of the Biggest Celebrity Boxing matches of all time," the release read, as quoted by CNN.

In the interest of fairness, this bout is for charity. And the idea for this fight I'm callin 'Simmerin' on the Zimmerman' came from none other than the boy killer himself.

Zimmerman previously said the match was his idea, and that he had been training since "prior to the incident." [incident?]

In case you were living under a rock and didn't know about this "incident," George Zimmerman was acquitted in 2012 in the killing of unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin.

So, it looks like there's going to be a lot of trash talk about this bout. In DMX's case, it's already started:

DMX was pretty fired up for the bout. He told TMZ he was prepared to break every rule in boxing "to make sure I f**k him right up."

In case you were wondering where the proceeds were going to be shared from this bout, here's the report in a different post from TPM:

Zimmerman didn't confirm or deny to Radar whether he would be taking a cut of the proceeds from the match. He also declined to say exactly where the proceeds would be donated, beyond that is was an animal rescue.

Animal rescue. It does lead you to ask why? Is that the way he looked at Trayvon -- as an animal? Couldn't he have taken a step and chosen some humanitarian cause to share the proceeds with? With this fight going pay-per-view, we can only imagine the money and the interest this bout is going to generate. Those are sure to be some lucky animals when the gate receipts and PPV revenues are divvied up.

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Sidelining our football Heroe$ for life -- with Brain Injury, w/o Benefits

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Written by guest contributor, "hardybear" of the wonderful Free Range Talk site.

Sean Morey, ex-NFL and dedicated to the Brain Injury Field. Photo, NPR.

Sean Morey, ex-NFL and dedicated to the Brain Injury Field. Photo, NPR.

It's GAME DAY! Lots going on in Jersey, but this evening it's all about brawling and strong-arm attacks in the stadium rather than the State House. 

Anyone else secretly hope they pull dear ole' Keith Olbermann back in to Fox to call the Super Bowl, and he tweaks and goes into a full-on Christie Tirade? Please, sports gods. That dedicatedly bombastic man was about the best Politics Announcer liberals could have hoped for in the heyday!

[KO is apparently very disgruntled about The Media getting special transport into Jersey though - a psychiatrist couch might be needed to unpack that one.]

KOSuperbowlMediaORIG

While we are cheering the best tackles, glorifying in finger foods and being FANS - it's good to be an American. There is an issue that needs to be brought up right next to the foam fingers and stadium profits however - the epidemic of Brain Injury.
BrainInjuryw164h164These guys pretty much get hit in the head for a living!
And how many started in Pee Wee?

The NFL players have strong feelings, as you might imagine. NPR shared glimpses into the rough and tumble journey of Vince Lombardi trophy winner Sean Morey.

Morey is among dozens of retired NFL players who have agreed to donate their brains for medical research when they die. He hopes his brain might provide some answers.

Rocking graphic from BreakingMuscle dot com.

Rocking graphic from BreakingMuscle dot com.

The answers to the questions he wants sooner that that include why his daughters will have lifelong pictures burned in their minds of an enraged, often unrecognizable father ... who was not the man their mother married.

Cara Morey has watched her husband turn into someone she doesn't recognize. "He gets a look in his eyes that you're pretty sure you've never met this person before. ... It's very scary. It's a type of rage that I had never seen, and I don't think anyone should ever see, and I don't think my girls should ever have seen it."

Defensive lineman Mike Lodish, formerly a Bronc(!), has taken the field in more Super Bowls than any other player since we started charting -- seems like he might know from the career where getting hit in the head is in your job description. Deadspin shared his rawly honest ten cents.

People that I've talked to about me being on the list to sue the NFL say things to me like, "You knew what you were getting into." Let me explain something to you: The hell we did. The hell we did. I knew orthopedically that I would have issues. I didn't care. But no one ever told me if I get a concussion and I go back in and show my boys that I'm a tough son of a bitch that I'm going to mess myself up even more. No one ever told me that. No one ever told me that that could possibly lead to CTE that could possibly lead to suicide. No one ever said, "If you have multiple concussions, Mike, you could risk killing yourself at a much earlier age, because your mind is quirked."

This is no short term problem,  pardon the pun, yet the corporatist NFL has NO intention with being saddled with permanent doctors tabs for their used-up players ... an attitude so unappreciated by pigskin legend Vernon Davis that he publicly shamed the Suits during Gridiron High Holy Week.

See if you're as impressed as I was. Footage from Yahoo dot com.

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Museum Donation Brings In More Than An Arm And A Leg

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Iceland Museum 2The Iceland Phallological Museum

Okay, it's Friday and I'm looking forward to my weekend to hike, party and refresh my batteries. So forgive me if I indulge my silly side with this curiosity AND accompanying video. Oh, and despite the topic, it is safe for work. Don't worry.

The story is about a one-of-a-kind museum and it's quest for their most elusive donation.

Ever have an interest in visiting Iceland? I can't say that I have and most probably this post won't have you rushing to priceline.com for airline tickets and hotel accommodations either, but it might put a little smile on your face. This courtesy of  The Daily Beast:

Iceland is home to many wonders. Volcanic mountains. The Blue Lagoon. Musical acts Björk, Of Monsters and Men, and Sigur Rós. Four-time “World’s Strongest Man” winner Magnús Ver Magnússon. The evil ice hockey team in D2: The Mighty Ducks.

It also has the distinction of hosting the world’s only penis museum.

Wait. Back up. Run that by me again? The World's only penis museum?

I had to investigate. C'mon, guys, who hasn't wondered how they stack up against others of their species? And women, you can't say that you haven't had a certain curiosity -- I'm not saying every woman's read Fifty Shades of Grey but there's interest in sex on both sides of the aisle. On all sides of the aisle, actually, not to ignore my LGBT friends.

The Iceland Phallological Museum boasts the world’s largest display of penises—and penile parts. The collection consists of 280 specimens from 93 species, including foxes, pigs, and walruses. The biggest penis on display is that of a sperm whale, measuring 5 feet 7 inches and weighing 154 pounds—and that’s just the tip. The smallest item in the museum is the penis bone of a hamster, which measures less than 2 mm and has to be observed via microscope. There’s the penis of a Cave Bear, a species that became extinct 10,000-15,000 years ago, as well as the alleged penises of Huldufolk (Icelandic elves) and trolls.

museum displaySigurdur “Siggi” Hjartarson

They've evidently got every type and size of penis they can find except one the one they could find on any street corner around the world today. It's the human penis.

Well, I'm sure that's going to change. Someone's going to donate to the museum -- but there are some requirements. Not just any human penis will do.

Of course not--

In order to donate your penis to the museum, Siggi [museum curator and owner] has two requirements: the first is a legal document (letter of donation) signed by three witnesses, and the second is proof that the penis is a “legal length” of at least 5 inches.

Five inches? Is that erect or at rest or with shrinkage (thanks Seinfeld) after a cold, Icelandic dip in the ocean?

Lest you think there's no competition to be the first human endowment to the museum, read on.

Enter Tom Mitchell. A kooky middle-aged American who runs a horse farm in the Santa Ynez Mountains in California, Mitchell is eager to have his penis be the first one on display at the museum that he’s willing to amputate himself while he’s still alive.

“He calls his penis ‘Elmo’ and is extremely well-endowed,” boasts Siggi. Tom’s is about 7 inches in length “with a great girth.”

Okay, TMI.

So now for the "teaser" to the full length documentary about the museum and it's quest for the first human display, here's the trailer for THE FINAL MEMBER:

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New York & Los Angeles Just An Hour Apart?

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It's about time

Today's the first day of standard time. At 2 AM this morning, Daylight Saving's time ended. No, I got that right. You'd think it was the other way around, daylight savings would come for the winter months, but it's actually the summer, when you analyze it. Veracity Stew.com:

It would seem to be more efficient to do away with the practice altogether. The actual energy savings are minimal, if they exist at all. Frequent and uncoordinated time changes cause confusion, undermining economic efficiency. There’s evidence that regularly changing sleep cycles, associated with daylight saving, lowers productivity and increases heart attacks. Being out of sync with European time changes was projected to cost the airline industry $147 million a year in travel disruptions.

Bottom line is it gets darker earlier now but we have more daylight in the morning. That is of course, unless you live farther from the equator where you get 24 hour daylight in the summer (Scandanavia, Alaska) and total dark days during the winter. Kind of crazy but people adjust.

Here we are graphically now, and as proposed:

time zones

What you see above is the breakdown of the four time zones we currently have in the states (on the left) and the proposed two time zone map on the right.

Okay, what's up with that? Well, for starters, practicality. We're basically a country of commercialism. Business is where the money is. As technology has become globalized, so has business. And in the states, it's nothing to have offices across the entire country. But what happens when you want to do business in New York and you live in LA? You have to find a mutual time when everyone is in the office. But when it's 9 AM in LA, it's noon in NYC and everyone's gone to lunch. When they get back around 3 PM Eastern, it's noon in LA  and the west coast people are heading off to lunch. So your mutually "in the office hours" are really very limited. When the LA people return from lunch at three, the New Yorkers are going home for the day.

VERACITY STEW.COM

This year, Americans on Eastern Standard Time should set their clocks back one hour (like normal), Americans on Central and Rocky Mountain time do nothing, and Americans on Pacific time should set their clocks forward one hour. After that we won’t change our clocks again – no more daylight saving. This will result in just two time zones for the continental United States. The east and west coasts will only be one hour apart. Anyone who lives on one coast and does business with the other can imagine the uncountable benefits of living in a two-time-zone nation (excluding Alaska and Hawaii).

As it is now the time zones are arbitrarily drawn. Some larger than others, some states even in two different time zones. Crazy.

Now before you go all ballistic on me, think about it for a beat. What really changes? We'll no longer lose an hour of sleep. We commercially can be more productive. And even now in some states it gets darker earlier than in others. We'll only be, at the most one hour time difference than anyone else in the US.

So what are we holding onto:

holding onto time

It’s a controversial practice that became the official standard in America in 1966 and adjusted throughout the 1970s with the intent of conserving energy. The fall time change feels particularly hard because we lose another hour of evening daylight, just as the days grow shorter.

Truth is, the hours of sunlight per day don't change, nor do the hours of darkness. That's determined by how close or far we live from the equator and that's not changing. Just when those hours fall. We simply adjust.

Think of how much easier it will be to chat with friends on the other side of the country? And plane flights will be so much easier to figure out. You now leave LA at noon for a five hour flight to NYC and get there around 8 PM, eastern time. Wouldn't it be better to arrive at 6 local? Look at how much more time you'd have to spend in the Big Apple.

As it is, there are states like Arizona and Hawaii that opted out of Daylight Savings and don't have time changes. They survive quite well. So can the rest of us. And no more states with two time zones.

Maybe it's time to change time. Think about it. Nothing much is going to be different, except perhaps our sanity an not having to become slave twice a year to programming all those damn, digital clocks.

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A New Sexual Level In Journalism

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The Daily Texan

There are various institutions that are well known for their journalism programs. Among the most prestigious top five are Columbia University School of Journalism, Henry W. Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia (home of the Peabody Award), NYU's Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism and Harvard University. A fifth member of this quintet of top schools is the the only one outside of the Eastern seaboard. It's the University of Texas, Austin, home of the Longhorns.

U of T puts out a daily newspaper called the Daily Texan (the largest student newspaper in the country) and it's got a lot more to it than cattle prices and home remedies for for saddle sores. Those kind of breaking stories aren't going to get you too much notice in Austin. For that you should go to Texas A & M -- become a Texas Aggie.

U of T, where you're as likely to give the Hook 'em horns hand gesture as you are a fist bump, publishes an award-winning newspaper. This rag has got a venerable history—

According to the paper's site:

The Texan has won more national, regional and state awards than any other college newspaper in America and counts 10 Pulitzer Prize winners among its former staff. Also among it's alums are Walter Cronkite, Lady Bird Johnson,  Bill Moyers, and Liz Smith.

Pretty heady group, wouldn't you say? Well, tradition is on hold this year. The editors decided to veer into brave new territory: sex columns.

Sex Love Texas

Move over Moyers, Smith and Cronkite. Make room for: Fabulous Frank, Sexy Sally, Virgin Veronica, and Committed Caroline.

Yup, that's right. The Red state which on one hand boasts their sexy Dallas Cheerleaders and on the other gives you misogynist Governor Rick Perry and his anti-women's rights laws has chosen to break new ground in the Daily Texan. Maybe they're ready to shed their conservative nature for a more balanced and enlightened look at the world. Maybe they're ready to take their heads out of their oil-well submerged thinking and join us in the 21st century. And like most things in Texas, when they do something, they do it BIGGER.

The DAILY BEAST:

Safe sex should be something people should want to talk about openly and honestly,” says Kelsey McKinney, the associate managing editor of the Daily Texan. “It’s something that can be important—but also can be a little bit more fun than our breaking news.”

This semester, the paper welcomed four anonymous columnists to its Life & Arts section: Fabulous Frank, Sexy Sally, Virgin Veronica, and Committed Caroline (no relation to this author). They each have a gimmick:

Frank promises “a single gay man’s perspective on the issues that face us all”;

Sally is a “lady on the streets but a freak in the sheets”;

Veronica describes her adventures on how she wants a “UPS Rush Delivery on Sex”;

and Caroline is the one to champion for a steady partner and assure her readers that things don’t have to get boring just because you're in a committed relationship.

Man, reading my college newspaper at Columbia sure wasn't like that. I think we got more reviews of Chuck Berry or Jefferson Starship at the Filmore East and occasionally an anti-Viet Nam commentary. Then we might read about a professor who was nominated for a Nobel Prize. We rarely got a glimpse into human sexuality. And certainly not like this.

But the U of  T columnists take their "spreads" very seriously.

It certainly makes some people uncomfortable and those people have given us a little bit of backlash, but really we enjoy what we are doing and we know we’re not doing it just for fun—we’re doing it for a purpose,” says Sexy Sally. “We try not to pay attention to the haters. For the most part, people who grew up in Texas—we didn’t have a very good sex education and it’s not typically something parents are super open with their kids and I think that’s why it’s made some people feel kind of uncomfortable.”

And they do their research as all good journalists are taught to do. Take for instance Committed Caroline:

“I didn’t know my own body at all, so how could I be ready to share it,” wrote Committed Caroline in her column on masturbation. “So I learned. Girls in Texas aren’t taught how to pleasure themselves any better than they’re taught where to get birth control, so I learned with my hands under the covers by myself where to touch myself and how.”

Now before you accuse me of putting that quote in just for shock value, you're right. But shock for a different reason than you might think. I'm stunned that in any state in the US there isn't enough "sex education" or the program is so limited and clinical that kids are reaching college age and don't know their own bodies. What can the possible outcomes be? Not good ones.

The lack of proper sex education, whether at home or in the school, preferably both to maybe counter-act the lack of parents accurate information, is a must. Without it we're heading for more sexual assaults, unplanned pregnancies and yes, even communicable diseases.

What the Daily Texan is doing should be commended. When you draw attention and shed light where it usually don't shine, you're performing a service. All of that last statement can be taken as a bad joke or in the spirit in which it's meant. Let's educate. Let's not cut funding for programs or school papers. They're filling in many of the gaps that we, as parents, have overlooked or chosen to ignore.

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