Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Praising with faint damning

I'm coming a bit late to this particular party, but I see that Juan Williams has been duly defrocked by NPR for his "Stokely-Carmichael-in-a-designer-dress" comment. There was a lot of protesting in the liberal blogosphere over this on the grounds that it was either a) sexist, b) red/"militant"/Black Nationalist-baiting, or c) further evidence of Williams' penchant for rimming Bill O'Reilly and Fox News to their hearts' content (okay, on that count he may be guilty), but no one has yet answered the question of why comparing the First Lady to one of the founding members of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee is such a terrible, awful thing in the first place.

Now granted, the guy went to his grave claiming that American Imperialism had given him prostate cancer (perhaps not outside the bounds of realism), and it's debatable whether his later militancy helped or hurt the black American cause. However, my inclination is to divide Civil Rights Leaders into "ones who died before they could be forsaken by liberals as too radical" (as King's Poor People's Campaign no doubt would have been) and "ones who lived through injustice and oppression only to become embarrassing pariahs to the mainstream" (current title holder: Al Sharpton). So I think the Carmichael tag is perhaps one of the finest labelings a media hack could bestow.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Super Bowl Consipracy?

WARNING: only read this if you like football and watched the Super Bowl, or if you are bored and like conspiracies.

Tonight the Steelers beat the Cardinals in Superbowl XLIII, 27-23. There was an obvious bias against the Cardinals by the officials.

First I will recount the bad/questionable actions by the refs:

1. In the final play of the game, Kurt Warner (QB, Cardinals) made a questionable fumble, giving the ball, and the victory, to the Steelers. The play was not reviewed by the officials. Such a play, as questionable as this, in the final seconds of the Super Bowl, not being even reviewed (let alone overtuned) is shocking in and of itself.
This fumble prevented the Cardinals from having one last shot at going for a TD and the win. Keep in mind that the Cardinals have one of the league's best QBs, and two of the league's best WRs.
Btw, everyone that I was watching with thought this was an incomplete pass and not a fumble. The refs didn't even think to review it.

2. "The Cardinals also had to challenge two blown calls by the refs — one on a Ben Roethlisberger run that was initially ruled a touchdown, the other on an earlier incompletion that was initially ruled a fumble." Luckily Cards coach Ken Whisenhunt decided to risk his precious timeouts and challenge those calls. He got both calls overturned, and both were on huge plays. This left him with only 1 challenge, even though he made no mistakes and the burden of mis-calls was on the officials.

3. "On one Steelers drive that ended with a field goal, Arizona was called for three personal fouls." I can recall at least two if these that were questionable (a roughing the passer, and an unneccesary roughness on the first field goal attempt).

So there was obviously a bias, whether it was conscious or not.

Now here's where I'm gonna lose most of you. Here are the reasons someone in the NFL might have wanted the Steelers to win:

1. The Steelers have a stronger fan base than the Cardinals, and the NFL could make make more money from celebratory Steelers fans.

2. The Cardinals were widely described as the worst playoff team in the history of the NFL. They won a shitty division and made the playoffs with an unimpressive record of 9-7. During the course of their season they experienced many crushing losses to teams that didn't even make the playoffs. Perhaps a win by the Cards would dampen the meaning of winning the Superbowl...?

3. The Cards have always sucked, and no one would care if they were the Superbowl champs. But if the Steelers won a record SIXTH Superbowl, that's a $tory!

4. NFL commish Roger Goodell has done some sketchy things during his tenure, like destroying all evidence in Spygate and essentially ending all discussion on the issue. Personally, I don't trust the guy.

5. It was the Government and they're all in on it!!! shhh... they might be listening...

Before you discount this conspiracy theory, please recall that the NBA has had it's share of biased refs, and also realize that many Cardinals players/coaches/fans feel cheated:

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