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Will Angry Voters Now Turn On The NFL?

April 26, 2016

Everyone seems so outraged over politics these days.   If not the ones who think Donald Trump is somehow being denied his just desserts then it is the followers of Bernie Sanders who whine over super delegates and corporate influence in politics.   Complain, bitch, and moan.   One might think a large segment of the nation just woke up and are shocked to find reality landed in their backyard.

In light of all this foolishness I have to wonder how many of those same folks get all bunched in the undies when it comes to their favorite Pablum for the masses–football and the way the NFL conducts themselves.

Yesterday the news reported on deflated balls and the way one player was able to navigate around the mess.  Will people protest the games, boycott watching, rant, rave, and take to Facebook in a name-calling orgy akin to how primary season has played out?

Or will it all be soon forgotten as the pre-season grows near and couch potato season returns?

We all know the outcome as the people of this nation are about an inch thick when it comes to principle.    If they were more tuned into what really happens–in light of this political season–they would be up in arms over the tax free zone at the NFL.

At NFL headquarters on Park Avenue in Manhattan, the daily business may span game scheduling, referee hiring or media-rights bargaining – an operation financially fueled by all 32 pro teams which collectively pay more than $250 million in annual “membership dues.”

All of that revenue received by the league office — a half billion dollars since 2010— is untouchable to the Internal Revenue Service

But football means more to people than what they profess to be their guiding lights when it comes to Sanders and Trump.  And I  laugh.

NY_NYP

 

A Manhattan federal appeals court ruled on Monday that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell was right to have suspended the New England Patriots quarterback for his alleged role in a scheme to deflate balls used in the 2015 AFC Championship game.

Now, unless Brady wins a Hail Mary appeal, he will miss the Patriots’ first four games next season — and not be paid for them.

Not that his bankers will notice, because of contractual changes he made two months before the ruling, protecting him against the cost.

In February, he renegotiated his contract, giving him a $28 million signing bonus while reducing his salary — which takes the hit of any suspension — to a mere $1 million.

That means that the lost games will cost him just $235,000, compared with the $2.1 million he would have forfeited under his original $9 million annual salary.

Can “Hamilton” Sweep The Tonys This Spring?

April 26, 2016

Tony nominations will be announced May 3, with the awards ceremony to be held June 12. And while there is little doubt “Hamilton” will be nominated across the board, a look at past hits, as well as the present competition, suggests that matching records for nominations or awards is possible. Setting new records would be tricky.

Among the musicals that generated “Hamilton”-caliber heat, “The Producers” (2001) holds the record for the most Tony wins, 12. It shares the record for 15 nominations with “Billy Elliot,” which won 10 Tonys at the 2009 awards.

More recently, “The Book of Mormon” (2011) racked up 14 nominations and nine Tonys.

This season, there are 13 categories in which a new musical can be nominated. The record number of nominations is 15, mainly due to multiple actors from the same show earning nominations and competing in the same category.

Since the Tonys began in 1947, the number of awards has fluctuated as categories were added, often to separate plays and musicals, or removed entirely. The short-lived award for sound design briefly upped the numbers: Added for the 2008 Tonys, it was eliminated after 2014.

Getting to the record of 15 nominations doesn’t necessarily require landing in all 13 categories, but the nine non-acting areas are almost essential.

Former GOP House Speaker Sex Scandal Explodes

April 25, 2016

Things got far more interesting today when a former student of House Speaker Dennis Hastert filed a lawsuit Monday demanding that the ex-speaker pay more than $1.8 million to fulfill an agreement he allegedly made to pay $3.5 million to compensate for sexual abuse committed against the man three decades ago.

The lawsuit refers to the man suing Hastert simply as “James Doe,” but the events outlined in the suit make clear he is the “Individual A” referred to in a federal indictment of Hastert last year for illegally structuring bank withdrawals and lying to the FBI. Hastert pleaded guilty to the structuring charge and is set to be sentenced on that charge Wednesday.

In the new lawsuit, the alleged victim says Hastert sexually abused him at a motel on a wrestling trip he organized as a coach, leading to a lifetime of problems. “For many years to follow, Plaintiff suffered severe panic attacks which lead [sic] to periods of unemployment, career changes, bouts of depression, hospitalization, and long-term psychiatric treatment,” the suit says.

Federal officials say Hastert paid out $1.7 million before he was confronted by the FBI in 2014 over the unusual cash withdrawals. A court filing earlier this month related to Hastert’s sentencing revealed that the alleged victim was still pressing for the remainder of the alleged settlement.

The suit was filed Monday in county court in Yorkville, Ill., the same town where Hastert taught and coached from 1965 to 1981. The complaint describes Doe as an Illinois resident and calls Hastert a “trusted friend of Doe’s family.”

Jim Miklaszewski –Wisconsin Native–Ending NBC Reporting Career

April 25, 2016

One of the true professionals who knows how to gather the facts and report them will soon retire from NBC News.  Jim Miklaszewski will retire this year after being with the network for more than 30 years.

His reporting allowed the rest of us to better understand the military and defense operations.  We turned to Miklaszewski when we wanted some sense made of the hot spots in the world and the role our military might play.  His brand of journalism was essential when the world seemed to tilt more on its axis.  He was an essential part of the news world for me for a very long time.

Mik, as he’s known around the newsroom, was at the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001, reporting on the military’s response to the terror attacks in New York, when the Pentagon was hit.   The Cudahy native from Wisconsin joined NBC from CNN in 1985 as a White House correspondent.

Weighing In On Demoting President Andrew Jackson

April 24, 2016

I have been intrigued over the past week to read varying perspectives on the decision to remove President Andrew Jackson from the $20 dollar bill.  While I am most pleased that Alexander Hamilton did not lose his place on currency–given his title role in the financial history of this nation along with being my favorite Founding Father (long before the current rage)–I must say there is a smile on my face when it comes to the replacement of Jackson.

While Jackson makes for great historical reading, and clearly brought a modern touch to politics in his day there has long been a revulsion from within concerning his male machismo.   He did not embody the type of inner core and personal traits that I find endearing.  I am most certain he would not make–if it were possible–a comfortable dinner guest in our home.

Then there is the tragic outcome for Cherokee Chief John Ross (a relative of mine on my mother’s side of the family) and his fellow members of the Indian tribe.   It was simply appalling what occurred and there is no way that Jackson should be allowed to have any honor on a bill for that reason alone.  His military tactics in the Battle of New Orleans were excessive and needlessly brutal.

His whole makeup seemed to convey anger and brute strength when a reasoned and more educated man of his time would have made far superior choices.

So it comes as no great loss to see him replaced on the bill.   As noted above I have been interested in seeing how others view the matter.  On the side of approval comes the words of Cynthia Tucker.

It’s no accident that Trump — who is among the “birthers” who insist President Barack Obama is not an American — leads the Republican presidential field while denouncing Mexican immigrants and denigrating Muslims. There is a substantial minority of white American voters who are threatened by the loss of numerical advantage, furious over the election of a black president, and resentful of the growing racial and ethnic diversity in American life.

Trump and his supporters have dominated the political narrative in this election season and ignited a civil war inside the Republican Party. They have panicked the Republican establishment. They have set off alarm bells in faraway capitals.

Yet the racially intolerant are losing the battle for primacy in the American story. They no longer dominate the nation’s culture or mythology, as the changes in the currency illustrate. 

A genuine American hero, she deserves the honor. As a young woman, she escaped the Maryland plantation that had enslaved her, and then made several trips back to assist others. Over a little more than a decade, she helped around 70 enslaved men and women find their way to freedom, traveling by night, using ingenious disguises and employing the hideouts established by the Underground Railroad.

On the opposite end of the political spectrum comes the harsh words of Pat Buchanan.

To remove his portrait from the front of the $20 bill, and replace it with Tubman’s, is affirmative action that approaches the absurd.

Whatever one’s admiration for Tubman and her cause, she is not the figure in history Jackson was.

Indeed, if the fight against slavery is the greatest cause in our history, why not honor John Brown, hanged for his raid on Harper’s Ferry to start a revolution to free the slaves, after he butchered slave owners in “Bleeding Kansas”? John Brown was the real deal.

In the dystopian novel, “1984,” Winston Smith labors in the Ministry of Truth, dropping down the “memory hole” stories that must be rewritten to re-indoctrinate the party and proles in the new history, as determined by Big Brother. Jack Lew would have fit right in there.

Gunfire Opens On Antigo, Wisconsin Prom Night, One Dead

April 24, 2016

Once again gun fire opens the headlines on state news.   The sad state of affairs continues as too many guns, too few voters who care enough to say this must be dealt with, and too many politicians who are bought off by the NRA all contribute to the problems.

A 18-year-old who shot and injured two students outside Antigo High School after prom has reportedly died from wounds suffered when a police officer shot the suspect, authorities said Sunday. The Associated Press reported that the gunman is 18-year-old Jakob E. Wagner.

The gunman was armed with a rifle when he started shooting people as they left the school around 11 p.m. Saturday, according to Antigo Police Chief Eric Roller. Officers who were patrolling the school during prom responded. One of them shot Wagner with the rifle, according to police.

Wagner and both victims — a male and a female whose identities haven’t been released — were taken to Aspirus Langlade Hospital in Antigo, police said. The female victim was treated and released and the male victim was undergoing surgery for injuries that weren’t life-threatening, police told AP.

Langlade County Coroner Larry Shadick told AP that Wagner died shortly after 1 a.m. in the intensive care unit of a Wausau hospital.

The relationship between the shooter and the victims was not immediately clear as of early Sunday morning, according to Roller.

Antigo is a city of 8,000 35 miles northeast of Wausau.

Maine’s Republican Governor Goes On Racist Tirade

April 24, 2016

Maine Governor Paul LePage is without doubt the shallowest of the state executives in office at this time.  I realize that is making quite a statement given the pool from which to select from.  There is just an endless supply of embarrassment when it comes to LePage’s words and actions.  This weekend was no different as shown by his statements at the state Republican Convention.

Maine’s Republican governor says it’s hard to understand workers “from Bulgaria” and workers from India are “the worst ones.”

The governor said Saturday that foreign workers are being used in restaurants after he criticized a referendum proposal to raise Maine’s minimum wage to $12. He says he’s disappointed his alternative proposal to hike the wage to $10 didn’t get traction. 

He described Indians as “lovely people but you’ve got to have an interpreter.”

LePage is known for making controversial remarks. In this case, he was chuckling as he spoke at the state party convention. He joked that his wife is going to get a job as a waitress for supplemental income.

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