1st and Ten - The Weekly Tendown July 18-24 2010

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Dear Internet:

Here's a tip.  When Chase Bank leaves you a message about suspicious activity on your account, make sure you're able to speak to them. 

My first rent check was in the middle of July; as you may know, I've been going through the process of losing my house, my south Florida condominium complex is Ground Zero in the great housing collapse of 2008 (the condo board of directors was just dissolved after a lawsuit, currently is the..third, maybe 4th election of the past calendar year; the complex is now below both water and fire codes and had its hurricane insurance canceled) and that's resulted in my combining households with my Lady Type Friend in the most expensive move since Al Davis took the Raiders to LA. 

Simultaneously, I had to close/open a checking account, as I was unable to stop one of my no longer authorized automatic withdrawals from taking place - and that meant a new slate of checks.

Brand new checks + unusually large check written to out of state party = Chase Bank doesn't allow my check to clear.

Which, you know, isn't ideal.  On the same day, they debited my account, permitting the unauthorized transaction from the previous account to go through.

So -

1. When I wanted to pay for something - Chase wouldn't let me.
2. When I didn't want to pay for something - Chase gave them my money anyway.

My job attempted to deposit my checks (as I've been teaching extra courses for about a year and a half now, I get two checks a pay period) in my old account, which meant I also hadn't gotten paid - oh, and now in Florida, you need a certified copy of your birth certificate to get a driver's license renewal.  And it's my turn to do that, as I turn 40 2 months from today. 

That's been my week.  Here's Tendown 36.

First: In Obama's America
In the way the money quote from the Bush era was the official who told Ron Suskind that you guys still live in the "reality based community" the defining right wing oppositional comments since the election of Obama both came from the smear machine - and both were race based. 

Limbaugh: in Obama's America the white kids now get beat up with the black kids cheering
Beck: This president, I think, has exposed himself as a guy, over and over and over again, who has a deep-seated hatred for white people

The right wing has attempted to build a simple narrative around Obama, that his election is a War on White People.  Van Jones, ACORN, The New Black Panther Party, and this week Shirley Sherrod have been part of a calculated strategy on the part of the right to feed the racial anxieties of their base - they exaggerate, manipulate, and this week, wholly fabricate this shadow world where Obama leads an effort to destroy white America.  That's why health care reform was framed in some quarters as "reparations."  The right is tapping into a deep vein of reverse racism/when are you going to stop talking about slavery/why is it okay to have an NAACP but not an organization of white people/why does Martin Luther King get his own holiday/why is there a black history month white resentment that I've been hearing from otherwise seemingly middle of the road people since the day I moved to Ohio when I was 11. 

This is a direct transcript from Limbaugh.  Yes, I went to his site to get it.  Yes, I feel slimy.  It's from early July:

We have plenty of external threats, enemies across oceans, but we have a threat inside as well. This is something that I've never felt. I never feel that we had a president actually governing against the country, against the will of the people. I know we've had liberals. Clinton and Hillary were, and are. They're pedal-to-the-metal liberals. But they didn't want to destroy things. This bunch does, and they make no bones about it -- and when destruction does happen, they don't lift a finger to fix it. So in this interview with J. Christian Adams yesterday talking about (he's a whistleblower who said the charges were demanded to be dropped, that he and his line attorneys were told to just drop the case against the New Black Panthers for voter intimidation in Philadelphia) he said that there were people in the office, DOJ, who said, "Well, you know, those people suffered the indignity of slavery, discrimination, segregation and so forth."

He said somebody else said, "This is payback," meaning, "All right, look. We don't care if it's the New Black Panthers or whoever it is. Black people in this country have never, ever had a fair shake. This is payback. O.J. Simpson was payback. How does it feel?" That word "payback" is not mine. It was J. Christian Adams quoting some people in the Department of Justice. It is exactly how I think Obama looks at the country: It's payback time. I think that he's been raised, educated, and believes on his own that this country has been (as you know) immoral and unjust. It has stolen. It's unfairly large; it's an unjustifiable superpower. We have become as large as we are not because of any uniqueness or exceptionalism or greatness but because we've simply discriminated against the real people that made the country work, all the minorities. People around the world, we've stolen their resources, and now it's payback time. That's what we're getting. J. Christian Adams had somebody in Obama's DOJ who said that regarding the dropping of charges against the New Black Panther Party in the voter intimidation case in Philadelphia. So don't doubt me. There's no question that payback is what this administration is all about, presiding over the decline of the United States of America, and doing so happily.

And that's the right wing argument.  Right there.  Obama's trying to get even.  When right wing blogs and Fox News uncritically present an edited tape this week to portray a speech where Shirley Sherrod openly discussed transcending racially motivated impules a quarter century ago - instead as Sherrod saying she used her position to discriminate against whites - they are constructing this Limbaugh narrative:

There's no question that payback is what this administration is all about, presiding over the decline of the United States of America, and doing so happily.

Glenn Beck, about Sherrod, said this week that the US had:

                           transported into 1956 except it's the other way around

And sure, with their lie exposed, you would assume we'd leave this week better understanding how much sleaze covers right wing media - but that's not the result - as former Bush speechwriter David Frum wrote this week, the response of the right has been to say it's really Obama's fault.  A decade ago, Frum coined the phrase "axis of evil" - this week, he wrote:

                                   conservatives have a unique capacity to ignore unwelcome fact

Because some will leave this week not hearing the retraction - just the initial videotape, and take away that they now have video proof that Obama officials are looking for "payback".  And some will just tune out the controversy altogether, falling back on the lazy "both sides are dirty, you can't believe anyone" type of equivalence that permits our failure to make any type of critical distinguishing. 

The Obama Administration gets health care legislation passed that leaves entirely intact the private health insurance apparatus - but the right labels it socialist.

The Obama Administration got financial reform passed, but so tepidly that Russ Feingold refused to vote for it - and Glenn Beck called it

"an unprecedented assault on our economy, our ability to do business, and quite honestly the republic as we know it."

Some believe them.  They see terrorist, Nazi, communist, racist Obama - others just label "both sides" as equally wrong.  The result's the same.  I see the US in 2010, particularly in our failure to pass even the barest climate change bill, as a 300 million strong suicide cult.  Castrated, with our new Nike Windrunners, slurping our phenobarbital laced applesauce and waiting for the Hale-Bopp comet to come and wipe us all out. 

Fox News shouts socialist while Rome burns. 

After the jump, the rest of the Tendown
1. For the Love of God - Watch Mad Men Tonight
Mad Men returns tonight - if you're catching up with the season 3 DVDs, watch the 2 part "Birth of an Independent Woman" documentary in special features in discs 1-2.  It's a really good history lesson.  But mainly watch Mad Men tonight. 

Also, you should be watching Friday Night Lights - which is doing an abortion storyline; I argued not long ago that we couldn't have an abortion on prime time network television anymore - but here we are; I would have preferred it to be with a longer tenured character as opposed to a newcomer who is a bit of a mess, but anytime anyone on television doesn't treat a blastocyst as the moral equivalent of an 18 month old child, I look at that as a victory for reason. 

2. Not subject to Collective Bargaining.
No reason necessary for the blood testing program announced this week by Major League Baseball for the minor leagues.  It appeases sports media and the anti-drug zealots, so they'll hand them the bodies of completely powerless minor league baseball players.  Gary Wadler from the World Anti-Doping League said hooray:

as young players evolve through the minor leagues, the concept of a blood test will no longer be alien to them

There's no evidence that HGH has a significant impact on performance, and you'd want one, right - before requiring suspicionless blood tests in one's workplace? 

Similar to my personalization of the LeBron James issue - my in for questions like this is how would I respond to being told that my career now required regular blood tests.  I'd feel as if my privacy were invaded.  I'd feel like I don't want my employer to be able to take my blood as a condition of my employment.  That's overly invasive to me.  There's no demonstration that minor league baseball is somehow at risk as an institution because of use of HGH - but it's Wadler's thought that is most telling - we have blood testing for minor leaguers for the same reason we instituted drug testing for high school athletes - for the same reason we created the concept of reasonable suspicion for police searches of automobiles - it's so we become used to it.  Our personal sense of privacy gets chipped at - by government - by corporate America - whittled away piece by piece so we aren't shocked when the men with the needles come for us. 
Better baseball news is my Giants have continued to win.  In Tendown 35 I mentioned that I'd be buying the MLB.TV package for the rest of the season if we were still playing meaningful games by August 1 - not only will that be the case, we're now in the NL WC lead. 

They've got me.  I'm sucked in.  I have 4 televised games next week as the Fish go west, so I get the benefit of local Marlins broadcasts - and then I'm in, my 17 inch computer monitor and all, right up until the bitter end of season disappointment that is an historical inevitability.

3. I Write!
I'm uniquely positioned to discuss that historic inevitability given my look at the history of the San Francisco Giants based on WAR/WARP3.  My most recent post is the 1980s - but I finished all the research this week - and as time permits I'll be posting not only the year by year look at the 90s and the 20-aughts - but I've got our all time best - and worst - seasons by position.  That's a book I'd buy - The All Time Single Season Best and Worst Performances for each team (like it would go forward and backward - so once you finished the best performances you'd turn the book over and the book jacket would have inverted colors for a Bizarro Giants feel - and then you'd have the worst).  I'm only going to do the Giants, 'cause I don't have the time for the rest (and the WARP searchable database doesn't go past '54) unless a publisher would like me to do a little book for each team, say price it at 4.99 - all time best and worst lineups for every team, do some text (theoretically interesting and/or funny) for each player - include the top ten/bottom ten overall player seasons - best/worst overall team seasons.  Get some pictures.  Makes a great gift.  Come on book publishers!  Next - consider my idea for Intervention greeting cards.  Your best friend is dating a jackass but you don't know how to tell her - give her an Intervention Card.  Your dad still says things like "Hammer Time" when he wants to tell you to buckle down and get better grades - give him an Intervention Card.  Your roommate has started to watch Glenn Beck and thinks he has "tons of really interesting ideas about American History" - given him an Intervention Card.

Feel free to pass along these ideas to anyone who would like to pay me for them.  All rights reserved.  I reserve rights!  I reserve rights!

4. I Watch!
No 4 star matches this week - Meltzer went bonkers and gave WWE 4 of them, 3 from the PPV and then the 3 way from RAW (I recorded those ratings, and mine as well here, like I do).  I did like them all - and thought the RAW match was their best free match of the year.  I'm hoping to plow my way through the hard drive today - I watched Day One of the Best of the Super Juniors from May/June last night - and hope to get through that and the 3 man tag tournament NJ followed that up with by day's end.  Further, August is right around the corner and that will mean Counterfactual Summer Slam 2009 here.

I also watched the 25th Anniversary celebration for Dollywood on Hallmark - my two thoughts are someone should hand Kenny Rogers a plastic surgery Intervention Card and that Dolly has clearly forgotten what the lyrics to 9 to 5 mean.

There was a montage of workers at the park - the operators of the rides, the games, the food servers - the costumed workers (I'm guessing non union like Disney, but I don't know that to be the case) all lip synching 9 to 5 as if it were a hosannah to the joys of ekeing out life paycheck to paycheck.

9 to 5, for service and devotion

You would think that i

Would deserve a fair promotion

Want to move ahead

But the boss wont seem to let me in

I swear sometimes that man is out to get me

These are the employees at Dollywood.  This is Dolly Parton's special. 

Dolly - it's Dollywood.  You're the boss!  You're the man out to get all your employees!  If someone replaces the Skinny and Sweet with rat poison in your non fat half caf skinny latte don't say no one warned you. 

I also enjoyed the finale of Double Exposure, as Markus and Indrani went to India - Markus rapidly climbed up the charts of my favorite Bravolebrities "which portion of this nightmare would you like me to enjoy" over the past few weeks and I hope the show returns for another season.

5. My Top 10 Bravolebrities.

1. Jeff Lewis
2. Jenni Pulos
3. Andy Cohen
4. Kathy Griffin
5. Markus Klinko
6. Bethenny Frankel
7. Padma Lakshmi
8. The Voltaggio Brothers
9. Isaac Mizrahi
10. Grandma Wrinkles

(my mother took issue with the list - I'll give her Taylor Jacobson, I'd put her tenth and give up the cat joke - I didn't include the project runway designers she suggested because runway is gone - I would have included Tim Gunn in the top 5 had it not been; and where her list goes off the rails - that's right, I rip my mother for her Bravo list!!  Where it goes off the rails is her attempt to include Housewives, but only for limited stretches of their runs - that's a different list, that's more like my current baseball list - this is more of a career value list and if you like a Housewife in season X but not in Y and Z, all 3 are being taken into consideration.) 

6. Refudiate
Sarah Palin makes up words, doesn't understand the concept of freedom of religion.

7. So Much for Worrying About Tiger Woods
Still America's favorite sports star.  Tied with, interestingly, Kobe Bryant.  And Kobe is all the evidence you need that winning titles is the best memory wipe.  Today, Kobe is winner guy - the counterpoint to LeBron - but yesterday, Kobe was selfish guy, the guy who ran Shaq out of town, choosing to blow up a championship team because he wanted to hog the glory. I love sports media - the only story anyone wrote about Kobe Bryant once upon a time was how he didn't really want to win because he put winning by himself - being "the man" ahead of keeping together his superstar dynasty - and what's the current LeBron narrative - how he isn't competitive enough because he doesn't want to win alone - doesn't want to be the man - Jordan (who played with top 50 of all time Pippen), Bird (who played with top 50 of all time McHale), Magic (who played with top 10 of all time Kareem), they all wanted to be the man - they wouldn't have played with Wade - they would have wanted to beat him!  Winning apparently isn't the only thing - it's winning by yourself which is the most important thing - the inverse of all the "sublimate your ego for the good of the team, doesn't matter what the last name is on the jersey" talk sports media bilges out when it serves their needs. Kobe tried to force a trade out of LA - Phil Jackson ripped him in his book - he was the poster boy for the entitled athlete who just didn't care enough about winning (and there may have been a rape, I can't recall) and today, he's more popular than ever before.

Why?  Winning.  That's it and that's all.  If LeBron wins 2 titles in Miami, he'll be as popular as ever.  David Ortiz is a convicted PED user - but when he won the Home Run Contest this year - no boos, no "cheater" chants - literally no steroid talk at all.  David Ortiz won titles.  When ESPN had their end of the decade retrospective - the Bonds story was all about steroids - but the 2004 Red Sox was still all about winning the title - even though Manny and Ortiz have now been caught.  Winning, as a narrative, trumps all.  If Bonds had won titles like Jordan won titles - he'd get his rightful spot in the pantheon. 

8. Floyd Landis Says He Saw Lance Armstrong Use PEDs.
This also happened this week.

9. Someone to Root Against on Survivor
Jimmy Johnson's on the next season.  I know what his luxury item will be.

10. The Most Beautiful Age of a Woman
This poll says it's 31.  Which happens to be how old my Lady Type Friend is.  I would concur with this assessment.

Sure hope I can find a poll that says it's really 32 before her next birthday. 

That's all for this time.  I'll be back next time...if there is a next time...

Your pal,


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