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Here's the thing. I'm watching one of these shows on the Cooking Channel featuring food trucks. There's a Scottish expat making fish and chips; in a thick brogue he somewhat wearily explains his irritation with Americans who habitually order a side of tartar sauce: "tartar sauce is basically gherkins." That's this blog. I claim no particular insight, no revelation. If you enjoy the flavor, great, but this blog is basically gherkins.

1st and Ten: The Weekly Tendown, February 14-20, 2010

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Dear Internet:

Hi.  I'm Jim and this is the 15th Issue of the Weekly Tendown; Last Week, Sarah Palin wrote on her hand; Peyton Manning threw the biggest interception in football history; and Hollywood Week from American Idol was better than the national touring company of A Chorus Line - what - what do you suppose we'll talk about this week?

First: Tiger Woods Was a Big Supporter of Waterboarding.


The country stopped this week for 15 minutes.  Four networks, all the cable news channels, every sportstalk radio program in the country - they all went live with the Tiger Woods statement on Friday in which he confessed to war crimes.

It was a startling fall from grace and I hope, once he apologizes to the public and goes through a personal journey of self-exploration where, hand in hand, he will walk with his spirit guide, that he is prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and sentenced to play the rest of his life from the ladies tees at the Pelham Park public course in the Bronx.  Perhaps that seems harsh, but his use of notes instead of just speaking from the heart gave his statement the ring of inauthenticity that I just don't care for from my war criminals.  I need my heart talk.  I need Tiger's heart to reach out to my heart and caress it, slowly but confidently, then with increased intensity until it builds to a feverish crescendo of hot heart on heart spurtgasmic pleasure.  Mmmmm.  Oh - wait - I have a voicemail.  It's one of the new google "pimp my blog" accessories - you can leave me a voicemail right here at TBOR.  Let's see who it is:

Hey.  This is Tiger.  Can you please take my name off your blog?  My wife is going through my RSS feeds.  Thanks.

I just want to walk through this. 

Sunday, the former Vice President of the United States said, on ABC, "I was a big supporter of waterboarding."  Now, waterboarding's torture, by all international precedent (including our prosecuting the Japanese after WWII).  And Harpers identified specifically what US law it is that Cheney confessed this week to breaking.  Presumably, principled conservatives, who are now arguing that, while civilian courts were used to try suspected terrorists during the Bush Administration - that doing so now is a sign of terrible, near treasonous appeasment during the Obama Administration - presumably principled conservatives would say that Dick Cheney should face a military tribunal for his confessed actions.

If only there had a been a gathering this week of the very most principled conservatives to test the theory.

Cheney, like Bob Hope making an unannounced walk on to the Carson show during a San Diego zoo spot in 1977, magically appeared at CPAC this week to "thunderous applause". Not everyone at CPAC viewed Cheney's statements with such equanimity, Bob Barr, who just fifteen years ago was as red as a red state congressman could be, said "waterboarding is torture" and was resoundingly jeered, almost as if he had said "evolution is real."

(You see this poll from this week?  30% of Texans think people and dinosaurs lived at the same time).

Actually, I don't hate Cheney for this - I didn't anticipate that a debate over "is torture ethical" should be part of our national discussion, but clearly it should be.  That it's not isn't his fault - Cheney and the conservatives are very clearly taking a position that torture should be part of our prosecution of the war on terror (and perhaps normal criminal procedure; I don't know, I'd be interested in just how much big government conservatives believe in; how much power they want the government to have in criminal investigation.  The theme at CPAC this week was the liberal assault on the Constitution (Simple Jack used the word cancer). And as half of the Bill of Rights specifically speak to the limits on the power of government in its criminal investigative role, probably someone should ask them to reconcile these views).  What we need is another political party - one to the left of the Republicans, to challenge this view about torture - maybe we could have a clash of ideas about who we are, what we stand for, what are the American principles for which we continue to fight trillion dollar wars to uphold and defend.

Instead of that, we made Tiger put on the hair shirt this week.

Because that's who had to answer for his crimes.  Tiger Woods.

Some people thought he was sincere.  Others did not.  A thought commonly expressed by the sports media industrial complex was from the SF Chronicle; which offered that Tiger was still a "control freak" and if he wanted to prove that he was really trying to change, he could start by skipping the Masters.

One way to understand a society is how it manifests disapproval of behavior.

So - Tiger Wooods had sexual intercourse with women other than the woman with whom he is supposed to have sexual intercourse.  And the penalty for that is he should miss the Masters.  Got it.

What if he had only gotten to second base?

Let's say that on Deadspin tomorrow is a photograph of Vijay Singh feeling up an Applebee's waitress.

What should be the penalty - that he, say, has to sit out Doral?  What if we just penalize him some strokes?  Golf's good like that - maybe he has to give up 3 shots a side in his next tournament.

Tiger's not a priest or a politician - he's a pitchman.  He's not Larry Craig, taking a wide stance in a Minneapolis airport bathroom stall after a career of anti-gay legislation; the bar for "it's not about the sex, it's about the hypocrisy" has to be a little higher than "he wasn't getting blown in any of those Buick commercials - I have been deceived and demand recompense!"

Or maybe it doesn't.  I don't know.  I don't make the rules; I just write Tendown.  This week, a former Vice-President confessed (without any enhanced interrogation, just freely of his own will) to torture and the response to his subsequent public appearance was tremendous applause - and a golfer went live on every channel on your television to apologize for having sex.  That's where we are today.  Right there.

After the jump - the rest of the Tendown.

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