That's the University of Utah, where I sat one week ago instead of sitting here at my desk writing this note to you good people.
Three out of the past four weeks on the road was a grind, particularly given my social anxiety; by the end my inner monologue whenever approached by a face foreign or domestic was "please don't be aiming at me" like I were David Ortiz suddenly moved to shortstop.
It's good to be home.
And it's good to have this job; I went from being a casualty of corporatism, downsized to part time to sacrifice my benefits for the good of millionaire executives, to daily pounding away on an academic job market in which graduate degrees in two disciplines make me highly valued for adjunct work but a tough fit for a salary, to a job where I work from home (or will, now, after my 3 weeks in the western time zone and visit to Alex Smith's alma mater) at a pay rate solidly higher than I've earned previously (and I have health insurance, so, bonus.)
I feel like I've caught a break.
135 was here. This Tendown 136.
1. So, What Did I Miss?
There are two sports stories from last week that I want to capture; the Giants (now 12 over .500) had the best All-Star game performance in their history, with the winning pitcher, MVP, first ever bases clearing triple, and even a beat writer winning an episode of Jeopardy. It will be challenging to replace the narrative that exists in my head of what a Giants all star appearance means; recently there was a re-air of the 10 greatest All Star game moments ever (or something approximate) on MLB network. Right in a row were three Giants clips - Atlee giving up the grand slam; Reuschel giving up the homer to Bo; Barry getting robbed by Torii Hunter.
That's a script unlikely to be unwritten for awhile, but this year provided a nice stroke of the pen.
The other story is Joe Paterno enabled child rape; his statue is down, the penalties to Penn St. begin tomorrow. The Freeh report was seen as a big story; I was pretty comfortable with the state of the evidence pointing to Paterno's complicity before its release. About a half dozen weeks ago there was an ESPN Magazine issue discussing current sports controversies, it included a poll of "Sportsnation" (that's the ESPN equivalent of the WWEUniverse) on multiple issues - one was if baseball players suspected of using PEDs should be exluded from the Hall of Fame (presumably amphetamines, the ban for which has far more significantly impacted offense than the steroid ban were not included, otherwise we're tossing out the entire HOF since the color ban was lifted; here's the entire history of MLB in three words: segregation, speed, steroids -to say its Barry Bonds who shouldn't be in the HOF is unsupportable) 70% said yes. Another was if Joe Paterno was being treated unfairly. 70% said yes.
Its hard to unwrite. We were told Barry Bonds was a bad guy for years and years and years. We were told Joe Paterno was a good guy for years and years and years. If today, right now, this second, Sportsnation was asked to rank which of them caused more harm, I don't know if Bonds is still more unpopular than Paterno but I bet its close, and that's at the absolute low point for how Paterno is viewed.
2. 1992 v. 2012
A totally made up discussion last week was if the 2012 US Men's Basketball Team could beat the Dream Team. That's the kind of thing that happens during an All Star Break.
So, let's go to the metrics.
The 1992 Olympics were after the '91-2 NBA season; these Olympics are after the '11-12 season; so let's take those numbers and break it down.
Here's the Dream Team. In Parentheses are each player's Win Shares (reg season+playoffs) for the relevant season.
C DRobinson (13.9)
C PEwing (14.7)
PF CBarkley (12.3)
PF KMalone (18.3)
PF CLaettner (N/A)
SF SPippen (15.8)
SF CMullin (10.9)
SF LBird (5.7)
PG MJohnson (N/A)
PG JStockton (15)
SG MJordan (21.8)
SG CDrexler (16.2)
C TChandler (9.5)
PF KLove (10)
PF ADavis (N/A)
SF LJames (20.3)
SF C.Anthony (6.6)
SF AIguodala (8.4)
PG CPaul (13.6)
PG RWestbrook (10)
PG DWilliams (4.1)
SG KDurant (16.2)
SG KBryant (7.6)
SG JHarden (11.7)
So, even with taking a O for Magic since he didn't play the season prior, it's a pretty good blowout for the Dream Team. If you were to combine the two teams, I think you'd have 9 Dream Teamers and 3 from 2012, Laettner/Magic/Bird would lose their spots to LeBron/Paul/Durant.
If you really wanted the best basketball team on the planet who should have been on the Dream Team?
Well, Larry Nance was better than Bird in '92. He had a 14.2 the prior year. Horace Grant had a 17.5, meaning he was better than almost everyone on the Dream Team the prior year, so he replaces Laettner. Brad Daugherty had a 14.4, he could replace Mullin. Dennis Rodman had a 13.1, he doesn't need to go ahead of Barkley, but could. Terry Porter had a 14, he replaces Magic (if any of those players was injured or if, say, Larry Nance was actually French, then I retract)
The real Dream Team in 1992?
And this year? What would it look like this year?
Joakim Noah had a 9.7. He replaces Davis. DWade's 10.8 would replace Kobe, but he's unavailable. Andrew Bynum had a 9.6, he replaces Carmello and goes into the lineup. We know what happened to Griffin, so he's unavailable. Rajon Rondo had a pedestrian 7.5, but he still replaces DWill.
Here's the new team for this year.
C A Bynum
C T. Chandler
3. I May Have Lied to a Campaign Volunteer Last Night
I got a visit from the Obama ground team last night. I said I'd be voting for him.
Truth is, I haven't decided. Here's the current Esquire.
You are a historic figure, Mr. President. You are not only the first African-American president; you are the first who has made use of your power to target and kill individuals identified as a threat to the United States throughout your entire term. You are the first president to make the killing of targeted individuals the focus of our military operations, of our intelligence, of our national-security strategy, and, some argue, of our foreign policy. You have authorized kill teams comprised of both soldiers from Special Forces and civilians from the CIA, and you have coordinated their efforts through the Departments of Justice and State. You have gradually withdrawn from the nation building required by "counterinsurgency" and poured resources into the covert operations that form the basis of "counter-terrorism." More than any other president you have made the killing rather than the capture of individuals the option of first resort, and have killed them both from the sky, with drones, and on the ground, with "nighttime" raids not dissimilar to the one that killed Osama bin Laden. You have killed individuals in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, and Libya, and are making provisions to expand the presence of American Special Forces in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. In Pakistan and other places where the United States has not committed troops, you are estimated to have killed at least two thousand by drone. You have formalized what is known as "the program," and at the height of its activity it was reported to be launching drone strikes in Pakistan every three days. Your lethality is expansive in both practice and principle; you are fighting terrorism with a policy of preemptive execution, and claiming not just the legal right to do so but the legal right to do so in secret. The American people, for the most part, have no idea who has been killed, and why; the American people — and for that matter, most of their representatives in Congress — have no idea what crimes those killed in their name are supposed to have committed, and have been told that they are not entitled to know.
4. The War Against Women
This week's front - Texas.
As soon as Miller finished, Houston Representative Carol Alvarado strode up to the podium. There could have been no clearer contrast: her pink knit suit evoked all those Houston ladies who lunch, its black piping setting off her raven hair. Her lipstick was a cheery shade of fuchsia, but her disgust was of the I-thought-we’d-settled-this-in-the-seventies variety.
“I do not believe that we fully understand the level of government intrusion this bill advocates,” she said tersely. The type of ultrasound necessary for women who are less than eight weeks pregnant is, she explained, “a transvaginal sonogram.”
Abruptly, many of the mostly male legislators turned their attention to a fascinating squiggle pattern on the carpet, and for a rare moment, the few female legislators on the floor commanded the debate. Representative Ana Hernandez Luna approached the back mike and sweetly asked Alvarado to explain what would happen to a woman undergoing a transvaginal sonogram.
“Well,” Alvarado answered helpfully, “she would be asked by the sonographer to undress completely from the waist down and asked to lie on the exam table and cover herself with a light paper sheet. She would then put her feet in stirrups, so that her legs are spread at a very wide angle, and asked to scoot down the table so that the pelvis is just under the edge.”
At this point, if there had been thought bubbles floating over the heads of the male legislators, they almost certainly would have been filled with expletives of embarrassment or further commentary on the carpet design.
“What does this vaginal sonogram look like?” Luna asked, ever curious.
“Well, I’m glad you asked,” Alvarado answered, “because instead of just describing it, I can show you.”
5. The Current Favorite to Win the Super Bowl
6. Fun With Multiple Choice!
Which of the following is the made up quote from this week?
A. "Eight years was awesome and I was famous and I was powerful." (George Bush describing his 2 terms as President)
B. "it was all God’s plan" (George Zimmerman describing his killing of Trayvon Martin)
C. "we’ve given all you people need" (Ann Romney describing her husband's refusal to turn over more of his tax record)
D. It's a trick. They were all said this week.
7. Here's How Breaking Bad Should End
With Jesse Pinkman going on The Price is Right.
8. Tendown Gets Trolled in South Carolina
Some things in the culture happen just to piss me off.
Circuit Court Judge Michael Nettles attached a rather odd — and unconstitutional — provision to the eight year prison sentence of a drunk driver: a mandatory bible study and what is essentially a book report on the Book of Job:
9. Seinfeld. David. 13 Minutes.
Here it is.
I was asked pretty quickly after the Batman shooting this weekend what the substantive argument of the anti-gun legislation people could possibly be. We have stricter laws in this country over how much sudafed I can buy than how many guns I can buy. How, I was asked, could anyone argue that makes any sense at all.
My response - "if everyone had a gun in the theater, then the shooter wouldn't have killed so many."
And then I went back to my breakfast.
Sure enough - here's Louie Gohmert:
Well it does make me wonder, you know with all those people in the theater, was there nobody that was carrying that could’ve stopped this guy more quickly?” Gohmert said. “I mean in Tyler, Texas, we had–my hometown–we had a shooter come in over a domestic matter, and just start shooting people. And it was a guy with a concealed carry–he got killed, but his shooting at this guy caused him to run and no doubt saved a lot of lives. He was a real hero.”
And that's the United States of America in 2012. Widest gulf between rich and everyone else in human history - cut taxes on the wealthy. Economy collapses after a banking disaster - cut regulation on business. Global Warming - drill, baby, drill. Another mass gun death in the US - get people more guns.
That's all for this time. I'll be back next time...if there is a next time...