The Occasional Tendown: February 17 2013

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Dear Internet:

Senator - you were told to carry the plutocrats' water, not drink it.

Tendown 150 is here. This is Tendown 151.

1. But I'm Not Bitter

That's 4th and goal.  No call.

That's the kickoff return for a touchdown.  No call.

Look, you can't fall behind three touchdowns in a game where the biggest comeback in almost half a century is just ten points and expect to win.  Fundamentally, Justin Smith's injury just didn't allow for the level of point of attack dominance that our defense (particularly the secondary) relied on all year.  We couldn't stop the Patriots, the Seahawks or the Falcons - this game fell into that line of play.

But these no calls did happen.  And while, I guess the 4th down play, given where we were in the game, is a defensible no call (not for me, I think it's a bad no call - and I think the public would as well had the announcers lined up on my side - plays are framed instantly in the mind of the public by announcers) that kick return no call is just wrong.  These are bad calls that determined the outcome of the game to a degree only matched in Super Bowl history by that Seattle/Pittsburgh game.  Local writers chose not to pursue that angle of discussing the game, largely, I'd guess, for fear of being called homers.  Bad calls are bad calls, even when they go against your club.


I've done all my required football posting since the game.  Here are the ten best teams not to make the Super Bowl (the '87 Niners are 10th); here is my ranking of every starting quarterback performance in Super Bowl history (Flacco's 10th, Kaepernick's 50th) and I revised every NFL team's all time 45 man roster (here is the all time Niners roster; Justin Smith replacing Dana Stubblefield is the only real change; on the list of the 25 greatest Niners ever, Patrick Willis is now 17th, Frank Gore is now 22nd).

2. The Piece You Should Read This Week
Also sports - it's Michael Jordan turning 50.

If you're into some long form sports pieces - you can read this about Nigel McGuinness, one of the best wrestlers in the world from the last ten years.  The current best 100 wrestlers in the world list is here.  I have a ton of 2013 wrestling waiting to be watched, but since last we spoke, the only 4 star match I've seen is Minoru Tanaka/Koji Kanemoto v. Kaz Hayashi/Kondo from January in All Japan.

3. The Sprinter With No Feet Killed His Model Girlfriend

Which is probably something you want to remember the next time the sports media industrial complex decides to tell you which athletes are the good guys and which are the bad guys.

The current state of the case involves a bloody cricket bat.

On a totally unrelated note, I can't imagine why I'd connect these two cases, Ray Lewis says you know he doesn't bear any responsibility about his past criminal incident, because his imaginary friend says so.

4. A Grantland tournament.
Best Chappelle sketch ever.

5. Meanwhile, in Florida...
Dude tried to use a taco as his ID.

6. Why Are You People Doing This to Me?

I ask very little of you.

The funniest show on television is Happy Endings.  Which ABC is going to burn off.

You aren't watching it.

I lost 30 Rock and presumably Parks and Community too.

Watch Happy Endings.  It's funny.

7. Spied on at Work
Nothing really new here, but there aren't too many things that get me more exorcised than unchecked employer power.

Currently about 75 percent of employees at American companies are subjected to regular surveillance at the workplace, while employees who use the Internet at work stand a 33 percent chance of being exposed to constant surveillance. Even employees who engage in hard, unrewarding manual labor, such as hotel housekeeping, are subject to electronic scrutiny and performance monitoring. During a recent hotel stay, one of us was puzzled that the housekeeping person assigned to his room was visibly upset when he told her she didn’t need to clean the room. She knocked on the door once more and asked if she could use the phone. As she picked up the receiver, she explained that she had to enter her code into the room’s phone so management would give her credit for making up that room. The telephone surveillance system was gathering metrics about the number of rooms cleaned, how fast they were cleaned, and which worker was doing the cleaning. If guests complained, blame would be easy to assign. Likewise, it’s not difficult to imagine that these data were being used to discipline—or “motivate”—workers who cleaned too slowly. Some hotels even track their housekeeping staff’s productivity with a cell phone app that measures movement and speed at all times. If workers stand still or sit down for even a few seconds, management knows.
8. The Obama DOJ memo
Important that the left doesn't stay silent about civil liberties violations, even when they come from an Administration that it voted for.

The core distortion of the War on Terror under both Bush and Obama is the Orwellian practice of equating government accusations of terrorism with proof of guilt. One constantly hears US government defenders referring to "terrorists" when what they actually mean is: those accused by the government of terrorism. This entire memo is grounded in this deceit.
Time and again, it emphasizes that the authorized assassinations are carried out "against a senior operational leader of al-Qaida or its associated forces who poses an imminent threat of violent attack against the United States." Undoubtedly fearing that this document would one day be public, Obama lawyers made certain to incorporate this deceit into the title itself: "Lawfulness of a Lethal Operation Directed Against a US Citizen Who is a Senior Operational Leader of al-Qaida or An Associated Force."
This ensures that huge numbers of citizens - those who spend little time thinking about such things and/or authoritarians who assume all government claims are true - will instinctively justify what is being done here on the ground that we must kill the Terrorists or joining al-Qaida means you should be killed. That's the "reasoning" process that has driven the War on Terror since it commenced: if the US government simply asserts without evidence or trial that someone is a terrorist, then they are assumed to be, and they can then be punished as such - with indefinite imprisonment or death.
But of course, when this memo refers to "a Senior Operational Leader of al-Qaida", what it actually means is this: someone whom the President - in total secrecy and with no due process - has accused of being that. Indeed, the memo itself makes this clear, as it baldly states that presidential assassinations are justified when "an informed, high-level official of the US government has determined that the targeted individual poses an imminent threat of violent attack against the US".
This is the crucial point: the memo isn't justifying the due-process-free execution of senior al-Qaida leaders who pose an imminent threat to the US. It is justifying the due-process-free execution of people secretly accused by the president and his underlings, with no due process, of being that. The distinction between (a) government accusations and (b) proof of guilt is central to every free society, by definition, yet this memo - and those who defend Obama's assassination power - willfully ignore it.
Those who justify all of this by arguing that Obama can and should kill al-Qaida leaders who are trying to kill Americans are engaged in supreme question-begging. Without any due process, transparency or oversight, there is no way to know who is a "senior al-Qaida leader" and who is posing an "imminent threat" to Americans. All that can be known is who Obama, in total secrecy, accuses of this.

9. RIP
Ronald Dworkin.

10. Pitchers and Catchers Report

It begins.

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

Your pal,


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