It didn’t hit home until I heard that crotchety-old Senator Specter wants to further investigate my darling 18-1 Patriots and their Spygate scandal to see if the league handled it appropriately. This led me to ask the question why congress cares about sports at all. Yesterday someone told me "they should fire each and every one of these people." I might be inclined to agree. Why are my tax dollars worth investigating whether Roger Clemens did steroids?
You might say, wait, don’t you guys hate the Yankees and Roger Clemens [and if you don't say that, read the next few posts] and you would be kind of [undoubtedly] right. But, my ninjas, that’s pretty much beside the point. Just having somebody suggest that Roger did steroids was enough for me, you know, just the whisper in the shadows was gratifying. Of course, Andy Petite has no reason to lie, and of course, none of this would have come out without congress’ initial investigations, but, bear with me here.
I don’t really care about the issue, nor do I think it has anything to do with the enforcement of general law in our country - and furthermore I think that it is a waste of time and energy to be regulating baseball [of all things] in the legislative heart of our government, especially as regards to steroids, baseball, or human growth hormone - a substance that is, aditionally, not even illegal, but rather exists in a sort of legal gray area. Can anybody explain this?
The article below suggests that because congress has the authority over issues that affect the economy that it allows them to continue with these proceedings under the pretense of preserving fairness in the American market (sports market anyway). I say that’s a bunch of hooey. I don’t even endorse free-market capitalism but the obviously best answer to this one is laissez-faire.
Did the House Government Reform Committee have the authority to hold its much-reported hearings into steroid use in Major League Baseball, or was the testimony of several former and present MLB stars little more than a taxpayer-funded photo-op? Just a Photo-op
When established 1927 as the Committee on Government Operations, the House Government Reform Committee (GRC) was given jurisdiction to investigate "the operations of Government activities at all levels with a view to determining their economy and efficiency."According to it’s published scope of power, the Committee on Government Reform differs from other congressional committees in that its jurisdiction has grown over the years.
"While retaining the agenda of the former Committee on Government Operations, the Committee also has the responsibilities of the former Committee on Post Office and Civil Service and the Committee on the District of Columbia.
"The Committee serves as Congressa€™ chief investigative and oversight committee, and is granted broad jurisdiction because of the importance of effective, centralized oversight. Because it authorizes on a few agencies and programs, it is able to review government agencies and programs with an unbiased eye."
Despite it’s claim of wide-ranging power, the congressionally mandated roll of the Government Reform Committee remains the investigation and reform of the operations of the government itself. The use of steroids by professional baseball players clearly does not fall under the scope of their authority.
On the Other Hand
The Government Reform Committee is charged as the "principal investigative committee of the House," which gives it the authority to conduct hearings on any subject falling under the jurisdiction of Congress. The Federally Controlled Substances Act, regulates the use of performance enhancing drugs, including steroids. In addition, Major League Baseball has been exempt from most federal anti-trust laws laws since 1922, when the Supreme Court ruled in its favor in Federal Baseball Club of Baltimore, Inc. v. National Baseball Clubs. The exemption prevents teams for suing if they are not granted the right to change locations at will. While its exemption from anti-trust laws has nothing to do with steroid use by players, it does place the affairs of Major League Baseball squarely under the jurisdiction of Congress. [LINK]
So whata€™s Nancy Pelosia€™s House of Representatives up to today?
Would you believe, holding a hearing on baseball and steroids?
Why yes, yes they are.
Herea€™s Rep. Diane Watson of the House Government Reform Committee on C-SPANa€™s a€oeWashington Journala€A this morning, answering host Peter Slena€™s most excellent question: a€oeWhy does Congress care about baseball and steroids?a€A:
a€oeThis is the American pasttime, great pasttime. Ita€™s a game that really exemplifies who we are as a country and as a people. As you know, our youth look up to our celebrities and the top of that list are baseball players, I feel. And so, ita€™s important to us that we dona€™t sit by and allow an issue that has impacted baseball for an era to continue, because it breaks down the faith and the trust.
a€oeBaseball players are role models. And so, Congress feels that it has a duty to take a look and investigate.a€A
Yes, baseball players are role models. But with this flimsy foundation for a highly-visible Congressional investigation you have to wonder whether Congressmen are role models, too. [LINK]
The problem is not any particular business or industry, but it is the
systematic problem of corporate capitalism, but Congress does not dare
address that. And why? Because most of them support the corporate
capitalist system that harms the majority of Americans, and to one
extent or the other, people around the world. They can make themselves
feel good and honest by going after this non-issue of baseball. My
message to Congress is stop concerning yourself so much with a business
of millionaires (the players) vs billionaires (the owners) and start
looking at a system where people off all classes, except the rich of
course, are suffering. [LINK]
WHY DOES CONGRESS HAVE THE AUTHORITY TO HOLD THE HEARINGS?
In part because baseball is the only professional sport exempt from federal antitrust laws. The laws apply to businesses that operate across state lines (interstate commerce) and are meant to prevent those businesses from becoming monopolies that reduce competition.
A 1922 Supreme Court case exempted baseball from these laws. The court ruled that baseball was not interstate commerce. The decision has proved flimsy over the years but was never overruled. The exemption means, among other things, that an MLB team can’t move without MLB’s permission.
Congress threatened baseball’s antitrust exemption in 2005 before its players and high-ranking officials were grilled in televised hearings by members of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee. "Congress has the authority to take that away," Hult said.
Congress also has "broad authority" to pass laws affecting businesses, Martin wrote in an e-mail, and MLB certainly is a business.
. . .
WHO THE HECK DOES THIS COMMITTEE THINK IT IS, ANYWAY?
In the simplest terms, a congressional chameleon. It "may at any time conduct investigations of any matter," according to House rules cited by Martin. This committee specializes in investigative panels, which determine whether Congress should pass new laws about the issue at hand.
. . .
WHAT CAN CONGRESS DO TO BASEBALL?
"In the short run, probably not much," Hult said. [LINK]
NFL’s Goodell to Meet With Senator Specter on Patriots’ Taping
By Mason Levinson
Feb. 13 (Bloomberg) — National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell will meet today with U.S. Senator Arlen Specter to discuss the league’s handling of evidence from an investigation of signal-stealing by the New England Patriots.
The meeting will take place at the Washington office of Specter, a Republican from Pennsylvania, NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said in a telephone interview.
Two days before the Feb. 3 Super Bowl, Specter publicly questioned the league’s decision to destroy videotapes confiscated from the Patriots on Sept. 20 after the team was caught recording the New York Jets’ defensive signals during New England’s season-opening win on Sept. 9.
Goodell fined Patriots coach Bill Belichick $500,000 and docked the team $250,000 for the infraction. The Patriots also lost a first-round draft pick.
Specter, the senior Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, said he wrote to Goodell on Nov. 15 seeking information as to whether the Patriots had spied on other teams, and received an unsatisfactory response from the commissioner. [LINK]
As of next week, The New York Times reports that NBC executives will have to start laying off the non-writing staff on Late Night With Conan O’Brien. The studio had been paying their salaries thus far through the strike. As such, Conan has stepped up and agreed to start paying his non-striking staff their full wages on Monday from his own pocket, if necessary. Word of this leaked to the press, with no official comments being offered by any side. via
Who saw this coming?
Decades ago, Washington Redskins coach George Allen promoted an idea that was so novel, it often was ridiculed as downright absurd a€" until it actually worked.
Claiming "the future is now," Allen traded draft choices some years hence to obtain wizened veterans right then to build a team that could compete immediately. He took a club to the Super Bowl this way, which quieted his critics, although they eventually rose again when they realized their team was spending NFL draft day twiddling its thumbs, its top picks having been given away for some big lug long since retired.
Allen has been dead for 17 years, but he would be most pleased to know that the strategy that became his signature is thriving throughout major league sports, the latest evidence coming from the NBA, where Shaquille O’Neal was traded Wednesday from Miami to give the long-suffering Phoenix Suns a chance to win it all, now.
This is instant gratification personified a€" or, better said, instant gratification stretched to 7 feet, 1 inch and weighing 325 pounds. It’s also instant gratification with fingers crossed, the Suns hoping that Shaq, nearly 36, still has a stretch run in him, injured hip and all.
It’s also the essence of an impatient society at play; go for it now, because who can wait to see if later is going to be any better? [LINK]
Read the rest here.
Wow, this was just so freakin’ ridiculous that it had to be posted in its entirety. Thanks to Ben for the linkage.
Host: You’re tired but… you’re a hard working man
ODB:AA Nah, I was just up all night getting nice.
Clinton sleeps through MLK Day service.
CAIRO, Egypta€"Omar Osama bin Laden bears a striking resemblance to his notorious father a€" except for the dreadlocks that dangle halfway down his back. Then there’s the black leather biker jacket.
The 26-year-old does not renounce his father, Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, but in an interview he said there is a better way to defend Islam than militancy: Omar wants to be an "ambassador for peace" between Muslims and the West.
Omar a€" one of bin Laden’s 19 children a€" raised a tabloid storm last year when he married a 52-year-old British woman, Jane Felix-Browne, who took the name Zaina Alsabah. Now the couple say they want to be advocates, planning a 5,000-kilometre horse race across North Africa to draw attention to the cause of peace.
Wow… well let me say that after a right thwomping by the team from NY, Owens, self-proclaimed best receiver ever broke down in tears after the game. Much controversy surrounded the team this week after it was reported in the mainstream media that during the off week sometime in between games, star quarterback Tony Romo gallivanted in Cancun with Jessica Simpson. T.O. was quick to come to his defense after the elimination loss to Eli Manning’s team last night. This is what happened when he, clad in shades, stepped to the podium:
You can talk about the vacations [to Cancun]. But that ain’t fair. *sniffle*
That’s my teammate. That’s my quarterback, man (choking back tears). That ain’t fair. We lost as a team, man.
Now, I know every blog on the internet is going to be quick to jump all over Mr. Highlight Reel, and MyNinjaPlease would normally be part of that hater crowd. But for chrissakes, I feel the man’s pain. T.O., while having an all-pro year and breaking the Dallas franchise record with 15 regular season touchdowns, managed to accomplish something truly remarkable. For him, anyway. T.O. managed to, barring a few minor incidents, mostly keep his big mouth shut for a whole season. He helped his team but didn’t insist on being the center of attention. I actually applaud his transformation from a pop warner to a fully-grown football player (er… mostly).
The reason why he’s getting emotional, besides the loss, obviously, is because he’s sticking up for Romo in a way that nobody else has ever stuck up for him. Think about it, T.O. always talked a lot of trash, in fact before really accomplishing much in his career, but, in his defense, he never wanted to be hated. He has a personality like Deion Sanders, in that he wants to be loved, as a great football player. This year he came closer than ever to having something to actually say, and his dreams were crushed by a quarterback with an unnaturally large head, Manning [just like his older brother]. When he speaks out for Romo he feels like he’s being a good person and a good friend, a position he’s never been in. If you’ve ever been there, it’s overwhelming. Somebody stay with that man tonight, please.
I never thought I would be on here defending Mr. Loudmouth, but there it is. Here’s what the other guys are saying.
Some people guessed that he watched the Secret while others postulate that it’s because he has the money to ‘cure’ HIV. I was going to write a whole long thing about his regimen and whatnot but the truth is that nobody knows. I guess some quandaries will never be answered. Some of you remember this interview from 1995.
It struck me today that damn near everyone who was alive at the same time as Magic and had HIV is dead, or at least in the full blown AIDS category. So how is he still alive?? They did a blood test on him recently and they weren’t even able to detect the presence of HIV. Doctors claim that he still has the disease but that it is dormant inside of him. Wish we were all so lucky. Here’s 15 seconds from the horse’s mouth.
I think he was about to say, "…but if they take their medicine they can beat it"… which is blatantly untrue.AA Hmm…
You thought we’d never get back to this, didn’t you? Yeah we’ve been covering this ninja ever since he got accused of defrauding the government. Last time we talked about him he was hiding out in Namibia (like a true ninja) a country without an extradition treaty with the U.S. Entertainment Weekly had an interesting article about him near the end of December, which was purportedly his first attempt to "speak out" about the charges. As an answer to the question, well, nothing.
For much of the past decade, Snipes has been mired in one legal scandal and publicity nightmare after another. Some of these were due to bad luck. Others seem to have been the result of bad judgment. And yet others, like the federal tax-fraud indictment Snipes currently faces, are so convoluted and downright bizarre that it’s hard to figure out who’s to blame.
Snipes has remained silent through it all. He’s sat by as his reputation has taken devastating hits and offers from the major Hollywood studios have dried up. He’s allowed other people to unspool the strange details of his once charmed life in the press. And considering his silence, it was easy to jump to the conclusion that maybe those rumors and accusations against him were true.
But on a wintry morning last month at his home in suburban New Jersey, Snipes finally agreed to talk. The only question is whether it’s too late. After all, Snipes’ career isn’t the only thing that’s in jeopardy. His freedom is too. Because next month, Snipes will stand before a jury that may convict him and send him to prison for 16 years.
Read the rest of this article here.