Thursday, April 23, 2015

Note To Self: Never Marry A Kardashian. Never, Ever.

So, just to tally it up...

Lamar Odom marries Khloe Kardashian. Promptly develops a crack habit at age 30 (who does that?), and is out in the NBA quicker than you can say "Wait, they fired Scott Brooks?"[1]

Kanye West marries Kim Kardashian, and doesn't even sound like a guy from the southside of Chicago anymore. Seriously, have you heard Yeezy talk lately? He sounds like the guy who makes my (occasional) iced coffee.

The first guy who married Kris Jenner died of throat Cancer. I have no idea what to categorize what the hell is currently happening to Bruce Jenner, but it's pretty clear why that white guy who has kids by the other Kardashian has no interest whatsoever in wifing her up.



Look, I'm not here to disparage Bruce Jenner from doing whatever it takes to find peace in life. After 20 years married to that woman and raising those asshole kids, I might do something racial too. I'm not sure if "something radical" includes removing my penis, but whatever.

Question: Are you equally confused by this?

[1] Kevin Durant impending free agency is gonna be weirder and more drawn out that any of Lebron's "Decisions".

Monday, April 20, 2015

Managing An NFL Roster Has More Questions Than Ken Jennings.

It seems every pick of professional sports drafts is accompanied by some spirited crowd reaction, and much of the time it's negative. "Oh, not that guy," fans moan. Because fans always know more than seven-figure management, right?

Sometimes, they actually do. The Cheesehead and the 12th Man are often plenty smart to avoid some of the crazy choices made each spring.

But remember some of the endless variables that GM's are trying to conquer, all in the confines of salary caps, irrational coaches, and the ongoing debate about the quality of the game.

Polama-losing Players

First thing to hit the roster is the known departures. Guys like Troy Polamalu are hanging it up permanently, leaving roster holes that aren't filled the way they are when a trade takes place. Hey Art: #43 and his hair are gone. Find yourself a safety.

This moves the debate right to the draft. What do the Steelers do? Conventional wisdom says they'll use their first-round pick to go with Bama's Landon Collins, but not every roster gap is as cut and dried elsewhere in the league.

The X factor is always the choice between free agents, trading, and drafting, and even drafting then trading. The teamless guys essentially become more draft options, so the front office can decide to settle certain roster issues before the draft by signing a free agent. They can also offer a trade to do the same thing, or, if they have a nice high pick in the draft, they can select a high-value guy and make an immediate trade to address several shortcomings with a single #1 jersey photo op.

Off-Season Surprises

But at least the Steelers know that Polamalu is done. Limbo players provide the most headaches for GM's and fans. Late breaking word of Adrian Peterson's reinstatement throws everything into a tailspin. Does he seek a fresh start outside Minnesota? What draft choice does he supplant if he's picked up as a free agent? His April 17th return gives team just 13 days to decide if and how Peterson can figure into their plans.

Peyton Manning gave his decision to return early on, so the Broncos have made their calculations. But other banged-up, high-mileage vets may have intentions for another season but could lack the physical ability to follow through. Do they release somebody, a la Jerry Rice, and get a fresh face, or do they gamble on the rickety knee or catchy back for one more season?

Keeping Up Via Cable

Seriously, what would we do without it? The draft is a lot to keep up with, especially as contracts approach bonus deadlines, the draft sneaks closer, and the unexpected arrest or injury keeps popping up. Haunting the phone for breaking word is not good for your posture or your relationships.

And when there are packs of journalists roosted around all 32 stadiums and shadowing dozens of agents and players, the news will be out there, and the first sources to report most of it are sports networks on cable TV. When season ticket prices go up and it's time to lower the grocery bill and cut cable costs, true fans will give up any number of cooking channels and news networks to maintain their limitless sports sources.

With the advent of the NFL Network, the draft gets coverage on par with a presidential election. We need to know, ice pack by ice pack, who's not physically ready for the season. We want to spy on therapists to find out who's unhappy with the new defensive coordinator, or the new stadium, or the film guy.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

So It Turns Out The Tulsa Pay To Play Cop Wasn't Even Properly Trained.

This story just keeps getting more and more disgusting.
Supervisors at the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office were ordered to falsify a reserve deputy’s training records, giving him credit for field training he never took and firearms certifications he should not have received, sources told the Tulsa World.

At least three of reserve deputy Robert Bates’ supervisors were transferred after refusing to sign off on his state-required training, multiple sources speaking on condition of anonymity told the World.
Bates, 73, is accused of second-degree manslaughter in the shooting death of Eric Harris during an undercover operation on April 2.

The sources’ claims are corroborated by records, including a statement by Bates after the shooting, that he was certified as an advanced reserve deputy in 2007.

An attorney for Harris’ family also raised questions about the authenticity of Bates’ training records.
Additionally, Sheriff Stanley Glanz told a Tulsa radio station this week that Bates had been certified to use three weapons, including a revolver he fired at Harris. However, Glanz said the Sheriff’s Office has not been able to find the paperwork on those certifications.

The sheriff’s deputy that certified Bates has moved on to work for the US Secret Service, Glanz said during the radio interview. [Editor's Note: Jesus Christ!]

Bates, a wealthy Tulsa insurance executive, turned himself in Tuesday after being charged on Monday in Harris’ death. He is free on $25,000 bond.
So in short, this 73 year old was basically only a "Reserve Deputy" because he gave money to the right political campaigns and purchased cars and equipment for the department. For that mere pittance, he was allowed on the streets, with lethal weapons, and eventually killed a man (by accident).

Merica'.

Question: When this whole thing unravels, how many people in that department will be facing criminal charges? I say at least a dozen.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Hillary Clinton's Running For President. Shocker!!!

Yeah, we all knew this was coming. But Jesus, this is some guru-level "pandering to every possible demographic that we focus grouped" sh*t right here.



You guys know where I stand on this one: I thought Clinton was an awful, undisciplined candidate in 2007. When 2008 came around and she started pulling random (often racist) bullsh*t and trickery while getting her butt kicked in primary after primary, I told ya'll I wouldn't forget that sh*t next time.

I haven't forgotten that sh*t.

The sad thing is that Clinton doesn't have an even remotely serious challenger on the left. I say this as a guy who has lived in Maryland for two decades and finds Martin O'Malley about as exciting as a prostate exam. That is to say, I don't find him very exciting at all. Ditto for Elizabeth Warren, whose sole calling card (Wall Street reform) is hardly on my Top 10 List Of Sh*t That Potentially Keeps Me Up At Night. Joe Biden's more of a joke than the Sacramento Kings roster.

It's clear as Evian that the DNC spent more time celebrating in the afterglow of Obama winning than developing a bench of credible candidates for 2016. By comparison, the GOP has more candidates than Gucci Mane has mixtapes. And like Gucci Mane mixtapes, most of the the GOP's candidates are awful, incomprehensible, and all sound alike. This is coming from a guy who occasionally enjoys Gucci Mane mixtapes.

Buurrrrr. Burrrrr.

2016 is shaping up to be interesting in more ways than expected. Here's to hoping someone, anyone, makes Hillary Clinton break a sweat before waltzing to the nomination.

Question: What did you think of the Hillary 2016 rollout?!?

Tulsa "Reserve Deputy" Kills Black Man In Real Life Version Of "The Purge".

If you're even remotely familiar with the movie series "The Purge", you know the premise is that once a year (or is it every other year?), for about 12 hours, martial law is declared and citizens can basically kill anyone without repercussions. Rich people hold "Purge Parties" in which they purchase a poor person to kill for their own merriment, just because they can afford to do so. The movies, while put together in typical Hollywood thriller/horror fashion, are meant to convey a deeper message about how the wealthy control the poor in this country. They're damn good, and the 3rd installment drops next year. I'll be waiting on Fandango.

I can't help but think about the odd parallels between those movies and last week's police shooting in Tulsa, Oklahoma, as more details about the "policeman" who mistook a gun for a taser come to light.
The Tulsa cop who accidentally shot and killed a man when he meant to use his Taser this weekend was revealed as 73-year-old Robert Charles Bates, a reserve deputy-slash-millionaire.

According to the Tulsa World News, Bates, who donated $2,500 to help a Tulsa sheriff get re-elected to office, is one of 100 reserve officers supplementing the city’s police department, and was serving on the Violent Crimes Task Force when he unwittingly gunned down Eric Courtney Harris, a convicted meth dealer who was attacking a fellow officer.

Maj. Shannon Clark told the World that Bates, who was honored as Reserve Deputy of the Year in 2011, was indeed trained for fieldwork, kind of: “What I will say is that the deputy had the specialty training to be assigned to this task force, similar to what a full-time deputy would have had.”

Bates, who founded an insurance company and serves as its executive, is currently the subject of a civil lawsuit filed by his former company.
Let that one sink in for a moment: This "Reserve Deputy", was only a "Reserve Deputy" because he ponied up a large campaign donation. Basically this was a rich old man who, instead of doing typical rich old man sh*t like suntanning on a bed of hundred dollar bills aboard a yacht whilst being fed grapes by Armenian hookers, decided he'd rather get his Police Academy: Citizens On Patrol-on. Seriously, what's an old man who isn't even a real cop doing riding shotgun on a potentially dangerous, high-profile undercover sting mission? I don't care how much "training" he had, he had no business being on this case.

[On a completely unrelated note: That old man's got some impressive footspeed. He closed on Eric Harris, a man nearly half his age, like he was an NFL cornerback. That was some vintage Darrell Green sh*t right there.]

All that aside, I can't imagine why this old man's not being charged with murder. This "accident" cost a man his life, and at what cost? Harris allegedly was slangin' crystal meth, but they set him up with an illegal gun sell, which seems all sorts of wrong and ass backwards. Is that how they get down in Oklahoma? Maybe Kevin Durant should come back to DC after all.

None of this excuses Harris' actions: You can't sell a bootleg Ruger in a trailer park, run when 5-0 rolls up, and expect to not get your ass kicked. But last I checked, running from the police wasn't a crime worthy of the death penalty.[1]

[Update: Bates has been charged with manslaughter.]

Question: Does it disturb you that people can become "cops" by simply giving to a political campaign?

[1] BTW, this was all captured with body cameras. Still no conviction of the "cop". I'm not sure "video proof" changes the equation much here. The issue is that so many cops (not all, by any means, but enough of them) just don't exhibit the level of competency that this very dangerous, very difficult job demands. Body cameras, and dash cameras don't fix that.